The end is nearing, sooner than expected…..

The time has come to hit the road again and finally leave Margaret river. Trying to remember our routine of packing the van up for when we moved from place to place took a few days, but we soon slipped into it.

We had a few recommended places to see and stay, our first was Parry’s Beach. A cute little spot and very busy, we managed to camp in the overflow parking. We arrived late afternoon and had enough time to get a little bit of a surf in. The following day we drove out to a little spot called Boat Harbour, not home, but nearly as pretty. A beautiful little bay and only a handful of people, if that. We didn’t spend much time there, however given more and a little warmer weather, it would be an ideal place to hang out, swim or fish.

We thought once school had gone back that it would be quieter in camps, incorrect, arriving at Cosy Corner, a beautiful little free camp, we were greeted with a sign saying “camp full”. After some sweet talking by Cam, he’s pretty good at that, the camp manager found us a spot up the back. Another beautiful bay, they’re everywhere down there. Unfortunately we were unable to visit the amazing Elephant Rocks due to maintenance on the road.

Driving out the following day, we met another traveling family with a daughter Rylee, a similar age to the girls and their son Nash 5, they too were heading in the same direction as us and had a time schedule similar, so we exchanged phone numbers in the chance that we may meet up again on the road.

We caught up with friends in Cheynes Beach, yet another beautiful bay east of Albany. We had a couple of nights stay, before arriving in Esperance for 5 days.

With our tour guide leading the way, Grom and Bib from Lord Howe Island (friends we’d also met in Darwin), they took us on the scenic route, past the iconic Pink Lake that is no longer pink???? Then made sure that Cam was aware that the nudist beach was coming up, we couldn’t see any white pointers from afar, so kept driving around to explore more of the coast. The water colour was beautiful and the scenery was every bit equal, we couldn’t wait to have some time down there.

Our next destination to see was Lucky Bay, another beautiful bay with amazing beaches and scenery. Unfortunately for Sprout though another National Park so a day stuck in the van for him.๐Ÿ˜‚

We made contact with our new found friends, Craig , Nat, Rylee and Nash who were staying there, and headed up via the beach, around a 20km beach drive that cut travel time down by almost half and was very scenic. The weather wasn’t 100% but that made it all the better for when we climbed Frenchman’s Peak. We pulled up in the car park and looked to the top, a little daunting, as it was quite steep. At some stages I was clambering up the face of it on hands and knees, it was well worth it though, the view was amazing. All the kids did a great job getting up and back down.

We were unlucky and didn’t get to see any of the iconic kangaroo’s that regularly visit the beach at Lucky Bay, which was a shame. Cam and Craig took the kids for a surf though while Nat and I had relax on the beach, keeping an eye out though, as there was a sign saying there had been a recent shark sighting the day before!

Again there were some beautiful bays in the area, but time was getting away and we had to get back to Sprout. We traveled back along the beach, a little more churned up from all the days traffic, which made it a little harder to travel along, no open drinks on this drive.

Craig, Nat, Rylee and Nash came in the following day and we all headed to Twilight Beach. We had quite a few trips down to that particular beach, it was perfect for the girls and the waves were ideal on one particular day, even I got in for a swim and Sprout as well, only up to his belly though.๐Ÿ˜‚

Next we we headed off to Kalgoorlie for a couple of nights. Not sure what I was expecting of this mining town, but it was way more than what I thought it would be. The Super Pit was huge, even Sprout would’ve been impressed with the hole that was dug. We went out to Hannan’s mine and self toured around, checking out the machinery and then at the end tried our luck at panning for gold and gem’s. Now I did find 2 pieces, unfortunately they weren’t big enough and disappeared of the lid of my mug, hence I did not make my fortune. Rylee however found some slightly bigger specks and everyone found some gems.

We caught up with some old friends that are now living in Kalgoorlie, Kent, Alison O’Halloran and their family. Treating ourselves with a beautiful counter meal at their local pub, the best value for money meal ever. It was great to catch up and thanks again for letting us park up in your front yard. Over all we really enjoyed Kalgoorlie and was pleasantly surprised by how nice the town is, it has some really classic old pubs and buildings.

Well here we go, ready to cross the Nullarbor. I was pretty excited, as we hear so much about this vast stretch of land. My thoughts on it was, a long stretch of bitchumen with km’s of nothing, how wrong I was. If you have to get across there in a rush it would be a drag, however we had planned at least 4 days and it was perfect. There were lots of things to see, the road houses were historic and were worth a look at. The Bunda Cliffs were unbelievable, you wouldn’t want to slip, the stop at Eucla and trip down to the old telegraph station was worth a look. The station itself was 3 parts gone, with some structure still standing. We took the walk out to the old jetty that was worth a look as well.

We were surprised at the amount of caves to check out for much of the trip across the Nullarbor as well.

We finally made it to the S.A. boarder and a big shock to the system as it was a 2 1/2 hr time change forward, dinner was late for quite a few days and some late starts also.

We had done the Nullarbor with no hiccups, it was way better than what I expected and it was great to have company along the way with our other traveling family.

South Australia, we’re impressed with what you have to offer. Definitely wasn’t expecting it be as nice as we found it to be.

Checking out Cactus Beach was a tease, Cam still unable to paddle with his injury, left him sitting on shore, watching the perfect surf with disappointment, a good excuse to have a boys trip one day in the future or “me time” as Craig would say.

Penong, which was back up the road, had one of the largest windmills in Australia on display, it was quite fascinating to see the different varieties on display and a bit of education for the kids.

Our next long stay was at Perlubie Beach and as we had heard it was a very popular spot, we camped just up the road so we could get an early arrival in hope of scoring a shelter and luck would have it, we managed to grab one to share. The vans were stretched nearly half way along the bay. The water was like a bath and it was a beautiful spot to camp.

We all got to go out in the dinghy for a fish, some of us had luck and some like myself didn’t. Squid and King George Whiting were on the menu for a few nights, a tasty feast for the next few days, we even added some Razor Fish to the menu one night. It reminded me of a scallop without the row, it reminded Cam of bait!๐Ÿ˜‚

Swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, soccer on the beach, afternoon beers watching the sun go down or just general chilling, a little something for everyone. Another beach I’d visit again in a flash.

With news of the great toilet paper debacle starting to unfold, we started to wonder what we had missed, as we hadn’t seen the news, being carefree at the time we thought “she’ll be right mate.”

We restocked at Streaky Bay and continued onto Tractor Beach, where Cam, Craig, Andy, Ilueka and Rylee went for a snorkel and gathered a couple nights feed, Abalone was on the menu and a big fish that Andy had speared, we were living like kings and queen’s, well dietary wise at least.

We parted ways with Andy and Emily to make our way to Port Lincoln, free camping as much as we could and sight seeing along the way. We visited Murphy’s Haystacks, and also found a little pig farm that was quite cute and interesting.

Still slightly unaware of what was happening in the world we called into called in Port Lincoln for supplies and a quick visit to Makybe Diva then dawdled on our way up the Eyre Peninsula, we hadn’t been watching t.v. and reception wasn’t always the best, therefore social media was hit and miss.

We sadly parted ways with the Atkinson’s, it was great traveling with them and we’ll never forget the 5 hour card game of 500, I hope the next time we see you we’d have brushed up on our game, I’ll bring the port ๐Ÿฅƒ.

We had ummmed and arghhhed about going down the Yorke Peninsula and thinking we had time to fill in as our sailing back to Tassie was still a couple of weeks away, we headed down and free camped at a council RV friendly site at Moonta. Moonta was an old copper mining town, with awesome old historic homes and self guided tours of the old copper mines. We jumped on our bikes and toured around, it was quite interesting to see. We really liked it here and after meeting another traveling family (or Craig and Cam would say “their next victim”๐Ÿ˜‚) who coincidentally knew some good friends of ours we stayed another night to have a few drinks around the fire pit, well that was until the fire brigade pulled up in their big truck to tell us to put it out, “I told you Cam you weren’t allowed”๐Ÿ˜

Catching blue swimmer crabs was also a highlight for us while we were in South Oz, lots of fun and a good feed too.

We moved on further down the Peninsula to Burners Beach then around to Marion Bay for a night and did a day trip around Innes National Park, before heading back up the coast to Adelaide.

Friends had told us about a cheap RV friendly stop in St Kilda (Adelaide), the best Park I’d ever seen. The flying fox was a little scary, it nearly flung Ilueka off at the end ๐Ÿ˜ณ. The slides pretty cool and hairy to ride but we gave them a go also.

I caught up with another old school friend Leonie and her partner, it’s been great being able to see all our friends and family along the way. We headed into the city and walked around the city of churches, we even snuck into mass to show the girls. In fear of the walls falling in we left in tack.

We visited the Botanical gardens in Adelaide which were amazing and Cam done a tour of the Coopers brewery while we there too.

News of Corona was getting a little more serious and we were starting to get a little concerned at this stage as we had heard on the rumour mill, they were going to shut the boarder into Tassie and we wouldn’t be able to sail home โ˜น๏ธ. We plugged along to Mt Gambier for a couple of days. We had previously been here, but we sure did miss a few scenic sites that time, we made sure we didn’t this time. Mt Gambier is known for all it’s sink holes and the Blue Lake that feeds the towns water supply. The gardens were beautiful and lush, Marcee said she’d like to be a rabbit in them ๐Ÿ˜.

The last stretch to go and we crossed into the state of Victoria, a sigh of relief with things going on, we weren’t to far away from home.

Portland, Port Fairy, Warrnambool down to Port Campbell, we still had 10 days until our sailing, but it was at the Twelve Apostles we heard the news that if we got on the boat any later than the Thursday night sailing we’d have to self isolate for the 14 days, which would be difficult in a caravan as we couldn’t move back into our house for another 10 days, so it was then we decided to high tail it to Melbourne to the boat. The web site said there were no sailings available and the we couldn’t get through on the phone so we had to hope that there’d be a cancellation and we could get on.

Well old sweet talker Cam, worked his magic again and with a cheer of excitement, we were getting on the boat that night, car, caravan and even Sprout.

Finally we were home, all be it, mind you though at the mother in-laws for two weeks as our house was still unavailable!๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜‚

After 2 years of being on the road we had made it, safe and sound. It’s been great, especially in these horrible times. The saddest part is not being able to catch up with friends and family like we had hoped, it’s been hard for the girls as they’d been dying to see everyone, but soon though we hope.

So thank you to all our family and friends, new and old for putting us up along the way, we are in debt to you all. Thanks for the great friends we made from the beginning to the end, from Australia to Japan and thank you to my family, Cam, Ilueka, Marcee and Sprout for making beautiful memories along the way, I will treasure them for ever xo ๐Ÿ˜˜

Margaret River

Despite a few hiccups, Margaret River was a great place to hang out and to recover from the recent injuries. Mick and Shelly and the boys came over from Tassy to join us for Christmas and it was fantastic to have a big catch up and yes, things did get a little messy on Christmas night!๐Ÿคช

But unfortunately we did have a bit of an accident prone couple of weeks, firstly on Christmas Day when Marcee jumped off the deck and landed wrong and fractured her arm, so into a cast she went. The hardest part was the first 2 weeks as she couldn’t get it wet until finally she had her fibreglass cast on and then it was back to swimming and surfing again.

Cam however had a slightly more serious injury. While attempting to clean the roof of his car, he slipped of the tray and grabbed the ladder rack to try and break his fall, snapping his bicep off the bone in the process, he even heard it snap and then watched it retract up his arm. Lucky for us Jordan our nephew was there to take yet another of our family members to the hospital.

We can’t fault the the hospital system at all on this occasions. He was in for an ultrasound in two days and then in for surgery two days after that, very lucky to get in and repaired so quickly.๐Ÿ‘

The recovery period was going to be the hardest but mainly from boredom because if you know Cam he can’t sit still.

No surfing for him but it gave him time to spend it with the girls to encourage them with their surfing.

We went on some adventures, one of them was visiting the many caves in the area before Cam went in for his op, It was great fun and challenging in parts, especially for the two invalids, but we got there with smiles on our faces.

The large maze turned competitive. Cam and Marcee teaming up and Ilueka and myself out to beat them. Now I would say Ilueka and I won as we made it out first, but in the other teams eyes it was a draw because they made it to the centre first. If we did it on a time basis we still would’ve won because we were waiting for sometime on the outside for them to appear. Another couple that came out said they saw them running around looking lost. Winner winner.๐Ÿ˜

Sprout was loving hanging out at Uncle Caveman and Aunty Steph’s place, getting lots of time off the lead, freedom, however the poor little lizards didn’t appreciate it as much as he did. ๐Ÿ˜ข

Bear, Cavey and Steph’s beautiful Kelpie came down every morning for a visit when Sprout had gone for his morning walk, she would sneak into the van and make herself at home on our bed, the couch, floor or Ilueka’s bed, getting lots of pats, hugs and cuddles from her two cousins! Sprout eventually came accustomed to this and infact they were caught sleeping together on our bed on more than one occasion!๐Ÿ˜‚

Cam and I were lucky enough to have a date night and left Uncle Cavey and Aunty Steph in charge for the night with a sleep over and what better way to get your nieces on your side but by serving them up ice cream for breakfast. They’ll be expecting other family members to lift their game when they have sleep overs. Take note Aunty Jack, Kelly and Shelly!๐Ÿ˜‚

We checked out the Margaret River region some more, Augusta was beautiful, the beaches and water colour was very inviting and the fish and chips were yummo the best we’d had on our travels.

Redgate was our local surf beach where we took the girls and on one particular day Marcee got a case of paranoia and kept commenting that she felt like a shadow was following her and very out of character for her, was freaking out a little bit, Aunty Steph reassured her that there was nothing to worry about, next thing you know two minutes after we got out of the water a 2m shark swims past in knee deep water right where we’d just been swimming! That girl is a little spooky sometimes. I did look out to the distance a little later only to see one jump out of the water and smack back down, it definitely wasn’t a dolphin.

Ilueka and Marcee got an excellent Christmas present from their Uncle’s and Auntie’s, a voucher to go zip lining in the trees and with Cam’s injury, good ole Uncle Cavey and Aunty Steph stepped up to the plate and took them for the fun day out. It looked like so much fun, but a little daunting as well. They all did a great job, there were some climbs I definitely wouldn’t do like riding a bike across a suspended bridge, I know your harnessed in, but still.

Back in the day, before modern technology, they used the tallest of trees as fire spotting lookouts. They would drive metal spikes into these trees all the way around and up to the top of the tree like a staircase. There wasn’t OHS back then, so there was and still is very little safety, I’m quite surprised they actually still let people climb them because if you slipped and fall there is very little to break your fall, other than the ground. There was three of these trees, the tallest being about 75 metres tall. Steph overcame one of her fears and climbed to the first platform, I felt due to all our injuries, I would stay on the ground and watch. The girls went a little way up, just to check it out.

While we were in the area, we ventured to Yeagarup, with some of the biggest sand dunes in Australia apparently. It was such a vast area of sand, they even had guide posts along them as though it was a main road so as not to get lost. A couple of challenging spots in the sand and quite challenging four wheel driving but we got through without a hitch and had a great day.

After spending 6 weeks in the lovely wine region and yes I did do a wine tour with Steph and Shelly, I couldn’t leave without doing a few of the many vineyards (no photo’s provided), it was time to part ways and head south to explore the beautiful south west and eventually to Esperance.

A very sad goodbye, we had a great time catching up with Cavey and Steph, the girls were also very sad to say fair well to Bear, I think she was going to miss us, as much us the girls would her.

From Australiaโ€™s most Western Point to beautiful Margaret River…

Well we’ve had a bit of an adventure getting to Margaret River and seen some beautiful coast line along the way.

We were set to travel out to Steep Point to join up with friends and other traveling families. We had a dog sitter organised and a place to store the van, as we were lending a tent, to easy, so we thought.

We pulled up at the van park where we had organised with the park owner the day before to leave Sprout and the van for a couple of days. Cam went in to organise where to park etc, when he came back out with the park owners son, the situation got a bit tense as he wasn’t aware of the situation and was acting a little uneasy, and to try and put it nicely, he wasn’t the most savoury of characters, as he continued to show us where we could park while having anxiety attacks it was all getting a little too much for me, there was no way I was leaving Sprout with this stranger. After pulling Cam aside, I said no way. I didn’t even want to leave the van there let alone Sprout.

We made more phone calls and found another sitter, phew, however driving along we felt a bad vibration and started to become concerned. We pulled over only to discover our tyre was de-laminating. Carefully we arrived in Denham and found a tyre place where we were able to purchase a replacement. The guy was awesome, offering a free park for the van for the next couple of days and even offered to look after Sprout until our doggy sitter could come in to pick him up that afternoon. Problem solved, Steep point here we come!

We left Denham first thing the next day and headed out to Steep Point, amazed as to how our friends managed to get a 23 foot caravan and two other slightly smaller vans into Shelter Bay. There was some narrow parts of the track but most of all, the long sand dune to climb over, no problems when not towing but towing something of that size and weight, certainly was a good effort.

We arrived in the little bay, such a beautiful little spot and a great camping area, plus the toilet was the cutest public toilet I’d ever seen.

The cliffs were amazing and quite scary at the same time. The drop off and waves crashing up against these giant edges of Australia were very intimidating.

We ventured out to the blow holes where the kids found the tiniest of holes, in which they thought it would be fun poking tiny rocks down, waiting, then when the air pushed through they laughed with excitement as the rocks shot out. This kept the near dozen kids entertained for quite sometime.

The wind had died off on the second day, making it a little more inviting for swimming and also some time on the boogy board behind the boat. The girls were very excited as it had been awhile since they’d had the opportunity to do this. Big smiles and all, they were both stoked to stay up on their knees while being towed. Marcee came off at one stage but determined she jumped back on and away she went.

Wondering how our little fury friend was going in Denham, we received a txt from the sitter who asked us if Sprout liked to sleep on the bed, a little amazed by this as we assumed he’d be in his bed in the garage or lounge at the most, we told him it was up to him, apparently he did sleep on the bed and their dog was outside ๐Ÿ˜.

We packed up camp ready for the challenge out. While folding up the tent we discovered we weren’t alone and that we nearly had a visitor in our bed….. a lovely red back spider ๐Ÿ•ท was making camp underneath us, a little to close for my liking.

Off we set and everyone got over the first dune however the challenge was yet to come. Hooked on to our friends car and van, we made our way ready to pull them up if needed. All going well to start off with, but eventually the cruiser decided pulling 12 tonne up the dune was not going to happen and we started to bury ourselves. We pulled up, well that wasn’t really a choice at that stage, we got out to assess the situation after a few other attempts, letting more air out of the tyres and other techniques, it was time to winch them up. So much easier and quicker.

We all made it safely out, no damage and the facial expressions were back to smiles and not of concern.

We headed back to Denham to pick up Sprout and the van and stayed another night. Up early the next morning we went to Monkey Mia, the water was glassy and the tourist numbers were down, so we were happy. Ilueka was lucky enough to be chosen to feed one of the dolphins and as we were swimming later that morning, they swam right past us, an amazing experience.

Back in the car we were off to Kalbarri for a few days for a bit of surfing. Cam got in a few good surfs and I think Kalbarri is up there with about another 1/2 dozen places where I’ve heard him say “I could live here”.๐Ÿ™„

We caught up with friends again traveling in the same directions. It’s been great, as it breaks it up for the girls and us adults.

After nearly a week of sight seeing and surf, Lucky Bay was on my destination list and I’m glad we did.

It seemed to be a hidden gem and no one around, although it was off peak. The caretakers told us about a grassy camp, perfect, the best camp spot we’d had. We set up with friends Graham, Jodi and Jacinta and headed to the beach. The lagoon was beautiful, the perfect temperature for swimming and we spent the afternoon there playing and driving over the dunes.

We had a couple of nights there and @$15 a night, it was cheap accommodation with a 5 star rating. The next morning Cam even managed to catch a few crayfish for lunch!๐Ÿ˜‹

It was time to buckle down to get to Margaret River before Christmas, so we had a quick overnight stop and re-stock in Geraldton. We parked at the overnight stay near the boat ramp with a few others and in the morning we emptied the toilet and decided to fill up the water tanks. We also thought while no one was around we’d give the van a quick wash. Working quickly together so as not to get caught, we felt the presence of a vehicle pull up behind our backs. I turned around to see a police car, with the police officer saying “I’m the water police, what are you up to?”. My mouth dropped until we saw him laughing, he’d only pulled up to check out our bike rack set up, phew. After a quick chat (well quite long actually) we eventually headed off to our next camp.

Slowly making our way down the coast we stopped of at Gumtree bay for lunch and a walk. We discovered hundreds of small sea urchins all washed up on shore, they were so cute, some smaller than a 5 cent piece.

The road to Sandy Cape camp was closed due to an accident and the detour was a little longer than what we wanted to travel so we thought we’d wait and pulled up at Desperation Bay. Another great spot, infact we camped here the night and had a fish for squid off the jetty, but no luck. It was a beautiful spot and a great find.

It was time to get some Chrissy shopping done so after some advice on shopping centres we pulled up at a little dodgy caravan park, although very clean but all I could smell as soon as I got out was stale cigarette smoke in the air, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The small community of permanent residents at the park were so friendly and generous, offering help if we needed anything and after some shopping we came back to find a big bag of fresh bread and rolls at our doorstep that they’d kindly given us, they themselves had been given excess and thought we’d appreciate it.

We checked out the beaches at Scarborough and Cottesloe. Perth itself is a pretty city and we were quite impressed with it.

Trying to keep within our budget, Christmas shopping kinda blew it out a little, we stayed at free camp near Busselton. Not to bad a spot and we were the first ones there, so we got pick of the parking. Not long after, one by one the campers pulled in, one family we spoke to were traveling in a pop top Troop Carrier, 2 adults and 3 young kids from Sweden, good luck I say.

Finally after saying to many people, we have no set plans except Margaret River for Christmas, we were finally here, greeted by Cavey, Steph and the ever so gorgeous Bear. Time to set up, kick back, relax and enjoy the festivities, unfortunately there were a few minor hiccups……….More on that next time.

Ningaloo

If you’ve snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll love the Ningaloo Reef, it’s up there with it and possibly better, but each to their own.

The accessibility to the reef is way easier, no boat trip required, simply chuck on your flippers and your snorkel and walk straight out in the water, it’s right there at your feet.

We went to Oyster Stacks and Torquoise Bay and neither were a let down. The water was warm and the colour was Torquoise (hence the name). The fish life was amazing, so many types of fish and different sizes. We managed to join in with a school of fish for a swim, that was pretty cool, we think they were Drummer fish, but not 100% sure. We also came across another species, ones that you don’t really want to see but lucky for us they were only white tipped reef sharks ๐Ÿฆˆ 1.5m and the other about 2m. We stirred one of them up and it started heading straight towards us, it was enough for Ilueka and I to swim off fast, meanwhile Marcee swam off casually singing baby shark through her snorkel under water ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ.

Cam managed to get some work, thanks to some traveling friends Graham and Jodie, who were already there and happened to see a post requiring a plumber. He made contact and 3 days later was hard at it again plumbing on a prawn farm.

We parked up at a friends house and Paul we can’t thank you enough for the use of your house, it was weird living in a house again, so much space and not to mention the location was awesome for us.

We caught up on school and infact finished the paper based work, so now we’re just keeping up to date with journal writing.

We also went to a great pub called Whalebone, best pizza’s ever and great atmosphere. Live music and feature nights, if you’re ever there drop in.

We loved Exmouth, it’s a great little town, with a lot going for it, just wish we were there to dive with the whale sharks, next time maybe. We were lucky enough to see a lot of Turtles though and even some tracks up the beach to a nest!

With work finished up there, the guy Cam was working for, Justin, offered him a week of work at Coral Bay, about an hour and a half south of Exmouth. We were heading there anyway so it worked out well.

Another little town on the Ningaloo Reef, not a lot there but it’s main attraction is the reef.

We went to Five Fingers Reef, which was another drift dive. Another amazing place to snorkel was out the front of the main beach where there is a huge brain coral they call Ayers Rock. It’s as big as an average sized family car, if not bigger. The girls confidence in the water and their snorkelling has grown so much, they’ve been teaching me a thing or two.

We went for a day trip to Warrorra Station. This is a farm station on the beach, where you can camp cheaply $100 a week, not bad for a family. You do have to be self sufficient as there are no facilities close by, but it’s another magical spot for snorkelling, fishing and some surfing.

Now to tick another thing off the list, a surf at Red Bluff for Cam. The gravel road was going well, nearly as good as a high way until the other side of Quobba Station where the corrugated road was waiting for us yet again, but that was the least of our worries.

We pulled up to this world famous wave, it was a little expensive, ummm $50 a night for not much. No power, no toilet, no water and a very grumpy, non helpful receptionist.

The view was pretty amazing but no waves for Cam. We made friends with the million locals that were there at the time, they belonged to the very annoying small fly tribe and seemed to enjoy our company more than we did theirs. Getting up close and personal with our ears, nose and mouth, even our sexy fly nets were no barrier for them ๐Ÿ˜ซ.

The night also grew more interesting, earlier in the day we had a storm come in, with wind, a down pour of rain along with thunder and lightning, although it was only brief it was enough to cause damage. I turned to look at the sky after dusk and it was glowing orange. It looked beautiful, but I then realised it was from a fire and with the wind was blowing it in our direction a little concerning. The wind however did turn and we were at ease.

Up early the next day we searched for some surf and eventually found a fun wave at Turtles, the drive in over the sand dunes was very nerve racking, considering we didn’t know if anyone else was in there, hadn’t seen anyone else all day and the temperatures were starting to nudge the 40’s so getting stuck would’ve been very interesting!๐Ÿ˜ณ

luckily we got in and back out and Cam even got a surf.

With the influx of flies we decided to move camp to Carnarvon. Driving past the fires we realised how close they had gotten.

A quick look at Quobba Blowholes on the way out and we soon arrived at the caravan park, showered up and feeling human again.

With the surf still pumping at Turtles, Cam went back up for another surf, while the girls and I chilled out and caught up with a bit of washing and their favourite, journal writing.

We took a short tour around the small town, an interesting little place but we wanted to keep moving towards Steep Point, Denham and Monkey Mia area. Some adventures ahead but I’ll bore you with that in my next update.

Western Australia finally.

When Cam and I traveled back 1999-2003 W.A. was the only state we never made it and now we have finally gotten the monkey off our backs!

The land scape was not what I was expecting. The escarpments (our new word of the week) were amazing. It felt at times like we were in Arizona (not that I’ve been there), going from flat plains to all of a sudden hills with big cliff faces, I was pretty amazed by it, as was the rest of the gang, except Sprout, he was chilling out in the aircon under my seat, his usual spot in the car.

We spent a night, free camping at the base of one of these mighty escarpments. It was 40ยฐ+ when we pulled up and thought the temp might drop at least 5-10ยฐ but there was no relief. The temperature barely budged, it was cooler outside the van than in! It gets so hot out here that the guide posts literally melt!๐Ÿฅต

We decided to give the generator a whirl. This relieved us, but only until we turned it off to go to bed. Within minutes it was hot and sticky again, this made for an uncomfortable nights sleep.

It was the following morning we crossed the boarder. With a big cheer and a photo at the crossing sign of course, we went through quarantine and headed for Lake Argyle, a man made lake built for hydro electricity.

Pulling into the van park, the view was already great, but from the infinity pool was even better. We decided not to camp the night as the fees were a little $$ but we were able to unhook and drive down to the dam wall and around to the boat ramp where we could have a swim. Thinking we would relieve Sprout from the heat, we chucked him in for a swim and within minutes of this he found himself a nice patch of red dirt to roll in ๐Ÿ˜ซ. Not real smart on both behalves, as he got thrown back in, washed off, dried and put straight back in the car when we were ready to go. He was a nice shade of orange for a bit.

Arriving in Kununurra, we decided we needed power for the aircon and went straight to a caravan park to set up.

So off we went to do the touristy things starting with Ivanhoe Crossing. The water floods over the road, so only making it 4WD accessible. Cam had a quick unsuccessful fish on the road, while we croc watched and then took a quick drive over to the other side through the water.

We went in search of a shop that had the infamous Zebra rock, which is mined locally. It’s one of the only places in the world where it found and the rock itself just looks like ceramic that’s been painted on. The jewellers in town was open and not only did they have some, they also had the very rare pink diamonds pricing from $2000 (not even set in a piece of jewellery) up to $880,000๐Ÿ˜ณ. This diamond was no bigger than a match head and again not set in a piece of jewellery. Apparently the better the colour the more valuable the diamond. I left empty handed but maybe a Broome pearl might be better ๐Ÿค”.

The Hoochery was pretty cool, it’s a Rum distillery, bar and cafe, it’s very rustic and we tried a few types of rum, one being an aniseed flavour, which neither of us wanted to sample after the previous week of drinking ouzo ๐Ÿคฎ. The lady insisted that we try some so gave us one for free. We politely tried, but I could feel it sitting in the back of my throat trying to swallow it down!

They also grow sandalwood trees and make a lot of products from it, a very productive town Kununurra is.

The following day we were off to the Bungle Bungles and were very lucky to be able to stay at the caravan park just off the road heading in. It was closed for the wet season and was the only place we could have a dog . We made contact with the caretakers who let us camp for the night (especially after Cam mentioned he was a gas fitter, funny how that seems to change the dynamics a lot, needless to say he done a bit of work there) and plug into power allowing us to leave Sprout in the van, he needed the aircon, it was to hot just to leave him in the van, even with the windows all opened and being a National Park we couldn’t take him in.

We unwillingly got up at 2am to try to make sunrise. A 2 hour trip in there and on a rough road we wanted to allow plenty of time as the sun would rise at 4.50.

Driving off in the dark at 2.30am it was very quiet until we had our first flat tyre. After a quick repair, in pitch black dark, we were off again, well not for to long because within another 20mins we hadi another flat โ˜น๏ธ. Luckily Cam is always prepared, he fixed that puncture aswell with a little assistance from myself and had us back on the road. Luckily both punctures were in the same tyre. We nearly turned around and went back as the tyre was not looking the best. We had a spare but if that punctured aswell we’d be in trouble. One more try and thank god we did. We made it just in time to see the sunrise, not exactly where we were hoping, good thing we left early.

We really enjoyed it, especially Echidna Chasm. The walk in was narrow in some places and the scenery was picturesque, even though it was just rock wall either side of us. The height of these walls made you feel so tiny in comparison.

After a careful drive out, tyre half flat and needing another bit of inflation we made it back to the van, hooked up the van headed down the road to another free camp, up on the cliff of an escarpment, it was a beautiful view, wasn’t it Cam ๐Ÿปโ›บ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ญ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช.

We saw many Boab trees along the way, but nothing like the jail Boab tree in Derby. It was where they used to chain the aboriginals on their travels to prison. It was quite sad the way they were treated. There was also a 120 metre water trough, built back in the early days to water the hundreds of bullocks in the area.

Derby was not our cuppa tea, so we continued onto Broome to set up camp for a few days.

Coincidentally, friends from Sydney were there holidaying, so it was great to catch up with Gazza, Lea and of course the very cute Eden. We watched the sunset on Cable Beach, very iconic with the camels walking past.

We toured around Broome, but probably our favourite place was Cape Leveque, the water was like a bath and so blue. We saw Dolphins, turtles, fish and sharks swimming within a metre of the shoreline ๐Ÿ˜ฌ, the only thing we didn’t see was a croc. There had been a sighting the day before however.

Cygnet bay pearl farm was worth a look, we had a coffee and swam in their infinity pool. We were also lucky enough to meet Bruce Wiggin, the last aboriginal born on Sunday Island and the owner of the land that was past onto him from his father. A bit of a character, he told us next time we’re up that way to come stay with him and bring our dog ๐Ÿถ.

We swam at the Cape, found heaps of Cowrie shells and there was barely a site of another person, one good thing about traveling off peak. It was magical.

Our return trip was an interesting one as it had poured with rain before we left. It was like a river flowing down the middle of the road. It would’ve been ok if it wasn’t a red dirt road that was now looking like a mud run ๐Ÿค—. Someone was a little unimpressed as they had just washed the car but it was a little bit fun and I was giggling a little ๐Ÿ™Š.

With a last minute decision, we packed up on the Monday, after getting the car serviced, deciding to start high tailing it to Exmouth, there was surf and someone was hanging out for it.

We drove off late arvo, heading in towards a storm, a little daunting, but pretty cool also. On one side of the road it was a beautiful sunset, however the other was dark clouds and an awesome lightning show and finally a bit of rain.

We arrived in Port Hedland…………what can I say………….. best I say nothing.

Our next free camp was beautiful, on top of an escarpment, the view was amazing and we enjoyed the nights air, chilling with a nice cold beer, not a care in the world.

It was another early start to the day, for a couple of reasons, the first one being trying to beat the heat in at Karajini National Park and the other smuggling in an illegal immigrant into the park by hiding him into the van. There were no kennels close by and we didn’t want miss it, mind you he’s not the best stow away, as every time anyone goes the near the van he barks his head off!๐Ÿ˜ซ

There were some beautiful swimming holes and Hamersley Gorge was one of them. Cam and Marcee went for a quick dip and we all had a quick look around, jumped in the car and off we drove, phew.

We filled up at Tom Price and had our biggest drive of the trip so far, heading to Exmouth about 700km, probably about 8 hours of driving, with a few stops along the way. We were welcomed by Paul at his home and enjoyed a nice refreshing beverage, well deserved I reckon. The girls coped very well, but the ipads did assist us in that.

So here we are in Exmouth, we’ve been here for nearly 3 weeks now and have had a ball, but too much to include in this post. So stay tuned and hang around for our adventures in Exmouth/Ningaloo Reef area.

Queensland to the Northern Territory

With the car all washed, polished and mostly red dust free, it was time to move on and explore some more of this beautiful country.

The Atherton Table Lands did not disappoint. We had been through there previously on our first travels back in 2000. The waterfalls were still as beautiful especially the Mila Mila Falls and the surrounding landscape was green with lush pastures, how soon that would change.

We were heading to Cobbald Gorge for some work that Cam had teamed up with our Cape York friends. Josh has been doing some mechanical work out there and they had spoken about it and told us to drop in, even before Cam got work there. It’s funny how you picture something in your mind as to what it might look like but it was certainly nothing like what I had thought.

I was expecting a farm stay type place, but instead it was like an outback resort that catered for caravans, campers and had cabins aswell.

With a bar, restaurant and infinity pool, what more could we ask for. There were kayaks to paddle around on the dam and tours of the Gorge with an educational walk in which the guide spoke about the bush tucker food that could be eaten and the ones NOT to eat. There was even a tree that you could pick the leaves and use as soap, a natural way to have a wash without hurting the rivers etc.

We took a ride on the boat to explore the Gorge, It was pretty amazing to see, but we still didn’t see a croc.

On our last day we went down to a dry river bed to hunt for Agates, a fun little excursion and to our surprise we found a few, nothing extraordinary, but it was interesting and I can understand how fossicking could become addictive. Once you found one you were determined to find another.

We then headed off, destined for Lawn Hill, via Normanton and just when we thought we had overcome ruts and red dirt, there was more, ALOT more.

It was my turn to drive, so at the turn off at Gregory Downs, I jumped in and off I drove, caravan in tow. The gravel road began and it was a little corrugated but I’ll be right, (so I thought) I’ll just take it easy, 5 minutes in and I pulled up and thought that it would be better if I was a passenger again. It was like driving on marbles. It did improve but I was not confident.

Arriving safely at Adels Grove, Cam checked us in and I thought I’d take a peak in the van to see how it handled the road. I wish I’d never looked. Hmmm the microwave had jumped ship and was on the floor, narrowly missing the glass lid for the stove top. The shower screen panels had come of the runners and had fallen into the shower unbroken, broken drawers strewn across the floor and just a bit of dust๐Ÿ˜ซ. It could’ve been worse, it could’ve been better too, but no point stressing.

We set up camp, Cam put the van back together (thank god he’s got all his tools with us) luckily nothing too major. Finally time to grab a beer and go and have a look at the swimming holes at the park down in the Grove, Omg, it’s so beautiful, the water was emerald green and up close it was the clearest water I have ever seen. If your ever going to Lawn Hill np, I recommend staying at Adels Grove. It’s beautiful.

Cam did a few hours of work at the park to cover our accommodation and he must have impressed as we got free kayak hire thrown in as well. So after lunch we traveled around to the Gorge. We decided to do the walks that day and kayak in the morning. The scenery on foot and by water was beautiful. Climbing up the steep escarpment we got full view of the Gorge, it certainly is a site to be seen, however by water was just as good.

The next morning we headed back into the Gorge to make the most of our free kayak hire, Cam and Marcee in one, Ilueka and I in the other. It was a little intimidating knowing there were crocs out there but, only fresh water Crocs which apparently aren’t to dangerous. I didn’t particularly want to test that theory mind you..

We paddled up as far as we could go, then dragged the Kayaks over the rocks and around a waterfall to paddle up further to the end. It was magical, the water with the lily pads and flowers set the scene. We had a swim at the little water fall on our way back down, the water was so warm but kinda eerie knowing there were crocs around.

We returned back safely, still no site of a croc.

After speaking to some other campers and locals, we decided to go the back road through the station to get back onto the Gulf road as it was a short cut and in better condition than the one we came in on.

The land was so dry, the Brahman cattle huddled in together under trees and around water troughs, they didn’t appear to be in to bad a condition though.

BULL DUST…….I hadn’t really seen it before and I don’t care to ever again. There were stages when we hit big patch’s of it that we couldn’t even see our van behind us. We pulled up at Hells Gate Roadhouse, it was everywhere and it was at this point I kinda cracked it a little.๐Ÿฅบ

Hells Gate, it’s in the middle of nowhere but was still quite busy with other tourists. That evening a guy put on a performance with fire twirling and had some LED Poi’s for the kids to twirl around which was quite entertaining, there were a few hits to different body parts ๐Ÿ˜‚.

Cam managed to do a few hours of work here, paying for our stay and for a few beers.

The next morning we headed over the Northern Territory boarder and into Borroloola, then onto King Ash Bay to catch up with Mick and Andrea McCullogh and Luke and Mika Shackleton. Their 3 kids and our girls hit it off, I think they were all pleased to have some different faces to hang out with.

We can’t thank Mick and Andrea enough for taking us out on their boat fishing, we may not have caught a truck load, but the adventure was great. We saw a huge grouper and at long last a few Crocs.

We stayed there for a week in the end, it gave us time to clean out the red dirt from the van and try and seal up a few openings where the dust was coming in. We also caught up with another traveling family the “Geatches.” They invited us for a BBQ and some fishing off the bank at their camp site. Marcee was the winner this night with the most amount of fish caught. Cam and Joe got a nice Bream and a Grunter as well.

We stopped back in Borroloola to fill up with Diesel and in the shop was a cute baby crocodile. I’m sure it would be great…..as a short term pet……..๐Ÿ˜ณ๐ŸŠ

Not sure if you’ve heard of the Daly Waters Pub but it’s something you need to check out if ever up this way. The memorabilia is unbelievable. Hundreds of pairs of undies and bra’s hanging everywhere as it is tradition to leave a pair behind, business cards, photos, crutches, antiques the list goes on. Live music just about every night and a nice relaxing pool that was the perfect temperature to relax in.

The next morning we stopped in at Mataranka hot springs, its like a bath. I could just walk straight into it, none of this easing in. The girls got in trouble from a couple of grumpy old grey nomads for jumping in and doing bombs!๐Ÿ˜‚

Katherine springs were amazing also, if not better. We had a swim in the arvo and then a quick dip in the morning to freshen us up for our final stint to Darwin.

We set up in a van park in Coolalinga and Cam got a weeks work there helping with plumbing repairs as the new owners are in the process of doing up the park.

We weren’t planning on staying much longer than a week then doing Kakadu and Litchfield parks then head West, but as fate has it, when we caught up with a guy we had met 20 years ago in Cairns that hunts and taxidermy’s Crocs, Mick Pitman, he just happened to be a plumber and was going overseas the next day for 4 weeks and asked Cam if he wanted to fill in for him, which worked out perfect as Johnny and Carol wanted to come up to Darwin for visit around the time he finished.

We had a night with them at Coolalinga then headed off for Kakadu, they stayed back in Darwin to catch up with some other friends before meeting us at Litchfield np latter that week.

We loved Kakadu, the remoteness, the landscape and the adventure, including some fairly rough roads and decent walks into some of the places, over rocks and rugged ground in 40 plus temperatures makes for quite a few “how much further” comments from the girls! The swimming holes at the end make it all worth while though.

Watching the Crocs feed at Cahills crossing on high tide, Jim Jim, Maguk and Gunlom falls along with the view and Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr was all a highlight. The caravan parks in Kakadu are beautiful too.

Then onto Litchfield np to meet up again with Johnny and Carol. It just so happened that the owner of the Banyan tree caravan park where we were staying was good friends with a few people we know back in Tassy, needless to say, this had set us for big night. Johnny on the guitar, all of us the shots (compliments of Johno the park owner) and eventually me dancing on the table in the dining area at the bar…… then eventually passed out on the chair later that night, surprise surprise!๐Ÿ˜ฌ Needless to say we were all a little slow off the mark the next morning.๐Ÿฅด

Then eventually after eggs and bacon and few cuppa’s we headed off to check out Litchfield, Buley waterhole first, then Florence falls, which we all said was probably the prettiest swimming hole we’ve ever been to, a beautiful walk in, a beautiful waterfall and warm, crystal clear water. It’s stunning. We finished off the day with a trip into the Lost city which is a formation of ancient sand stone pillars and quite interesting.

That night was a bit quieter and the next day a stop at Wangi falls for a swim and then back to Coolalinga. The next day Cam and Johnny went on a fishing charter with a couple of other mates, lots of fish caught and a bit of banter too apparently.

It’s now time to say goodbye to the NT as we left this morning bound for WA. It has definitely been good to us and we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Top End.

Our trip to the tip

Time to do the Tip! We packed up our caravan with all its comforts and we’re ready to rough it, in the tent for the next two weeks. No en-suite toilet or shower, no makeup (except mascara, just incase we went somewhere special of course), just a hand held mirror, to do my hair in, some roll on deodorant, and a pair of thongs. No fancy shoes or clothes for this trip.

We met up with the Stattons at Mossman and much to our delight it was raining. Six girls and four adults huddled under awnings, we were off to a great start ๐Ÿ™„.

The convoy began by traveling up to the Daintree and it didn’t fail us. It’s truly a beautiful part of the world whether it’s raining (as it was for us), or sunshine the greenery is amazing.

The track in there was pretty good a couple of exciting hills but nothing compared to what was to come.

We called into the Lions Den, a pub in the middle of nowhere on the track, had a beer, before reaching Cooktown. We considered staying there, but with a bit of time up our sleeve, we headed to Elim Beach, a very casual van park, no pool or water slide here, but a very pretty colourful beach. With different colours of sand, it was similar to Rainbow Beach near Fraser Island. The only issue was there was no swimming unless you want to risk your life to the crocs.

We had a lot of kms to cover so we were up and off making our way, a few pit stops for lunch and snacks, when we thought we’d try out some free camping. Our first was an interesting spot. Next to the road, in a large mowed area, away from the river beds. The first issue was the ground it was like straw and after trying to flatten it down a little, we ended up with a few holes on the floor of the tent and hoped and prayed the lilo’s would be fine.

Settling in for the night, I was woken by ALOT of noises which made me nervous. There was something treading around the tent. I nervously laid still, a little concerned, but realised it was probably just cows. Falling back to sleep only temporarily to be woken again by swooping and screeching, bats. I wasn’t worried by them, but the noise was making it hard to sleep. I’m pretty sure I blinked and it was time to get up.

Next stop was Bramwell Station, time to stay somewhere to shower. Well this was an interesting stop. We decided to go over to the bar area and yep we ran into some locals from home, not just one lot, but two separate lots also traveling the cape, we were starting to wonder if anyone was left down home.

When we first decided to head to the cape we were unsure about doing the infamous Tele Track, but now that we had the Statton family with us, we were more confident, we could help each other out if need be.

We started on the South track and were only at the entrance when we had herd there was someone ahead stuck. We finally arrived and I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard there was a chicken track. Palm creek, it was probably a great one to start us off as when we got there we couldn’t see what was on the other side of the bank. Cam of course had inspected it and didn’t let on how steep it was on the other side. When we came around the corner my eyes did widen and I did hold back a swear word or two. It was awesome fun. We laughed and giggled and were quite happy with our first achievement of this crossing. No help required.

Now I did join the Cape York FB site, so I had a bit of an insight to what to expect on some of the crossings.

We plugged along following our fellow Tasmanian friends and then here it was Gunshot. If you haven’t seen or heard about this crossing, google it and watch some of other peoples mishaps or goals. We stood and watched a couple but decided it definitely wasn’t for us and instead went around well not all of us did. One young lady wouldn’t get in the car to cross, infact she rather liked the idea of crossing through the water where a croc was sighted a couple of days earlier and being the good mum I was, walked her through. It was only knee deep and plenty of others standing in it, I’m pretty sure they were tastier than us.

The crossing wasn’t to bad, it was just getting up the bank on the other side that was the challenge, mind you the water was over the bonnet in one spot! The trusty land cruiser p@&$ed it in and Marcee, who was the support crew, got front seat and smiled the whole way up.

After a short break and a couple of other minor water crossings we pulled up for the night just off the track, South Tele track completed.

Off and ready to go we did some sightseeing first, with a trip to Fruit Bat Falls and then Elliott Falls where we went for a morning dip. The girls were jumping off the rock wall into the water and we swam up to the waterfall as far as we could and let ourselves flow back down with the current. Very refreshing and beautiful. Lunch was had and then it was on again.

This track was even bumpier and more challenging. We started off with a little creek crossing and came across a very interesting bridge. Josh in his Iveco crossed first, his car was much bigger and heavier, so if he could cross we could too, or was he just weakening it and would it break on us? I walked across to take much needed evidence photos, not because I was nervous (I’ve never been a fan of bridges).

I was always a little worried when we came to a crossing and there were people standing around, it was either because someone was bogged, or wanting someone else to go first to see how bad or easy it was.

We crossed a few more creeks but nothing too major before getting to Nolan’s Crossing, another one to google as there’s been a few mishaps on this one aswell. It’s very deep and can be soft, many a vehicle had been drowned in this creek, a couple while we were there watching and waiting to cross! The drop into it in a couple of spots is steep so this can make it hard also. Josh and Cam sussed it out and decided to take a different track which turned out to be the right one. The Iveco first across successfully and then us without any hesitations. A beer or two was well earned, the North was fought and won, no winches required.

It was an excellent spot to camp at Nolan’s, the six girls had a ball, splashing and swimming in the creek in their clothes, we couldn’t get them out.

We finally hit some half decent road the next day and by half decent I mean there were no more crossings, just kms of corrugated road and red dust.

We were nearly there, crossing the Jardine river on the ferry before arriving in Bamaga and stocking up on some food, very expensive food, a cooked chook was nearly $20. We camped at Loyalty Beach, Cam paying for our stay at the van park by doing some plumbing work came in handy for the budget. At one stage he had five young, girl apprentices, not sure how they went on the tools though.

The toilets/showers were a delight, with a beautiful green frog sitting in there, on the window seal. I sat there watching him waiting for him to jump on me, no time for mucking around, I was up and off, still pulling up my pants as walked out the door nearly. He was cute but I didn’t particularly want him on me unexpectedly.

Finally the tip of Mainland Australia. We had done it. It was a pretty special spot, especially thinking because we live right down at the bottom of Australia.

We spent a few more days exploring around the Tip and camped at a place called Somerset, virtually right on the beach, only to find out a few days later that it’s renowned for Crocs!

The time had come for the journey back down the dreaded corrugated red dirt track, camping at Elliot falls for a night and then calling into Cook town on our way home for a night.

Many thanks to the Statton crew for a great trip and lots of laughs and certainly a highlight of our trip so far.

We all definitely loved Cape York.

Fraser Island or โ€œDingo Islandโ€ as someone else called it…

After leaving Brisbane we ventured to Toowoomba where we stayed a night with a new friend of Cams, Griffo from the Islands, yes another new friend. I should be keeping a tally as we owe all these lovely people accommodation and a feed. Sprout again made himself at home on the couch and the girls were treated like royalty and were very spoilt. Maree loved them so much she cried as we were driving out the following day.

Next stop was Coloundara where we called into some new friends we made while in Japan, Mick and Justine and their daughters, where we got spoiled and treated like royalty at their beautiful place.

Noosa was the next destination, but only for the night, we were dropping off our van and packing the car to head to Fraser Island for 5 nights, mind you Marcee wasn’t too keen after hearing all the talk about Dingoes that night and saying before bed “I don’t want to go to Dingo island!”๐Ÿคฃ

It was a bit of a change from a house, to a van, to a tent and with only the essentials, a test for when we head north to Cape York.

We got up at the crack of dawn and caught the first of our ferry rides at Tewantin which took us to Double Island Point then to Rainbow Beach. A bit of beach driving then to Inskip Point to the next ferry to cross over to Fraser Island.

After driving up the beach a few Kms we pulled over and waved down another couple who were heading in the same direction and decided to tag along (safety in numbers of course), low and behold she was from Tassie and of course there was someone we knew that she knew.

We decided to camp in the fenced off areas as we were in tents and both girls were freaking out about the Dingoes, last time Cam and I were here we had our pop top troopy so we had no issues, but better to be safe.

A bit of beach fishing and Ilueka caught the first and second fish and the rest of us went empty handed, but we had one very excited young lady with bragging rights.

No sight of a Dingo yet but we saw lots of other wildlife, a sea snake, a shark a porpoise, goanna, possum and some whales, very exciting.

Finally on our way up to Sandy Cape we saw a lone Dingo. The girls were very excited. When we got to the tip and turned around we found a spot to look for sand worms, waving dead meat over the sand waiting for them to pop their heads up, the only thing that popped there heads out was an inquisitive dingo who sort of cornered Cam, the girls and our travel buddies. They made a dash back to the car and decided we didn’t need sand worms that desperately.

With only a couple of days left we headed over to the other side of Fraser, Wathumba, a beautiful inlet and beach where we went for a swim, a little fresh to start off with but it soon warmed up and was quite refreshing.

Next we headed to Lake Mackenzie, another beautiful spot, the water was like a tropical oasis but certainly not as warm, Cam was the only one to go for a swim here, brrrr.

There was so much to see and if we had more time we would’ve but our fury friends time was up in the kennels (prison๐Ÿคฃ) and we had to collect him. We did feel for sure that we’d get a phone call to come and collect him but apparently he was “well behaved??”. He does surprise us sometimes.

We headed back to Maizie and Tan’s place at Eumundi for a couple of nights, having a few drinks around the fire pot, infact believe it or not the guys wanted to go to bed before us girls, strange I know, especially in my house ๐Ÿค”.

After a good look around Noosa and Eumundi, we ventured to Hervey Bay to catch up with an old friend, Mince. We had a few drinks and the following day we were invited to his boat and home for a cuppa. A beaut boat, the girls were saying maybe we could sell the van and travel in a boat………๐Ÿ˜ณ

We packed up our trusty home and headed to Paronella Park an amazing place that I would highly recommend to visit if you’re able to. The story behind it is one of hard work, sadness and happiness. The couple that run it now have done it justice and we left there in awe of it and touched by its history.

Another place that Cam and myself visited years ago was Etty Bay. A very small place. The van park was on the beach, but due to our little friend Sprout we could not stay there because of the Cassowary’s, which we were lucky enough to see when we drove in. An unusual bird, similar to an emu in a way.

Next stop was Airlie beach, another beautiful place, the girls loved the bird feeding at the park where we stayed. We only had a few days here but wished for more.

Cairns was our next big stop, ready for a visit from some familiar faces.

Johnny and Carol, great friends from Tas arrived and we treated ourselves to an Air BNB as it was actually cheaper for all of us to stay there than a van park, also less likely to get kicked out for noise levels ๐Ÿ˜ฌ.

We had a look around the out skirts, up to Karunda to the markets and the butterfly sanctuary.

Booking a reef trip can always be a tough call but rain, hail or shine we were going. There was no hail and the sun popped out a couple of times, however our attitude was well we’re gunna get wet anyway, so off we went in 1-2 metre swell, all of us traveling ok to begin with, but then one by one we had people go down. Now I won’t name names (ahem Johnny), but the only ones who weren’t affected were Cam, Mazie and Ilueka, I kinda figured Ilueka was ok because she kept herself occupied by her constant conversation, omg I don’t think I’ve heard her talk so much. I did find myself go out for fresh air but that was because it was getting stuffy and well I wanted to check the view but not quite over the side ๐Ÿ˜ฌ.

The snorkeling was great fun and we saw a lots of different species of fish. It was a great experience for the girls, something they hadn’t done a lot of. The smiles on their faces was worth the rain and rough waters.

It was time to say goodbye to our beautiful friends and Cairns as we were off to Mareeba for a stint. Cam was off to the Torres Strait Islands again for a 2 weeks Which soon became 4 weeks ๐Ÿ˜ฉ.

Cam was very stoked with this trip to the Torres straight Islands, as he was getting sent to Murray island this time in the eastern cluster and what a beautiful place it is….. lucky him!โ˜น๏ธ

He got to catch crays and sharks straight off the beach.

We waved goodbye to him and our life in the van began.

Andy and Keely, who’s place we camped at, were awesome. We felt welcomed, very safe and comfortable. Mareeba had everything we needed and for my birthday outing the girls and I took ourselves to the local rodeo as we had never been before.

We arrived in time for the comedy part of the show which was great and entertaining but when that finished we went for a walk around and just for old time sake, had a ride on the Gee Whizzer. We got an extended, faster ride as there was no one in the line but from all the laughing and screaming we possibly created some interest as there was a line up when we got off.

Now no show is complete without a dagwood dog and the taste is as I remember them, great at first but that greasy feeling afterwards but you only turn 44 once.

We went back to watch the bull and horse riding but after the girls were making comments about the cruelty of the steer wrestling I felt it was time to leave before we got thrown out for being animal activists.

School started back and was very testing with internet dropping out every now and then, but we’re getting by with very patient teachers, students and a mother who has more grey hairs and has started drinking more coffee (and wine) just to get through, I’ve spent a few moments in the only private room in the van, the en-suite, door closed, head in hands think what the f$&k am I doing!!๐Ÿ˜ฉ

But on the upside, not too long and Cam will be home and we’ll be making our way to Cape York, a part of our country that not many can say they’ve been to and all the experiences along the way and it’s all worth it. I’ll just make sure I have a bottle of something on hand for those bad times, thank god for a mum that listens to my whinging.

Well it’s goodbye for now. I can’t wait to see what lays ahead.

We made it….

We made it, yes that’s right we ventured further than NSW and are now in “where else but Queensland”. It only took us a year but, we got here.

After leaving Canberra, once again, we headed to Nowra to visit long time friends of the Conroy family Darren and Sandra. Darren was great mates with Cams dad and the girls were super excited to meet him and hear all the funny stories about their poppy with a beard. Darren can be a practical joker and had a few up his sleeve for Ilueka and Marcee by showing them his pet spiders, we went and had a look but stood well clear of them, not a big lover of the little critters, especially when they can’t be found in their web.

After staying a couple of nights, Sprout had made himself at home and with Sandra’s offer of leaving Sprout behind and instead taking Darren with us, we thought long and hard about it but, our budget wouldn’t allow for a man of his stature, plus he wouldn’t fit in the bunk. We again decided to keep Sprout and soldier on as he seemed to be a changed, dog…… we hoped.๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

After a couple of horn toots and a birdie flipped at us we were off traveling again.

We left Nowra to make our way to another one of our favourite towns Port Stephens, stopping a night at Norah Head, a beautiful little spot. The girls had a swim in the pool at the park and Cam a surf, at the local surf spot. We only stayed a night here but were pleased we did.

Port Stephens, we highly recommend this place. The beaches are great and you can take your 4wd onto Stockton Beach, or take a camel ride through the dunes if that’s what takes your fancy.

We stayed with friends Clarky and Rexelle, who were very hospitable and didn’t seem to mind our furry little friend, who again made himself at home in their bedroom. Sprout seems to be making a good impression every where we go! We know, we can’t believe it either! Clarky gave us some Japanese cooking lessons and Cam went for a trail ride in Bulahdelah, 35 degrees and almost died, he was quite happy to spend the next day at the beach with us!

Next stop was with an old friend of mine that I worked with in my younger days at Rockmans, Christine and Joe Griffiths. They live in a little town called Harrington. Not a town we would normally have called into but pleased we did. A little fishing village on the coast I’d say half way between Sydney and Brisbane, so a great location and not over run by tourists. Again we were greeted with great hospitality and generosity, the girls left sporting new beanies made by Christine, Marcee sleeps with hers on. She’s one of a kind that one, a bit like the dog….๐Ÿค”.

Crescent Head was another stop over. Another surf for Cam and a chill out for the girls and I. We caught up on some school work why we had the chance. We found some interesting holes in the ground and when the ranger came around, he informed us that no, they weren’t spider holes, a sigh of relief was breathed, they were crab homes. A little bit of poking at them and the crabs came out, a very crabby crab!

Back on the road after a nights stay and we were off to South West Rocks for quick visit. The water was still warm, about 24ยฐ and we ALL went for a swim, yep even me. It was beautiful, jumping and surfing the waves in.

We kept travelling towards Scotts Head for a night. Watching the budget a little we decided to find a cheap or free camp for the night. We came across Gamma Reserve, $20 a night and on the river, it was a great spot . There was a clean toilet block, but no showers, nothing that a quick dip in the ocean couldn’t fix anyway. We stayed a couple of nights here and checked out the area a little more. Apart from the mozzies it was pretty good.

Driving up the coast going through Nambucca heads, also an old favourite and then through Coffs Harbour, eventually arriving at Iluka, with a very excited daughter in tow! We had to come here of course and what was supposed to be a 2 night stay ended 4 nights. We loved it as much as Ilueka (if not a little more ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ). The surf was great and the fish and chips were yummy and cheap, this is where we met some local sugar cane farmers who invited us to come on a tour of their farm. A great educational experience for all of us. We learnt a little about the process of growing and harvesting the cane and tasted it fresh from the crop. We chewed on the husk to get the flavour of the sugar, it wasn’t like the commercial where it drips out though. We took a cane to chew on and collected some fresh macadamias to nibble on aswell. They were a friendly and inviting couple.

Iluka the town itself was beautiful and the surrounding National Park was pretty, Cam got some amazing surf while we were there and we could’ve easily spent more time there discovering and also at the coolest pub we’ve ever seen, Sledgers reef hotel, but we needed to get back on the road again. So far though on our travels, this little lost in time town is by far our favourite place.

Byron Bay was next on the list for a few nights. More swimming and surfing and a trip to a macadamia farm inland of Byron bay, they were having an open day and we got to do tour of the entire farm, it was fantastic, they employ a lot of disabled people as well. Then back for some more time in Byron, but no sign of Chris Hemsworth, I left disappointed, next time Chris, next time.๐Ÿ˜

Much to Cam’s delight, it was one time when my bad eyesight was actually amazing. I did have my prescription sunnies on but I know a good looking man when I see one, just take a look at my husband hey…….๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคฃ “That looks like Kelly Slater, omg it is” I said, We quickly pulled into the car park and doubled park for a photo opportunity with this legend, but someone needed to stay in the car incase, no guessing who ๐Ÿ˜ฉ. I can’t believe what I did, I’m such a good wife.

We got to watch some of the best surfers in the world at the WSL surf comp. Sprout was even aloud on the beach, at times he had more spectators than than the surfers with his over enthusiastic hole digging antics! More surfing was done and swimming aswell, the water had been beautiful.

We got to Brisbane just before Easter as planned and the girls received a beautiful surprise from their uncle Matt and cousin Seb, turning up after a late flight from Tassie, when the girls were fast asleep, then sneaking into their room in the morning to seeing their faces going from shocked, to smiles, to tears of joy, a well pulled off plan.

We did the tourist thing and went to Movie world, without Cam as he was doing a few days work in Brisbane, but my brother Matt, his son Seb and my good friends Roz and Sharon joined us with their children.

Straight after Easter it was time for Cam to head off to the Torres Strait Islands to do a 6 week stint plumbing. Exciting but nervous at the same time he set off on the Tuesday after Easter and flew to Cairns and then to Horn Island, where he then took a helicopter ride to Duaun Island for two weeks, then a boat ride to Saibai island where he spent another 2 weeks then a small plane to Boigu Island for the last two weeks. He said there were lots of tough moments and boredom at times, but overall he seemed to really enjoy the experience and made some great friends in the process.

We kept busy while he was away with the girls doing Eschool. It is a great program as I’ve said before, but boy it can be hard work. Saying that, I’d like to thank the past teachers who have taught one of my little angels (Marcee), omg, is all I can say.๐Ÿ˜ฉ

I caught up with some old friends while we were there, Roz, Lorinda who gave me a much needed makeover and can’t thank enough for it, and Helen in Redcliffe, someone I hadn’t seen in over 28 years, it was great to see her.

I also enjoyed spending time with my sister Kelly, we can’t thank you and Russ enough for having us for all that time. I hadn’t spent that amount of time with her since she was living at home, and no arguments. It was also great for the girls to spend sometime with their cousin’s Karla who also help out heaps by looking after them at times. Thank you Russ, Kelly and Karla.

A highlight for Cam was catching up with a close mate from primary school Shannon King, who moved away midway through high school and they hadn’t seen each other since. He’s gone on to become a Muay Thai kick boxing world champion, multiple Australian boxing champion and owner of one the most successful chains of gyms in Australia. He invited us to his place and we all got on fabulously with the girls disappearing inside with his girls while he and Cam relived many old stories and memories over a few beers.

So here we are back on the road heading further north making our way to the top of Australia. It’s getting exciting, but there’s a lot kilometres and car singing to be done yet.

Our final week in Japan

So finally our time in Japan was coming to an end and it was time to move on from Myoko and embark on our 10 days of exploring some other areas of Honshu, Japan’s South Island. Kyoto was our first destination for a quick overnight night stop, unfortunately not for longer as it seemed like a great city and we had heard lots of great things about it, but Hiroshima was calling and we were excited about visiting this infamous city.

Accomodation…….Can’t believe we done it again!!๐Ÿ˜ฉ

I looked up a booking site, entering the details, 2 adults, 2 children ages 11 and 8, so a room that sleeps 4, yep can’t be to hard. The pictures of accommodation came up with prices, better change the price range to tight budget price, click, ok that’s more our price range. Up comes the symbol of 4 people ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ง next to the hotels that are available and so the researching began.

I studied the rooms bed sizes and when I saw two beds both with two pillows side by side I thought yep that’s perfect. The location was excellent, right on the river and a room with a view. The price was right, so after about an hour or so just looking in Hiroshima I selected our hotel and paid for it.

We arrived mid-afternoon and were greeted by the lovely staff, it looked upmarket, so far, so good. We walked into our room and we had 2 king single beds, arghhhhhh not again, we couldn’t even sleep side ways this time. After talking to reception we came to the reality that unless we wanted to fork out more money and not just a couple of hundred we were going to have to sleep two up, one adult, one child.

It seems that that’s just the Japanese way, children the same age as ours co-sleep with their parents or siblings, also they are smaller than us so probably is more comfortable. I suggest if you book accommodation put in an older age so you can get bigger or more beds. Oh well character building/bonding time, something like that ๐Ÿ˜ฉ.

That was the only complaint about the hotel, the location was perfect, only a 15 min walk to the peace memorial park and on the way there, we walked up some authentic Japanese streets. There are a lot of little restaurants and to some people’s delight strip clubs, yes that’s right. I even saw one club advertising for some new girls, I know what you are thinking and yes I would’ve been great but my legs were a little hairy and My eyebrows needed some detailing, so I decided my interview wouldn’t go to well at this time and was best left to the younger, well groomed girls that hadn’t had two kids and looking a little stressed, besides I’m also to old for a working visa, so that definitely would have been the main reason for not employing me. None the less, Cam was very impressed with my booking……. right in the middle of the red light district!๐Ÿคฃ

People: Wow, I can not say one bad word about the Japanese people, they are the most friendliest and generous people. You may have seen Cams posts and in my last blog about our 60 yo friend Tet. He and his wife delivered us the biggest spread for both dinner and breakfast, we left there not needing to eat for a day. The generous amount of time he gave to the girls and especially Cam giving them lessons with their skiing was unbelievable. Taking Cam back country on two occasions was quite an adventure and experience. We visited his shack again with friends Glenno the “Oil King” as Tet called him due to where he works and his mate Ray. Handing out drinks, sake, beer, shochu, and then giving the girls a bag of treats to eat on the train rides to Hiroshima. He even said to Cam that the girls could come and have a home stay with them in 2nd school.

Another example was an older couple cooking egg rolls on the street in Kyoto who stopped us and wanted to cook us all a sample, not for any money or expecting us to buy just because, he gave the girls a small tomato each to try saying they were super sweet and they were very delicious and sweet.

Dinner that night was at a bbq place that cooked chicken and pork skewers in a variety of bodily parts ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคข, the ones we ordered were yummy and when we left, again the generosity of the owner as she chased us out the door offering Ilueka and Marcee an ice cream each.

The people really are amazing.

Transportation: Our first day in Japan was very daunting but now after being able to communicate a little better we are finding it a lot easier.

The trains are amazing, spot on time every time. All the staff are helpful and will direct you to the right platform if you need help and if you miss your train there will be another one in 2 mins or so.

Food: I’m loving it, the variety and the element of surprise as sometimes we have no idea what we’re eating, like Conga eel, wasn’t overly fussed on that one but we gave it a try.

Most places have English menus, if not there are pictures and you can guesstimate what your ordering. Most dishes are also huge. Cam an I ordered a Ramen ๐Ÿœ to share, it was a perfect size for 2. We also ordered an Okonomiyaki on Miyajima island and it was plenty big enough for us to share.

The sashimi was was delicious, but Cam was not overly fussed for it, his saying is “if it’s not cooked, it’s bait” at least he tried it.

Hiroshima is a beautiful place, but very humbling. The museum was confronting but, very interesting as I don’t think I realised the full impact of the bomb. The girls found it sad and Marcee was quite taken back by it, commenting that “I hope it never happens again”, we all hope this is never repeated again. The following day we went to a small island called Miyajima island. It’s a beautiful place.

We left there and endured a 5 hour trip on the bullet train, reaching a speed of 280km/hr, they’re amazing machines, we could’ve sat an egg on our table and it barely would’ve moved.

At last every kids dream came true and we went to Disney Land, a belated Christmas present for Ilueka and Marcee but worth it. We arrived at 8.30am and quickly made our way to book fast passes so we didn’t have to wait to long in line.

Our first major ride was thunder mountain and the line was already nearly a 2hour wait at 11am but with our pass we waited about 20 mins. The line ups for nearly anything were amazing, even to buy the flavoured popcorn was about a half hour wait, very testing for Cam but we were very proud of him, mind you he did say “nah, we’re skipping that one” quite a few times!

The whole day was amazing, the parades and the grand finale I felt like a little kid again hearing the Disney music.

The following day was spent at Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku. We went to one of the busiest streets I’ve ever seen, Takeshita St, it was shoulder to shoulder with people and nothing in particular to see. We also went to one of the busiest crossings in the world in Shibuya, we possibly contributed to the number of people by crossing it 3-4 times just for the experience and to try and get that right picture.

The next we went to Ueno and our first stop was the Ameyoko street market, one of Japan’s most famous markets with lots of stores, street food (chicken gizzards were accidentally ordered but not eaten) and fresh produce.

The Ueno Zoo was a little disturbing, some of the animals were in poor health and very little room to move in their pens. I’m not sure about most people their but my face was pretty well screwed up the whole way around and kinda wished I wasn’t their. We unfortunately didn’t see the panda ๐Ÿผ the line up was 50 minutes and I’m sorry but I was not lining up anymore, and even I did it wouldn’t of mattered as Cam had already said “nope, we’re skipping that one”๐Ÿ˜‚

Overall our time traveling Japan was a great experience for all of us. We met some beautiful people, to many to name but you know who you are and we thank you again for your generosity.

So now we are home back in Oz, reunited with Sprout, (I’ll fill you in on him next time) and traveling north. We’re very excited to be on the road and can’t wait for our next adventure.