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!

24 August, 2012

Uluru to Mount Isa

On Wednesday the 8th of August, we got ourselves organised and packed up and we drove from Yulara to Alice Springs. We checked back into the MacDonnell Range Big 4 and headed into town to collect some post that had arrived for us.  Natalie received a gift card for her Birthday and was keen to head to Kmart to spend it.  So next stop was Kmart to do some shopping before heading back to the van for the night.

The next morning we left the red centre and headed north from Alice Springs,.  We stopped along the way at a few things we had seen on the drive south but had not stopped at.  Our first stop was at the Tropic of Capricorn and then we pulled into Aileron - a small indigenous community that had large statues of Aborignal people as part of their art gallery,  we didn’t spend any time there we just took some photos of the impressive statues and moved on.
Our third crossing of the Tropic of Capricorn
One of the statues at Aileron

Driving north away from the Red Centre

We decided to camp that night back at the Devil’s Marbles as we had all had such a good time there on the way down.  When we arrived it was hot so we waited till the sun had dropped and then headed off exploring through the Marbles, there were a few dingo’s hanging around the campsite and it was a lot quieter than last time we were there.
Dinner at the Devil's Marbles

A beautiful sunset over the Devil's Marbles
The next morning we packed up early and headed out for a long driving day.  We were very keen to reach the QLD border as we wanted to go to the Rodeo that started in Mount Isa that day and went for the weekend.  We set off at about 8.30am which is very early for us.  We were very excited when we turned right at “three ways” as we were no longer back tracking - it’s always exciting to cover new ground. There are just hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of nothing out here.
A huge outback windmill we passed on the road

There are plenty of sections of Australia which are pretty barren!

We had lunch outside the Barkley Homestead roadhouse and then continued on.  We stopped at the QLD border to take a photo or two.
We made it to QLD! The 7th State or Territory on our trip

We arrived at Camooweal at about 6pm after battling a raging headwind the whole day (which meant our fuel consumption was huge and our speeds were quite low) and camped the night at the Camooweal billabong, a great free campsite.  We were all exhausted as this had been our biggest driving day since crossing the Nullabor (we had driven 580Km into a headwind to get to Camooweal!).

As we sometimes like to do at freecamps (where there is no pressure to leave by 10am! we had a lazy morning on Saturday the 11th August.  We sorted up all our school work that needed to be posted from Mount Isa and then packed up and drove the 180km to Mount Isa.  The Xstrata Rotary Rodeo was on this weekend.  It is the largest Rodeo in the southern hemisphere and we really wanted to go.  We set up camp in the towns overflow camping (at the golf club) and headed into Mount Isa to have a look around and visit the information centre so that we could find out about going to the Rodeo.  We drove to the Rodeo grounds and had a quick look at the sideshow alley that afternoon.

The next morning we headed out to the Rodeo, it was the last day of the Rodeo so all the finals were on.  We weren’t sure how long the kids were going to last, but they all loved it and we spent hours sitting in the Arena and watching the events.  It was constant action that we have never seen before.
Sitting in the arena watching the Mount Isa Rodeo

At lunch time Natalie said “I thought it was going to be boring, but its actually really good.”
A bucking bronco is released from the gates

Natalie, Josh and Sam watching the 'team roping'

This is what happens to most of the cowboys at a rodeo

Some bareback bull riding

And some bareback bucking bronco riding

After lunch we headed out to the sideshow alley and markets to have a look around and the kids each bought a lolly show bag.  By about 3pm we decided that we had seen enough so we left the rodeo and went to have a quick look at the lookout in the city before heading back to the van.  The Mount Isa rodeo was a real highlight for us all.

Monday morning we did some school, picked up some school post, stocked up on food at coles and headed out of town.  After driving about 2,000km in the past 6 days we decided not to venture too far, so we picked a free campsite 60km East of Mount Isa – the Clem Walton Park and Corella Dam.  We were only planning to stay one night but once we arrived and saw how beautiful and peaceful it was we quickly decided we would stay longer and have a rest day or two (we ended up staying 3 nights there).
Corella Dam, between Mount Isa and Cloncurry
The water level was quite low in the dam but it was teaming with bird life (and cane toads).  Another caravaner came over and told us that there were freshwater crocodiles in the dam too, he had taken his boat out the night before to the far end of the dam and had seen at least 15 of them.   A couple of hours after we arrived we saw a big bus pull in towing a trailer with a 4WD on it, we thought this rig looked familiar and once they had stopped and their three kids and their cat hopped out of the bus we realised that it was the family we camped next to in Canberra on the first three days of our trip 10 months ago!  Jamie, Sheree and their kids Joel, Luke and Zoe.  After a short while we went over to say hello and the kids just hit it off straight away and played as if they had known each other forever.  We had travelled the same way around Australia, but had not crossed paths again until then.
Our kids playing with the neighbors at Corella Dam

Joel, Sam, Josh and Luke using their slingshots
 That night we Mason’s enjoyed a campfire and roasted our last 10 marshmallows before heading to bed.

Early on Tuesday the 14th August the kids had a play with their friends Joel, Luke and Zoe and then we all got some school work done until after lunch.
Natalie in her classroom!

The kids spent the afternoon playing around the campsite.  The boys loved using the sling shots to shoot rocks into the water and they all enjoyed having a go at Mike’s stock whip.  Josh has now learnt how to crack the whip as loud as Mike can, and it echoed all around the dam (so we needed to limit Josh’s turns to about 5 minute stints as the campsite was very peaceful most of the time). After a restful day, we enjoyed another campfire that night.
We had a campfire every night at Corella Dam

Wednesday the 15th August we had decided that we were not ready to move on yet and we needed another rest day (because we haven’t had proper rest days since Cape Range National Park near Exmouth in WA).  So we got some more school work done played with friends and then said farewell to our friends as they were moving on.  That afternoon we set out to walk to the Dam Wall.  However, once the path became a ‘choose your own adventure’ over the sharp rocks, Liz and Sam turned back.  Mike, Josh and Natalie continued on, but it became a little too dangerous to clamber up any more rocks, so they turned back too.  We cooked dinner, sat around our campfire and then headed to bed.

The next morning we had a lazy start.  We did some school, packed up and drove into Cloncurry.

No comments: