NT Camping

The Savannah Way

DSC_0094After dragging ourselves reluctantly away from the Borroloola Rodeo at just after lunch time, we headed off along the Savannah Way towards Burketown and back into Queensland territory again. We aired down (dropped the pressure in our tyres to 28 PSI) just after we left the bitumen out of Borroloola and lucky we did as this stretch of the Savannah Way was the roughest patch of road we encountered on the whole trip!  It was quite narrow, very rocky and dusty, quite corrugated in sections and had lots of creek crossings!  It made for a really interesting/fun drive but did rattle the car and camper around a lot which meant it was quite slow going for us.

Creek Crossing

Creek Crossing

Creek Crossing

Creek Crossing

Peter Prado & Karen Camper on the Savannah Way

Peter Prado & Karen Camper on the Savannah Way

Matt checking out the depth and rocks on another Savannah Way creek crossing.

Matt checking out the depth and rocks on another Savannah Way creek crossing.

We saw only two other vehicles on the Savannah Way for the several hundred kilometres we travelled.  We loved it!  It felt like a real adventure!  We did, however, blow another tyre on the camper – much to Matt’s disgust!!

Can you tell that Matt is getting a little sick of changing flat tyres?!

Can you tell that Matt is getting a little sick of changing flat tyres?!

As we were late getting on the road we pulled up just before dark after only travelling about 100km’s that day, in a gravel pit on the side of the road.  It was the best free camp of the whole trip!  We were well back off the road with plenty of room, heaps of firewood to scavenge and not another person for miles, and miles and miles!  We had a great campfire dinner that night and even dragged a mattress out to lie by the fire under the stars – it was beautiful and oh so quiet!

The best roadside free camp of the whole trip!

The best roadside free camp of the whole trip!

Last campfire of the trip!

Last campfire of the trip!

Pretty good view out the bedroom window that night!

Pretty good view out the bedroom window that night!

The next morning we were up and away pretty early and it didn’t take long before we were crossing the border back in to Queensland – what a bummer!!

And we're back in Queensland!

And we’re back in Queensland!

Only two blog posts left to finish off our trip, which means it will be all over by the end of this week!! Noooooooooo!

 

Categories: Camping, NT Camping | 5 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

Katherine to Kununurra

Loved seeing all the Boab trees as we came into WA - there may just be a few photos of them to come!

Loved seeing all the Boab trees as we came into WA – there may just be a few photos of them to come!

Once we had decided that we were going to head back north to Mareeba in a month’s time to be Mango farmers – we decided that we would push over to Western Australia as quickly as possible to at least get a couple of weeks on the beach there before our trip was over.  So we headed out of Katherine and aimed for Kununurra where we had managed to phone ahead and book the car in for a service and new tyres which it needed in order to do the many kilometres we had ahead of us!  The service and tyres were much cheaper in Kununurra then in Katherine and we could not get the car serviced in Katherine until the end of August – that was how far ahead they were booked out!!  So on our last night at Katherine Gorge – I cooked up as much of our veges as I could in a pre-cooked dinner for the next night, made a banana bread with our bananas and shoved as much apples, carrots and celery into the kids as I could manage in preparation for our crossing over the border into WA where you are not allowed to bring any fruit or veges in with you.

On the way out of Katherine we had a quick dip in the hot springs which were just lovely – we thought they were as good as Mataranka!20130815-200321.jpg 20130815-200332.jpg 20130815-200451.jpg 20130815-200413.jpg

The drive from Katherine to Kununurra is just over 500km’s and is quite a scenic drive.  We stopped for lunch at the Victoria River Roadhouse and we showed the kids how to eat tomatoes like apples here (with plenty of salt) to finish off the bag of tomatoes I was still carting – I had offloaded a bag of carrots at the campground that morning but forgot about the tomatoes.

Nice scenary on the way to Kununurra

Nice scenary on the way to Kununurra

Lunch stop Victoria River Roadhouse

Lunch stop Victoria River Roadhouse

Lunchtime

Lunchtime

We were very excited to cross the border and the quarantine point in to Western Australia – madly eating the last of our apples as we approached the checkpoint!20130815-200950.jpgWe arrived in to Kununurra just before dark and found a site at the Kimberleyland Caravan Park on the recommendation of the ‘Families Travelling Australia’ Facebook group.  It was a lovely caravan park but very busy!  The caravan park is on the banks of the lake and has lots of shady sites (still dusty though!).  We arrived just in time to hear a pretty good musician performing in the park on the banks of the lake so we quickly set up camp and went down to watch.

We were all pretty excited to see green grass!

We were all pretty excited to see green grass!

Kids happy to be able to roll around and play without being covered in dust!

Kids happy to be able to roll around and play without being covered in dust!

Sunset at the campground

Sunset at the campground

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Peter Brandy performing at Kimberleyland Caravan Park

Peter Brandy performing at Kimberleyland Caravan Park

The 1.5hour change in timezone (back) messed with our body clocks a little as we were super tired by 8pm but we were all then up at 5am the next morning!  The early morning was ok though as we had to be checked out of the campground – dropped the camper off across the road at the park, and have the car dropped off at the mechanic all by 7am so for once we were happy to all be awake early.

We then spent most of the day having a nice breakfast at a lovely cafe called the ‘Wild Mango Cafe’ where we decided to do some ‘research’ in preparation for our mango farming journey ahead and try the pancakes with mango syrup as well as the mango smoothies – delicious!!

A treat breakfast out!

A treat breakfast out!

We then wandered around town and checked out all the shops before spending a couple of hours relaxing at the library where Toby and Lexi got to sit in with a local kindy class’s library session and Jack read another ‘Diary of the Wimpy Kid’ book.  Matt and I had a chance to research what we wanted to do with our time in WA and book our sites at Middle Lagoon and Cable Beach Caravan Park.  The Kununurra library was awesome – the best we have come across so far!

We made ourselves at home at the library!

We made ourselves at home at the library!

We finally picked Peter Prado up all spiffy looking with his new shoes and a morning at the ‘day spa’ and headed out to Lake Argyle at about 2pm.  A short but sweet stay in Kununurra.

Peter Prado with his spunky new BFG tyres!

Peter Prado with his spunky new BFG tyres!

 

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

Katherine Gorge

20130801-203656.jpgWe moved in to the national park campground at Katherine Gorge on Toby’s Birthday and spent the day eating birthday treats and hanging out by the nicest swimming pool we have come across so far!  The unpowered sites in the campground are lovely and shady and it is nice to be able to drive around and just choose a spot, and the big bonus is the free washing machines which we had been told about by some other travellers so I had saved up our washing to do here and put three loads on as soon as we arrived!  It did get very busy in the campground though.  We had two nights camping here and in that time we took a 4 hr, 3 gorges cruise and Matt and Jack did a walk up to the lookout at sunset.  We were a little disappointed as we had planned to spend a day kayaking and canoeing the gorge but when we went to organise our permits and canoe hire we were told that under 5’s were not allowed on the water at all (so that ruled Lexi out) and under 12’s were not allowed to paddle their own kayak/canoe so they boys weren’t able to paddle the little green kayak.  Such a bummer as I really think the best way to see the gorge would be from a canoe.  So that left us with really the only option of seeing the gorge via one of the fairly expensive for a family, boat cruise options.

We decided on the longer 3 gorge cruise as that included a swim at a waterfall.  Unfortunately the waterfall wasn’t flowing so our swim was just in one of the natural pools along the gorge, which was absolutely freezing and we were a little disappointed again!  The cruise was great – very informative and we had a very funny tour guide who made our time on the boat enjoyable.  On the morning of our cruise Katherine Gorge had a sudden cold snap and we were absolutely freezing on the boat in the shadows – fine when we were in the sun.  We enjoyed the cruise and even got to spot a few freshwater crocodiles!  The gorge is very beautiful, some of the longer walks around the area would be spectacular as would seeing the gorge in the wet season with all of the waterfalls flowing.  I had high expectations of Katherine Gorge as it was one of the sights I was most looking forward to seeing and although we felt like it fell a little short of our expectations – the gorge was quite spectacular and the campground was fantastic so still worth the visit!!

Cheeky wallabies at the campground who kept trying to get in to our rubbish!

Cheeky wallabies at the campground who kept trying to get in to our rubbish!

Our boat tour - it was quite tricky trying to get good photos on the cruise with heads and bars in the way a lot of the time!

Our boat tour – it was quite tricky trying to get good photos on the cruise with heads and bars in the way a lot of the time!

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We had to change boats 3 times - this was the first changeover point

We had to change boats 3 times – this was the first changeover point

Aboriginal Rock Art

Aboriginal Rock Art

'The Cathedrals' Katherine Gorge

‘The Cathedrals’ Katherine Gorge

Just cruising

Just cruising

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Our stop for a swim

Our stop for a swim

Swimming spot

Swimming spot

Matt and Jack braved the cold water in the gorge for a quick swim

Matt and Jack braved the cold water in the gorge for a quick swim

Family Shot - Katherine Gorge

Family Shot – Katherine Gorge

View from the lookout - Katherine Gorge

View from the lookout – Katherine Gorge

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Matt & Jack did the 2km return (fairly steep) climb to the lookout to watch the sunset over Katherine Gorge

Matt & Jack did the 2km return (fairly steep) climb to the lookout to watch the sunset over Katherine Gorge

Sunset

Sunset

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Categories: Camping, NT Camping | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Edith Falls

DSC_0494 DSC_0395 DSC_0399 DSC_0389 DSC_0253 IMG_0059 DSC_0354Well looks like I am going to have to get two blog posts done tonight as I missed getting a post done last night due to the fact that I was feeling far too relaxed after having a bottle of champagne at sunset on Cable Beach (thanks Ang & Hans – we finally felt the time was right to crack the bottle of champagne you gave us and it was goooood!).  So, where were we?   Hmmmm – ok once we left Mataranka we headed north to Katherine and decided to camp for two nights just outside town at the Shady Lane Caravan Park.  We had received the news when we left Tennant Creek that the farming opportunity was going ahead so we needed a few days in Katherine to sort our heads out and decide exactly what our new plan for our last four weeks on the road was going to be.  The Shady Lane Caravan Park was lovely – the cleanest and nicest amenities we have come across so far on the trip and lovely big drive through sites.  We spent a morning shopping in Katherine to pick up a birthday pressie for Toby who was turning 6 while we were there, and also got Matt a new hat as we finally had to concede that we had lost his very trusty Ergon hat somewhere past Winton!!

After a morning in town we headed out to spend the afternoon at Edith Falls which is about 40km’s north of Katherine.  It was a beautiful spot and we had a ball swimming and lying around on the lovely green grass at the picnic area – it has been soooooo long since we had seen green grass!!!  We even got the trusty green kayak down and the kids thought it was pretty neat to be able to kayak right up to a waterfall!  We did the easy 3km return walk to the Upper Pools at the falls and it was well worth the walk!  It was so nice here, and we were happy to see at least one waterfall as we had now decided that we were not going to be able to make it through Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks in the time we had left.  The National Park Campground at Edith Falls was lovely, and cheap – only $15.90 per family per night – we would definitely recommend camping there and checking out Edith Falls!

The view from the Upper Pools

The view from the Upper Pools

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Matt & Jack swam right under the waterfall in the upper pools

Matt & Jack swam right under the waterfall in the upper pools

Tobes loves to kaya

Tobes loves to kayak

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Jacko got a shot of these fish using his underwater camera

Jacko got a shot of these fish using his underwater camera

Fish nibbling Matt's toes

Fish nibbling Matt’s toes

A lovely spot

A lovely spot

Categories: Camping, NT Camping, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Tennant Creek to Mataranka

DSC_0164We have been doing and seeing some amazing and beautiful things over the last few weeks and I have fallen behind with the blog entries again! I am excited to share some of our photos with you so will hopefully get all up to date while we are here in Broome this week!  Broome is spectacular by the way!

After spending our forced week stop over in Tennant Creek with our car/camper issues (the problems all stemmed back to Karen Camper and some worn out wiring on the electric brakes – Matt will give you the details), we finally headed off to Mataranka which was about 5 hours drive north of Tennant Creek.  We have to admit though that we did enjoy our time in Tennant Creek despite being a bit stressed and cranky about the car!  All up we had 6 nights there – 4 nights in the camper in the Caravan Park and then 2 nights in a cabin in the same caravan park – thankfully all paid for by RACQ with our Ultimate cover – very grateful that we had that cover!  We stayed at the Outback Caravan Park which was one of the nicest caravan parks we have stayed in so far!  We had lots of time to get some school work done, do some baking, catch up on our washing and the kids enjoyed the warmer weather and the pool (even though the water was freezing still!).  We again spent some time at the library which we always enjoy – new book for Jack to read, toys for Toby & Lexi to play with and the librarians are always happy to chat away to me!

Lexi loves to bake!

Lexi loves to bake!

Jack doing a maths riddle that Matt made up for him

Jack doing a maths riddle that Matt made up for him

Lots of pool time - great pool but freezing cold!

Lots of pool time – great pool but freezing cold!

Warming up in the sun on a rock at the pool

Warming up in the sun on a rock at the pool

The kids checking out the old gold mining trolley on the walk to the library in Tennant Creek

The kids checking out the old gold mining trolley on the walk to the library in Tennant Creek

When we finally left Tennant Creek we had a quick stop to check out Lake Mary Ann on the way out – it looked quite nice but not a very big dam and unfortunately no camping there.

Lake Mary Ann - Tennant Creek

Lake Mary Ann – Tennant Creek

And then we once again passed the camel man being pulled along by his camels on the highway.  We have since discovered from other travellers that his name is Klaus Menzel and he is actually quite famous!

Klaus Menzel and his camels - they got further than we did in 3 days!

Klaus Menzel and his camels – they got further than we did in 3 days!

We stopped for lunch at the Daly Waters Pub which was really interesting – definitely a pub with lots of character – would be a fun place to camp, and the food is very reasonably priced and pretty yum!  It gets very busy though!

Daly Waters Pub - Lunch stop

Daly Waters Pub – Lunch stop

All kinds of things hanging up in the Daly Waters Pub - it did smell just a little inside!

All kinds of things hanging up in the Daly Waters Pub – it did smell just a little inside!

Bras - Daly Waters Pub

Bras – Daly Waters Pub

Thong Tree - Daly Waters Pub

Thong Tree – Daly Waters Pub

And then at last we made it to Mataranka where we met up with Matt’s dad & Rema – we were all really excited to see them!!

Hello Poppy & Rema!

Hello Poppy & Rema!

We camped for two nights at the Mataranka Homestead campground which had heaps of room for us to choose our own spot in the unpowered area and was just a short walk to the Rainbow Springs Thermal Pools.

Our campsite - Mataranka Homestead

Our campsite – Mataranka Homestead

Peacocks and Wallabies everywhere around the campground

Peacocks and Wallabies everywhere around the campground

The campground was a little tired and a bit dusty but the thermal pools were sooooooooo good!  They were beautifully warm and we all spent hours swimming – such a treat after being so cold for the last few months!!!  We also got to watch a really great family band (Mum, Dad, 16yr old son and 12 yr old son) who played some great music and it was really inspiring to watch a family travelling around Australia – all sharing something they love!  It has been amazing on this trip to see all the different lives people lead – such a great country we live in that we have the freedom to do this!  The kids loved seeing other kids not much older than them up on stage playing the electric guitar and drums – hopefully they will remember this when we go back to their piano lessons when ‘normal’ life returns!

Mataranka Hot Springs

Mataranka Hot Springs

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Matt & I at the Mataranka Hot Springs - photo care of Jacko

Matt & I at the Mataranka Hot Springs – photo care of Jacko

The movie “We of the Never Never” was filmed at the Mataranka Homestead Caravan Park and the replica of the original homestead is still part of the attractions here, so we had a wander through – will have to watch the movie now!

DSC_0210We did the 2.5km return walk from the caravan park into the Elsey National Park and checked out the Waterhouse River and checked out the swimming hole called Stevie’s Hole.

Checking out the Waterhouse River

Checking out the Waterhouse River

Stevies Hole

Stevies Hole

Some leaf boat racing at Stevies Hole

Some leaf boat racing at Stevies Hole

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We also spent a morning floating down the river at Bitter Springs which is only about a 10 minute drive from the Mataranka Homestead Caravan Park.  It was lots of fun letting the current take us about 200metres down the river and then walking back on the dirt track to do it all again!  On the way home from Bitter Springs we stopped in at the Territory Manor Caravan Park and checked out the free Barramundi feeding they do there at 9.30am and 1pm every day.  The boys loved it!

Floating in Bitter Springs with Poppy & Rema

Floating in Bitter Springs with Poppy & Rema

Jack - Barramundi Feeding

Jack – Barramundi Feeding

Toby a little scared at the Barramundi Feeding!

Toby a little scared at the Barramundi Feeding!

So yep – another great spot to add to your ‘must visit’ list if you haven’t already been there – we loved it, definitely could have stayed longer – next time we would like to kayak to Mataranka Falls from the National Park campground – putting on the ‘must return’ list!

 

Categories: Camping, NT Camping, Travel | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Devils Marbles

20130725-221124.jpgEven though we have only four weeks left on the road (check out our ‘Big News’) if you’re not sure what is going on – I’m still keen to keep the blog rolling so hopefully there’s still a few people following along!

After a great few days in the East MacDonnell Ranges we decided we were definitely ready for warmer weather and that it was time to move north.  We headed back in to Alice Springs again to see if the camera lens Matt wanted was in stock yet (it wasn’t!  Matt was so disappointed!) and to stock up on fuel and groceries.

We decided to have a splurge on a treat lunch and check out the Alice Springs ‘Bojangles Saloon’.  The pub was really interesting – full of all kinds of memorabilia and cowboy gear – the kids loved it.  The food was only ok, but still worth the visit.

Bojangles Saloon - Alice Springs

Bojangles Saloon – Alice Springs

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A 'treat' lunch with lots to look at

A ‘treat’ lunch with lots to look at

Cowboy at the bar

Cowboy at the bar

It was late afternoon before we left Alice Springs so we decided just to get an hour or so down the road and find a free camp somewhere.  We had a quick stop at Aileron to check out the ‘big people walking’ – they were fantastic!

Aileron

Aileron

'Big People Walking' statues

‘Big People Walking’ statues

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They were really beautiful!

They were really beautiful!

We found a free camp at a rest stop not far from Aileron and pulled up for the night – even leaving the camper hitched up to the car for a quick get up and go the next morning.

Its a tight squeeze but we can leave the car hitched up to the camper

Its a tight squeeze but we can leave the car hitched up to the camper

Our first stop the next day was Wycliffe Well – the UFO capital of Australia – not a lot there but we found it interesting enough.

Wyecliff Well

Wycliffe Well

Aliens

Aliens

And then we arrived at Devils Marbles about lunch time and this was where we experienced the first of our car troubles which you have all heard so much about!  As we arrived fairly early at the national park campground at the Devils Marbles, we had no trouble finding a campsite, it did get very full by the end of the day!  The kids loved being able to climb all over the rocks – the best playground ever they said!  Our time at Devils Marbles was probably a little tainted by our worry about the car, Matt spent most of the afternoon tinkering around trying to work out what the problem with the car was.  However, we still managed a good afternoon walk around the rocks and some sunset photo taking.  The Devils Marbles really are quite beautiful in their own way, not as grand as Uluru but definitely something about them and worth a visit!

'Fealy Family Walking' at Devil's Marbles - inspired by the 'Big Men Walking' at Aileron

‘Fealy Family Walking’ at Devil’s Marbles – inspired by the ‘Big Men Walking’ at Aileron

Off to explore the Devils Marbles

Off to explore the Devils Marbles

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Our campsite at the Devils Marbles

Our campsite at the Devils Marbles

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Kids Playground

Kids Playground

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Sunset

Sunset

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

East MacDonnell Ranges – Gorges

20130722-211126.jpgHmmm, how do I start this post…..  Amazing, spectacular, highlight of the trip so far?

We very nearly didn’t do the East Macs, what a shame that would have been. They are just, as if not more, picturesque then the West Macs, but no where near as crowded.

We based ourselves at Trephina George, it is bitumen all the way until about the last 8klms where it is a well maintained unsealed road. The first afternoon we took a little walk through Trephina Gorge, beautiful! In actual fact, this is one of my favourite Gorge’s of them all, there is no one thing that makes it special, it is just…. I don’t know, intimate? You feel a little more “in it” then just looking at it, if that makes sense?

Drive in to Trephina Gorge

Drive in to Trephina Gorge

Trephina Gorge from the easy 3km rim walk

Trephina Gorge from the easy 3km rim walk

I got to enjoy a morning walk with the camera and no kids one day while we were there

I got to enjoy a morning walk with the camera and no kids one day while we were there

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The weather began to turn and we were beginning to feel as if we possessed some magical powers, an ability to summon the rain. It rained all night and the next day, and knowing that once again we would be doing considerable walking, we just decided to write the day off and hope the rain cleared the next day. Now by ‘write it off’ I really mean ‘take a mental health day’. It was freezing, dark and rainy, we didn’t get out of bed till about 0930 (the bed was filled with children poking and pinching and tickling each other so don’t think this was some relaxing sleep in). To finally entice us out of bed Jess braved the sub zero temps (it really was) to turn all 4 stove burners on and get some pancakes going. Within minutes we were all up and filling or bellies with pancakes with maple syrup or Nutella and sliced banana, coffee and juice, yum yum!

Still not interested in opening our magic door (Karen Camper’s door has the ability to shut out the real world) we bunkered down on couches, beds and anything soft and warm, we read, coloured in, did some school work and literally didn’t leave the camper (or get out of our PJ’s) until after 1pm! (Don’t judge)

When it came time to see if the outside world did still exist we took a drive to N’Dalha Gorge. We had been told this one had only recently been burned out but it was only a short drive away. It was a fun and challenging drive, and the Petroglyphs here were probably better then at Roma Gorge in the West Mac’s.  We got to do some water crossings and give Peter Prado a good test out!

Ross River Station Campground at the entrance to N'Dahla Gorge looked like a nice spot!

Ross River Station Campground at the entrance to N’Dahla Gorge looked like a nice spot!

N'Dhala Gorge

N’Dhala Gorge

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

About 5 creek crossing on the 16km's in to N'dhala Gorge and with the recent rain there was lots of water in them!

About 5 creek crossing on the 16km’s in to N’dhala Gorge and with the recent rain there was lots of water in them!

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We finished a supremely relaxed day with pizza dinner (Shel and Jai, Ben and Aimz you know pizza dinner in Karen’s oven, mmmm, mmm, mmm) Jess and I even polished off a bottle of red and watched a movie (“So This is 40”). It was actually pretty good, or maybe that was the wine that improved it?

Our delicious homemade pizza & wine movie night

Our delicious homemade pizza & wine movie night

I would highly recommend the camp spot at Trephina Gorge, I still am so impressed with the NT parks and wildlife campgrounds, free gas BBQ’s, individual fire places, tables, toilets, just sensational. We finally got to do some cooking over the fire and did the ‘ole classic sliced chips and steak.

Finally some cooking over the campfire

Finally some cooking over the campfire

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The next day we needed to get out and about after slothin’ it and headed to Arltunga as Jess has posted about already.

On day three we decided we would do the drive down into Ruby’s Gap. It is a big day and easily the most off road 4wd’ing we have done yet.

Some beautiful scenery on the drive in to Ruby's Gapy

Some beautiful scenery on the drive in to Ruby’s Gapy

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Ruby’s gap is really interesting, some bloke found what he thought were Ruby’s down there which began a Gem rush, and there are stories of men pushing their entire belongings in wheelbarrows from Adelaide into Ruby’s gap to come and make their fortunes. The first few blokes who came out with their barrows full of “Ruby’s” did make a fortune, but it was soon discovered that the Ruby’s were nothing more then high grade garnets…. Pretty, but worthless. There are stories of blokes who when they received word that they were garnets (England was the only place who could certify them back then so ‘word’ took a while) these poor buggers who had sold everything and poured it into machinery here at Ruby’s gap simply shot themselves. Gives you an indication of the desperation and hard work they had put in only to have barrow loads of pretty dirt.

The funny thing was, we got down there and Jess and I were looking for the park signs pointing in the direction of where the garnets were and we were growing more and more frustrated when we couldn’t find any signs or where the garnets were supposed to be, then I accidentally dropped a bit of lunch on the sand……

The sand is literally crushed Garnets!

The sand is literally crushed Garnets!

Garnets everywhere - we had a ball!

Garnets everywhere – we had a ball!

Yeah, the entire place is virtually garnets, the sand is made up of garnet! Once we took a closer look it was quite stunning. It’s a no wonder they would have thought they were on an absolute million dollars back when they thought they were Ruby’s!

Doing some 'specking'

Doing some ‘specking’

Anyway the drive from Trephina gorge took a tad over three hours, included some very narrow track, soft river bed sand for a good few k’s and some good sized rocks to balance over trying to avoid that body damage that could quickly ruin the day. All in all a very good day out. Oh, we were told not to take the camper and I’m glad we didn’t. This one was a car only drive. You could get a high clearance box trailer camper in, but probably not without some damage (it was very narrow in parts).

River bed sand driving in to Ruby's Gap

River bed sand driving in to Ruby’s Gap

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One of the small dips in to Ruby's Gap (there were lots of them!)

One of the small dips in to Ruby’s Gap (there were lots of them!)

Poor Peter Prado after a tough few days 4wding!

Poor Peter Prado after a tough few days 4wding!

East Macs…. Must, must do!

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

East MacDonnell Ranges – Arltunga

20130716-211455.jpgWe didn’t plan on heading to the East MacDonnell Ranges on our trip, thinking we had seen enough gorges after the West Mac’s, but we got talking to another family at the caravan park in Alice Springs and they couldn’t recommend it highly enough, so we figured we had to go and check it out for ourselves and we are so glad we did!  The East MacDonnell Ranges are quite different to the West – there are still plenty of gorges to check out (and we did that too, but that will be in another post,) but probably one of the highlights of our trip so far was the day we spent at Arltunga.  Arltunga was officially central Australia’s first town.  Now it is a National Park to preserve the remnants of the ghost town that was once a bustling gold mining town.

We were lucky enough to once again make it to a ranger talk led by two real life gold miners who are still mining for Gold at Arltunga today!  It was a great one hour talk – really informative on the gold mining process and the history of Arltunga.  We then got to play around the Visitor Information Centre before picking up a map and exploring Arltunga – we even got to climb down into an old gold mine shaft which the kids just loved!  A really, really great, free, day out!!  I’m going to let the photos show you our time there.

Lex playing 'kitchens' with some of the old kitchen stuff at the Visitor Centre

Lex playing ‘kitchens’ with some of the old kitchen stuff at the Visitor Centre

Grunda - think you need to make some of these tin 'trucks' for the grandies - so simple an olden day to which our kids loved!

Grunda – think you need to make some of these tin ‘trucks’ for the grandies – so simple an ‘olden day’ toy which our kids loved!

Jack 'dollying' (crushing up the rock) in preparation for panning for gold

Jack ‘dollying’ (crushing up the rock) in preparation for panning for gold

Panning

Panning

He wasn't giving up until he found a nugget!

He wasn’t giving up until he found a nugget!

Not too impressed with just a speck!

Not too impressed with just a speck!

Lex getting to wear the gold necklace and gold nugget at the Visitor Centre - she thought she was getting to keep them - hehehehe - the look on her face when she had to give them back!

Lex getting to wear the gold necklace and gold nugget at the Visitor Centre – she thought she was getting to keep them – hehehehe – the look on her face when she had to give them back!

The old police station - Arltunga

The old police station – Arltunga

Exploring

Exploring

I went to see if there were any criminals still in the lookup

I went to see if there were any criminals still in the lockup

Found 3 of the worst kind!

Found 3 of the worst kind!

Kids thought it was hilarious to lock me in there

Kids thought it was hilarious to lock me in there

It was a freezing and drizzly day!

It was a freezing and drizzly day!

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This line of quartz (quartz reef) indicates gold is here

This line of quartz (quartz reef) indicates gold is here

Down we go to check out the mine shaft

Down we go to check out the mine shaft

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And another little tunnell to explore - found a dead kangaroo in this one - week!

And another little tunnell to explore – found a dead kangaroo in this one – eek!

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East MacDonnell Ranges - Arltunga

East MacDonnell Ranges – Arltunga

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

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