Posts Tagged With: Travel with Kids

OzTrail Lockyer Swag

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

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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

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Australian Butterfly Sanctuary – Kuranda

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You guys are all going to fall down in shock, but guess what?  We had a little day out on the weekend, ticking one of the ‘must do’s’ off the list of things to explore in 2016 AND I am even going to blog about it only a few days after our visit – not weeks or months later – wahoooo says I, giving myself a pat on the back 🙂 🙂

So, due to the fact that everything Mr Blue Sky Produce Matt touched last week, broke down – including (and this is no exaggeration) – two tractors, the mower, two quad bikes and the dishwasher – we found ourselves on Sunday with a very unexpected day off mid mango season!  As we live up here in the country – most shops still do that thing of closing by 12pm on a Saturday, so there was no going into town for the required parts to fix all the broken down farm machinery.  Mr Blue Sky Produce was in a lovely mood (not!) so you can imagine just how happy he was when I suggested a family day out to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda on Sunday. Continue reading

Categories: Atherton Tablelands, Tropical North Queensland | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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

Inside

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!

Kitchen

Kitchen

 

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

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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

A Morning Walk at Mission Beach

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I’m finishing off my series of posts about Mission Beach with this one.  We’ve shared about the Mission Beach Sunset Sail and the Mission Beach Wedding, well now this is a Mission Beach Morning Walk!

Those of you who have kids or have had them, will most likely agree that going on holidays with kids is not always a walk in the park!  One of the things that always happens when we go away with our kiddos is that they don’t sleep well.  Particularly when we have a baby in the mix!  It always seems to take a few nights for them to settle in to their new beds and surroundings before they go back to sleeping right through the night and not waking up at the crack of dawn in excitement at being somewhere different!

Well – we had kind of forgotten all this as our older three were pretty much past this stage or had become great travellers after our trip around Oz last year!  Enter our now five month old baby Kipp and we were given the ‘parents with baby on holiday’ rude reminder!   Continue reading

Categories: Travel, Tropical North Queensland | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Adels Grove

DSC_0459Oh dear – I have just realised that we never finished telling you all about our two week trip away in June/July!! Ooopsy Daisy!!!  Right, back to it then – there’s a couple of awesome posts to come!  So, while we explored Lawn Hill/Boodjamulla National Park we set up base camp at Adels Grove Camping Park.  It was a lovely shady campground with plenty of room for everyone.  No designated sites – just find a spot wherever you liked. As we mentioned in our Lawn Hill post – there is no internet connection available at Adels Grove but the shady sites outweighed that for us as even in winter it was very hot at the National Park!!  Just a word of warning though – it would be very difficult to get much sun on your solar panels in the Adels Grove Campground as most of the park is covered by the leafy tree canopy!  The Top Campground at Adels Grove does allow pets and generators, but it is much hotter and no where near as pretty and leafy as The Grove campground.

Here’s a little bit of trivia for you – the Adels Grove Park was originally taken up by the owner as a Botanical Garden and over 1000 species of exotic and native plants, shrubs and trees were planted there.  The Botanical Gardens in Brisbane still has 536 different samples of seeds sent to them by the original owner!  This really explains the beauty of the campround here!  We camped for three nights at Adels and really enjoyed it. Continue reading

Categories: Camping, Qld Camping, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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