Monthly Archives: July 2013

Our Home

20130716-205834.jpgWe had a little bit of time after an early set up when we first got to the East MacDonnell Ranges, (posts about our time here still to come!) so we finally got a chance to get some photos of Karen Camper all set up before we messed her all up by  living in her (and we had done a little re-organising in Alice Springs).  So here are at last some photos of ‘Our Home’ in her most photo worthy state to date, she’s not flash but we love her and she has served us well so far!

Come inside ......

Come inside ……

View to the master bedroom

View to the master bedroom

Lounge

Lounge

Cushions

Kids Cushions

Office

Office

Dining Room

Dining Room

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Our Laundry ($1 coins) and Treat ($2 coins) jars

Our Laundry ($1 coins) and Treat ($2 coins) jars – yes all made by my clever Mum!

Kids bedroom

Kids bedroom

Lexi, Toby & Jack sleep on the queen bed end.

Lexi, Toby & Jack sleep on the queen bed end.

Front Porch

Front Porch

Our Home

Our Home

I have to say a huge thank you to my Mum who is the very clever one who did all the beautiful crotcheting, the gorgeous bunting,the  caterpillar rug which we have all snuggled under during the last few weeks of freezing nights, treat tins, our great floor mats and made our lovely kid’s cushions – we were sooooooo spoilt!  There are also lots of other lovely gifts in the photos from our friends and the little bits and pieces really remind us of the wonderful people in our lives and make ‘our home’ all the more, our camper of love!  Thank you to you all!! xoxoxoxoxo

Below is just a short video of what the camper actually looks like with us living in it!  Now, as the saying goes;

“Although you’ll find our house a mess, come in, sit down, converse.  It doesn’t always look like this: Some days its even worse!”

Categories: About Us, Camping, Modifications | 11 Comments

A Breakdown Not Solved – Grrrrrrr!

GRRRRRRR!

GRRRRRRR! Back at the Auto Electrican this morning.

Well for those of you who aren’t in the Facebook loop, you would not yet know that tonight we are back in Tennant Creek after only travelling 60km’s down the road this morning to find the car throwing the same problems (air conditioning goes, dashboard ‘check engine’ lights up, indicators etc go, battery starts losing charge) as the pre, new alternator breakdown.  Thank goodness for our RACQ membership (so grateful) as they have now upgraded us to a cabin for the next two nights while the car and camper wait in the queue to get back to see the Auto Electrician tomorrow afternoon.

Dinner in our cabin tonight - feels so strange!

Dinner in our cabin tonight – feels so strange!

We’re trying really hard to stay calm and positive about this.  I went for a walk this afternoon and did a loop around town trying to work out just exactly what the universe is trying to tell us we need to do here before we can leave.  I didn’t come up with anything other than buying a lotto ticket from the newsagency tomorrow morning – cross your fingers for us.

We really don’t know what is wrong with the car/camper – Matt thinks it may be something to do with the Electric Brake Controller/Trailer plug blowing our ignition fuse, which then kills the alternator, which then means the battery dies?? That’s about as much as I can follow.  We’re really, really hoping for a quick fix when the auto-electrician can squeeze us in tomorrow afternoon.  We are bummed because we were meant to meet Matt’s dad and Rema tonight who have just arrived in Mataranka from Cairns to travel with us for a few weeks – hopefully we will be sitting in the hot spas with them soon!

Matt is forgetting about the day with some ‘man cave’ time and a scary/violent movie I would never sit through, on the iPad.  Me – I think I’m just going to ‘blog’ (block) it out and keep the blog posts rolling – we are nearly all up to date again!  We’re thinking we might have to give it a go to write a magazine article for one of  the camping/camper trailer mags – an attempt to try to mitigate some of the damage the trip budget has suffered, the criteria for the articles is a little daunting though!!

Anyway – to finish, back by popular demand (hehehehe – thanks Lee – a very loyal reader who we haven’t yet even met!  No need to instigate the BBFPOTD Facebook Page just yet! ) is favourite part of the day.  Let me tell you, Matt and I had to scrape the bottom of the barrell hard for ours tonight!!

Favourite Parts of the Day

Lex – getting back to the swimming pool and having our lunch

Tobes – walking in to the awesome cabin

Jacko – leaving Tennant Creek and then walking in to our new cabin

Jess – getting back on the road this morning and seeing this on the highway ……..

Camels towing a ute on the Stuart Highway today

Camels towing a ute on the Stuart Highway today

Matt – leaving Tennant Creek

What was your Favourite Part of Today?  C’mon ………. join the fun, you know you want to!

PS. Go the mighty Maroons!!

Categories: Modifications | 7 Comments

Alice Springs

 

After a busy two weeks exploring Uluru, Kings Canyon, Palm Valley and the West Mac’s, we headed back in to Alice Springs to find a hot shower, stock up on our supplies, collect our mail, do our washing, catch up on the blog and have a bit of down time as well as trying to do a bit of sightseeing (and yes – in that order!)  Toby was soooooo delighted to receive a parcel of letters from his class at school!  A big thank you to Jane and Prep D at Samford for all your effort as it was very special for Toby to receive those letters and he often gets his book out to re-read them!!20130716-211906.jpg

Jack helping Toby read his letters from his class!

Jack helping Toby read his letters from his class!

After having a one night stop at Heavitree Gap Caravan Park the first time we passed through Alice and not being that impressed with it, we decided to try the Stuart Caravan Park (the kids really wanted to go to the Big 4 but we just couldn’t justify the cost at $71 a night for our family of five!).  We had a really nice site at the Stuart Caravan Park close to the camp kitchen and amenities and lovely and shady, but it was very noisy with road noise from the highway at night.  Added to that it was freezing with 0 degree mornings for the four nights we stayed there!  The kids really enjoy the stay at caravan parks as there are other kids to play with and often a playground.  There was only a small playground at the caravan park, but just over the road was a huge public playground which the kids loved!

The boys playing in their dress up costumes we brought with us (thanks Uncle Jimbo) with a little mate they made in the park

The boys playing in their dress up costumes we brought with us (thanks Uncle Jimbo) with a little mate they made in the park

20130716-212328.jpgWe didn’t get a lot of sightseeing done as we just enjoyed being ‘homey’ at the park.  Jack has already written about our trip to the Desert Park which was a great full day out and great value for money – definitely recommend going there!

A great day out at the desert park - the kids loved the audio guides!

A great day out at the desert park – the kids loved the audio guides!

Awesome Bird's of Prey Show

Awesome Bird’s of Prey Show

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Family Photo with 'Labelle' the wedge-tailed eagle

Family Photo with ‘Labelle’ the wedge-tailed eagle

We spent hours in the nocturnal house!

We spent hours in the nocturnal house!

20130716-212222.jpg 20130716-212254.jpgOther than that, I took the kids to the free aviation museum which was just over the road from our caravan park and we all really enjoyed our afternoon there.  We also watched the sunset from the Anzac Hill lookout over Alice which was quite pretty but it was freezing!  After 3 visits to Alice Springs over the past month – we almost started to feel at home there!  Getting to know our way around all the shops – we quite enjoyed it!

Kids at the free Aviation Museum

Kids at the free Aviation Museum

Sunset over Heavitree Gap - Alice Springs

Sunset over Heavitree Gap – Alice Springs

Sunset over the West Macs

Sunset over the West Macs

 

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

A Breakdown – Solved

Well Peter Prado is back, and better then ever! Just a quick post to update what happened, how it was fixed and how to avoid it again.

So as you all know, we were pretty sure it was an blown alternator and we were right. Peter now has a new and improved, bigger, better and much much shinier alternator.

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Jess was quietly having a go at “pansy” Peter and I was getting some not-so-subtle hints that while our water crossings last week were fun, maybe they were also expensive. Well I’m happy to report, the water crossings were not the culprit, nor was the copious amounts of dust and dirt and sand driving we had been doing…. No, the problem was….. A stray live wire from when the spottie fell off. Yup, a wire from the spottie had come free and made contact with the bull bar a couple of times creating a short each time, eventually burning the regulator in the alternator out. (Not worth fixing)

So, good to know that Peter is not that precious that a few dirt roads and a creek or two hasn’t killed him (Good boy Peter, he might have cut the aircon, and then the indicators, lights and eventually speedo and taco, but he got us all 150mtrs into Tennant Creek before finally giving in, like a valiant steed!) Also good to know that the second your spottie falls off, separate the wires and insulate them immediately.

Thank you all for your encouraging comments, it was a pretty dark day the first day, but we have actually made the most of Tennant Creek and the forced stop, and believe it or not, Jess and I both said tonight how relaxing it has been…… Thanks Peter for forcing us to stop…. Next time though can we keep it under $1000 please!

Categories: Modifications, Planning | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The Blokey Stuff Part. 1

Well our forced stoppage in Tennant Creek has given me some time to finally sit down and do “The Blokey Stuff” post

So here it is in the Blokey-est format possible, categorised bullet points!

Top 10 Essential Bits of Kit:

I’ll prelude this list by stating that during the planning phase of a trip like this, we tend to talk to every 4×4 store, go to the Expos, read every possible piece of literature you can get your hands on regarding preparing your “Rig” for the bush. Most of the articles and magazines these days are primarily advertising material, so it is hard not to convince yourself (or your CFO) that you need every product in the latest ARB mag. Jess and I kept telling ourselves during this process “People used to do these trips in Kingswoods, without aux batteries, fridges, roof racks, inverters, solar, etc etc etc”. So with this in mind, the fact that Jess is an accountant and I’m a tightarse, we were never going to be putting the local Ironman dealer’s kid through Uni with our purchases. So, what is “Big Boy Bling” and what will save your life?

1. Dual battery system, with ability to switch to the aux battery for cranking.

This proved it’s worth before we even got out of Brisbane. Some of you will remember that Jess left the headlights on on day 1, rendering the crank battery useless. Annoying when you are in a park in Newmarket, Brisbane, only 10 mins from an RACQ depot, but life threatening out here. We have been over 600klms from the last bar of reception, and not seen another sole for 8-10 hours a number of times already on this trip, if we suddenly had a flat battery, it could be serious.

2. Solar Panels.

Everything has a weak point, and while the Aux battery is great, as we have found this week, if your alternator fails, you could easily find yourself with 2 x flat batteries. I have been amazed, gobsmacked, at how great solar panels are. We have a folding set of 120W el cheapo Chinese panels and 1 hour of good sun brings a battery from 11.5V to 13V….. For FREE. And just a tip, you would be seriously struggling not to get 1 hr of sun virtually anywhere in this country. The panels MORE then keep up with our power usage in the camper (I only bring them out on day three and only for a few hours) so forget about a Genie, they will charge your car battery, so forget jumper leads or portable jumper boxes, the only thing is they are heavy, and big, but when your are working out your packing, these are a must have. If I was to do it again, I would install them on the roof of the camper, and try and get maybe a smaller 40W panel on the roof of the car (I’ve seen them installed as a wind deflector in front of the roof racks, Uncle Garth…) sure the argument is that you normally park the camper in the shade, but even in good shade, you would struggle not to have at least an hour of sun at some time of the day.

3. Snatch Strap/MaxTrax

Recovery gear is expensive, especially if you really buy into all the “must haves”. Every bloke I have spoken to so far (and I don’t mind a chat so over 6000k’s and 7 weeks, I’ve chatted to a few) who own a winch has either never used it, or only used it drag firewood out of the bush. BUT, just about every bloke I’ve spoken to has used their snatch strap or MaxTrax more then a dozen times. Do not leave home with out them. (Yes I do not have MaxTrax yet, but as soon as we get into Darwin we will be getting a pair, classic example of “nah we won’t need those” but turns out we could have used them a few times)

4. Decent LED Headlamp.

No, the $4.99 Crazy Clarkes one is not what I’m angling at here. Two very important reasons you need a good headlamp, It is dark out here, like really dark, especially with no moon and secondly, a decent headlamp will allow you to have a better nights sleep. What? Hang on…. How does a headlamp help you sleep? Well if your finer half is able to light up 250mtrs ahead and 80mtrs across, they are more inclined to go to the toilet on their own 7 times a night with requiring you to stand guard.

A tip on this one, there are literally hundred of headlamps on the market, and it is hard to know if 10/20/40/230 lumens is sufficient or not. Well we bought headlamps which at their maximum setting do 70 lumens, this is plenty. Yet to have to replace the original standard Duracells they came with so it’s too early to tell if the rechargeable options are worth it. I hate spending money on disposable batteries, so I like the idea of rechargeable headlamps (they use either USB or some 12v plug) but they were much much more expensive.

5. Suspension Upgrade

Ok, whilst possibly not essential, I truly believe we would have sustained damage in places we have been had we not lifted the car, and I would not imagine your stock set of shockies would handle the roads as well as our Billies have. If you are towing, especially the weight we are (1150kg) your stock set of springs are going to sag considerably, and therefore increase your chance of damage. Forget ride comfort and all that rubbish, go higher rated springs then your think you will need, because you will be heavier then your estimates, we had 3 different rated springs in the car (OEM, heavy duty and finally extra heavy duty) and we never felt any difference in ride comfort…. This might be he quality of the Bilstien shockies??? I don’t know, but go heavier.

6. Air Compressor/Tyre gauge

A perfect case of what I thought might be a bit of big boy bling, but I snagged a special and got one cheap (Tigerz 11, $129) we have used it at least once a week. If you are not dropping tyre pressures on these roads you are asking for punctures and suspension trouble, we have found 30psi on ‘normal’ roads (no faster then 80kph) 25psi on bad roads (no faster then 40kph) and 18psi in the sand to be serving us well, oh, and 42psi when we do find some of that horrid black stuff.

Get a good tyre gauge and use it exclusively, DO NOT USE SERVICE STATION GUAGES. We learned this heading out to Carisbrooke station. I checked the tyres at the Winton BP and could not believe that we had lost almost 10psi in every tyre (should have been alarm bells but hey, rookie error) so I topped them all up, only to drive out to Carisbrooke on what turned out to be tyres at 45psi. The gauge at BP Winton was 10psi out, I had planned to go to Carisbrooke on 35psi (still a bit high with experience now) but at 35psi on their gauge turned to to be 45!!

7. Extra Spare Tyres

Thank you Aaron and Garth for the fabrication and welding of the dual spare carrier on the back of Karen Camper. Spare tyres are heavy, the tools to take a tyre off a rim and replace with a new one are cumbersome, so it was a big decision to take 2 more spare tyres. I can tell you the amount of people I speak to who have had multiple punctures are amazing, fingers crossed we have only had a split valve, and a screw in another, but I can tell you, once that spare tyre is on, if you didn’t have another one, it is very stressful.

8. Tools

My MiniMax 3/8 socket set gets used every day
My tool box gets used every day with:
Flat and Phillips screwdrivers (including a stumpy Phillips)
Large and medium sized Shifters
Needle nose and normal pliers
Wire stripper/crimper (good one, not those $5 ones)
Stanley
Tape measure
Cold chisel
Hammer
Spirit level
Q-Bond adhesive
Duct tape
Good multi-grips
Silicone spray

9. Bottom filler for camper water tanks

Don’t muck around with top filler pipes and breathers and rerouting them and levelling them yadda yadda yadda. Just install a filler pipe that goes into the bottom of the tank, and ensure your breather runs nice and high before it come back out. After doing this, this is the first time we have ever managed to fill both tanks in the camper, and trust me, water is precious out here. As a guide, we are finding we are getting about 10days from our combined 140ltrs, no showers. We still carry 2 x 20ltr jerrys as well but that is for emergencies. We never use anything but our own water for these results. (Might go up now the weather is warmer)

10. MULTIPLE hose tap fittings.

Because we avoid the caravan parks as if they are leper colonies, the first one we pulled into we realised we couldn’t use the water because we didn’t have the tap fitting. No problems, I ducked to the shop/newsagent/bottle-o/pharmacy/bakery/butchery/camping store/repco/electrical store/toy store/hardware (love these Jack-of-all-trade shops out here!) and bought the tap fitting for $2.99, got back to camp, screwed it on and away we went. At the next caravan park, it broke…. Moral of the story, carry a couple of them, or, not saying I did this, hang around camp until after 10:00am checkout, then walk around to all the sites that had rental Maui/Britz vans in them the night before and just grab all the ones they left behind on the taps…… I’ve been told they can be sold for $30ea to people in rental Maui/Britz Vans who roll in at 14:00pm checkin….. I’m told.

11. The Wheelie Bin Bag

I know I said top 10, and this is supposed to be “essential” bits of kit but the Wheelie Bin Bag has to get an honourable mention. Again, $100 was a lot to spentd on a rubbish bag, but again, it is something we use every day, and constantly find ourselves saying, “I love that rubbish bin”. How many times do you find yourself saying that? Ahhhh…. The simple things in life…..

Categories: Camping, Planning | 7 Comments

West MacDonnell Ranges – Part 2

Ok, prepare to be Gorge’d out!  There are sooooo many beautiful gorges in the West Mac’s!!

So – we will work through them from the Westernmost ones through to those closest to Alice Springs, starting with Roma Gorge (kids thought it was cool that this Gorge was the same name as their cousin!  Hello Roma!!).

Roma Gorge was a pretty long drive in and only accessible by 4wd.  Here we got to see some Aboriginal Petroglyphs which are carved into the rocks in the gorge.  It was 8km’s in along quite a corrugated and rocky creek bed track.  We enjoyed it as we had the whole place to ourselves but you do need a good couple of hours!  The walk into the gorge is only about 250metres from the car park, so not far once you have made the drive in.

Roma Gorge

Roma Gorge

Aboriginal Petroglyphs

Aboriginal Petroglyphs

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Short walk in to the gorge

Short walk in to the gorge

Toby getting creative inspired by Roma Gorge

Toby getting creative inspired by Roma Gorge

The next gorge you come to is Redbank Gorge and this was my favourite.  It was only a 2km walk in but was quite slow going for us with Toby and Lex and their little legs walking over rocks – definitely worth the walk though and we think the National Park campground here was the pick of them with quite secluded sites with your own fire pit, table and plenty of pit toilets around.

Walk in to Redbank Gorge

Walk in to Redbank Gorge

Still walking in to Redbank Gorge

Still walking in to Redbank Gorge

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

Beautiful Redbank Gorge

Beautiful Redbank Gorge

Photographer in action

Photographer in action

Family potrait done using the camera timer as we had the gorge to ourselves up until just before we left

Family potrait done using the camera timer as we had the gorge to ourselves up until just before we left

Next is Glen Helen Gorge and this was the gorge closest to our campsite at Finke 2-mile – pretty much just over the road from where we were camped.  There is a resort/pub and campground there so one night we splashed out and spent some of our treat money on dinner and a shower there.  It was such a great night!  We couldn’t believe how much cleaner we all looked after a shower – we hadn’t realised how dirty we had gotten in 3 days bush camping!  We had crocodile and kangaroo spring rolls to share to start with and then Matt had the Kangaroo steaks which really were very delicious!!  The kids were in heaven to choose their own dinners from the kids menu and it was an extra special night as Lexi had gone her first whole day without sucking her fingers (a habit she has had since she was born and we are aiming to break on this trip!) so the whole family was rewarded with icecreams for dessert! Matt and I had a wine each and there was a lovely roaring fire going in the bar along with an entertainer who was fantastic!  It was the best night we have had so far – we all really enjoyed the treat!  And Trice – check out Matt on the spoons – I took the video just for you hehehehe!

Glen Helen Gorge

Glen Helen Gorge

The view from the back deck of the Glen Helen Resort Pub

The view from the back deck of the Glen Helen Resort Pub

Our 'treat' dinner - soooooooo yum!

Our ‘treat’ dinner – soooooooo yum!

A fire - so lovely and warm as a change from our freezing camper at night!

A fire – so lovely and warm as a change from our freezing camper at night!

Lex with her hard earned icecream for not sucking her fingers for the whole day!

Lex with her hard earned icecream for not sucking her fingers for the whole day!

Tobes just got tuckered out - so we put him on the floor with a pillow from one of the lounges and he was happy!

Tobes just got tuckered out – so we put him on the floor with a pillow from one of the lounges and he was happy!

Ormiston Gorge is the largest of the gorges in the West Mac’s and one of the most popular, so it was quite busy here.  We managed to be there for a Ranger talk which the kids loved as he showed them how to identifiy animals from their tracks and scat (poo!).  He had heaps of cool things for the kids to touch and look at as well – the Northern Territory National Parks are fantastic with their facilities and ranger information sessions.  We also did the Ghost Gum walk here which is about a 3km walk around the rim of the Gorge – pretty easy walk and lots of amazing views!

Ormiston Gorge

Ormiston Gorge

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View down into Gorge from lookout

View down into Gorge from lookout

View from Rim Walk

View from Rim Walk

Great ranger talk

Great ranger talk

We did do a drive in to the ruins of the old Serpentine Lodge chalets which was quite interesting.  The track in is only short but quite rough (4wd recommended) and we enjoyed reading about the lodge being the halfway point for tourists to stopover in the West Mac’s in the days before comfortable 4wd’s were invented!  Unfortunately it closed due to water shortage problems and there looked to be an interesting walk in to a dam that was put in there, but the kids were done with walking by the time we got here!

The final gorge we visited was Matt’s favourite, Serpentine Gorge.  It is the least touristy of all the gorges and no camping is allowed there.  It was any easy 1.5km walk in to the gorge (although we did have to bribe the kids with freddo frogs to get them to do this one) and Matt and Jack also did the short but very steep scramble/climb to the lookout which has spectacular views over the ranges.

Serpentine Gorge

Serpentine Gorge

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View from the lookout at Serpentine Gorge

View from the lookout at Serpentine Gorge

Jack at the lookout

Jack at the lookout

Matt at the lookout - photo by Jacko!

Matt at the lookout – photo by Jacko!

Family pic - Serpentine Gorge

Family Pic – Serpentine Gorge

A beautiful, beautiful part of Australia, we loved our time in the West Mac’s!

Categories: Camping, NT Camping, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Facebook Page

DSC_0173Just letting everybody know that we have now set up a Facebook Page for our ‘Are We There Yet?’ Blog in effort to try and connect with other travellers/campers/crazies like us without them having to be subjected to all my rantings and millions of family photos on our private Facebook Page.

The link to the page is below if you are interested in following us in this way also!

https://www.facebook.com/fealyfamily

Hope you are all well – we have had a lovely relaxing day here in Tennant Creek – it is so lovely and warm and the kids spent the afternoon in the pool – now it is really starting to feel like a holiday!!

 

Categories: About Us | 1 Comment

West MacDonnell Ranges – Part 1

 

Our campsite at 2-Mile on the banks of the Finke River

Our campsite at 2-Mile on the banks of the Finke River

After a peaceful couple of days at Palm Valley in the Finke National Park, we then headed into Hermannsburg for a quick stop to update the blog while we had reception and to have a wander through the Hermannsburg Mission which was the first Aboriginal Mission in Australia.  We also pulled over to check out the home of Albert Namitjira who was a very sucessful Aboriginal artist.  We then finished the Mereenie Loop and headed into the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park and had the best five days exploring and walking through some beautiful gorges!

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Dingos everywhere at the campground at Palm Valley

Hermannsburg Mission

Hermannsburg Mission

Albert Namitjira's House

Albert Namitjira’s House

Donkey's on Mereenie Loop drive

Donkey’s on Mereenie Loop drive

Gosses Bluff Crater formed by the impact of an asteriod millions of years ago

Gosses Bluff Crater formed by the impact of an asteriod millions of years ago

We camped at 2-mile on the recommendation of a Brisbane family who met at Palm Valley.  It was a great tip and a spot we wouldn’t have found by ourselves!  It was bush camping so no facilities at all but it was fantastic (and free!) and our favourite campsite of the trip so far.  I’ll come straight out with our moment of shame – 2-mile is on the banks of the Finke River, camping in the sand, and we got bogged going in and out – yes – embarrassing!  On the way in we thought we’d test and see if we can drive on the sand with our tyres at highway pressure – quickly discovered we couldn’t and went to reverse out and ripped the rear mudflap off Peter Prado again – grrrr!  Some other campers came over to help but our pride resisted their offer and we dropped our tyre pressures and dug ourselves out of the sand and over to set up our campsite (and Matt again repaired the mudfap!).  When we went to leave we again thought we would be fine not to drop our tyre pressure (I know – how silly are we??) and even sillier -Matt forgot to take the handbrake off after giving me a lesson on putting the car in four wheel drive (so of course it was my fault!) and we found ourselves bogged again!  This time some other fellow campers came to our aid and told us their was no shame and it was all part of the fun – so we put our snatch strap to use and got a tug out of the sand!  Our lesson has been learnt – we are now very respectful of our tyre pressures in all situations and have been giving our compressor a good workout!!

Entering the West MacDonnell Ranges

Entering the West MacDonnell Ranges

Our lovely campsite at Finke 2-Mile

Our lovely campsite at Finke 2-Mile

Matt repairing the mudflap again

Matt repairing the mudflap again

Kids were soooo happy to play in the sand!

Kids were soooo happy to play in the sand!

Oh the shame - getting snatched out of the sand!

Oh the shame – getting snatched out of the sand!

We loved our spot at 2-mile so much that we based ourselves there for four nights and spent our time day tripping out to the Gorges and being home in the afternoon in time to enjoy the view and let the kids have some fun!  It was lovely – a toilet would have made it just perfect!

Kids were entertained the whole time we were there playing in the sand!

Kids were entertained the whole time we were there playing in the sand!

And we got the Kayak out for the first time!

And we got the Kayak out for the first time!

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Happy Kids!

Happy Kids!

And finally started to relax and slow our pace down a little!

And finally started to relax and slow our pace down a little!

Beautiful

Beautiful

Best Spot!

Best Spot!

There is soooooo much to see in the West Mac’s – you could easily spend a couple of weeks there – we got to see most of the sights but only managed a few of the walks as the kids were well and truly done with walking by this stage!  These are a few of the places we covered on the first day – more of the gorges to come!

The 'Ochre Pits'

The ‘Ochre Pits’

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Ellery Creek Big Hole was beautiful!

Ellery Creek Big Hole was beautiful!

Really, really beautiful!  Wish it wasn't freezing cold as it would have been lovely for a swim!

Really, really beautiful! Wish it wasn’t freezing cold as it would have been lovely for a swim!

Fealy Family at Ellery Creek Big Hole

Fealy Family at Ellery Creek Big Hole

 

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

A Breakdown

Kids Making the Best of the Situation!

Kids Making the Best of the Situation!

Well – it’s happened. We’ve had a breakdown – not of the nervous variety – or maybe nearly – but the car has broken down in Tennant Creek. This was something we knew may happen on the trip but we were really hoping it wouldn’t! It looks like Peter Prado’s alternator has died.

We realised something was amiss when we pulled in to the Devil’s Marbles yesterday and noticed we lost the air-conditioning, then as we were parking, some new lights flashing on the dashboard.  Matt tinkered around with it in the afternoon and concluded our starter battery was dead, but thought perhaps the alternator too was in trouble.  So, the next morning we packed up, drove back (starting the car using our auxiliary battery)  to Wauchope Pub (about 7km’s) and called RACQ to make use of our ‘Ultimate Cover’.  They advised that as we were 113km’s from our nearest RACQ technician, we were 13km’s out of our ‘free callout range’ and it would cost $280 to get someone out to us.  We decided to try to get to Tennant Creek ourselves – and if nothing else – on the recommendation of a nice truckie at the pub – to at least get 13km’s down the road and into our free callout zone!  He said he would come behind us and pick us up if we got stuck!  Well – we made it only just to Tennant Creek! We held our breath every kilometre of the 113km’s!  Poor Peter Prado only just made it – conking out in front of the pub in the main street!!  Matt will do a blokey post on all the technical stuff of what has gone on with the car once we actually confirm the RACQ man’s diagnosis of a dead alternator – aaaargh!!

So, we are at a caravan park in Tennant Creek (let’s just say it’s not our favourite place so far) until at least Tuesday which is the earliest we can get the parts delivered & installed.

It is a nice caravan park and our RACQ Ultimate Cover has come in handy and is paying our site fees and for a hire car should we need it. We have hot showers, it is warm (wahooooo!), we have mobile phone reception (read Blog & Facebook access), a pool, which although the water is freezing, the kids still spent half an hour in it, and a library down the road so somewhere to go for some reading and air conditioning, so it’s not all bad – we’re trying to stay positive and think on the bright side.

It’s been an ordinary couple of days. I fell down the steps of the camper and hurt my thumb (it’s really sore ok!), Matt has a serious dose of man flu (yes – he absolutely is suffering from pneumonia or typhoid fever – not just a cold!) our camera lense we were waiting on didn’t arrive in Alice Springs, the kids have been little terrors and now we have hit hotter weather our camper fridge is not staying cold when running on the gas – grrrrrr – this fridge has caused us lots of grief! Sigh ……….. and now the car has broken down.

I know, I know enough whingeing. We knew that things might get hard on the trip and this is part of it (Michelle – might need you to give me that pep talk you prepared for me!). It’s just a bit crappy to have a large car expense eating in to our funds with no jobs topping up the piggy bank grrrr!  Anyway, the upside is that we will have some forced downtime which is nice!  Matt and I have realised we are not very good at stopping and doing nothing – so with not much to see here and no car to really take us anywhere – look out for some blog updates coming along ……………….. or maybe I’ll really get in to this ‘do nothing thing’ and read a book, or something ……… we’ll keep you posted!!  In the meantime, has anybody been to Tennant Creek and got any advice for us?  And anybody out there got some thoughts on our b?!$#!dy not working again Dometic RM2350 camper fridge???

Categories: Camping, NT Camping | 10 Comments

We won!

We got to meet Zac Brown Band at their first ever Australian concert in Melbourne this Year!

We got to meet Zac Brown Band at their first ever Australian concert in Melbourne this Year!

We are sooooooo excited because we found out today that we were one of the winners of the Zac Brown Band #AYearofUncaged competition winners for the Blog post we wrote about ‘The Fealy Family Uncaged’.

Just had to share 🙂

http://zacbrownband.populr.me/ayearofuncaged

Wahoooooooo!  Thank you to Zac Brown Band for the great competition and our prize – we can’t wait to get it!!

Categories: Zac Brown Band | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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