Camping

Flashback Friday – Cars

This is really such a random Flashback Friday post.  I think I’m very tired or maybe it’s the heat, or baby brain, or I don’t know, maybe I’m just a bit nutty, but tonight I’m having a trip back down memory lane to remember all the different cars we have had in our life to date.  It’s actually quite interesting to see how our family has evolved through our vehicle choices, and also to see that there are all kinds of ways to get away camping!  So, without further ado, here is the Fealy Family history in cars over the last 15ish years.

Lets start with Matt’s first hot rod ……………………………. ‘Little Red Car’.  Matt’s older brother did say “are you serious??” (with a few expletives in there) when a 19yr old Matt took him to check out his first car purchase.  It didn’t have much of a cool factor but Matt loved this car!!

My first car was ‘Stevie’ the Festiva.  Matt helped me buy her when I got my first full time graduate job and Matt finally got out of having to taxi me to netball 3 nights a week!!

Stevie Festiva

Stevie Festiva

Then a baby came along so we decided we needed a ‘family’ car.  Introducing ‘Tezza’ Terios.

Then, another baby and another baby, and we thought we might have some more babies, so it was time for a people mover and we found ‘Graham’ Grandis.

Graham Grandis all packed up for a camping trip

Graham Grandis all packed up for a camping trip

With 3 kids and both of us working, it also meant we needed a second vehicle and this is where the second love (after me of course!) came into Matt’s life.

The motorbike

The Motorbike

Much as Matt loved his motorbike, when Jack started going to school we realised that it was not very useful for picking kids up on!  So after much angst, Matt decided it was time to say goodbye to the bike and hello to ‘Sammy’ Sirion.

Sammy Sirion

Sammy Sirion

Unfortunately ‘Sammy’ turned out to be a bit of a lemon and her engine died after only 2 years in the family so she was turfed out and we welcomed ‘Harris’ the Yaris, who you might remember we sold just last year to help fund our trip around Oz!

Harris the Yaris

Harris the Yaris

Graham the Grandis was of course sold to purchase our trusty stead, Peter Prado who we think will be with us for many more years yet!

Peter Prado

Peter Prado

So there you have it, a family history in cars!  Goes to show that you can still camp without a 4wd, although you probably won’t make it into any 4wd action magazines!

Do you remember your first car?  Do you have a car ‘love’?

It will be interesting to see what our kids think of these cars in 20 years time!

Categories: About Us, Camping, Flashback Friday | 2 Comments

King Ash Bay/Borroloola

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I’m really eeking out the remainder of these trip posts aren’t I!  Ok, so after a last swim and overnight stop at Mataranka we set our sights for a stopover at King Ash Bay in the Gulf of Carpentaria.  We had the tip to camp at King Ash Bay from the resident family Grey Nomads, Aunty Nerida and Uncle Garth, and it was a great little overnight stop!  King Ash Bay is all about the Barramundi fishing!  The campground is huge and there are lots of lovely shady sites right on the river bank.  BUT, there are saltwater crocodiles everywhere so it is very dangerous for kids to go anywhere near the water’s edge, such a bummer as it would be the perfect spot if you could only swim!

King Ash Bay

King Ash Bay

The shop at King Ash Bay fishing club where you purchase your camping permit

The shop at King Ash Bay fishing club where you purchase your camping permit

Our setup on the bank of the MacArthur River, King Ash Bay

Our setup on the bank of the MacArthur River, King Ash Bay

King Ash Bay gets very, very heavy overnight fog and dew which doesn't lift until nearly 9am!!  Makes it very difficult to have a dry pack up and get away early!

King Ash Bay gets very, very heavy overnight fog and dew which doesn’t lift until nearly 9am!! Makes it very difficult to have a dry pack up and get away early!

Delicious fish and chips at 'Gropers Bar & Beer Garden'

Delicious fish and chips at ‘Gropers Bar & Beer Garden

We had a pretty slow getaway in the morning from King Ash Bay due to the heavy dew, and then after driving only 40km’s down the road we came upon the little township of Borroloola, and what do you know?  The annual rodeo just happens to be on!  None of us had ever been to a rodeo before so we made the unanimous and very spontaneous decision to stop and check it out.  It was an awesome morning!

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There was just so much action and excitement and you could tell that it was a major event for the small community!  Have a look at this short video clip and you will get an idea of some of the atmosphere!

There wasn’t really a side show alley as such but the kids did talk us into letting them buy a couple of show bags to share as we realised that they hadn’t yet experienced that ‘rite of passage’.  They thought their show bags were just awesome!

Kids super happy with their first ever show bags!

Kids super happy with their first ever show bags!

And we all thought the bull riding was amazing!!DSC_0859 DSC_0861 DSC_0867 DSC_0868 DSC_0870 DSC_0871 DSC_0874

You will be glad to know that the rider in the photos above managed to walk away unscathed after this – it was so hard to watch but the rodeo clown and other helpers were in there very quickly to distract the bull!

The young kids all got in on the action too, attempting to ride some super bucky little ponies!DSC_0996 DSC_0945 DSC_0957 DSC_0962 DSC_0964 DSC_0988

We honestly could have stayed and watched all day, but for the fact it was stinking hot and the Savannah Way home to Far North Queensland was calling!  They were playing some very fine music throughout the day too – Zac Brown Band all day long at the Borroloola Rodeo – wahooooo!!

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

Farewell To WA

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I think I have been subconscioulsly delaying finishing off the posts about our trip because I really don’t want to believe that it is all over.  I love looking back at our trip photos, it truly was the most amazing time of our lives!!  This post will I think be the third last post recounting our adventures, nooooooooooo!

Anyway, ‘get on with it’, I hear you say!

We left Emma Gorge after a well earned ice-cream from the resort shop and a sandwich in the car park.  The kids slept off the exhaustion of our morning’s walk into the gorge and Matt and I nervously counted the kilometres in to Kununurra as we were seriously in need of fuel (being frugal and not wanting to spend the $2.10 per litre to fill up at El Questro Station!).IMG_2411

At this point in our trip we only had 7 days left in order to get back to Cairns for Matt to catch a plane to the Gold Coast for his cousin’s wedding, so our plan for the next week was just to drive, drive and drive.  After arriving in Kununurra and immediately filling up the car and getting a new tyre to replace the one we blew on the Gibb River Road, we decided to have a quick stop at ‘The Hoochery’ rum distillery.  Matt did the taste tasting and we choose a bottle to take home for my Dad to try – the consensus being that the rum was not bad, but not in the same league as the favourite Bundaberg Rum.

Taste testing at 'The Hoochery' rum distillery in Kununurra

Taste testing at ‘The Hoochery’ rum distillery in Kununurra

Just a cute pic of Tobes in Dad's hat at the distillery

Just a cute pic of Tobes in Dad’s hat at the distillery

From here I took a stint at the wheel while Matt snoozed off the afternoon’s taste tests and drove us back across the border into the Northern Territory!  I did make several stops along the way though, still trying to get that elusive ‘sunset boab tree’ shot.  Matt did pretty well with this one I think!

Farewell WA!

Farewell WA!

That night we pulled up stumps at Timber Creek.  We had a quick overnight stop in what was a really lovely and cheap caravan park!  Nice shady sites, old but clean amenities and they do free crocodile feedings at the creek behind the campground in the afternoons (we arrived too late unfortunately).

Lovely caravan park at Timber Creek

Lovely caravan park at Timber Creek

Our overnight set up

Our overnight set up

Great little kids playground and pool at the caravan park too

Great little kids playground and pool at the caravan park too

After a very slow pack up the next morning (yes we definitely dragged the feet towards home!) we arrived in to Katherine for lunch, a grocery supply stock up and to pick up a belated birthday parcel which was waiting at the Post Office for Toby.

Tobes very excited to open his birthday parcel - thanks Grandma and Grandad Bill!

Tobes very excited to open his birthday parcel – thanks Grandma and Grandad Bill!

Lunch in Katherine.  We also videoed our 'Time Capsule' messages here!

Lunch in Katherine. We also videoed our ‘Time Capsule’ messages here!

The other amazing thing that happened in Katherine was that we had our first ‘blog spotting’ moment!  The kids and I were in Woolies getting some supplies when a voice politely asked ‘are you Jess, from Are We There Yet?’.  I was so surprised it took me a second to answer, but it was so lovely to meet Simone and her family who were also travelling and had been following our blog!  You can check out the Laing Family Road trip adventures here – there are some great photos of their time in Western Australia!

From Katherine we put a few more kilometres under our belts and decided to have a night at Mataranka, this time staying at the Territory Manor Caravan Park so we were close enough for one last swim at Bitter Springs.

We loved Bitter Springs!

We loved Bitter Springs!

Jack amusing himself in the campground.

Jack amusing himself in the campground – Mataranka

Last swim in the lovely warm Bitter Springs.

Last swim in the lovely warm Bitter Springs.

Next post, the Savannah Way – probably the roughest road on our whole trip, but the best free camp spot along the way, can’t wait to show you the rodeo photos too!

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

Emma Gorge

DSC_0773As I gathered the photos for this blog post, I realised that there is less then a week of trip travels left to blog about!  This combined with the fact that Karen Camper was driven away by somebody else last week, (she sold only 2 days after we listed her on Gumtree!) means I am feeling a little sad that our trip really is coming to a very ‘official’ end.  I am reminding myself though, that as my mum-in-law Gayel said to me last week, “if you hold on to one adventure too long, you will never have another”, and she is exactly right.

Ok, so now just a little entry about the beautiful Emma Gorge.  After we packed up and followed the grader out of El Questro Station

Following the grader out of El Questro Station - very dusty!

Following the grader out of El Questro Station – very dusty!

we headed about half an hour down the road to Emma Gorge, which is also still a part of the El Questro Wilderness Park.  There is no camping at Emma Gorge, but there is a lovely resort with tented cabins, a restaurant and big swimming pool.  We arrived there at about 8am and quickly headed off to walk in to the Gorge to try and beat the heat.  It was a pretty tough walk in and seemed to take us forever, but it was probably only a bit over an hour in.  The kids did really well again, managing the rocky path and the boulder hopping/scrambling that is required just before you get to the waterfall at the end of the gorge.

The view of the gorge at the start of the walk in

The view of the gorge at the start of the walk in

A nice cool spot to rest about half way in

A nice cool spot to rest about half way in

Kids were pretty tired here

Kids were pretty tired here

Off we go again!

Off we go again!

The beautiful swimming hole and waterfall at the end was worth the walk in!  We all were hot and sweaty so stripped right off, jumped in and got the biggest shock – the water was FREEZING cold!!  We had been given the hot tip however, to head over to the rocks on the right where a lovely warm spring was so we all huddled in there.  We were even lucky enough to have the place to ourselves for a little while!

We made it!

We made it!  Not a lot of water coming over the falls but still really pretty!

Really beautiful - water cascading over the rocks

Really beautiful

Me having a swim - I had to force myself because it was very cold!

Me having a swim – I had to force myself because it was very cold!

It was very rocky (sharp rocks) at the waterhole - we would have been better to wear our reef shoes for the walk in.

It was very rocky (sharp rocks) at the waterhole – we would have been better to wear our reef shoes for the walk in.

Fealy Family at Emma Gorge

Fealy Family at Emma Gorge

This was our final stop along the Gibb River Road and definitely one we wouldn’t have missed!!  Has anybody else visited Emma Gorge on their travels?  Did you like it?

Categories: Camping, WA Camping | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

El Questro Station

DSC_0733Right, back to the trip!  Our last post saw us travelling along the Gibb River Road, where after a long day on the road we eventually arrived at El Questro Station.  I had been leaving this post for Matt to write as El Questro Station was his favourite stop on our whole trip, but the Farmer Boy just doesn’t have time at the moment and he is usually asleep in the chair in the lounge by 8pm, so if you want some more ‘blokey’ details about El Questro just yell them out in the comments and Matt will get back to you!

We arrived into El Questro (after a nervous creek crossing in the dark!  Very difficult to see how deep it is at night!) after the sun had set so we once again had to chose a site and set up in the dark!  Luckily the park wasn’t very busy so there were plenty of nice shady spots in the campground.  After a quick set up we treated ourselves to dinner at ‘The Swinging Arm Bar’.  The food was yum and the entertainment was great! The kids loved the whip cracking and jokes, and Matt and I thought the guy on the guitar was really good. Toby once again fell asleep at the table and everywhere we went around the station after that other campers would say ‘oh you’re the family who had the little fella asleep at the table’!

We were up early the next day to do the free walking tour of the immediate station grounds.  It was nice to orientate ourselves and gain a little bit of the history of the station, but our tour guide wasn’t much of a talker so it was a little bit of a waste of time we thought.

The creek crossing in to El Questro - not very deep when we went through

The creek crossing in to El Questro – not very deep when we went through

Lovely swimming spot at the campground

Lovely swimming spot at the campground

Trail riders heading out

Trail riders heading out – lovely shady campground behind them

We loved the amenities at El Questro - great little toilet/shower huts that you could have all to yourself!

We loved the amenities at El Questro – great little toilet/shower huts that you could have all to yourself!

As we only had two nights at El Questro, that meant a jam packed day of sightseeing for us, but boy was it awesome!

We started the day with a swim at Zebedee Springs.  They were the most amazing hot springs ever!  The springs are an easy, short walk from the car park and are set in amongst the rainforest and beautifully warm – we all could have stayed there all day!!  Unfortunately the springs are only open to campers/visitors in the morning and then closed off for the rest of the day as the station is trying to restrict the human impact on the springs and also allows it’s very high fee paying ‘Homestead’ guests exclusive use in the afternoons.  Our tip is to get there as early as you can, before all the tour buses arrive!  We loved that the springs are still in a very natural state, no concrete paths or walls – it really was beautiful in there – a real oasis!!

Fealy Family at Zebedee Springs

Fealy Family at Zebedee Springs

We all had so much fun paddling around!

We all had so much fun paddling around!

Can you see how clear the water is!

Can you see how clear the water is!

Relaxed much!  So beautiful and warm and heaps of little spots to find your own private waterfall!

Relaxed much! So beautiful and warm and heaps of little spots to find your own private waterfall!

Fun!

Fun!

Our three little ewoks walking back to the car from Zebedee Springs

Our three little ewoks walking back to the car from Zebedee Springs

From the springs, we decided to have a go at walking some of the El Questro Gorge trail.  We easily walked in to the halfway pool of the gorge (1.3km’s) in a bit under an hour with the kids, but once we reached this point some other walkers advised that it would be really tough going for the kids to go much further as there was lots of climbing and rock hopping involved.  So, we enjoyed a refreshing swim in the small swimming hole and then walked out again.  It was a really lovely walk, nice and shady so we were out of the sun for the hottest part of the day, but we definitely want to go back again and trek all the way in to the top pool of the Gorge as the photos of it looked quite beautiful – next time!

The walk in to El Questro Gorge

The walk in to El Questro Gorge

Really pretty walk - Tobes loved it!

Really pretty walk – Tobes loved it!

Lex having a swim in the water hole at the half way point - beautiful clear water but pretty cold!

Lex having a swim in the water hole at the half way point – beautiful clear water but pretty cold!

El Questro Gorge walk

El Questro Gorge walk

The road in to El Questro Gorge is 4wd only and Matt loved having a bit of fun in the mud and creek crossings in Peter Prado!!

Huge mud puddle before the creek crossing into the El Questro Gorge Trail

Huge mud puddle before the creek crossing into the El Questro Gorge Trail

Matt having fun!

Matt having fun!

Creek crossing

Creek crossing

Rocky and muddy!

Rocky and muddy!

Probably the deepest creek crossing Peter Prado got to do on our trip

Probably the deepest creek crossing Peter Prado got to do on our trip

We did a little bit of driving around the station and checked out Moonshine Creek and a little picnic area that I have forgotten the name of now!

Moonshine Gorge

Moonshine Gorge – there was a family painting and swimming here but we didn’t think it looked that inviting!

Gotta have another Boab Tree photo in there before we leave Western Australia!

Gotta have another Boab Tree photo in there before we leave Western Australia!

We decided for our lunch stop (albeit a very late one!) that we would tackle the 4wd track up to Saddleback Ridge.  I was a bit nervous about this as the station information pamphlet for this drive said ‘recommended for experienced 4 x 4 drivers only. This very steep, narrow and challenging 4WD track really highlights that getting there is an adventure in itself’ – eeeek!  But off we went and we were fine!  I wouldn’t have liked to have met another car on the track – it was VERY steep and VERY narrow but the view at the top for lunch was amazing!

Creek crossing at the start of the Saddleback Ridge track

Creek crossing at the start of the Saddleback Ridge track

Well done Peter Prado getting us to the top!

Well done Peter Prado getting us to the top!

Great views at the top and the spunky husband ain't bad either!!

Great views at the top and the spunky husband ain’t bad either!!

We finished off the day with a spectacular sunset picnic at Branco’s lookout.  It was a bit of a drive to get to Branco’s lookout, not difficult 4wding though, and we were disappointed that there wasn’t much water in the Pentecost River crossing (it would be spectacular with water in it) but it was a great spot to watch the sun go down over El Questro and such a good way to end what was really an awesome day of adventuring and exploring!

Crossing the Pentecost River on El Questro Station to get to Branco's Lookout

Crossing the Pentecost River on El Questro Station to get to Branco’s Lookout

Dad & Son - Blanco's Lookout

Dad & Son – Branco’s Lookout

Sunset at Blanco's lookout - amazing views of the Pentecost River and Cockburn Ranges

Sunset at Branco’s lookout – amazing views of the Pentecost River and Cockburn Ranges

Fealy Family - El Questro Station

Fealy Family – El Questro Station

We missed out on doing heaps of other great things at El Questro Station, such as the Chamberlain Gorge cruise, Champagne Springs hike, Explosion Gorge 4wd track, Pigeon Hole 4wd track, Amalia Gorge trail and heaps of other bits and pieces.  We hadn’t done any research on El Questro Station before we arrived there and had no idea how much there really is to do and see!  I think you would need at least a week there – if not more so you can enjoy some relaxing time in a pretty spectacular spot!  And we would definitely, definitely chose one of the private campsites along the Pentecost River at the station.  There are no amenities on these sites but they looked beautiful and it is only a short drive back to the station if you really wanted a hot shower!!  If you are a 4wd enthusiast and camper then be sure to add El Questro Station to your list of places you must visit!!

PS. You can get to El Questro Station from Kununurra in about an hour and a half, and the road is all sealed to the Station turn off.  From the turn off it is 16km’s of gravel and there is a water crossing to consider, but the road wasn’t too bad at all!

PPS. I forgot to mention that along with your camping fees at El Questro, you must also purchase an El Questro Wilderness Park Permit.  The prices when we went through were (yes expensive, but worth it!):

  • Adult – $20 per person (valid for seven days)
  • Adult – $12 per person (Day Pass)
Categories: Camping, WA Camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Karen Camper is for Sale (sob, sob)

20130706-205458.jpgSniffle, sniffle, sob.

We have come to the very tough decision that we are selling our faithful ‘home away from home’ Karen Camper’.

It was always a given that when we ended our trip we would have to sell ‘Karen’ and down size back to our tent set up or maybe purchase a camper trailer.  We drew down on our home loan to purchase Karen and know now that our trip is over that we should sell her and put some $$$ back on our home loan – financially that is the smartest thing to do.

We just won’t get the time off to do another big trip like that again any time soon.  Our camping trips now will be weekends and hopefully a few extended week or 2 week adventures.  Added to that 4 children would be a very tight squeeze in Karen.

So, big sigh, she is up for reluctant sale.  Here are the details as per Matt’s ad on Gumtree;

“Meet Karen the Kamper

Karen has safely and very comfortably carried our Family of 5 most of the way around Australia for the last 4 months.

If you are looking for the “Hardly used” or “Never been offroad” camper Karen is NOT it.

If you want a camper that has canvas and vinyl that is perishing, hardened tyres that have flat spots and shockies seals that have cracked all due to lack of use, Karen is NOT it.

If you want a camper for your ‘Round Oz trip, that has already been round the block 3 times and had all the little modifications made to it to prepare it for some real adventure then Karen IS it.

We are the third owners of this camper, each owner has taken her around Australia and she is still rock solid. Some people say poor Karen has never had a break and had a chance to sit in a shed under a tarp and get rusty, dusty and lonely. I say she has probably seen more of Australia then Burke and Wills.

She has all the things needed for full on long term camping, for example:

1. 180L of water on board
2. Gas hot water system
3. External shower
4. Dual water/fuel Jerry can holders
5. Dual 9kg gas bottles
6. Dual spare tyre carrier
7. Purpose built Generator Box
8. Upgraded wind up mechanism (heaver grade cable, pulleys and casing)
9. Genuine Vehicle Componants DO35v2 off road hitch.
10. Fully independant, low manitainence and easy to source leaf sprung and shock absorber suspension.
11. 4 x Quality Maxxiss Bravo 771 off road tyres (all less then 6 months old)
11. 3-Way Fridge (with 2 Gas bottles you’re talking almost 2 months of cold beer before having to find civilisation)
12. 120Ah deep cycle battery (With the 3 way fridge on gas the only thing the battery runs is the water pump and the lights. We never got below 70% on the battery and that was during 9 days of rain so no solar)
13. Anderson Plug for charging Battery from the car or solar panels
14. Dual Exhaust fans fitted to the rear of the Fridge to help remove excess heat.

Thousands and Thousands of dollars of modifications have been made that really are required if you are serious about going bush for extended periods.

Of course there is the standard features:

1. Queen bed one end and Double bed at the other, table drops down to a bed and the design of the lounge means that one side of the lounge is even another bed (child)
2. Full Size Oven (used, used a lot in fact, why do people always say their ovens are never used?? How do you know if it works?)
3. Griller and 4 burner stove
4. Microwave (actually that was never used because we we very rarely plugged into 240V)
5. Bagged and zipped bed end flys both ends
6. Fiama F45s wind out awning (if anyone tells you you need an full sized annex ask them how many times they actually got the 48 poles and pegs and ropes out to set it up? 20 seconds and the Fiama is out, you are in the shade and your cold beer is open)
7. Fold down table (perfect for road side lunch stops)
8. Pull out external BBQ (perfect for road side lunch stops)

I could go on forever. Simply put, if you are in the planing phase of quitting your jobs and thowing the kids in the car and heading out around Australia then Karen will get you there and back comfortably and with ease.

If maybe you are just after a serious long term camper, for the yearly Xmas/Easter trips but have a nice clean, dry garage Karen can sleep in in the mean time, I’m sure should would love the rest.

Eitherway, if you are even looking at this ad, you know that the older (pre-blue colour scheme) Goldstreams where the ones “made like they used to” so you already know just how rock solid and amazing these campers are and know that she will serve you very very well. Karen is a 2003 model, the last of the Maroon colour scheme.

Oh, almost forgot, She just had her bearings and brakes done. And dont worry, she does look a bit dirty in all these pictures, but she has had a shampoo, wash and blow dry and she is looking schmick-o again.”

There are plenty of photos of Karen Camper all over our blog, but these posts in particular “The House on Wheels” and “Our Home” give you a good look at the Karen Camper specifics.

This is the link to our ad on GumTree – please feel free to pass on the link or our blog to anyone who is looking for a great camper!

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/mareeba/camper-trailers/round-oz-special-off-road-goldstream-gold-star-camper/1037615506

We can honestly say, hand on heart, that she was the perfect camper for our trip.  Very easy to set up and pack down and oh so comfortable.  We never felt crowded or even like we were ever really roughing it!!  And we are happy to report that after we gave her a very good clean and finally removed the several layers of dust she had been wearing, she is still in very good condition after all her Fealy Family Adventuring!

We will definitely be so, so sad the day someone else drives Karen Camper out the driveway, but we know she could bring lots of enjoyment to another family just like ours!20130716-205720.jpg 20130716-205834.jpg

Categories: About Us, Camping, Modifications, Planning | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Our Trip Time Capsule – 100th Blog Post

See you in 25 years or so time capsule!!

See you in 25 years or so time capsule!!

This is our 100th Blog Post!  I can’t believe we have written that many posts or even more amazing that you are all still reading our rubbish hehehehe!

I really enjoy writing our blog and even though I am so far behind I intend to keep going and finish the adventures of our trip off and then hopefully share our camping escapades up here in Far North Queensland, when mango/avocado packing season finishes and life settles down a little again!  We will definitely be well and truly ready for a short camping break away from the farm by then!

To mark our 100th Blog Post, I thought it would be appropriate to use this entry to tell you about our Trip Time Capsule.  We decided early on in our trip that before we finished, we would like to bury a time capsule somewhere in the great blue yonder of Oz.  There was no set plan for where it should be buried, or when, just that we wanted to plant a treasure box filled with some memories of our trip which had been so long in the planning and would hopefully be a great snapshot of a significant event in the lives of the Fealy Family in 2013.  This is how it went down ……………….

The contents of our time capsule.

The contents of our time capsule – pictures and drawings from the kid’s journals, a ‘Fealy Family Adventure’ t-shirt, a letter to Fealy Bub No 4, shells, small toys the kids enjoyed, a newspaper clipping about the farm we have now moved on to, a fuel receipt, letters from the cousies before we left on our trip, a map

All packed up - I sacrificed one of my very handy plastic kitchen containers for the cause!

All packed up – I sacrificed one of my very handy plastic kitchen containers for the cause!

There was quite a lot of discussion about where the best place to bury the time capsule would be!

There was quite a lot of discussion about where the best place to bury the time capsule would be!

Dig, Dig!

Dig, Dig!

Watching Dad do the hard work, Matt was cursing that we hadn't chosen somewhere sandy to bury our loot!

Watching Dad do the hard work, Matt was cursing that we hadn’t chosen somewhere sandy to bury our loot!

Fealy Family Adventure 2013 Time Capsule

Fealy Family Adventure 2013 Time Capsule

We're hoping that if somebody other than our family find our capsule that they will contact us to let us know!

We’re hoping that if somebody other than our family find our capsule that they will contact us to let us know!

Ok - in it goes

Ok – in it goes

Who wants to put it in?

Who wants to put it in?

Toby did!

Toby did!

Tobes having a go with the shovel to bury it!

Tobes having a go with the shovel to bury it!

It was very hot and hard work in the sun - Dad took over to finish it off!

It was very hot and hard work in the sun – Dad took over to finish it off!

We used the tape measure to help record exactly where we had buried our box!

We used the tape measure to help record exactly where we had buried our box!  That along with the GPS co-ordinates, some spray paint and a detailed note with a description has all been saved in the Fealy Family vault to help locate our capsule somewhere in the future!!

We’ve written a post in the past about ‘Why we go camping’ and we hope that even with our change to farm life, we will still continue to get away on some great family camping trips in the coming years – as you know from our previous post, camping is something that is very important to us.

So, the hope then is, that maybe in 25 years time, one of the kids might take their own family away on a camping adventure, or their boyfriend or girlfriend, a sibling adventure, or even just a solo break away, and head off towards where we buried our time capsule.  We hope they will remember that we buried it around that area somewhere and ring mum and dad and say “hey Dad, remember that time capsule we buried on our trip around Australia in 2013?  What is the exact location for it?  We want to have a go at finding it and digging it up!”.  Or it may even be that in 10 years time we get a chance to head away and do another big Fealy Family Adventure again and we go searching for it!  Or maybe Matt and I will head off as grey nomads in 25 years time when all our babies have left the nest and we will dig it up ourselves!!  Who knows, but it is something to look forward to, a little bit of a treaure hunt down the track to locate a small piece of Fealy Family history.

This is the image on one of the shirt's Matt's workmate, Hayley, made for us!  We loved the shirts Hayley - I'm bummed we never got a photo of all of us wearing them!

This is the image on one of the shirt’s Matt’s workmate, Hayley, made for us! We loved the shirts Hayley – I’m bummed we never got a photo of all of us wearing them!

Categories: About Us, Camping | 4 Comments

Gibb River Road

DSC_0201From Manning Gorge we decided to push for El Questro Station to spend the final two nights of our travels along the Gibb River Road.  That turned out to be a very long day on the road!  This section of road was the worst stretch we travelled on the Gibb.  We blew a tyre on the camper and pretty much averaged between 20 to 60km’s per hour for the whole day.  A few photos of this stretch of the road to begin;

Peter Prado on the Gibb River Road

Peter Prado on the Gibb River Road

Very dusty and lots of quite large sharp rocks and heaps of corrugations!

Very dusty and lots of quite large sharp rocks and heaps of corrugations!

Peter Prado & Karen Camper

Peter Prado & Karen Camper

Sooooo much dust

Sooooo much dust

Only about five minutes after we had done this little photo shoot we were pulled over again to change a very shredded camper tyre!!  We were running all of our tyres at about 28PSI prior to this stretch of road as the track had been recently graded, but after changing this tyre we dropped everything down to about 25PSI.  We felt very grateful to have a second spare tyre still on board after blowing this one and knowing that we still had about 200 kilometres of the Gibb River Road to travel.  We never once regretted carrying two spare tyres at all times – just eased the worry a little!

Aaaargh!

Aaaargh!

Lucky we carry two spares!

Lucky we carry two spares!

It was stinking hot work changing this tyre so we were soooo grateful when half an hour after we were back on the road we saw the sign for Ellenbrae Station.  We had heard great things about the scones at Ellenbrae so we decided to stop in for a quick scone/lunch break.DSC_0064The homestead for Ellenbrae Station was only 5km’s in off the Gibb River Road and it was a lovely cool oasis!!  There were lots of turn off’s to camp sites on the road in which we would have loved to check out but alas – only time for scones on this trip and the scones were sooooooooooo good!  The kids enjoyed exploring the bits and pieces around the gardens at the Ellenbrae Homestead and Matt and I got a chance to cool off after the hot and dusty morning changing the tyre and concentrating on the rough road.

Such a lovely green, shady and cool spot for scones and a cold drink!

Such a lovely green, shady and cool spot for scones and a cold drink!

Ellenbrae Station Scones - yum!

Ellenbrae Station Scones – yum!

The shower facilities at the homestead - neat!

The shower facilities at the homestead – neat!

A little tree snake that the kids spotted in the garden at Ellenbrae

A little tree snake that the kids spotted in the garden at Ellenbrae

From Ellenbrae Station we headed to Home Valley Station.  The scenary as we got closer to Home Valley Station was just spectacular!  By this stage of the drive though we were just hanging out for the rough road to be over!  It was really rattling the car and camper around and we were getting very worried about what damage might be happening to the camper, not to mention wondering how much dust was now onboard!

The scenary approaching Home Valley Station

The scenary approaching Home Valley Station

Hooray - we can see water!  A welcome sight after a hot and dusty day driving!

Hooray – we can see water! A welcome sight after a hot and dusty day driving!

View from the lookout before heading down to Home Valley Station

View from the lookout before heading down to Home Valley Station

We had a quick stop for a drink and to have a sticky beak at Home Valley Station campground.  We very nearly stopped and stayed the night here as it looked so nice!  There was a great bar/restaurant area, a swimming pool, a playground at the campground and lovely green grass to set up camp on!  So tempting after a week on the dry, dusty Gibb!  But we really wanted to be able to only have one pack up/set up left on the Gibb so we had a quick drink at the bar and then headed off again for the last 80km’s or so to El Questro Station.

The entrance to Home Valley Station

The entrance to Home Valley Station

Home Valley Station

Home Valley Station

Cool giant chess set on the grounds at Home Valley Station

Cool giant chess set on the grounds at Home Valley Station

The bar/restaurant area at Home Valley Station was really, really nice - would loved to have had a meal here!

The bar/restaurant area at Home Valley Station was really, really nice – would loved to have had a meal here!

Just down the road from Home Valley Station and we came to probably the most ‘iconic photo shoot’ on the whole Gibb River Road, the Pentecost River crossing.  We were sooooo excited to finally reach it although we did have to drive across to check the sign on the other side to make sure it actually was the Pentecost River!  Unfortunately there was not a lot of water at the time we crossed so we are a little disappointed with our photos but it still feels nice to say we have done it!!  We did a few trips over and back on the river crossing trying to get a perfect shot for the wall, but just couldn’t quite capture it – one to get next time!

Crossing the Pentecost River on the Gibb River Road

Crossing the Pentecost River on the Gibb River Road

Peter Prado & Karen Camper crossing the Pentecost River

Peter Prado & Karen Camper crossing the Pentecost River

Pentecost River

Pentecost River

Matt pretty happy that we got to do this crossing on our trip.  It had been something he really wanted to see when we started planning this trip two long years ago!

Matt pretty happy that we got to do this crossing on our trip. It had been something he really wanted to see when we started planning this trip two long years ago!

As you can see from the light in these photos – the sun was starting to set which made for really pretty driving in to El Questro Station.  The Cockburn Ranges looked spectacular at this time of day!

The Cockburn Ranges

The Cockburn Ranges

Photographer out the car window

Photographer out the car window

Beautiful

Beautiful

This shot was just before the turn off to El Questro Station

This shot of the Cockburn Ranges was just before the turn off to El Questro Station

A post about El Questro Station coming up next.  This stop was Matt’s favourite part of the whole trip so don’t miss reading out on what we got up to here!

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

Manning Gorge

DSC_0006So, getting back to the Gibb River Road now – we are only about half way along it and there are some beautiful places we still want to share with you!  After stopping at Bell Gorge, we set up camp for two nights at Manning Gorge.  This was a really nice place to camp with heaps of campsites and the campground was quite big so if you didn’t mind a walk to the amenities you could find a campsite away from everybody else. The amenities were generator operated hot water showers – so you could only get hot showers for an hour or so in the morning and two hours at night.  The generator was a little noisy but the toilets and showers were nice and clean.  It was a little smelly though so I was glad we didn’t camp near the amenities.  Most of the sites were quite shady which was nice but they were all very dry and dusty when we were there.

The best thing about the manning gorge campground was the river and sandy river bed right near the campsite which you could swim in – it was lovely!  A great spot that was cool and shady and the water was so nice for swimming.

Swimming spot at Manning Gorge campground

Swimming spot at Manning Gorge campground

Trying to capture the perfect reflections on the water.

Trying to capture the perfect reflections on the water.

These photos were taken just after a pre sunset swim

These photos were taken just after a pre sunset swim

Lovely

Lovely

Reflections

Reflections

Sun set photo

Sun set photo

Matt & I having a swim

Matt & I having a swim

After arriving fairly late in the afternoon we only had time to have a quick swim and set up camp, so the next morning we headed off to tackle the walk to Manning Gorge.  This walk was probably one of the toughest we have done.  It was only about a 3km walk in (so 6km’s return) but it is a very open walk, so very hot and dusty!!  We all found this walk a pretty long one and agree we should have started earlier in the day (we headed off at about 10am).  To start the walk you must cross the swimming hole at the river and to help keep your feet dry you can use a little ‘pull -along’ tinnie.  The kids loved it and we had several creek crossing in the boat during our couple of days here!

The little 'pull-a-long' tinnie which you can use to cross the river to the other side without getting your shoes wet before your hike!

The little ‘pull-a-long’ tinnie which you can use to cross the river to the other side without getting your shoes wet before your hike!

Pulling the tinnie across the river.

Pulling the tinnie across the river.

Heading off to walk in to Manning Gorge

Heading off to walk in to Manning Gorge

The long, hot, dusty walk to Manning Gorge

The long, hot, dusty walk to Manning Gorge

Pretty nice 'Gibb River Road' scenery on our walk into the gorge

Pretty nice ‘Gibb River Road’ scenery on our walk into the gorge

We were all pretty happy to finally reach the gorge after about an hour and a half of walking!  It was worth the walk though and we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves for some of the time we were there.  We spent a couple of hours down there and I had packed enough snack food to keep us all happy, so it was a very relaxing way to spend the hottest part of the day before we tackled the long walk back!

Hooray - Manning Gorge at last!

Hooray – Manning Gorge at last!

Manning Gorge - lots of people jump into the water off the top of the waterfall but we weren't game enough to have a go!

Manning Gorge – lots of people jump into the water off the top of the waterfall but we weren’t game enough to have a go!

Swim time!

Swim time!

The water was cold but very refreshing after the hot walk in!

The water was cold but very refreshing after the hot walk in!

Looking out from under the waterfall

Looking out from under the waterfall 

Easy way to spend the day

Easy way to spend the day

We found a nice shallow swimming spot for the kids

We found a nice shallow swimming spot for the kids

The kids wrestling in the water!

The kids wrestling in the water!

Washing the sand off our feet to get our shoes on for the long walk back

Washing the sand off our feet to get our shoes on for the long walk back

Manning Gorge is about the half way point along the Gibb River Road and we could easily have spent a few more days relaxing and swimming here if we had longer – we’d definitely recommend a couple of nights stay here and the Barnett River Roadhouse was just up the road so you could grab some essential supplies, fuel and ice creams very easily! Aaargh – I just want to go back now!DSC_0223

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

Bell Gorge

DSC_0091Right, back to a post about the trip!  At the rate we are going you guys will all be still reading posts about our trip twelve months after we finished it!

After two nights camping at Windjana Gorge and checking out Tunnel Creek we headed off to get a few kilometres of the Gibb River Road under our tyres.  We were a bit nervous about what the road conditions would be like, but we were pleasantly surprised to find this stretch of road – about 1oo kilometres from Windjana Gorge to Bell Gorge – was pretty good.  Corrugated and mostly dirt but it looked like it had been very recently graded so we travelled along with no problems.  It was hard to bypass Lennard Gorge and the Mt Hart Homestead, but as we only had a week we had to be selective with where we stopped on the Gibb. We had decided that this was just to be a ‘practice run’ Gibb River Road trip and we will come back and do it properly one day!!

This stretch of the Gibb was quite scenic – with some lovely spots to stop and check out the views.

Lookout view Gibb River Road

Lookout view Gibb River Road

Peter Prado and Karen Camper on the Gibb River Road

Peter Prado and Karen Camper on the Gibb River Road

We had decided that Bell Gorge would be our lunch time stop, but we didn’t realise that it was actually 39km in to the Gorge along the access road off the Gibb River Road.  This road was actually pretty rough and there are a couple of creek crossings along the way which we didn’t know about either.  They were quite shallow when we went through so no problems and a bit of excitement for us as they were Karen Camper’s first water crossings!

Creek Crossing on Access Road into Bell Gorge

Creek Crossing on Access Road into Bell Gorge

Peter Prado and Karen Camper handled them too easy!

Peter Prado and Karen Camper handled them too easy!

We unhitched Karen Camper at the entrance to the Bell Gorge Campsite (called Silent Grove) as we thought the road was getting quite rough and we weren’t sure what parking there would be at the Gorge entrance. We were really glad we did this as the road did get more corrugated (it was another 10km’s from the campsite to the gorge) and the car park at the Gorge is really quite small – it would have been difficult to park the camper down there.  The Silent Grove campsite looked quite nice – very dry and dusty but some shade and amenities so you could easily have a few nights there.  We then had a quick bite of lunch and headed off for the short 3km return walk into the gorge – yes dragging a few reluctant kids again for another walk!

Back of the car lunch preparation

Back of the car lunch preparation

Off to walk in to Bell Gorge

Off to walk in to Bell Gorge

It was an easy walk in to the Gorge although it was quite hot walking in the middle of the day!  We were glad to have a swim when we got there!  The water in the swimming hole at the bottom of the water falls was freezing!!  But we did all get in eventually – even me!  Be warned though – the edge going in to the water is very slippery and slimy – we all had big slips going in!!  The pools at the top of the gorge are really lovely and not as cold as the bottom pool – they would make a great spot to waste away a few hours soaking in the sun and water.  The climb down to the water fall pool is very steep but our kids made it no problems – their walking skills have definitely improved heaps over the duration of the trip!

Jack, Tobes and Lex at the top of Bell Gorge

Jack, Tobes and Lex at the top of Bell Gorge

Looking over the edge at Bell Gorge

Looking over the edge at Bell Gorge

Walking down to the waterfall pool Bell Gorge

Walking down to the waterfall pool Bell Gorge

The lovely top pools at Bell Gorge

The lovely top pools at Bell Gorge

Having a swim in the freezing water at Bell Gorge

Having a swim in the freezing water at Bell Gorge

When we first arrived at the waterfall pool at Bell Gorge there was a tour bus of people there but they left shortly after we arrived (I’m sure we didn’t scare them off – we didn’t smell that bad!) and we had the place pretty much to ourselves – it was heaven!  We were definitely glad that we got to see this spot!  After about an hour swimming and relaxing we headed back to pick up the camper and push on to our campsite for the night at Manning Gorge which was about another 80km’s along the Gibb River Road once we had got back out off the 40km stretch of the Bell Gorge access road.  Once again we had to reluctantly drive right past Adcock Gorge and Charnley River Station, with a promise of ‘next time’.  We stopped at the Barnett Roadhouse and purchased our camping permit for the next two nights camping at Manning Gorge.  It was of course ‘ice-cream o’clock’ and we thought we all deserved one so we bought those and a souvenir stubby cooler too!

Barnett Roadhouse

Barnett Roadhouse

Yum - Icecreams!

Yum – Icecreams!

Our time at Manning Gorge will be our next post.  So, who has stopped at the places we missed along the way from Windjana Gorge to Manning Gorge?  C’mon then, make us jealous, tell us what did we miss out on???

 

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

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