Tag Archives: Birdsville

The Big Red Bash, Birdsville – July 2018

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.

Our campsite in large Dog Section nearest to Big Red dunes

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.

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We’re back!!! Bbrrrrrr!!!

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

Arrived back at da Block and giving the rig a much needed wash down!

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’.

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!!!

Da Block!

Christmas and New Year came and went in a blink of an eye. We are now settled on our block in the Clare Valley of SA! Yes, we have our own block!

It’s been a long process but some land we first saw in June last year finally became available….so now it’s ours!! After 12 1/2 years on the road we now can use this as a base….that’s all, as we still wish to travel Australia as much as we can…before we can’t!!

We moved the van onto the ‘house site’ area next to the shed. The rest of the block is pasture for sheep. B feels right at home, but I’m having more trouble….keep thinking we’re doing another house sit for someone!! Jeda loves it. She’s used to sheep, but these big dogs called Alpacas that make a weird noise when she comes too close are crazy!

Over the next few months we hope to do some improvements: a septic, solar and some plantings. So travel is on hold for just a short while, but we have big plans for winter this year…..hint: BRB & Races….Birdsville, Qld…….wanna come???!!!

Eyre Peninsula….again!

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last blog! Time just flies when you’re enjoying the road. Haven’t been doing a lot of photography this year (must be having a block) just ‘happy snapping’ our travels.

I left off when we were in Whyalla SA getting repairs done after doing ‘the tracks’ and Birdsville. We then went to Arno Bay on the Eyre Peninsula for a week of fishing. Met up with some friends and enjoyed a week of squiding and fishing off the jetty. Then on to a free camp we’ve been to before, Cowley’s Beach with our friends. Only October but it got so cold, happy hour started early and finished late in front of a warming fire. Enjoyed Calamari in panko crumbs for lunch a few days (life can be tough!) and too soon it was time for us to return to Whyalla as ‘B’ was to have an op at the local hospital. I must say South Australia has brilliant medical services compared to Queensland. Within 2 weeks of fronting up to Whyalla Hospital ‘B’ had seen a specialist and was booked in for a non-major operation. In Queensland he’s still on the waiting list!!

After two weeks of recovery in Whyalla we were chomping at the bit to head off. We decided to meet same friends for a week at Haslam, on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula. We had already agreed to return to Clare Valley for ‘B’ to work Harvest for the same farm as he did seeding, so we had time to fill in. Only took 5 hours drive straight across and we arrived, set up and ready for Happy Hour!

We enjoyed big seafood cook ups in that week. Our friends had some Redclaw they shared, then we had calamari in garlic butter then flathead crumbed.  Whilst at Haslam we heard from a lead for a house sitting job near Ceduna and because we weren’t that far away we decided to drive up to meet the prospective home owners. They live at Laura Bay, 20klms south of Ceduna. We met and loved the place as soon as we drove up the dirt track. It is in a Conservation Park, which was my only hesitation. But this will test our training with our Bluey, to keep her from wandering or eating baits.

Melbourne Cup fell whilst we were in Haslam and we had a BIG day. We invited surrounding caravanner’s for a BYO beverage and snacks lunch whilst watching the big race. The days got hot so we found the best place to cool off was under the jetty with a bev and good friends! Too soon it was time to head east back to the Clare Valley for that four letter word…. ‘work’!