A Long Way To The Top!

The adventure has started again after four months off the road with work, family, friends and Xmas. We were both enthusiastic to get going again in January and have pointed the car and trailer north. The destination is as far north as we can go to the tip of Cape York and so far the journey has been mostly about catching up with many friends we made while in WA who are now either living or travelling on the east side.
Up until Bundaberg we covered places we had already been to last trip and are now seeing new sights and astounded with progress and changes since twenty years ago. For example Hervey Bay is no longer a small seaside town but a city with many suburbs and Yeppoon where Mum and Dad use to go to every winter for three or four months now has high rises and shopping centres!
We’ve camped at many beaches along the way and no doubt will see more but now we are getting in the areas where you shouldn’t swim due to stingers and crocs so it might be lots of cold showers from now on. The crocs are moving further south and are apparently in the Mary River at Maryborough which is only about 250 kms north of Brisbane and also sighted in the creek and bay at Yeppoon. If they don’t start culling them soon they’ll end up coming through the heads of Sydney Harbour looking for new territories!
So we now only have about 950 kms to go for Cairns and then another 1000 kms to the top but there’s no hurry as we’re waiting for the wet season to end before venturing past Cairns. Cheers till next time!


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Cunnamulla to Nyngan.

We enjoyed the ‘Cunnamulla Fella Festival’ in outback Queensland  with entertainment all weekend. There were two nights of bull and bronc riding (lots of spills), the ‘Cunnamulla Fella’ challenge, band, fireworks and heaps more. Top weekend and they got a good crowd especially as the Birdsville races were on the following weekend. But, OMG the nights were freezing!

From there we headed south to Bourke and then Cobar. We planned on going to Gundabooka National Park near Bourke but with all the rain they had, all dirt roads were closed. The country is looking magnificent being so green and wildflowers galore (as good as WA). The locals say they haven’t seen it like this for years!

Cobar, a copper and gold mining town, is very busy and enterprising being at a major junction with trucks and caravans passing through non stop. We stayed four nights and was amazed how the caravan park would empty out each morning and be full again that afternoon. No doubt the owners are sitting on their own gold mine as it’s the only caravan park in town!  A bit of trivia we didn’t know was that the town water supply is piped from Burrendong Dam near Wellington. Shouldn’t run out for a while now as the level has gone from about 15% to around 135% last I heard!

Nyngan was our next stop and we camped at the Riverview Caravan Park. And the river view was slowly getting closer each day, but the day before we left it started rising much quicker. I have since been back and where we were camped the week before was then about a metre under water!

So now it’s ‘head down, bum up’ for awhile as Greg is working out at Wallerawang near Lithgow for a couple of months and I am waiting for the grain harvest to start (if it ever stops raining) and head back out to Nyngan for a few weeks work. Then it’s back for Xmas and who knows what after that!




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Gems and Gorges

We left the coast and headed inland to the Gemfields around Emerald, Sapphire, Rubyvale and Willows. Greg’s aunt and uncle from Wallerarang visit Willows every year for the months of winter and seeing we were up this way we decided to visit and see what they get up to. His aunt and uncle from Mackay came over as well so it was great to catch up with them too. We met some nice people who happily go there every year as they’ve made some great mates and love the close community atmosphere. A lot still go out fossicking everyday for sapphires while some just go for the company and great weather. We got to see some beautiful stones they have had the good fortune to find over the years. We tried fossicking a couple of times for a few hours but no luck so we went to a tourist site where you pay $25 for a drum of dirt then sift through and we found a few small ones. As we we leaving we went to the annual Gemfest and was overwhelmed by the amount and sizes of stones, both real and copies on offer. There was one particular necklace with a reduced price of a mere $200,000 but unfortunately it didn’t suit me!
While driving inland, the Queensland country is quite green as they’ve had more than usual rainfall. We have come across acres of fodder bushes grown in rows to feed the cattle. This apparently doubles the feed production as they eat the grass as well as up the bushes and it is high in protein and other nutrients. Had to stop and get a photo as we’ve never seen these before!
We went on to Carnarvon Gorge next and it was stunning. You had to do a lot of walking to see it all and the second day we did 30 kms so needless to say we were tired and aching at the end. Next day was a lay day with just a couple of short walks closer to camp.
Next we went across the road to Lake Nuga Nuga NP (but you have to drive down the highway 30kms, across 25kms and up again 30kms to get to it). There’s basically just a bird sanitary lake here but it’s relaxing and quite until nighttime when the frogs kick in.
We met an old bloke from Tassie who’d been there for a month. He had this homemade wooden camper on the back of his ute complete with a combustion stove inside. He had given his fridge away and was living mainly on dried bread, cheese, some fruit and veggies and drinking the water out of the lake. He was as happy as Larry living his Spartan life and wanted for nothing!
We went on to Roma to a farm stay where we found a friend in an Alpaca. We’d come back to camp or wake up finding him under the awning sucking on our mat (he was teething). While here we went to a bull sale at supposedly the biggest sale yards in Qld. The bulls went from $15,000 to $3,000 and we honestly couldn’t tell the difference between them.
We had one night at St George and saw a carved emu egg display done over six decades by a Greek fellow. He had even done one for Barack Obama, the Pope, Tony Abbot and more as well as representing different themes such as Melbourne Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Anzacs to name a few. They were absolutely amazing!
We are now camped along side Wallam Creek in Bollan and it’s steadily raining. Today Starlight Foundation Bash cars came through and from the opposite way came the Variety Bash mob.
From here we plan on going up the road west about 175 kms to the Cunnamulla Fella Festival if it doesn’t get washed out!

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Four Years On….

Yes, it’s been four years now since we started our new lifestyle and the best move we ever made! And it’s also been four months since our last post, you’ve got to wonder where the time goes! A bit has happened since then and sadly we lost two brother in laws a day apart to that ‘bastard’ cancer. And that is why we are getting out there now doing what we want as life is too short and you just don’t know what’s around the corner for any of us!

So having said that, when Greg finished his work we hit the road again looking for some sunshine and warmth. We headed up the coast and spent our first few nights at Smoky Cape NP just out of South West Rocks. We were amazed by the amount of whales going by heading north, Humpback Hwy! Couldn’t blame them and so we too kept going north even though at a slower pace.

Our next stop was at Pebbly Beach in Yuraygir NP north of Coffs Harbour. To get there you have to travel up the beach a few kilometres and cross a creek at low tide. We had an early start to get out but it was worth it! Some of the best camps and beaches are in hard to get places. Surprisingly not many were there for the school holidays but apparently it’s a different story at Xmas.

Another nice place was Evans Head. We arrived in time for the ‘fishing classic’ and also school holidays but still managed to get a site. We didn’t bother about trying to fish as they were almost shoulder to shoulder along the banks and also we didn’t have a licence. No doubt the inspectors would have been around somewhere.

Along the way we caught up with friends and relos from Iluka to the Sunshine Coast, most of them we haven’t seen for four years. While at the Sunshine Coast we went to Australia Zoo which we gave a miss the first time round as it was school holidays. But we enjoyed it this time around.

We again camped on Teewah Beach near Rainbow Beach just south of Fraser Island as it’s a top spot and one of our favourites. While we were waiting for the tide to go down so we could drive up the beach, we saw a whale and her calf playing in the bay and waving their tails.

A lot of people have asked us if in our travels have we found the perfect place where we would like to live. Well, we believe we may have found it now. A small town on the beach, inlet and river, just south of Bundaberg and north of Harvey Bay called Woodgate. It’s just got that feel about it and the weather is pretty good all year round. Who knows, maybe if we win lotto! Cheers for now!

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Coober Pedy to Home!

Coober Pedy! It’s certainly a unique town and looks barren with barely any grass and overrun with dumped, broken down old trucks and machinery which are in fact parked out the front of underground houses and used for modern day opal mining! Fifty percent of the residents live in dugouts and we went into one which was dug out by three women. Quite impressive with a cellar, lounge/entertaining room, three bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and an indoor pool and games room on the ground level. The temperature stays around 23 to 25oC all year round and is comfortable as long as you don’t mind no windows and lights on all day! And if you need a bigger house, no need to move, just simply extend or dig out another room! There’s also underground hotels, motels, churches and more opal souvenir shops that you can poke a stick at! About 30kms out of town is ‘The Breakaways’, an outcrop of spectacular coloured hills used in films such as Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome and Ground Zero as well as numerous ads. As we were leaving town we stopped at the Coober Pedy sign with the truck and blower for a photo and picked up a few pieces of opal on the ground. Planted? Who cares!
Our next overnight stop was the town of Woomera which was a rocket testing range and is now a RAAF base. It’s quite eerie as you don’t see anyone on the streets but apparently they all come out about 6pm to go to the pub.
Next was onto Burra where we caught up with a friend from Kalgoorlie who was also passing through. Burra itself is a nice town with lots of history from when it was a copper mining town run by mostly Cornish people and the majority of buildings are heritage listed.
From here we camped a couple of nights at Lake Bonnie and the only fish we could catch were huge carps but it was great for canoeing and the sunsets. Mildura was the next stop and you should see all the houseboats! Most were huge and parked at the door of rather large houses. Some people have too much money!
We continued on across the Hay Plains and spent a couple of nights in Hay camped on the Murrumbidgee. What we didn’t know was that Hay was where they had internment and POW camps during WW11.
Onwards and heading east, we went to Lake Cargelligo, Eugowra, Orange and Bathurst before arriving back to the Central Coast. Greg has picked up a couple of months shutdown work at Bayswater Power Station and was to start on the 1st April but has now been delayed to the 19th at this stage. So at present we are at a mates property near Kew having a rest from our trip, and feasting on mud crabs before work starts.

Coober Pedy to Home!


This album has 17 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 08-Jul-16.

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Anne Beadell Hwy.

We flew back into Perth after a hectic trip back to the east coast but was again great to see everyone. Once we got back we stocked up and headed up to Laverton to begin our trip across the Great Victoria Desert via the Anne Beadell Hwy. What an awesome trip! We travelled 1420 kms along a mostly single lane track which changed from sandy to dirt to rocky to corrugation to sometimes ‘barely there’! We traversed many sand dunes and often along what seemed like just creek beds! At first we followed the tracks of a couple of vehicles with CALM workers for about 70 kms till we caught up to their camp and where they were working. After that we were on our own and never saw another car again the whole week! Luckily we had a digital map as sometimes the track would disappear or fork with no signs or directions. Our average speed was mostly 20 to 40kms/hr as you just couldn’t go any faster without doing damage. Towards the end we got up to 80kms/hr where the grader had been for about 120kms but then he must have gave up and it was back down to 30 again. The only incident we had was when going out to see a plane wreck we had to go over heaps of sand dunes and we got stuck on top of one. We finally got off and unhitched the trailer to go the rest of the way. On our return and picking up the trailer we got back over the one we got bogged on but had to make another track over one which was just too steep to get up. We acquired a slow leak from that and had to pump the tyre up every morning but that’s all good!
Not quite halfway across is the only roadhouse and at $3.00 a litre it set us back $330 to fill up including the jerrycans. We had four cans onboard but decided to buy another one ($50) ‘just in case’. We made it without using the fifth one but only just!
We couldn’t get over how green it was and the amount of vegetation on the WA side. As we got further into SA it started changing to more dryer and what you would expect out there. As for wildlife, we saw one emu, three kangaroos, one dingo, quite a few camels and lots of zebra finches and some other birdlife.
We passed through and camped at Woomera where the British military had their base camp called Emu with a landing strip on the salt pan and did two atomic bomb tests back in October 1953. While here we had a bit of rain overnight and the track next day had a good bit of water over it. Some we could go through and some we had to go around and hope we didn’t get bogged. As we drove into Coober Pedy the skies opened up and dropped a couple of inches on us. How lucky we made it not a minute too soon otherwise we’d be still be out there now waiting for the road to dry out!
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed the adventure and take our hat off to Len Beadell (who named the track for his wife, Anne) and the Gunbarrel Construction Crew for their amazing feat in surveying and cutting the track by grader back in the late 50’s to 1962.

Anne Beadell Hwy.


This album has 24 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 11-Jun-16.

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Ravenhoe Farm to Paradise!

The Powell family returned to the farm from their holiday in New Zealand which they loved and the kids enjoyed visiting ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ scenes. We packed up and prepared to head off in a couple of days when the weather was a bit nicer to go and camp at Little Bay near Horrocks. Next thing, one of their neighbours turns up on our doorstep to see if we wanted a few days work driving their tractor and ripper. They wanted a couple of paddocks ‘deep ripped’ before they planted their next crop. Greg started doing the midnight to midday shift and another bloke was doing the other twelve hours. He had a family emergency after a couple of shifts and had to go so then I stepped into his shift. It was a new experience for both of us and something else to put on the resume. It was pretty easy to drive as it was on GPS auto steering and you just had to line it up in the next row and push a button and the tractor took over. We just had to lift and lower the ripper when there was a lot of rocks or gravel and on changing lanes.
While we were still at the farm we did a day trip to Kalbarri and also stepped out of the country to visit Principality of Hutt River. Prince Leonard who is there to have a chat and tell you how it came about is a character and a very intelligent man and still very bright at 93. He basically taught himself law and outsmarted the government with their own laws and seceded from Australia in 1970 when they tried to resume his land. He is now exempt from paying tax, has his own currency and international stamps and can legally stamp your passport and issue visas to enter his country. If you’re interested in knowing more I recommend you Google www.principality-hutt-river.com
Since leaving the farm we’ve had five very relaxing days at Little Bay and saw a large sea lion sunbaking while there too. We are now about 300kms north of Perth at another beach camp, this one is free and we’re doing nothing more than a bit of fishing, canoeing and taking it easy before we head to Perth on Monday ready to fly back east on Tuesday for a two and a half week visit.

Ravenhoe Farm to Paradise!


This album has 14 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 06-May-16.

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Merry Xmas!

Merry Xmas everyone, hope you are having a great day and holiday. Now, spare a thought for the poor farmers who don’t get public holidays off and still have to get up early every morning!
We are presently farm sitting 25kms out of Northampton which is about 50kms north of Geraldton. We came across this job (volunteer) advertised and thought it would suit us for the Xmas holiday period to get us off the road and away from the crowds and pricey caravan parks as well as another new experience. The family of this property have gone to New Zealand for a months break after finishing their harvest.
So before we can sit down for Xmas breakfast and relax we have to let the dogs Pirate & Jemma off, feed the four cats Matty, Felix, Alby & Lorna. Check and feed Max the guinea pig, feed and collect the eggs from the nine chooks. Pick the days produce from the veggie garden and start the sprinklers, then go and feed the horses Blaze & Zephyr.
Then we can leave the house paddock to do the water run, check the tanks, clean the troughs and check on the 640 sheep in three mobs. We then take a roll of hay out on the loader and roll it out for the young mob, as well as top up the feed bin for them with the large tractor and chaser bin.
We’re enjoying the experience and are usually finished in a couple of hours most days. The bonus is we have a swimming pool and air conditioned house and as the days go from mid 30’s to 40’s with hot winds, we need them.
We’re only about 30 minute drive from Horrocks, a small coastal village where we went the other day for a couple of hours, and no doubt we will be back a few more times. We were told about a spot just north of town called Little Bay which is great for a swim and snorkel. Just drive down and park on the beach! Too easy! Also Kalbarri is only about an hour away so we hope to get there again, as well as a visit to the Principality of Hutt River to get our passports stamped.
Before Bill & Shelley, the owners left, they killed and butchered two lambs for us and the garden is full of veggies, as well as heaps of eggs so we won’t have to buy much food at all. In fact we can’t keep up with it and are giving some away already or the chooks get it.
We’ll be back on the east coast 9th February for two and a half weeks and hope to catch up with many of you. Meanwhile Merry Xmas and have a great new year!


Xmas on a Farm!


This album has 13 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 23-Mar-16.














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Happy Birthday Greg

Tonight we celebrated Greg’s 50th birthday with a beautiful corned beef dinner followed by a wicked chocolate carmel cake. Tom at the head of the table is the farm host where we are staying who happens to be a butcher as well and cooked the beef to perfection. Janie and Kenny are the other couple also staying here and contributed with veggies. Great team effort and a top night with good company.

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Latest Casualty!

Lucky we were driving through town when this wheel fell off as the damage could have been much worse! The nuts were gone and one stud snapped off. The rim is also buggered! A lady behind us saw and raced up to get the local mechanic who came straight away and got us back to the workshop. Just waiting now for him to finish fixing it.

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