18 things for 2018

new-years-eve-2238337_960_720Poooft.  Hear that? That is the sound of a layer of dust being blown off this little ole blogging space!  I can’t believe I only wrote one measly blog post in the whole of 2017 – what a disaster!  I sure did miss it but 2017 was definitely the year of total overcommitment for the Fealy Family, despite our best intentions for it to be otherwise.

2018 is going to be different!  You heard it here first and no famous last words this year. Continue reading

Categories: About Us, Planning | 2 Comments

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

Led Lenser SEO7R LED Headlamp

Following in the theme of our “reviews” only being for truely stand out products, here is another essential bit of kit in our camping box.

Led Lenser SEO7R

Led Lenser SEO7R

So like everyone, we have all bought the $5 LED torch at the counter of BCF or the local hardware, right? (go on, admit it). Well, how long did it last? How long did the batteries last? Oh, and here’s a good question, did it actually put out ANY light??

Ok, so after swallowing your pride and realising a $5 torch is actually worth about -$50 (time to buy new batteries, time spent banging it on the side to make it work, time plastering your shin from that half wall you fell down because you couldn’t see jack whilst using it) you splash out and buy a $30 torch. Things are great, life is grand, and you can see on the “bright” side again, yeah for you……. So you put that torch back in the camp box only to pull it out again 6 months later on your next camp, only to realise the batteries are flat, they have leaked everywhere inside the torch, and you are now 7 hrs from the nearest store.

Enter, the SEO7R. Continue reading

Categories: Camping, 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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Waeco 80L 12V Fridge (CF80)

Another standout performer in our stable, the CF80 Waeco fridge. Being we don’t tend to take many photos of our fridge, this post will not be as photo heavy as usual.

The Waeco is easy to whip out for a lunch time stop

The Waeco is easy to whip out for a lunch time stop

During our trip round Oz, there were only 5 of us back then, and we had a 3 way fridge in Karen Camper, and a CF50 in the back of the car. This worked quite well once we began using the fridges correctly, i.e., we used the 3 way in the camper as a cupboard for storing tools and recovery gear, and anything we actually wanted cold, in the Waeco.

We did find that the 50L was a touch too small for us though, so when we bought Black Betty, and the rather tall CF50 would not fit in the trailer, it was time to upgrade the fridge.

The biggest complaint we had regarding the CF50 was the orientation of the storage, it was very tall, therefore requiring everything to packed on top of each other, and no matter how much time or effort went into packing the fridge with the next needed items on the top, guaranteed the next time we went to the fridge, the things we actually needed ended up being at the bottom. Other then the inconvenience factor, we were expelling a lot of energy unpacking the fridge overtime to get to things on the bottom, and then having to repack now rather warm items back into the fridge.

So when we looked at the CFX65  (65L fridge) we immediately ruled it out because of the tall layout again, and then we saw the CF80, short, wide and long. Sue this of course results in a greater foot print, but as it turned out we didn’t have a choice being the new Camper didn’t have a lot of height in the trailer area, but did have oodles of space otherwise.

So now, about 3 years on and this is the best fridge we could have possibly bought. It is so easy to pack, to find things, to clean,  it is a Tardis that just seems to absorb more and more food we through in it, it reliably holds temperature even when we pack it to the brim, it has the little “dairy” section above the compressor that doesn’t get anywhere near as cold, yet still cool, perfect for the lettuce so it doesn’t get chill burn in the main section, it has the dividers to keep the drinks away from the food, the wholly removable basket is great, the big sturdy latches (with reversible lid) are handy, its just a great great fridge.

It fits nicely in the kitchen and its often used as extra bench space

It fits nicely in the kitchen and its often used as extra bench space

As always, nothing is perfect, so here are the things we would change if we could:

  1. There is a little trap door on the floor, in there is a sponge, I assume it is the soak up condensation and beetroot juice. It would be great if this was bigger then a postage stamp, like, half the size of the floor would be great because the beetroot juice always gets everywhere
  2. Thats about it!

A little tip when packing this fridge, do not pack it full of frozen things at the compressor end, I think the thermostat is at that end so what happens is the fridge thinks it is happily below temp so doesn’t switch on, mean while the things at the opposite end are now above temp. Try and spread the frozen things around through out the fridge when packing.

Oh, power consumption is actually really really good as well. This was probably my biggest concern going to such a big fridge, I don’t have official amps vs temp vs atmospheric pressure, I do not have pie and bar graphs, but I can tell you that, sitting in the back of our dark grey Prado, for 3 days, in January, being opened and closed every couple of hours, it only just tripped out on low voltage late on the third day, and that is drawing from a 105aH AllRounder battery that is not a true deep cycle because it is also used as a back up cranking battery, no solar, and no driving.

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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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

8 weeks on the road

Boab Tree - now we are in WA we are seeing them everywhere - love them!

Boab Tree – now we are in WA we are seeing them everywhere – love them!

Today we had a very long drive and to fill in the last hour and stop the fighting and whinging before we stopped for lunch at Halls Creek, (after listening to a whole Famous Five audio book) we decided to go round the car and see what everybody’s thoughts are on the trip now that we have been on the road for 8 weeks!! It has gone so fast, but leaving Brisbane two months ago seems like forever too if that is possible!!

Fealy Family Interview

What have we missed the most since being on the trip?

Jack – having good friends – only friends now are the others (pointing to Lex & Tobes) and they’re not really friends.  Icecream, miss playing with my hockey team, the trampoline and my bike.

Toby – my toy cars drawer from home, Patrick and Ashlin.

Lexi – the house and my room, Jayde & Madi, icecream, Jerry & Slinky,

Matt – the chooks (eggs!), icecream, cups of tea/cold beer on the deck, miss Greg (Matt’s massage dude), company of good neighbours

Jess – time to myself!  Keeping up to date with my favourite blogs, having a long hot shower by myself, sitting on the soccer field in the afternoon at school pick up time chatting to my lovely mum friends and going to book club!

What we don’t miss!

Lexi – I don’t know
Tobes – the city & noise
Jack – the roadworks at Louie’s (neighbours) block, all the pollution
Matt – sitting in a fluorescently lit office, reheating dinner to finally eat it at 11pm cold, Louie’s truck noise
Jess – housework, going to work, school routine – lunchboxes etc, road noise

What are our favourite things about the trip?

Lexi – having icecreams, the campsite with the big long pool

Tobes – Uluru, my birthday

Jack – being free – not many people, climbing Uluru, seeing all the sights that most people don’t get to see

Matt – spending every minute with the family exclusively, going to bed and waking up at regular times, seeing something and doing something new everyday, no work, no schedule.

Jess – the thrill of pack up day and heading somewhere new with new things to see – not knowing where we will be next! The live music at the campgrounds, the feeling & sound in the evening at campgrounds of people socializing, relaxing & cooking dinner.
Eating out for dinner or breaky every now & then!

Our least favourite parts of trip

Lexi – I don’t like flies all over me

Toby- having to say goodbye to friends I make

Jack – having to do school work

Matt – paying $2 a litre for petrol

Jess – walking one child all the way over to the toilet at the ablution block only to come back and have another ask to go – grrrrr!!  Or the same child ask to go back again five minutes later!!  The cold nights!  The car/camper breaking down and having to spend a precious week of our now shortened trip in Tennant Creek!

Looking back on our blog posts has helped us realise that we really have seen and done lots of great things in the last two months and even though our trip has been shortened, we are really excited about what our last month on the road will have in store for us – bring on the beach – wahooooooo!

Getting in some 'relaxing' practice in readiness for hitting the beach - this was me in the pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park yesterday - freezing but beautiful!

Getting in some ‘relaxing’ practice in readiness for hitting the beach – this was me in the pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park yesterday – freezing but beautiful!

Categories: Camping, Planning, Travel | 3 Comments

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