So what is all about? Well... hopefully, by the time we are done, it will be a comprehensive journal about a family of 5 who have travelled around Australia to see the sights and also do some volunteer work around the country! In Mid 2010 we started thinking about what it would take to fulfil a life-long dream... We wanted to bundle up our 3 kids, pack-up the house, jump in the car and hit the road - probably for about 12 months. It sounds so simple ... At the start of January 2013, after almost 15 months on the road; we finally completed Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We hope that you enjoyed following our adventures, trials and tribulations as much as we enjoyed having them!

23 January, 2012

Across the Nullarbor...

We left Ceduna and headed to Fowlers Bay for our first night,  its only about 160km so not too far, the first 60km we drove was in pouring rain, but by the time we reached Fowlers Bay the rain was gone and the sun was shining.  About 15Km's short of Fowlers Bay, we clicked over our first 10,000km's since we left Sydney on 13th October!  Fowlers Bay is another beautiful bay with a long jetty and kilometres of massive sand dunes.

Driving from Ceduna to Fowlers Bay, not too far from our 10,000km mark

The Fowlers Bay Sand Dunes

After setting up the van and having lunch we headed down to the jetty to do a bit of fishing,  no luck this time.  Next we headed to the sand dunes,  the kids had a ball running and jumping and sliding down some of them and then we spent quite a bit of time digging and creating things with the sand before heading back to have dinner.

Overlooking Fowlers Bay from the top of the Sand Dunes

This Sandpit is Awesome!

Day two - we had another short driving day only about 180 Kms to the Nullarbor Roadhouse,  we based ourselves here and headed to the Head of Bight for a look,  such a  beautiful spot, it would be amazing to see all the whales there in winter,  they can get up to sixty each day.

We had to stop and take a photo of this iconic sign

The Nullarbor is truly amazing, not a tree for as
far as the eye can see!!  We thought we'd get bored driving it
but it was actually not too bad.

The Walkway at Head of Bight - Where in Winter there are many Southern Right Whales

Looking across the cliffs at head of Bight

After heading back to the road house we headed out to see Murrawijinie Caves,  it was a 12km drive on a bumpy dirt track.  There were three different caves, big sinkholes really.  Mike and the kids ventured into one that was very accessible just to have a look.

Outside Murrawijinie cave number 1
The kids absorbing a bit of information about Murrawijinie caves

The View from inside Cave 3

Day three we headed for the Western Australia boarder.  We stopped at all the beautiful lookouts to see the Bunda Cliffs along the way.

One of the Bunda Clifftop lookouts

When we arrived at Border Village we had a brief stop at the roadhouse before heading to the Quarantine road block to cross the border. Once we had been through the road block we stopped and had lunch before heading down the road to Eucla our next stop for the night.
Rooey 2 at Border Village

We'd reached WA!!

After setting up the van we headed out to the ruins of the Old Telegraph station,  the kids had a great time scrambling through the ruins before heading back to Eucla for a play in the playground and an Ice cream for afternoon tea.

The Old Telegraph Station ruins at Eucla

On day four we had an early start.  When we crossed the border into Western Australia we said goodbye to daylight saving and changed to central time.  We had decided that today we would have a long haul day,  we didn't know how far we were going to travel we just headed off to see how far we could get before we had had enough.  There is nothing out there, the place names on the map that you would think are a town is just a road house.  At Balladonia Roadhouse, there was a museum with Nullarbor history, as well as some pieces from Skylab (a satellite which came crashing to earth in 2000 and rained space junk over the area).  About 300kms west of Eucla we changed time zones again now we were on Western time, so we put our clocks back another hour, the further we went the more time we gained.  So we went much further than we thought we might,  after approx 10hours of driving (including stops) and only 110km from Norseman we pulled into the Fraser Range Station,  a real working sheep station that are using part of their land as a caravan park and motel.  It was such a beautiful place,  the landscape was just amazing.

A lookout once we had climbed the Fraser Range hills

Dad pretended to drive with his eyes closed - but we knew he was peeking :)
Fraser Range Sheep station - it was such a beautiful place to stop for the night

Day Five we were awake extremely early,  our body clocks (or should we say, the kid's body clocks!) were telling us that it was 7am,  the sun was up,  but the clock only said 4.55am.  We weren't planning for an early start, we really wanted a slow morning after our big day the day before,  so we put on a DVD until 6.30am then had breakfast.  After checking that we did have the correct time (and we did) we headed off from Fraser Range Station and drove into Norseman.  In Norseman we went to IGA to get some snacks and bread for lunch (this is the first supermarket we had seen since leaving Ceduna) then headed up to the Beacon Hill Lookout and then to a park that had old mining equipment in it, before hitting the road again bound for Kalgoorlie.

A pretty typical view when driving across the Nullarbor
The Norseman 'Tin Camels'

Josh, Nat and Sam at the Beacon Hill Lookout

We enjoyed our Nullarbor crossing. The kids travelled really well, and we only turned on 2 DVD's throughout the 5 days of our Nullarbor Trip.  It really is quite an experience.  EVERYBODY on the road waves to each other as they pass (breaking the 'Caravan to Caravan Only' mould - which is the usual for country driving with a Caravan in Tow).  It isn't a desolate stretch of road because there is quite a bit of traffic on it all the time.  One tip for people who are planning this drive in the future - make sure you fill your water tanks in Ceduna (or Norseman for those travelling West to East) because all the 'caravan parks' and roadhouses will NOT give you any water.  We were fine, but we didn't completely fill our tanks in Ceduna and wished we had - just for a bit more piece of mind.

Our plan is now to spend quite a bit of time in the south of Western Australia (after Kalgoorlie), because we don't want to get too far up north until the wet season has finished.  There's plenty to explore down south of WA, so I'm sure it won't be a problem having a good look around.

21 January, 2012


Our week and a half on the Eyre Peninsula was coming to an end as we drove out of Streaky Bay and headed to Ceduna on Sunday the 15th January (although I think Ceduna is technically part of the Eyre Peninsula too).  Our time on the Peninsula was fantastic with lots of fishing, beaches, Jetties and sights to see.  Throughout our stay, the predominant weather feature were sea breezes that blew into strong winds in the afternoons - there was strong winds all along the Eyre peninsula since leaving Port Augusta, but they didn't stop us doing anything, and the weather was still fine and sunny most of the time.

The Drive from Streaky Bay to Ceduna was another short drive and we were setting up the van in the caravan park by midday.  The days were hot in Ceduna (40 Degrees) and our air conditioner doesn't cope very well over 40 - in fact it just wont work :(  but we managed to get through the hot days Ok.

We wanted to have a look around the town, so we went to see the Pinky Point lookout and lighthouse which overlooked the Port that loads Gypsum and other material onto ships.  One of the main reasons we wanted to stop at Ceduna was to stock up on Supplies for our Nullarbor Crossing so we went to the Foodland supermarket and did one of our biggest shops yet - filling a trolley with food and supplies.  Once all the food was packed away, we went for a swim at the beach that backs right onto the caravan park.  It was a very refreshing swim (albeit very salty).
The Ceduna Silos from Pinky's Point Lookout

Pinky's Point lighthouse
The beach at the back of the Ceduna Caravan Park

Monday morning was a pretty lazy morning for us, so we just took it easy and stayed in the airconditioning before driving out to Decres Bay to have a quick look.

Decres Bay

We had heard that the Weather Station in Ceduna gives 'tours' for their 2:30pm weather balloon release, so we went to see that.  It was really interesting to watch the operator prepare the balloon for flight (attached to a Radar reflector) and then have the radar tower track the balloon to measure the windspeed and direction.  While we were there the temperature was 39.4 degrees.

Inflating the Weather balloon with Hydrogen

Can you spot the little orange weather balloon high in the sky??

Outside the Bureau of Meteorology -  Ceduna

 When we'd finished at the weather station, we went back to the beach behind the caravan park for a swim - which was fantastic because there was no wind on us and the water was a great temperature, it was a nice end to our time in Ceduna.

Streaky Bay

The drive from Sceale Bay to Streaky Bay was only about 30Km's, but the road was dirt the whole way and only 10km's of it was graded and it was quite rough the rest of the way so much so that our eggs in the fridge fell off their shelf and smashed everywhere.
We booked into the Streaky Bay Caravan Park for one night.  The caravan park was chocka block full of people - the busiest park we've stayed in yet, but it was a beautiful park, right on the beach with good clean facilities and a good Kiosk.  We ended up staying at Streaky bay for 2 nights because we thought it was such a great place.
Once we'd setup the van, we explored the park, and then went to find the Great White Shark at the roadhouse/visitor information in town.

We found the 5 metre monster (caught by a 21 year old in 1996 on a 24Kg fishing line after a 5 hour struggle!) and of course, we had to stick our heads inside!!

At Streaky Bay, we stuck our heads inside a great white shark.

It was quite a hot day that day, so after looking at the shark, and looking around the town, we went back to the park to swim. There were thousands of tiny little jellyfish in the water that bumped against your legs when you waded through the shallow water, it felt very strange because you couldn't see them. The kids loved them, they spent a long time catching them and making a 'Jellyfish farm' in a hole they dug in the sand -but the tide kept going out and leaving the farm stranded!

The Streaky Bay Beach which the caravan park backs on to

Some of the Jelly fish collected by Natalie for the Jellyfish Farm

On Saturday, we did the loop drive to Cape Bauer. There was lots to see along the way, we stopped at Hally's beach as well as the whistling rocks and the blowholes before continuing the loop back to Streaky Bay.  The Blowholes weren't working (because the swell wasn't big enough - and it was low tide), but we got to hear some whistling rocks and see a different (tiny) blowhole working.

If you look carefully you can see a small blowhole working on the rock shelf

Mike and Natalie at Whistling Rocks
That afternoon, we went to the Jetty in town and went fishing.  Both Liz and Mike managed to catch some fish, but nothing worth keeping - but it was a bit of fun, and we also saw two dolphins near the jetty.

We finished off our day with a nice swim down at the beach - there were still some jellyfish, but not quite as many as the day before.

We've found that the water in South Australia is really really salty.  Whenever you go swimming, the towels, rash vests, and your hair is so encrusted with salt that you need a good freshwater shower after the swim!  This is fine except when we're free-camping and wanting to save water.

16 January, 2012

Port Lincoln to Sceale Bay

Before we get onto our next Blog entry (which is quite a long one) we wanted to let you know of some things we've added to our '' website...

1) There is a 'Kid's Blog' Page on our site where we have entered Josh's Weekly School Journal's (from last term).  Also Josh, Natalie and Sam have also entered some thoughts (Josh did his own, and Natalie and Sam Dictated to us and we put it on the website).  We intend to have the kids update an entry about once a week, so if you periodically check back there may be something new.

2) We've been struggling to find a good way to show our progress (becasue the Google Maps view only shows the last 1000km's or so.  So we have put a picture at the bottom of our page which reflects what we have drawn up on our own 'Map of Australia' which is stuck on our wall and follows our progress around the country.  Hopefully this will be easier to see how our overall route (but the Google Maps view is still there too).

Basically, if you haven't looked at the '' for a while (and just get updates via email by subscribing using the link on the website), then it may be interesting to have a look at the actual website on the few pages we have setup.

Now that's out of the way, let's get into Port Lincoln to Sceale Bay (pronounced Scale Bay)...

We checked out of the Port Lincoln caravan park on Tuesday the 10th January knowing that we'd only be hopping over to the other side of the Eyre Peninsula (just near Coffin Bay) for our next night, so we didn't have far to travel that day.

We drove to Coffin Bay to have a look (and were glad that the town was named after an acquaintance of 1900's Explorer Matthew Flinders not anything else!).  We pulled in at a lookout to get a view from up high before heading down to the town centre.

Looking out over Coffin Bay
We drove through town (which isn't very big) and went to the Boat Ramp to stop for morning tea.  While we were at the boat ramp, an Oyster farmer pulled his boat onto the Jetty (Samuel was very excited because he got to see 2 very exciting things - a Tractor, and a boat being pulled from the water).

Samuel enthralled by the Oyster farming boat being pulled from the water
We left Coffin Bay and headed for our next night's accommodation - Farm Beach.  The Farm Beach campground was only $5 per night (for the whole site - but no power or water was supplied) and was on a beautiful beach (which you could drive onto).

Farm Beach, South Australia

After we setup the Van and had a late lunch, we headed out in the car to explore the surrounding areas.  We drove along the road and saw a kitesurfer, so stopped to have a look at the beach there and watch the Kitesurfer.  It turned out that the lady who was surfing was Jacqui Hockaday - South Australia's Number 1 Kitesurfer who lives just behind the beach where she was practicing.

SA's # 1 Kitesurfer practicing her Kitesurfing
While we were chatting to Jacqui's coach (and fiance) he said we should go and have a look at Gallipoli beach not far from where we were, so we headed down a 4WD track to find the beach (which was used to make the 1981 Gallipoli film).  We found the beach and scrambled down the track to have a walk on the beach.  It was a really nice little beach with steep sides all around.  We walked the length of the beach (but didn't swim - much to the kid's disappointment).

Walking down to Gallipoli Beach

We went back to Farm Beach and decided to let the tyres down and go for a drive on the sand to explore Farm Beach.

Driving on Farm Beach
After a little look around we drove back to the campsite, climbed trees (at least the kids did), had dinner and went to bed.

On Wednesday, we headed for another cheap campsite called Walkers Rock just past Elliston, so we stopped in at Elliston to have a look at the town and visit the information centre/op shop/library/community hall.  The kids had a quick play on some play equipment just outside the information centre while Liz grabbed a couple of supplies from the shop.  We drove to the Elliston Jetty and walked out to the end before we jumped back into the car and headed for Walkers Rock - 9km past Elliston.

When we got to the campsite, another couple were just packing up their caravan (and they had a pretty good spot) so we decided to go to the beach to have a look while we waited for them to move out of their spot.  The beach looked really inviting (and the kids had spotted some huge sand dunes that they wanted to climb), so once the caravan was all setup, we went back to the beach to explore the sand dunes and have a swim.

Some huge sand dunes at Walkers Rock

One Big Sandpit!

Mike had brought his fishing rod (along with some squid Tentacles from the squid that he caught at Port Lincoln) and so he went fishing for a bit while the kids played on the sand dunes again.  After a short while Mike pulled in a Sand crab!  We kept the crab and ate him for dinner - Delicious (except the kid's didn't really appreciate the taste).

The next morning, we went back down to the beach for another explore (and another fish).  Mike caught another crab, but we let him go.  On the walk back to the caravan, Liz spotted something moving along the rocks just at the edge of the water, and it turned out to be a fully grown Blue Ringed Octopus!   Needless to say we kept our distance, but it is certainly something else we can add to our list of 'Australian Native Animals we have seen in the wild' - the list is quite long now :)

The Blue Ringed Octopus
We packed up the Van, and because it was still hooked up to the car we were on the road again fairly quickly after we got back from the beach.

We had read in one of the travel brochures that there is an old bakery (now a residential house) that has a wood fired bread oven.  The owners of the house have re-ignited the business (excuse the pun) and bake their own bread which they sell by the side of the road and at local businesses.  The brochure said that if the 'Open' sign is displayed, then there will be bread to be bought.  We passed this house and the 'Open' sign was out so we stopped in to buy some "Colton Bakery" Wood fired bread and it was absolutely delicious.  We ate sticky buns for morning tea and had their rolls for lunch - it was really tasty.

We all really wanted to go and visit 'Murphy's Haystacks' which are large Pink Granite boulders protruding from the ground on the top of a hill.  For any Alison Lester fans out there, they cast their shadows on Murphy's Haystacks in their 'Are we there yet' Book - A great read, which we read to the kids often as part of their bedtime stories each night.

Anyway, we pulled into Murphy's Haystacks and had a good look around.

The Masons Do Murphy's Haystacks

We tried to cast our shadows on the rock, but it was about lunchtime, so our shadows weren't so big!  We had lunch in the caravan before we headed onto the dirt road bound for Sceale Bay (pronounced Scale Bay).

Some Enterprising landowners in Sceale Bay have setup the 'Sceale Bay Bush Campground' to attract campers to the area and make a few dollars on the side.  It was a good campground with some basic facilities but was very much bush camping.  We pulled in, unhooked the van and then went for a drive into 'town'.  There are only about 40 permanent residents in Seale Bay, but a few more holiday homes.  It was a very nice little town.

We still had plenty of daylight left, so we drove out to Point Labett.  This is where the only Permanent colony of sea lions on the Australian Mainland can be found.  We drove out to have a look.  The viewing platform is quite high off the water at the top of a cliff, so you can see the sea lions, but they are quite a distance from you (binoculars were handy to have here).

If you look carefully, you can see the sea lions

While we were viewing the sealions, we got invaded by honey bees, so we said goodbye to the sealions and jumped back into Bruiser to head back to the caravan for dinner and bed.  It was a very quiet and dark campsite which is quite nice sometimes.