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Gettin’ stax from Outbax!

Hey! Look who’s doing the whole collaborating thing! Moi!

Outbaxcamping.com.au and yours truly have sussed each other out and they have written a cool article for you about new and tried camping equipment that can, will, may, hopefully, make your next travels or ‘just for the weekend’ getaway a lot more glamp than camp. More royal than ragged. You get what I mean.

Now we use a few of these such as the portable toilet and the solar panels. NOTHING is better out in the bush than a portable camping toilet compared with a deep hole and a toilet seat made-up of bitey ants. And for the Dale Kerrigan serenity, we charge our batteries with the solar panels and don’t have a generator piercing the sunset calmness.

So have a gander at what they have to offer and I’ll see you around!

Enjoy!

The 10 Coolest Camping Innovations Today

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With the advancement in technology, camping becomes easier. Gone are the days when you need to pitch a tent for an hour, take a dip in the cold stream, or build a fire using available logs.

Data show that in 2017, there was a huge increase in the sales of camping equipment across the world. In the United States of America alone, some $51.4 million was spent on camping equipment. Among the bare essentials in camping are tents, sleeping bags, water purifiers, and backpacks.

For a complete list, here are some of the coolest innovations that you might want to consider on your next camping trip:

1. Instant Tent

There are a lot of camping innovations today which include instant tent which allows you to set it up in seconds. Aside from tents, hammocks and portaledges are now being improved to provide options for different people in various camp conditions. If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping on the ground, you may consider tying a hammock on trees or protruding stones. Portaledges are the best equipment for rock or tree climbers who would want to elevate their camping experience.

2. Solar Camp Stove and Grill

Solar ovens, stoves, and grills allow you to enjoy home-cooked meals while camping. A solar oven is a like a microwave that can heat and cook food in minutes. Because it is solar, you won’t need gas.  It is thus safer for the environment and the kids. You just need to prepare the food, place it inside the solar oven, and let it bake under the sun. A solar grill, on the other hand, allows you to cook food in less than 20 minutes by using reflectors.

3. Portable Camping Toilet

After a day in the wild, you are feeling the need to go but you don’t feel comfortable digging a pit in the ground. A camping toilet allows you the comfort of doing your business like you are at home. A 20L portable toilet in Outbax Camping is only $99.80 and it comes with free shipping.

4. Solar Portable Shower

Because you will be outdoors most of the time and sweat is your companion during the day, you will badly need a shower before you go to sleep. Fill your camping shower with water and let it stay under the sun for a day while you go about your activities. In the evening, you already have hot shower that will soothe your tired muscles. For privacy, you may pair this with a portable change room. Both are available at Outbax Camping for less than $100.

5. Water Purifier

Staying hydrated when you are outside is very important. This adds burden on the back of campers, as water is not light to carry. Instead of adding ten gallons of water on your load for your two-day trip, why not take advantage of a nearby stream. Water purifiers are now very portable, allowing you to drink water anywhere. It does not only remove visible dirt and impurities, but it also filters bacteria and viruses.

6. Solar Toothbrush

This is an environment- friendly innovation. The solar toothbrush allows you to remove food bits and even plaque in your teeth without the use of toothpaste. Best of all, you do not have to exert effort in moving your arms up and down. It will brush your whites on its own.  As this is solar- powered, all you need is to stick it out in the sun to power it up for your next use.

7. Airbeds and Portable beds

Do you complain about back pains and sore muscles after a night in the tent? With airbeds, you will no longer sleep on hard soil nor will you have to bring a bulky cot or mattress from home. Airbeds are your new best friend in sleeping. If you want a bed that you can convert into a sofa, you may also look for bunk beds that are convertible.

8. Solar Back Pack

Instead of bringing your power banks and countless cords to camp, why not bring a solar backpack. It will take care of all your recharging needs including for your phone, speakers, and music players. As solar panels are lightweight and are already attached to your bag, you will not feel burdened.

9. Portable Washing Machine

A scrubbais a portable washing bag that does not need electricity. You can clean clothes in 30 seconds with just water and liquid soap. You can put it inside your pocket because it is foldable and weighs less than 5 oz.

10. Solar Panels and Solar Lanterns

Solar panels are the craze nowadays. They are used for various purposes. Aside from charging your gadgets, you may connect them to a mini-fridge or to your camp lights. This will make sure you have cold drinks and a bright campsite.

There are a lot of great innovations for camping out there. Some of them will surely make your camping life easy. Some, however, are just nice to have. If you are a beginner, select the basic necessities and choose the things you cannot absolutely live without. While these are the coolest inventions, some are a little pricey. You also need to be wary of the quality of the products.

As these are mostly innovations, product reviews are still few. For the best camping supplies that are affordable, durable, and good options to choose from, visit OutbaxCamping now. You are assured of the quality of the products you are buying because all of them come with a warranty.

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We swim anywhere!

In the wise words of Hanky the Christmas Poo: ‘Hooooowdy Ho!’

We are in Kununurra WA after spending 6 days doing the Gibb River Road. But let’s start back to… Cape Leveque?

We drove along a shit of a road from Broome to the Dampier Peninsula and turned up to Kooljaman Cape Leveque caravan park to be told there was no room at the inn. So we drove up to Cygnet Bay and checked into a cute little campsite a couple of kilometres from the main reception/pool/reception.

The next day we drove back to Kooljaman Cape Leveque, determined to swim at the iconic beach. We paid $35 to access the beach in our car so we made the most of that by soaking up the sun (a little too much), drinking apple cider and swimming until our skin macerated.

We were keen to get going to start the Gibb River Road so after two nights at Cygnet bay, we zipped along to Derby arriving in 39 degree (celsius) heat. So what did we do? Checked into a cheap motel with an air conditioner and swimming pool just to relax and ‘luxuriate’ before we headed off again!

Our first stop on the Gibb River Road was at Windjana National Park where we visited the start of Tunnel Creek; a tunnel and creek in the pitch black. I say the start because we clambered over the rocks to the entrance, stood oohing and aahing at the striped granite and dark green pool of water while the buzzing of bees filled the entire cavity THEN realised that the one and only torch we brought along with us was almost on the blink. We had searched for Tim’s powerful headlamp but couldn’t for the life of us find it so we settled on sharing the torch. Tim was still keen to give the tunnel a crack with the dodgy torch but I envisioned us sitting in thick pitch blackness waiting for a good samaritan (AKA a tunnel visitor with light) stumbling across us. So we erred on the side of common sense and turned back.

That afternoon we visited Windjana gorge which is home to heaps of freshwater crocodiles. I forgot my camera so you’ll need to take my word that I counted at least 40 freshy’s floating around in the gorge.

The next day we drove to Silent Grove camping area and set up in a circle of trees. The campground (like Windjana campground) had flushing toilets and hot showers which was fantastic. The next day we visited Bell’s Gorge which was gorgeous.

We use a big plastic tub filled with a squirt of woolly wash and water and the corrugations of roads act as an agitator to ‘wash’ our clothes. As we were hanging out the latest knotted mess of clothes, Tim reached into the bucket of murky water and pulled out his headlamp, dripping but very clean and smelling of eucalypt! Miraculously the torch, once dried and sweet-talked, actually works again!

We decided we want to spend 4-5 days in Lake Argyle so zoomed along the corrugated road to arrive at Home Valley Station to spend the night before the piece de resistance of El Questro Station. Home Valley Station was nice but nothing much there. We camped at the riverside camp about 4km’s away from the main area. Saltwater crocodiles inhabit the Pentecost river and we were told to camp on the west-side of the camping area. We unfortunately (or fortunately?) didn’t see any salty’s but the next day saw too much of bitey ants absolutely bloody everywhere! Standing to wash the dishes resulted in bites until I got absolutely fed up and declared we would pack ‘all this shit up now and get out of here’. Well, in the time it took Tim to have a shower, I had finished packing up the camper trailer, reversed the car and hooked it all up ready to get the heck out of there as soon as Tim’s squidgy thongs hit the dirt. Tim said he should have taken a few bitey ants to let loose at future camps so he can sit back while I flit about packing everything up!

We wanted to check out El Questro Station and see if it was actually as great as what we had been told. We paid $120 for 2 nights unpowered camping and what they call a ‘Wilderness Pack’ which gave us a weeks access to all gorges etc on El Questro Station. The campground was beautiful with tall trees and plenty of space. We set up our camp and went for a swim at a ‘croc-free’ area of the Pentecost river.

The next day we were up early to visit Zebedee thermal springs which are only open between 7am-12noon. The springs were beautiful and quite intimate with a sign in the carpark saying ‘If the carpark is full, the springs are full so come back later’. Tim and I found a nice deep little pool and sat in about 25 degree celsius water.  Small waterfalls tumbled over the edge and a few people climbed higher to other rock pools.

After Zebedee springs, we went straight to Moonshine Gorge where we had a wonderful swim and met some great people with whom we chatted while floating around in the deep green water. There was a sign warning of fresh-water crocs inhabiting the area, however they were turned off by the sight of so many people in bathers so they hid the entire time!

In the evening, we drove up to pigeonhole 4WD lookout and watched the sunset which was just beautiful. Every Saturday night, El Questro holds a ‘Gourmet BBQ and live entertainment night’ which we attended. It was great and really laid back.

We were told about a place called The Grotto which was apparently amazing so we went up there before Kununurra however it must be better just after wet season because the gorge had all but dried up. We are now in Kununurra in a cabin enjoying having a TV and couch before we head off to camp in Lake Argyle!

Goodnight!! xoxox

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Our Story

Reading some other stories about how travelling came to be, it occurred to me that there are lots of you out there in this spectacular world who have no idea who I am nor how I came to be a nurse and travelling Australia.

So this is our story.

Tim and I met way back in 2010 and I moved in with him in 2011. Initially we decided we would like to buy a few acres and a house somewhere on the outskirts of our hometown Albany in Western Australia.

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I was working as a personal care assistant in aged care and Tim was (and is) a boilermaker working for a locally owned company. In 2011, I was offered a scholarship by my then manager to become an Enrolled Nurse. Working towards this goal, I also worked full-time while studying part time. As is required for many areas of study, I was required to attend clinical placements at hospitals so I used all my annual leave attending these full-time placements.

Tim and I loved to go away on weekends (or whenever I had a few days off, working shift work and all) and one particular weekend in 2012, we camped at Bluff Creek, a beach further up the coastline from Cheynes Beach WA. Sitting under the black sky scattered with bright stars and a warm campfire burning next to us, I realised I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in Albany paying off a mortgage having never travelled. I told Tim that I wanted to travel when I finished studying (both my Enrolled Nursing Diploma then Bachelor degree in Nursing). Tim said he would do it with me, so that night, we decided that when I had finished my degree and Tim was due his 10 year long service leave, we would pack up and become nomads. That year, so far in the future, was 2018.

For the next 6 years, I finished studying my Enrolled Nursing Diploma then my Bachelor of Nursing all the while working full time. I spent every hour of my accrued annual leave to attend clinical placements which left me feeling really exhausted and pretty burnt out.  However I left aged care and began working in Mental Health, an area I have and always will be passionate about. I was extremely lucky to have a brilliant manager who encouraged and supported staff studying so I was able to attend clinical placements when offered and even travelled to the Northern Territory for a full 2 months of clinical placements in various Aboriginal communities. I had the best time of my life in those 2 months and it ignited a deep and profound respect and passion for providing health care to Indigenous communities. I had wanted to be a Remote Area Nurse for a long time and this placement cemented my goal to become one and work all around Australia.

We set a date of 17th August 2018 when we would be driving out of our driveway and on the next part of our lives. This date was quickly creeping up and we had heaps to do.

We listed all our furniture on Facebook Buy & Sell groups and were surprised at how easily and quickly we were able to sell everything. The house became more and more empty until the final night was spent on a mattress on the floor.

We had saved money and added the dosh from selling our belongings to our travel kitty. I had paid off my debts over the years and Tim had chosen a real estate to lease his house through.

I didn’t have much furniture, having given away or sold a lot of it when I moved in with Tim. However it was harder for Tim emotionally as he was selling everything he had worked hard to buy especially his beloved motorbike, couch and TV.

We had a cat Leila and dog Izzy as well. Leila has gone to live with Tim’s dad and reports back are saying Leila is loving being a lap warmer and spends her days snoozing on ‘Grandad’s’ lap or under his bed covers! Izzy is staying with Tim’s sister until we settle in Alice Springs. Tim’s sister has 4 kids, the two younger ones being at home more and are loving playing with Izzy. We feel so comforted and grateful that our pets are being cared for so well and in homes full of love and attention. Of course we could have taken Izzy with us however we really wanted to see a lot of National Parks and decided it would be kinder for Izzy to remain in Albany rather than having to spend time in random kennels while we are on the road.

So that was how we came to travel, in a nutshell. Of course there were a lot of emotions going on. I had been living back in Albany for 12 years and Tim had lived there all his life (apart from stints living away) so we were leaving friends, family and pets behind, not to forget stable jobs! However now we are on the road, we keep in touch regularly via social networking, phone calls, texts and postcards!

I’m sure many people who travel, both overseas and around Australia are often told how ‘lucky’ they are. But luck has nothing to do with it. Travelling and having the funds to travel requires a lot of work, sacrifices and dedication. For seven years while I studied both my EN and RN I never had a holiday, not to Bali, not over east, not one holiday. Tim and I took little breaks for a day or two but otherwise I was either working and studying full time and/or attending clinical placement in hospitals (full time shifts).

We both had our sights set on becoming free from the daily grind and worked hard to achieve it. Once I finish my grad year in Alice Springs, we will be back on the road picking up nursing/welding work to fund our travels.

I am sitting at my laptop at a place called Cygnet Bay on the Dampier Peninsula. It is a balmy evening and I’m sipping on icy cold apple cider, looking forward to what tomorrow brings. In a couple of days we will be doing the Gibb River Road then heading to Darwin for my graduation ceremony on the 12th October.

So if you want to travel, anywhere in the world or around your own country, you CAN do it! It doesn’t need to be expensive and you can do it on a budget. Just work hard and save as much as you can, you can always pick up work on the road if you need.

There are heaps of Facebook pages that are really informative and helpful. I have found quite a few really helpful, here are some links:

MY RIG Adventures

Not Grey Nomads

Trekking Downunder

Seeking the Serenity

Thanks for reading! – Rachel xoxox

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An itch to scratch

Tim is on a couch. This may seem unremarkable but it’s the first time he has been on a couch for 5 weeks and for Tim, that is a lifetime…and a half. Thanks to a person very dear to me, we are spending the night in a really nice apartment suite in Broome WA before we leave for Cape Leveque tomorrow. One of the prerequisites of booking a hotel/motel/apartment was that it HAD to have a couch, lounge, settee, sofa, a rose by any other name. For me, a microwave. Not that I’ll probably use it but it’s the things you just don’t have when camping.

Moonlight Bay Suites
Moonlight Bay Suites – A beautiful place to stay.

ANYWAY, we are in Broome WA and Broome WA has impressed us hugely. We have spent every evening swimming at Cable Beach in calm inviting turquoise water, floating around, chatting, diving under the water and constantly appreciating being here swimming when 5 weeks ago we would be working, or studying, or just still entwined with the daily grind. I’ll get back to Broome.

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We spent two nights at Cape Keraudren, a coastal reserve north of Port Hedland in East Pilbara. We camped overlooking oyster reefs where the tide came in and out twice a day. We saw a little octopus with a few missing limbs who seemed really friendly. We also loved watching the hermit crabs scuttle slowly around.

We would like to have more fond memories of Cape Keraudren but every time I look at my arms and lower thighs, I see sandfly sores, multitudes of them. We got eaten alive at Cape Keraudren! Yes, we did have Bushmans spray on but they got through the mosquito mesh of the camper trailer and attacked us as we slept. They are nasty nasty nasty little buggers! They are the itchiest itchy’s we’ve ever ever had!!

We did walk around the beach and had a beautiful swim in the water and also listened to our neighbour gently sing along with his ukulele as the sunset which was a real bonus. The view when waking up was just beautiful! So maybe Cape Keraudren wasn’t all that bad!

We aimed to get into Broome on Tuesday 18th September and were making good time until we came to Sandfire roadhouse where the rest of the highway was closed due to a bushfire. We joined truckies and other tourists who were all waiting around and hoping they could get on their way sometime soon. We sat around for a few hours but had enough so went back 40 km’s and stayed at 80 Mile Beach for the night.

Eventually we arrived in Broome and checked into Cable Beach caravan park. We’d recommend this caravan park because of the beautiful shady trees and decent size camping sites. Upon request, we were given a site directly across from the amenities. After lunching at Zander’s on Cable Beach, we went for a drive and swim at Cable Beach then back to camp.

We got our car fully checked-over and serviced as we are doing the Gibb River Road in a week so we know it’s all schmicko to go!

The weather here has been just divine, ranging around 30-33 degrees. The past couple of days Tim and I visited Malcom Douglas’ Crocodile Farm, had a game of mini golf (which I WASN’T thrashed in, like SO WASN’T beaten by over 20 points!) then wandered around Chinatown and each had a neck/head/shoulders massage. We then had a swim again at Cable Beach and went off to the Town Beach Markets yesterday evening.

This morning I was booked in for a deep tissue massage and was slightly nervous as I’ve never had a proper body massage before. The lady led me into the room, asked me to take my shoes off then pointed to the mattress on the floor. She then left me there. I took my shoes off then stood awkwardly waiting for her to come back. I felt like Mr Bean, wondering if I should take my clothes off or wait until she tells me to. The masseuse returned, looked at the mattress then at me and laughed ‘please, take off your clothes and lie down’ and scuttled out laughing and talking in Thai about the idiot client she has to massage. The massage was amazing and I felt as loose as a goose when I left, although it hurt like fuck at some points! I think I walked like Mr Bean once it was done!

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Broome has one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever encountered. It is just so chilled out and is a really nice place just to slow down and enjoy. There is so much to do during the day and in the evening. We are sad to leave but we are travellers now so must move on! Plus, I’ll apply for nursing posts here so we can enjoy it more one day!

Tomorrow we are off to Cape Leveque then will get ready to do the Gibb River Road so I’ll have some adventures to write about then!

Lots of love to you all! – Rachel xoxoxo

 

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Bluest of blue!

Hi! I’m writing this under our annexe overlooking the blue water of Cape Keraudren, north of Pardoo. I have never seen such turquoise blue water and we can’t wait to go swimming tomorrow! We have set up and relaxing after a week of no-so-great holidaying!

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We packed up from Shark Bay and were hoping to check in at an AirBnB in Coral Bay but alas, ’twas not to be (for the fact Coral Bay has bugger all AirBnB’s) so we decided to camp at Warroora Station. We stocked up on supplies in Carnarvon and one of my brother’s rang and suggested we visit Gnoolara Station so we set off there.

Turning right at big sign saying ‘KING WAVES KILL’, we drove the second most corrugated road we had ever driven! Arriving at the camp, we looked around in dismay at the dusty, windy, crowded campsite swarming in surfies while overlooking reefy, rough ocean. We’d come this far, it was getting dark and had to camp the night. Not happy Jan.

The place was interesting if wind surfing, surfing and whatever else is your cup of tea. But for Tim and I, give us swimmable water and beach access any day of the week. So we stayed one night listening to the howling wind batter out camper, packed up the next morning and took off like a bat out of hell. Our number plate ripped off so Tim had to tie is back on with zip ties! That’s how corrugated the road was!

The blowholes down the road were awesome and we had a look at the lighthouse and humpy camp over the other side.

Planning on camping at Warroora Station, we stopped at Milynup Roadhouse where I made the executive decision to drive straight through to Exmouth and stay in a cabin for a couple of nights to feel a bit more civilised!

Exmouth is a gorgeous town with amazing crystal beaches and so much to do. We had plans to snorkel, go on a glass bottom boat, fish and swim swim swim! However that afternoon I started to feel lethargic and achy. Over the next two days, it developed into a stomach bug where I was left with horrible abdominal cramps and … let’s just say, ‘the tummy bug stuff’. We did go for a drive to have a look around and watched the sunset one night which was beautiful. Tim went out by himself one afternoon and saw whales breaching in the ocean.

After three nights in Exmouth, I started to feel slightly more human and we set off to Miaree Pool for the night on our way to Broome. We left there this morning and are now at our current spot.

The place we are camping now is pretty quiet with beautiful views overlooking the ocean. The tide comes in and out regularly, with the next high tide due, according to our neighbours, tomorrow around 2.30pm. We’ve just had a walk down to the water with the tide out and the sand feels like that magnetic sand and really sinky! Tim and I had a race back which was hilarious with our feet sinking deep into the sand with each step!

It was nice staying in a chalet for a few nights but it’s also nice being back on the road especially in such glorious weather. And feeling well and healthy is not something I will take for granted! We have just over 3 weeks to make the trek to Darwin in time for my graduation ceremony and there is a lot we want to see on the way so getting north of Broome is something we’re keen to do. But until then, we’re just enjoying each day and night.

Tim and I get along well, most of the time. Spending 100% of our time together can wear a bit thin and we have our moments, but overall we know we’re stuck together (plus Tim says he keeps the car keys in his pocket so I don’t do a runner! haha). Snappy words are often just left to dissipate in the air rather than arguing over. Travelling and camping together, just the two of us, has taken co-existing to a different level and as much as we can irritate each other, we rely on each other, both for our skills and company. Trying times are overcome when we find somewhere that is paradise and we celebrate pushing through the annoyances of getting there.

We have both gone through the feeling of ‘gee it would be nice just being in a house for a while’ but when we spent time in the chalet, it was nice being back on the road camping under the stars and listening to all sorts of bird life, crickets, frogs and random cars driving past in the middle of the night!

I have found camping/travelling pages on Facebook really helpful and have made a couple of new friends who I will meet when we start our grad programs in Alice Springs.

One FB page of a new friend is: Seeking the Serenity – Travelling Aus which is an awesome and inspiring page of travelling! Check it out!

Keep in touch and stay posted! Love your comments and support xoxoxoxo

 

 

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The ocean beckons!

I’m sitting at our trusty camp table listening to the canvas of the camper trailer get tickled by the wind coming off the ocean. We are back on the coast and it feels wonderful!

We had a really nice few days in Tom Price, a nice little town which likes to have green trees and grass and plants because the residents seem to constantly have their sprinklers on, even in the dead heat of the day. The Tom Price caravan park we stayed at was brilliant. We paid $32/night for an unpowered site which was directly across from the amenities block. We chose a site with a beautiful shady tree at our door step which helped with the heat. The facilities were clean and the crystal clear swimming pool was just divine!

We did some touring, drove past the house I lived my first 4 years of life in and generally relaxed. We drove up Mt Nameless which is the highest point you can drive a car in WA at 1016m. The views were beautiful and we even tried to find a geocache hidden there but no such luck.

After spending most of our last day in Tom Price doing laundry and sorting the car, we left after three nights to go to Hamersley Gorge. We had envisioned another Wittenoom Gorge where we could meander along the gorge until we came to our own little spot but Hamersley Gorge is more like the gorges in Karijini park; you can’t camp anywhere except designated spots and then hike down to the gorge. Too touristy. So we had a look at the gorge and decided to drive to an abandoned homestead called Tambrey Station and call that home for the night.

The campsite at Tambrey Station was very dusty but flat and open with a camp fire ready to go once we found some firewood. We arrived mid-afternoon so set up and relaxed. I made spaghetti bolognaise in the camp oven which was delicious (if I do say so myself!).

The next morning we were up at 6.30am to pack up the camper before the heat kicked in. Then we walked around the ruins of the old homestead. The house was made of red mud-brick and was solid. Even the fireplace was made out of mud-brick. There was a grave on site for three people, the farmer Thomas Cusack who died aged 43, his wife Dosh who lived until she was 90 and their youngest daughter Prudence Leake who only died 6 years ago. On Prudence’s grave plaque was written ‘I must go back to the Tableland, Where life can be rough and hard, Let me return to the mud brick house, Of heat & drought & the worry of debt, Then the joy in the coming of rain, I must go back to the Tableland and have my share of it’.

The Roebourne-Wittenoom Rd is the worst road we have driven on so far! Diabolical! The corrugations were deep and constant and the road had so many small floodways which you couldn’t see until you were almost upon then and had to brake sharply to slowly cross. The Karratha – Tom Price Rd wasn’t much better but it at least turned into bitumen.

We left to head north to Karratha and as we were listening to an audio book we rattled past a sign saying ‘Python Pool’. Anything that sounded remotely like it has water in or near it was much needed. We drove east for 20km to the most beautiful and inviting waterhole we have seen so far! Neither of us had our bathers but the site of the water drew us in and we leapt in fully clothed! The water had a lot of minerals in it and was very buoyant. Tim and I floated around on our backs looking up at the gorge walls rising high above us. As we swam, we chatted to another couple who had travelled from NSW.

We got to Karratha and had lunch at a tavern. We found a car wash and hosed the car and camper off. I used the BP toilet and was unpleasantly surprised to find there was no toilet paper anywhere. And this wasn’t a shake and shimmy kind of dunny trip either. So I sat poised, waiting for another customer to leave the bathroom before I jimmied my pants and scooted into the next cubicle! God help anyone who walked in in the middle of my crab-walk!

We then headed to a place called 40 mile beach which is a 53km drive south of Karratha. The caretaker is very friendly and we are now set up in a beautiful private campsite with our very own access to our very own part of the beach!

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Wikicamps is actually coming in handy despite us doubting it when we first started. And as usual, talking to the locals is the best way to find great places. We are now heading back south until we reach Shark Bay then we’ll come back up the coast to Darwin exploring the coast further north of Karratha.

I’m writing this in a Word document because I only have one bar of reception and it’s just too damn slow. Ugh, first world problems!

Talk to ya soon! Xoxoxo

P.S Check out the Outback Traveller Magazine on Facebook! It’s starting up and will be amazing!

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The place of birth

G’Day from Tom Price! I’m sitting here in clean clothes with clean hair after having my first shower in 4 days – ahhhhhh heaven!

But let’s start back when we left Meekatharra.

26th August 2018 (Sunday): Due to our campsite in Meekatharra being so close to the main highway, road trains barrelled past constantly, some sounding like they were heading straight for our camper!

We packed up and decided to drive to a place called Bilyuin Pool, a campsite we found on WikiCamps. We took a turn-off as directed by Apple maps and drove along a dirt road until we came across signs saying ‘KEEP OUT!’, ‘TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED!’ and ‘NO UNAUTHORISED ACCESS!’. By the third sign we felt maybe we shouldn’t keep going, not sure why, gut feeling perhaps, so we turned around and headed back to the main highway. We decided to just drive straight to Newman.

Newman is a fairly bustling mining town with most cars carrying orange lights and every second person wearing hi-vis uniforms. We didn’t want to stay at another caravan park so found a free camp at a place called Rhodes Ridge Rest-stop, 50km north of Newman.

Rhodes Ridge is a wide open area slathered in fine red dust and scattered with low scrub and spots of campfires. We set up our camp for the night, by now our process is well-oiled and now, well-dusted.

27th August 2018 (Monday): The next morning I went to the loo, the chemical toilet of which Tim set up in the open air down the side of the camper. Looking up from my book, my eyes met the eyes of a dingo standing directly in front of me merely 10 metres away from where I was sitting in all my glory! After hesitating for a second, I leapt up, my book flew into the air and landed in the dirt and I scarpered into the camper still trying to pull my pants up! Tim thought it was funny and said the dingo would just be hanging around for scraps and they are more dangerous in packs. We both peered out the window to see the dingo still standing in the bush, patiently waiting for any remnants of last nights dinner.

We packed up the camper and headed north to Wittenoom where we set up camp in Wittenoom Gorge. Our campsite was absolutely beautiful with the gorge wall on our right and a short but turquoise clear waterhole all to ourselves. We spent the first evening practising our ‘Coo-ee!’ bounce around the gorge walls and echo back to us from a different direction. It was amazing!

28th August 2018: We were awake early listening to the birds greet each other good morning.

Pressure points on each corner of the camper trailer canvas had become unstitched leaving gapes on either side. If not addressed, they would soon tear open leaving an entire front wall missing. Tim spent the morning patching up the seams with spare canvas and kwik-grip with me as his trusty, yet day-dreaming T.A!

In the afternoon we paddled our kayaks up our waterhole admiring the slate slab construction of the wall, all intricately pressed together. There were some gaps in the slabs resembling a half-played game on Jenga. The colours of ochre, maroon, slate grey and, dare I say it, dark asbestos blue, made up the colour scheme of this part of Wittenoom Gorge.

Willy wagtails, finches and ibis danced on tree branches around us welcoming but unsure of why we were there. As we lay back in our kayaks, the sun warming our sunscreen lathered legs, we watched at least 5 other 4WD’s lumbering up the track, through the water crossing and roaring up the hill and away from us. This is our campsite for today.

29th August 2018 (Wednesday): After breakfast we packed up and got going to have a look around Wittenoom then venture into Karijini National Park.

Wittenoom is a ghost town. During the 1940’s-1960’s it was Australia’s only supplier of blue asbestos used in items such as roofing, fences and when woven or mixed with cement, would be resistant to fire and heat. The use was extremely popular however it was eventually found to be a direct cause of lung diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. The mine was shut down in 1966 and the status of it being a town was removed in 2006. Tim and I (both aware of the risks) looked through some vacant houses, many often left as if the tenants put their knives and forks down, the children put their boardgames pieces to the side and they all just walked out.

According to Wikipedia, there are still 3 people living in Wittenoom and although a few houses looked like they were inhabited, not a soul was seen.

In Karijini National Park there are only two campsites (known to travellers), Dale’s Gorge Camping ground and Karijini Eco- Retreat. We were, perhaps naively, hoping we may find a secluded area to camp in rather than either of the two main camping grounds, but no such luck. It was becoming late afternoon so we decided to head to the Eco-Retreat.

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On the way along the very corrugated dirt roads, I heard a bumpity bump bump and in the rear view mirror, a flash of green and yellow shot away from the car – the kayak’s fallen off! Fortunately it was undamaged but just an inconvenience.

We wandered into the campsite paying $40/night for an unpowered campsite. It was really windy when we were setting up our camp with canvas flying everywhere and seemingly aiming at Tim to add to his already jolly mood.

30th August 2017 (Thursday): Packing up once again, we drove to some of the gorges to have a look around. Tourists scrambled everywhere and most carparks were full. The gorges however, were gorgeous haha.

We are now in Tom Price, the town where I was born almost 35 years ago and left when I was 4 years old. I wonder if anyone recognises me? We’re staying here for a couple of nights and going to have a game of 9 holes of golf tomorrow. 9 holes of golf in the town of my birth. Fore!

I wrote a poem:

13 Days

Rough starts, unforeseen and grating, although every box we drew we checked. 

We wanted someone or something to blame for our troubles, a culture inside us we’ve not let go.

Kilometres of bitumen, gravel and dirt. Corruated, smoothed or firm. 

We have no-one’s company but each other’s and our own.

The drone of an audio book keeps the drivers mind active; alert. While the sleepy passenger comes and goes between what is real and what isn’t. 

Red dirt, ochre dust fluffs and billows behind the vehicle. When it is idle, the dust gently lays on every surface like an ethereal permeating cloak. 

Two bodies flop out of the car, stretch and take in the scenery. Before long, hitches are unhitched, trailers stop trailing and a house is unfolded.

Methodically and purposefully the two bodies work in unison. Then planting bottoms in chairs, wiping perspiration from the brow.

Eyes watch as the Australian sun settles behind the hills. The moon is anticipating its nightly return for all who admire it. 

The sky is red, orange, purple, pink then grey. Dingoes lift their heads, noses twitching at smells of steak and onions frying. 

Should they creep later and check for morsels?

Bodies retire, one by one and the loud zipper shatters the outback silence. 

It will all be done again tomorrow.

 

Catch ya soon! 🙂