South Oz to Outback Queensland!!!

Well, what a trip! As with most travels on the road there are ups and downs…we did have a number of ‘downs’ pre-trip (not worth going into) but one thing that did cause concern was our batteries.

Day 2 – Peterborough Rest Area, SA – woke up to low voltage throughout van – and it was freezing!! Turned on diesel heater – no go, lights dim, loo wouldn’t flush!! Bugger! So it was a mad dash on a Saturday morning to nearest battery shop (Port Pirie) for 4 new batteries. B installed Sat arvo and then we were off again! Big thanks to Neville Coe of Coe’s Autoelectrical!

Then on to the Flinders Ranges…we thought! Held up for 4 hours just outside of Port Augusta due to Bike Race. Eventually we made it to our favourite stop: Willow Springs Station.  We did a 3 month work stint here many years ago and when we return we are always made to feel like family.

Sunset views @ Willows Springs Station

Check out their website (above) to see what’s on offer: from bush camp sites to 4×4 tracks to hiking trails to doing absolutely nothing! I took Jeda’s photo @ 8wks at the woolshed, so tried to replicate the photo again 4 1/2 yrs later, but not with much success!

Jeda @ 8weeks and recently 4 1/2 years

After a few days there it was onwards to Blinman, Parachilna, Farina, Lyndhurst (for fuel) & Marree. Had read a bit about the restoration of Farina and the underground bakery so stopped over a couple of nights to check out the ruins and of course the bakery! Absolutely beautiful fresh baked bread daily (only a few months a year so check website) – highly recommended!!!

Farina’s freshly baked bread

Stopped a night in carpark of Marree Hotel. Shouted ourselves dinner in the pub. By around 5pm the carpark was full of travellers! And by 8am the next day most had gone! From here we headed up the Birdsville Track. Smoko at Clayton Station – they have a lovely spa tub that is worth a stopover, stopped a night at Cooper Creek (no creek!), onwards past Mungeranie as we had stopped here before. Only took us 2 days and we arrived in Birdsville late afternoon.

We did have a mishap on the track though. Scored a broken rear window from a Road Train. It happens (1st time for us). B taped it up best he could till we could get it repaired.  Only a few days before the road had been closed due to rain. Graders were working frantically making sure traffic could get through due to Big Red Bash starting soon.

Smashed rear window

We parked up on the Birdsville Common with thousands of others! Did some long needed washing and minor repairs. Then it was time to sign in to the Big Red Bash Volunteers Hall in town. B signed in and I volunteered at the time as they had a number of people unable to attend or fulfill their roles. I was allotted Road Marshall for one shift and two shifts on Toilet Duties (Loo Angels).

Then too soon it was time to head out to the Big Red Bash site for B’s first setup shift. I will post a separate blog about the bash when I get time to edit my thousands of photos!! Let’s just say it was BRILLIANT!!! The concerts were great, the performers were terrific, but the event as a whole was a wonderful experience. We met some lovely volunteers and had a great time, made even better because we were able to take Jeda. I even hung out in the ‘mosh pit’ for a few performances (took me back to 25 long years ago!!)

After the Bash, we went back to Birdsville common for a day or so then we headed up to Boulia for the Camel Races. Free camping included with your ticket. By the time we arrived there were hundreds of campers there. We spent 6 days and loved it. They had entertainers for 2 nights but it was so cold we bailed early for a warm caravan!

Relaxing before the race meet begins

From Boulia we headed to Middleton, Winton (Hotel), Barcaldine, Anakie, Duaringa (Hotel), Lake Victoria, Mt Perry to Hervey Bay. Recommend Winton Hotel carpark for free camping and a great pub meal (find info on Wikicamps).

To sum up – yes outback Queensland is dry, dusty and remote – and beautiful. It is DEFINITELY a  must do for all Travellers. Don’t be put off by distance, dirt or cost. Support the people of the Outback by visiting their ‘backyard’.

Advertisements

‘On The Road Again’…Birdsville Big Red Bash!

Tomorrow we head off to Birdsville, Qld to the Big Red Bash! Jeda is looking forward to it too!! Only concert in Australia she can attend (I think?)  Feels like it’s taken AGES to come around. Have a few stops along the way as don’t have to be there till 3rd-5th July.

Going to Peterborough for a look, then to Willow Springs Station in the Flinders Ranges  for a re-visit (worked there in 2013), then on to Farina Station  (they have an underground bakery) and up to Marree and the Birdsville Track.

B has volunteered for set up and pack down duties before and after the Bash, so we can stay around 2 weeks all up.  Then might check out the Boulia Camel Races. After that ?????

Will post when I can. Looking forward to getting on the road again after 13 years full time. Love our block, but it’s also good to get out and about again!

See you on the road…..

Our ‘Bound for the Bash’ decal and our mascot, our RFDS bear!

Winter on Da Block

Well, it’s well and truly winter time in the Clare Valley!! No frost just yet but plenty of cold icy winds and some rain. The newborn lambs are bleating around the district which is a lovely sight. The paddocks are all green, the weeds/grasses profuse and the workload still constant!

B has been busy weekdays with some casual work so weekends are all go getting things done around Da Block. We are heading off to the Big Red Bash near Birdsville in a weeks time so the countdown is on! Looking forward to this outback concert – another Bucket List item nearly ticked!

We have put in another rainwater tank to take advantage of the winter rainfall. We’ve had a few bonfires, watched things in the garden flower, mulched the rock garden and watched grass grow madly through it!! 😦 And given our caravan diesel heater a work out on these cold nights (and some days!)

This will be my last post for a while whilst we are ‘on the road’ – heading to Western & Central Queensland then might get the tinny wet on the east coast?! Till next time…..

Big Red Bash – Birdsville July 2018

In my last post I mentioned we were heading to Birdsville end of June for the Big Red Bash in mid July 10-12th.  I thought I’d do another ‘promo‘ for anyone who might be interested in attending but haven’t yet bought a ticket.

There is a Facebook site called Travelling to the Big Red Bash that has lots of information for Bash newbies (like us) and people show how they’re decking out their rigs for the trip. It’s a long way for most people and it’s a highlight holiday for families too (it’s in school holidays).  The Diamantina Region www.thediamantina.com.au has so much to offer whilst you are there, just see the Info Centre for brochures. In 2014 we spent 3-4 weeks there on the Common and volunteered at the Race Club before the races and loved it.

The main website has most information too along with the Oztix ticketing. www.bigredbash.com.au I have bought my ticket (B is volunteering) and some merchandise (car decal, sticker & cloth badge). B will be TERRIBLY impressed when I declare a sticker is going on the truck!!!

Starting to organise meals so I can cook in advance and cryovac (saving me precious time when there). So any Grey Nomad mates (or not so grey) who want to join us & thousands of others for the concert in the desert (fantastic lineup) get to it and order those tickets!!

…Autumn on Da Block

From a hot & sweaty summertime we have graduated to a cooler and a bit windier autumn. The trees are turning bronze & gold letting us know the cool weather will be on it’s way! Exactly what I love! The vineyards look beautiful now vintage has finished, autumn colours abound.

Excavations on Da Block went well: the new septic is in, heaps of plumbing trenches, installed two cattle grids, digging some tree holes, solar panels installed and much more. We were able to setup a rock garden on a long bank with beautiful huge Bluestones and the Yuccas & Agaves I’ve been nursing and cuttings from friends. Unfortunately the pumpkins & rock melons I grew from seed didn’t survive – I’ll have to watch more ‘Gardening Australia’!!

I’d like to give a plug (for any local’s reading this) to Terra-Firma Earthworks & Contracting based in Clare, SA – brilliant job and attention to detail.

B painted up the inside of a container to be his ‘tool shed’. It’s taken time but we are seeing progress week to week. We moved the van for the 3rd time to the container pad (better for when the rain comes). We’ve just had a couple of dust storms when it was really hot which was a new experience.

Today I have the heater on!

Looking forward to a break. Heading north to the Big Red Bash (www.bigredbash.com.au) in July as B volunteering setup/pack up. We are able to take Jeda to the concert in the desert as dogs are allowed. John Farnham is headlining with Hoodoo Gurus, The Angels, Daryl Braithwaite, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows and more…..

Western Queensland here we come!!!

Summertime on Da Block

My post this week was going to be the nice things we’ve experienced on our block, but the fire outbreak last Friday put me orf!

But I will post a few pics of what we’ve been doing. Lots of cleanup work – chainsaw massacre of gum branches for firewood and rubbish piles for next winter. This week we are getting some of the land excavated – leveling, creating a bank (for my Agaves & Yuccas I have been nursing), and maybe creating an area for a future orchard!

B purchased an old Massey Ferguson 35 tractor so he can do some smaller excavating jobs himself (once he gets it working properly)! It should come in handy! We’ve had many Happy Hour evenings watching the sunset over our piece of land – tired but happy (I think) that we have a patch we can call ‘ours’ finally.

FIRE in the Valley!! :(

Well what an introduction to Clare Valley! With all the hot dry weather we’ve been having this summer I guess it was inevitable…but I wish it wasn’t so close!

About midday last Friday (2nd Feb 2018) B was on his way to Clare, but turned back up the driveway to me. I asked what he’d forgotten to be told to turn around…..there were huge plumes of smoke behind us!!! Then the sirens started, then the planes, helicopters and phone calls…I got my camera and proceeded up to the highest point on our block to get pics of ‘flames’ licking the dry undergrowth of bush land on the next ridge.

Then we decided we might hitch up the van (JIC-just in case) we had to make a run for it! Got the lot done in about 20 mins! Bushfire record!! We chose to wait it out (JIC) and keep an eye on it, plus we have a CFS app to check on updates. It was a tense day, with hot winds thankfully blowing away from us and Clare township. It did ignite again in the late afternoon and during the evening we spotted embers on the ridge with flashing CFS lights over the hill tops keeping an eye out overnight (JIC).

The job the CFS and local farmers & property owners did was truly amazing. Only one shed & tractor burnt, lots of scrub land and farm land, over 10 hectares. Makes you realise how vulnerable we are to ‘Mother Nature’ when a fire takes hold. We heard later a mower or slasher started it. Unfortunately we are on a ridge and the neighbour has trees & bush all over, whereas ours is fairly cleared.

Have attached some of my pics and some from the Northern Argus (local paper). Today we are in the very high 30’s-low 40’s degrees….so every so often I take a peak out of my air-conditioned caravan to the sky and pray I don’t see smoke!

Images of Australia on our Nomadic Journey