Well the 18th March came around real quick the last 6mths were hectic organising the details, but the day finally came when we drove out the drive way & turned left sunset in the rear vision mirror. So follow our blog let us know if you enjoy the trip as much as we are it will be a fun time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

 Grab a double shot of coffee where back on the Gibb

 The cruiser is set back up in camper mode, up early to drop the van off, the property the van is camping on for the next 10 days is 10km’s out of Derby and a few km up the Gibb River Rd. The first 100km of the Gibb is tar so easy driving up to just before the turn off to Tunnel creek where the dirt begins so it’s time to drop the tyre pressures,  the smooth driving is over. Driving past the entrance of Windjana Gorge where we would come back to camp for the night, we could see  dust in the distance we soon came head to head with a road train full of cattle so a quick exit off the road till the dust settled, dirt was sliding down the windscreen like water, those trucks really get a work out on these roads.

Tunnel Creek

 Preparing for our walk through Tunnel creek some fella asks me if there are crocs in the creek, no mate too cold in there, hmm maybe I shouldn’t be so confident & ask someone myself  ‘O’ well I’ll send the kids in first. Everyone has a torch ( new batteries would have been a good idea ) we went into the tunnel, first in the water yep its cold so we waded through the creek to the other end, in places it was waist deep. At the other end we stopped for morning tea, the fella I spoke to outside came through not long afterwards & happened to mention that there were crocs swimming around in there,  we didn’t see any but we weren’t looking for them either, great,  now we’ve got to walk back it was a good thing the batteries were going flat in the torches by the time we got to the other end they were all flat we waited for others to come through to follow them out. :o Walking back to the car the temp was around 35 deg so it didn’t take long to dry off.

Windjana Gorge

 On the way to Windjana we stopped at the old police station ruins, had a walk around & read up on the history of the area.  Josh actually did an assignment later in the year when he was at school in Karratha on this part of our trip so he could relate his experience to the class.

  It is really getting hot now so we waited a few hours before setting up the tent. As the afternoon cooled we went for a walk up Windjana Gorge while we were walking along the water’s edge there where fresh water crocs floating in the water we saw 20-30 crocs  that afternoon & got some good photos of Josh & I up close to them.
Bell Gorge

 Our plans up the Gibb were to miss every 2nd walk/gorge & visit them on the way back, so the next stop was at Lennard Gorge, we walk up & down hills to a look out over the gorge & a water fall, there wasn’t anywhere to swim so back to the car to cool down. Driving onto Silent Grove camping area, the drive through the King Leopold Ranges was fantastic the views were great. There is a rock formation called Queen Victoria Range the formation looks like the Queens head from both directions these are the little things that the kids will always remember. We set up camp then went to Bell Gorge a 10 km drive up the road were we then walked to the top of the water fall of Bell Gorge,  there were people swimming below the falls so we all climbed down, Josh & I swam out under the falls, after a while we went back up to the top of the falls & swam there,  by this stage we were the only ones there, it’s amazing how many times we are in a beautiful spot in this great country & we end up there by ourselves it may only be for a while but we get that special moment. Back to camp for a feed & off to bed, so far the road isn’t too rough corrugated but we can sit on around 80kmh most of the time. As we left camp the next morning & got back on to the Gibb we saw our first brown snake for the trip so we slowed down to take a look he isn’t happy let’s keep going.

Drysdale Station

 Fuelling up at Mount Barnett Roadhouse (diesel $2:05 per litre) & an ice cream,  we drove through to where the Gibb & the Kalumburu Rd meet, there we had lunch this is the turn off to go to Mitchell Falls & the road (that’s what the locals call it) gets very rough. It was not too far where we crossed the actual Gibb River then we stopped at Drysdale station and booked into their cheap campground camp ground for the night, 3kms up the road at Minors pool.  Kylie, Josh & Clare decided to go for a walk & find somewhere to swim, Josh ends up swimming in a narrow part of the river & Kylie sat on the bank with her feet in the water next thing a 2meter fresh water croc swims past so he yells DON’T SPLASH to Kylie stay still, so she decided to scare the croc away as a good mum would & splashed, the croc turned & looked straight at them then swam towards them, still yelling at his mother while she was laughing when they got back to camp he calmed down then found the funny side of the moment.
Mitchell Falls

 The next morning we headed off towards Mitchell Falls the road was so rough that I thought the poor cruiser was going to break in half, the corrugations were about a metre apart & 300-400 mm high so we had to do 70kmh to get up on top of the ruts. For the next 5 hours we got thrashed, I stopped a few times to check the roof rack still had our stuff on top & starting off again was unbelievable to get back up to speed, I have never been so exhausted from driving as I was on this road.

  Arriving at Mitchell Falls camp ground we had a walk around and found that about 1km from camp there was a swimming hole so we headed off for a swim, beautiful spot, we made Kylie go in first so Josh could splash. The next morning we walked through to Mitchell falls got some great photos & found a great spot to swim for the day we met a few people from Qld. There are chopper flights over the falls where you can fly in/walk out or walk in/fly out we did the walk in walk out with me as our tour guide, this was the longest walk we had done so far 8.5kms in 35+ degrees heat.

Gibb River Camp

 Leaving the next morning we weren’t looking forward to our drive out so we got cracking & got to Drysdale station for more fuel ($2:08 per litre), exhausted we stopped on the Gibb River and set up the tent about 30meters from the river bank, Josh was concerned about camping too close to the water, I think he is still a bit paranoid. Later that arvo Josh went up the track a bit to crack his whip when out of know where this massive bull turned up, the whip cracking upset him & he’s looking for Josh (so I pointed him in the right direction), I ran for the car to cut him off if he decided to chase Josh, Josh hid behind a tree until he left.  We are still laughing about this trip it was so exciting. Later that night we climbed into bed & as I lay there I could hear noises from the river (bugger Josh may have been right). The next morning went I woke up, I checked the bottom of the sleeping bag yep 2 legs it was a good night.
Manning Gorge

 After a slow pack up we set off back to Mount Barnet roadhouse, Manning Gorge camp ground is 7kms out the back of the roadhouse which was where we planned to stay for the night.  We stopped at the Gibb & Kalumburu intersection for some photos of the Gibb River road sign, WOW smooth road,  well it was a lot better,  90km one arm on the wheel this in livin. When we got to the road house & we booked a spot the lady behind the counter gave us info for the walk to the gorge, first we need to swim across a river with our cloths in something that floats, ok, then with a cheeky smile on her face she said don’t worry about the crocs there friendly, just another day in paradise.

 So we set up camp again went down to the river for a swim & there was lots of bait in the river already, this looks safe, Josh you go first ok just don’t splash. After a few hours of swimming & we got more info about the walk the next day, we had an early night.

 Leaving at 6am the water was fresh, out the other side we put on our walking boots  & 2 hours later we arrived at  the gorge & water fall,  absolutely the best spot yet,  straight in for a swim, we jumped off the rocks that were 3-4 meters  into the water,  it was so deep you couldn’t see the bottom, we swam out under the falls & finally got Kylie to swim under the falls, we spent 4 hours there,  oh well doesn’t look like were moving on today. Walking back to camp was hot work so it was nice to swim back across the river, that’s where we spent the rest of the day.
 The next morning we packed up the tent for the last time this adventure & set off for Derby & back to the van. We stopped at Galvan’s gorge a beautiful spot for a swim. No punctures this time until we got to Derby & we got a nail in 1 tyre, the cruiser held up very well it still doesn’t have any rattles or squeaks which is surprising with the roads it has been on.

Having problems uploading photos so stay tuned.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Coffee @ Larrawa

 Back on the road early our first stop was at Halls Creek where we parked in town near the pool, Kylie had to do some work so the kids & I went for a walk around town that didn’t take long so we had lunch & looked at where we would stay that night. That night we drove through to Mary Pool camp this was a big camp ground on a dried up river. The next morning we were heading for Fitzroy Crossing so Kylie could do more work, as we drove past the gates of Larrawa Station our phones went off, we had service, so we rang Wendy at Larrawa she said they had internet so looks like were camping on a cattle station. 4km down the dirt road we pulled up at the camp ground & Sam the family dog met us with his big smile not far behind was Wendy who made us feel very welcome. Larrawa has great facilities hot showers & flushing toilets, the cattle & horses roam around the camp ground Larrawa is a non mechanical station so Kevin does everything on horseback. There are several walks that are on the property, plenty of fire wood & bbq’s. For those mod cons there is a camp kitchen, the sunsets from the camp ground where fantastic what a great start to our Kimberly adventure. Kylie caught up on her work, the kids caught up on their school work & I spent valuable time testing my eye lids for holes (none found). The 3rd day we were there we saw a cloud of dust coming down the drive way then around the camp ground when it settled there was that motley crew Ned & Gae, Alan & Donna laughing, now we’re even, Looks like another camp fire & more yarns.Sad good bye the day we left Larrawa Station Wendy & Kevin made us feel like family looks like we have somewhere else to come back to on future trips. Larrawa is in Camps 6- 635 so when you’re in the Kimberly make sure you drop in & say hi from us. Thanks for your Hospitality.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Time for a long awaited coffee break

 Heading out of Kununurra we realised that we didn’t see everything that we wanted to see, looks like Kununurra will be one of those towns we will revisit on another trip. 50km down the road we turn left towards the bungles, there is a camp on the corner as we pull in for smoko we spotted Ned & Gae, & Alan & Donna set up, so a drive by just to stir up the dust, well we better stop now they recognised the van. A few heckling remarks & we set up for the night some more travel storeys while we watch the footy on TV (yep that’s bush camping).

 Leaving the next morning the road to the Bungles had a few narrow bridges to cross as we got to one bridge there was a van on the side of the road, “O” no its smashed, the car was parked off to one side, this isn’t looking good so we stopped to make sure everyone was ok, as I walked back to the damaged van the people came out of the van (what was left) their ok still very shaken it happened the day before & they were still waiting for a tow truck to take the van back to Kununurra. As they crossed the bridge the day before a road train was coming the other way he miss judged the speed of the truck, the car made it over the bridge but the van didn’t & the truck parked in the left hand side of the van right up to the wheels & ripped the van off the car they were lucky to not be hurt. It took hours for a crane to lift the truck out of the van, this shook us all up how your trip can change so quickly so far from home.

Bungle Bungles

 We arrived at the gate into the bungles then went another km down the road to the free stay on a creek, there we set up to leave the van & go into the bungles for 3 days. The road in was very windy & undulated with 8 water crossings a comfortable speed was around 40 km. The first 7 km of walks were the opposite end of where we were camping so a bite to eat, grab our water & we’re off. The walks are mapped out so you’re not back tracking too much & the visitor centre advises you on the time of day for each walk. The first walk was to a lookout through a dry river bed between the bee hive domes a spectacular site there are domes as far as you can see. Back tracking a little we then walked into the Cathedral WOW this is amazing, this is where they made the Qantas adds a few years ago, there were some people in there playing guitars & then someone sang some 80s songs how cool is that (I didn’t sing). We sat in there for an hour in the cool, in different areas of the Cathedral the acoustics sounded amazing with the different noises bouncing off the walls. Walking back through the river bed it was amazing to see how much the domes had changed with the sun light on them from a different angle; the next walk was to a smaller cathedral it was getting very hot at this stage as the heat off the domes zaps your energy from you.

 We found our camp site & set up later that arvo in the cool the awning on the car was a great help for shade. We left the tent set up the next morning & went off to the next 3 walks the 1st was up through & over boulders this was a fun walk climbing these boulders the kids went nuts jumping from one to another, at the end of the chasm there were steps onto a board walk where looking back to where we walked from towards the domes was spectacular & Josh cooeed which echoed through the chasm. The next walk had to be done in the middle of the day, when you walked between the cliff walls to the end as the sun was coming over it looked like larva flowing down the walls of the cliff face the height of the walls was a blow out we looked like ants in there we got some amazing photos. The next morning we packed up & went back to the van then striped the car down & transformed it back for travelling to our next destination.




Saturday, September 8, 2012

The road will get rough so tighten your travel mug lid

 Once the shops opened & we restocked with some food then set up camp at the show grounds where we could leave the van so we could go out to Elquestro on the Gibb River Rd. Not being able to find the button that transforms the cruiser into a camper Josh & I went about transferring our camping gear the old fashion way manuallyJ . Setting off mid morning the next day the first part of the Gibb is being tarred, then we hit dirt just before Emma Gorge turn off, it is part of Elquestro where there is camping so we stopped at the entrance for lunch sausage sangas beside the road, 16km into the camp ground where we booked in for 2 nights the pricing for the tent site (dirt) & passes for the gorge walks was $360:00 when we got up & started to crawl away to call 000 the nice lady behind the counter said she could do a family deal, that’s fine just don’t let that big bloke give me mouth to mouth. So he helped us up & propped us up to the counter then she proceeded to reduce the price down to $120:00 for 2 nights I am sure there was a hidden camera somewhere so they can watch people’s faces over a few beers that night. As we got to our site the cruiser felt a bit strange in the rear yep we’ve got our first puncture (this trip) so while camp was being set up I did a repair to the tyre.

Elquestro Gorge
 The next morning we walked Elquestro Gorge in the cool it was sensational a real tropical atmosphere, the water in the gorge was cold but that didn’t stop the kids swimming. The next walk was Moonshine Gorge it was in full sun & the walk was on river rocks so 1km into the walk we turned back to swim at the water hole. That afternoon we drove to Pigeon lookout then to Saddle back lookout for sunset, there were fires burning around the hills & a lot of dust in the air so there are some amazing pictures of the sun setting. Back to camp for a feed & get ready for the next day. 
Elquestro Gorge
Emma Gorge Falls
 Packing up the next morning we stopped at the thermal pools for a swim then back tracked to Emma Gorge. The walk in was great the boulders were starting to get bigger to climb over but once at the end of the gorge you can swim under the water fall so I hit the water & it was icy a very quick swim around the rocks to a thermal pool was in order, I might add everyone else walked to the thermal pool over the rocks, with some convincing Josh & I swam out to the falls, the water was so cold under the falls it was like someone sticking pins in your skin so back to the rock pool where we sat for half a hour to warm up. Walking out we passed quite a few people coming in so we did the right thing & let them know about the thermal pool & swimming around the rocks was the only way to them J. By the time we got back to the car it was lunch so a bite to eat & were off again, as we came to the Pentecost River a few vehicles were stopped so a quick chat & photos we crossed the river it was flowing fast but only about a foot deep, climbing up from there the views back were great so we stopped at the lookout for photos then continued on. About 20km down the road the cruiser had a moment & waged its tail... hmm that didn’t feel right so we pulled up Kylie yelled out the left rear is flat... BINGO the right rear is flat as well both rear tyres at the same time how lucky is that. I managed to repair the right rear & put the spare on the left but the tyres are buggered so we decided to turn around & head back to Kununurra to sort out tyres. Late afternoon we drove towards Wyndham to find a camp spot but the ground was rock, not real friendly to tent pegs so we ate at the lookout then drove back to the van from which was still 100km away.
Emma Gorge
moonshine Gorge

 The next day after a good nights sleep I went & bought 4 new tyres & kept the 2 tyres that were ok for spares. We decided to leave the cruiser set up as a camper & tow the van to Derby via the Bungle Bungles & come into the Gibb from the other end.

Pentecost River

Friday, August 24, 2012

It’s getting hot so grab an iced coffee


 Getting into Darwin early so we can get a site at the show grounds but the last site was taken the night before so a few phone calls and we’re off to a van park 10ks from the city get a number & wait till 11am when they start calling numbers for the vacant sites this should be fun, after sitting for nearly an hour “BINGO” that’s our number & we’re off to set up camp. We spent 4 days sightseeing Darwin the museum was a high light as they had a display from cyclone Tracey & a lot of info of what happen around that time. We had dinner at Stokes Wharf one night where we ran into Max & Rhonda who we met at Atherton they had already been back to Perth & returned to Darwin to meet family for dinner that night on the wharf. We also went to the night markets which was a blow out there was about 500 people there that night, Josh & Clare brought whips & Mick  taught them how to crack them properly.

Wangi Falls
  An early start & we’re off to Lichfield NP where we will spend a few days, when we arrived at  Wangi Falls camp ground we got the 2nd last site (now that’s planning) a quick service of the car & we’re off for a swim at the falls. The water was refreshing, Josh & I found a hot spring that filled a hole in the rock the hole was about 8 feet deep then we found some rocks to jump off & swam over to the water falls were we could sit under them. After an hour of coaxing the girls they swam over to the hot springs, Clare & Kirsty swam under the water fall but Kylie would only swim close to them, after nearly 3 hours of swimming we needed a feed & then we would come back later. The next day we went sightseeing to the lost city & to Florence Falls were we went swimming again lots of back packers there so we didn’t hang around long, more swimming back at Wangi Falls to finish off the last day in Lichfield NP.
Hot pool next to falls

 The next day we stopped at Bridge creek free camp beside the road, washing day again & Josh & I did some repairs to the cruiser. The following day I washed the van with creek water & Josh went & found some bamboo so he could build an A frame shelter to sleep in that night but while he was cutting bamboo he disturbed 3 fresh water crocs so Mum wouldn’t let him go & get the last bit he needed ( that’s the excuse he used )he improvised, completed it and spent his first cold night in a shelter he had built himself.

Josh sleeping in his shelter

Termite mound in Lichfied NP

The Lost City
  Back in Katherine more shopping & I picked up parts for the cruiser and then we visited the thermal springs before heading out to a free camp for the night. Not much later 4 other vans stopped for the night so a fire was lit & there were lots of yarns told till late into the night. The next morning we went back to Katherine so I could do the repairs to the cruiser & Kylie work as well the kids did some school work before going for a swim in the thermal springs, we then headed back out of town to a free camp further down the track than the night before. The drive through the ranges to the Victoria River road house were just spectacular we love the way the country side changes over the next hill or round the next corner. Around this area there are lots of 4wd tracks that are extreme so it looks like a place to revisit later down the track, the next stop is Big Horse NP on the Victoria Rive,r as we pulled in Ned & Gae were there so it was time for a catch up yarn around another fire that night. After 2 days there & no fish to be caught time to head to the WA boarder ( yep heading into another state already) as we got to the dirt road turn off @ Zebra Rock camp a traveller stopped us to say that the camp had closed, we found out later that it closed 1hr before we got there, so we set up camp on the side of the road to cook up all vegies before crossing the border the next day. Later that afternoon 4 vans pulled in near us as I went out to greet them they had put there vans in a circle like they were wagon trains so I politely let them no Indians would be attacking that night so they would be safe.... oops nomads with NO sense of humour back in the van for me J . Pulling up at the boarder quarantine the inspector checked the fridges for illegal’s trying to sneak across the border, I thought he would have noticed we had Qld number plates not Victorian, a pretty uneventful border crossing so not long till we reached Kununurra where we notice it was very quite in town & once again nothing open... oops Sunday again & we forgot to put our clocks back an hour & half J .
Boab at sunset Big Horse creek

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Make a hot coffee it’s still cold

  Leaving Alice & the temp is still in the minus, heading north back to the marbles for the night hoping for warmer weather. We met a family there who were on a 3 month trek up through the centre then down the west coast. The next morning we stopped at Tennant Creek  then we went through to Newcastle Waters, a free camp on the side of the road “oh no”  looks pretty full & it’s late in the day. After talking to a few people we squeezed in between a van & a fence where Kylie parked perfectly in front of about a dozen people they all watched closely especially the fellow that didn’t park his car straight. He was concerned about the front of his car so I reassured him he wouldn’t notice any damage because it was the same colour as the vanJ after a bit of gloating & a cuppa everyone dispersed. We met Ned & Gae, and Allan & Donna that night around there fire. The next morning we all headed off to camp at Daly Waters pub where they put on a live show each night it was one of those places if it could hang from the roof it was up there. The next morning we went to Mataranka & stayed at Elsey NP, there we visited the thermal springs & walked up the river to some waterfalls & swam in the river when we got back only freshies in here I think.

  We moved onto Katherine for more fuel & food & then went to Edith falls for the night ( so we thought ) the camp ground was full, once you get up north booking & early arrival is essential but that doesn’t concern us too much, back tracking 15k’s we pulled in a side track & set up near a creek for the night, as dark set in as usual back packers arrived so we weren’t alone.  Next morning we were off early heading for Kakadu NP, when we got to the information centre where they advised us to leave the van there for the day & do some exploring before going to camp that night. We then drove to Gumlom falls 40km of corrugations there were lots of spares beside the road, the lower water hole was very cold so we walked up to the top of the falls to several rock pools where we spent time swimming before walking back down for lunch. After picking up the van we drove to a camp for the night, this was the first of two very hot nights which was a lot better than the freezing cold. The following night was a nicer camp & we also had showers there, we explored around the area then ready to move on the next day. Stopping a Jabiru for lunch but it was Sunday so there wasn’t anything open (where did that week go?).

waiting for lunch
 So we are off to Merls campground which is at Cahill’s crossing on the boarder of Kakadu & Arnhem Land, the boarder is the East Alligator River. After setting up camp we headed down to the crossing before sunset as the tide was coming in this is when the crocs are most active we sat up on a deck that overlooks the crossing & watched people fishing off the crossing,( this could get interesting there’s live bait )water was flowing over the road & to the right there was a 3mtr croc sunning itself (probably watching those guys fishing) not much action that night so back to the van for dinner. The next day was a washing day so  Josh & I repacked the wheel bearings in the van & serviced the generator then after lunch we went on a few walks, on the rain forest walk there was a croc sleeping on the river bank (you won't get any deposits back from that bank) where we could stand just above him for a closer look I realised that the camera was back in the car so I ran back to get it ( yes I ran)but he was in the water eating a fish when I got back, so after a while we left him alone we then headed down to the boat ramp for high tide. When we got there, there were 5 locals on the other side of the river fishing after a while they caught a small shark, we learnt 2 new things here sharks & crocs swim together & this was the 1st time we saw sharks jump out of the water chasing fish, when the locals left they dug up out of the sand 2 more sharks & a sting ray, they had gutted the sharks on the sand & left it there. At dusk we saw a large croc coming up the river with the tide, he swam past us & stopped about 50 meters from the crossing, swam around for a while then slowly swam back towards the other side coming out of the water onto the sand right where the locals had left the guts from the sharks & then he ate what was left, he was quite a big croc, by this stage it was dark so back to camp. Leaving the next morning for Darwin we had one more night on the side of the road at a free camp then the job of getting into a van park in Darwin.

Josh testing the water & Mum

just cruising

eating the scraps

sleeping giant

Sunday, August 12, 2012

    An early start so make your coffee strong

  After a hot shower catch up on washing & a good night sleep, the sun doesn’t show it’s face till 7:30 am most mornings so it’s been hard to adjust to late starts. Time to change the cruiser from a tourer/tow vehicle into a 4wd/camper so Josh & I striped the back & draw system bare then removed everything from the roof racks WOW how does all that fit in the cruiser. Then we packed 5 days worth of food, fuel, cloths, water& some tools, this took us around 4 hours. We booked the van into another park around the corner as they had a storage area.

 Well here comes that early start get 3 kids up when it’s still dark & only 5 deg, first challenge for the day then I hooked up the van while they crawled into the car, drove to the storage area booked the van in & then parked it jumped back into the car to drive off & from the back seat we hear are we there yet *#*#!.... No soon J we better get a drive through coffee.
!st night set up

 Driving west through the West McDonnell ranges we came to a water hole that was a swim area that no one was in still too cold  let’s move on. Our first gorge was serpentine gorge the walk to the gorge was easy then Josh lead us up a path to a lookout which was 500 metres straight up ( look out means LOOK OUT )well this will get us ready for Ayres Rock. We had lunch there then drove to a NP for the night. The Northern Territory Nation Parks are great each site has a bbq fire pit & a gas bbq with 2 gas burners & a central drop toilet. We set up the tent boiled the billy & got ready for our 1st night in the tent. Then the dingos started coming around just on dark they were very inquisitive we saw them looking in car windows & tents for food. The next morning the temp was 3 deg at 8am a very quick pack up & move on so the heater got working. Today we would drive the Marini loop to Kings Canyon, the road was around 180km of dirt road this should be fun I dropped the tyre pressures to 30psi.  The corrugations & wash outs were quite big but we managed to drive at a comfortable speed & got to Kings Canyon by lunch time.

Heart break hill
Canyon rim walk
  After lunch we found the Canyon & walked the creek walk up the centre of the canyon, looking up at the top of the canyon where we would walk the next day was going to be challenging so we enjoyed our walk up the canyon. The next morning was a bit warmer but windy so we geared up for the start of the climb, heart break hill L  with a 6 km rim walk this will be interesting all I can say is it was fantastic the rock formations, the views were nothing what we expected. The walk took around 4 hours with the odd break & lunch but really worth the effort. A break at the bottom & were off to our next destination Curtin Springs about 100 km from Uluru. It was a big day out 4 hour walk then a 300km drive then reset up the tent fortunally the people we set up next to weren’t going anywhere the following day so they looked after our tent for us. Josh got a fire going that night so we cooked diner then off to bed.

Foot of the rock
 Up before the sun again & on the road it was -2 that morning the butane burner would only run for a few minutes as the gas froze so I rotated them from the burner to the water on the stove, a well deserved coffee that morning. 50 km out of Uluru was our first glimpse of Ayres Rock (the Aussie name) the kids were in awe of the size of the rock. 15 km from the rock the kids were really blown away by its size. Parking at the base of the rock I think they were a bit intimidated as we were about to climb up the face. If you have ever seen the rock you know what I mean it’s bigger than Ben Herr. It took us 2 hours to climb to the top of Ayres Rock where customary photos were taken, Back in 1988 when Kylie & I climbed there was a book to sign at the top not anymore no one really wants us up there, tuff I say it was also a lot steeper than we could remember. The wind was very strong so in places you really had to hang on; the chain at the start has been extended. If you are going to have this climb on your bucket list then make sure you spend the right money & buy quality walking boots we saw so many people in joggers slipping on the rock surface you can’t take chances up there. From there we went to the cultural centre to be cultural J
across the top
 Then we drove out to the Olgas had lunch & went on one walk, back to Uluru for fuel as I forgot to fill up that morning so we got back on the smell of an oily rag( it was close only 5 litres left in the tank)back out to the rock to watch the sunset & eat tea before heading back to camp for the night. Back at camp & straight to bed an exhausting day I put a butane cartridge in the bottom of my sleeping bag so it might be warmer the next morning. Later that night the girls woke me up something is try to get Josh, what’s up boy? There is something outside my swag, dilemma do I fight my way out of the sleeping bag & tent to find that whatever is there has gone or do I go back to sleep & clean up the mess in the morning? With the girls still screaming I better get up yep nothing there back to bed. Packing up the next morning the camp we were at had hot showers for $3 ea, I guess when the air temp is in the minuses & water hasn’t frozen that is classed as hot water J There was 1 more night in the tent & we would be back in the van can’t wait. Our last stop for this trip was beside the road there we caught up with a couple we met at Babinda several months earlier. A big fire that night by 9pm the temp was 0 deg, the next morning the water was frozen in the kettle @ 7:30 it was -5 deg not a good start to the day let’s get moving back to Alice. Back in the van park a real hot showers a heater & proper bed now this is livin. We cover 1400km that week & walked 20 hard km & had a great time with lots of memories.

At the top
The Olgers from the top Ayres Rock