Tag Archives: Willow Springs Station

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’.

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‘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!

The Peninsulas of SA

Long time no blog! Very slack but very busy. Since my last entry we have done quite a bit of tripping around SA. In January we mostly free-dom camped along the Eyre Peninsula – Port Gibbon, Cowley’s Beach, Moonlight Bay, Louth Bay to North Shields near Port Lincoln for the Tuna Festival.

We spent a week re stocking and enjoying the Tuna Festival. Met a few of the same people we’d met further up the Peninsula and it was great to catch up. Port Lincoln is at the bottom end of the Eyre Peninsula, so leaving there we headed up the west coast to Farm Beach. This is a popular council run ‘caravan park’ for the fishermen. It was very busy and lots of people. We took the tinny out a few times when it wasn’t too windy. Met a good bunch of people and compared fishing stories at Happy Hour each day. Then we had a call from a guy we’d met at Arkaroola – said our pup was 8 weeks and ready to collect! Yes, we’d caved and said yes to a Blue Heeler Cattle dog pup – he had 8 pups and was selling the males and the girls were up for grabs! I didn’t have to cry and beg ‘B’ to get one, he was eager too. So goodbye Eyre Peninsula and hello Rawnsley Park Station in the Flinders!

We collected our new bundle of joy and took her to Willow Springs Station for a week to get used to each other. We named her Jeda. She is a real cutie and a bundle of trouble at the same time! Luckily she has had exposure to other dogs on properties we’ve worked at since and adapts well to new places and people.

From the Flinder’s Ranges we headed to the York Peninsula. We found a lovely little town called Alford that offered donation camping near a toilet block with BBQ’s. Then we headed to Balgowan, another popular fishing spot. Had bad weather there so not much fishing then on to Coobowie, Port Julia and Price. Still miserable weather so can’t recommend them for fishing as we didn’t get a chance to throw a line in.

By this time we’d been offered a house-sitting job (word of mouth from our previous employers at Willow Springs Station) so it was off to the Clare Valley!

 

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Rounded the bottom and in the middle!

Long time no blog! Last time I posted we were about to start the Great Ocean Road along Victoria’s south coast. Well we made it despite the cold, wind and rain. Unfortunately we didn’t have the best weather but we loved the views that we’d seen on TV over the years. One piece of advice I will pass on to Big Rig owners – it might be best to leave your rig at a van park and drive the short distances each way to see the sights. We left our van at Port Campbell and as we found out some of the car parks would have just fitted us and no one else! But we know of others that have had no problem, so it’s up to you.

We were a bit partial to the Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs and Loch Ard Gorge in preference to the 12 Apostles & London Bridge. Even in mid-winter it was inundated with bus loads of tourists all day long. We mostly had cold wet weather, so had to wait around for longer than needed to get photos with a glimpse of sunlight. Hubby hates the cold so he was suitably unimpressed!

Once complete we went as far as Warrnambool and Port Fairy and decided we’d had enough of the coast and headed inland to Ballarat. We both wanted to uncover the history of the area and we were not disappointed. Just loved the city with the architecture and history – and the Info Centre was very helpful with what to see and how to get around. I loved Sovereign Hill – I was a bit hesitant to go to a ‘theme park’ but after speaking with some of the locals in period costume who volunteer or work there my mind changed – it started off as a living museum visibly displaying the history of the region and we learnt a lot in a day and a half.

Then we were contemplating heading to Bendigo for some more history when I found a job that sounded like ‘us’ on the Grey Nomads website. We applied and got it so we did a detour straight to South Australia and the beautiful Flinders Ranges! So for the past couple of months B and I have been working on a 70,000 acre sheep and cattle property in the central Flinders called Willow Springs Station, owned & run by Brendan and Carmel Reynolds and their daughter Michelle.

This has been a fantastic experience for us doing different type of work (B even had a day lamb tailing) and getting to see what life’s like in this area. We have been welcomed by the Reynolds family and have loved doing sight seeing jaunts on days off to nearby Wilpena Pound, Brachina Gorge, Bunyeroo Gorge, Parachilna, Blinman, Hawker & Quorn. The fact that 3G and the Internet is 6klms away on the nearest lookout is great! Newsflash: we really don’t need all this technology ALL the time! The best 4WD experience has been Willow Springs’ Skytrek offroad track. It’s 79klms of ‘moderate’ rated 4WD tracks over the property and takes approx. 6 hrs to complete. The views are breathtaking and there’s abundant wildlife throughout the property. If you’re lucky there might be some shearing or mustering going on as it’s a working station. They also have secluded bush camp sites and accommodations in the Old Homestead, Jackaroos Hut, Overseers Hut and Shearers Quarters. If you’d like to check them out go to: www.skytrekwillowsprings.com.au

We are nearly finished here as the tourist season has ended so will probably head south to explore the rest of South Australia. Till next time hope you enjoy the new photos I’ve uploaded plus some of the pics in this post.

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