Drove to Grenfell and with Marjo as our tour guide she showed us the house she used to live in and share the history of the birthplace of Henry Lawson and all the history attached to the town. Finished off with a big lunch and thinkshakes at a local cafe/takeway shop. Before making our last trip home. So after 9600kms and 5 states over 6 weeks we finally arrived home mid afternoon. What an awesome adventure and memories we have built!
19 October 2017
Pulled into Hay for lunch and then went to the shearers hall of fame, which was a awsome interactive Museum. With heaps for the kids to get involved with as well a sheep shearing demonstration that explains the history of shearing and how it came to be to where it is today. We left just as a large storm was rolling in to Hay, which seemed to follow us all the way to Weethalle where we found 3 large murals painted on old grain silos. We then setup camp in the rain for the last time for our hoilday at the Weethalle showgrounds. A fantastic camp ground, the kids explored all the building, sheep yards and horse stables around the camp site.
18 October 2017
Today we all went on the paddle steamer 'Melbourne' (built in 1912 and is the only original paddle steamer at left with the original boiler) for a 2hr cruise down the Murray which went through a lock on the river, and learnt about life on the Murray and how the boilers and paddle steamer work, After the cruise we went for bit of a drive around Mildura, before heading back to the van park to relax and kids went for a swim and explored the mini Gardens around the van park with each one having its own theme, from outback farms, to Fairy Gardens.
16 October 2017
Left Morgan and stopped in at Renmark and had a look on Argo Barge the largest Barge in Australia and checked out an old paddle steamer walked around Renmark which had Rose's in bloom everywhere! Back on the road and crossed onto Victoria, our 5th State of the trip! Stopped at Mildura and set up camp over the bridge (in NSW) Charlie-Mai, Harry and I then swam from New South Wales to Victoria cross the Murray about 120m. We are all now state swimmers...😂
Checked out the Morgan Museum with lots of history from around the area. We then drove onto the car Ferry and crossed the Murray River and have a bit of a look around before going for a swim in the river and out for dinner.
15 October 2017
Drove to Burra, which is An Historic Copper Town with the old open cut mine and the Merino Capital of the World. We found a very nice cafe for lunch (very nice food!) Then drove onto Morgan on the Murray River and setup camp right on the river. Kids played on a big playground across from the van park and watched the Princess Murray paddle steamer pull into Morgan port.
14 October 2017
Drove down from Copper Peddy and on the way we stopped at Lake Hart which was a large salt lake, we went for a walk out onto the lake before head down into Port Augusta and stopped in a the Arid Botanic Gardens which was at the foot of the Flinders Rangers with amazing views, we made lunch and a look around the gardens, then drove to Baroota and pulled in to a farm stay Style camp grounds it was not meant to open but the owner let us in and even setup a BBQ for us, so we setup camp built a fire and did dinner. Great little spot.
13 October 2017
Left Alice Spring and continued to head south, stopped at Henbury Meteorites Craters and did the small loop walk around the craters. Our next stop was the crossing of the boarder from NT to SA a quick stretch of the legs and photos.
Before moving on to Marla for a late lunch and a bit if a rest while the kids played in the grassed area, then back into the car and drove another couple of hours and stopped just past Copper Peddy and setup camp for the night.
12 October 2017
Jack went with Pop to the transport hall of fame and truck museum, while I went to the Railway museum. The Girls went into town and explored Alice Springs. In the afternoon we drove up to the top of Anzac hill and took in the views of Alice and the Macdonald rangers.
11 October 2017
Woke up to watch the the sunrise over the Devil's Marbles, the Marbles colours changed every minute as the sun climbed, from browns to rich reds. We continued to explore the Marbles with kids climbing and jumping from rock to rock. Before drive south and stopped at Wycliffe Well, the so called UFO center of Australia. Lots of claims..... a quick stop at Barrow Creek telegraph station plus a random stop at a large sculpture of an Aboriginal woman with a child hunting a Goanna and large man on the top of the hill, on the way to Alice Springs. Got to the Alice mid afternoon and set up at G'day Mate Caravan park did a quick service to the Prado and replaced the damaged uhf antenna.
10 October 2017
Early start today, stopped in a Daily Water Pub, the pub walls where full of note from around the world people's photo id's and underwear..... plus many other odd things! Continue to drive south driving past countless small termite mounds which had been addressed up and decorated with singlets, t-shirts, hats, and sunglasses. Stopped at John Flynn memorial, the man who opened up central Australia to medical Aviation and sharing God's word. (Flying Doctors, see a $20 note). Then drove into Tennant Creek for lunch and fuel, before drive down to Devil's Marbles through a black heavy storm. But the rain stopped enough for us to set up camp and explore all over devil's marbles and have dinner, and finish off with a light rain to cool of the night.
8 October 2017
Left Douglas Daily River and had a pit stop in Katherine, before driving to Mataranka and setting up camp at Bitter springs. Walked down to Elsey National Park to the springs for a very refreshing swim. Headed back to camp site for dinner, with Wallabies coming right into the camp site up to the van with not a worry in the world.
7 October 2017
Happy birthday to JACK, 12 years old today what better place to celebrate that at Douglas River. After Jack had his breakfast of Bacon and Bacon (no eggs) we drove out to hot springs for a swim. The hot springs where amazing very strange as you walked up the river there where Very hot spots where the hot water was bubbling up from underground. You could sit in the river and the sand below you was HOT and have the cool water flow over you.
We then went for a drive to have a look at the large sandwood plantations, on the way back we saw a large crocodile trap in the river not far from our camp site.
We went out for dinner for Jack's birthday at the Douglas daily river pub in the van park and enjoyed a great feed, after dinner the girl met a little boy who was catching gecko's and tree frogs, they all played and shared the tree frog around, while they watched older boys chase and kill cane toads.
6 October 2017
Left Litchfield national park but not before the kids went for one last quick swim at the water falls, stopped at Bachelor for a ice cream and a large box of Mangoes, then drove to Douglas River and set up camp at Dougles Daily tourist park which is like a little tropical oasis. Beautifully set out with lots of shade. Kids cooled off in there pool and finished the night off at the local pub/ bistro for a amazing meal to cover off Marjo's and Ben's birthdays.
5 October 2017
Today we started the day with a swim in Florence falls before setting out to find the lost city (as the day before we couldn't find it due to the turn off sign missing) after finding the city and walking in exploring around the large rock formations very different to the lost city in Limmen National Park. Quick stop and look in at green ant creek before moving onto the Cascades a short but rocky walk to the bottom of the Cascades we found curtin water fall and a swimming hole. Harry and I walked to the top of the many cascading water falls and grapped some amazing photos. Went back to the bottom to cool off in the swimming hole. After a couple of hours we headed but to camp to relax as a storm built up around up but seem to be all bark and not bite. Cooked dinner and called it a day.
Wangi Falls photos with a boardwalk up in the tree tops from the day before.
3 October 2017
Drove into Lichfield National Park via the small town of Bachelor, stopped at the Magnetic Termite Mounds which looked like a field of grey grave stones. There was also very large and high cathedral termite mounds which seemed to rise up out of the ground.
We then moved into Florence Falls camp ground, after setting up camp we headed down to a beautiful plunge pool feed by two water falls and crystal clear water. Water was very cool are refreshing after a hot day.
The next morning we headed out to Blyth Homestead (1928) and tin mine and found that the Sargent family left there eldest children there to run homestead, one of the boys even had a pet Crocodile. We then drove up to Wangi Falls this seems to be the big tourist draw card. With two stunning waterfalls about 80m high in a very large plunge pool. As well as a Cafe and green grassed picnic areas and easy walk makes it very popular!
2 October 2017
Last day in Darwin, drove over to Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern. Which had an awesome display of cyclone Tracey disaster and raw power as well as a large aboriginal art exhibition, and a fantastic display of natural history from thousands of years to now. But the winner with the kids was the largest Crocodile ever captured in Australia called "Sweet heart" at 780kg and 5.1m long it was a moster!
After leaving the Museum we drove over to Casuarina Shopping Square for lunch and to do a big re-stock shop.
1 October 2017
The Day started with a short but heavy rain storm, We drove into Darwin's waterfront and found that there as a lot of free activities on for the kids (Big one included) face painting for Andi-Grace and Aliyah, lots of science puzzles for Jack, Charlie-Mai and me Coffee van for Shell. Jack also got to built a solar car, all of this is for the lead up to the world Solar car race from Darwin to Adelaide.
We then went for a walk around the waterfront and to the old WW2 oil tunnels. After this we drove around Darwin just for a look to take it all in. Finished the day off by going back to the markets at mindil beach, we all have a great time. Jack had a go at cracking a whip and got it first go, after showing off to the crowd with a couple more great whip cracks Jack brought himself a whip.
30 September 2017
Today we went to Darwin Aviation Museum and saw fantastic display of Aircraft include a B-25 Mitchell Bomber, Mirage, Avon Sabre, Royal Australian Navy Wessex helicopter, F-111C, and the legendary B52 Bomber which was massive! Andi-Grace asked if she could buy the aircraft tow truck and I fix it up so she could drive it to school. 🤣 Jack what to build a kit plane to fly himself.
We came back to the van had lunch then went over to the Palmerston water park for about 3hrs, which had a awesome racing water slide. Which we all went on many times up many stairs!
Then came home for dinner Jack, Pop and the boys went to the speed way at Hidden Valley in Darwin.
29 September 2017
Went to Leanyer water park, 3 giant slides, small kids water play area, pool and play park and it's all free! After nearly 4 hours we then went for a drive around the coast of Darwin and stopped in at Dudley point at the East Point Reserve.
Which has many military structures and Anti Aircraft gun emplacements left over from WW2 of major historic significance, the area provided the last major ‘fortress’ built on Australian soil and is a reminder of a Australia's only battleground.
The kids learnt alot about what happen to Australia in WW2 and how close war was on home soil!
28 September 2017
Got to Darwin and setup at the free sprint caravan park, cooled off in the pool and then drove out to Mindil Beach Markets, heaps of food to pick from, we tried a Crocodile Burger, Crocodile spring rolls ate dinner on the beach we're watching incredible sunset over the water! Spent the rest of the night listening to very cool street musicians and performers. Also checked out the many market stores and what they had to offer. Finish off with a choice of dessert, fruit smoothies, fresh fruit and ice cream,freshly made iced tea.
27 September 2017
Started the day with an early lunch and headed over to Bowlia vistors center, which had alot of information about Kakadu's history, culture and wildlife all presented in Great displays and movies. We then drove back out to Cahill's crossing to watch the change of the tide and about 18 Crocodiles come in to catch fish, one Crocodile came within a couple of meters from where we were sitting, very exciting the kids were told not to move from there spots! After a couple of hours we drove around to Ubirr Rock to have a look at the collection of Aboriginal rock paintings. The rock art depicts certain creation ancestors as well as animals from the area such as barramundi, catfish, mullet, goannas, long-necked turtles, crocodiles and there was even a painting of a Tasmanian tiger. We continued to walk to the top of Ubirr rock where there was panoramic view of the Nadab floodplains and rock escarpments, incredible views as the sun was setting over the floodplains!
26 September 2017
Started the morning relaxing in the pool til 11am, made lunch and then drove out to Cahill's Crossing at the turn of the tide and watched about 8 Crocodiles come in, very awsome to watch them waiting for the fish and catch them. Then at 3pm we when on the Guluyambi Cultural Cruise on the East Alligator River, had a local guide who shared about his cultural, traditional use of plants and animals and bush survival skills. We also got to get off at Arnhem Land in escarpment country where our guide showed us how at Woomera and spear where used, throwing a couple of spears off into the river. After getting back most of the other people had left and we stuck around and where shown how they cook in the ground and described how and why they paint in lines not dots (dot paintings are central Australia, line painting northern Australia).
We brought one of Gleenson's paintings (our guide's painting). Came back to the camp site where myself and a couple of the kids went to a another Rangers talk.
25 September 2017
Drove to Maguk and short walk to an beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. Sadly I lost my drone in the bottom of the 30m swimming hole.... We then drove to Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural center, kids and adults learn lots. Moved onto the Yellow waters region and did a boardwalk over the end of the South Alligator River and Billabong. We saw three Crocodiles in the wild from the boradwalk then had lunch. From there we drove over to the Anbangbang Gallery and checked out the rock art, then moved on to meet up with Ian and Marjo at Jabiru setup camp, lots of green ants, Uncle Ben got Andi-Grace to try one, yummy....
24 September 2017
After breakfast, Ian and Marjo (Marjo birthday today) left us to drive to Jabiru, while we headed up to the top of Gunlom waterfall. A 1km very steep walk to the top but was a beautiful spot, incredible veiws and amazing swimming pools which flowed over the cliff to main plunge pool 100m below. We climb up a second small waterfall to find a third pool of water which lead into a small canyon where Shell myself and the girls all swam up the canyon until we got to the end to find another waterfall feeding into the canyon. After spending a half the day swimming and exploring the top of the Gunlom we headed back down for lunch and afternoon swim in the bottom plunge pool until it was time to head back to camp for dinner. I went for a small walk up the creek and found a large crocodile trap.
23 September 2017
Today we drove into Kakadu national park! Very excited.... stopped for the traditional photo at the entrance sign, then drove into Gunlom camp ground. After setting up camp we found out that the swimming hole was Crocodile free..... (bar a fresh water crocodile that was protecting a clutch of eggs). But all good for a very relaxing cool swim, with beautiful cliff face with a water fall in front of us. After dinner the some of the kids and I went to the Rangers slide show and talk. The kids learnt about areas cultural heritage and history, from why the area is part of the sickness country, local bush food and medicine, uranium mining and Crocodiles.
22 September 2017
Left Katherine and drove only 60km North to Edith Falls. The National Park is very well set up, we where able to have the vans setup with a nice green grassed area with trees and shade between us for the kids to play on. We all headed down to the main swimming hole and spend most of the day down in the water and under the water fall.
21 September 2017
We got up this morning and started to pack up but then decided to stay one more day in Katherine. Packed morning tea and drove out to Katherine Gorge did a 900m to walk to the top lookout, at the beginning of the walk we saw thousands of red headed flying foxes hanging from all the trees. The views from the lookout were spectacular. Drove into the Katherine information centre to get our Kakadu pass information pack. Drove back to the van park and had a big nachos lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool.
20 September 2017
Left Mataranka today and drove to Katherine, big re-stock food, supplies, gas and new batteries for the van. Stayed in the Big 4 caravan park, pretty flash spot kids spent most of the day in the pool.
19 September 2017
At Mataranka we checked out the Homestead that was used in the movie 'We of the Never Never' then drove over to Bitter Springs and spent a couple of hours swimming in the springs. Kids used there tyre tubes to float down the creek. After we got back to the van park we went back down the Elsey National Park and went swimming in the spring feed pool. There are thousands of 'Red head flying Foxes' hanging from the trees, just before sunset we all went down to the river to watch them all take to the sky, kids saw a freshwater croc and snake while waiting for the flying foxes.
18 September 2017
Today is Shelley's and my 19th Wedding Anniversary! We left Lorella Springs at around 8am only got 10km down the road when a rock took out the tap on my rear water tank, lost all the water in the tank..... Continued to drive 45kms down the road the Southern lost city in Limmen National Park. Where we did the loop walk around the city which was made up of sand stone rock towers. Amazing shapes and colours reaching up into the sky. We made the decision to push through for the day and drive to Mataranka, due to a couple of dramas with our vans (caused by the rough coragations). After driving on rough dusty dirt roads for then next 270km we found Roper Bar road house where I treated Shelley to an Ice coffee for our Anniversary! We continued to drive the roads where still dirt but was as good as highway, finally found tar about 50km from the Sturt HWY we made it to Mataranka homestead at around 5.40pm. Set up had dinner and took the kids down to the hot springs for a night swim.
17 September 2017
Last day at Lorella Springs, full rest and relaxation day. Mostly swimming in the springs. I took the girls on a boat ride in a tinny up the creek to where the spring starts, found where the water bubbles up from the ground and feeds the creek, the water was very warm.
Checked over the van and a couple of little repairs get ready for the next day of rough roads ahead.....😞
16 September 2017
Full day at Lorella Springs, after breakfast, we headed on an awesome day trip full of 4WDING in mostly sandy and rocky tracks with a couple of river crossings and one very steep rock track. The day was full of short walks and swimming in crystal clear water, caves and small canyons.
15 September 2017
Stopped at Cape Crawford, refuel, stretch our legs and kids all got a ice cream. Then made our onto the dirt road heading north up into Limmen National Park, first 50km was awesome..... then the corrgations became pretty bad with some big bull dust pockets. Got a call from Benny on the UHF that we where leaking water from one our water tanks, pull up and found that there was more drama inside the van! All the screws holding the fridge in had come out, the clothes cuboard had come open and one of the drawers had come out. Repaired the re-screwed fridge on the side of the road. Left the rest for when we got to camp. Pulled into Lorella Springs set up camp and then all three of us (Ian, Culters and Us) set to repairing all that had come loose on our Vans from the battle scars from the rough road. All went well and spent the afternoon soaking in the hot springs and finish off the day with a big cooked meal!
14 September 2017
Drove from Mt lsa to Camooweal, longest main street in the world! Quick stop and looked a camp site which was mean to be awesome, sadly the billabong was dry and very dusty. So we continued on and crossed over into the Northern Territory, stopped at the Barkey roadhouse for fuel and lunch, then headed up Tablelands HWY very flat open country mostly single lane road. Stop on the side of the road about 250km south of Cape Crawford, next to a creek with only a couple of small puddles.
13 September 2017
Drove into Mt Isa on Diesel fumes fuel light on 0km left to go....... stayed at Sunset caravan park. Restocked, refueled, and washed clothes. Kids spend time playing in the pool and I did some repair work to the UHF. (Lisa did the run around for the parts) ended up being a very windy night, temp dropped from 39 to 17 at night!
12 September 2017
First stop was at McKinlay for some lunch and a Drink at walkabout creek. Made Famous by Crocodile Dundee movies. Stopped down the road for an ice cream and play in the park at Cloncurry and only drove 60km towards Mt Isa and pulled in at Corella dam at a camp site called Clem Walton Park. Set up on the side of the river. With Brahman Cattle around the camp site walking right up to the vans! Sitting in my chair, I looked down under my chair and found this beautiful Olive python, went to sleep to the sound of the bush, frogs and crickets.
11 September 2017
Continued to drive up through central QLD. Stopped at Barcaldine for lunch and quick look at the tree of knowledge. Stop for a camp at Crawfords Creek 40km south of Winton.
10 September 2017
Very Big day today drove over 700km. Long and very straight roads, we got excited when a slight bend in the road came up! We had a close call with an Emu...... Stopped by a dry creek bed for lunch 200km south of Charlieville. Stop at the largest road transport explosion in Australia's history at a Bridge just outside of Charlieville, no one was killed! Pulled in late to a free camp site behide Ellangowan pub ($5 for two hot showers). At a small town called Augathella 80km North of Charlieville.
9 September 2017
Left Bathurst at around 10am, lunch stop at Dubbo. Made it Girlmabone just after 4pm. Very nice little free camp site. Toilets and shower plus a play ground for the kids to go lose on.
8 September 2017
All packed, very excited one day left til we are on the road!