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!

15 August, 2012


Just after 10am on Friday 3rd August, we left Yulara (after putting our van in ‘storage’ at the campground - they stored our caravan free of charge which was great).  We drove through the national park and joined the Great Central Road which heads west from the Olgas.  We stopped and let down our tyres, locked the diff and engaged 4WD for the 300Km dirt road to Warakurna.  We had a couple of short stops along the way.  There wasn't too much traffic on the road, but we would have passed about 6 vehicles going the opposite direction.  We stopped at the WA Border for a photo and to have a look at the plethora of signs which lined the road at that point.  We saw a couple of camels hiding in the bushland near the road shortly after we passed into WA. 

At the start of the dirt road heading west

Driving along the Great Central Road

Just across the WA Border

Some camels on the great central road

A dusty drive to Warakurna

We arrived in Warakurna about 3pm and everyone we very excited to be meeting up with their cousins.  All the kids played around the house that afternoon.  After dinner we went for a big walk to the camel pond on the outskirts of the Warakurna Aboriginal Community.  It was such a beautiful sunset and the 8 kids and 2 dogs enjoyed running around burning off some energy. 
Heading off for a big afternoon walk

A beautiful sunset at Warakurna

Some of the kids at the camel pond

Exploring with the cousins

Nick giving Sam a piggy back ride

We were very surprised at the beauty of the country at Warakurna
As we were walking back to the house it was getting quite dark and the 'Friday night disco' had started in the community hall, so we went up and the kids joined the locals at the disco.  They all had fun running around the hall and enjoying some loud music with some of the local indigenous kids.  Once we got back at the house,  the kids had baths and showers.  Sam was so excited to see a bathtub (as it’s been well over 9 months since we’ve had a bath) and he couldn’t wait to jump in and splash around.  After everyone had cleaned up we all got ready for bed.  The kids found it very hard to get to sleep as they were all super excited.  Sam and Natalie slept in Jess and Emma’s room, while Josh slept in the big boy’s room.  The boys were up until after midnight before finally succumbing to tiredness and going to sleep.

On Saturday morning we were all up early to get to the 8:30am tour at the Giles Weather station (Unfortunately due to a redundancy, the tour will not operate anymore - which is a shame as it was a great tour).  The Weather balloon we saw released was let off manually (as opposed to an automated launch that we saw in Ceduna a few months before).  We all enjoyed the tour of the weather station.
Our tour of the Giles Weather Station

On the way back to Kath and Steve’s house; Kath, Liz, Mike and the three girls went into the shop which operates in the community.  There was very little food there with no choice of products and everything was very expensive.  It was fascinating to have a look at (but we were very glad that we didn't have to try and feed our family from this store!).  After that, we went back to the house and played for a bit before lunch.
Natalie and Jessie trying to be 'twins'

Natalie, Emma and Jess all dressed up

That afternoon, we went out to a nearby creek bed (which was dry) and the kids had lots of fun running around and playing hide and seek in the long grass. 
Em, Natalie, Jess and Sam in the Creek bed

The Boys throwing rocks and using the slingshots

When we’d had enough of the creek bed, we went back to the house, had some down time at the house.  The workers at the Weather station (Colin, Denise, Craig, Peter and Doug) had invited us all to join them for dinner at the Weather station (which is a treat because it's always a good night) and so we all got ready to go out.  We had a fantastic night with great food and we all enjoyed playing pool, playing darts, watching TV and eating ice creams!
James and Josh eating dinner at the Giles Weather Station

Jess, Em, Natalie and Sam

Later that night, we went to the accommodation block that Steve helps look after and we ran the kids through the showers there.  We weren’t back at the house until after 10pm.  The kids still had a little trouble getting to sleep that night, but it was about 11pm when they were all quiet.
After breakfast on Sunday morning we went down to look at the learning centre (where Steve works and where the kids do their school) and we had a look at the Warakurna roadhouse (and the art gallery).  Then we went to the Clinic (where Kath works).  It was great to see where Kath and Steve work and where their kids do school.
The kids looking at the Learning Centre

some of the buildings near the Roadhouse

The Warakurna Roadhouse and Art Gallery

We went back to the house and got a picnic lunch ready and drove down to the river bed (which was also dry) to setup a fire and cook some rissoles for our picnic lunch.  The kids played around, swung on the ropeswing and dug in the dirt.
Josh on the Rope swing

Nick having a turn of the swing

Kath and Liz

Steve and Mike

Our Picnic in the river bed
The Masons and the Taylor's

We ate lunch and when we were ready to leave, we headed back to the house and had a movie afternoon (because everyone was very exhausted after some late nights).  Unfortunately, Natalie came down with a fever and went off to bed for a 2 hour sleep.  Later that night, we all ate dinner and the kids went to bed.  When the kids were in bed, Liz, Mike, Kath and Steve watched a movie together.

On Monday morning, the Taylor's went to work (and the kids went with Steve so they could work in the learning centre).  We stayed at the house and Josh and Natalie did their school.  Everyone got home at lunchtime and so we ate lunch together.  Kath went back to the clinic for the afternoon and we all hung around the house.  The Taylor kids did their jobs (with very little help from the Mason kids!).  Later that afternoon, Kath called saying that they had to fly someone who had been in a motorcycle accident out via the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), so we all went down to the airstrip and watched the RFDS plane land, pickup the patient and fly off again, which is something that not many people get to see.
The kids watching the RFDS plane

A patient pickup by the RFDS in Warakurna

We then went back to the house for another great dinner together (feeding 12 people in one sitting is a pretty big exercise!).  After dinner, Steve, Mike and a few of the kids took the dogs out for a walk to the car dump at the back of the community.  The kids were all in bed by about 8pm that night and the adults watched some Olympics before retiring to bed themselves.

Tuesday was the day we were leaving Warakurna.  We decided that it would be best not to rush off in the morning, but rather wait until after lunch to drive out.  So that morning, after breakfast, The Taylor's went off to work (and the kids went with Steve for their school) and the Mason’s did school at the house and packed up their gear into the car ready to leave.  When everyone got home at lunchtime, we had lunch together, and then we all said our goodbyes.  It was hard to say goodbye as we wanted to stay longer and we all got on so well.

Our last day with the Taylor's at Warakurna

We hit the dirt road again at about 2pm (and after enjoying the sealed roads around the community, it seemed pretty bumpy!).  We didn’t stop much on the way back to Yulara.
There are so many old rusty cars dumped along the great central road

We stopped once or twice for a brief toilet stop, we stopped at the NT Border, and then we stopped at ‘Lasseter’s Cave’ which is a small cave where Harold Lasseter had sheltered shortly before he perished in the 1930’s (he had reportedly found lots of gold a few years earlier and was on an expedition to re-find it, but perished in the attempt and no one has ever found it since).  The highway from Yulara to the Stuart Highway is named the Lasseter highway in his honour.
Crossing back into the NT

Lasseters Cave

At about 5:30pm, the Olga’s were peeping into view and we were not far from the end of the dirt road.  At the end of the dirt, we pumped up our tyres again and drove back to the campground to check-in, pickup the van and get settled for the night.  We were a bit pushed for time, so we picked up a takeaway meal for dinner as well as a few groceries from the supermarket before heading back to the caravan.
Back to Uluru after our trip to the Taylor's house

Our Warakurna visit was such a highlight for us and the kids.  We certainly crammed alot into a short amount of time and we loved every minute of it.  Thanks to the Taylor's for their hospitality – we all had such a great time.

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