OzTrail Lockyer Swag

As many of you will know, we won a bit of a big prize from OzTrail with this photo:



The major prize was an excellent tent, some top of the line camp chairs, and a bunch of really great gear from OzTrail.

Not being ungrateful in the least, but recognising that we actually would not use just about anything from the prize, we very humbly asked OzTrail if they would consider swapping the prize pack out for a few swags, being that we had been wanting to buy all the kids a swag each for some time now, in fact, we had pretty much made our mind up on the OzTrail Lockyer and it was only a matter of saving more pennies until we bought them.

We were over the moon to be told that OzTrail were more then happy to send us out the swags instead, I really wish we had of videoed the kids reaction when we told them the news, priceless. When they arrived, we set them up, in their bedrooms, and they slept in them for a week! Continue reading

Categories: Camping, Modifications, Planning, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joolca HotTap. Hot water, anywhere, anytime

Here it is, our first review, the product that made us even consider doing reviews in the first place. No other product has made us so confident in being able to recommend it, I can guarantee you that if you were to go and buy one of these, you will be supremely happy with it.

So without further adieu, it is none other then our Joolca HotTap!

If you have been following for some time, you know that we simply cannot live with out our HotTap, yes, we are completely spoiled now, we have travelled first class and no sir, we will not go back to economy! Continue reading

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All Terrain Camper Trailer

So after our little trip round Oz (yes we were stopped half way), we ended up in Mareeba FNQ as farmers. Thats another story. But one of the first things we did was to sell poor karen Camper, our beloved Goldstream Camper. Karen was good, no Karen was great, and served as very very well, BUT, there were no doubt a few times on our trips that we would be making decisions about where we would go, or what route to take based on if we thought Karen could handle it……. often we took the easier way, and still managed to break Karen a few times.

We loved Karen Camper, she was just a bit soft...

We loved Karen Camper, she was just a bit soft…


So when we decided to sell Karen it was because we wanted a camper that would never hold us back ever again. After the usual 12 months of Matt researching and talking to, inspecting, as many camper as possible, he came up with 2 options, a “Cameron Camper” or and “All Terrain Camper”.

After witnessing the set up of every type of camper imaginable whilst on our trip, it was very clear to us, that if it was not easy, quick, and involve the least amount of poles/pegs/ropes possible, it would become one of those campers that gets parked beside the garage never to be used again.

Again, it also had to comfortably fit all of us, and you know, there are a lot of us.

It did not need bells and whistles, as we have always found bells tend to break and whistles tend to waste valuable beer time requiring constant fiddling and tweaking, only for them to eventually break, just like the bells.

Being both these options are made down south, we didn’t like our chances of finding a good second hand one up in FNQ, but as luck would have it, an All Terrain came up in Laura of all places, so after some wheeling and dealing, we bought “Black Betty”

Introducing Black Betty

Introducing Black Betty

Kitchen and Annex

Kitchen and Annex


Queen Bed for us, and oodles of room for the kids

At this point I’d like to just point out a couple of things about the All Terrains that make them different.

  1. 1 night set up (no annex) requires NO additional poles, pegs or ropes, nada, zilch, zip, zero!
  2. It is built for lifted and modified 4WD’s, in fact even with the aggressive lift kit on the Prado, it still sits a bit higher then the car.
  3. These 100% made in Australia, every last bit (except for the little plastic kitchen drawers I believe)
1 night set up take 10mins

1 night set up takes 10mins if that,

This thing is an absolute Tank, and there is no way it will stop us going anywhere. The whole thing is steel, there are no timber cupboards, no plastic fittings, no fancy pants add ons, just steel and canvas.

Black Betty will go anywhere Peter Prado will go!

Black Betty will go anywhere Peter Prado will go!

One of the cool things about the story behind the All Terrains is that it basically came about from a family who enjoyed camping, but were constantly being let down by inferior camper trailers that were difficult to set up and use, so, HE decides to build a bullet (mortar shell) proof trailer, while SHE designed and created a practical, simple tent.

So what resulted is a trailer made by man with a tent made by woman. Trust me, it works.

Trailer: 100% aussie steel, 100% seam welded, everything over engineered, huge thick automotive door seals, solid 50mm square axle, simple leaf/shackle suspension (independent suspension is not all it cracks up to be, believe me), 2tonne genuine Trigg Hitch (not a Chinese knock off), mechanical override disc brake (electric brakes were the bain of my existence on our big trip). The trailer area is seperated into 2 parts, I’d say about 70/30. whilst I have to admit, this can sometimes be annoying because I cannot fit very long things in the trailer area, I soon realise how great a design this is once we have been camping at the beach, in the rain, for a week. The ability to seperate all the wet dirty stuff from all the clean dry stuff is a godsend.

Steel box up front, seperate box behind it, and then the big trailer area accessed from the back

Steel box up front, seperate box behind it, and then the big trailer area accessed from the back

Tent: No peg/pole/rope 1 night set up and the annex remains zipped on at all times, it just folds back over the tent and fastens to the other side with little velcro tabs (essentially means you have 2 roofs). For the annex set up, only 8 pole/rope/pegs are needed for the full annex, thats right, 8 poles is the FULL set up. All windows are true midge screen, and they all have a clear plastic layer on the outside so that you can actually still have light (i.e. all the windows open) during a storm/rain because the clear plastic layer is water proof. All windows can then be “shut” from the inside by zipping up a canvas layer inside, no need to go outside to drop a rolled up window down, PLUS, each window has a full sized canvas layer as the final outside layer as well that doubles as a little awning from each window if you like. There are big stitched pockets everywhere inside the tent (happens to be exactly 4, one each for the kids) for storage of books, iPad, headphones, teddy bears etc, along with a little table, full access to the front box, ventilation screens at the bottom, windows everywhere, and the pièce de résistance, a “moon roof”. Yeah, the entire roof above the queensize bed opens up so you can still experience sleeping under the stars, while knowing you have midge screen and zippered doors for the boogy man.

Windows and ventilation everywhere, and that moon roof!

Windows and ventilation everywhere, and that moon roof!

Window flaps can all be set up as annex

Window flaps can all be set up as annex, with a few more poles of course.

The Kitchen is a beautiful, full stainless steel jobby, with meters of bench space, sink, 4 burner, great storage, cutlery drawers….everything in its right place, even with a sunroof!




She’s not perfect, we have made many changes to Black Betty to really make her our own, and to also address a couple of design flaws, which, the new owners of the business have actually addressed in the new models, but the basics still remain, that this is an unbreakable, simple, very comfortable Camper that we can highly recommend.


Gone are the rather flimsy "scissor" legs

Gone are the rather flimsy “scissor” legs

Now Black Betty has long, strong, sexy wind down legs

Now Black Betty has long, strong, sexy wind down legs

Original poles on the right, the bent spigot was supposed to line up through a hole in the canvas to a hole in the steel frame for putting up the Annex. It never lined up.

Original poles on the right, the bent spigot was supposed to line up through a hole in the canvas to a hole in the steel frame for putting up the Annex. It never lined up.

So I used eye bolts and these nylon pole ends and now the annex take half the time to set up.

So I used eye bolts and these nylon pole ends and now the annex take half the time to set up.

And it is a bit more stable

And it is a bit more stable

Heavy gauge Anderson cabling for battery charging

Heavy gauge Anderson cabling for battery charging

Led strip lights in both compartments in the trailer

Led strip lights in both compartments in the trailer

Dual USB, ciggy plug and volt meter 3 way box at the end of the bed

Dual USB, ciggy plug and volt meter 3 way box at the end of the bed

Fuse box

Fuse box

New power outlets

New power outlets



The only way into camp sites like this, is with a camper that will not hold you back.

The only way into camp sites like this, is with a camper that will not hold you back.



Categories: Camping, Modifications, Planning, Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Electrifying Black Betty

So, as I said in my last post, we have done a few things to get Black Betty a bit more up to scratch. I spent 2 days with my dad (he’s a sparky) “Electify-ing” BB. She did have an anderson cable for charging, but it was 4mm2 cable, she had a battery but it had dropped a cell and was not accepting any charge, and she had 2 ciggy plug outlets but they were wired up with wire as thin as hair, I was not happy plugging in the new BIG fridge into these outlets so we made some changes.

The Workshop

The Workshop

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Categories: Camping, Modifications, Planning | Tags: | 2 Comments

Introducing Black Betty – House on Wheels Take 2

I know Jess has already ‘introduced’ Black Betty but I thought it was time to do it properly…. i.e. Blokey-ly….

So settle in for another one of my monster posts. (I don’t post often, I just post BIG)

First up, Stats:

Make: All Terrain Camper Trailer (ATC)

Year: 2009

Model: 17′ Full Off Road with upgraded deluxe kitchen and ‘Moon Roof” otherwise it is bog standard (well, it was….)

No disrespect to Karen Camper, living in her during our big trip was very comfortable, but there were times when we faced a decision whether to take a certain road or not, based on if we felt Karen would make it. Jess and I do not like being limited like that, if we want to go somewhere or do something, then nothing is stopping us.

Enter “Black Betty”

2013-10-14 15.19.18

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Categories: Camping, Modifications, Planning | 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!

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

The Blokey Stuff Part. 2

Ok, as promised, a few things that have made life a bit easier that I thought might help a few people out, 12 months behind us in their planning stage.

1. Pocket knife.

I love my pocket knife, I use it at least 10 times a day, on average. And don’t worry about having room in your pocket for it. Before we left I ALWAYS felt like my pockets were full, with my wallet, phone, keys, (and the oodles of cash I normally carry around) etc, but I haven’t seen my wallet for a few weeks, the keys never come out of the car and I haven’t seen my mobile phone since May.

2. Waeco in the car.

We just love the Waeco, but at $1200, and $250 for the slide, it was always going to be a big decision, so when a 2 yr old one with the cover AND slide came up on Gumtree for $600….. $600 very well spent. If we were to do it again though, we would pay the money for the MSA Drop Slide, using the fridge everyday climbing up into the back of the car does get pretty tedious

3. Outback Solutions Rear Drawer System

Again, at $2000 a pop, this was a looooong shot with the accountant. Infact, this was probably my biggest sell. I planted the seed as soon as we bought Peter Prado but Jess just wasn’t up for it, well she would argue that the drawers need to be in the essential kit list now. Again, $600 for an as new set on gumtree pushed us over the edge…. I reckon we would pay the $2000 now though awesome.

4. $40 12volt car charger for the Laptop

Found these on ebay, it is permanently plugged into the back of the car, we unplug the laptop when we arrive, use it all night, and plug it back in the next day, we drive, we arrive, fully charged laptop. I’m not sure if I even know where the proper 240V charger is anymore.

5. $50 Pack of 2 spare Camera batteries and 12V charger.

Same as above, ebay Chinese special. With the original camera battery this gives us 3 batteries, one in the camera, one fully charged in the camera bag, and the last one permanently plugged into 12V plug on the dash of the car. Battery goes flat, it goes on charge, the charged one goes in the bag, the one in the bag goes in the camera, we drive, it charges.

7. 12v chargers for the handheld UHFs

Again, allows us to stay charged with out 240v

6. The gas hot water system in the camper.

Almost every day we say “man I love that hot water system” sure we could boil a kettle, but hot water straight out the tap, in the middle of nowhere…. Cool.

Just for interest sake, the stuff we thought we might need but haven’t.

1. Genie (see above re. Solar panels)
2. Inverter (see above re. 12v chargers)

Look out for Blokey stuff Part. 3 coming soon….. Some truly enthralling statistics on roads, tyres, gear ratios, rpm and fuel economy/prices, wow! I don’t know about you but I can’t wait!

Categories: Modifications, Planning | 1 Comment

Our Home

20130716-205834.jpgWe had a little bit of time after an early set up when we first got to the East MacDonnell Ranges, (posts about our time here still to come!) so we finally got a chance to get some photos of Karen Camper all set up before we messed her all up by  living in her (and we had done a little re-organising in Alice Springs).  So here are at last some photos of ‘Our Home’ in her most photo worthy state to date, she’s not flash but we love her and she has served us well so far!

Come inside ......

Come inside ……

View to the master bedroom

View to the master bedroom




Kids Cushions



Dining Room

Dining Room


Our Laundry ($1 coins) and Treat ($2 coins) jars

Our Laundry ($1 coins) and Treat ($2 coins) jars – yes all made by my clever Mum!

Kids bedroom

Kids bedroom

Lexi, Toby & Jack sleep on the queen bed end.

Lexi, Toby & Jack sleep on the queen bed end.

Front Porch

Front Porch

Our Home

Our Home

I have to say a huge thank you to my Mum who is the very clever one who did all the beautiful crotcheting, the gorgeous bunting,the  caterpillar rug which we have all snuggled under during the last few weeks of freezing nights, treat tins, our great floor mats and made our lovely kid’s cushions – we were sooooooo spoilt!  There are also lots of other lovely gifts in the photos from our friends and the little bits and pieces really remind us of the wonderful people in our lives and make ‘our home’ all the more, our camper of love!  Thank you to you all!! xoxoxoxoxo

Below is just a short video of what the camper actually looks like with us living in it!  Now, as the saying goes;

“Although you’ll find our house a mess, come in, sit down, converse.  It doesn’t always look like this: Some days its even worse!”

Categories: About Us, Camping, Modifications | 11 Comments

A Breakdown Not Solved – Grrrrrrr!


GRRRRRRR! Back at the Auto Electrican this morning.

Well for those of you who aren’t in the Facebook loop, you would not yet know that tonight we are back in Tennant Creek after only travelling 60km’s down the road this morning to find the car throwing the same problems (air conditioning goes, dashboard ‘check engine’ lights up, indicators etc go, battery starts losing charge) as the pre, new alternator breakdown.  Thank goodness for our RACQ membership (so grateful) as they have now upgraded us to a cabin for the next two nights while the car and camper wait in the queue to get back to see the Auto Electrician tomorrow afternoon.

Dinner in our cabin tonight - feels so strange!

Dinner in our cabin tonight – feels so strange!

We’re trying really hard to stay calm and positive about this.  I went for a walk this afternoon and did a loop around town trying to work out just exactly what the universe is trying to tell us we need to do here before we can leave.  I didn’t come up with anything other than buying a lotto ticket from the newsagency tomorrow morning – cross your fingers for us.

We really don’t know what is wrong with the car/camper – Matt thinks it may be something to do with the Electric Brake Controller/Trailer plug blowing our ignition fuse, which then kills the alternator, which then means the battery dies?? That’s about as much as I can follow.  We’re really, really hoping for a quick fix when the auto-electrician can squeeze us in tomorrow afternoon.  We are bummed because we were meant to meet Matt’s dad and Rema tonight who have just arrived in Mataranka from Cairns to travel with us for a few weeks – hopefully we will be sitting in the hot spas with them soon!

Matt is forgetting about the day with some ‘man cave’ time and a scary/violent movie I would never sit through, on the iPad.  Me – I think I’m just going to ‘blog’ (block) it out and keep the blog posts rolling – we are nearly all up to date again!  We’re thinking we might have to give it a go to write a magazine article for one of  the camping/camper trailer mags – an attempt to try to mitigate some of the damage the trip budget has suffered, the criteria for the articles is a little daunting though!!

Anyway – to finish, back by popular demand (hehehehe – thanks Lee – a very loyal reader who we haven’t yet even met!  No need to instigate the BBFPOTD Facebook Page just yet! ) is favourite part of the day.  Let me tell you, Matt and I had to scrape the bottom of the barrell hard for ours tonight!!

Favourite Parts of the Day

Lex – getting back to the swimming pool and having our lunch

Tobes – walking in to the awesome cabin

Jacko – leaving Tennant Creek and then walking in to our new cabin

Jess – getting back on the road this morning and seeing this on the highway ……..

Camels towing a ute on the Stuart Highway today

Camels towing a ute on the Stuart Highway today

Matt – leaving Tennant Creek

What was your Favourite Part of Today?  C’mon ………. join the fun, you know you want to!

PS. Go the mighty Maroons!!

Categories: Modifications | 7 Comments

A Breakdown – Solved

Well Peter Prado is back, and better then ever! Just a quick post to update what happened, how it was fixed and how to avoid it again.

So as you all know, we were pretty sure it was an blown alternator and we were right. Peter now has a new and improved, bigger, better and much much shinier alternator.


Jess was quietly having a go at “pansy” Peter and I was getting some not-so-subtle hints that while our water crossings last week were fun, maybe they were also expensive. Well I’m happy to report, the water crossings were not the culprit, nor was the copious amounts of dust and dirt and sand driving we had been doing…. No, the problem was….. A stray live wire from when the spottie fell off. Yup, a wire from the spottie had come free and made contact with the bull bar a couple of times creating a short each time, eventually burning the regulator in the alternator out. (Not worth fixing)

So, good to know that Peter is not that precious that a few dirt roads and a creek or two hasn’t killed him (Good boy Peter, he might have cut the aircon, and then the indicators, lights and eventually speedo and taco, but he got us all 150mtrs into Tennant Creek before finally giving in, like a valiant steed!) Also good to know that the second your spottie falls off, separate the wires and insulate them immediately.

Thank you all for your encouraging comments, it was a pretty dark day the first day, but we have actually made the most of Tennant Creek and the forced stop, and believe it or not, Jess and I both said tonight how relaxing it has been…… Thanks Peter for forcing us to stop…. Next time though can we keep it under $1000 please!

Categories: Modifications, Planning | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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