As 'Grey Nomads' hubby and I are travelling Australia enjoying what this great land has to offer in scenery, lifestyle and people. I love photography so I thought I'd share this with others who are travelling as well as those who haven't yet ventured 'outback'. We are self contained in our custom built off road caravan and just love bush camping and heading to the outback.
Yes I am aware it’s now November!! I have been a tad busy of late but finally got some photos together of our Birdsville Races trip this year. We had been to the Big Red Bash in July, did a bolt over to the coast for a couple of weeks then a bolt back to Birdsville!! Note to self: it’s a bit of a distance – don’t do that again!!!
We met up with some ‘mates on the road’ friends we hadn’t seen in years and set up camp in the same spot we camped back in 2014! Near a tap about half way to racetrack & town. In case anyone wants to know: there are 10 taps along the town common to the river.
We watched the common and town grow from a few hundred to around 7000! We aren’t into racing, but it’s really the atmosphere at the Hotel, the vendors and entertainment that contributes to make it a special event. Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe, The Old Hospital puts on a Pancake Palace, Salty the Blacksmith, the RFDS Fun Run, Riversands Wines from St George have a stall and all the food vendors including wood fired pizzas, chinese, RFDS food tent, Donuts, Kebabs etc plus a Western Outfitters – it’s all here!
Every couple of weeks the Fruit & Vege truck makes a visit and the locals and visitors can top up on fresh produce at reasonable prices.
The races are held over two days, but they have things happening the week prior. A bus service runs for these two days from the town, out along the common to the racetrack and back for a RFDS donation. Brilliant. Alcohol tickets are purchased at the Birdsville Hotel before going to the racetrack.
Surprisingly I had a win!!! Broke even (plus a bit) on a hunch.
We spent a few more days after the races watching the almost immediate evacuation of Birdsville! By then the roads were clear but a bit rugged due to so much traffic (as they were after the Big Red Bash). The town and occupants of Birdsville do a marvelous job in all respects: from the council services, the accommodations, the fuel and food services to cater for so many people. They should be proud of their community.
My advice to anyone heading to the BRB or Races in Birdsville: arrive early and leave later. Take everything you need (fuel up BEFORE Windorah, Birdsville or Marree) but support the locals as best you can. Most importantly: enjoy the Outback Hospitality!
Camp all set up
Most meals cooked in camp oven-yum!
Outside Birdsville Bakery
The entrance to the Racetrack pre race day
Royal Hotel ruins in town
Wildflowers on the common
Wildflowers on the common
Wildflowers on the common
Wildflowers growing from the parched ground
Still parched ground even after rains
Flowers on the Diamantina River
Jeda in the wildflowers
Danger sign on nearly empty Diamantina River
2 x Camel Pies & a fresh loaf!!
Fred Brophy giving a rally!
Brophy lining up contenders
Coffee vendor with a sense of humour
Some boys ‘aving a go’ up Big Red
Afternoon drinkies on Big Red
The moon seems bigger in the outback
Jeda loved this big sandpit
Bit over it now, time to go home?
B & Jeda enjoying the evening on Big Red
Sunset over Big Red
Aussie sense of humour @ Big Red
Port roast & vegie cookup
Jeda posing @ Birdsville Hotel
Just had to show this parked in town!!!
The Memphis Moovers entertained the crowds
Birdsville Hotel – Calcutta morning
Race Day -Memphis Moovers entertain the crowds
Fashions OFF the field
Fashions ON the field
….and their off!
The cups awaiting a winner
..and their racing!
The Melbourne Cup joined the Birdsville Cup for a lap of honour
It’s taken me awhile but I’ve finally sorted all my photos from our trip, including the Big Red Bash at Birdsville.
We arrived nearly a week early (avoiding the rush). B had volunteered already, and I applied once we got there. He was on setup and pack down duties (3 shifts) and I was allocated a early Road Marshall shift and two Toilet ‘Angel’ shifts. My tip is to get in early for applying for volunteer roles as the good ones go early!! You save yourself the price of a ticket, yes, but you feel like you are more involved with the whole experience by meeting all the event co-ordinators and management of the event plus you meet some great people along the way.
Because B’s first shift was the Friday before the Bash concert days (Tues, Wed & Thurs) we headed out early Friday, so we were able to choose our camp spot easily after 4pm that day – we were in the Dog Section closest to the dunes. We spent 8 days out at Bashville all up, so it’s important to have enough food & water – there are food vendors and composting toilets but no water.
The whole experience was fantastic (even my toilet duties!) The concerts were great, the daytime activities kept kids & adults busy. They had the RFDS Drag Races, the Nutbush Guinness Book of Records attempt (which we achieved!) kids shows with the Crackup Sisters and Amber Lawrence, Mal Leyland was there to introduce his 1966 movie “Wheels across the Wilderness” and they also held the Air Guitar Championships. There is ample information on the official website www.bigredbash.com.au as well as the Facebook site ‘Travelling to the Big Red Bash’. If you are a volunteer you also get access to the Volunteers Facebook site.
The artists were all brilliant. First night featured Adam Brand & Busby Marau. Second night: Amber Lawrence, Travis Collins, The Wolfe Brothers, Russell Morris, The Angels & Hoodoo Gurus. Third night: Black Sorrows, Kate, Jon, Darryl Braithwaite & John Farnham.
Another small tip: allow time rolling in and rolling out. Don’t be in a rush. People were lined up to leave Friday morning for hours. We left after lunch and had a clear run. We stayed on the Birdsville Common before and after the Bash, you are best to be self contained as no facilities out there. Best of all, there are 12 water taps all the way from town boundary to the Diamantina River on the east side of the road.
If anyone would like to know more about our experience in case you too are contemplating attending the Bash please send me a message or email. Next years artists will be announced in October and dates for applications for volunteering should be soon after.
So, after 12 weeks away in Queensland & New South Wales we have returned to South Australia and our block a tad too early!!! It’s freezing!!!!! 😦
I am still trying to wade through the zillion photos I took (I have RSI of my Delete finger!!). Will post photos of our experience at the Big Red Bash near Birdsville as soon as I can – it was a fantastic experience and a ‘must do’ for anyone interested in the most remote concert in Australia! Volunteering made it even more fun, and a feeling of being involved in something really special.
We did a bee-line for Brisbane (been every road from east to west) to get a few things done and a flying visit with family and friends, before we headed back out to Birdsville for the Races. Another bucket list item (our 2nd time) and better as we got to spend time with friends we met years ago in WA. We four are freakishly alike in a lot of ways which made it more fun. On the trip back south we had a couple of ‘issues’ with truck & van which made B real chirpy! Now at least we have found the worst road in SA to tow a van on!!!
We have a bit of work to do here on da block but I will try to get some photos together to share the fun of the Big Red Bash for those who may be interested in it next year…..9-11 July 2019.NB: the artists will be announced in October….stay tuned!!!http://www.bigredbash.com.au
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.
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!
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!!!
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.
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!
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’.
Anakie sculpture @ rest area
Inside the Birdsville bakery
The iconic Birdsville Bakery
Sunrise @ Cooper Creek
Jeda’s favourite car position
Was a bit muddy lately! Birdsville track
Single lane due to water lapping the side of Birdsville track
Two graders on Birdsville track after significant rainfall
Taped up smashed rear window on Birdsville Track
Smashed window – extra tape just in case!
Got my Crew wrist band & ready to rock!
Campfire with friends Birdsville common
Just how dry the earth is in the outback
Jeda’s favourite guard position – the stairs of the caravan
Jeda eyeing off my damper
Water in the Diamantina River, Birdsville
Our first sunset on arrival @ Birdsville common
Sign outside North Blinman Hotel
The Blinman Store with sculpture
3D school crossing in Boulia
Our camp area with the hundreds of others
Yummo Happy Hour with savoury damper & a cold beer
Demo on how NOT to dismount a camel – he landed in a heap on the ground!
Jeda not sure about sign (she’s a SA born dog)
“Let me outta here” – camel tagging event
Entertainer Mick Lindsay
They’re off and racing!
One of the food vendors @ Boulia Camel Races
The race winner
Rides @ Boulia Camel Races
Enjoying the win
Winners @ Boulia Races
Back of Duaringa Hotel free camping
Sheep & Cattle loading setup @ Farina
Rail precinct water tower, Farina
Our first stop @ Farina – for smoko treats!!
Sunset @ campground, Farina
The restoration of Transcontinental Hotel, Farina
Street signs on vague streets with no buildings, Farina
Views from ruins windows
The wood oven in underground bakery, Farina
The Underground Bakery, Farina
War Memorial on hill @ Farina
Flocks of pelicans surround the lake
Sunset over Lake Victoria
Juvenile Whistling Kite @ Lake Victoria
Fueling up @ Lyndhurst Hotel
Sunset Marree Hotel
Car park camp area Marree Hotel
Bar @ Marree Hotel
Photo in Marree Hotel of Tom Kruse & wife
Our RFDS mascot comes along for the ride
Marree – Tom Kruse truck
Views of mesas
Sign out front of Middleton Hotel
Middleton Hotel – old Cobb & Co coach
Sunset over Morayfield
Smoko @ Mungerannie @ the Bus Stop & Macca’s
The Stone Man near Marree
Tree of Knowledge Barcaldine
The Public bar in Birdsville Hotel
Middleton Hotel – opposite is The Hilton Hotel!!
Arnos Wall in Winton – has some new additions since our last visit
The new Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton
A good way to tart up a donga!
Brilliant sculpture @ Parachilna
Frost on the windows @ Peterborough
Whilst held up on road to Quorn, watched the Pichi Richi train go past
Love this building…
The Shoe Tree on road to Bedourie
Whetting your appetite before reaching Prairie Hotel
You know you are in a mining area….
Aerial of buildings @ Willow Springs Station
The BEST camp kitchen in the Flinders!
@ entrance to Willow Springs Station
Part of the camp kitchen decor
Sunrise over the Winton Hotel bush camp ground
Had a g8 full moon whilst in Winton
Winton-Beaut burger @ Musical Fence Cafe – given Jeda’s approval!
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!
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…..
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!!