One of our philosophies of life is that every cloud has a silver lining. Sometimes you may need to look a little. So when circumstances changed we decided to take the opportunity to try one of those things we had often dreamt of doing.

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Adelaide November 2nd 2013

We were awoken by the sweet sound of singing blackbirds. It had been a long time since we had heard this sound. It was obvious our trip was soon to finish. Eggs floating in ‘doggy bag’ tomato and basil pasta courtesy of La Pecora Nera, was a delicious, some would say disgusting, breakfast for our final caravan meal for this trip. Followed by the usual preparation necessary before moving off with the van, we were soon on the road again heading for the Barossa where we store our van. As we headed further south crops started appearing, many not that far from being harvested. Some canola had been cut and windrowed ready for pick up, while other paddocks had freshly cut crops, raked and ready for baling. Trucks loaded sky high with large bales travelled towards ... read more
Eggs and ‘doggy bag’ pasta breakfast.
Majestic wind turbines overlook the picturesque countryside near Hallett.
And again

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Burra October 31st 2013

This day was Joan’s birthday! We headed to Burra to celebrate and this would also be our final night in the caravan before arriving back at the Barossa to store our van. Leaving Broken Hill feral goats were everywhere. Flocks were larger, closer to the road and showed little concern for the vehicles flying by. It is obvious the goats are more road savvy than many of the other animals that frequent the roadside as they just don’t appear as road kill. They are definitely smarter than kangaroos, which stupidly see fast moving vehicles as an invitation to race them, crossing the road before the vehicle gets there. We all know who generally wins. As the land became drier and more desolate so the number of goats decreased. Eventually emus became more prevalent, but thankfully stayed ... read more
Happy Birthday Joan!
Welcome to SA.
Mmmmm! Greg at lunch at Burra Hotel.

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Broken Hill October 30th 2013

Ok. Long pants? Short pants? Actually it wasn’t really that cold (26°C), just a lot cooler than we had been accustomed to over the last 4 weeks. Tempted by the potential views and description in Tourist brochures, we headed for the Broken Earth Restaurant for lunch. Set high up on the overburden heap overlooking the city of Broken Hill, this ultra-modern building offered stunning views of the city and surrounds, fabulous dining, galleries and a memorial to those who have lost their lives over the years in the mines in the Broken Hill area. The lunch menu sounded great but unfortunately our options were somewhat limited to a few as a power surge earlier in the morning had knocked out the fryer and the coffee machine. None-the-less the chosen gourmet pizza and bottle of wine were ... read more
Plaques galore at the Miners memorial
Wine, a stunning view and an awesome pizza! What more could Greg want?
Broken Earth Restaurant sits atop the old over-burden heap

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Wilcannia October 29th 2013

Outback driving entails covering huge distances and this brings its own unique challenges. The drive from Bourke to Broken Hill took us two days. With only one driver we need to pace ourselves, take regular breaks and also make sure that we do other activities than just drive. We had an overnight stop at a free camp that turned out to be an absolute gem as it split the distance perfectly and also offered relatively private sites. The long open stretches of road are punctuated by the things that you see along the way. We were fascinated by the wildlife that we saw. One this stretch it includes a disturbingly large numbers of wild goats, cattle grazing right to the edge of the road, sheep and the usual scattering of road kill. As we travelled south ... read more
Wild flowers on the edge of the road
Wild goats run from the edge of the road
A steer dangerously close to the road

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Bourke October 28th 2013

Bourke is by no means a sleepy outback town. Steeped in history and proud of its heritage this classic outback town has done everything in its power to attract tourists and to get them to stay a few days. A deeply collaborative community with a progressive shire willing to spend money to promote the community has made it a highly desirable outback destination. It is currently facing a potential severe drought having only received 4 inches of its annual 12 inch rainfall so far in the 10 months till now. On arrival we visited the Information Centre to find out the must do activities. Lots to do, but we wanted a relaxed afternoon first. Monday it was all systems go. 9am A visit to the Back of Bourke Exhibition. 10:30 Coffee and a sticky something at ... read more
Joan is really enjoying that Apple Turnover!
The grounds of the Back O’Bourke Exhibition Centre
The exhibition centre has lovely buildings

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Bourke October 27th 2013

The road to Bourke passed through cattle and sheep country. It was largely flat, with little vegetation and appeared monotonously the same. However it bears noting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we calculated, based on observation that since leaving Clermont we had averaged 5 pieces of road kill every kilometre. That’s 500 per 100 km. A whopping 2,000 in just the distance we covered that day. That’s an awfully large number of animals killed on the road. These were mainly kangaroos, a smattering of wild pigs and even the odd sheep. Of course these were not all fresh. The fresh ones were often covered by crows which have obviously learnt if, or when they need to flee for their life. Secondly, a scary driving experience. All of a sudden Greg seemed to have no control ... read more
The road to Bourke.
We enter NSW and daylight saving.
Our lunch spot fits the bill.

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Charleville October 26th 2013

The big question in Alpha was, ‘Do we head to Tambo via the main highway taking in Barcaldine and Jericho or do we go cross country cutting off 170 k and thereby save on fuel and driving time? The unknown was the status of the shortcut as it was not clear on any of the maps we had checked. It was shown as a minor road, but it was not clear exactly what this meant. Ask a trusted local was our best option. We did not wish to repeat our Wolf Creek Crater experience from last trip so wanted to make sure the road was suitable. Checking into the Alpha caravan park, Greg asked the manager about the short cut. He said it was in pretty good condition would save us a lot of fuel and ... read more
Maybe tourists have it right – there were kangaroos crossing the road as we entered Tambo.
Short cut – single lane bitumen road
Short cut – good wide gravel road

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Sapphire October 25th 2013

We departed Moranbah early and headed south. Before too long we had the opportunity and passed our third vehicle, a very heavily laden road train. As we approached Claremont Greg noticed that the front stone guard on the caravan had opened again! This time the reinforcing of the struts worked and they did not tear out. We decided that the guard was flexing and the tongue of the lock was pulling out, so out came the duct tape again. Thank God for duct tape! We stopped for a break in Capella and discovered that the seafood truck had come to town. It visited every four to five weeks, but since it was there we could not resist some smoked trout. The owners had found a business opportunity and filled the niche – impressive. In Rubyvale, the ... read more
Inside the mine.
The gem bearing wash is the layer filled with pebbles
Bouncing the pebbles in water to sort them

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Moranbah October 24th 2013

We left Moranbah Friday morning after a wonderful week visiting with Tristan and Zoe. Wednesday we drove to Clermont an hour drive to the west for lunch. The landscape was dotted with minimalistic rocky outcrops some of a single peak others of doubles (fondly called the Boobs) and then some with a few more peaks. Caves could be seen high up in the rock walls. Greg was getting itchy feet to go and have a look. Sorry Greg, another day. Cattle and sorghum production became the major land use. Apparently many GM crops are being tested in this area. Clermont looks an old town and sadly many of the buildings are empty. The closure of one of the mines in the area meant this was a town in decline. After lunch we drove back to Moranbah ... read more
Spectacular peaks on the road to Clermont
Our Moranbah campsite
Our near neighbours

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Moranbah October 22nd 2013

We celebrated Tristan’s birthday, albeit a week early, with dinner at our caravan. The caravan must have sighed with relief as we handed over a couple of heavy presents we had lugged all the way from SA. An assortment of items and ingredients from Chilli Mojo on Magill Road, Adelaide had Tristan’s eye’s alight as such items are impossible to source in this area other than over the internet. As a connoisseur of single malt whisky, Tristan very much appreciated the gift from Grandma of a Hill-Smith limited release whisky. And the Webber pizza stone promises yummy meals to come. The water pressure cleaner handed over earlier in the week had his car, our car and his outdoor dining area looking spotless. We celebrated with a BBQ dinner and the Black Forrest Cake Joan made the ... read more
Zoe, Tristan and Greg
Come on Greg. The candles can’t be that hard to light.
Happy birthday to you.

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