Australia · 186 Days · 196 Moments · August 2017

Hadley5 in Australia


8 February 2018

And ‘just like that!’, our coddiwomple (v. To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination), is over... There is so much we’ll miss about the freedom of travelling... exploring new places getting to know locals anticipating the journey to, and the destination we’ve not explored before campfires special moments of bonding throughout the day in special ways which cannot be put into words to be there for our kids through happy & sad moments, to name but a few. However - life is a journey of growing and refining who we are. We’re back together as a family here in Karratha and realise how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country! The kids had fun shaving off ‘ Marcus’ travel beard’, we’ve had lovely outings to some local waterholes and backyard cricket is back on! Who said the adventure was over? 😉

20 December 2017

It’s Christmas time. The kids buy a Christmas tree and have fun decorating it with Dad and Nana. The Christmas lights drive through Bunbury and Eaton, is as always exciting and fun! We celebrate Christmas at Kate & Rich’s Place with oysters, prawns, turkey, ham and pavlova. Our flight to South Africa departs at midnight and Marcus is left behind to complete our ‘around Australia’ trip by himself.

19 December 2017

Max brings out the .22 gun and we do some target shooting on pumpkins. The boys are in their element and when I ask Alex whether he enjoys this more than shooting Nerf guns: "Waaaay better!", is the response. Teniel has just as much fun and all 3 manage to drop the top pumpkin! Snipers in the making! After a coffee and goodbyes, we head north west and nearly decide to turn left towards Denmark. The kids however vote to travel to Bunbury to see the family a day earlier. We travel through Bridgetown and visit the stunning little Christmas shop. The next stop is Balingup's Tinderbox and then Donnybrook and the Apple Fun Park. Time gets away with us and it's late before we get to Eaton. Lovely to see Nana and Granddad! The kids race towards the front door and a big , happy Hello with lots of hugs and happiness , round off this day .

18 December 2017

We arrive at Ronnie's around 5. We meet Itchy, the horse and the boys love throwing the ball for Marlee the border-collie. Toby and Marcus do the BBQ and we enjoy delicious 'home-grown' lamb chops and steak. Max arrives around 9. He drove back south all the way from Collie to see us before he goes back to work tomorrow. Next morning we take a drive to the farm. Ronnie has bag of fruit&veg bits and we handfeed the low line cattle.
Goodbye Esperance! We're off to Cranbrook to see Ronnie, Max and Toby. It's a slow drive as we have a strong headwinds. In Ravensthorpe we stop at a candy store for a little treat! It's a long drive. We see the Stirling Ranges in the distance. Beautifully decorated silos and golden wheat fields as far as the eye can see.

17 December 2017

A bit more sight seeing along the coast and in the town of Esperance. The kids explore the foreshore of Esperance with all it's adventure parks. How nice it would be to be able to add an extra few days to the holidays together.
Twilight Beach has the perfect boogie boarding waves and the kids and dads, brave the cold waters, while Linda and I are happy to 'guard the towels'. Alex picks a beautiful flower for me. The boys have spoilt me nearly every day with a special rock, flower or shell.💚 A few km's inland we enjoy a lunch at the Gibson Soak Hotel and try out the locally crafted Lucky Bay Beer.

16 December 2017

One last morning walk up the hill behind our campsite. Overlooking the bay and feeling a bit sad that we have to leave this beautiful spot. The wind has picked up though and the predictions for the next few days are for strong winds. We return to Esperance where we meet up with the McKeons. They've travelled down from Perth, starting their 6week adventure. The kids love being together again and it's beautiful to see how they just click, after being apart for so long. True friendship knows no distance... The next morning we head to the stunning beaches of Esperance. A Great White has been picked up by the radar in one of the bays and a ranger tells us to avoid that area for swimming. 😉

15 December 2017

14 December 2017

More white sand, beaches, boogie boarding, exploring coves and bays and just feeling lucky in Lucky Bay!

13 December 2017

After dinner we go for a walk and come across a carpet python - rather that, than a tiger snake. . . Next morning we have friendly visitors at our campsite - looked like the Mummy-roo needed a coffee. Marcus comes back with 2 squid, caught from the kayak in the bay. For lunch we go to Condingup Tavern. Alex climbs the tent poles like a little monkey. Table Island, Wharton and Little Wharton Beach and Duke of Orleans all just beautiful!
The morning starts with the Little Hellfire Bay walk. Some more jaw-dropping clear blue waters... Along the hike to the bay, the kids stop for the littlest bugs & beetles, flowers & seeds. They admire it all and watching them is like watching an artist paint - through observing them, they say so much without uttering a word. Back at camp the boys watch a tiger snake slither past our campsite. Makes us all slightly more observant on our next walk to the beach. We manage to get the classic 'roo on the beach pic'. Yummy shanks in the Webber for dinner.
Teniel's flower gallery

12 December 2017

Time for a hike up Frenchman's Peak. It's a class 5 hike up to the cave and a family coming down, warns us that it's not for the faint hearted and that they had cut their hike short with their kids as it is too steep. Dark clouds are gathering and thunder rolling in the distance. We crawl up on hands and feet until we get to the top. A few hikers are gathered under a rock at the top. We decide to take in the view and make our way down as quick as possible. With shaky knees we get to the car and relieved to be safe and under cover before the rain sets in. After the rain we take a walk and a scoot on the beach and build a sand- snow lady. The sand is so very fine and so much fun to mould and shape!

11 December 2017

Our camp for the next five nights is at Lucky Bay (voted 'The whitest beach in Australia'). It's located in the Cape Le Grand National Park about half an hour east from Esperance. The bays are turquoise and the white sand literally squeaks underfoot! Bay after bay unfolds before us and the rolling heathlands are flowering in all colours. A thunderstorm rolls through and when we step outside, an amazing full rainbow awaits us. A stunning view from our campsite over this pristine bay. Our neighbours are SAfrican expats and we join them for a chat and some Irish Coffee and hot chocolate for the kids with added whipped cream.

10 December 2017

The last bit of the Nullarbor drive takes us to Balladonia. A fuel stop and heritage museum which has a life-size replica of the Sky-lab debris - one of many that fell to earth in 1979 around Balladonia. More artefacts and history of this area and newspaper clippings of the then and now. We arrive in Esperance after about 1400km's done in the past couple of days. We've certainly enjoyed the Nullabor drive but are happy that we don't have to do it regularly. We're happy to see that Carols by Candlelight are on in town and we quickly unpack and join the crowd. A lovely evening, listening and singing along, gets us into the Christmas spirit.

9 December 2017

After a few more stops and lookouts over the cliffs, we get to the border. A few oranges get cut up and put in the bin by the officer. The kids are excited to be back in their home state of WA. We turn our watches back 2.5hours. An added bonus to this long day of travelling. Midura Pass is our overnight stop where we catch up with John and Marie and Abby. The next day we get to the long, straight stretch of road where auto pilot would work well, were it not for the many roos crossing the road.
The quintessential Australian Roadtrip experience - crossing the Nullabor (nullus arbor - Latin for 'no tree'.) We've fuelled up and are ready to eat as much fruit&veg as we can before we get to quarantine at the border. We see many wombat burrows but it's not the right time of day to spot them. Only a few skeletons of long-gone wombats and some more blue-tongued lizards. The Bunda-Cliffs are one of the largest uninterrupted line of cliffs in the world. Every time we think we've seen the bluest blue ocean, another 'bluer' one surprises us! Long boardwalks and lookouts that frame this amazing view are dotted across the path. The sheer cliffs that rise high and mighty, make for a dramatic view of the shoreline. During whale season, this is the place to watch them from.

8 December 2017

On our way to Point Sinclair, near Penong, we cross the beautiful pink lake. Snow white sand dunes on both sides of the road. Point Sinclair has a protected pool after a horrific shark attack on a 11yr old boy in 1977. The Cécilia wreck still visible in the shallows , makes for lovely photo opportunities. T and I take pics while the boys fish off the jetty. Next stop is Cactus Beach. Very famous for its swells and we sit and watch surfers ride the waves for hours. We're staying at Penong Caravan Park - just across the road from the Windmill Museum, which honours an important part of Australia's farming history. Volunteers are rescuing and restoring broken down windmills. They call themselves the windmill warriors. The centrepiece, Big Bruce- is Australia's biggest windmill and was used to pump water to the steam trains from the railway. World's Longest Golfcourse - Nullabor Links, spanning over 2 states for 1365kms, also has a stop right next to the windmills.
Hads is sipping on his early morning coffee, when Colleen & Jeff from the SA Premium Oysters, come past our caravan park. "Would you like to come on the boat to collect oysters with us and see how it works?" Half an hour later we're all rugged up, on the boat and with Jeff behind the tractor wheel, we're off! What an amazing experience. Colleen gives us an anatomy lesson on a freshly harvested oyster. Then one for breakfast! Jeff puts a few racks of oysters back in the water and collects a few for the local shops and van parks. Soon we see a sea-lion & then a couple of friendly dolphins join us. We sit at the bow and the dolphin playfully swims, jumps & twirls in front of the boat. An unforgettable experience! Back at the shed, Jeff's sister, brother in law and fellow oyster farmer, Malcolm, are waiting for a cuppa with a delicious slice. It feels like we're part of the family.Malcolm takes us over to his shed& shows us his giant oysters& sponsors 2 to take home.What a morning!

7 December 2017

As is expected when staying on the Seafood Frontier - buying oysters fresh from the oyster farmers. A bit of a eenie-meenie-miney-mo and we stop at SA Premium Oysters. A lovely family run business and before we know it , Colleen explains the whole process of farming to us while Marcus is being fed oysters by her son, Softie. I get challenged to not just swallow but to chew on the oysters (with added lime thankfully)... Great morning and Christian walks off like Santa with a bag full of oysters. Haslam Beach is the next stop for squidding but we don't last long. The wind is howling and it's more like flying a kite than fishing. A walk through the quiet town and a play in the park for the whole family.
It's almost impossible to put into words our Eco-adventure experience at Baird Bay. We arrive at 9am & Allan and Mick are there to assist with wetsuits & snorkelling gear. 18deg!!From a small tinny into a bigger boat it is only us and an Italian backpacker, Fabio heading deeper into the bay. We start off diving with the sea-lions just off the island where the colony is. Alex lasts only for a couple of minutes as the water icy and enjoys the rest of the trip watching from the boat. C is in for about 10min initially and T goes in boots and all from beginning to end. The sea-lions are so playful and curious. Then we head deeper into the ocean to dive with a pod of dolphins. We notice that Mick is wearing a shark shield. We're not game to ask too many questions while we're in the water...😱Apparently the white pointers do make the occasional appearance... What a beautiful animal the dolphin is. About 12-15 dolphins swimming around us. Breathtaking!Then it's time for a warm Milo on board.

6 December 2017

Smoky Bay Population...? I'm not sure whether anyone actually lives here... I've only seen 3 people walk past our van - which is on the beach front. Again a beautiful jetty that stretches into the sea. We try for a squid, but no luck. There is a netted and enclosed area for swimming, attached to the beach. Way too cold for a dip though. So many beautifully 'Christmas-bowed' trees in these little villages. Marcus goes out early morning for a kayak and catches a few undersized herring and whiting. He's thankful for his facial hairs that provide extra warmth out in the open ocean ;-) We spend the morning at the van baking and creating.

5 December 2017

We drive home via the scenic Westall Way Loop. The Yarnebie sand dunes are spectacular and the kids don't need convincing to grab their boards and boogie down. Sand in our eyes and mouths as the wind is relentless and cold. Lovely views of the hundreds of white dunes running parallel to the shore line. No person or car in sight! We stop to look at Granites Beach , a popular surf beach and Smooth Pools. Back at camp it's lovely to catch up with John and Marie from Karratha.
After our exciting morning and warming up in the café with hot drinks and some lunch, we travel to Murphy's Haystacks. See picture 8 for explanation. Hads, with his quick eye, spots a bobtail or blue-tongued lizard, on the side of the road. Quite a comical skink and eager to show off his blue tongue!
Back to the seas and C dives in again. The warm Milo has helped. Alex encourages us from the boat and T swims like a fish and realises the 'once in a lifetime' experience. She even gets a chance to pat one of the sea- lions that comes up to Allan for a scratch. We end up with the dolphins once again for a last play. Christian braves the deep and cold for a bit and T even dives under with her snorkels. The dolphins swirl and turn around us and all the time Allan is mindful that we let the dolphins 'do their thing' and not intervene in any way. The fact that the sea-lions and the dolphins are untrained, unfed, wild and free- makes this experience all the more unique.

4 December 2017

Streaky Bay is a lovely place to visit. Hads , Alex and Christian went out in the kayak and after they harvested razor fish, a deadly blue-ringed octopus crawled out of the razor shell into the kayak. Apparently they are quite common out here. In a flash Hads flushed him back into the big blue. Christian and Marcus are the only brave ones to taste the razor fish. John and Marie go out for dinner and leave Abbie the Labrador with us. Kids have heaps of fun playing with her. The wispy clouds and sunsets at about 8:30pm are beautiful!

3 December 2017

Streaky Bay Picture perfect views from our campsite of Little Island. At low tide we can walk to the island and explore. Razorfish, blue swimmer crabs, pigeons nesting and so much to see. The entertainment room is fabulous and the kids love their pool games. An afternoon of Christmas wrapping and card making and with this daylight saving, it is about 10pm before we all snuggle up in bed...
Overall we've been lucky with the weather. Even though it's icy cold - it's not pouring down with rain either. My heart does go out to the local farmers as it's evident how welcome rain would be for them. The little bit of rain that falls overnight gives everything a bright sheen, as if the rocks and vegetation have just been repainted. We all love Venus Bay- but we're ready for the next spot to explore. Streaky Bay We visit Hally's Beach and off to the Whistling Rocks and blowholes. Unfortunately the tides aren't quite right and we only see a couple of blowholes do their trick just before they get swamped by the big waves. In the town of Streaky Bay is a replica of a Great White Pointer Shark caught on rod and reel from the Streaky Bay jetty. It was a world record at the time (haven't made the effort to Google whether this record still stands). Monkey comes back into action and helps Alex colour in his book.

1 December 2017

Today was a combination of scenic drives, hikes & some more fishing. We head to Talia Road to explore the caves. The destructive power of the waves have carved along weakened lines of grainy sandstones to form these incredible formations. The roof of the tub has collapsed and now shows beautiful colours and rocks of the inner cave. It is absolutely freezing!! In the afternoon we do a headland hike at Venus Bay with James , Michelle, Callum and Henry. We're lucky enough to see dolphins and an inquisitive sea-lion from the edge of the rugged cliffs. A beautiful walk in Venus Bay. Fish on the menu for dinner - yum!

30 November 2017

Venus Bay A beautiful campsite in this little village on the western peninsula - just a few steps from the beach. Crazy Hadleys go fishing in the rain and cold and catch a few undersized King George Whiting and herring. Lovely weather to chill in the van while Marcus is cooking a delicious dinner. The next morning is still crisp and we rug up to try for some jetty fishing. King George, salmon trout (Teniel) rock cod and wrasse (which we feed to the Pacific Gulls).
Elliston Sculptures on the Cliffs are 3 main sculptures presented against the beautiful canvas of the Southern Ocean. A lightning storm was looming and coming closer. When we got to the last sculpture of the thongs, we thankfully decided not to get out as only a few minutes after we took the photo from the window of the car, lightning bolts were crashing left, right and centre!! Parents and kids alike were ducking in the car as the thunderstorm was quite intense!
Eliston murals (See last photo for info on murals... absolutely amazing!)

29 November 2017

Leaving Coffin Bay with its oyster farms and heading to Elliston. Temperatures are dropping and the bakery with coffee and hot choc has a strong appeal. We find a gorgeous little bay with abelone, seaweed and shell decorations. The beautiful little park is perfect for a legstretch.
Coffin Bay National Park

28 November 2017

An evening walk along Coffin Bay town jetty overlooking the oyster farms and a beautiful sunset. A morning visit to Port Lincoln for some shopping and library work. Coffin Bay National Park overlooks islands, reefs, limestone cliffs and beautiful white surf beaches.
We visit an oyster shed to purchase some fresh dinner and the friendly staff give us a quick lesson on how to open oysters safely. He also shows us the baby oysters. Then we drive around to Greenly Point. Rock formations so interesting. Kids explore all around and rewrite history with their imaginations. Gallipoli Beach is breathtaking. This is where they filmed the 1980's movie of the same name. Farm Beach is just as beautiful - but very weedy. A walk around Coffin Bay and Alex comes running up to me and proposes with a clam shell. My heart melts... Oyster opening proves quite a fiddly job but worth it. Combined with KI marron, and Arno Bay roses- our outdoor restaurant is 5star!

26 November 2017

Driving past kilometres of wheat fields and farmhouses beautifully set amongst them. We're heading towards the Eyre Peninsula - Australia's seafood frontier. We stop at Arno Bay for the night. A quiet little town and lovely caravan park. The owners invite the guests to pick roses from their rose garden. Teniel, Christian and I love walking amongst the roses and picking a lovely, colourful bunch for the van. On the way to Port Lincoln Marcus stops at Louth Bay and they try to catch a squid. Tide's not right and wrong time of the day, is our excuse for not catching any. Port Lincoln is a beautiful town and the information centre staff, very helpful. Hads gets some local knowledge and mud maps from one of the locals. We check in to Coffin Bay - renowned for its world- famous oysters... An afternoon of setting up and play dough fun.

25 November 2017

Maggie Beer's Farmshop is a delight to visit. You can sample just about everything. From patès to relishes, marmelades and dukkah. The kids had a great time testing out their taste buds. We stayed at Riverton for the night and the boys loved the oval they had at their disposal. They quickly befriended a fellow travelling family, whose boys were just as keen on kicking the footy. I had left my handbag hanging over a chair at Maggies, while I was in my 'chocolate brownie coma' and Marcus and Teniel drove back on Sunday morning to find that it had been handed in. Phew! A relief!
The Barossa Valley with its German influence, takes us to the Herbig Family tree. Friedrich & Caroline Herbig used to live in this hollow tree trunk with 2 of their 16! children until 1860. Reece sells us cherries on the side of the road and when he finds out that I'm from SAfrica, he begins to tell of his adventures there, back in the day. He worked and travelled with mates through Africa. He speaks in a perfect SAfrican and German accent while telling his stories. A good sense of humour too! The Whispering Wall at the Barossa Dam amazes us with its acoustic properties. Sounds from one end of the wall travel for 140m to the other end and can be heard clearly. We visit Kies and Miranda Wines, enjoy a cheese platter and pretend that we know a lot about wines.

24 November 2017

Through parts of the Flieurieu Peninsula we head to Rapid Bay. The temps drop and our efforts to catch squid from the jetty are cut short as the breeze is freezing and these Pilbarians aren't coping! The camping spot is right on the beach. The most beautiful pebbles and rocks on the beach and our van is carrying a bit of extra weight after Teniel and I collect a few. The boys surprise us and make a beautiful heart shaped sand art for us. Christian is not happy that it is facing the wrong way. Early the next morning they're at it again and turn the art around so that the photo has the ocean in the background. We head towards the Barossa Valley and Marcus gets a brief reminder of Woodside, but thankfully it's in the form of a pub.
Another morning of pulling in nets and Marcus is over the moon with the harvest of marron! Boys love the catch and of course a marron-race is held before they are cooked up. Lovely way to end this great stay on KI. It's time to pack up and leave this beautiful island behind... On the way to Penneshaw, we visit Dudley Wines for a tasting and cheese platter. The views over the bay are stunning! Hads does a great job of reversing the car&van on to the ferry, Alex gets a shot of Phenergan and with heavy hearts we wave goodbye to this beautiful spot. The crew is kind enough to let us in to the cockpit and the kids 'take over the controls' ! 😉 We're back on the mainland and need to find a spot to overnight.

22 November 2017

The boys have bought new squid jigs. Only Christian catches one with his 'pro lure' but Alex has no luck with his flashing lure... He handles it well but begs Dad to buy him a pro lure too. The boys go with Hads early in the morning to collect the Opera House Nets that he put out the day before. They're in luck! A nice feed of yabbies. Yesterday a little birdie fell out of its nest. Alex was in tears as he wanted to keep it as a pet. Thankfully Helen, the park manager, said she'd look after it. It has survived the night and the kids are elated. We go out to the jetty again and Alex catches a squid. The pro lure certainly works as the boys catch 5 between them. 2 each and Marcus one too 😊 Marcus cooks up a feast for dinner but Christian rather cooks himself some scrambled eggs.

21 November 2017

The boys try their luck at squidding from the town jetty. They are so patient! Teniel sketches while I enjoy photography. No luck today - but a kind local donates a squid to us and we have dinner. Clifford Honey Farm and the Eucalyptus Distillery at Emu Ridge the next morning. We taste test a few ciders too. A drive to Cape Gantheum Conservation Park and beachcombing and before we know it - it's 5pm by the time we get back to Kingscote. This daylight saving makes for late nights and long sleep-ins.
A friendly tourist points us in the direction of a couple of Koalas. Christian plays peek-a-boo with them. On the way to Emu Bay we stumble upon George's Castle of 52k lights. George Turner used to farm here & has started a hobby of building a castle. Steps going up to different towers and every nook and cranny is filled with random themed decorations. At night he turns the lights on and apparently it's a sight to see. We visit the Island Beehive - taste the delicious honey ice cream, enjoy a tasting and head out to the jetty to see John feed the pelicans. John gives Christian his hat for the photo.
A boogie board session at Snellings Beach and a few km's down the road, a walk through a cave gets us to Stokes Bay. The water is icy cold but refreshing. The farmland and surrounds contrasts the beautiful blue of the ocean and we find ourselves stopping on the side of the road, numerous times to get the perfect shot. Photos just don't do it justice . A lovely prawn salad at the beach cafe is next on the menu.

19 November 2017

Lucky enough to see our 2nd echidna on the way home. Very shy and quick to hide under the log as soon as we approached. We're staying just outside of Kingscote at a lovely little caravan park. In the morning we visit a sheep dairy... we see the sheep getting milked at the dairy and try out the different sheep milk products! This is a first for all of us! We also find Mem Fox's 'Green Sheep!' Of course we can't miss out on the gin distillery and spend a lovely hour there. Just love watching the kids play and Marcus & Teniel enjoying a board game together. Snapshots like these I want to cherish and hold on to, when life gets busy again. The jetty at Kingscote is beautiful and we can see the mainland from here. Teniel is working hard on her photography skills with the pelicans being the perfect models. After a lot of wiggling a tooth, Teniel finally pulls out her second tooth of the trip all by herself. Hopefully the tooth fairy catches the ferry on time...!
At Vivonne Bay, it's impossible to take a bad photo. Christian's thong ends up in the water and Hads jumps in to save it! Seems like Christian's thongs are up for an adventure, this trip. We beachcomb and find starfish and crabs. Hanson Bay's water is just as sparkling. An abelone dive boat returns and the diver gives the kids a nice ab-shell.

18 November 2017

The journey continues to the Cape Borda Lighthouse with its unique shape: short and square. No need to be tall when you sit atop massiv cliffs. A shot walk through bushes to a very steep lookout. We spot 2 massive cray boats on their way in. Scott's Cove has postcard style views over the rugged coast line. Unfortunately a couple of small roos decide to cross the road, just as we're driving long. As the 2nd one crosses, he turns around and collides with our car. Thankfully no need for Marcus to 'finish the job' & the kids are adamant to pick flowers and lay them on the roo. Back at camp Alex snaps a shot of a roo feeding & is very proud of himself. The next day we visit Seal Bay & watch sea-lions rest, play & nurse their young on the southern part of the island Off to Little Sahara for sandboarding. Hads realises that sporting a beard is not ideal for this type of extreme sport!
Still in Flinders Range National Park, Remarkable Rocks, just down the road from Admiral's Arch, are a cluster of granite boulders, weathered by sand,sea and wind, atop a rocky dome that arcs 75m down to the sea. They consist of black mica, blueish quartz and feldspar. I can only imagine what beautiful pics could be taken here at sunset and sunrise. Lots of fun climbing and exploring around the many different shaped boulders. It's quite busy here and from the distance it looks like an ant colony crawling around the rocks.

17 November 2017

So nice at Western KI. Surrounded by fairy wrens, kangaroos, possums, Cape barren geese and koalas around the campsite. At dusk we actually see koalas walking on the ground and climbing up trees. The koalas make a sound that doesn't really suit their cute appearance. Sounds like a belching comp between pigs and hippos. The weather is cool but nice and perfect for exploring the surrounds after a quick hike in the morning. At first we visit Admirals Arch near the Cape de Couedic Lighthouse. Stalactites dangle from the rocky ceiling of the former cave and we watch New Zealand fur seals play in the white wash of the waves and sun baking on the rocks.
A spectacular drive from Adelaide down to Normanville for an overnight stay to catch the ferry to Kangaroo Island the following day. Hads does extremely well reversing the rig onto the ferry. We cheer him on from the top of the ferry which apparently, makes him even more nervous to squeeze in between other cars, caravans and trucks. So relieved that I don't have to do this! 😅 The ferry takes about 45 mins to cross to KI. The combination of hot chocolate, a pie, swivel chair and the motion of the ocean doesn't do Alex any favours...before we know it, we're wiping him down and regretting the hot choc and pie combo! Poor little Alex was green in the face and the rest of the journey we stand on the back deck to get fresh air. From the moment we arrive, we fall in love with the island. We drive down to the western part of the island where we stay at a lovely camp spot for 3 nights .

15 November 2017

It's a wet & rainy day in Adelaide. Perfect day for our car to visit the very impressive Toyota service centre in the CBD. This gives us time to explore the city and we visit the Rundle Mall & stumble upon Santaland in Myers. All free entertainment for the kids. They hop into the Santa Express & are taken to the North Pole where they get to meet Santa,play Nerf Guns,colour etc. A film crew is busy shooting an ad and our kids get to be TV stars for the morning. Move on a couple of hours later & Christian gets to experience what happens when escalators acquire a taste for shoes...🙈 The South Australian Museum is educational and the staff so very informative & helpful. Maren treats the kids to a 'Honig kekse' baking at home. A lot of taste testing is happening before dinner and the result is delicious!

14 November 2017

We enjoy views over Adelaide from Mt Lofty before we go for a hike around the Morialta Conservation Park. We have a lot of fun spotting koalas, climbing up to Alladin's Cave and playing in the Mukanthi (meaning celebrate and play) adventure playground. The kids had seen this playground on BTN news before and we're very excited to see it in real life. A great initiative and all made from natural materials for kids to take risks, explore and create. Back at the Phillips' and Maren has cooked us a delicious home made Gnocchi. Lovely end to a fun filled day!
A day trip to the beautiful town of Hahndorf. The drive is beautiful through vineyards and orchards and a surprise around every corner. Teniel and I are in awe of all the charming rose gardens and wild flowers growing everywhere. Hahndorf with its German influence and Fachwerk architecture is Australia's oldest surviving German settlement. We enjoy a beer and a platter of german food. Prost! We take it easy and wander through all the little shops, enjoy coffee, cakes and play board games in the cosy Kaffeestuben.

13 November 2017

CHERRYVILLE When the GPS looks like a 1yr old scribble where the road is taking us - it's a sure indication of a windy road and a challenge to get the 14m rig through. Picture perfect views& hairy roads take us through the Adelaide Hills to Maren & Cameron's cottage in the Cherryville Valley! Maren meets us at a t-junction to guide us through the last 2kms of hair pin bends. It feels like we've arrived at a French villa retreat. The soundtrack of birds flittering around, koalas, kangaroos & a little stream close by. We fall in love with this place & Christian wants to ‘live here when I'm big!' So nice to catch up with Maren & Cameron! Spot the Koala in the tree.

12 November 2017

The morning brings with it more river action. Christian is on to a carp and when the nets are pulled in, we find 7 baby carps & 1 shrimp in Christian's net. Alex's net has 2 yabbies that are cooked up for breakfast Christian is adamant to swim in the Murray and convinces the boys to join him while the ladies of the family sit back reading. On our way out in Blanchetown we come across Lock 1 of the river. On having a closer look, we see hundreds of pelicans lined up at the overflow. Reminds us of the crocs at Cahill's Crossing at Kakadu. Only the pelican's table manners are of a higher standard. The cormorants are all lined up on the buoys to get a share of the deal as well.

11 November 2017

We settle for another stay in a caravan park at Waikerie, after we try to find a spot along the river. It seems to be everyone's idea for this Saturday afternoon to enjoy riverlife. Marcus is slowly getting over the flu & getting back into the swing of things. We attend the Lutheran Church service in Waikerie, the following morning. After that we cross a part of the river to get to the small, historical town of Morgan. A quick bite to eat and then we find the perfect free camp at Cordola. The generator comes out in the afternoon as it reaches temps of 36 & the a/c needs to work hard. The very patient boys fish all afternoon and Alex manages to catch a carp, who doesn't get a second chance, as they're such a pest. Proud nevertheless!

10 November 2017

Early morning coffee & rusks - watching kayaking groups and boats pass by on the river. No luck catching anything in the nets - but a beautiful fairy wren flits around the reeds in front of our caravan. We've booked into a caravan park at Renmark after many days of free camping. The kids have a ball at the swimming pool while I try to restore some kind of order to the van. The showers are so welcoming & we feel just that little bit cleaner & fresher. A sundowner on the river ends another beautiful day. We continue south along the river enjoying a lovely platter at 'Flavours of the Riverland'. A quick stop at Banrock Winery & a search for the next overnight spot.

9 November 2017

It is late before we get to Renmark and decide on free camping on Plushsbend on the Murray River. It is very peaceful & quite a chill in the air. Renmark is a beautiful town & the roses are in bloom all over. Friendly people & lovely service wherever we go. Mark helps out on a steamboat that was built in 1910 & invites us to come onboard. He takes the time to show us around. We head out to the Murtho Forest Reserve & free camp on the river. No one else around & a good time to relax after two big days of driving.

7 November 2017

We travel through Walgett and Brewarrina. We stop at Brewarrina to see the fish-traps that are estimated to be over 40 000 yrs old; one of the oldest man-made structures on earth. These rock weirs were built by ancient tribes to catch fish as they swam upstream. We go to the local RSL club to watch the Melbourne Cup Race. A race that even stops the Hadleys on their journey 😉 The landscape is dry&barren. Hads counts over 100 dead roos on the side of the road in an 8km stretch. Free camp at Meadow Glen. The journey continues through Bourke, Cobar & Broken Hill. Where our GPS shows big lakes- all we see are dustbowls. We stop to buy 'double-pluggers' for the kids. We go through these quite a bit! We make the rookie-mistake of buying fruit & veg too. At Wentworth we realise that we are going to cross through the SAustralian border & will have to clear the car&van of most fruit&veg.. We eat as much as we can & in Wentworth a passerby walks away with bags of fruit&veg from the Hadley van.

6 November 2017

On our way back to Carinya,we stop over at the Artesian Baths. This water comes from the Great Artesian Basin of Australia. It is at a constant temp of 41.5deg Celsius. Two tawny frog-mouthed owls are spectating from a tree above the baths. Back on the farm the fun continues. The kids have made friends with fellow campers and find it hard to leave this lovely station.
The beer can house was built in the 1960's by Arthur Germaine. He used 5,800 bottles!Great recycling initiative! We head 50km south-west of LR to the opal field of Grawin. We have to duck&dive on the road. Emus,roos,sheep,goats,cattle,pigs&wedge-tail eagles.The turn-off is signified by an old fridge rusting away. We follow the dirt track, through the golf-course where it looks like kangaroos are teeing off on the 6th hole. It is difficult to distinguish the rough from the fairways. We get to the Club in the Scrub.The pub is built out of native cypress logs.A few locals are having a beer.We start chatting to Ted,who seems to be the unofficial President of Grawin.He is an opal miner & tells us about his daily work. Next thing,Ted calls out: Oi! Who has opals here? Lyn gets up from the other table&pulls tiny bags of opal pieces out of his pockets&starts handing them out to us. We're gobsmacked.Ted takes us through the history of the pub&shows of the statue at the front of the pub,he made
After doing the washing in the shearing shed, we head to town. At the info centre, Hads gets a map for the car door tours of Lightning Ridge. There are 4 tours that are self-drive with map in hand and marked by different coloured car doors with numbers on. We do the Red and Green Tour. Everywhere you look is evidence of camp life & opal mining. Miners Cottages, hundreds of shafts from the first opal rush in 1905. We pass Amigo's Castle single -handedly built of Ironstone. The green tour takes us along the ridge through the mine fields. At the end of the tour we pass a quirky abode & decide to stop. Richard pokes his head out & before we know it he is educating us on opals. He's lived in this barren Outback for 9years. He arrived in town on horse & cart,like a gypsy,& has never left. There is no quick exit here!We're all looking for opal amongst the Jasper,Quartz,Agates,Carnelian etc. find quite a bit too.Richard shows off his opal tree & basically everything he owns!!

5 November 2017

After a swim in the pool, Michael, Teniel and Marcus drive the truck with flavour beans and oats out to the back paddocks and feed the sheep. Emus are everywhere happy to help themselves to the 'Meals on Wheels'... Teniel gets to drive the truck and is so excited for this opportunity. She comes back beaming with pride. Joe and Jacinda cook a nice roast beef and vegetables and everyone enjoys the meal together as the evening sun pours its orange glow over the station. Quite a few families here at the moment and the kids get along so well and enjoy making new friends. It is a still, hot night. I sleep outside in the swag with Teniel and Alex for a bit of reprieve. Rain is forecast, but unfortunately nothing eventuates.
About 180 sheep are brought into the large paddock adjacent to the shearing shed. We help to herd the sheep into the small yards. Joe drafts them, separates the lambs from the ewes. Then the fun work begins. We all help with the lamb marking (earmarking, castration & tail-docking). Joe gives us a quick run down & Marcus is tail-docking & I am vaccinating.Everyone gets stuck in & helps.Then Marcus takes over the drenching & I help load the lambs onto the cradles.The kids help as well and Alex gets the tags ready for earmarking. Teniel & Christian help to catch the strays. It's mid 30deg and after a few hours of work the cup of coffee tastes better than ever & a plunge in the pool is exactly what the doctor ordered. It feels good to be able to contribute & help for a change so that the travel is not just all about us. One poor ewe just collapsed and died. Not sure what the cause was but for kids like ours, who don't experience this in their day to day lives it was a learning experience.
In the shearing shed is a list of things that need to be done for the day/week. We walk the 4 sheep dogs with Jill. There's been a drought for about 5 years that followed 2 years of floods. No crops are planted this season. It's windy and dusty. The drought is evident and a few animal carcasses lying around. At the nearly empty dam are the remains of a sheep that got stuck in the mud. Back at the Homestead, the kids just love holding the little chickens and letting them fall asleep in their hands. 💚How the kids treat these little animals, tells me all I need to know about them. 💚

4 November 2017

Lightning Ridge We arrive in this Outback town in the north-west of NSW, just after lunch. This area is known as one of the few places in the world where the highly prized black opal is found. A quirky, bizarre and very interesting town with an eclectic mix of people and attractions. Our aim is to get to Carinya Station, a working farm stay where: " We expect nothing but appreciate everything." Jacinda, Joe, Archie and Clay are a beautiful family that open up their station and their hearts for everyone to enjoy!

3 November 2017

We travel west through Grafton and then the Great Dividing Range, Glen Innes and Inverell. Beautiful lush, green countryside. Getting through the Great Dividing Range is quite a long haul due to the mountain pass. I appreciate Hads for many reasons but one of them is certainly his dedication in emptying the caravan 'dunny' at the dump points. 😉 We get to the town of Moree in the heart of the northern NSW wheat belt otherwise known as Australia's Artesian Spa Capital. We camp at the Showgrounds for a minimal fee. The fruit bats fly out at dusk and when the wind blows from a certain direction, the smell is overpowering. Due to the stench, we close the windows and turn the a/c on. After breakfast we go to the town pools and we soon realise that people (especially Greeks, Italians, Croatians), come here yearly for a period of around 2 weeks, to immerse themselves in the warm pools. It feels like we've just dropped into an aquatic centre for retirees, in Europe.

2 November 2017

It's hard to leave and after a bit of calculation of distance and time, we decide to stay another night. More boarding, hiking to Minnie Water, beachcombing and discovering beautifully beaded seaweed, we enjoy another full day with the car not moving. An afternoon swim but then we discover blue bottles and we're out of there. Christian and Alex are in charge of the campfire and decide to 'brush their teeth with charcoal dust'.

1 November 2017

More swimming and relaxing then Jason and Kade visit us and we follow them along the beach to Sandon Village. This village is only accessible through the National Park, mainly via beach access or a barge across the Sandon River. Jas invites us for a seafood banquet: prawn, calamari and seafood sticks. Bellies full and tired kids, we head back to camp.

31 October 2017

A bit of school with a view before we hit the beach again. Teniel and I beach comb while the boys ride some waves.

30 October 2017

The day finishes with a strawberries & bubbles at the pool (thanks Caitlin x) and chocolate before bedtime! We continue on towards the Yuraygir National Park that boasts NSW's longest stretch of undeveloped coastline. At Illaroo we find the perfect penthouse camping spot. After we set up camp, we drive to the little village of Minnie Water to look up Jason. We met him at Cape Trib a few weeks back. Incredible views from his place. I get the feeling that this is one of Australia's best kept secrets. Surrounded by National park. Lovely to see Jas again. We head to Minnie Water backbeach and back at camp we're getting ready for a warm campfire overlooking the ocean. The views from here are stunning! Surrounded by forest with the sound of crashing waves, we feel like we're on a nature retreat!
What a beautiful start to my happy birthday. After a morning coffee, we go for a quick walk through the Gondwana Rainforest. I say 'quick', because the recent rain brought along the mozzies & an unanimous decision to not wander any further under the tall canopy of trees, is made. Hads has planned a lovely day that starts with the kids& I taking the ferry across from the village of Iluka to Yamba. A lightning storm in the distance and a few spits of rain, makes for a magical half hour on the top deck of the ferry. We spot hundreds of jelly fish in the water & before we know it, we're in Yamba and Hads is on the other side waiting for us with the car. We visit the blue and green pools, Angourie Surf Point among many lovely beaches in this surfing Reserve. A lovely brunch at Caper Berry, before Hads takes the kids to the beach for surfing and I'm booked in for a glorious massage and facial as a birthday treat. It's a hard life!

29 October 2017

Iluka Bluff is beautiful. A big rock platform from where we watch the waves breaking. Teniel is my photographer & clicks away like a pro. A beautiful rainbow appears in the sky and we get to watch whales breaching in the distance. If I was a poet - I think I'd get my inspiration from a place like this ....

28 October 2017

Dinner at Brunswick Heads Hotel. Some more charming little fairy hideouts are discovered in a hedge. We farewell Tonya in the morning after 12 lovely days with her! We continue on to the charming coastal village of Iluka. We explore the hideaway beaches of Shark Bay, Woody Head and decide to surf at Frazers Reef amongst the kite surfers. The kids can't get enough of the waves and are increasing in confidence and skill with their body boarding.
The Tetleys join us for the morning & we enjoy a delicious breakfast at The Farm, outside Byron Bay's bustling town centre. Lovely playground for the kids in an open setting in the countryside. The wishing well is a great attraction for the kids & listening to their wishes,as they flick coins into the well, brings a smile to our faces. A quick swim at Byron Bay, while Tonya, Astrid&I browse the many little shops in the town centre. Early birthday drinks with the Tetleys,before they head back to Brisbane. Thanks for coming through! Such a nice morning spent with you. 💚 We continue on towards the lighthouse & take a pic at the most easterly point of Australia (or close anyway😉). Turquoise blue waters & pods of dolphins frolicking down below. We visit the small town of Bangalow,in the stunning Hinterland,after which we return back to Brunswick Heads. Orrie spoils the kids with a boat cruise in his tinnie and a quick surf for Marcus & the kids.

27 October 2017

Brunswick Heads After picking up our house on wheels at the Tetley's, who have kindly let us leave it with them while we were in Sydney, the Journey of Discovery continues. Tonya joins us and Teniel and Christian love jumping in with her. We travel along the coast and head towards NSW. It's daylight saving and we push our clocks forward. We find a lovely spot at Brunswick Heads to set up camp. Most expensive campsite to date, but seems that there is nothing much cheaper in that area. The camp is on the river & only a short walk to the beach. The boys want to surf and as we cross the bridge over the crystal clear waters, the kids spot tiny little fairy gardens with sweet messages all along the way. The beach is beautiful and the powdery sand squeaks as we walk on it. Perfectly rounded pebbles and all round stunning!

25 October 2017

We're picked up at 7am & taken to Sydney airport for our flight at 10am. Everything goes smoothly until we realise that the flights are quite full back to Brisbane, a storm front is predicted for the afternoon and because of this weather warning, people are changing their bookings. As we're on standby- the only option we have is to split up and each adult travel with a child on different flights. The boys fly paper planes while we wait, Hads befriends a few people, Teniel is mindfully colouring in & poor Tonya is trying to organise this group of 6 to get back to Brisbane in the smoothest possible way. Christian and I take off at 13:00, Tonya and Teniel at 14:00 & Marcus (who is not a fan of flying, especially when superstorms are predicted),has to wait back with Alex. After many a game of UNO, exploring the airport, up and down elevators and escalators, they get on a 8:30pm flight. By this stage, as Alex says, "We've made SO many friends!!" Thanks so much Tonya for the staff flights!
More of Sculptures by the Sea
The boys are 'sculpted out' after a while and and continue on, while us girls can't get enough of all this fabulous artwork and the sensational views. I'm in my happy place snapping along like crazy. We meet up with the boys at Bondi Icebergs for a delicious light lunch, followed by a quick swim on the crowded Bondi Beach. Quick showers and freshen up at the apartment, before we meet up with the lovely Turner Family from Bateau Bay. Such a lovely reunion and the kids bring a lot of life into the little Chinese Noodle Restaurant, where we enjoy a delicious meal. The perfect ending to our last night in Sydney.
If you hang around long enough at Martin Place, with an untrimmed beard, you are going to get lured into a barber shop for a classy beard trim. But as they say: a cheap beard trim isn't good and a good beard trim isn't cheap! But oh what an experience and pamper for Papa McBeard. 😉 After the barbershop experience, we went & had a boutique coffee at the Arcade. A train and bus ride later we arrive at Bronte Beach. We walk along the spectacular coastline to Tamarama Beach, from where the coastal walk transforms into a 2km long temporary sculpture park all the way to the famous Bondi Beach. Amazing sculptures from Australian and international artists are featured.

24 October 2017

Hads has been wanting to try Yum Cha for a while. TripAdvisor takes us back onto a train towards Central Station. We wonder the China Town alley and realise that Yum Cha is a dish served from 7:30am - 4pm only. The kids are starving yet fascinated by what they see in the different Asian shops. When they spot the dried sea-horses, Alex let's out a big sigh and in a big voice says: "Don't these people even care about animals?"... I had to remind him that we eat animals too. 😌 At last we get back to Darling Harbour and find an Italian Restaurant to feed our hunger. Marcus gets up early on Wednesday and goes to the fish market. He has coffee, Oysters Kilpatrick and squid for breakfast. As soon as he gets back we get ready to race back to Martin Place to catch the Sunrise team. We get there in the last 5minutes and meet Koshi,Sam,Nat and Beretta. Marcus and Nat have a good chat, as she is originally from Bunbury. Highlight for the kids getting their autographs.
A lovely lunch and crafted beer at 4Pines micro-brewery in Manly. Back on the ferry to Cross to Wilsons Point and walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge across and back to the Opera House. Lovely walk with beautiful views down onto the river and coves. Tonya and the kids have fun catching the falling Jacaranda flowers. Everyone is thirsty from all the walking and relieved to get to a water fountain at the train station.
We continue on & admire The Strand Arcade in the CBD - a Victorian style shopping centre, heavy laden with designer shops and latte-sipping business men and women. We get to Martin Place and look through the windows at the Channel 7 Building. We see the news being read and even get a wave from the newsreader. We stop over at the Lindt Café, where the Sydney Hostage Crisis took place in December 2014. Hard to imagine something so cruel and shocking happened here, not long ago, on a normal morning when people were just going about their daily business. After delicious coffee, choc croissants and choc sundaes, we head through the Botanical Gardens to see the Opera House from up close. We catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. Alex is keen for a swim in the cold water while the rest of the crew chill on the beach.
Day 2 and we continue our sightseeing. We decide to head back to the Opera House, but this time through the CBD. A stop at the Nespresso shop for a bit of coffee tasting. We accidentally stumble across Alice in Wonderland Adventure in Myer . We board a rocket ship elevator, soar above the Sydney skyline to level 6 and enter a wonderland of Christmas festivities. It's like being in a playground: easy to enter, but hard to leave.

23 October 2017

Tonya rewards the kids, after this long walk,with a Copenhagen ice-cream and we sit under the beautiful Jacaranda trees and watch the fascinating mix of cultures before us. Business people and tourists alike - this city pulses with energy. We find a quaint little Tap Room and celebrate Day One of exploring beautiful Sydney, sipping on fine local beer and wine.
We wander along the Pyrmont Bridge, follow the water's edge & take the scenic route past beautifully terraced and colourful houses and historic buildings. As we turn the corner on one of the little side streets - we spot 'The Coathanger'/ Sydney Harbour Bridge. As travel-writer Bill Bryson once said:"You can see it from every angle of the city, creeping into frame from the oddest angles, like an uncle who wants to get into every frame shot." We realise this in the next couple of days. The Opera House comes into view and along the river there are photographers taking pics of Asian brides and grooms. We have to be careful not to photobomb the sessions. We take a minute to soak in these unmissable attractions...
Sydney We've decided to fly south to Sydney and leave the van with the Tetleys for a few days. It's an early start and Tonya joins us for this trip. The flight goes well and Alex reckons Sydney 'is the awesomest city', even before we exit the plane. 🛬 We've booked into an AirBnB within walking distance to Darling Harbour. Very comfortable 3bedroom apartment. The sightseeing begins in this beautiful city 🎡

22 October 2017

Sunny Sunday in Brisbane 🌝! Charlie & Erika come through from Toowoomba early on Sunday morning. It feels like Christmas as Erika baked two lots of South African rusks for us. 5 containers full! Wow! This will see us through many cups of coffees! What a spoil! (Forgot to take a pic of all the rusks) Thanks again Tante Erika! 💙 We drive up to Mt Coot-tha for coffee and cake with beautiful views over Brisbane. We explore Indooroopilly shopping centre for a bit of retail therapy. A beautiful braai awaits us at the Tetleys afterwards. Peter, the Tongmaster, prepares a carnivore's delight... Lovely to be with friends and family to end our stay in Brisbane before it's time for a new adventure.

21 October 2017

Brisbane and Wet 'n Wild What a great day at the Gold Coasts Wet n Wild. It is still raining but the advantage is less people and less queuing! Some purple lips and shivering but absolute undiluted happiness from both kids and dare I say, adults too. Some even attempt the Extreme H2O Zone. The kids are non-stop on the various slides and the adults take turns in joining them! An all round fabulous day, topped off by a warm shower and cosy meal and drinks at the Tetleys.

20 October 2017

Brisbane We get in to Brisbane late and are happy to park the van at the Tetleys, after windy roads and city traffic with the van in tow. Lovely to see the Tetleys again after more than a year. The kids play as if they've never been apart. Again we have the luxury of sleeping in a house. What a treat. Loads of laundry and washing the car before we head off to the vibrant city at Southbank. The kids have a swim at the man made Beach at Southbank and the Welsh Rugby League Team has a training session there too. A play in the park, an exciting trip in the City ferry to Eagle Street Pier,where we have a lovely lunch. Alex falls asleep under the table and this works well as I have my phone meeting with our home schooling moderator. Thank goodness he stays asleep. Most of the boys head back home and a few of us explore and shop Queen Street Mall in the CBD. Lovely historic buildings and amazing shopping! Lovely to catch up with Brian and Bette (who used to live in Dampier), for dinner .

19 October 2017

Australia Zoo A great zoo to visit and despite the forecast of more showers, we're surprised at how many people still visit the zoo in the middle of the week & off season. The home of the Aussie Icon family, the Irwins. The kids are excited and as we walk in, get to pat a koala. Lots of interaction with the animals throughout; very friendly staff and a good experience all round. The wild predators show is amazing. The kids are beyond excited to visit Bindi's Treehouse - something they've seen many times on TV, comes to life. Marcus meets Ron Whiskers, a zoo worker who has been there for 15years and knew Steve Irwin well. Crikey! It was a good day! On our way to Brisbane we catch up with Mick, Ange and Levi Bennett. Marcus' very good mate from school.

18 October 2017

The weather is supposed to improve slightly and Tonya joins us from Brisbane. We head to Noosa and the kids experience their first Nitrogenic Ice-cream. It is made right in front of their eyes and it's like being in a science lab, just with a tastier result! While the girls browse the Hasting Street shops, the boys hit the waves and soak up the sun that is teasing us. We head inland to the Sunshine Hinterland but the fog is dense and we have to paint our own picture in our imaginations. At the little town of Montville, we enjoy drinks around a log fire in a cosy little pub.

16 October 2017

The rain is relentless as we leave Lake McKenzie. The drive to the ferry is a bit hairy at times and Hads has to carefully navigate his way back. We pass a few recovery trucks... We're being rocked back and forth on the ferry back to the mainland. After a bakery stop, we decide to push through to the Sunshine Coast slowly. We get to Cotton Tree at Maroochydore and don't bother putting up the awning. It's blowy and wet- but nice and cosy. We spend the next morning at the library for some schoolwork. The long awaited Emoji movie is on the cards for the night. The kids love it!

15 October 2017

On our way back to camp Marcus spots a dingo. He decides to hop out of the car to photograph it in spite of all rules and regulations advising against this. There are unconfirmed reports of a male tourist photographing a dingo and then high-tailing it back to car as the dingo may have chased him... A closer look at the pic of the dingo shows human skid marks getting back to car, which I believe we're my husbands 🤣 More dune boarding after we get back before the rain sets in. It's a wild and woolly night and we miss having our caravan with shower and toilet. All this rain makes for good company and conversation at the camp kitchen. We still love the sound of rain on the tent. Next morning we pack up and on our way back to the ferry we travel through beautiful but deep trodden tracks to get to the beautiful inland Lake MacKenzie. Then the heavens open up...
After lots of rain during the night we decide to still drive up to Indian Heads and Champagne Pools. We aren't disappointed as it's just beautiful driving along the beach. A few surprises along the way: We see a huge turtle in the surf, two white bellied sea eagles with a porcupine fish as a catch, A bush toilet right where we need one and Europeans tanning, in spite of the dark skies. 😊 A coffee and hot chocolate at Orchid Beach and we head back to camp.

14 October 2017

Fraser Island We leave early morning and head to Rainbow Beach. We leave our 'house' there and catch the ferry to Fraser Island. The forecast is not flash as the rain predicted is the amount they got for Cyclone Debbie. It's a bit of a tense drive on the beach to get to Cathedral Camp. The tide is coming in and we have to cross Eli Creek before high tide. Fortunately it all works out for us. We have booked into permanent canvas tents & are grateful for a dry spot. The sky is threatening but we decide to go dune boarding anyway. The kids are in paradise and can't get enough of the perfect sand dune bowl! It's nearly dark before we head home.

11 October 2017

Bundaberg Time spent with family, is worth every second. Lovely to park our van at the Parfitt's in Quinaba. Beautiful location, overlooking fields, tractors working from early morning. Lovely open spaces. We go for a sunset walk, overlooking the area the Hummock Lookout. Then have a delicious meal back home. We feed fish (bream and trevally) at Kelleys Beach and boogie boarded at the other end of the beach. We go back next morning, even though it's raining. Water temperature is perfect, no scary creatures to look out for, just perfect. Pizza for dinner and the kids are loving the beach park, even in the dark. A tour through Bundaberg Ginger Beer factory. Taste test of 17 different Bundaberg range of drinks. The kids love this part of the tour! The green tree frogs around the house are too cute! They look like toys. The Parfitt's have to leave for Brisbane on Friday & we stay one more night in the luxury of their home. Thanks Parfitts! We loved it! X

10 October 2017

Big afternoon in the car heading east. We stop at Alpha. It's a weekday but the streets are quiet. We buy cookies from the baker, Chris, who has lived in town for the past 21 years. The town is known for its murals. On the Long road there are trivia questions on signs to keep the driver alert. A question, a bit further a clue and then the answer. The anti-fatigue plan works for us and we all have a shot at guessing the right answer. We call in at a 24hr stop at Bluff - our home for the night. The road trains are flying past us on the highway and it's starting to rain. The kids looking out at the coal trains passing by, reminds me of the book 'The Railway children'. It's a noisy night with trucks, trains and thunderstorms.
Marcus Another hot day here in Longreach. We had our breakfast with the Brolgas, then packed up. The Stockman's Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre was fantastic. From the Aboriginal People who were involved in the farming industry on the stations to all famous stockmen through the centuries. I never realised that R.M. Williams was the stockman for Kidman. The kids loved the Stockmans show at the end of the tour. It was presented by a farmer John Hawke. I was called up and had to sort sheep according to their tag colour. There were tricks with a kelpie, Collie, Brahman and horse. Once again an amazing setup and construction of this place. So many varied presentations that would easily allow for a full day of exploring and learning.

9 October 2017

(By Marcus) In the afternoon from 12noon to 4:30pm we did the Kinnon & Co Stagecoach Tour. This included an old tent show, a stage coach ride, smoko of jam and scones and coffee plus an old movie: "Smiley gets a gun. " The two boys who run the show, Lane and Jeremy, were fantastic and very funny. One liners just kept coming. Family run business of farmers who have taken a punt in Agri-tourism and are doing very well. Drought pushed them in this direction. Christian got to sit at the front of the coach and we were inside the coach for the trip. It was very dusty, but while listening to the boys' talk and info as we rode through town and nearby land, we were amused and got a good feel of what it would've been like back in the days! What a great day here in Longreach. Back to the park for a swim. I caught up with Lyndsay and Christine from Lake King.
Long drives get the creative juices flowing & T is making beautiful artwork. Longreach - the heart of the Outback, as it's known. The streets are all named after birds with beautiful signs. (East-west =waterbirds; north-south = landbirds). We fall in love with Longreach. The approachability and warmth of the people is heartwarming. Banjo Patterson wouldn't have written Waltzing Matilda at our campsite. No Coolibah tree to shelter from in this 40• heat. However, a highlight are the Brolgas wandering the camp and the emus walking through town. We also rate campsites by the shower pressure and this one gets 5stars. *****
QANTAS Founders Museum An absolute highlight for the kids! This museum tells the story of the founding of Qantas. The main exhibition hall with planes 'flying' around and interactive exhibits gets the kids' attention straight away. They get to be detectives with clipboards& a magnifying glasses. Hads explains the Rolls Royce jet engines to us, as it is a very similar engine to the ones they use in some gas turbines at Woodside. The detective work is soon forgotten when the kids get to 'fly' the Bristol Fighter. A positions himself behind the machine gun and T&C take turns in flying this simulated plane. Apparently it's WWIII and A keeps aiming at “Donald Trumps' plane.” The fact that we have to leave, nearly starts a war 😉

8 October 2017

We join half of Winton at the bakery for morning tea. Lovely atmosphere& friendly folk. Dinosaurs are big here& we visit The Age of Dinosaurs Museum on the Longreach Road. A kids' dream to experience this prehistoric adventure. It's a scorching day but our tour-guide (who reminds me of Ross Geller from the TV series 'Friends' 😆) keeps us entertained even in the heat of the day as we walk around the Dinosaur Canyon Outpost. The kids are provided with a guide in which they can make dinosaur tracings from the various plaques in the canyon. The guide has to warn us though that the plaques are hot and to be careful not to burn our hands while tracing... When the guide explains that there could be pythons around and not to harm them, Alex puts up his hand and tells the guide: My Opa actually kills snakes! Perhaps not what the guide was expecting to hear but at least Alex got it off his chest. 😉

7 October 2017

"But when we leave town with the foot planted down & we're out in the wide open spaces.The hands that were grave are now starting to wave & they're sporting big jovial faces." We've past this imaginary point that Tim Borthwick is talking about in his poem, 'The Wave'. Long stretches of flat, brown spinifex land.The conversation turns to: "What can we see in the distance? Answers like: Alice Springs, Madagascar, the day after tomorrow etc are called out. This is our 2nd biggest drive since we left Karratha. Not planned,but temps reaching 38, encourage us to keep driving.Our stopover is Corfield free camp. One barking dog in town but no other form of life except us.The generator gets its 1st run&aircon is a blessing!! This is Dinosaur country where a lot of fossils have been discovered.Hugenden &Winton have dinosaurs in all shapes and sizes in town. Bins, murals, little statues and many souvenirs. In Winton a statue commemorates Banjo Patterson, the writer of Waltzing Matilda.
South we head,towards Townsville to pick up a part for the caravan. The door handle is getting a bit temperamental & we don't like the idea of being locked out of our house. There have been some funny moments already... Then we're heading back into the great, wide, open. First stop Charters Towers or 'The World',as it's affectionately known. After the discovery of gold here in 1871 by a 12yr old Aboriginal horse boy, CT turned into a bustling metropolis. A beautiful combination of old & new buildings in town. Being Saturday afternoon, the streets are quiet. We have coffee & scones at the Royal Arcade where one of Australia's few regional stock exchanges were from 1890 onwards. After that we explore the WWII bunkers (29) built on Towers Hill for storage of ammunition,bombs & detonators. An audio/visual presentation tells the story of life at the time when the US 3rd bombardment group based themselves here in 1942. Very thankful for Google to help me answer the many kids' questions!

6 October 2017

While Marcus was out today, working hard to catch this beautiful 78cm Barra, the kids and I enjoyed the parks, Rainforest & Reef interactive centre, The Historic Cardwell Post Office & Telegraph Station, swimming and some weaving art. The kids really enjoyed the historic museum and we spent a couple of hours there. They enjoyed decoding Morse Code messages and going through the different rooms, all with so much interesting info on display and presented in a way that is easy for kids to understand. We also spent some time at the Visitors Centre and looked through books with images of the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi. Incomprehensible ... Teniel took the black&white images of the younger brother looking up to the older brother in admiration and soon after they wouldn't talk to each other. A day in the life of....😉

5 October 2017

Cardwell About an hours drive south of Mission Beach we stop at Cardwell. From our caravan park we have a beautiful view of Hinchinbrook Island. Locals are bouncing back after Cyclone Yasi tore through this area in February of 2011, damaging 75% of its buildings, destroying the marina and wiping out crops. We climb up to the Cardwell lookout, beautiful views but the mozzies chase us out of there pretty quick. The kids enjoy the scooter rides on the foreshore and it's time for half the family to have haircuts. Two lovely hairdressers look after us and by the time I'm finished, we've had such good laughs. Love the feel of little towns and it's friendly people.
We can't get to Little Crystal Creek because of roadworks, so we go to Big Crystal Creek. On our way there we stop at Frosty Mango and have delicious Gummi bear, Mango & Cappucino ice-cream. The launching poles and rope bridges built near and across some of the highways for the Mahogany Gliders & Brushtail Possums, are fascinating. This is to help these native animals navigate their way safely across the highway. The water levels are very low at the creek but we find a perfect spot for rock sliding. Alex spends his time studying the tadpoles and froglets. In doing so he finds a 50c piece in the creek from 1983 & can't believe his fortune! Marcus takes the kids to Tully and they visit the Golden Gumboot. The gumboot stands at 7.9m & is a competition between Babinda,Innisfail & Tully for the wettest town in Australia. The winner was awarded a gumboot (since1970). The spiral staircase inside the boot takes you past photos and info on floods of this area & views of the town from the top.

2 October 2017