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Published: December 15th 2013
We thought we would firstly send our Christmas felicitations to you all where ever you are in the world and hope you all have a great and safe time.
It is appreciated that Kangaroojack’s blog factory has not been that busy of late, but we find it really difficult to write when we are not travelling, it just seems there is no visual stimulation, to record, but we are going to do a bit of a round up, in this blog and give you an update of what has been going on.
We left Canberra on the 18th
May and went and stayed on the farm, helping Helen recoup after being run over, by one of the Landcruisers, in between doing minor chores on the farm, it gave us time to prepare Jack and Gypsy for our onward adventure.
It was a very wet afternoon on 31st
may when we finally we prepared to leave and Helen was either fed up with us fussing around or was getting better, so whichever way it was we hit the
Hay New South Wales
road and headed off.
Driving up through New South Wales was fantastic, very very wet, but we are always happy to see rain generally as it is usually a welcome sight in Australia.
The highlight of this trip would be that we were heading up the centre of Australia and not around the country as we did five years ago so it would be a new journey of discovery and with a newish camper Gypsy and the capabilities of Jack we had a set up that could cope with just about the toughest terrain Australia was capable of throwing at us and we should be able to handle it.
There is always a debate of “The OUTBACK” were it actually is, but really it’s just a place where there are very few people and The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia. The term "the outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas named "the bush" which, colloquially, can refer to any lands outside the main urban areas. Owing to the low and erratic rainfall over most of
the outback, combined with soils which are usually not very fertile, inland Australia is relatively sparsely settled. More than 90 percent of Australians live in urban areas on the coast. However the outback and the history of its exploration and settlement provides Australians with a culturally valued backdrop, and stories of swagmen, squatters, and bushrangers are central to the national ethos. The song "Waltzing Matilda", which is about a swagman and squatters, is probably Australia's best internationally known and best-loved song.
So when we went around the periphery in 2008-2010 there were a few times we were remote where you could call us being in the bush, but may be not in the outback, even though back then, some of the places were so remote to us, it did give us the heebeegeebees, but looking back now on the things that we have done, it was possibly not that remote.
Anyway, I digress. We arrive in Ivanhoe and a very wet afternoon, so wet that not only were the roads flooded but they were blocked and we were turned around by the police giving us a 700 kilometre detour, and going into
Kinchega National Park
the only pub in the town and ordering a hot dinner we got chatting to a bloke who told us he farmed over a million acres, but if you consider this land is not very fertile, you would need a lot a land for a few cattle as there is not that much decent grazing ground for the animals to eat.
A spectacular time was had Hay where we went to the shearers hall of fame and got the chance to have a go a shearing a sheep, the guy doing the demonstration was excellent and as we were the only two people there, got all of this guy’s time, equally at the shearers hall of fame there was a set of shears linked to a metronome, that simulated the Clip Clip Clip of the speed of a famous shearer called Jackie Howe who was reputed to have sheared 321 sheep in 7 Hours 40 minutes, though there is a lot of controversy over this, even so that was a sheep every 1.4 minutes, and that is amazing in 1892 with hand shears.
Now as your are aware we like to be
Kinchega National Park
off the beaten track the less bitumen the better and from Mildura we headed on an off road-track to Menindee where we had a great time with Wendy and Graham Savage, people who we had met in Victoria at Easter and who we just happened to pull up behind at traffic light in Mildura and recognise that fantastic truck, and as they were heading to Menindee as were we and made nearly a week of it, (They were originally off to the Cape) but had to cut their trip short when Wendy’s mum was taken ill so had to high tail it back to Victoria.
From Menindee we sauntered off to Broken Hill, where we had a pretty wet time but were happy to be there, which we covered in our blog the “Big Australian” as it is the home of BHP, the world’s largest mining company, and after a few days crossed in to South Australia to Jamestown, where we went to meet our friends Jan and Keith Wright, who live in Canberra and were on a bit of a trip themselves.
I think they call South Australia the gateway to
Wendy and Graham Savage, Menindee
the Outback, after a brief sojourn to the freezing cold nights of the Adelaide Hills, we started to head North where the further North we drove the weather was getting warmer and we headed in to the Flinders Ranges, it was all going smoothly until the Sunday when it rain so hard, we flooded in inside of Gypsy as we had inadvertently left the Kitchen out, which acted as a chute to direct the heavy rainfall inside on the floor.
We left the Wilpena Pound as it was closed due to the rising flood water, we didn’t go far but found a nice free camp spot at Mount Chambers Gorge, where the sun had decided to shine and give us the opportunity to dry everything out.
From Mount Chambers, we ventured North East and arrived at Arkaroola a spectacular place within the North Flinders Ranges, where we enjoyed some great scenery and fresh air. Until the morning of our last day at 5.00am, I decided to have some chest pains and felt we should leave Arkaroola and get to a hospital and the nearest one was Leigh Creek about 150 K’s away,
Caroline drove as I felt to unwell, but rationalised it against staying put because if they had landed the Royal Flying Doctors flight at Arkaroola, then Caroline would have been left on her own with the truck, and trailer to where I would have been taken which would have probably been Adelaide, and I thought that was unfair on Caroline, so she got me to Leigh Creek and with just a night in Hospital they let me go, still better to be safe than sorry.
Our next stop was Farina a fabulous little camp site just before the start of the Oodnadatta track, we stayed here for about four days and had a couple of days to trip out to Roxby Downs and Woomera where we paid our respects to Len Beadell, it was a tough drive that day, as it took us about 7 hard hours to do about 147 Kilometers as it was a tough off road track, with lots of sand hills, we were towing Gypsy and stayed the night in Roxby Downs and treated ourselves to a great takeaway pizza, if you are ever passing Roxby Downs in South Australia pop in
to the Chives Restaurant, their Pizzas are A1, we took an easier track back to Farina up the Borefield track, past BHP’s Olympic Dam mine which mines for Uranium and by the end of the second day we were back at this great little camp site in Farina.
We left Farina and on to Marree for the Camel Cup, which is Outback Camel racing which we wanted to watch, but got caught up doing our laundry which needed doing, so I took Caroline for lunch in the Marree Hotel and the Licensee, Phil Turner, and I were talking as he was from Canberra and we had some friends in common which was nice.
We met up with some friends and decided to hit the track for a return visit to Arkaroola with them and after a couple of days we went our separate ways and continuing our journey in the dirt again, we ventured to a remote area on the edge of Lake Eyre, where we experienced quite a thunderstorm. The following day we headed up the Oodnadatta track, past William Creek to Coober Pedy, the world’s largest suppliers of Opals, we
were excited to be here but I knew it would lead to one thing, Carolines sense of smell for Opals, and It would be me digging through the mullock piles whilst she was on the sieve trying to find them, though before we got to Coober Pedy we stopped at a Lake called Cadibarrawirracanna, that’s pronounced (Caddy-Barra-Wirra-Canna) and his the name of a lake that Rolf Harris sung about many years ago, so we are reliably informed.
From Coober Pedy, we went to Arkaringa Station in the Painted Desert which was just amazing, the station was very quirky and the owners were great fun, these guys had this dog walled Weii, (pronounced Wee-Eye) which is an aboriginal word that means little boy, we stayed here a couple of days then headed off to Oodnadatta where some of the most extreme off roading was about to commence.
The Pink Roadhouse, is a bit of an Icon for travellers, yes its pink, it looks a little rough but you can get some decent tucker and a decent coffee which is most important, the town of Oodnadatta is tiny, a typical outback town, hot and
Wilpena South Australia
dusty, but very welcoming.
From Oodnadatta we went to Dalhousie Springs, I personally don’t think much of Dalhousie, the natural hot springs are really good, from an artesian spring they are at a constant 36 degree’s, whatever hour of day it is, great fun to have a moonlit wallow and the fish nibble off the loose skin on your feet and legs unfortunately any exposed skin also meant the mosquitos had a nibble too.
Now Dalhousie is the start of the Simpson Desert, and it was a sheer stroke of luck to meet some people from Gawler in South Australia, who said that if we wished to cross the desert we could do it with them. Some people do it on their own, but for us we have never done it before and it was nice to feel that we would be part of a group and if anything went wrong, the group helps each other. So leaving Gypsy at the ranger’s station at Dalhousie, and with 200 litres of Diesel in both tanks and a jerry can, plus water, food, Swag, and all the other bits and pieces we carry off
we went and what a journey it was.
Now we know people who only go 5 Star, but imagine sleeping under a billion stars on a cold clear desert night and waking up to the sunrise over the sand dunes, the only word to describe it was awesome, it took us 5 days and 535 Kilometres to cross the desert and I would do it again in a heartbeat. At the end of the desert crossing, it was either go back the way we had just come of take the long way round, 1170 k’s back to Dalhousie to collect Gypsy.
The complete trip door to door from Dalhousie to Dalhousie 7 days in total and we were delighted to have done the Simmo.
The next big thing was to travel the Binns Track its total length is 2191 Kilometres long, but we only did 450K’s on this great off road track to Alice Springs, some spectacular scenery through the Simpson desert and various mountainous ranges.
We were both very excited to be in Alice Springs, what a cool rock and roll town, with
A chambers Gorge
a population of about 30,000 People.
By the time we got to Alice the weather was really starting to heat up and we had a great time, though our time in Alice was extended due to tow bar trouble, but, hey ho, we had a great time, in our two weeks there.
Now the idea of this trip was to find new jobs and a new place to live, so we were going to flip a coin, Heads to Darwin or Tails to (W.A) Western Australia, but because we had friends near Perth, people who I used to be on Christmas Island with it just seemed the right thing to do, which was head towards W.A.
To be continued
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