Bye bye Australia, it's been a fabulous 8 years, but it's time for new adventures
3 July 2018
This morning Bazinga got picked up to get all his vet checks and paperwork finalised for the trip, he'll then spend the night in a kennel before being boarded onto our flight. We took advantage of him being away to go into Sydney for our last day in Australia and we treated ourselves to a great lunch, at Yulli's in Surry Hills. For our last dinner we booked a table at the Alibi Bar in Woolloomoolo, which was a fabulous experience. The food and decor were amazing. In between these food experiences we paid a visit to the very interesting Australian museum.
30 June 2018
Today was an awesome day, after dropping Bazinga off at daycare we went to Dingo Den Sanctuary near Penrith (photos will be added once they send them to us). The Dingoes are so loving and friendly and as an extra special treat, we got to play with their 5 six week old puppies, and their very chilled mum & dad. We then took the pack out for a walk in the forrest. They are beautiful and very misunderstood animals that desperately need our help to survive. We also donated a lot of our stuff to them as tonight is our last night in the Earthcruiser. The next few nights will be in a dog friendly hotel at Sydney Airport and we will be taking the camper back to Earthcruiser (just south of Sydney) on Monday and flying to London on Wednesday.
29 June 2018
Today we visited Palm Beach, which some of you might know better as Summer Bay (Home and Away). We even had lunch at The Boat House (The Pier) next to Alf's Bait Shop. Apart from the cultural significance it is also a very beautifull spot.
28 June 2018
We left the winery early and drove through some very heavy fog. After a breakfast stop in Branxton, the fog had cleared and we enjoyed the views of the Hunter Valley. We headed to the beautiful Norah Head lighthouse, hoping to see some whales. There were a few out there, but too far to see much more than a few splashes, although I did manage to get a snap of one just heading for a deep dive. We will have another look in the morning and hopefully see some a little closer. We are now camped up in Budgewoi for the night, where we saw some very relaxed pelicans.
We had dinner and stayed the night at Nightingale Winery.
27 June 2018
We stayed the night in Pitt Town along the Hawksbury River after picking up Michèle from the airport.
26 June 2018
Bazinga and Alex stayed in Toowoon on a campsite with access to a nice beach. This morning we decided to head North along the coast to Norah Head Light House with spectacular views along the coastline. After that we drove into Sydney to pick up Michèle from the airport.
25 June 2018
Bazinga and Alex stayed in Harrington last night and this morning we went to see whales at Crowdy Head, before heading further South. The whales were putting up quite a show, but stayed out of range of my phone camera.
23 June 2018
We stayed 2 nights on the Sunshine Coast, which is nice area with (more) beautifull beaches, but also with loads of restaurants and cafes. Unfortunately we had to spend time at the vet as Bazinga didn't feel too well. Today Alex and Bazinga (who had perked up a bit) dropped Michèle off at Brisbane Airport, for her visit to Perth, and we drove further South into New South Wales. We (Bazinga and Alex) passed some more amazing coastline with beautifull eastuaries, beaches and view points. We decided to camp in Ballina, where we spotted a pod of dolphins hunting in the river as soon as we left the campsite for a walk. There was also a squadron of pelicans waiting for any left overs.
21 June 2018
This morning we had a nice hike along the Coast Line at Agnes Water. Amazing spot.
Now on the Sunshine Coast.
20 June 2018
No updates yesterday as we were mainly driving and stayed in Rockhampton, near a shopping centre, not very exciting but free :-) Today we made it to Agnes Waters, camping on a beautiful secluded beach.
18 June 2018
Stayed an extra night at Mission Beach, where we had long walks, some nice food and beautifull beach front camp site.
16 June 2018
Spending 2 relaxed days/nights in Mission Beach, waiting for laundry to dry, before moving further South.
15 June 2018
Today we drove from Mossman to Mission Beach and stopped in Cairns for lunch at Lafew Teahouse & Kombucha Bar with an old friend from work and his partner. Nice relaxed day.
14 June 2018
Today was our last driving challenge from Cooktown to Mossman via the Bloomfield Track with several very steep sections (30%) through beautifull rainforest along the spectacular coast, passing Cape Tribulation. High point of the day was the elusive tree kangaroo in the middle of the road and a few minutes later a cassowary casually crossing the road. Hopefully we captured them both with our dash-cam. Tonight we are staying in Mossman, which is surrounded with sugar cane fields and has even a train going from the fields through the middle of town to the factory.
13 June 2018
This morning we got bit worried when several warning lights came on the corrugated roads between Coen and Laura. Luckily the lights only lasted for 25km and after checking with IVECO (once we had telephone) we decided it must have been a faulty connection and nothing to worry about. After Laura we took the scenic route to Cooktown along Battle Camp Road. Cooktown, situated in a beautifull bay, has huge potential, but needs a bit of TLC.
12 June 2018
Left the Northern Tip annd drove down to Coen. Long day.
11 June 2018
We left Punsand Bay and headed to the Tip over a narrow gravel road through a tropical rainforest with a rough creek crossing. The walk to the tip was very picturesque and steep with great views over the Bay. Then it was back to Bamaga to a rather dodgy mechanic (I don’t think they’ve ever heard of Health&Safety) to get another shock absorber fixed which we noticed yesterday had sheared off. It took a while to fix, so we are camping close by again, right on the beach at Loyalty Beach. Apparently it gets pretty full with wild horses which we’ll hopefully see in the morning.
10 June 2018
Bit more driving on the OTT to get to the Jardine River Ferry and via Bamaga to Seisia for lunch. After lunch we headed to Punsand Bay where we set up camp early. Spend quite a bit of time at the corrugation bar in Punsand Bay, which had nice Caribbean vibe and they serve great pizza (after 1.5 hr waiting). The northern part of Cape York is full of wild dogs and wild horses, but just like the locals, they all seem pretty chilled.
9 June 2018
From Moreton Telegraph Station we were planning to go along the OTT to Sam’s Creek crossing, however at the first crossing (Palm Creek) cars were already bogged down and the alternative didn’t look much better for our 5.5 T truck, so we decided to turn back and took the easy road North to join the OTT near Fruitbat Falls, which is a really nice spot but unfortunately ‘No Dogs Allowed’. We decided to camp at Canal Creek near a crystal clear swimming hole in which we cooled down with a beer. On a side note; the termites here seem to be trained by Gaudi as they are creating the most amazing cathedral like structures of more than 3m in height in all shapes and forms.
8 June 2018
We started the old telegraph track (OTT) yesterday and made it to Moreton Telegraph Station in the early afternoon. So far, the track is just gravel/corrugation, the scary bits start tomorrow...we tested out our winch to make sure we are ready if we get stuck...Moreton had a nice walking trail to the river, a lagoon and a natural bridge, but it was pretty hot a Bazinga enjoyed a cool down next to the natural bridge where it was very clear and shallow and we didn’t expect any crocs.
7 June 2018
We drove to Coen and stopped for late lunch along the river and decided to stay for the night. Nice spot and as this is the last spot with internet / phone access for the next few days we used our time to catch up on admin and the planning of the remainder of our trip.
6 June 2018
So, we finally made it to Cape York :-) we first had a lovely lunch stop in Mount Molloy which we were pleasantly surprised to discovered had vegan cakes, yum! Following a delay regarding who was going to drive (Alex or Bazinga), it was on to Laura where we visited Spilt Rock Aboriginal Rock Art Galleries. These galleries have been identified as being at least 15,000 to 30,000 years old and are listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world. There were 3 areas (1) Split Rock, with paintings and carvings of various animals (Dingoes, Kangaroos, Turtles, Echidna..) and some people (the good ones are long (which Alex liked, and the bad ones are short with twisted limbs), the next two galleries (2) Flying Fox and (3) Tall spirits, are self explanatory. We are staying the night in Laura, which is pretty much just a Roadhouse, a few houses and a Pub.
Another day of driving brought us more or less at the start of Cape York. Stocked up on food and drinks in Atherton ready for 10 days of adventure in Cape York.
4 June 2018
Another day with a lot of driving. We stopped at Leichardt Falls for lunch before heading to Normanton. From there we planned to take a short cut into Cape York, but we were informed that a short section of road was closed and we had to take the long way around. We managed to get to Croyden, which is a surprisingly nice little town with a great pub.
3 June 2018
Another driving day as we’re trying to make up some of the time we lost with mechanical issues in Derby and Kununurra. First the 20km+ from our camping spot at Nudie Hot Springs to the Lorella Springs Homestead and then about 500km to Hell’s Gate Roadhouse where we are now. It was very slow in many places though, as apart from about 15km of tarmac, the rest was a mix of gravel, corrugation and soft sand, with some steep river crossings. The last couple of hours were in the dark with patches of heavy fog, which we normally try not to do as that’s when all the wildlife (mainly Wallabies) and “wild” cattle wander onto the road, luckily we saw them all in time. We even saw a couple of Dingoes earlier in the day, unfortunately, they were probably escaping the nearby fires, but they looked pretty calm.
2 June 2018
A day of Exploring Lorella Springs. First we went for a paddle in the Flying Fox Swamp where Bazinga tried to catch all the lillies that we passed in our canoe. As the canoe was not that stable we got close to capsizing when he jumped from side to and reaching over the side. After the swamp and some tough offroad driving we visited the Cascades before heading to our campsite 'Nudie Hot Springs', so no pictures.
1 June 2018
Today is 5 years since Bazinga adopted us!
And we arrived at one of our favorie places in Australia; Lorella Springs.
31 May 2018
Today was a driving day, heading towards Lorella Springs. Ended up in Daly Waters where there is a famous pub with adjoining campsite. Both were jampacked which apparently happens on a daily basis. The pub has live music, a lot of quirky features and a great atmosphere. For the rest there is not much to Daly Waters, but apparantly that is enough to attract campers from all over Australia.
Yesterday we crossed the border from Western Australia to the Northern Territory and lost 1.5 hours due to the time difference. We spent the night at Victoria River Roadhouse where there were lots of wallabies and bandicoots popping out of the bushes and hopping back in as soon as they saw Bazinga, there were also lots of Dingo howls in the background. Today we're heading further east again, with a little lunch/shopping break in Katherine.
30 May 2018
Wow, what a difference new shocks make! The new shocks finally got sorted late yesterday afternoon, it was a bit late to leave Kununurra so we decided to stay another night. We’ve changed site every night as each time we checked out thinking we’d be leaving town that day, I think this last one was the best though. They even had a little pub quiz last night which we won...but there were only 2 teams ha ha. We have away our prize (white wine) to the other team though as they were young German backpackers. Just topping up with fuel now and then heading East, not sure how far we’ll go yet today.
28 May 2018
It seems that my spot in the bed is taken and I have to sleep on the floor (again).
Our shock absorber parts are stuck in the post office, hoping they’ll be out and with the mechanic tomorrow. We took advantage of our extra time here to visit The Hoochery (Local Rum Distillery) though, where we had a nice lunch in the beer garden. We also went to check out a couple of local art galleries with some very impressive works as well as the Zebra Rock (Type of striped rock than only exists here) Gallery. Now in a different campsite, closer to town but not as nice.
27 May 2018
We made it back on to tarmac roads and into Kununurra, where we stayed by the lake. We saw the local freshwater croc in the distance in the morning, but he didn’t feel like coming by to say hello. Hopefully our mechanic will have the parts needed to fix our shock absorbers tomorrow and we can continue on our journey.
26 May 2018
Tonight we are camping at our own private campsite in El Questro. Our closest neighbour is a very active bower bird who is building and decorating his nest with now and then a nice dance performance. The variety of birds, trees and plants here is fantastic. I suppose that there is also a huge amount of reptiles and marsupials hiding in the bushes.
Yesterday we arrived in El Questro where we stayed in the main camping area. We also found a staff member (Moana) who was willing to take care of Bazinga for a few hours, so we could do one of the gorge walks. We got recommended to do the El Questro gorge walk which was amazing, but more of a climb than a walk, finishing off at the gorgeous McMacken pool and waterfall. Encountered several tree snakes and loads of tiny frogs. Tonight we stay at El Questro again, but this time in a private riverside camp.
25 May 2018
Stayed at Home Valley Station last night and raided the souvenir shop this morning
23 May 2018
Today was Michèle's birthday, but unfortunately we had a bit of uncomfortable driving to do to get from Manning Gorge to Drysdale River station. The corrugation was horrible, especialy on the Kalumburu road. Not having front shock absorbers probably didn't help! Along the way we stopped at Barnett Gorge and walked to the lookout, most of the path was overgrown and the signs washed away, but luckily a couple of Rangers were busy clearing it and showed us the way. We then headed to Gibb River Station for lunch, where Bazinga made friends with the very cute and full of attitude Lobo. For dinner we had a lovely pizza on the Barbie, with some bubbly and apple crumble as dessert.
22 May 2018
After leaving Emanuel Yard road stop early this morning, we retraced our journey from Friday, but managed to get a bit further today :-) We had planned on stopping at Charnley River Station, but they were closed as the road in is in bad condition and they haven’t graded it yet. We decided to continue on to Mount Barnett Roadhouse. On the way, we stopped off at Adcock Gorge and Galvans Gorge. Bazinga decided the dried up Lizzard he found deserved a proper burial.Our current campsite has a walk to Manning Gorge, but unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed. There is a bit of river where we can take him though, which we’ll check out a bit later.
Radiator hose got fixed at 3 o'clock yesterday, but shock absorbers will have to wait till we're in Kununurra. So we set off yesterday around 4:30 after last minute shopping and refueling and we made it 40km along the Gibb River Road before it got too dark. In the dark we managed to get to Emanuel Yard, which is a cattle muster area.
20 May 2018
Looks like another couple of nights in Derby. The Iveco mechanic has to come from Kununurra, which is about 900km away, similar distance as Brussels to Marseille for the Europeans, which is in addition to the 300km we had to back track to get to Derby. Australia is a big country with lots of areas of nothing! We had a pretty lazy day today, just waiting for phone calls. Michèle went for a swim in the surprisingly nice town pool and in the evening we walked out to the town Jetty, we didn’t see any crocs but heard earlier that there was one sunning himself by the Jetty, maybe we’ll see him tomorrow.
19 May 2018
So after about 300km back the way we came from, we made it to Derby and Iveco are trying to get a service person to us tomorrow to fix the coolant hose. Fingers crossed that they can also fix the shock absorbers, if not we try all the garages in Derby on Monday and if that doesn’t work out, we drive a very bouncy ride to Kununarra where Earthcruiser will send the parts we need to get it fixed there. Derby itself is much nicer than we remembered and the Aboriginals are all very interested in Bazinga and incredibly friendly, even if sometimes a little hard to understand.
18 May 2018
Today started off really well along the Gibb, we saw lots of lizards, brulgas, cows and even had to move a turtle out of one of the river crossings. We saw (with imagination!) Queen Elizabeth’s head in the Napier range, passed the Inglis Gap in the King Leopold Ranges and were headed to Charnley River Station for the night...but...about 20km from the turnoff we got an alert about low coolant, after checking, we saw our coolant was leaking. We hadn’t long passed the Imintji Roadhouse, so we headed back there hoping for a mechanic. We got some coolant and the location of a mechanic, who was about 50km further east. We got there just as he was closing, but he was very helpful & had a look. He noticed that the radiator hose was leaking, but unfortunately couldn’t fix it and also noticed that the bolts of the front 2 shock absorbers had come out :-( So, we now have to head backwards to Derby. Of course it’s Friday, so we won’t get a mechanic until Monday...it’s all part of the adventure!
17 May 2018
Today we stocked up on food, water and fuel in Broome and headed to the Kimberley’s Gibb River Road. The road out, even though tarmac, was incredibly bumpy and a little scary, good suspension is maybe not always a good thing as we were bouncing uncontrollably in spots. We stopped off at the prison Boab on the way and camped up before properly starting the Gibb tomorrow. We’re camping at Mike and Apple’s Savannah Retreat, where they set up an amazing array of nibbles for Happy Hour. Their dog Sasha, is incredible friendly and tried very hard to play with Bazinga but he had no interest unfortunately, she made up for it by taking pride of place at Happy Hour and getting lots of attention from the kids also camping here.
15 May 2018
Nice beach / mudflat walk with Bazinga on our last day on the Dampier Peninsula. The huge tidal ranges (8 to 12m) here provide loads of opportunities for exploring and Bazinga loves it. Poor human on the other end of the lead just has to try to follow without tripping or stepping on something nasty.
14 May 2018
And another sunset from the sunset coast.
Just a short easy drive to Gumbanan camp site, where we parked right on the cliff overlooking the Timor Sea and where we hope to see some dolphins, turtles, crocs and maybe even a dugong.
13 May 2018
Still waiting for the donkeys to show up (we can hear them!), but in the meantime, Dora the camp dog made herself comfortable and so did the millions of mozzies! The sky tonight was also amazing, but the skills to capture it still need a little work (being eaten alive by mozzies doesn’t help!)
Drove in to Dampier Peninsula over a heavily corregated road, it wasn't very enjoyable! Staying at the friendly Banana Well Geteway campsite where the domestic pigs inspected our set up and wanted some of our lunch. Pigs are locked up and now we're waiting for the wild donkeys to show up.
We’ve been to Broome a couple of times already, so we didn’t really do any of the touristy stuff (difficult with a dog anyway), but spent a lovely couple of days relaxing. Now we’re heading up to the Dampier Peninsula and Cape Leveque. We won’t be able to go into any of the communities with Bazinga, or go to our favourite camp stop (We put him in a kennel the last time went), but hopefully there won’t be any crocodiles around and we can enjoy a swim or at least see some marine and bird life.
12 May 2018
In search of breakfast we ended up in Matso's, which is normaly our sundowner place in Broome
11 May 2018
After a long day of driving, we made it to Broome and got to the famous Cable Beach just on time for the last few minutes of sunset. It's our third time here and we never seem to time it right for the "stairway to the moon", but the sunsets are still beautiful.
Beautiful sunrise and beach walk this morning.
10 May 2018
Parked at a creek near the beach for the night. Loads of wildlife around and beautifull scenery.
Nice little lunch stop and cool down at Pretty Pool in Port Hedland. Getting into crocodile country now, so opportunities will be limited.
And after stocking up on food in Karratha, another amazing campsite along the WA coast.
9 May 2018
Bazinga said good morning to a friendly young cow before we hit the road again.
8 May 2018
We tried to book a dogsitter for Bazinga so we could go swimming with whale sharks, but unfortunately no one was available. So we headed back on North again. This time we decided not to camp at a beach but along a river at Emu Creek Station which is a gorgeous place.
Yesterday we drove to Exmouth, to see if we could get on a whale shark tour and to organise the camper before going further North. So no pictures as we missed the Emu running through the campsite.
6 May 2018
Left Gladstone Bay, where sheep invade your privacy whilst showering. Headed off to Coral Bay and are now camped at Waroora Station on the beach, where in typical Aussie style, the caretaker was in town watching the footy, but a dingo showed us the way. And some more sunset pictures.
5 May 2018
After a bit more 4WDing at Murchison House Station we headed North and found a beautiful spot on the beach at Gladstone Bay Wilderness Camping, where Bazinga went fishing.
4 May 2018
After easy start we tested the Earthcruiser and ourselves on some challenging tracks. We managed to get ourselves stuck in a gully, but with a bit of elbow grease we managed to dig ourselves out again. At the end of a very long day we found an amazing campsite along the Murchison River to wind down.
3 May 2018
After a bit of morning exercise on the beach, we drove from Cliff Head to Murchison House Station near Kalbarri.
At Kalbarri there were some prescribed burns, causing massive black smoke plumes.
At Murchison station we finally got some challenging tracks for the EarthCruiser and thanks to a lazy driver, who didn’t think we needed to reduce tyre pressure, we even managed to get bogged temporarily. Amazing scenery, views and loads of kangaroos and goats. Bazinga seems quite exited about that.
2 May 2018
Today we found a typical WA beach campsite at Cliff Head near Dongara.
We were camped across from the famous Dandaragan 18 hole golf course, where the difference between 'green' , fairway and rough is minimal. Still looking for the clubhouse.
1 May 2018
Today we handed over our house keys and started our temporary life on the road.
We only managed to get as far as Dandaragan. Not much to see and very cold (15 dgr) so no pictures on this 1st day.