BlueTongue bbqs (www.bluetonguebbqs.com.au) is a family owned business run by “Bluey”, whose major passions are bbqs and travelling Australia with his family (beer and Neil Young’s music follow closely).
Given how many of our clients talk to him on the road and wonder why the reception is so bad (and as we now know many have travelled the same road) and how many places we pass through where he says “I’ve delivered a bbq here, there’s a BlueTongue somewhere”; or in case you ever follow the same path with two young kids (8 and 11, “Crackpot” and “Slug boy”) and an 18 month old border collie (Jessie) and are looking for dog friendly parks; or want to see what we thought when we stayed In a town - here are our on-the-road experiences, the good, the bad and the funny….
Crackpot was about 18 months old when our friend said what I really want for my birthday is for us to camp together overnight at Putty Beach. “Great”, said Bluey, and went and bought the Coleman tent the next day. Off we set, it has to be said initially completely unprepared, but did three or four lovely camping trips. Then “my back hurts in that air bed” lamented Bluey, “think I’ll try a camper trailer”.
Camper trailer duly hired, (had a queen bed and a good mattress!) and had a ball, but set up and take down hard and slow…. If you want to move a lot….which we do…there’s a lot to see...
“Let’s hire a Winnebago for 10 days and see what we think” said Bluey. We went out to the Tamora Air Show via Parkes and Forbes from Sydney, Bluey declared it the best driving holiday ever. He does love to drive (and talk, particularly about barbies).
A couple of years pass…. Bluey searches the internet incessantly and keeps finding cheap camper trailers – “you don’t want one” I say. “You really want a Winnebago”.
Crackpot was 6 and Bluey finally found the right Winnebago! Not the lovely white leather palace I thought would be wonderful (until you hit a dirt road!) but an ex rental that might cope with all of us and our new border collie puppy (she was obviously coming too) with minimal damage and Bluey (might} retain some capital value.
Bought sight unseen from Melbourne – but she is lovely, a girl named “Winnie” with a truck engine… added solar panels, loaded kids and dog and set off!
We don’t like the Big4 type caravan parks and generally try to find something with some space and grass. Our Camping Around Australia Books have been invaluable and guided us to some wonderful camping grounds – unfortunately the National Parks are ruled out by Jessie, and the Camping book does not cover many of the more populated towns or cities, so we’ve had to do some research of our own. Some of the Information Centres can give you lists of dog friendly parks, sometimes the internet comes up trumps, and sometimes you are just lucky and spot the perfect free camping spot.
If you are thinking of doing it too, remember you are with the kids 24 hours a day for weeks on end – the teaching profession always goes up in my estimation (can you imagine a classroom full of them??) and there will be “bad” days where the kids argue and niggle non-stop. We always have one where you wonder why you are doing it at all and Bluey threatens to drive home and sell Winnie. Behaviour usually improves dramatically thereafter!
We’ve also learned is to make the best of disappointing camping sites and days - there’s always tomorrow….