Monthly Archives: July 2013

Toby’s 6th Birthday

DSC_0018Okay – so I’m cheating a little here with this second post for the night – this is just a very quick one to record Toby’s 6th Birthday  which as I mentioned in an earlier post – we celebrated in Katherine – Katherine Gorge.

The morning started early as all birthdays do in our house – with a wake up and present opening!  Toby was very happy with his new Lightening McQueen Cars, Snorkel set (thanks Ma & Pa for the birthday money which bought the snorkel), Army Men, new audio books from Aunty Beth & Uncle Rod and a long awaited underwater camera of his own (just like big brother Jack!) from Grammy & Grunda – very spoilt!

My creative wrapping using the plastic birthday tablecloth!

My creative wrapping using the plastic birthday tablecloth!

Presents!

Presents!

After a breakfast of pancakes as requested by the birthday boy, we packed down and moved camp into the Katherine Gorge campground which just happened to have the most beautiful resort style swimming pool and free wi-fi and FREE washing machines – awesome campground.   So after a quick swim in the pool (it was freezing!) we had a small family birthday lunch.

Birthday Lunch with wrapping paper turned tablecloth!!

Birthday Lunch with wrapping paper turned tablecloth!!

Sometimes they love each other!

Sometimes they love each other!

DSC_0020After lunch Poppy & Rema joined us again after they had spent a few days in Darwin, so we filled in the afternoon with a game of soccer and an early pizza tea and birthday cake – Tobes deemed it the best birthday ever so we did ok for a birthday on the road!

A game of soccer!

A game of soccer!

The birthday boy and his new cap from Poppy & Rema

The birthday boy and his new cap from Poppy & Rema

Birthday Dinner

Birthday Dinner

Cake - the best I could do in the camper oven!

Cake – the best I could do in the camper oven!

Happy 6th Birthday to Toby!

Happy 6th Birthday to Toby!

 

 

Categories: About Us | 3 Comments

Edith Falls

DSC_0494 DSC_0395 DSC_0399 DSC_0389 DSC_0253 IMG_0059 DSC_0354Well looks like I am going to have to get two blog posts done tonight as I missed getting a post done last night due to the fact that I was feeling far too relaxed after having a bottle of champagne at sunset on Cable Beach (thanks Ang & Hans – we finally felt the time was right to crack the bottle of champagne you gave us and it was goooood!).  So, where were we?   Hmmmm – ok once we left Mataranka we headed north to Katherine and decided to camp for two nights just outside town at the Shady Lane Caravan Park.  We had received the news when we left Tennant Creek that the farming opportunity was going ahead so we needed a few days in Katherine to sort our heads out and decide exactly what our new plan for our last four weeks on the road was going to be.  The Shady Lane Caravan Park was lovely – the cleanest and nicest amenities we have come across so far on the trip and lovely big drive through sites.  We spent a morning shopping in Katherine to pick up a birthday pressie for Toby who was turning 6 while we were there, and also got Matt a new hat as we finally had to concede that we had lost his very trusty Ergon hat somewhere past Winton!!

After a morning in town we headed out to spend the afternoon at Edith Falls which is about 40km’s north of Katherine.  It was a beautiful spot and we had a ball swimming and lying around on the lovely green grass at the picnic area – it has been soooooo long since we had seen green grass!!!  We even got the trusty green kayak down and the kids thought it was pretty neat to be able to kayak right up to a waterfall!  We did the easy 3km return walk to the Upper Pools at the falls and it was well worth the walk!  It was so nice here, and we were happy to see at least one waterfall as we had now decided that we were not going to be able to make it through Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks in the time we had left.  The National Park Campground at Edith Falls was lovely, and cheap – only $15.90 per family per night – we would definitely recommend camping there and checking out Edith Falls!

The view from the Upper Pools

The view from the Upper Pools

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Matt & Jack swam right under the waterfall in the upper pools

Matt & Jack swam right under the waterfall in the upper pools

Tobes loves to kaya

Tobes loves to kayak

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Jacko got a shot of these fish using his underwater camera

Jacko got a shot of these fish using his underwater camera

Fish nibbling Matt's toes

Fish nibbling Matt’s toes

A lovely spot

A lovely spot

Categories: Camping, NT Camping, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Tennant Creek to Mataranka

DSC_0164We have been doing and seeing some amazing and beautiful things over the last few weeks and I have fallen behind with the blog entries again! I am excited to share some of our photos with you so will hopefully get all up to date while we are here in Broome this week!  Broome is spectacular by the way!

After spending our forced week stop over in Tennant Creek with our car/camper issues (the problems all stemmed back to Karen Camper and some worn out wiring on the electric brakes – Matt will give you the details), we finally headed off to Mataranka which was about 5 hours drive north of Tennant Creek.  We have to admit though that we did enjoy our time in Tennant Creek despite being a bit stressed and cranky about the car!  All up we had 6 nights there – 4 nights in the camper in the Caravan Park and then 2 nights in a cabin in the same caravan park – thankfully all paid for by RACQ with our Ultimate cover – very grateful that we had that cover!  We stayed at the Outback Caravan Park which was one of the nicest caravan parks we have stayed in so far!  We had lots of time to get some school work done, do some baking, catch up on our washing and the kids enjoyed the warmer weather and the pool (even though the water was freezing still!).  We again spent some time at the library which we always enjoy – new book for Jack to read, toys for Toby & Lexi to play with and the librarians are always happy to chat away to me!

Lexi loves to bake!

Lexi loves to bake!

Jack doing a maths riddle that Matt made up for him

Jack doing a maths riddle that Matt made up for him

Lots of pool time - great pool but freezing cold!

Lots of pool time – great pool but freezing cold!

Warming up in the sun on a rock at the pool

Warming up in the sun on a rock at the pool

The kids checking out the old gold mining trolley on the walk to the library in Tennant Creek

The kids checking out the old gold mining trolley on the walk to the library in Tennant Creek

When we finally left Tennant Creek we had a quick stop to check out Lake Mary Ann on the way out – it looked quite nice but not a very big dam and unfortunately no camping there.

Lake Mary Ann - Tennant Creek

Lake Mary Ann – Tennant Creek

And then we once again passed the camel man being pulled along by his camels on the highway.  We have since discovered from other travellers that his name is Klaus Menzel and he is actually quite famous!

Klaus Menzel and his camels - they got further than we did in 3 days!

Klaus Menzel and his camels – they got further than we did in 3 days!

We stopped for lunch at the Daly Waters Pub which was really interesting – definitely a pub with lots of character – would be a fun place to camp, and the food is very reasonably priced and pretty yum!  It gets very busy though!

Daly Waters Pub - Lunch stop

Daly Waters Pub – Lunch stop

All kinds of things hanging up in the Daly Waters Pub - it did smell just a little inside!

All kinds of things hanging up in the Daly Waters Pub – it did smell just a little inside!

Bras - Daly Waters Pub

Bras – Daly Waters Pub

Thong Tree - Daly Waters Pub

Thong Tree – Daly Waters Pub

And then at last we made it to Mataranka where we met up with Matt’s dad & Rema – we were all really excited to see them!!

Hello Poppy & Rema!

Hello Poppy & Rema!

We camped for two nights at the Mataranka Homestead campground which had heaps of room for us to choose our own spot in the unpowered area and was just a short walk to the Rainbow Springs Thermal Pools.

Our campsite - Mataranka Homestead

Our campsite – Mataranka Homestead

Peacocks and Wallabies everywhere around the campground

Peacocks and Wallabies everywhere around the campground

The campground was a little tired and a bit dusty but the thermal pools were sooooooooo good!  They were beautifully warm and we all spent hours swimming – such a treat after being so cold for the last few months!!!  We also got to watch a really great family band (Mum, Dad, 16yr old son and 12 yr old son) who played some great music and it was really inspiring to watch a family travelling around Australia – all sharing something they love!  It has been amazing on this trip to see all the different lives people lead – such a great country we live in that we have the freedom to do this!  The kids loved seeing other kids not much older than them up on stage playing the electric guitar and drums – hopefully they will remember this when we go back to their piano lessons when ‘normal’ life returns!

Mataranka Hot Springs

Mataranka Hot Springs

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Matt & I at the Mataranka Hot Springs - photo care of Jacko

Matt & I at the Mataranka Hot Springs – photo care of Jacko

The movie “We of the Never Never” was filmed at the Mataranka Homestead Caravan Park and the replica of the original homestead is still part of the attractions here, so we had a wander through – will have to watch the movie now!

DSC_0210We did the 2.5km return walk from the caravan park into the Elsey National Park and checked out the Waterhouse River and checked out the swimming hole called Stevie’s Hole.

Checking out the Waterhouse River

Checking out the Waterhouse River

Stevies Hole

Stevies Hole

Some leaf boat racing at Stevies Hole

Some leaf boat racing at Stevies Hole

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We also spent a morning floating down the river at Bitter Springs which is only about a 10 minute drive from the Mataranka Homestead Caravan Park.  It was lots of fun letting the current take us about 200metres down the river and then walking back on the dirt track to do it all again!  On the way home from Bitter Springs we stopped in at the Territory Manor Caravan Park and checked out the free Barramundi feeding they do there at 9.30am and 1pm every day.  The boys loved it!

Floating in Bitter Springs with Poppy & Rema

Floating in Bitter Springs with Poppy & Rema

Jack - Barramundi Feeding

Jack – Barramundi Feeding

Toby a little scared at the Barramundi Feeding!

Toby a little scared at the Barramundi Feeding!

So yep – another great spot to add to your ‘must visit’ list if you haven’t already been there – we loved it, definitely could have stayed longer – next time we would like to kayak to Mataranka Falls from the National Park campground – putting on the ‘must return’ list!

 

Categories: Camping, NT Camping, Travel | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

8 weeks on the road

Boab Tree - now we are in WA we are seeing them everywhere - love them!

Boab Tree – now we are in WA we are seeing them everywhere – love them!

Today we had a very long drive and to fill in the last hour and stop the fighting and whinging before we stopped for lunch at Halls Creek, (after listening to a whole Famous Five audio book) we decided to go round the car and see what everybody’s thoughts are on the trip now that we have been on the road for 8 weeks!! It has gone so fast, but leaving Brisbane two months ago seems like forever too if that is possible!!

Fealy Family Interview

What have we missed the most since being on the trip?

Jack – having good friends – only friends now are the others (pointing to Lex & Tobes) and they’re not really friends.  Icecream, miss playing with my hockey team, the trampoline and my bike.

Toby – my toy cars drawer from home, Patrick and Ashlin.

Lexi – the house and my room, Jayde & Madi, icecream, Jerry & Slinky,

Matt – the chooks (eggs!), icecream, cups of tea/cold beer on the deck, miss Greg (Matt’s massage dude), company of good neighbours

Jess – time to myself!  Keeping up to date with my favourite blogs, having a long hot shower by myself, sitting on the soccer field in the afternoon at school pick up time chatting to my lovely mum friends and going to book club!

What we don’t miss!

Lexi – I don’t know
Tobes – the city & noise
Jack – the roadworks at Louie’s (neighbours) block, all the pollution
Matt – sitting in a fluorescently lit office, reheating dinner to finally eat it at 11pm cold, Louie’s truck noise
Jess – housework, going to work, school routine – lunchboxes etc, road noise

What are our favourite things about the trip?

Lexi – having icecreams, the campsite with the big long pool

Tobes – Uluru, my birthday

Jack – being free – not many people, climbing Uluru, seeing all the sights that most people don’t get to see

Matt – spending every minute with the family exclusively, going to bed and waking up at regular times, seeing something and doing something new everyday, no work, no schedule.

Jess – the thrill of pack up day and heading somewhere new with new things to see – not knowing where we will be next! The live music at the campgrounds, the feeling & sound in the evening at campgrounds of people socializing, relaxing & cooking dinner.
Eating out for dinner or breaky every now & then!

Our least favourite parts of trip

Lexi – I don’t like flies all over me

Toby- having to say goodbye to friends I make

Jack – having to do school work

Matt – paying $2 a litre for petrol

Jess – walking one child all the way over to the toilet at the ablution block only to come back and have another ask to go – grrrrr!!  Or the same child ask to go back again five minutes later!!  The cold nights!  The car/camper breaking down and having to spend a precious week of our now shortened trip in Tennant Creek!

Looking back on our blog posts has helped us realise that we really have seen and done lots of great things in the last two months and even though our trip has been shortened, we are really excited about what our last month on the road will have in store for us – bring on the beach – wahooooooo!

Getting in some 'relaxing' practice in readiness for hitting the beach - this was me in the pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park yesterday - freezing but beautiful!

Getting in some ‘relaxing’ practice in readiness for hitting the beach – this was me in the pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park yesterday – freezing but beautiful!

Categories: Camping, Planning, Travel | 3 Comments

Devils Marbles

20130725-221124.jpgEven though we have only four weeks left on the road (check out our ‘Big News’) if you’re not sure what is going on – I’m still keen to keep the blog rolling so hopefully there’s still a few people following along!

After a great few days in the East MacDonnell Ranges we decided we were definitely ready for warmer weather and that it was time to move north.  We headed back in to Alice Springs again to see if the camera lens Matt wanted was in stock yet (it wasn’t!  Matt was so disappointed!) and to stock up on fuel and groceries.

We decided to have a splurge on a treat lunch and check out the Alice Springs ‘Bojangles Saloon’.  The pub was really interesting – full of all kinds of memorabilia and cowboy gear – the kids loved it.  The food was only ok, but still worth the visit.

Bojangles Saloon - Alice Springs

Bojangles Saloon – Alice Springs

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A 'treat' lunch with lots to look at

A ‘treat’ lunch with lots to look at

Cowboy at the bar

Cowboy at the bar

It was late afternoon before we left Alice Springs so we decided just to get an hour or so down the road and find a free camp somewhere.  We had a quick stop at Aileron to check out the ‘big people walking’ – they were fantastic!

Aileron

Aileron

'Big People Walking' statues

‘Big People Walking’ statues

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They were really beautiful!

They were really beautiful!

We found a free camp at a rest stop not far from Aileron and pulled up for the night – even leaving the camper hitched up to the car for a quick get up and go the next morning.

Its a tight squeeze but we can leave the car hitched up to the camper

Its a tight squeeze but we can leave the car hitched up to the camper

Our first stop the next day was Wycliffe Well – the UFO capital of Australia – not a lot there but we found it interesting enough.

Wyecliff Well

Wycliffe Well

Aliens

Aliens

And then we arrived at Devils Marbles about lunch time and this was where we experienced the first of our car troubles which you have all heard so much about!  As we arrived fairly early at the national park campground at the Devils Marbles, we had no trouble finding a campsite, it did get very full by the end of the day!  The kids loved being able to climb all over the rocks – the best playground ever they said!  Our time at Devils Marbles was probably a little tainted by our worry about the car, Matt spent most of the afternoon tinkering around trying to work out what the problem with the car was.  However, we still managed a good afternoon walk around the rocks and some sunset photo taking.  The Devils Marbles really are quite beautiful in their own way, not as grand as Uluru but definitely something about them and worth a visit!

'Fealy Family Walking' at Devil's Marbles - inspired by the 'Big Men Walking' at Aileron

‘Fealy Family Walking’ at Devil’s Marbles – inspired by the ‘Big Men Walking’ at Aileron

Off to explore the Devils Marbles

Off to explore the Devils Marbles

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Our campsite at the Devils Marbles

Our campsite at the Devils Marbles

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Kids Playground

Kids Playground

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Sunset

Sunset

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Categories: Camping, NT Camping | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Some Really Big News!

DSC_0477Well, as you may have noticed – we have been a bit quiet on the Every Family Needs A Farmer campaign front which you may remember from our ‘Light Bulb Moment’ post.  We did get some stickers on the car (big thanks to Tracey) and we did sign up for the Outback Links program (great tip Aunty Nerida and Uncle Garth) and thanks to my Mum – Peter Prado has been sporting this cow since Winton (great conversation starter at campsites – we have had lots of people come over to us and say ‘we saw your car at such and such a place’ as the cow and the green kayak on top of the cow are easily remembered’).

DSC_0090However, other than that we hadn’t had a chance to do much stopping in at farms along the way (largely because we haven’t really come across any yet!) or had a lot of time to think too much more about our broader objectives of trying to promote rural Australia and Australian Farmers as we travelled.

Our big news is that we have decided this week to take a leap, put our hearts where are mouths are, and become farmers ourselves.  

We have made the huge (and very difficult!) decision that in four weeks time we will be cutting our trip short and heading ‘back home’ to Mareeba in Far North Queensland where we will be taking up the amazing opportunity that has presented itself to begin learning the ropes of how to be Mango, Avocado, Lime and Passionfruit farmers.  Holy Moly!!!

Our new home - 153 acres of Mangos, Avocados, Limes and Passionfruit

Our new home – 153 acres of Mangos, Avocados, Limes and Passionfruit

We are incredibly excited (and nervous!!) about this next chapter in our lives, for us it is a dream come true to have an offer like this come up.  However, we must admit to being incredibly gutted to be cutting our trip of a lifetime short.  A trip that has been two years in the making.  There were tears at first, but now we are just savouring every minute of the last four weeks we have left on the road and allowing the excitement to build about returning home to our extended families in Far North Queensland and letting our next ten year plan take shape!

It is bittersweet to end our trip of a lifetime early, to take up the opportunity of a lifetime, but this trip was always about ‘the journey and not the destination‘, so we are viewing this as the next waypoint on the Fealy Family Adventure.

So tomorrow we take a detour from our original route plans and cross the border into Western Australia to find ourselves a spot on the beach overlooking the Indian Ocean, to enjoy what might possibly be the last four weeks annual leave we ever get!!

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Categories: About Us, Every Family Needs A Farmer | 18 Comments

Happy 6th Birthday to Toby!

20130715-213925.jpgWell, being on the road hasn’t made me any more organised – it is 10pm and I have just put Toby’s birthday cake in the oven.  Our gorgeous little ratbag middle child turns 6 tomorrow – hard to believe!  We have had a great day here in Katherine today, got some birthday shopping done at the ‘Katherine Terrace Emporium’ where we managed to buy Matt a new hat, Toby’s birthday present (biggest kids toy section we have seen yet!), googles for the kids and there was every other item imaginable – a huge range of things – I could have spent hours exploring in there!  We spent the afternoon swimming at Edith Falls which was just beautiful – a blog post to come on our time there.  Tomorrow we are moving into the Katherine Gorge National Park campground for a couple of nights and will meet up with Poppy & Rema again on their return from Darwin – looking forward to checking out the Gorge as it sounds beautiful!

To celebrate his birthday Toby has requested pancakes for breakfast, a chocolate birthday cake with some lollies and cheezels for afternoon tea and pizza for dinner.  He would also like to spend some time at the swimming pool so looks like we have our day tomorrow all planned!  As with Lexi’s Birthday I thought I would record here for posterity the email Matt sent out to our family and friends when Toby was born – feels like it was much less than 6 years ago – how time flies!

“Say hello to Toby Stewart Fealy! Born today 23 July 2007, 16:20, weighing inat 2.86kg (about 6pound 3oz I think??)
After a premature introduction yesterday and putting his mother through
contractions every 10mins for almost 24 hrs he decided at lunch time today
that it was time, and let me tell you he did not muck around once the
decision was made!

By the time we arrived at the hospital Jess was well and truly ready, in
fact while I drove around looking for a park Jess was pretty sure we were
having this baby in the carpark!!! (and could not understand why I didn’t
just ditch the car in the garden and leave it there!)

Anyway, we got up to the birth suites with only 1 contraction in the
elevator surrounded by about 12 other people (seriously, I don’t think I
have ever been in an elevator so full!) At the reception we waited around
while the work experience kid tried to find Jess’ file. I swear, had it
taken about 17seconds longer the work experience kid would have been scared
for life (mentally and physically!)

They tried to take Jess to an observation room but on the way we passed a
midwife who could see how far along Jess was and decided we would not pass
‘Go’ do not collect $200 and head straight to jail!

Once in the Birth Room things really heated up and it was not long before it
became obvious this was going to happen and it was going to happen NOW!

At this stage I might use my editorial privileges and “edit edit edit” for
the kiddies out there and move on to the summary!!

….. and so after about 1hr in the birth room and about 15mins of final
pushing Toby was born.

Mother and baby are doing extremely well, Jess has not felt this good for a
few weeks and we are just waiting on Toby’s blood tests for any infections
caused by the early breaking of the waters but if he passes that test with
flying colours (the first of many I would imagine) then it is probably a
good chance both mother and baby will be home on Wednesday.

Anyone in Brisbane are welcome to pop in and say Hi if you like, I know Jess
would love to see you all. They are in Ward 6B, room 34 and I am pretty sure
visiting hours are 1000-1300 and 1500-2000.

Well I’m off to have some of Melissa’s pork noodle left over she left in the
fridge (THANK YOU AGAIN MELISSA AND BELINDA FOR LOOKING AFTER JACK!!!) as I
don’t think I have eaten since about 7am this morning.

Love Matt, Jess, Jack, Jerry and TOBY!!!!”

Toby arrived nearly 4 weeks early!

Toby arrived nearly 4 weeks early!

Always so happy right from the start!

Always so happy right from the start!

Our beautiful boy!

Our beautiful boy!

Happy 6th Birthday Tobes – it’s pretty special to be able to celebrate a birthday all together on the road!  You are the funny and sunny face in our family little mate – we all love you lots xoxoxoxox

Love Mum, Dad, Jack & Lexi

Categories: About Us | 6 Comments

The Blokey Stuff Part. 2

Ok, as promised, a few things that have made life a bit easier that I thought might help a few people out, 12 months behind us in their planning stage.

1. Pocket knife.

I love my pocket knife, I use it at least 10 times a day, on average. And don’t worry about having room in your pocket for it. Before we left I ALWAYS felt like my pockets were full, with my wallet, phone, keys, (and the oodles of cash I normally carry around) etc, but I haven’t seen my wallet for a few weeks, the keys never come out of the car and I haven’t seen my mobile phone since May.

2. Waeco in the car.

We just love the Waeco, but at $1200, and $250 for the slide, it was always going to be a big decision, so when a 2 yr old one with the cover AND slide came up on Gumtree for $600….. $600 very well spent. If we were to do it again though, we would pay the money for the MSA Drop Slide, using the fridge everyday climbing up into the back of the car does get pretty tedious

3. Outback Solutions Rear Drawer System

Again, at $2000 a pop, this was a looooong shot with the accountant. Infact, this was probably my biggest sell. I planted the seed as soon as we bought Peter Prado but Jess just wasn’t up for it, well she would argue that the drawers need to be in the essential kit list now. Again, $600 for an as new set on gumtree pushed us over the edge…. I reckon we would pay the $2000 now though awesome.

4. $40 12volt car charger for the Laptop

Found these on ebay, it is permanently plugged into the back of the car, we unplug the laptop when we arrive, use it all night, and plug it back in the next day, we drive, we arrive, fully charged laptop. I’m not sure if I even know where the proper 240V charger is anymore.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/60W-AP-60-DC-Adapter-Laptop-Car-Charger-For-Apple-Macbook-Pro-16-5V-/360662501072

5. $50 Pack of 2 spare Camera batteries and 12V charger.

Same as above, ebay Chinese special. With the original camera battery this gives us 3 batteries, one in the camera, one fully charged in the camera bag, and the last one permanently plugged into 12V plug on the dash of the car. Battery goes flat, it goes on charge, the charged one goes in the bag, the one in the bag goes in the camera, we drive, it charges.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/2-Full-Code-Battery-Charger-EN-EL14-AU-Plug-for-Nikon-D3100-D5100-D5200-10814-/251300284347?pt=AU_Cameras_Photographic_Accessories&hash=item3a82aa07bb&_uhb=1

7. 12v chargers for the handheld UHFs

Again, allows us to stay charged with out 240v

6. The gas hot water system in the camper.

Almost every day we say “man I love that hot water system” sure we could boil a kettle, but hot water straight out the tap, in the middle of nowhere…. Cool.

Just for interest sake, the stuff we thought we might need but haven’t.

1. Genie (see above re. Solar panels)
2. Inverter (see above re. 12v chargers)

Look out for Blokey stuff Part. 3 coming soon….. Some truly enthralling statistics on roads, tyres, gear ratios, rpm and fuel economy/prices, wow! I don’t know about you but I can’t wait!

Categories: Modifications, Planning | 1 Comment

East MacDonnell Ranges – Gorges

20130722-211126.jpgHmmm, how do I start this post…..  Amazing, spectacular, highlight of the trip so far?

We very nearly didn’t do the East Macs, what a shame that would have been. They are just, as if not more, picturesque then the West Macs, but no where near as crowded.

We based ourselves at Trephina George, it is bitumen all the way until about the last 8klms where it is a well maintained unsealed road. The first afternoon we took a little walk through Trephina Gorge, beautiful! In actual fact, this is one of my favourite Gorge’s of them all, there is no one thing that makes it special, it is just…. I don’t know, intimate? You feel a little more “in it” then just looking at it, if that makes sense?

Drive in to Trephina Gorge

Drive in to Trephina Gorge

Trephina Gorge from the easy 3km rim walk

Trephina Gorge from the easy 3km rim walk

I got to enjoy a morning walk with the camera and no kids one day while we were there

I got to enjoy a morning walk with the camera and no kids one day while we were there

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The weather began to turn and we were beginning to feel as if we possessed some magical powers, an ability to summon the rain. It rained all night and the next day, and knowing that once again we would be doing considerable walking, we just decided to write the day off and hope the rain cleared the next day. Now by ‘write it off’ I really mean ‘take a mental health day’. It was freezing, dark and rainy, we didn’t get out of bed till about 0930 (the bed was filled with children poking and pinching and tickling each other so don’t think this was some relaxing sleep in). To finally entice us out of bed Jess braved the sub zero temps (it really was) to turn all 4 stove burners on and get some pancakes going. Within minutes we were all up and filling or bellies with pancakes with maple syrup or Nutella and sliced banana, coffee and juice, yum yum!

Still not interested in opening our magic door (Karen Camper’s door has the ability to shut out the real world) we bunkered down on couches, beds and anything soft and warm, we read, coloured in, did some school work and literally didn’t leave the camper (or get out of our PJ’s) until after 1pm! (Don’t judge)

When it came time to see if the outside world did still exist we took a drive to N’Dalha Gorge. We had been told this one had only recently been burned out but it was only a short drive away. It was a fun and challenging drive, and the Petroglyphs here were probably better then at Roma Gorge in the West Mac’s.  We got to do some water crossings and give Peter Prado a good test out!

Ross River Station Campground at the entrance to N'Dahla Gorge looked like a nice spot!

Ross River Station Campground at the entrance to N’Dahla Gorge looked like a nice spot!

N'Dhala Gorge

N’Dhala Gorge

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

About 5 creek crossing on the 16km's in to N'dhala Gorge and with the recent rain there was lots of water in them!

About 5 creek crossing on the 16km’s in to N’dhala Gorge and with the recent rain there was lots of water in them!

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We finished a supremely relaxed day with pizza dinner (Shel and Jai, Ben and Aimz you know pizza dinner in Karen’s oven, mmmm, mmm, mmm) Jess and I even polished off a bottle of red and watched a movie (“So This is 40”). It was actually pretty good, or maybe that was the wine that improved it?

Our delicious homemade pizza & wine movie night

Our delicious homemade pizza & wine movie night

I would highly recommend the camp spot at Trephina Gorge, I still am so impressed with the NT parks and wildlife campgrounds, free gas BBQ’s, individual fire places, tables, toilets, just sensational. We finally got to do some cooking over the fire and did the ‘ole classic sliced chips and steak.

Finally some cooking over the campfire

Finally some cooking over the campfire

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The next day we needed to get out and about after slothin’ it and headed to Arltunga as Jess has posted about already.

On day three we decided we would do the drive down into Ruby’s Gap. It is a big day and easily the most off road 4wd’ing we have done yet.

Some beautiful scenery on the drive in to Ruby's Gapy

Some beautiful scenery on the drive in to Ruby’s Gapy

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Ruby’s gap is really interesting, some bloke found what he thought were Ruby’s down there which began a Gem rush, and there are stories of men pushing their entire belongings in wheelbarrows from Adelaide into Ruby’s gap to come and make their fortunes. The first few blokes who came out with their barrows full of “Ruby’s” did make a fortune, but it was soon discovered that the Ruby’s were nothing more then high grade garnets…. Pretty, but worthless. There are stories of blokes who when they received word that they were garnets (England was the only place who could certify them back then so ‘word’ took a while) these poor buggers who had sold everything and poured it into machinery here at Ruby’s gap simply shot themselves. Gives you an indication of the desperation and hard work they had put in only to have barrow loads of pretty dirt.

The funny thing was, we got down there and Jess and I were looking for the park signs pointing in the direction of where the garnets were and we were growing more and more frustrated when we couldn’t find any signs or where the garnets were supposed to be, then I accidentally dropped a bit of lunch on the sand……

The sand is literally crushed Garnets!

The sand is literally crushed Garnets!

Garnets everywhere - we had a ball!

Garnets everywhere – we had a ball!

Yeah, the entire place is virtually garnets, the sand is made up of garnet! Once we took a closer look it was quite stunning. It’s a no wonder they would have thought they were on an absolute million dollars back when they thought they were Ruby’s!

Doing some 'specking'

Doing some ‘specking’

Anyway the drive from Trephina gorge took a tad over three hours, included some very narrow track, soft river bed sand for a good few k’s and some good sized rocks to balance over trying to avoid that body damage that could quickly ruin the day. All in all a very good day out. Oh, we were told not to take the camper and I’m glad we didn’t. This one was a car only drive. You could get a high clearance box trailer camper in, but probably not without some damage (it was very narrow in parts).

River bed sand driving in to Ruby's Gap

River bed sand driving in to Ruby’s Gap

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One of the small dips in to Ruby's Gap (there were lots of them!)

One of the small dips in to Ruby’s Gap (there were lots of them!)

Poor Peter Prado after a tough few days 4wding!

Poor Peter Prado after a tough few days 4wding!

East Macs…. Must, must do!

Categories: Camping, NT Camping | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

East MacDonnell Ranges – Arltunga

20130716-211455.jpgWe didn’t plan on heading to the East MacDonnell Ranges on our trip, thinking we had seen enough gorges after the West Mac’s, but we got talking to another family at the caravan park in Alice Springs and they couldn’t recommend it highly enough, so we figured we had to go and check it out for ourselves and we are so glad we did!  The East MacDonnell Ranges are quite different to the West – there are still plenty of gorges to check out (and we did that too, but that will be in another post,) but probably one of the highlights of our trip so far was the day we spent at Arltunga.  Arltunga was officially central Australia’s first town.  Now it is a National Park to preserve the remnants of the ghost town that was once a bustling gold mining town.

We were lucky enough to once again make it to a ranger talk led by two real life gold miners who are still mining for Gold at Arltunga today!  It was a great one hour talk – really informative on the gold mining process and the history of Arltunga.  We then got to play around the Visitor Information Centre before picking up a map and exploring Arltunga – we even got to climb down into an old gold mine shaft which the kids just loved!  A really, really great, free, day out!!  I’m going to let the photos show you our time there.

Lex playing 'kitchens' with some of the old kitchen stuff at the Visitor Centre

Lex playing ‘kitchens’ with some of the old kitchen stuff at the Visitor Centre

Grunda - think you need to make some of these tin 'trucks' for the grandies - so simple an olden day to which our kids loved!

Grunda – think you need to make some of these tin ‘trucks’ for the grandies – so simple an ‘olden day’ toy which our kids loved!

Jack 'dollying' (crushing up the rock) in preparation for panning for gold

Jack ‘dollying’ (crushing up the rock) in preparation for panning for gold

Panning

Panning

He wasn't giving up until he found a nugget!

He wasn’t giving up until he found a nugget!

Not too impressed with just a speck!

Not too impressed with just a speck!

Lex getting to wear the gold necklace and gold nugget at the Visitor Centre - she thought she was getting to keep them - hehehehe - the look on her face when she had to give them back!

Lex getting to wear the gold necklace and gold nugget at the Visitor Centre – she thought she was getting to keep them – hehehehe – the look on her face when she had to give them back!

The old police station - Arltunga

The old police station – Arltunga

Exploring

Exploring

I went to see if there were any criminals still in the lookup

I went to see if there were any criminals still in the lockup

Found 3 of the worst kind!

Found 3 of the worst kind!

Kids thought it was hilarious to lock me in there

Kids thought it was hilarious to lock me in there

It was a freezing and drizzly day!

It was a freezing and drizzly day!

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This line of quartz (quartz reef) indicates gold is here

This line of quartz (quartz reef) indicates gold is here

Down we go to check out the mine shaft

Down we go to check out the mine shaft

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And another little tunnell to explore - found a dead kangaroo in this one - week!

And another little tunnell to explore – found a dead kangaroo in this one – eek!

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East MacDonnell Ranges - Arltunga

East MacDonnell Ranges – Arltunga

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Categories: Camping, NT Camping | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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