Trip around the Mainland in 2000
April 27 2000
Iím not sure if the trip starts now, or if it starts tomorrow. We got up early and started to pack up. We fitted everything into the camper ok, but the car was a different story. We shoved the bedding into the camper, and left behind a fridge, and even some shoes. We eventually left after talking to Marcus and Allison about the house. We stopped at Geneva to see the Lincolnes before we left. I showed them my dried spider. For those who donít know what I mean, Itís an envelope that says it contains a real dried tarantula. When you open it, it vibrates madly and makes a noise. James threw it away, Catherine wouldnít even open it, and David nearly jumped out of his chair. David has had a new knee put in,, and found it hard to walk, and stairs especially painful. He said if they could, when Rosie got back, theyíd come down and see us off.
We left and headed for the boat. On the way, we rang Rebecca and said we were on our way. She said they would have a cup of tea and then come and see us off. We found the end of the line of cars and waited. Bec and the kids passed with Michael waving madly. Then Grandma and Grandpa drove past in their old Landrover all loaded up with camping gear. A group of fourwheel drives with caravans followed them, thinking they were going to the boat. When they discovered they had been led only to the carpark, they caused quite a jam trying to get back into our queue. We made it past the ticket office and Dad dropped Mum, Emma, and myself at the gangplank. Bec gave us a bag of things to take. Some were for us and others were for Libby. We waited with Bec, Michael, Gabby, Grandma, and Grandpa until Dad came back in. We were just about to board when Ben turned up. We said goodbye to them all and went on board. We dropped some stuff off in Mum and Dadís cabin, because we didnít have a keycard. Dad went to the pursers office to get some and we went out on deck. We looked, but everyone had left. But in a very short time, the Lincolnes arrived. They waved a lot and called us on the mobile. When we finally left the dock, it was dark. The Lincolnes went to the heads to see us off. So, amidst yelling, waving, and whistling we left Tassie. Apart from exploring the boat, all we did was eat tea and try to sleep.
Friday 28th of April
Emma and I didnít sleep very well, the cabin was way too stuffy. We had breakfast and watched the boat dock. We went down to the car, but had to wait for other cars to move before we could open the doors. After leaving the boat, we got slightly lost, but found where we were and found the Victoria Markets. We then got a little lost trying to find the entry to the carpark. We spent all morning at the markets, there were thousands of stalls. Most were just repetitions though. I got some sunglasses and a pouch for my pocket knife. Dad and Mum brought some bags for their clothes and Dad brought some new shoes and a car phone thingy. Emma brought a watch for her friend. We brought some bananas and bread and then left. We headed toward the Davisís house, but got seriously lost. We stopped at a park and had lunch. The park was right next to the freeway, so we had to yell at each other. We worked out where we had gone wrong and tried again to find the place. The land was quite dry, and extremely flat. We drove along for ages and eventually found the place. We nearly missed it, but even though both Mum and Dad had their head in the map, Dad saw the house. We stopped and visited with the Davisís. We had a BBQ tea by the river. In Tassie, you can tell where a river will be by looking for valleys between hills, but here, itís so flat that the valleys just drop down and you canít see them until youíre upon them. The river was only a small creek, but it was very nice. We stayed at the Davisís that night.
Saturday April 29th
We stayed with the Davisís for half the morning, and were shown Mount Cotterell, which is the name for the area in which they live. In Tassie, it wouldnít have warranted the name Ďhillí. We packed up and drove out. We drove through more straight roads. We kept driving and stopped at a town to get some bread. There were a heap of scouts in uniform with balloons who had done some sausage sizzle or something. We came to a place called Mount Macedon. As we drove past, Derryn Hinch left a pub and went to his car. Mum thought that was really cool, but I didnít have a clue who he was. The hill was fairly steep in places and had some corners. The whole hill seemed like it was the home of the rich. There were heaps of big, expensive houses all around.
We kept going and found where Hanging Rock was, and would have had a picnic up there, but we would have had to pay to get in. We drove around the hill, as it seemed to stick up out of nothing, and had a picnic beside it. We talked about ringing Grandma and telling her we were having a picnic at Hanging Rock and then pretending something had happened to Emma and scaring her, but decided against it. Weíre not that mean.
Now comes my problems. As we drove, I wanted to write this log, as I was behind, and plugged it into the inverter. The laptop made a funny noise, but worked ok. I accidentally touched one of the screws, and felt a buzzing. I told Dad, but he said not to worry. When we were stopping to go to the toilet, I turned off the computer, and I bumped the screw again. This time it felt like an electric fence. I turned off the inverter quick smart. The power was contacting the screws somehow, and when the computer wasnít drawing power, it zapped me.
I gave up on that and we kept driving. We stopped at a town for afternoon tea and looked around a farming museum place. It looked interesting, but parts were run-down. We knew enough about farming, and didnít want to pay to go in, so we drove on.
As we neared Echuca, the ground was still flat, apart from Mount Macedon, which was part of the Great Dividing Range, and the Hanging Rock hill. The paddocks had been irrigated, and there was some water lying about, but the rivers were all down. We pasted a irrigation channel, and that was full. We got to Echuca and found Libbyís place, but didnít recognise the car, so we did a circle and came back. We had the right place, and the car was Andrewís work car. We stayed there for the night, Mum and Dad half set up the camper in the car-port, Emma slept in Hannah and Rachelís room, and I slept in the playroom.
We plugged in the laptop to the wall socket, and it seemed alright. It didnít make the noise. Even so, we didnít use it while it was charging because if they were live, the screws would have a lot more kick in them.
Sunday April 30th.
We stayed with Libby all day. We went to Church with Libby and the girls. We found Grandma and Grandpa Kerrisonís name in the guest book at church. We stayed with Libby all day and didnít do much. We went for a walk to the river at the back of their place. Both Hannah and Rachel rode their bikes. Itís so flat that Mum said if we lived there, they couldnít keep me at home, Iíd always be on my bike. It was a nice walk, but muddy. Hannah got a flat tire, and was very upset. We went back and stayed another night. It rained during the morning today and Dad said it was the best day for it, as we were camped under cover.
Monday May 1st.
Finally, for the first time since we started the trip, Iím up to date with the log, and not writing what we did two days ago. We packed our stuff this morning and Mum and Dad went to go shopping. Thatís where they are now. Emma and I stayed here. The girls played with cardboard and things and then went out to the sandpit. I stayed inside to write the log. Iím still worried about the laptop. Until we get a multi-meter or something to test the screws, we wonít use the laptop while itís charging. As I am now up to date, Iíll have to finish this later.
Well, Iím back. Mum and Dad got back from their shopping, and we stayed at Libbyís for a drink. Dad brought Hannah a bike pump and a tyre repair kit. Mum brought Libby some bread mix as we left our bread maker with her. We packed the camper and said goodbye. We drove past Tongala to see where Andrew worked, then headed out. We had lunch at McCoyís Bridge. Then we had afternoon tea at Cobram on the Murray river. It was a nice park, but had a no camping sign. We crossed the Murray and went to New South Wales. We kept going to Mulwala and camped beside the lake. The lake is a swelling of the Murray, and is part of the border. This is the first time on the trip we all have camped in the camper. We set up and cooked tea. We saw a possum in the tree above us and shone the light at him. As we were cooking, he widdled down on us. As we ate tea, he either pooped on the tent, or he threw things. Weíre not sure. But some smelt, and he kept at it. Hopefully it will be easy to clean tomorrow.
Tuesday May 2nd.
Last night we planned where we were going to go today. Mum suggested we aimed for Wee Jasper as we remembered it was a nice place to camp. I wanted to go through Wagga Wagga because Iíve heard the name a lot. We packed up in good time and left our lovely camping spot. Emma declared herself navigator. We went past a town called Howlong, and laughed at the name. We went through Walbundrie to Henty, where we had lunch. The shops looked run down, but some of the houses were new and flash. We kept going and went through Yerong Creek. The creek had no water in it, so we decided the explorers must have said "yer wrong, itís not even a creek."
We went through "The Rock" but couldnít tell "which rock?" We went up the Wagga Wagga and stayed there for a while. We did some shopping, and tried to find an internet cafe. We failed. We went to Tandys and brought some video camera tapes. They directed us to the Library to use the net there. It took us ages to find the Library, and we would have had to wait over half an hour to get on, so we left. We got to Tumut, and had a choice. It was getting late, we could either camp there or press on for Wee Jasper. We pressed on. We got part way to Wee Jasper, and found a nice spot on Brungle Creek. We set up camp and had a nice tea, except for the smoke. As we planned tomorrow, and wrote in diaries and this log, I got some ash in my mouth, so I had to move into the tent to get away.
Wednesday May 3rd.
The most miserable day so far. During the night, there was quite a wind and I woke up in the middle of the night and couldnít get to sleep for ages. In the morning, it looked like it might rain, so we packed up and moved out. Before long the day started to deteriorate. We went and looked at Wee Jasper. The camping spots were nice, but it was further away than we had realised, so we would have gotten there in the dark. We kept going and went to Yass. We went to a computer shop and used the internet for half an hour to catch up on our e-mail. We did some shopping and left. We had lunch in the car on a truck pull-off. We kept going, but I didnít pay as much attention because the day was so miserable. We headed for Sydney, but using back roads and keeping off the highway. We found a nice caravan park called Wombeyan Caves and decided to camp there. This was the first place we had to pay to stay at since the boat. There was a Camp Kitchen, Dining Room, and toilets and showers here so we decided to stay here. The rain eased off so it wasnít too bad putting up the camp. Mum and Dadís sleeping bag got wet, but otherwise it was okay.
Thursday May 4th.
There is one word to describe today, Wet. When I woke up, the floor of the tent was wet and my pillow had fallen down and gotten saturated. It was a bad start to the day. The camp spot was very nice in the daylight. We tried to dry everything in front of the fire inside the dining room. We got most of it dry. We packed up the tent, but as soon as we started, it began to rain. The tent was packed up wet. We left the park and headed up the road. We had been warned it was windy and slow-going. They were right. It was quite a change from the straight roads. The mountains were nice too. When we got to the main road, we stuck to it for most of the day. We went shopping in Mittagong. We had lunch at Nepean Dam. It was very nice despite the weather. We kept going and got to Sydney. We must have driven right to the other side of the city, or it seemed like it anyway. We camped at Lane Cove River caravan park. It is in a national park in the middle of Sydney. It is a nice place and the rain has stopped for now. Hopefully itíll stay that way.
Friday May 5th
We survived, almost. It kept raining, but we had put the tent up in such a way that it stayed fairly dry. It feels like itís been raining for weeks. We left the camper and headed for Rose Hill Racecourse to go to the camping supershow thing. We got lost and accidentally stumbled across the right road and found our way. We drove under the horse track and parked, then had to walk through a long tunnel to the stands. There was heaps of stuff there. It took us all day. We got brochures from all over the country. Itíll take us all the week on the Gold Coast to read it. We spent heaps of money too. This is the most expensive day of the trip to date. We brought a rack sack for the roof rack to keep things dry up there. We brought a fly to put over the camper to attempt to keep it dry. Dad used his subscription to On The Road that his parents had given him, but he hadnít sent off yet. He got a free Gas stove that he had wanted for ages. I brought a multi-tool with a laser pointer attached. We got a heap of other stuff, and explored the site. There were hundreds of camper trailers, caravan and campervans. We looked at the new Millennium RV prototypes. We saw a fold-up bike, that I thought was really cool. It really exhausted us. We drove back to the camper, but It took us ages. We found out that Sydney isnít always that bad. There was a bad accident between a bus and two cars and they were merging three lanes into one. When we go back, I started typing this, but the laptop ran out of power, so Iím finishing this on Saturday.
Saturday May 6th.
Last day of being 39 for dad. Tomorrow is his birthday. Today we did the centre of Sydney. We caught a bus to the train station and took a train to the centre of town. We walked around town. Pyrmont Bridge opened as we were walking across. We had Mexican for lunch then headed for the Powerhouse Museum. It was so cool. We were there for at least 3 hours or so. Dad had said it would only take a couple of hours before we were bored, but I still wanted to see more. There were just so many exhibits. After we left, we walked to the IMAX theatre. We watched a show about dolphins. On a normal telly, it would have almost been boring, but it was just so awesome there. The screen was huge!!!!!!!! We went to Paddyís Market, which was cool because that was the name of our Churchís fair. I brought a copy of Eiffel 65ís album, for those who donít know, itís the Blue band. We went to a Chinese Restaurant for tea. It was kind of a treat for Dadís birthday. We caught the train and bus back. For the first day in ages, it was dry all day. We have decided that Sydney will probably be the most expensive stop.
Sunday May 7th.
Dadís birthday! He is now 40!!! We woke up and gave him his presents. He got a new jumper and some other stuff. As he had brought so much at the market and shows, his present wasnít too exciting, but he was happy. We packed up and tried to get to church at St. Georges. By the time we got there we were fifteen minutes late, and dad dropped us off, and went to try to find a parking space. We went in and waited for dad. He came in about half an hour later, but the service was long enough for it still to be worth it. When we got out, we went to find the car. Dad was disoriented, but found it eventually. It was quite a walk from the church to there. Parking with the trailer had proven difficult. From there we headed toward Newcastle. We got out of Sydney and passed through a number of towns, such as The Entrance. We passed quite a few caravan parks, but wanted to bush camp. We eventually decided that wasnít possible because it was so built up. When it got dark, we headed for caravan parks, but they just wouldnít cooperate. Some, the signs were either wrong or just werenít there, others didnít have a reception. We tried National Parks, but either the camping spots were fenced, so that the trailer was no good, or they just werenít where the signs said they were. About 8:00 or 9:00, we eventually found a caravan park. The reception was visible too. We got a site and cooked tea. We had been going to make a stir fry, but dad was so tired that we just had spaghetti and baked beans. We did eat the Chocolate bavarian and his fruit cake though. We headed for bed, and hoped that tomorrow would be better. At least it didnít rain.
Monday May 8th.
Yet another nice day with blue skies, and no rain. We packed up the stuff and did a leisurely dayís drive to Newcastle. We stopped at Swansea, and no, we hadnít got back to Tassie. There is a Swansea in NSW. Dad got his hair cut. It was quite a shock, because it was shorter than usual. We brought a paper to catch up on the worldís news. Emma brought her music magazine and I found a second-hand shop. All I found was a Wallace figure for 5c. We brought some postcards and a birthday card for Ben. We then found a beach at Pelican. We got our chairs out and read on the beach for at least two hours. We ate lunch here too. From there we pushed on to Newcastle and had a slight bit of trouble finding the right place. The number on the house had been painted over and was slightly hard to find. We found the place and stayed with the Britons senior. We camped on their back yard. Itís quite a big place for a city house. We made that stir fry we didnít have last night.
Tuesday May 9th.
We got up and had brekkie and just did stuff around here. Mum went inside for a while, dad did some reading, and I wrote part of a story We were invited to stay another night, and accepted . About half past eleven, we went for a drive to BlackButt reserve and walked around there. There were a heap of enclosures and we saw heaps of birds, some kangaroos, and, ,much to Emmaís delight, some koalas. Iím probably not doing justice to the place, but it wasnít as interesting to me as to the others. We had lunch, and went driving. We went to a place that Mum and Dad had seen a brochure about yesterday. I hadnít been told where we were going in case we couldnít get there. The first I knew was when two jet fighters flew overhead. They had just taken off from Williamtown Air Base. While I was studying them, we came to an old hanger with the name Fighter World on it. We went in, and it only cost $12.00 for us all. I would have paid that much for just me. I really wish Daniel Vasic could have seen it. There were heaps of models, and a few either retired planes or life-size models. I would go into more detail, but it probably would bore a lot of people, so I wonít. I did take lots of video footage, though. We probably doubled our footage today. From there we watched a heap of planes, mostly fighters, take off from the air base next door. From there we went back to the Brittons where we had left the camper. Our mail still hadnít come. We had tea with them and headed for bed. Dad checked his notes, and discovered that before we left, when he wasnít feeling well, he had said to send the mail to house #20, not #90. He went for a walk, and got the mail. The people had been planning to sent the mysterious bundle back to sender tomorrow, so we were fortunate. Iím going to stop now, as I canít wait to write a letter to Daniel.
Wednesday May 10th.
We had brekkie and packed up. We went inside to the Britons and had morning tea with them. We left there and headed out. We headed out on the highway and toward the coast. We brought some bananas and lunch stuff near Raymond Terrace. The weather report was actually right!! The weather on the coast was worse. We stopped for lunch at a rest station at the side of the road. We got things for tea at Port Macquarie. We kept going and tried to find a place to camp. By the time we got to the forest we hoped to camp in, it was dark and raining. We found a spot that would just have done, but wasnít very nice. Dad asked if we should stay there or go to a cabin. We decided it would cost too much and started to put the camper up. We hadnít got far at all, when we noticed there were heaps of mossies. Emma would have been eaten alive. That was the last straw and we reconnected the camper and headed inland looking for a cabin. The further from the coast we got, the better the weather was. Mum found a road on the map that went through a state forest. We took it, hoping to find a place to camp. It was still wet and drizzling, but it was much better here than the last place. The road deteriorated and went over a group of fords. The map showed a good road, so we might have been worried, except there were well kept signs telling us we were on the right road. We finally got to the other road that ours joined. Just there was a picnic ground, and we decided to camp there. There were tables under cover, and fireplaces and BBQís and things. We found some nearly level ground and put up camp. In the dark we couldnít see what it was like, but it seemed nice. Apart from a few short showers before we went to bed, and the constant drip from the trees, I donít think it even rained all night, but I might be mistaken.
Thursday May 11th.
The camp site is much nicer in the daylight. I got up before anyone to write this log for yesterday, and Emma got up soon after. Looking around, it is quite a nice place and the sky is blue with only a couple of white clouds. Apart from the dripping, and the odd mosquito, it is nice. Hopefully, it will be good weather today.
Yes, well, itís tonight now. The day has been fairly good. We packed up the tent while it was wet, but it didnít rain much. We drove along the road, and it was much better than the previous one. We got to the highway and went over a creek that was bigger than most of our rivers. We went to Coffs Harbour, and used the Internet. We went shopping for lunch stuff. We found a TV in the supermarket, and nearly brought it. It was seventy nine dollars, and had the port for the video camera. Dad wanted to know how much birthday money I had, and though I could afford it, Iím not that desperate for TV yet. We went to an Ďantiques and junkí shop, yes, thatís what it was called, and brought a couple of books. We found a place to eat lunch, and headed for the Big Banana. It wasnít what I had expected. It was a big banana and it had heaps of other things too. We saw a train thing that took tours among the banana plants, but we didnít have time to do it. The train looked interesting, so we took some footage. We looked at souvenirs, but didnít buy anything. We walked back to the car, and smelt something just sooooo nice. It was a candy maker demonstrating how hard candy was made. It was amazing, they made a piece of candy with a strawberry on it. They made it huge, and then stretched it out to the small size. We bought some off-cuts, but even that was nice. We went on. We headed for Glenugie State forest. We found a camp in good daylight this time. It was nice, we pulled up next to wild horses. A group of cattle came to a nearby fence to check us out. There is a tree rubbing against another tree and making sounds as if it was about to fall over. The day has been nice since we got moving. Hopefully tomorrow will be as nice. If all goes well, we should get to the Cedar Lake resort for the next seven days.
Friday May 12th
Today, we got up and packed earlier than we have been doing. We saw one of the white horses a while away, and dad took some footage. The day was good. We drove out. We drove north, heading for Queensland. We went to Ballina and had lunch there. We ate next to a marine museum, but didnít go in. We went again, and found a bigger Woolworths than the one we had shopped in for lunch and went in. I brought the TV, as we had decided it was a good idea, and dad said that I should buy it for my birthday. Emma finally found some shoes that she would wear. We kept going. I canít remember where it fits, but we went through Byron Bay, which seems to be a surfie capital. We crossed the border at Natural Bridge, and the roads deteriorated immediately. At times they were good, but, at times, they were terrible. We found the resort and checked in. There were a couple of swans that kept trying to get into the house. Mum had to chase them out of her bedroom. The resort has a movie channel, and screens new movies. Some we might watch, like the new James Bond, but some we wonít, like the Blair Witch project. I donít think most of them are out on video yet. Anyway, it was a change from tents.
Saturday May 13th.
I can use one word to describe what we did today, nothing. We walked around the resort and looked at stuff. We watched a couple of movies on the movie channel. We just lazed around, and rested.
Sunday May 14th.
Today was better. We went looking for a church that was supposed to be around here, and ended up on the Gold Coast. We gave up, and just drove around. We went for a drive back to Natural Bridge and listened to a sermon tape. We walked to the actual bridge formation and back, and looked for a place to eat lunch, but there was no room. We left the park and found a state forest road that went up into the bush. We drove up it and it went up a hill and then left the forest and went between paddocks. The road deteriorated fast. We kept going past a banana plantation on the bottom side. The road got worse and worse, and no one had been there for years. We were surprised to see that no blackberries grew there, but a similar looking plant did, so if you didnít think about it, it looked like it was in Tassie. We turned around when we found a place where we could. We went part the way back, and cooked lunch on a log beside the road. Dad tried out his new gas cooker. We went back to the resort and used the paddle boats for a while. We went to bed, but Emma and Mum got up to watch a movie at eleven. I didnít think it was too interesting, so I read my book instead.
Monday 15th May
The first part of today we didnít do much. We went swimming before lunch. After lunch we went to Pacific Fair. Mum tried to get some cash from an ATM, but it didnít give her any. We split up, Dad and I went one way, Mum and Emma went another. Dad and I stayed in Angus and Robinson for over three-quarters of an hour. Dad used his gift voucher. We walked around the shops and then went to a supermarket to get groceries. Mum used her card again, and it doesnít work. We paid in cash, and think the bank must have sent us a new card and cancelled the old one, itís just that we havenít got the card yet. I was going to buy a Jurassic Park video that was in a pile of assorted videos for three dollars, but it turns out it was in the wrong place, and cost thirty dollars, so I didnít get it.
Tuesday May 16th
Today was another nice weathered lazy day. We went swimming in the morning, but Mum chickened out. The mail hasnít arrived yet, but should do soon. We went shopping in Nerang. There wasnít much to see. We used the net and checked e-mail. We got back and had a BBQ for tea.
Wednesday May 17th.
We finally got our mail. We think we have the cards sorted out now. We got some new ones in the mail. Emma was disappointed that she didnít get anything.
Today we went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. It was pretty good. There was a train that took you under the main road to the main part of the park on the other side. We saw Koalas and kangaroos and tons of birds. Emma got to pat a small kangaroo and thought it was wonderful. There was an exhibit called Creatures of the Dark Forest. We had a look, but it was supposed to be closed and some of the animals had disappeared into their holes. There were crocodiles and all sorts of reptiles. Iím probably not doing it justice, but itís not really my sort of thing. We posted some letters today. We posted a disk to Grandma and I posted a letter with a disk and CD to Daniel Vasic.
Thursday May 18th.
Today we stayed at home and packed some of our stuff up and watched James Bond. After lunch we went shopping. We went to Oasis shopping center. We had been there last trip and enjoyed noticing the things we remembered. We went to Australia Fair looking for a post office that a friend of Granís was supposed work at. We didnít find her. We shopped there and I found an indoor aerial to try and boost my TVís reception. We stopped for groceries on the way home at Bi-Lo. My TV was better with the booster, but still couldnít get all the channels.
Friday May 19th
Today we left Cedar Lake. We got up early and packed up. We managed to squeeze all the stuff in. We drove out and headed inland. We drove up Mount. Tamborine. It was soooo tall. We could see, as Dad put it, from the Gold Coast to Brisbane to Sydney. Nearly anyway. The road up was steep and said it wasnít suitable for trailers, caravans or trucks. We got up fine. We went to Dog Monument. I didnít see the monument for the dog, but I saw the others. It was where an old US base had been, called Camp Cable. We then went through Ipswich then had lunch at Gatton. We went up a forested hill and suddenly entered Toowoomba. It was literally hidden on top of a hill. We then kept going through miles of flat country. We saw cotton plants and heaps of cotton on the side of the road. It had fallen of the trucks and built up to be quite thick. We came to Oakey and looked around the town. There was an Army base and a Army Flight Museum. We didnít stop because we wanted to make Lake Broadwater south of Dalby to camp to night. We got there and looked around the first set of camp sites. They were hidden up the bush. The second set was on the lakeside and right next to the road. We opted for the first and went back. We set up camp and one other car arrived. They camped on the other side of the site, so we were basically on our own. My TV picked up some stations all the way out here in the middle of nowhere. The aerial was a good investment.
Saturday May 20th
Today we got up, but the day didnít start too well. I sat up, and rip! My stretcher tore. We packed up and went back into Dalby. We found a camping shop and brought a new stretcher. It was different, but should be good. From there we went to Chinchilla, but it rained a little so we didnít stop. We went to Miles and found a museum, but didnít have time to go in. We had a look at the shop though, and Emma brought some samples of gem-stones. We pressed on to Drillham and had lunch. From there we came to Roma. There was a museum called the Big Rig. It was fairly good, but we didnít actually go in. There was a big oil pumping rig. The oil hunters didnít ever find proper oil, just a thing called motor oil and natural gas. The rig outside was supposed to be part of a light show. You could buy coupons and put them in a machine somewhere, and the rig would shoot out flames. We couldnít work out where people would put the tickets so we didnít try it. There was a model train that drove along a track and over the longest bridge for a model railway in Australia. From there we headed for Mitchell to stay the night. There is a caravan park there that gives two nights stay for free. We came upon the park before we even got to the town. We had a look. It was pretty busy and right next to the highway. You had to go into town to book anyway, so off we went. We went to the Info center at the Artesian spa pool and found that the park was full. We then drove around looking for a camp site. We headed for a picnic ground called Neil Turner Weir. We found it, but there were a couple of people there already and it wasnít really very nice. We headed for a place called Fishermanís Rest. We couldnít find it, but guessed it was because of the road works. We turned onto the new road to turn around and head back to the weir when one of the workers drove up and asked if we were looking for Fishermanís Rest. He told us how to get there. The place was right on the Maranoa River. It was much nicer, there was a couple of older folk camped there, but it was a big camping ground. We set up camp and watched Malcolm Douglas on my telly. Even out here it picks up stations. I slept on the new stretcher and it was even better than the old one. When I could get it up, that is.
Sunday May 21st
Today we got up and did some stuff around the camp site. I found a bush fishing pole that someone had rigged up. I tried to make a fly and had a go at fishing for the fish that were jumping in the river. I didnít catch anything. We packed up and went to the artesian spa in Mitchell. It was really nice. There was a cold pool and a really warm spa. We had a shower and used the internet at the spa center. We headed out after buying some postcards. I sent one to my friend Mitchell from Mitchell. Dad brought a sticker and found out it was just the same as the label on the bottled water. From there we headed out towards Morven and listened to a sermon tape. We came across some people who had a flat tyre. They were driving a Mercedes from the Gold Coast to Darwin and had driven over something they said was like a piece of metal from a truck. We helped them out by giving them some washers to put their spare wheel on. They had gone and bought new mag wheels, but the spare wasnít one and the bolts werenít compatible. We helped them out enough to get to the next town, and they said if they could, theyíd meet us along the track and give our stuff back. From there we got to Morven and had lunch. The towns around here basically shut on Sunday. It was sort of like home. The two blokes we had helped drove past and stopped at a mechanics, but he was out on a job and they had to wait. From there we kept going to Augathella and then on to Tambo. Tambo is made famous for itís teddy shop, but it wasnít open when we were there. By now it was time to find a camp, so we had a look at the caravan park, but it was crowded in, and was right down at the highway. We then looked beside the Barcoo River. On the Outer Barcoo, where churches are few, and men of religion are scanty (A Bush Christening. By Banjo Patterson.) There were some kids from town fishing. We thought about camping there but found a heap of mossies. We then decided to keep going. We eventually found a nice place to pull over. It wasnít that far from the highway, but it was hidden nicely by trees and there werenít too many mossies.
Monday May 22nd
Today we got up and made damper for brekkie. We packed up leisurely and hit the road. We went to Blackall and had a look around. We looked at the "fair dinkum black stump." Supposedly it was where a group of people had a device to survey the area, and one side was "beyond the black stump" and the other, "this side of the black stump." The actual stump burnt out and was replaced with a piece of petrified wood to mark the point. The town was made famous by Jack Howe, the shearer. We had a look around a place that was part monument to him, and part art gallery. We spent quite a while there looking around at the exhibits. Mum had a free gift voucher she had picked up at Supershow. It was the wrong place so we headed down to the second Info center. Mum cashed it in, and got a BP book about the area and a heap of other stuff. We then went to the fizzy cordial factory. We had read about it in a booklet and seen the place on the way into town, but it didnít look like the kind of place theyíd do tours or anything, but the info centre had said it was the right place. We went back and walked in the office door. We were met by the new owner who was very friendly and showed us around. The process was very simple and really cool to watch. Glass bottles travelled along a conveyer belt to a mixing station where the different flavours were mixed into the drink, from there another machine put a lid on the bottles lightly, then another tightened it. The labels sticker part was out of labels so we couldnít see that part. The guy handed out a small bottle of fizzy cordial to each of us, and one bottle of the artesian spring water. It was very interesting, but the guy said he might have to sell up because of his brummy shoulder. We then left and brought some groceries and headed out. We went to Barcaldine for lunch. From there we drove on through Ilfracombe to Longreach. It was about half-past two, but looked for a camp as we thought the rest of the afternoon might not be long enough for the Stockmanís Hall of Fame and we would to do it tomorrow. We drove past the first caravan park, but it looked pretty full so we found the other, and it was even worse. We went back to the first and booked in. It wasnít too bad. The people were really friendly. A group pulled up next to us in a camper trailer and had trouble putting it up as they were new to it. Another group of patrol four-wheel drives told us about their trip. They had three flat tyres in one day. One guyís air-conditioning system had played up, and then had ran into a hidden cow. It had busted the bull-bar right off. Mum, Dad, and Emma went swimming in the pool, but I chickened out.
Tuesday May 23rd.
Today we got up slowly and packed up. We topped up the water tank and headed out. We headed straight for the Stockmanís Hall of Fame. It wasnít quite what we expected. It was a well set up museum about farming and droving and working on the land. There was a little about the settlement of Australia too. There were heaps of exhibits. There was this stockman mannequin that had a clear face, but had a projected face that talked like it was real. The whole thing was really well gone. We spent ages there, and didnít leave till about one-thirty. From there we did some shopping in town and found a place for lunch. From there we hit the road for Winton. We looked around for camping places, and if there were trees and nice places to camp, it was fenced, and if it wasnít fenced, the land was flat and uninviting. On the south there were some hills that we drove past. It was a change from the flat countryside. Once, we found a camp next to a picnic spot right beside the road. There were people already there and it was too hot and there were too many flies, so we moved on. We got to Winton and headed down toward Lark Quarry, where the dinosaur tracks are. We didnít expect to get there, but camp along the way. We found a sign that said Long Water-hole. We drove up the dirt track and found the water hole and there was at least one person camped there. We set up and cooked tea. There were heaps of crickets and grass hoppers flying about. Right next to us, there was a raised track with big lights like at a sports ground and a sign advertising crayfish races. We guessed they would be yabby races, but nothing was happening tonight. Emma and Dad caught some of the grass hoppers for bait.
Wednesday May 24th
Today we got up and packed amidst swarms of flies. We headed out to Winton and did the Waltzing Matilda Centre. It is the only centre dedicated to a national song. We spent ages here. Part was about the actual song. There were lots of recordings of different versions. There were tall stories to listen to, and you could listen about different things that had happened to swagmen. After this, there was the old run-down museum part, with thousands of old bits and pices. We stayed around there for quite a while and then moved on the Qantilda part. This was about the starting of Qantas. All there really was, was a video of one of the founders talking about his memories. By the time we left the complex, it was lunch time, and we had lunch on the park over the road. During lunch a couple of chickens and a rooster came up, and really worried Emma. After this, we went to a gem shop near the Waltzing Matilda center. We didnít do much there, and went to the next one up the road. This one has a diarama about the dinosaurs that made the tracks at Lark Quarry. After Emma and I went in, as it was only a dollar for each of us and would have been five dollars for each of Mum and Dad, we went back to the car. The day was really hot, and the other three werenít feeling well. We brought some cold Coke, and that made them feel better. We then headed out to Lark Quarry. It is 110 kms from Winton, but is gravel roads and slower going. Mum drove along the first really outback road yet. There were a lot of things to see and for the first time in ages, it wasnít just flat. We ended driving over these hills. When we got to the tracks, it was cool. The tracks were really good, but the signs left a lot unanswered. Fortunately a tour guide was there and answered some of our questions. The quarry wasnít ever a quarry. A couple of guys with mines found some odd prints and called the museum people. They came and an American chap said to dig over there and they found the footprints. The rock layer basically peeled off and left the prints. The tour guide said that the scientists reckoned that the tracks were millions of millions of years old, but he didnít agree. He said that he thought they could be only at the most three thousand years old. We agree. From there we drove back to Winton, and stopped to have tea in the dark beside the road. We then fought the sand flies for our tea and pressed on for Winton. We got there and went to their open-air theatre. Then did a presentation of lots of old things from movies. It was awesome. We sat in deck chairs under the stars watching the movie. After that, we drove back out of town a little way on the road toward Lark Quarry once more, and set up camp. We didnít set much up and hope to get away before the flies come back.
Thursday May 25th.
Another day in dinosaur country. We broke camp early and missed most of the flies, From there we headed into town. Mum went looking for a broach to take back for someone, but the shop was closed. I brought a dinosaur toy as a souvenir. We headed out to Hughenden. We started on the road and saw a sign saying the road was closed. We doubled back and asked at a service station, and they said it was passable. We kept going. The road was pretty good for the main part, but there was a bit that was quite rough. We coped fine though. We got to Hughenden and found the main drag. By this time, the other three didnít feel that well. Especially Dad. We looked at the Dinosaur centre and paid to go in. It wasnít as good as weíd hoped. There was a bit there though. We did some shopping and then headed for a park. We found one and while we got lunch, Dad laid down on a bench for a while. After buying an ice-cream, we drove down the road. We stopped so I could film the dinosaur statue on the side of the road. As I was filming, an army troop carrier drove right past. I was quite excited and got the small convoy on tape. Later we meet a whole heap of different army vehicles. We hit the road and headed for Richmond. We got there about half-past four. They have a dinosaur/marine fossils museum, but it shut at five so we decided to do it in the morning. We did go to the toilet which were prehistoric and preherstoric. In Winton they had Rams and Ewes on the toilets. We went next door to the library and used the net. It was pretty boring and there werenít any good letters. We then left and found a camp spot near Flinderís River next to town. We set up in daylight and relaxed. The heat is really oppressive and Iím the only one who is feeling fully well. We watched the news and Mr. Bean on the tellie and headed to bed.
Friday May 26th.
Welcome to my last log as a fifteen year old. Today we got up and packed up slowly. Except for the night at Winton, we seem to be doing a lot of that. The day was clouded and much cooler then the last couple. We headed out to Richmond and went to the fossil place called Kronosaurus Korner. It was better than the other ones weíve been to. The fossils were really cool and well presented. We had a look at the shop and then headed out. We did some groceries and Mum brought some biscuits at a craft shop. We headed out and found Maxwelton, We had lunch near there at a park. We moved out and headed to Julia Creek. We drove around there and looked for a BP and found one but was sooo basic we didnít use it. All it was comprised of was a couple of bowsers outside a shed. We decided to buy some later on at a non-BP place as there arenít any in the book before Mt. Isa. We left and headed for McKinlay. We went down the rough track with Mum driving. The day cleared and got hot again, but Dad felt a bit better anyway. When we got to McKinlay it wasnít too exciting. The only attractions were the name, which is interesting for us as Dadís sister is a McKinlay, and the Walkabout Creek Hotel, which was used in the movie Crocodile Dundee. We had a drink there which was nice because it was a cold drink with ice. We looked around the town and then hit the road for Cloncurry. We looked at possible campsites on the way there and chose one at the Bishops Creek. We drove off the road, across the dry creek bed and then along a bit further to where the creek splits and drove back over to an island. We set up camp and decided it was a jolly nice camp site. This is to be my last night as a fifteen year old as tomorrow is my birthday, We plan to get to Mt. Isa and go out for tea but weíll see what happens I guess.
Saturday May 27th
Happy Birthday to me. It is my Bíday today and it was a pretty good one. After being awoken by party poppers I opened the presents. I got a jacket\vest with lots of pockets, a new whiz-bang camera, a Pliosaur Fossil pen holder from Kronosaurus Korner. I got a CD from Emma and some little Alien things from Ben and Bec. We packed up and a man walked up and said hi. We thought he might have been the local farmer, but he was another tourist who was looking for somewhere to fossick for something. We headed out and went to Cloncurry and looked around there and found there was a BP there so we filled up the tank. It wasnít a very interesting town so we kept going. We got to Mt. Isa and checked into the Sunset Caravan Park. We set up the camper and Emma and I went for a swim. Dad didnít feel too well and Mum just chickened out. We ate lunch and lazed around the camp. After Dad had a sleep and we had all had a shower, we went for a drive. We looked for a place for tea and went to Buffalo Club. Dad and I had fishermanís baskets but they were so big we couldnít eat them all. We then went for another drive to look for a church for tomorrow and a lookout. We doubled back several times and found the lookout at least. It was a pretty good view of the lights. Mt. Isa is right next to a huge mine that seems to dominate it a bit and looked good in the dark. We went back to camp via Macdonaldís for an icecream.
Sunday May 28th
Today we got up and headed for a Lutheran Church. It was different, but quite nice. The day was much colder than it has been for quite a while. As we had all day we visited the Riversleigh Fossil centre and spent some time in the museum there We went for a drive back to the lookout and got some footage of the mine and the view. We explored some more and went to a newsagent with the idea of use the internet, but it was more expensive.than most places unless you had your student ID with you and I left mine at the camp. Dad brought the new On The Road. We found where the mail will be and will collect it tomorrow. We went back to the camp and stayed around there, just reading books and using the laptop and stuff like that. We decided to have KFC for tea and because it was Dadís turn to cook, he went to get it. I wrote this log because we want to send another disk off down to Tassie tomorrow. Not an especially interesting day, but a nice relaxing one even if it was cold.
Monday May 29th
Today we got up and all had showers and packed up. Dad looked through the log and fixed some mistakes and tried to make some bits a little less negative. If the log seemed negative, I suppose it was because it seemed like it to me at the time We took it easy, and it took longer than normal, as we had got most of the stuff out. We got it all packed, and headed out. We went shopping and got the mail. It wasnít at the post office we expected, but at a mail/parcel collection place. Emma was rapt because she got a letter from Mel, her friend. We went to Silly Sollyís to look for some more pegs to hang washing out with. I looked for any computer games, as Iím tired of the ones Iíve got, but couldnít find any. It didnít matter because when we were sending disks off to Ben and the Taranna families, I found an old disk with one of my games from home. Mum and Emma did the shopping and Dad got some keys cut, because we canít find the main set of camper keys and have been using the spare set. I used the internet at the newsagent and looked at my email. I got a birthday email from Charlie, Sabine, Chris, and Dion. I sent some emails and then the others picked me up. We then left town and headed back to Cloncurry. We had lunch at the rest area about half-way there, and Mum thought the guy who collects the garbage was hilarious. He emptied the bins into a wheelie bin, and most fell out. Then, to make room, he got in and jumped on it. Although the rest of us didnít think it was that funny, Mum couldnít stop laughing. We then headed out and got to Cloncurry without incident. We got petrol and decided to ring the Connors to see where they were before we got out of range. Dad asked Pat where they were, and after a minute the answer came back "Cunnamurra". Dad said we were at Cloncurry, and Mr. Connors perked up, "Thatís where we are too!" We eventually found he was in the caravan park at the other end of town and we went to meet him. We got there and were kept in stiches for nearly an hour by their stories. They had just been to Karumba, which was where we were heading for. They said the fishing was great. They told us about going to a worship service on Sunday and finding it was pretty weird and they took the floor and Terry pretty much preached a sermon. They asked what day it was and what date it was, itís no wonder they didnít know where they were. We then left them and headed for Karumba. We didnít expect to get all the way there today. We camped about ten kms before the Burke and WiIls Roadhouse. We set up camp within an hour, even with the hardship of the wind and the rocky ground. I discovered that the disk with the game didnít work.
Tuesday May 30th.
Today we got up to the sound of wind. The tent stayed up all right, but when we took it down, it tried to blow away. We packed up and hit the road. We went past the Burke and Wills Roadhouse, but didnít stop. This road from Cloncurry to Normanton is mostly single lane bitumen, so when you meet someone you both have to pull over into the gravel. There are some sections of two lane road so that slower vehicles can be overtaken, but we always seemed to meet people on the narrow bits. Most of the road is not fenced, as have been a lot of the outback roads. There were quite a few dead cattle beside the road, presumably hit by road trains who canít stop or swerve when a cow walks in front of them. We didnít see anything much of interest till Normanton. It had an old-style BP which we used and it had a statue of the biggest Crocodile even caught. It was huge (28 ft long). Mum said it could eat whole beasts(cattle) at once. The town seemed like it had a problem with some of the worse elements of society. We had lunch near the big Croc and headed on. We got to Karumba and checked in at the caravan park that the Connors had recommended. It was fairly full so it was a good thing we checked in early. We set up camp and then headed out to the beach and tried fishing. The Connors said there were people catching huge fish right off the beach, but maybe the winds stopped them this time. We came back to camp and wrote some letters and then hit the hay.
Wednesday May 31st.
Another nice day. It is windier than yesterday, so we didnít go fishing and just lounged around here. It might seem boring, but we just read books and wrote letters and things. Dad fixed a chair and the kitchen drawer which had been falling on Mum. Later, after lunch, Emma and I went swimming in the pool. When we got back Dad wanted to try fishing off the beach again so we headed off to another spot. We both lost a set of hooks and sinkers and lots of bait but apart from a couple of bites, it was fairly uneventful. We headed back to the Caravan Parkís free feed of fish. They put on a free fish BBQ every Wednesday and Saturday. We had taken our plates over that morning to claim a table and brought our drinks and salad and had a nice time listening to the performers and chatting to the people next to us. Dad made arrangements to charter a boat tomorrow and see if we could catch anything. I came back early to write this and to put some letters to my friends on disk. Iíd better get some sleep, because weíre getting up early to go fishing tomorrow. Apparently I missed the best part of the evening - after I left the BBQ, the caravan park owner gave out some awards, and called up the Tasmanians who were the only ones brave enough to swim despite the cool weather, and bought the only icy-poles sold in the shop that day. Emma went up and collected our prizes, then Mum & Dad had to join her and some other people to lead everyone in "Give me a home among the gum trees". Iím not sure if Iím sorry I missed out or not!
Thursday June 1st.
Entry: $110 fish.
Today we got up early in the cold and went down to the boat ramp. The boat was the Katherine M, and the guyís name was Robert. After we and another guy, Brian, boarded, we took off. We headed out to deeper waters, although not much deeper. The Gulf is apparently all very shallow. Compared with Tassie it should have been much deeper compared with the distance we went out. We fished here and caught some small ones that we threw back. We tried a couple of spots including near the sandbar. Emma caught the only fish here, a reasonably small Bream. We headed up the river and tried again. Brian nearly caught a big one, but it got away. We saw a croc on the river bank - our first live wild crocodile. Emma caught another Bream just before we left. It was rather poor result after all morning fishing. For the four of us, it had cost $220, $55 per person, and it made the fish rather expensive. We enjoyed the trip anyway, but Dad was disappointed he had missed out on his big fish. We came back and had lunch then went for a drive to the Barra Farm. Itís a community run thing where they catch, breed, and then release young Barramundi. It was really good. The people were nice, but because of the cold snap, still nice for this time of year back home, the fish wouldnít eat. Probably why we didnít catch much. We cooked our fish and got some from Ashís fishíníchips to make the meal go further. We plan to get up early tomorrow to get moving and put in a long day to make the time up.
Friday June 2nd.
Today we woke up early but packed up slower than planned. We took off back to Normanton and headed out towards Cairns. We put in a long day, not a late day, but we did a lot of travelling. We went through Croydon but didnít stop. We had lunch on the side of the road We went through Georgetown, no not Tassie. We went into Mt. Surprise and laughed at the name. We went to a Gem Shop and brought a thunder egg slice rock thingy.We went through Mt. Garnet and on to Innot Springs. We found a free camp site at Archers Creek and settled in, but soon heard a group of foul-mouthed people down by the creek yelling at each other. It seemed that they were Aborigines, who were drunk. Oh well, weíll sleep through it if they donít stop.
Saturday June 3rd.
Today seemed to get off to a bad start. The Aborigines left last night, but this morning things started to go wrong. To start with, there was a frost and Emma and I got cold during the night. When we got up, Dad went to use the video camera and something went wrong. It now says itís got a cassette problem and wants to eject the tape. Weíll have to get an expert to check it out. Although this sounds bad, the site was nice now the Aborigines had left. We drove out to Atherton. It was a biggish town and we did grocery shopping Here we discovered that our remote locking system on the car wouldnít work. We were kinda worried, but it had worked last night. Dad bought some huge avocadoes from some little kids with a stall at their front gate and we went to Crazy Clarkeís, yet another Chickenfeed type store. We did some phoning and headed out. We saw a sign for Tinnaroo Dam. It is known as a fishing spot so we went for a look. It is a really nice place. We had lunch and then drove around looking at the camping spots. We found a nice place and decided that we would go fishing and then decide if we wanted to camp there. We got the boat and things down from the roof, the first time for the trip. We did this fairly well, and put the boat in the water. Everything seemed okay, but then the outboard wouldnít go. We fiddled around with it and changed sparkplugs and it went, but then stopped again. We stayed around the place and read our books because it was a nice place anyway. About four we packed up and headed out for Cooktown. We decided that maybe we should try changing the fuel in the outboard and perhaps come back on the way back down. We found a camp site on a track that was used to check power lines. It was quite a nice place except for the Mossies! They were all over the tent. Because we had had so many things go wrong today, I didnít risk turning on the laptop, so Iím writing this on Sunday. We survived the mossies, Dad thinks he knows whatís wrong with the outboard, and we solved the keys problem. We had rigged up a charger to charge the battery we use for the light in the tent. The connection went both ways, so the little battery powered the accessories on the car, and the key thing wouldnít lock because it thought the keys were still in the car and set on accessories. So, it was only really the video camera that was a problem.
Sunday June 4th
Today wasnít as cold as yesterday, and the morning went ok. We hit the road and went through Mount Molloy. Emma posted a letter there and we kept going. We listened to a sermon tape while we travelled. We stopped at the Mount Carbine lookout. It was quite a view - pity the video is out of action. We met a guy from Scottsdale there and he was looking for a cattle station to buy. Mum thinks heís a guy she knew as a kid who was called Chook. He knew Grandma Kerrison. We came to the Palmer River Roadhouse and looked through their free museum and brought some cordial. We had lunch at Lakeland Downs. There isnít a lake around, so we thought that the downs might turn into a lake when it was wet. We drove on and met a landcruiser with two ladies who stopped us and said that there was a couple in a car who were stuck ahead of us and needed a shovel. They had tried winching them out, but it hadnít worked. We said we would see what we could do and drove on. We tried to figure out how they could be bogged as it was all dry and didnít look soft. We found out soon enough. They had been talking as they had come over a hill and gone off into the deep ruts on the side of the road. It turns out they were New Zealanders and had rented the Patrol they were in. We dug them out and used the snatch strap and they came out really easily. We drove on and saw the Black Mountain. Itís a mountain that seems to be made out of loose rock, and of course itís black too. There are stories about people and cattle going into tunnels inside the mountain, and some coming out the other side, and others not coming out at all. They may just be stories, but there might be some truth to it. We kept going to Cooktown. Itís a fair sized town and more prosperous than others weíve seen. We looked around and went up to a lookout. Apart from the overcast day, it was a good view. We saw the coast and the town quite well. We came back down and spent a while looking for the BP that was supposed to be there. We eventually found it and headed back to Annan River. We had seen it on the way in and it looked nice. We found a reasonable site, but the really good ones were taken. I wrote this log and yesterdayís as well.
Monday June 5th
Today we washed Dadís and Emmaís hair and packed up and went. We backtracked around Black Mountain and headed down the road to Daintree. It was fantastic. The road was quite challenging and we averaged only twenty kms per hour for part of the time. It is what is known as a wet rainforest and was very pretty. We were driving along the rough track with rainforest right up to the road on every side and suddenly there was a sixty limit and a sign said we were in Rossville. It was a strange town. The main street was rough and the other streets were worse. We saw few houses because of the dense rainforest. There was even a shop and a school. The town was spaced out over a long space of land and kept surprising us as we were thinking it would be tiny. We kept enjoying the scenery and the road and came to Wujal Wujal. Itís an Aboriginal settlement and has another name for Europeans, but I donít remember it. (Mums says itís Bloomfield). All the mountain ranges and creeks and towns here have two names, one of ours and one of theirs. We drove on a bit and found a picnic place near the river and tried fishing. While we were there another group pulled up and Mum discovered some things about the roads weíd be going on. After not catching anything and not even seeing a croc, we headed out to a waterfall that Mum had been recommended. It was quite nice. There were heaps of small fish in the river but we didnít even try to catch them this time. We went on to Julan Creek and had lunch. Mum got her hair washed here. We pressed on to Daintree National Park. We discovered why the road wasnít supposedly suitable for caravans. There were these ranges that were soooo steep. Even in fourwheel drive we had a bit of trouble. It was really fun though. Mum said they must be low-range ranges. We eventually got to Cape Tribulation, and it got really boring from there on. It was too commercial and not much fun. We crossed the Daintree ferry and looked around the town. We headed toward Cairns looking for a camp. We couldnít find a camp site before dark and were tossing up whether to just go straight to Cairns. Dad followed up signs to a National Park and found it was an Aboriginal settlement, so we decided not to stay. We had an idea that we werenít far from where we were two days ago near Mount Molloy. We had seen a nice free camp on Rifle Creek and headed there. It turned out to be really nice. There were nice toilets and even showers, howbeit cold ones. It asked for a two dollar donation and Dad said it was nicer than some of the caravan parks weíd been too.
Tuesday June 6th
Today we got up and gave the park a donation and headed back over the mountain to where we were supposed to be. The weather was overcast and threatening. We drove along the coast and went to Port Douglas. We had a break there and had a look at the beach. We kept going to Palm Cove. Dad had stayed there during the Around Australia Rally. He showed us the resort he stayed at. We kept going and came to Cairns. We checked into the Lake Placid Caravan Park. It was really nice and we put the tent up and had lunch. After starting the washing we went into town. We went to a K-mart shopping centre and got the mail. We tried a video repair place, but they couldnít help us. We tried two more, with similar results. We looked into the possibility of getting the car serviced while we were here, but they couldnít fit us in. Dad went and looked at a camping shop and brought some more mantles for the light and a new billy. We came back and got the washing in, as it looked like it might rain. We headed out again around dark and went to see the night markets. It turned out to be hard parking and mostly restaurants and shops that were there all the time anyway so we didnít stop. We went to Sizzlers for tea, as we havenít been for ages. It was very nice. We came back about nine via a lookout. Mum rang Allison at our house, and got her to find the video camera book to post up to us. Hopefully we can do something with it when it gets here.
Wednesday June 7th.
Today started out fairly boring. We all had showers and then did things for the morning. Dad worked out some bills, Emma wrote some letters, and I wrote a story. Mum did some washing and talked to a couple of people for ages. After lunch we headed out to another K-mart shopping centre and did some things there. We posted some letters and paid some bills. We did some shopping and headed up the hill to Kuranda. We stopped at some lookouts along the way. Kuranda is where the scenic train stops and the last one leaves at three, so every thing starts shutting down after then. When we got there, it was nearly three, so we didnít do too much. After walking around here, we went to a lookout to see the Baron Falls and saw the train as well. We headed back into Cairns and spent a while trying to find a Cash Converters that Mum had seen. We checked out to see if they had any cheap video cameras, but they didnít. We then went down to the night markets, but as I had a headache, I stayed in the car. The others spent half an hour in a puzzle shop and Dad brought a key IQ tester puzzle. They came back and got me, and Dad and I checked our emails. Emma and Mum went and did the groceries until we picked them up. After that we just headed back to camp for a nice stir-fry tea. We tried to pick up Blue Heelers on TV, but couldnít get it.
Thursday June 8th.
Today we got up and had showers before we headed bush again. We packed up and then headed out. The day was another miserable one. It was overcast and had rained during the night. We went up the Baron Gorge to the power station. We watched some people in rubber rafts go white water rafting down the river. We went unto the visitors centre and looked around. It was similar to the hydro stations down home, but there was a video of one of the cyclones that was good and the guy there was interesting to talk to. We then headed south past Cairns and had to wait at heaps of road work places. We would just get through one and there would be another with a long queue. Apart from that, we didnít do much before lunch. We had it at a rest stop near Innisfail. We then went a bit to a Sugar Industry Museum. Weíve seen a lot of sugar cane and wondered how it was harvested and if it was burnt. We found out at the museum. They donít burn the cane much up here, but down south they still do. While we were here, it started raining lots, but eased off by the time we got out. We went down to Mission Beach because Mum wanted to have a look. In nice weather it would be quite nice. Dad found a coconut that had fallen off the tree and seemed ok. He gave it to Emma to try out later. From there we went further, through Tully and on to Cardwell. Half way between here and Ingham, we found a track up to a swimming hole on the Five Mile Creek. It was a really nice spot, but had Ďno campingí signs up everywhere. We went back to the main road and then up a road toward the state forest. We found another track leading into the pine forest and found a place to camp. There are quite a few mossies around, but it has stopped raining.
Friday June 9th.
We awoke to another raining day. It wasnít raining when we packed up, so it wasnít too bad. We went to Lucinda to look at the sugar loading jetty there. Mumís Uncle Paul had surveyed for it and we think it is the longest jetty in Queensland at least. Itís about five kilometres long. We then drove through Ingham and wondered if it was something to do with the chickens. We stopped at the Frosty Mango shop and brought some icecreams. Even though it was nearly raining outside, the icecreams were special and quite nice. We headed out through Rollingstone and Bluewater. We found two good free camping spots there that werenít in our book, and the one at Saunders Beach that was in the book, wasnít very nice. As it was still the morning, we didnít need to camp, we were just interested. We went through Townsville and looked around. We headed out and couldnít find a good place for lunch out of the rain, so we just pulled up and had it in the car. Uncle Ian rang us to say that as the weather was so bad, maybe we should put off meeting them for a couple of days. We then headed to Ayr and decided to check a Nature Display that was advertised. It was an interesting town, but the Butterfly Museum was really cool. Unlike a conservatory, they werenít alive, but collections of dead ones arranged into the most amazing patterns. There were beetles and bugs and moths as well, and they were used to make patterns of birds and Australia and the flag and things. It was really good. We went up to Groper Creek because the camp there sounded like it might be free. It wasnít and it was very full and we moved on. We drove along a road that Dad thought he had been on with the rally. We found a camp site up a track, which we hoped wasnít somebodyís driveway. There are no mossies about, but it is still raining. Oh well, it will hopefully get better. Dad wants to buy a paper tomorrow, both to read and to light fires as weíre nearly out.
Saturday June 10th.
It rained heavily all night but we survived, only just. We were talking about either sleeping in the car or even if it got too bad, weíd head down to Rockhampton to Dudleyís. The rain bucketed down and there was a river running through the camp. We survived without getting too wet and packed the tent up wet. All through the day it rained on and off. We didnít do much till we came to Bowen. We did some shopping and Dad brought that newspaper. Over here, a paper is huge. You need a map to read it. Anyway, we found a spot near the beach and sat in the car for an hour. Emma did some counted cross stich, Mum knitted, Dad read the paper, and I used the laptop. It was right near a park and we cooked some soup for lunch. After a while we decided to try to get an on-site van for the night and try to dry off sleeping bags and things. We rang Airlie Beach, but there was a Bowls weekend on so they were full. We then drove to try the ones at Bowen. The beach ones were full, but one on the highway had a cabin for four, so we moved in there. It was slightly run-down, but nice. We dried off the gear and did some washing. The day improved a bit and there were longer gaps between rains. We had a colour TV here and a TV guide so Dad got to watch Rex Huntís fishing adventures. We also watched Australiaís Funniest Home Videos and a thing called Farscape. During the night, the rain stopped altogether and when we woke up, it was blue skies. Finally!
Sunday June 11th
Today was much nicer than yesterday. There were blue skies all around. We got up and had showers and breakfast. I did yesterdayís log as it had been too late when I had thought of it yesterday. We packed up and checked out. We went to a small shop just over the road and headed south. We only got as far as Heronvale at Brisk Bay. We looked around for a nice place on the beach. We found one place, but it wasnít that good, but the next was quite nice. With the sun shining hard down on us, it was like the postcards showed it. We put the tent partly up to dry it off. We listened to a sermon on a tape and then had lunch. We then just lazed around and eventually moved the tent a little and put it up properly. We had decided to camp here. Emma put up the roller-camper on the car because she decided to sleep on her own out there. We just lazed around. We saw some flying fish and dolphines just out in the water a bit.. Some clouds appeared. Some even looked threatening, but nothing bad happened. Just before dusk, Dad and Emma went fishing in the boat but didnít catch anything. Emma decided to move back into the camper because sheíd get nervous during the night. The tide came up a long way and half covered the small mangroves on the beach. Weíre in the type of place still where you might see a croc. We havenít seen any except that one up at Karumba yet. I did some writing on the laptop, Emma tried to make some bread for fun. We donít know what it will turn out like yet. Grandma Kerro rang us and so did Uncle Ben. We rang Grandma and Grandpa Kingston, so weíre caught up on the news down there. Hopefully the nice weather keeps up for tomorrow. There are still wind warnings, so I hope Annie and Ian are having a good time on the Whitsunday Islands. We plan to meet up with them on Tuesday if we can.
Monday June 12th
Today was another nice day. Now and then some clouds came and went, but didnít rain. We lazed around the beach for the morning, but it was too windy to go fishing. I spent quite a while on the laptop doing things and everyone else did their own things. Mum dyed her hair and Dad dyed part of his for fun. It didnít change much. We had lunch and packed up, but the car wouldnít start. We had been running to many things off the battery and it had gone flat. Fortunately, there was a Lada Niva getting a boat in, and they helped. "I always knew a Lada Nivaíd come in handy for something," Mum said, but Iím not sure why. We got back to the road and headed to Prosserpine. We did a little shopping, but as it was a long weekend, most things were shut. We got a call from Ian and Annie, and they said weíd try for tomorrow. We came to Airlie Beach and found where we would meet them in the morning. We checked into a Big Four caravan park, Dad said it wasnít quite up to standard, but it wasnít too bad. We set up and then headed out and looked around the town. I found a second hand book place to use in the morning. We came back and had tea and then headed to bed and hoped that weíd be able to go out on the boat tomorrow. Mum found a possum in a tree and dragged Emma out of bed to feed it and pat it. Emma thought it was great.
Tuesday June 13th.
During the night it rained again. About midnight, I put my computer into the car to stop it from getting wet. When morning came we found that most things had survived the rain. Ian rang and said that it was too windy to meet us, so we put it off for the day. During the day it rained, then shone, then rained again in a cycle. It shone just enough to dry the tent before it got wet again. We stayed around here for a while then went and did some shopping. We did some grocery shopping and things. Emma tried to find this monthís issue of her magazine, but it still isnít out yet. We went to both Crazy Prices and Silly Sollies to try to find an extender cord for my TV aerial. There is a plug outside the site at the caravan park that you can plug into to get better reception. We eventually found one at a hardware shop and then headed back for lunch. I tried out the cord, but it still wasnít very good reception. We stayed around the camp and read for a while. Then we drove out again and had a look at Shute Harbour. The wind was quite a lot stronger over here and we could see what Ian had meant. We came back into Airlie Beach (town) and I swapped my books and we checked our email. When we got back to camp, Ian rang and said that they would head over here tomorrow basically whatever the weather because they had to leave Long Island anyway. Hopefully itíll be nice enough for sailing. Emma is hoping to see her possum again tonight.
Wednesday June 14th
Emma was disappointed about the possum not showing, but was ecstatic about going sailing in the Whitsundays with the Hoyles. It was something she could tell her friends about. We packed up and headed down to the sailing club. We looked through the binoculars to see if we could see them come in, but Dad spied them on a yacht already there. They rang up and we said we could see them, and Ian drought the rubber duckie into shore to take us out. It was fairly calm, but had been better a couple of days ago. We got to the boat and were welcomed aboard. We waited and talked for a while, then decided to head out for a sail. Out on deck, Tom and Don had to clip a harness on to a rope so they couldnít fall over board. We started out with Ian and Dad setting the sails and headed out. We aimed for some rocks called Pioneer Rocks. They were small islands off a point. Emma had a turn steering. At one stage a heap of spray came over and I got saturated. After that I headed down into the cabin with the boys while we were sailing. Dad took a turn steering and really enjoyed himself, especially when Mum got wet. Down in the cabin, I mucked around with Tom and Don, who kept falling over because the boat was on quite a lean. When we tacked (turned) and the lean shifted to the other side and so did the boys. We went close to Pioneer Rock and then headed back into the bay. We stopped, dropped anchor and had lunch on the boat. We swapped stories and at about two oíclock Ian took us ashore. He told me to keep up the Log as they had been really enjoying it. They had been reading it to Tom and Don before bed. We posted a couple of postcards for the Hoyles and thought one was very funny. They said that one bay when they had been moored the highlight of the day had been watching a guy on another boat step down from his yacht to his dingy. He missed. Anyway, after posting these, we headed back to the highway, via a fruit stall we had stopped at on the way down. We got to the highway and headed south. We passed through a few small places and then came to Seaforth. There was a cheap campground here that the Mackay City Council had put up. It wasnít free, but was a lot cheaper than a caravan park, so we stayed there the night. It surprised me, but I got really good reception on my TV so we watched Blue Heelers before going to bed.
Thursday June 15th
Today was another half-nice day. It didnít rain all morning and sometimes the blue sky would shine through. Most of us got up in good time, but Dad stayed in bed for most of the morning. We didnít do much all day, I watched a midday movie and flattened the battery on the laptop. After lunch, about two in the afternoon, we packed up and headed out. We went to Ball Bay to look at another one of these campsites, then headed toward Mackay. When we got there we drove around and found the Mitsubishi dealer and got the phone number of the one in Rockhampton so we can ring ahead and book in for a service. We then headed to Hay Point and looked at the jetties where they load coal. We started looking for a camp, and headed down Grass Tree Beach road. Just before a small town, we found a road called to Mick Ready Beach. We drove down the track though puddles and mud and then found the beach. There was a good place to camp, and we set up. JAGís about to come on TV, so Iíve got to go. Hopefully it wonít rain tonight...
Friday June 16th
Today we got up and had to wait for the drizzle to stop before we could pack up. We then went back to the road and down to Grasstree Beach, which was where we had been heading when we went down Mick Ready Road. It was a nice place, but there was no camping. We then headed out to the highway and south toward Rockhampton. We went through Sarina and got bread, but apart from that it wasnít very interesting. I read most of the way. When we got to Rocky, we found Dudley and Sonya Tatnellís place. Dudley has gone on a fishing trip and hopes to be back late Saturday, but Sonya reckons it might be early Sunday. Brodie and I played computer games while everyone else was sociable and stayed upstairs. We had a nice tea with them and stayed up later than we have lately. Emma and I stayed inside in the downstairs flat while Mum and Dad stayed in the camper. Emma was pleased to get some room.
Saturday June 17th.
Another day in Rocky. After brekkie we went shopping. We looked around the centre of town and had Subway for lunch. We then went to a shopping centre and did the groceries. We came back and spent the day doing things around here. Brodie and I played computers again. Dad wired part of the trailer so we can plug in the lights and TV and things. It seems a boring log entry, but it was a fun day anyhow.
Sunday June 18th
Today we went to church in the morning with the Tatnells. The day started out okay, but the weather got worse. We came back and Dudley cooked some mud crabs for lunch, of which Dad ate a lot. We then mostly rested for the afternoon and went to church in the evening. After the sermon there was a psalmody, which is where you sing lots of psalms. There was a supper and then we went back and to bed. Brodie and Jessica have had three late nights now and have to go to school tomorrow. I hope they cope.
Monday June 19th
Today we didnít do much for most of the day. Brodie woke me up and I thought he was Emma. They went to school and we spent the day doing other things. When Dudley came back from work and had picked the kids up from school, he took Dad to see an Asian fellow about the video camera. Afterward they took the camera apart and actually managed to put it back together. They still donít know what the problem is, but it might be some progress anyway. As it was raining, we couldnít have a BBQ, so we went out to a Chinese restaurant for tea. It was a nice all you can eat place. Brodie had two main meals, four deserts, then he waited a bit, then he had some more.
Tuesday June 20th
Although Brodie and the girls wanted it to rain to stop us from leaving, today was a nice day. One of the better ones in fact. Once again the kids went to school (they werenít terribly impressed by this). We planned to leave by ten or thereabouts, but it was after eleven. We said goodbye to Sonya and Taneesha and hit the road. We did some shopping in Rocky before we left. We had lunch at Mount Larcom. There were quite a few cars and trucks and things to do with the torch relay. A news crew with a satellite dish on a trailer came, but we left before it arrived. We got to Happyrock...er...Gladstone, thatís it! We looked around there, got lost, then found our way out again. We think we saw the torch, but it was in a vehicle with a police escort. We then headed to Lake Awoonga. I missed anything interesting on the way because I was reading a book I borrowed from Dudley. We found the lake and it looked really nice and calm. Dad might have tried fishing, but it was four in the afternoon and we were all tired from the late nights. We found a nice caravan park on the edge of the lake and might try fishing tomorrow.
Wednesday June 21st
Today Dad had a headache. He stayed in bed for half the morning, which would have been fine, but the caretaker came and demanded five dollars more before we left because we had stayed longer than ten. We left the park, and werenít altogether happy. The park had been more expensive than most now and had been one of the worse ones on the trip. We went down to the lake and drove around thinking for a while. Dad eventually put the boat in the lake and tried the motor. It worked fine this time. He and Emma went fishing but didnít catch anything. We had lunch and ate the last of the crab. We then decided to press on and went through Miriam Vale and came to Agnes Water. From there we came to the township of 1770. We looked around and then booked on a day-cruise to the reef for tomorrow. Today had been a great day weatherwise and it was supposed to be the same tomorrow. We then found a cheap caravan park and checked in for two nights.
Thursday June 22nd
Today Mum got up early and said it was nice and clear. By the time the rest, more sensible, of us dragged ourselves out of bed, the sky was hidden. There was a sea fog. We got our stuff together and drove down to the jetty. We boarded the "Spirit of 1770" and headed out. The sea looked really calm and the trip was fairly smooth. We travelled for about an hour and a half to Lady Musgrave Island. By then it was a fantastic day. The hosts said it was the best theyíd seen for months or even years. We entered the coral lagoon and moored off the island. The more adventurous of the tour were to snorkel to the island through the reef and the wimps would use the glass bottomed boat. We snorkelled! It was wonderful. Dad brought a disposable waterproof camera and used a whole film today. We saw a heap of coral, but that wasnít so interesting as the fish we saw. They were just great. There were heaps of different sizes and colours and Dad and I saw a couple of rays. Just as we came to the beach we saw an eel streaking away from us. Dad tried a photo but we donít know how any will turn out. We came up to the beach and walked around the island for a while. We walked through the tropical trees and were shocked at the sight of dead birds all over the ground. We then meet the glassy (glass-bottomed boat) and went back to the big boat and had lunch. We split into two groups and we were the first to the boat. It was a nice lunch with chicken and things. We then headed out in the glassy to Coral Bay while the other group went to lunch. At low tide it would be a bay in the outer reef, but when we were there the reef was all under water. There were even more fish here. Emma and Mum saw a turtle, but I didnít. By the time weíd finished, my nose was sore from the salt water. Some of the other people were really cold, but it was nice for us since weíre from Tassie. We headed out to the boat and Mum, Dad, and Emma went snorkelling off the back of the boat, but I didnít bother. Eventually everyone got back to the boat (the other group had gone to Coral Bay) and we headed back out. Just outside the coral lagoon we stopped for a while (it was supposed to be an hour, but we were running late). Dad caught a really pretty fish but it was too small. Dad caught a Hussar and I caught one too. We keep them for tea. We then headed back toward 1770 and were amazed at how fast the sun went down. In less than a minute it totally disappeared. We came back at dark and chased a small dingy in. We saw one of the LARCs come in. I didnít say, but we saw them on land last night. They are an ex-army landing craft painted pink and look like a boat with huge wheels. Someone who had been on their trip said it felt really weird driving off the ramp into the water. When we got back it was low tide, so we couldnít get to the jetty. We moored in the river, and were picked up by a LARC! It was cool, we got a free ride. We drove up the beach and found our car and went back to the caravan park. By general consensus, it is one of the best days of the trip.
I may not have done justice to todayís trip, so Iíll hand over to Mum to see what she liked about it.
I think that today was just what you imagine when you think of tropical coral island adventures. It was picture postcard perfect and the water was a very pleasant 18 degrees. The coral was spectacular and the fish varied so much from large trevally and garfish to tiny blue striped fish and almost every colour size and shape in between. The day was magic! It reminded me of "Blue Lagoon" and I will remember it for a long time. I wouldnít have missed a minute of it all and could quite happily return tomorrow.
Er...Thanks Mum! I have no idea what the "Blue Lagoon" is. Emma thought it was an Elvis movie or something. Must be before my time. Anyway, see ya tomorrow.
Friday June 23rd
Today we left 1770 and came back to the present. Before we did though, we went back to the cruise booking office and brought some postcards and then went fishing unsuccessfully off the beach for a hour. We then left town and headed up the road. We drove to Rosedale and had lunch at a new picnic area. It was a nice small town, so small that the CWA meetings used to take place in a rotunda in the park. We then pressed on to Bundaberg and finally found a car park for the trailer. We then went and did a bit of shopping. We checked our email and then headed out of town a bit. We stopped for groceries and then headed for Childers, which has been on the news today because a backpackers hostel burned down and killed something like fifteen people. We camped at a rest area halfway to Childers. There were two other sets of people there. One drove between a gap in the poles that are supposed to stop you going on the grass and camped in a tent. The other fellow confessed to be "The last living drunk from the sixties" and proclaimed that the new generation didnít drink enough alcohol. We were far enough away for them not to worry us and had tea and worked out where we would try to go for the next week. The main problems were whether or not to do Fraser Island and if we could meet Chris Tuck. Anyway, weíll sort it out.
Saturday June 24th.
Today was another nice day. Emma watched Rage on TV while we packed up, and brought the tellie into the car to keep watching it. We took off and came to Apple Tree Creek and brought some cheap pineapples at a stall. We then headed on to Childers.. Dad got our tyre fixed here. One tyre had got a screw in it and was slowly leaking. They had to undo the screw to get it out. A television news helicopter was hovering over the town, filming. The man at the tyre place said there had been seven media helicopters yesterday. We went past what was left of the backpackers hostel and then headed on to Hervey Bay. We knew a man named Mr. Risser here and spent a while trying to find his place. We went close tons of times and eventually got a map from an information center and found where to go. We stayed there for about an hour and had a drink and talked. We wanted to get to Fraser before it was late, so we pressed on. We came to Marybrough and had lunch in a park there. We then went on through pine plantations to Rainbow beach and booked in for the ferry. We decided to take the trailer because it would take time to swap things between the car and trailer. When Dad was registering, he overheard some people wanting powered sites on the island (itís a national park with only very basic campgrounds) and asking questions which showed they hadnít much idea what they were letting themselves in for. We went to the ferry and Dad stopped on the beach to check that the trailer would fit on the ferry. When we started moving, we nearly got bogged. On the ferry trip, which wasnít very long at all, Dad let the tyres down a bit. The people who wanted the powered sites thought he was silly, but got bogged soon after leaving the ferry. It took us a while to grasp the actual size of the island. To drive right along it is like driving from home halfway to Hobart. Our ferry was the closest to the mainland and from itís landing we went around the point to the seaward side. We drove along the beach and decided to head for one of the national parks campsites. We drove on the tracks inland. As it is a sand island, the biggest in the world, all the tracks were sand, but there had been so many plants growing in it that it was more like soil now. We went past Dilli Village, which is a privately owned campsite and I thought it was Dill Village. We came to and camped at Lake Boomanjin. There were fences around the sites so we had to put up the trailer on a parking spot. It was nice and there were only a few mossies.
Sunday June 25th.
During the night, it rained. Then it rained some more. Then, guess what? It rained. Really, it wasnít that bad. Weíve had worse, but yesterday had been so nice. The bedding somehow didnít get wet, but Emmaís bag did. We were all reluctant to get out of bed, but eventually even Dad got around to it. We decided to go for a drive, left the trailer, and headed up the inland track to Central Station. As we had missed low tide, and it wouldnít be down again until dark, we were restricted to the inland roads. Central Station isnít that exciting and isnít even a third of the way up the island, but is in between the beaches. The day fined up as we went to Lake McKenzie. It was sunny and pleasant and we found it was a beautiful lake. From there we went for a drive to McKenzieís Jetty. This road is more overgrown, but still okay. We saw an expensive yacht moored in the bay. We had lunch on the beach there. Mum and Dad put the boat in and went fishing. While they were out, it clouded over and Emma and I had to rush every thing back to the car. They came in then, but went out again after the rain stopped. It only lasted a couple of minutes, but poured down. While they went out this time I retired to the car and did yesterdayís log which I hadnít done yet. I did todayís up till now, but canít do anymore as nothing else has happened yet.
Well, Iím back. Mum and Dad caught about eleven fish. Mum got seven and Dad got 4. All Dadís were the same kind, but Mum only doubled up once. None were big enough to keep. Eventually they came back in and Dad took Emma out while Mum made a hot drink. We brought the boat back up after they caught 2 more fish, still too small. We headed back the way we had come up the road. Somehow we skipped Lake McKenzie and went straight to Central Station. Some of the roads are one-way, and the other way donít always go the same place. The roads donít say anything about that though. Because of the rain, the puddles were a lot bigger than they had been. We washed the wheels a number of times. They were so big that they had stopped a Range Rover. It had some kind of electrical problem and had stopped going about two kms from our camp. They were a young English couple who had rented the Range Rover and had been due on the ferry that night. They had a fire on the side of the road and were preparing to camp there. We came back to our camp and got the fire going and Mum started tea. As Dad had now realised how close the Range Rover was to the camp, he and I went back and offered to tow them. They werenít sure, because the hire company had been notified and knew where they were. They eventually decided to go to the camp and put up a tent. Before we towed, they tried the engine, and guess what? It went! We headed out with them behind us and went slow to see if they were alright. When they took ages to come, we guessed theyíd stopped and went back to them. They guy said, "I donít know if itís a coincidence, but as soon as we went through water, it stopped," but, of course, it was in an English accent. We towed them to the camp and they set up and were quite happy. We had tea and went to bed and tried to listen to a sermon as it was Sunday, but the rain started again and drowned it out.
Monday June 26th.
Today we woke up and thought the rain had stopped, we were wrong again. Even so, the day had nice sunny patches. Our friends from the Range Rover started off under their own steam, and must have got at least part of the way. We set our camp in order and headed out for a drive at about ten-thirty. If you donít have a map of the island thisíll completely confuse you, but Iíll try to explain it. We went out past Dilli (Dill) Village and headed up the eastern beach. It was easy going and quite fun. We went past Eurong, but didnít stop. We went a long way up the beach and found Happy Valley, which we thought looked a happy place indeed (the first time). There was a small resort here and a couple of shacks and things. We looked at the shop here and then kept going. Along the beach from here up, lots of light aeroplanes land and take off for scenic flights. We got to Eli Creek, which the ranger on the mainland had said was a nice swimming spot. The day was sunny now, but not hot enough to swim, although a few others did venture in. The creek was really nice and clear, but not too deep, and flowed quite fast and was more of a slow slide than a pool. We went farther up the beach to the Mahino Wreck. It is, according to something Dad read, a wreck of an luxury liner that was beached during a cyclone in the 1930ís. We went farther up to Cathedral Beach. It is another resort like Happy Valley. We went past the Pinnacles to Dundubarra. We had lunch here. It is the nicest camp site weíve seen so far. After here it started raining again and went on and off a bit for the rest of the day. We decided to head back before high tide. We got to Happy Valley again and decided to try for Kingfisher on the western side instead of risking the tide. It was a mistake. Somehow we ended up on the track to Moon Point which is far above where we wanted to be. Before we worked out where we were supposed to be, would you believe it, we got bogged in the sand. The track isnít used much and when it is, itís by tour buses that leave a high bit in the middle of the track with deep ruts. We bridged ourselves and Dad spent a while digging it out. We got out on our own in about fifteen minutes. A bus had caught up to us just as we got out and seemed impatient to get past, we let it. We stopped some blokes in a ute and asked where we were. They told us and we gave up on the national park map and headed back to Happy Valley (third time). By now we were kinda cross and brought a commercial map from the shop. These National Parks guys canít draw a decent map. We headed down the beach. It was about half an hour after high tide, but wasnít too bad. We went down okay, and there isnít much to report. We stopped at Eurong and were impressed that it had a sealed road (but only a few hundred metres). Further down, we met a guy who had come off the last ferry who waved us down. He had a hitch-hiker who had got stuck in the water going around Hook Point and was taking him to Eurong to get a tow. He asked us to keep an eye out for his mate who was coming behind and tell him what was happening. We didnít see him before we left the beach. We went back past Dilli Village, and to the camp. We got the fire going and I wrote the log. Oh well, itís been a nice place even with the rain, and we plan to leave tomorrow.
Tuesday June 27th
Today dawned sunny. It would be a good day on our last day, wouldnít it? Anyway, it was really good. We dried off the tent and things, and packed up. It is the cleanest the tentís been for a while because it got a wash with the rain. We hit the road not long after low tide and went past Dilli Village and onto the beach. The journey around the point was easier than the first time, but one time we had to dodge the waves. Anyway, we made it to the ferry okay and got across. It must have been windy because the ferry rocked more and kept changing direction to compensate for the wind or something. We got back to the mainland and headed back the rough track to Rainbow Beach. We stopped at the BP and pumped the tyres back up and washed the car. By now it was half-past twelve and Dad was starving, so we pulled over at a park in the town and had lunch. We drove out and Mum was reading the map, and found a short-cut to Noosa which bypassed Gympie. It was called the Cooloolah Way and was supposed to be a good road. It was sometimes sand, sometimes gravel, and sometimes clay. Because of the rain, the clay was soft and slippery, and the trucks and things had dug ruts and bumps and things. On a normal four-wheel-drive trip without the trailer and with someone else it wouldnít worry us at all, but it was more than we were planning to do on this trip. We pressed on and didnít turn back, and got through okay, though at times we slipped sideways along the track and the trailer went the other way. The track came into a forestry plantation and then into country backroads. The hills here are weird. They seem to come out of nowhere and end in a point. Some look quite sharp on top. The roads miss them, but there is a Ďking of the mountainí race that was advertised that would be hard work. Dad and I managed not to stop at the garage sale and paddock sale (only just!) and we came to a town called Kin Kin. We went through and nothing really worth recording happened till we came to Noosa. We actually came to Tewantin, but it is part of Noosa. We booked into the Bougainvillia Top Tourist Caravan park. We set up and went shopping in town and got the groceries. We came back, had showers so Mum could wash our clothes (they were really dirty, or so Mum said), and Dad cooked tea.
I wrote (suprise) after Dad cooked tea, but when he went and changed parts, he got rid of it, but Iíve put it back! Ha ha ha!
Wednesday June 28th.
Today was another nice day. The caravan park was wet from dew and rainwater that hadnít soaked in yet. One guy said that heíd been there nine days and all but two were wet. Anyway, we saw it in sunshine! A hire motorhome just across from us went to leave his site and couldnít move on the slippery surface. The Caravan Park bloke brought a tractor and towed him out. Dad went to wash the car again (this time for mud from yesterdayís track) and Mum went to dry the clothes. Emma and I had nothing better to do, so we packed the trailer. Mum asked us to do it later, but it was already done. Mum came back and we pulled down the tent and packed everything up as best we could, but Dad still had the car so we had to wait for him to put the stuff in the back. After what seemed like the longest ever car wash, he came back, and we left the park. We drove around Noosa, Noosa Heads, and Sunshine Beach. They are small towns that are so close as to nearly be just a big one. It was very nice, and Mum said she could live here quite happily. It isnít high-rise like the Gold-Coast, so itís much more our kind of thing. We pulled over and Dad rang Mr. Tuck. He lives in Nambour, but is working in Maclean in New South Wales at the moment. Heíd be home on Friday, but we canít wait that long. We decided to see his family at home, and visit him on the way down in Maclean. After getting some very precise and long directions to his house, we moved on. We had lunch at a park on the way and got to his house at about one. We then visited with the family for the rest of the day, and stayed the night. The two Tuck boys showed me around their yard, which looks like itís in the country, though itís in a suburb. They amazed me by knowing the name of every kind of tree in their yard. Anyway, it wasnít a terribly exciting or long day, but a nice, sunny, and fun one.
Thursday June 29th.
Today dawned another nice day. During the day, some clouds threatened but didnít eventuate. We said good morning and goodbye to the Tucks and headed out. Today was to be one of the longest, so we didnít waste much time anywhere. We stopped at the Big Pineapple and climbed up it. We saw some pineapples growing, much to Mumís delight. We went past the Glasshouse Mountains and bypassed Brisbane as weíd been there last year. The closest we got was the Gateway Bridge. We went through the Gold Coast and recognised where weíd been over a month ago. We were suddenly surprised to cross the border. There was hardly any indication until we saw a sign that said Ďspeed cameras operate in NSWí. We had lunch at Tweed Heads, then headed off again. We stopped and looked at Thursday Plantation, near Ballina, where they make the Tea Tree Oil. We brought a bit of stuff. We eventually got to Maclean again (weíd been there on the way up). Mr. Tuck had phoned and given directions to his work, so we found it okay. The way we were sure was because we saw the half built hull of the boat through the open shed doors. Heís making it for Kay Cottee (who sailed around the world and broke some record or something). He is supposed to be a really good wooden boat builder, but appeared to be using mostly sticky tape, MDF (medium density fiberboard), and pine at this stage. He explained that this was only a framework to build the boat over. We talked for a bit till he knocked off, then he led us to a caravan park at Palmer Island. He then took us out to tea, his shout, and we talked for ages. The restaurant was waiting to close when we left. I could fill half this log with the stories we swapped, but most need explaining to anyone who wasnít there, so I wonít bother. We left him, as Emma was in desperate need of a toilet (if she wasnít, weíd probably still be there), and headed back to the caravan park.
Friday June 30th.
Today dawned cold but clear. We got up early and packed up before eight thirty and hit the road. Today is supposed to be a long day, so we can do the Dubbo Zoo tomorrow and still get to Libbyís on Tuesday. We left Maclean and headed south. We passed through the edge of Grafton and then went along the Gwydir Highway. We went through the Gibralta Range National Park. Along here the wind blew hard and bits of trees were falling all over the place. We stopped at Raspberry Lookout and wondered why it was called that. The wind here was pretty strong and, if you ask Mum, very cold. I didnít think it was that bad. We climbed up to Glen Innes and got petrol. The people said there was snow on the road ahead and the road might be closed later in the day. We headed down the New England Highway and the cloudy weather turned into drizzle and then we found the snow. Our carís thermometer (showing the outside temperature) often says itís hotter than it really is, said it was one degree. Later it went down to zero, and we donít know if it goes any lower. By the time we got to Armidale weíd left the snow, and it was now three degrees. It was still too cold to have a picnic lunch, so we headed into Pizza Hut. We had an all-you-can-eat meal. We did a bit of shopping before heading out. We went through Tamworth (country music festival place). We drove through Gunnedah. As we went further west and down from the highlands, the day got better and the clouds lifted and it got warmer. It got up twelve degrees! It started to get dark, but we somehow chased the sun and it got lighter again. It eventually got dark, but we kept driving. If we donít do the zoo tomorrow we probably wouldnít get to see Rebecca and Michael at Libbyís. We drove through Coonabarabran and had a driver reviver cup of coffee. We got to Gilgandra and had to fill up with Shell petrol because the BP had closed. We camped at a place on the side of the road in the dark at about nine oíclock. We didnít need much tea as weíd all had a big lunch at Pizza Hut! It wasnít too cold and the weather was nice and clear.
Saturday July 1st.
Today we got up in the relative cold. Mum thought she was dying, but it didnít bother me that much. We hit the road and went the short distance to Dubbo. We got fuel and things before we went to the zoo. If we hadnít driven so far yesterday, we wouldnít have got to the zoo till lunchtime or even the next day. We got there about ten or something and parked the trailer. The zoo has a road through it so you drive from place to place and stop to look at the animals. Other options were electric cars and push bikes, but you had to hire these. The GST started today, so things were slightly more expensive. I have offered to let Emma or Mum write about the zoo, but they both declined, so Iíll have to do it. We drove around and looked at the animals and listened to talks on Giraffes and Elephants. There were animals from Africa such as Cheetahs (Emma was disappointed as it was just sleeping in the sun), Elephants, and lots of different types of deer and antelopes. There were animals from North and South America, and from Europe. There were animals from Aussie too, but weíve already seen lots of those. You could pat wombats, wallabies, and echidnas (ouch!). We didnít try the last one. We had lunch in the zoo and stayed around till they started to close at about five. It was very interesting, but Iím probably not the best one to write about it. We hit the road and headed south. Our intention was to camp somewhere fairly close by, but we ended up going further. We didnít find a camp before Parkes, which is when the sun went down. We had a look at the Parkes radio telescope at sunset and then gave up on finding a bush camp. We went into Parkes and found a caravan park and checked in for the night.
Sunday July 2nd
This morning was fairly cold, Mum thought it was freezing (I think she acclimatised to Queensland). We packed up and headed out. We didnít do that much today. As it was Sunday, we listened to a sermon as we travelled. We went through Forbes and had lunch at West Wyalong. We decided to go toward Hay because it looked more friendly to bush camps than the other way. When it got to about three oíclock we discovered that there was a quarantine point ahead and we still had lots of fruit. We decided to camp this side and eat some of the fruit. We decided to go to the Cocoparra National Park by backroads to use up the afternoon and maybe find a camp. Mum drove and got the car and trailer all muddy. We found the park and found a really nice camp site with a fire that was still going and no mention of fees or anything. We set up camp and I wrote this and yesterdayís log. It might not seem that interesting, but Iíve got nothing to complain about.
Dad wanted me to add that we had a roast chicken tea. It was very nice. Emma cooked a sweet fruit damper thing, which everyone else said was very nice, but Iím not into that kind of food. Dad checked part of the log for errors because he wants to send it soon. He thought some parts quite amusing. He didnít finish it because the battery ran out. Thatís why Iím writing this today, err...tomorrow?
Monday July 3rd.
Today Emma and I got up fairly early, but my parents stayed in bed for a while. Mum got up eventually, but Dad hugged his bed for longer. I was fairly bored because we didnít do much. I wandered around and found some sticks and turned them into staves. When Dad got up and we packed up, it was already eleven. We headed to Griffith. We checked our e-mail and tried to get our films processed, but the photo places were too busy to do them in an hour. We had lunch and headed out of town. By now it was nearly three oíclock. We drove for a couple of hours through Jerilderiee towards Deniliquin and finally came to a place called Forest Creek. It was a nice spot and it was getting close to dark, so we camped off in the bush a bit beside the creek. We copied the log up to today onto disks to post to Taranna and to give to Bec tomorrow.
Tuesday July 4th
Today we packed up and headed toward Echuca. We went through Deniliquin and got a phone call from Libby to ask where we were. She wanted to know what they should do for the morning. We didnít do much during the drive and came the Echuca-Moama. We went into Moama and across the border to Echuca. We still havenít seen anything about getting rid of fruit yet, so weíve still got the bananas. We got to Libbyís, and were greeted by the kids. We spent the morning with Libby, her girls, and Rebecca, Michael, and Gabby. Dad went off and found a photo place and put the films in and did a bit of shopping. We decided to have lunch at McDonalds and all met there. Dad and I went and checked into a caravan park and set up the tents (we set up Emmaís little tent too) and picked up the photos. When we got back to Libbyís, Grandma and Grandpa Kerrison were there. Later they went and checked into the caravan park and set up right next to us. We spent the rest of the day at Libbyís and had tea there. Michael came back to the caravan park and stayed in Emmaís tent with me.
Wednesday July 5th.
Today there was a big dew and the tents all got wet. Libby, Rebecca and the kids came for breakfast. We packed up the wet tents and went back to Libbyís. We spent the morning and then headed west with Rebecca. She has family in Stawell and we decided to escort her there. We used the handheld UHF and I went with Michael and Rebecca. We had lunch at Elmore (Weíve been there before, it was the place with the farm museum we looked at). We swapped and Emma went with Rebecca and Michael came with us. We then headed toward Stawell via backroads. Rebecca used to live in Victoria, but was very excited because sheíd never seen that part of the country. We got to Stawell about four oíclock and said goodbye to Rebecca and then headed west. We camped past Stawell near Lake Lonsdale. There wasnít any water in the lake. The tents were all still wet, and we hoped it they would dry during the night. It was a nice place and we had a nice tea and went to bed after watching Blue Heelers.
Thursday July 6th.
It rained during the night and everything got even wetter. Emma was in her little tent and survived even better than the big one. Apart from her pillow getting wet, she didnít even know it had rained. Emma wasnít feeling very well and seems to have caught a cold from Libbyís kids. We packed up the tents which were still wet and took off. We went past Dimboola, which reminded Emma of some play sheíd read about. We had lunch at Nhill in a park near some famous poetís hut. We crossed the border to South Australia and nothing said anything about fruit. We came to Bordertown and stopped at a drive past wildlife sanctuary. It was free and had white kangaroos. For the first time in the trip, Dad used his camera. We went through Keith and stopped at a BP there that had a caravan park and a laundry that was open to the public. We dried our sleeping bags and things there.. We went to Murray-Bridge and got petrol and groceries. We had been planning on a Bush camp, but the land hadnít been favourable and it got dark before we found anywhere. Our last chance for a bush camp was Scott Conservation Park. When we found it, it had Ďno campingí signs, so we kept going. We ended up at Goolwa, which was where we were supposed to be tomorrow night. We found a caravan park and checked in for the night.
Friday July 7th.
Today I felt sick as well as Emma. It had been a dew, and because the tent was already really wet, things got wet again. As we packed up, the couple from the van next to us asked which part of Tassie we were from. They turned out to be from Legana. Almost neighbours. We chatted to them for a while then headed toward the Marine Cove Resort (the next timeshare place). We canít check in till four, but wanted to work out where it was and leave the trailer somewhere. We found it and decided we couldnít leave the trailer there, so we left it in the carpark behind the council offices. We then went into Adelaide. We looked around and did a bit off stuff. Dad took the video camera to a repair place for them to look at. We went to an OPSM and booked me in for an eyetest on Monday. We had lunch at Hungry Jacks (Dad had promised heíd take us to Sizzler, Subway, and Hungry Jacks, weíve done them all now). It was quite nice, even when we were sick. We took the car to a service place and asked about the power steering noise. They said it was fine and a lot of cars did it. We did some groceries and headed back to the resort. Grandma and Grandpa Kingston called, they were in Goolwa. We met up with them on the way back. We took a different road to the resort and Dad discovered that the roads didnít all go the place he thought they did, but we eventually got there. We checked in and discovered it was a very nice unit with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dish-washer in the kitchen and a laundry in a cupboard. Grandma and Grandpa stayed with us for the night.
Saturday July 8th
I didnít sleep very well and stayed in bed till after lunch. Emma watched "Rage" in the morning and I watched "Around The World In Eighty Days" at lunchtime. I got up around then and we accidentally caught the last part of Targa Tasmania on the tellie. We didnít do much that I can remember. Dad went for a drive to see if he could find a church we liked, but couldnít. It seems boring, but we didnít feel like doing anything else. We watched the funnies on TV and a show called Survivor that is a bit like "The Mole".
Sunday July 9th.
Today I slept a lot better. I had a weird dream about rowing a canoe from Tassie to Mick Ready Beach in Queensland. We listened to a sermon in the morning. We went for a drive to a boat ramp and put the tents up to let them dry and had lunch there. We relaxed there for the afternoon. We came back and lounged around again. We didnít do much else today except I wrote this log for about the last four days that Iíd missed. Iíd better hurry up and finish because Grandma wants to read it.
Monday July 10th.
Today we went into Adelaide. We drove right into the middle of town and looked around. We found the Guide shop for Emma and Mum, but it doesnít open on Monday. We headed back to the OPSM place and I got my eyes tested. I was right, I need glasses and they plan to have them ready on Thursday. We had lunch late, about three or something, near a beach. I donít remember what else happened, because Iím writing this on Thursday.
Tuesday July 11th.
Today we did the Cockle Train. It is a steam train that goes from Goolwa to Victor Harbour. It was really fun, but on the way back it was over crowded. We had lunch on the beach near a beachside show with rides and sideshows and things. After that Grandma and Grandpa went and did their own thing and we went to the Signal Point centre and looked around. The people we had met from Legana said it was great, but it wasnít that good.
Wednesday July 12th.
Today we stayed home for the morning, then went for a drive to Hindmarsh Island. It has had a bit of fame lately because they are building a bridge to it and the Abos kicked up a fuss because they said the island was used for "secret womenís business". There is a free ferry anyway, and lots of people live there. We went for a drive and looked the island over. Dad took a wrong turn, not lost (or so he says), and we ended up going in a circle. He seems to be doing a bit of this because the other day, we ended up in Victor Harbour instead of Goolwa. Anyway, we got off the island and headed back.
Thursday July 13th.
We stayed home all morning today. We helped Grandma and Grandpa pack up and they headed off just before lunch. Later at four oíclock, Mum and I had a hair cut while Emma and Dad walked around Goolwa looking at the real estate agents. We packed some of our gear up so we could leave early tomorrow.
Friday July 14th.
Today we left Goolwa. We packed up and hit the road right on ten which is when we had to be out anyway. We went back to the OPSM place and I got my glasses. Emma thought they were weird, but they help a lot. We then went and collected the video camera. We did a little grocery shopping. We went into Adelaide again and Mum and Emma went to the guide shop and brought some badges and biscuits. Because it was cold and raining, we didnít stop for sandwiches but. had McDonaldís for lunch. We found our way out and headed north. We saw the Olympic Flame torch again. This time it was being run between Elizabeth and Smithfield. We didnít do much else before we got to Burra. We called Grandma and Grandpa and they said they were at the lookout. We found the lookout that overlooked an old mine. We radioed Grandma and asked her where theyíd got to. Theyíd left the lookout and headed into town. We looked over the mine until they turned up. They went off and booked into the caravan park. We looked around the town. There is the old mines, a dug-out house, and the location of the Breaker Morant movie. We saw the first two but didnít get to the last one yet. We checked into the caravan park and set up beside Grandma and Grandpa.
Saturday July 15th.
Today we got up and went out and looked at the Redruth Gaol where Breaker Morant was filmed. We filmed some with the camera. This was the first time weíve done that since before Daintree. We headed north and drove through Terowie and Peterborough. We stoped at Peterborough and Dad looked for a hot water bottle for Emma, but Grandma and Grandpa went on ahead. We met up with them at Orroroo. They had been there before and had gone to a yesteryear costume museum. The lady there had said she wanted some flax to show people and when they had gone home, Grandma and Grandpa had sent her some. We went in and wasted a while looking around. It was kind of interesting, but not my kind of thing. We had lunch at a park in town before heading toward Hawker. Part of the road was gravel and there were some floodways that were big enough for Grandpaís camper to disappear. We got nearly to Wilpena and went to a campsite called Arkapena. It is an honesty system fee camp site. There are some toilets and even a shower that you need to light a fire to heat up. It is a pretty rudimentary campsite, but quite a nice one.
Sunday July 16th.
Today we stayed at the campsite. We took it easy and listened to a sermon. Mum made bread and damper and Emma made a cake in Grandpaís new dutch oven. The weather was pleasant and the sky was blue without any clouds at all. During the night, there was a lunar eclipse, but we didnít stay up to watch it all.
Monday July 17th.
Today we headed out and hit the road again. Just up the road a bit, was the Wilpena Pound. It is a national park and we had to check if we needed permits to pass through. We didnít. The pound is part of the Flinders Range where the range splits and forms a kind of crater in the middle. It was very scenic. We went into Wilpena, which is a National Parks H.Q. and resort. We brought some post cards, then headed out. We drove along the eastern side of the range and went to quite a few lookouts that gave superb views. We drove along the track to Blinman and had lunch near an old chimney. After here, we had to cross the Flinders Range via the Parachilna Gorge. It was a really nice drive and we basically drove through the river bed. It was very pretty and there were places to camp as well. We suddenly burst into the open and left the range behind. The sky today was lovely and blue with just a couple a clouds on the horizon. Dad said they were often there but you never seemed to get under them. We got to Parachilna the town and headed up the highway. We went through Leigh Creek and did some shopping as it is the largest town weíll go through for a while. We went past Copley and the coal fields. There were huge scars that went for miles. We went through Lyndhurst and got fuel. We camped at Farina campgrouds. It was similar to the last place, but was crowded and there was no firewood so we had to scavenge some.
Tuesday July 18th
Remember those clouds? Well we ended up underneath them, and we awoke to rain on the tent. It wasnít much, so it didnít get that wet. We drove along till Marree. We stopped there for a bit, then headed down the Oodnadatta Track. It was slow going because there were heaps of corrugates and the cars were bounced and jiggled around. We didnít do much, but took our time, and got to Lake Eyre South. It wasnít that exciting, but weíve now seen it and can tell everyone about it. We had lunch and headed off again. We followed the old Ghan train route. The weather sometimes rained a little and most of the time it was just overcast. We had a stop at Mound Springs Conservation Park and the Blanch Cup spring. It is a small hill with a dead flat top and a small pond it the middle of the top. We headed out and passed the Coward Springs camping ground. It was rather crowded and another fee campsite, so we headed on. We went ahead and left Grandma and Grandpa behind a bit. We found a free campsite near the Beresford train station ruins. There were quite a few groups here, but the area was big enough that it was comfortable. The drizzle stopped for now. We had a problem, the water tank in the trailer has leaked. Fortunately the bedding didnít get very wet. We emptied the tank and put some water into Grandpaís camper and into other water containers. We hope to work out the problem and either fix it or get it fixed at Coober Pedy.
Wednesday July 19th.
During the night we had a thunderstorm. There was a heap of thunder and lightning and a little heavy rain. We survived fine and the weather in the morning was nice and clear again. In the morning we left the camp after everyone else and headed out. We got to William Creek and looked around there. From here we headed out toward Coober Pedy. Just as we left, the road got corrugated and our UHF aeriel was bounced about so much it snapped off. The road was better, and the rain had stopped the dust, but parts of the road was slightly muddy. We had lunch by the side of the track. Dad tried heading to some grass off the road a bit, but it was soft and sticky and we used four wheel drive to get out, so we told Grandpa not to come. We headed off again and at one stage a dip in the road was muddy and Grandpaís camper got sideways. The land here was all rock and there was basically no plant life except for occasional bits of a grass like plant. We passed the dingo fence just out of Coober Pedy. The land changed again and there were lots of little hills now. We came to part of the town where most of the buildings were dug underground. We hit the highway and drove on sealed roads again into Coober Pedy. We got petrol and checked into a Top Tourist caravan park. Itís all gravel because very little grass grows here. In fact, there is just about no plants in town and there is dust everywhere, including the supermarkets. We did some washing and Dad and Grandpa took two of the wheels off his camper. He has double wheels on the back and one had been punctured and when they got them off, they found a hole in the other too, it just wasnít leaking yet. Grandma and Grandpa went out to a Chinese place for tea. We watched Blue Heelers, but I had to tie the antenna to the broom to get it in the right spot.
Thursday July 20th
Today we got up early so Dad could go with Grandpa and get the new tyres. When they got back, we packed up and moved on by ten thirty. We left Grandma and Grandpa to do some shopping and went for a look around town. We went past the Aboriginal part of town and then had a look in an underground church. It was very pretty. We then looked around the rest of town. Most of the people here must be fairly eccentric and there was evidence around the place. One fence was made out of old fridges and things and another bloke made a "Petrified Forest" out of fake moon rocks and bits of junk. We saw a couple of props from movies including a space ship from the new movie "Pitch Black". We met up with Grandma and we went for a tour of a mine. The tour started in an underground motel and from there we watched a video about opals and went down a storey into an underground house. We looked through this, then went down further to an actual mine. Well, it used to be a mine, but youíre not allowed to mine in the town area. It was very fascinating. When we finished here, Grandpa and Grandma headed out of town while we did a little shopping and went to an underground book shop. We then headed out to the highway and up to the Breakaways National park where Grandpa was for lunch. It was interesting, but nothing too exciting. We headed up the road and found a yellow ute from Tassie that had run out of fuel. They gave us a jerry can and some money, so when we got to the next petrol station, Cadney Park, we filled it up and sent it back on a bus. After here, we found a spot off the road and set up camp. The weather has been really good all day, not too hot and not too cold, and not wet.
Friday July 21st.
Today Grandma and Grandpa were ready to head off before us, so they headed out and we had to catch up with them later. We stopped at the Marla Roadhouse and got fuel and Dad brought us some icecreams. After here, the next interesting thing was the border between South Australia and the Northern Territory, Grandma wanted to take a picture, but the roadwork guys were doing something and spoiled the shot. We journeyed on to Kulgera. We topped up our fuel again. We were deciding whether to have lunch here or not, and decided not to. We found Grandpa to tell him that weíd keep on moving for a bit, but they were already making lunch. We headed up the road, and left them to finish and follow us. We stopped on the side of the road and Grandpa caught up just as we finished. We drove on till Erldunda, which is where you turn off to go to Ayers Rock. Although Grandma doesnít want to come, she canít wait to get to Alice Springs, we headed down the road. We stopped at the shop at Mt. Ebenezer and, he must have been feeling generous, Dad brought us another icecream. As we drove along, we saw Mount. Conner. In the distance it looks like Ayers Rock, and Grandpa thought he had seen it already! We got to Curtin Springs, which is just before of the Aboriginal park. They have a free campsite, so we set up there for the night. If all goes well. Weíll see the rock and meet up with the Lincolnes tomorrow.
Saturday July 22nd.
Today we awoke to clouded skies. We hugged our beds for a while and didnít move on till nearly eleven. We left the camper there and decided to go back there tonight. It actually rained on the way in, but didnít last long. We saw our first view of the rock on the way. Emma was disappointed because there were lots of holes and caves that the pictures you see donít show. We finally got to the national park. Just before we got there, we went past the Yulara Resort. We paid the high fees and got into the park. The first thing we did was stop at the ranger station and use the toilets and have lunch. On the way here, we discovered that the climb up the rock was closed due to forecast rain. During lunch, we got a call from the Lincolnes to say that they were at the resort complex and wanted us to meet them there. We left Grandma and Grandpa to do their own thing and went back to the resort. We looked around for the Lincolnes, but couldnít find them, so had to ring up and ask. We discovered we had been looking for the wrong car and met up. They had booked into the resort last night, because they were sick of camping. They must have passed us last night. They had spent the morning at the resort and were having a restaurant lunch when we were there. They wanted to climb the rock, but we gave them the bad news that it was shut. We talked for a while, then left to let them have their lunch. They werenít sure if they were going to stay at the resort campground and do the rock tomorrow or if theyíd do it in the afternoon and camp with us at Curtin Springs. We havenít seen them since, so they must have stayed there. We went back and drove around the rock and found Grandma and Grandpa. We went out to the Olgas (Kata Tjuta, if you use the signs in the park. All the signs in the park use the Aborigine names. Some people didnít know them, and got lost.). We looked around here. These are a lot of rocks, not just one, and very different to Ayers Rock (Uluru). We headed back to the rock in time for sunset, which is supposed to be pretty spectacular, but the clouds spoiled it. We then headed out. We tried to ring the Lincolnes, but both their phones were busy. We headed back to Curtin Springs in the dark, and as we drove, it rained a bit, and we were worried about our tent. It was fine, and the rain didnít hit us all night. Even Grandma, who hadnít wanted to go to the rock, said it was pretty spectacular.
Sunday July 23rd.
Today started out nice, with blue skies, but a ring of cloud all around in the distance. We got up slowly as it was Sunday, and there were heaps of pesky flies about. We eventually got packed up, and hit the road. We headed out back the way we came on Friday, and planned to go to Kings Canyon instead of back out to the highway. Along the way, we were looking for something to use for a sign for the Lincolnes in case they followed us today. We found a bit of plywood and we found most of a gas light that had fallen of a trailer, all that was missing was the glass that had broken and the mantle. We got to the turnoff and left the sign. We stopped at a picnic place and had lunch. We came to one of the track that lead to the highway, but it had a sign that said there was flood damage, so we didnít go up there. We took off again, and a while after, Grandma called on the radio and said they had a blowout. Thatís the third tyre they have to replace, and they had already had this one repaired before we met up with them. It was a back tyre, and as they have two on the back, they limped along until we found a campsite. It was up the scrub a little and we left some Targa Tape between some trees to let the Lincolnes know we were here. We set up and changed the tyre and listened to a sermon. Grandma doesnít like the heat, which is the warmest weíve had for ages, and retired to bed with a head ache. I did this log and played some games to use up the afternoon. The Lincolnes didnít show up.
Monday July 24th.
Today there were heaps of flies about. It was unpleasant as we packed up camp. We got it done and pulled down the yellow tape we had left for the Lincolnes. We headed to Kings Creek station where Dad checked out petrol prices. Grandma and Grandpa went off ahead and then we had to catch up. We came to the National Park and a place called Kathleen Springs. Grandma and Grandpa werenít there so we headed out and met up with them at the Kings Canyon. Mum said she wanted to go for the walk, so Grandma and Grandpa went on ahead again toward the resort. We went for a very nice walk to the end of the canyon and back. We headed out to the Kings Canyon Resort and did a little shopping. We headed out past here toward the other track leading to the highway, but met Grandpa coming back out. He had been along the track for eight kilometres and said it was badly corrugated, so we didnít go that way. We headed back the way we came to Kathleen Springs. We had lunch here, and Mum wanted another walk, so Grandma and Grandpa went on again. We had a nice walk again and Mum said she wanted to do that more often. Grandma said sheíd have liked to go, but it was too hot. We headed out again and got back to the flood damaged road and were about to have a look up it, when all of a sudden, the Lincolnes pulled up. They had stayed at the Rock longer than they had planned. They had stayed there last night because they had left a jumper up one of the walks and had to find it again. They had seen our sign and thought it was very clever. If they had been a little later, they would have missed us. They went on to Kings Canyon to have a look and we made arrangements to meet in Alice Springs. We went for a drive up the track and decided it was too rough so we came back and went out to the highway again. We went past where we had left our sign and past Mount Ebenezer where Mum brought some postcards of Ayers Rock. We found a campsite along the road a bit just on dark and missed the flies, which was nice.
Tuesday July 25th.
Today we got up early and packed up before the flies could get us. The only problem was that Mum had hidden a book in the tent and we folded it up with the book inside. It got a little squashed, but survived. From here we hit the road for Alice Springs. When we got to Alice Springs, we checked into the Top Tourist caravan park. Emma was crabby because the Big Four caravan park had a better pool. We found the only two sites together and reserved the second for Grandpa, who had gotten behind. We started to put up the tent when Grandpa arrived and we both set up. We had lunch, and then headed into town. The caravan parks are all outside of town at a place called Heavitree Gap. It is a gap in the range of hills this side of town and is where the highway and railway go into town. The town is a fair size, it might be a city. We found a parking place near the mall and tried to find an Information place. It seemed to elude us. We expected a call from the Lincolnes to say they were here, but it didnít come. We found a camping shop and brought some things and drooled over others. We found the post office and tried to get our mail. They didnít have it yet. We walked around and found a Woolworths and everyone but me did some shopping. Alice has a lot of Aborigines and I saw policemen asking a number to behave themselves and not to be so loud. Out on the street, we saw the paddy wagon patrolling around. Most Aborigines just sit around all day, but we have seen a couple in gainful employment. After we did the shopping, Dad went to check out the tyre places for Grandpa, but was too late and they had just shut. We went back to the camp and cooked tea. When it got dark, we gave up on the Lincolnes. We were just about to have dessert, when they rang. They had just got into town and were about to have tea. After they had McDonalds, they came in and checked into a unpowered site not far from us. We spent the night talking. After everyone else went to bed, I stayed up late and watched a show on my tv.
Wednesday July 26th.
Today I stayed in bed for a while, not because I was tired, but because it was cold outside. When I finally did get up and cook toast, the Lincolnes all gathered around and had some too. Their gas toaster isnít any good, and Mrs. Lincolne liked our toast so much she wanted to buy a toaster like ours. Grandpa went to fix his tyres and we made plans with the Lincolnes. We went into town and did a little shopping. Mrs. Lincolne brought her toaster and put some films to be processed. Dad dropped one of our tyres that had been leaking in at a tyre place and then we went back to the camp for lunch. After lunch we headed out and intended to see Standley Chasm. On the way we stopped at Simpson Gap and had a short walk and enjoyed it a lot. We then headed to Standley Chasm and found we had to pay to get in. We decided it wasnít worth the $5 a person, so we headed back into town. Before we left the carpark, Dad helped a man break into his car because he had left his keys in it. Back at town, the girls went to get their photos, and we found a bargain variety store (Chickenfeed shop) called Mad Harryís. We spent a little while in there, and then went to pick up our tyre. We were late again and the place was shut, so weíll do it tomorrow. After tea, the caravan park puts on a snake show which the others went to, but I decided to stay here and do this log.
Thursday July 27th.
Today we got up slowly and then Grandpa and Grandma went to give their camper a wheel alignment. The Lincolnes and us went for a drive to more gaps and gorges. We went to Emily Gap, where the walk only goes in a little way. James and I went climbing up rocks and found a lookout. From here we went on to Jesse Gap. Here the walk was longer and we found some better climbing. We went on after a while and went to Corroboree Rock for lunch. The next place we went to was called Trephina Gorge. All the kids (James, Emma, Catherine, and me) were asked to climb some rocks for a photo. We did and climbed higher up, but on the way down, Emma slipped and hurt herself. I helped her down and Mum checked her out. It was pretty painful, but there werenít any broken bones. We gave up on walks and drove to the Ross River Homestead where we had an icecream. From here we went on a four-wheel-drive track. We crossed the Ross River (ever heard of the Ross River virus?) a number of times. We then hit a more major gravel road and were covered in bulldust from the Lincolnes who were ahead of us. We hit the main road and headed back to the caravan park. We had a huge feast for tea with the Lincolnes and Grandma and Grandpa. Everyone brought some food and we shared. It was a great day, except for Emmaís accident.
Friday July 28th.
Today we left Alice Springs. Grandma and Grandpa went into town. We packed up the tent and waited while Dad and Mr. Lincolne talked to a guy from the Chamberlain Tractor Trip. After they got back, the Lincolnes went their way and we went ours. We went into town again and did a big shop to store up again. We saw the Lincolnes walking away, but they didnít see us. We brought some small pizzas and some chips for lunch. Then we went to The Old Telegraph Station for a look. We finally found Emma a hat sheíd wear. I brought Dad the expensive icecream I owed him from his birthday. We hit the road and headed out to Gemtree. Grandpa and Grandma were behind us. We got to Gemtree and booked in for a site and for the Gem fossicking in the morning. The site was powered, but only while the generator was going (it stopped at 10.30pm and restarted at 7.00am). Grandma and Grandpa didnít book for the tour.
Saturday July 29th.
Today most of us got us early. I had trouble waking up. Dad had a migraine and couldnít come on the gem tour, so Grandpa came instead. We went to the office and collected the equipment. From here we followed a guide to the gem fields. When here we dug out some dirt and rocks, sifted it, wet it, and then looked it over for Garnets. We found quite a lot but most werenít gem quality. We had lunch out there before we came back at two oíclock. Dad and Grandma had both gone back to bed for the morning and felt much better. We came to the Gem shop and got our garnets checked. Only a few were any good to be cut. We ordered some to be cut and set into earings for Emma and a necklace for Mum. We had a shower because weíd got dirty playing in the dirt and then headed out. We went north and tried to find a campsite but they were all taken. It was nearly dark when we booked into the Ti Tree caravan park. It was the first grassed campsite weíve had for ages.
Sunday July 30th.
Today was cold in the morning. I hadnít slept real well and stayed in bed for a while. When I got up everyone else was having morning tea when I was starting breakfast. Grandpa had been exploring the campground and found oranges, lemons, grapefruit and chilis free for the taking, so we gathered a supply for the next few days. The day quickly warmed up and turned pleasant and then maybe too warm for comfort. We headed out about eleven and hit the road. The first interesting thing was another old telegraph station at Barrow Creek which we had a quick look at because Grandma hadnít seen the last one. From here we went to find the next shady tree from lunch. This proved difficult because trees were hard to come by. We ended going for a fair while till we came to a picnic spot. We had lunch and then headed out again. We stopped at Wycliffeís Well. It is a caravan park where there have been a lot of UFO sightings. They have made a theme of it and there are aliens and UFOs around the place. After a look here, we went on to Wauchope, where there is a BP and Dad filled up. After there we came to the Devilís Marbles. They are a collection of precariously placed boulders that reminded someone of marbles. There was a campsite there, but it was a fee one and there wasnít any shade. We pushed on past an icecream van and got an icypole. Along the road a bit we found a track and a nice campsite. We moved in and listened to a sermon. Dad did some fixing and got the UHFs going properly. We had a nice tea and Mum nearly pulled her arm out of itís socket when she fell out of the tent.
Monday July 31st.
Today was another nice cold night followed by a warm day. When we got back on the road we headed into Tennant Creek. It is the major town between Alice Springs and Katherine. We came into town and stopped to talk and noticed a hissing and saw another of Grandpaís tyres go flat. We went to a service station and filled up and left the trailer here so it would be easier to park and went back to the centre of town. We had generated a lot of dirty washing and used a laundromat here. The paths were crowded with Aborigines who had nothing better to do. While the ladies were doing that, Grandpa, Dad, and I went and got Grandpaís tyre fixed. It was where a patch had been put on a hole in the tube, but the hole had really been too big to patch, and had now failed. Grandpa and tyres donít seem to mix. We stayed at the laundromat for a while and did a bit of shopping. We went and picked up the trailer and headed to a travellerís rest place. It wasnít much. There were some tables and grass (that in itself was unusual) but there was a sprinkler (more unusual) that stopped us using them. The toilets were painted up really nicely in a mural, but werenít very good inside. That was the way the town was. In the main street, some shops looked very prosperous, but others were run down or closed and deserted. Grandma and Grandpa went on and we stayed to do a few groceries. When we hit the road, it took us a while to catch up again. They stopped at a rest area and waited for us. We drove on for a couple of hours and the only really interesting place was Renner Springs which had a BP, but we didnít need to stop. We found a campsite up a track, and it wasnít too bad, but the ground was hard and we had to tie the tent to the car and peg as little as possible. When we got here there were flies about and two huge bees or wasps. They had us worried (well me anyway) for a while, but disappeared after a while. Grandpa changed the oil and filter In his truck as he hadnít been able to get it serviced in Tennant Creek as heíd hoped. We had a roast and I managed to go to bed before the washing up (again).
Tuesday August 1st
Today we got up and had packed up before the flies got thick. The huge bees or wasps didnít come back. From here we went through Elliott and decided it wasnít a terribly nice place. There were Aborigines lazing all over the place and most of the houses were in a terrible state. We tried to use the BP there, but it didnít accept BP Plus cards. Along from here is Newcastle Waters. It is pretty much a ghost town from the droving days. There is a big statue of a drover and the old pub has lots of memorabilia about droving. After looking around here, we went to Dunmara Roadhouse for lunch. Along the road a bit was Highway Inn. It was a roadhouse, but it was BP and took cards so we stopped. Off the main highway a bit is Daly Waters. We went in for a look. The main attractions are Australiaís most remote traffic light (stuck on red) and angle parking (any angle). The other attractions are Stuart Tree. This is an old tree with an "S" inscribed in it and supposedly done by Stuart the explorer. There is an old airfield that was used in WW2. We stopped and looked around. There is a room with information about the airfield that needs a key, but it was already opened by someone else. It was quite interesting (I thought so anyway). We went back to the highway and went past Larrimah. It is a roadhouse with crocodiles and buffaloes. We had a look and brought some icecreams that were really expensive. After here I started to feel ill, the heat was getting to me (31į). From here we nearly got to Mataranka and went to see the Elsey graves. They are the graves of the people from the book "We of the Never Never", which Mum and Grandma have read. On the way back to the highway we found a campsite in a gravel pit. As soon as we set up, I went and laid in bed. I didnít have any tea and didnít sleep very well.
Wednesday August 2nd
Today was another hot day. I still wasnít feeling very well. We packed up and headed out. We went to the Mataranka Homestead resort and all went for a swim in the thermal springs (yes - all six of us). It was very nice and warm. After a nice swim, we had a look at the relocated replica of the "We of the Never Never" homestead. After here we headed out to Four-Mile on the Roper River in the Elsey National Park. We had lunch, Dad tried fishing, and everyone else just lazed around. I tried to go to sleep for a bit, and was shocked when a lady walked up and gave me a tomato. She gave some to Grandma and Grandpa too. I went back to the car and pulled out a seat and rested in the shade of Grandpaís camper for a while. The others came back with stories of Grandpa fishing and almost falling in, but I donít know what they were talking about. After here we had a look at the campsite and headed out to Mataranka. We had a look around and Mum and Dad nicked off to a museum without telling us, so we had to wait in the car for them to show up. The museum was interesting and had a fee, but you went in and looked it over before paying, and only paid if you liked it. Dad brought us an icecream each and they were some of the cheapest icecreams of the trip. From here we went to Katherine and left Grandma and Grandpa to catch up. We went past the Big Four caravan park that was supposed to be really nice, but it was booked out. We checked into another one down the road called the Springvale Homestead., We discovered that two here sites equalled an average site. They were tiny. Iím glad we didnít have to camp that close to strangers. We all needed showers and made good use of them. I didnít feel that well and went to bed without tea.
Thursday August 3rd.
I have been instructed to say that I am the only one who isnít completely well. Apparently I said the opposite when we were in Queensland and the others felt crook. Anyway, we got up and packed up in time to catch the tour of the homestead. It was interesting, but the guide seemed nervous. The whole place had been damaged by floods and the barn had been hit by a bomb in WWII. We discovered the station had once been owned by a family of Kingstons. From here we went and did some shopping. We had lunch in a park near the high-level bridge (we camped near the low-level bridge) and headed out. We came to Pine Creek and looked around there. From here we went to the Kakadu (Kakadonít if you ask Grandpa) and paid the entry fees (16. 25 per adult). Just out of the entry booth was an Aborigine family in a van who had broken down and politely asked for a lift, but we didnít have room. We headed out until we came to the turn-off to the first campsite. We went down and were kinda disappointed. It was a picnic area and not really suited to camping. As it was late and nearly dark we camped here anyway. It wasnít too bad a place, but I still wasnít feeling well and went to bed again, but Dad got me up again and told me to eat tea. I couldnít eat much and went back to bed after Mum gave me a snoring (sleeping) tablet.
Friday August 4th.
Today I felt much better. Mum said she reckoned it was exhaustion because I havenít been sleeping very well. We packed up camp and moved on. Grandma and Grandpa went and we caught them up at Yellow Waters. The road was blocked so we had to walk a little way, but we didnít know how far so Grandma and Grandpa opted not to come. The walk was a nice boardwalk over wetlands that are why Kakadu is famous. From here we went and looked at the alternative to last nightís campsite, Jim Jim Billabong. It was much nicer and it was on the river so Dad could have tried to catch some fish, but we had to go on and meet up with Grandma and Grandpa. We did take a detour down a track to see where it went. We forded one creek and found it was deeper than expected. We found another creek and it looked deeper so we turned around and went back. From here we looked at the Visitors Centre. There was some more of the Dreamtime rubbish, but there was some European history there too. From here we went to Jabiru, which is the major town in the park, which is huge. We had lunch near a lake with Grandma and Grandpa and then they took off again while we had a swim in the pool. After that we went to look at the Ranger Uranium mine. We only saw it from a distance, but it was interesting. The next thing of interest was Mamukala. There is a nice big bird hide here and a great number of birds. We stayed for a while, but had to catch up with Grandma and Grandpa (who had passed the good bits and didnít think that much of Kakadu as all that they had seen was the roads). We exited the park and finally caught up to them. The fence on one side of the road had heaps of warning signs all the way along it, but we couldnít read them until we stopped. It is a military training base and warned people that it was dangerous. We looked for a camp on a side road, but didnít find any. The only possibilities werenít very nice and you had to drive through a steep ditch to get there. Doing this, we broke the handle from the jockey wheel on the trailer. We eventually camped in the caravan park at Bark Hut Inn. It was a fairly nice park with a great pool and there were lots of geckos and frogs clinging to walls.
Saturday August 5th.
Today was another hot day, right from the start. Emma and I went for a swim in the pool before we left. It was very nice. We were late leaving and Grandma and Grandpa went on before us. After here we went down the road to Mary River. There was a track that went to a Bird Billabong, but you had to walk for an hour or more, so we went on to the Mary River Billabong. It looked nice and inviting to swim to escape the heat, but was supposed to have crocs in it. Dad tried fishing. He didnít catch anything though. He got the lure stuck in a tree and had to climb out over the water on the thin branches to detach it. It looked as though heíd end up in the water, but he didnít. While he was getting his, I saw another lure stuck in the tree that the owner hadnít bothered to get back, so Dad got that one too. From here we drove on to the "Window on Wetlands" information place. We met Grandma and Grandpa here and looked around for a while. It was quite interesting and we had lunch under a tree there. Grandma and Grandpa went out ahead and we moved off a while later. We went to Humpty Doo (what a name!) and did some shopping. We thought we were behind Grandma and Grandpa and had to catch up, so we didnít stop much. We went through Batchelor to the Litchfield National Park. It is famous because you can swim in various rock pools and waterfalls there (the only place to swim in Kakadu is in the swimming pool in Jabiru that we swam in). We stopped at an information place and had a look at some unusual termite mounds. We went down a road to the one of the falls and looked at itís campground, which was where we had planned to meet up with Grandma and Grandpa. It was full and Grandma and Grandpa werenít there. We checked out another campground nearby, no room, then headed back to the main road. We werenít sure if Grandma and Grandpa had been there and moved on because the campgrounds were full, or if they were behind us. We left a sign for them and went on. We went to Wangi Falls and looked at the campground there. The falls looked good from the road, but the campsite were full, but there was a sign that said to try Pethericks campground further along the road. We left another sign for Grandma and Grandpa and had a look for it. We nearly went right past it, but found the place. It is on private property beside the park. It is a pretty basic campsite, but suited us. The toilets were long drops and pretty gross. We set up camp and wondered what has happened to Grandma & Grandpa. It was getting dark so if they didnít find us soon, we would have to wait until tomorrow to find them. We set up the tent and Dad headed out to try and find them, but he only got to the front gate and met them - they had been to the Fogg Dam just after lunch and had been behind us the rest of the day. They had found our messages and tracked us down. We had as nice a night as you can when there are lots of mossies and it is too hot to be comfortable. I really shouldnít complain, it was nice enough to stay another night.
Sunday August 6th.
Today was very hot again and we went for a swim in the thermal pools at the campsite (Grandma and Grandpa included). It was quite nice. The water was warmer the further up the chain you went, so you choose the one that suits you. We went back and had lunch. After lunch we four went to Wangi Falls to the large swimming hole at the bottom of the waterfalls. We went for a swim and decided it was really nice and sent Dad back to get Grandma and Grandpa. They came and had their second swim for the day. We stayed in the water for the afternoon, then went back. We went for a drive to see what was at Petherickís Rainforest. We saw a sign that said there was a walk through the rainforest to a Spitfire wreckage. I got excited and wanted to go, but it was late and getting dark, so we decided to do it in the morning. We went back and had tea and I was about to go to bed, when we remembered we hadnít had a sermon, so we sat in the camper and listened to it.
Monday August 7th.
Today we got up early and went for the walk after breakfast. The first past was through the rainforest and was a confusing track that seemed to criss-cross the whole way. Half the time the track followed creeks, and half the time it was the creek. We suddenly emerged to the side of a rock hill and started to climb it. We were heartened to see a sign for the Spitfire, at least we were on the track. We climbed up and found it. There was little left. There were two piles of aluminium, the remains of the machine gun and a marker for the pilot who had died when he crashed. We kept going and came out at the top of one of the waterfalls you could get to from the thermal pools. We found our way down and back to camp, very exhausted and hot. We packed up camp quickly and went back to Wangi Falls and all had another swim. We had lunch here. From there we went ahead of Grandpa and had a look at Tolmer Falls. It was nice, but you werenít allowed to swim there. From here we went out of the park through Batchelor to Darwin. We stayed at the Shady Glen caravan park.
Tuesday August 8th.
Today we got up and had breakfast and then went to feed some fish. It was at a place called Aquascene and Emma thought it would be boring. It wasnít. The water boiled with fish and we fed them bread. It was quite interesting. After here we had a quick look at Darwin and then came back for lunch. The others went for a swim and then Dad went for a drive to get the mail. Grandpa and I went to the Aviation Museum across the road and stayed there until it closed. It was really awesome. The main attraction was a huge B-52 Bomber, but there were Spitfires and other bombers and a heap of other things too. We missed the tour and didnít have time to watch the video, so we got permission to come back tomorrow. Grandma hadnít been feeling well and had been in bed all day so she and Grandpa stayed at camp, but we went out to Sizzlers for tea.
Wednesday August 9th.
Today we got up earlier and Grandpa and I went back to the museum. The others went to town and did some shopping and Grandma got a haircut. At the museum we caught a tour of the B-52. Although we didnít go inside the plane at all, it took about an hour to see everything on the outside. After here we watched the videos for an hour or so. We got back before the others and started to try and fix Grandpaís fridge. The others came back and we had lunch. We had planned to do something in the afternoon, but ended up staying and fixing things. We did nothing really worth noting for the afternoon and went to bed after tea and watching Blue Heelers.
Thursday August 10th.
Today we packed up and headed out. We did a bit of shopping and didnít leave Darwin until about twelve. We got to the Northern Territory Wildlife Park and had lunch there. Grandma and Grandpa were behind us somewhere, so we went in without them. The park was very interesting with lots of native animals, including an aquarium with fish and reptiles in it, and imported species. We found Grandma and Grandpa at a raptor (bird of prey) show and then lost them again. We found them once again before it was closing time and we thought they must still be in the park, but they were already at the camper and having a drink. We headed south and tried to find a campsite. We couldnít and settled for a caravan park at the Adelaide River Showgrounds caravan park. It was okay, except there was a blue-light disco on in the building next door and the music was way too loud, but it finished by about 9 oíclock.
Friday August 11th.
We got up and found a dew on the tents. We waited a while for it to dry, then packed up and headed back into the centre of town. We went to the Adelaide River War Cemetery. We walked around the graves and looked at the names and what was said about them. We then went and looked at Charlie. He was the buffalo from the Crocodile Dundee movies. There were a couple there and we werenít sure which was Charlie. We went along the road to the Rail Museum that was advertised, but it wasnít very interesting so we moved on. We drove back up the road past the show grounds where we had camped and then on towards Douglas Hot Springs nature park. Emma spotted a frill necked lizard climbing a tree. We had lunch at Robin Falls. We didnít find the falls, but Grandpa and Dad caught some tiny fish from the creek. After lunch we went on to Douglas Hot Springs. The others went for a swim, but I wasnít so hot, so I didnít go. Part of the creek was really hot and we wouldnít swim there. One bloke said he often jumps out of water because it is too cold, but this time it was too hot. From here we went and had a look at Fenton WWII Airfield. We tried to find an aircraft graveyard and got a little lost, but eventually found it. There were pieces that were recognisable as planes, but we couldnít tell which parts of the planes they were. We went to Hayes Creek and had a look because Dad remembered it from his trip with the rally and wanted to see how much it had changed. We went to Emerald Springs, but I missed it. Grandpa said it was a blink and youíll miss it town, and I must have blinked. We went up a sealed track that used to be part of the highway and was where Dad had done a stage for the rally. Up this track we found Macdonald WWII Airfield. We had a quick look, then headed out. We hadnít seen Grandpa and Grandma since Douglas Hot Springs, so we assumed they would be ahead of us by now. Just past the airfield we found a snake on the road. We drove past it once before we worked out what it was. When we came back for a look, we discovered it had been run over before and had wounds to show for it. It was pale and quite large and would blend into the scenery quite well. We left it alone, but Dad said he reckoned the snake would wake up dead tomorrow. We went through Pine Creek and got fuel, but the BP didnít use cards, so we were stuck with paying cash. We went up the road toward Jindare. Dadís brother, Charlie, worked up here for a while and Grandpa had been up here before. We found a campsite in a book and went to find it. It was in the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park. We found it a little before dark, but Grandpa and Grandma werenít there. The book said it was free, but it cost us six dollars for the night. Grandpa and Grandma turned up a little past dark and set up. It was quite nice, except for the spiders in the toilet.
Saturday August 12th.
Today we broke camp and headed toward Jindare. We went past the carpark to the gorge. We stopped and had a look at the sign. It said there was a place to swim and lots of places to walk and Aboriginal art to see. We decided to give it a miss. We went along the road over a jump-up (hill) and through a creek (Grandpaís truck swum through it). We went to the gate to Jindare, but didnít go in. We drove back to the highway via the Copperfield Dam and had a look. There was a free campsite there with a caretaker and we could have stayed there if we didnít mind the crowd. We went back to the highway and back to Katherine. We did some shopping there and had lunch. We decided to go to the Katherine Gorge and have a look. We went passed a crashed plane and an old small car (I thought it was a peddle-car, Dad reckons it might be a Ďbabyí Austin). We stopped and filmed the car for Grandpa Kerrison. We went to the gorge and looked through the visitor centre. We went down to the river, but the gorge can only be seen properly from a boat or a lookout that has a hard walk to get there. We gave up and headed back through Katherine and out the other end. We went passed another WWII airstrip, but it was private and closed to the public. We wanted a campsite and found a rest area, but it was full already. We went down the Buntine Highway for a while, but we couldnít find anything. We passed a group of four-wheel-drives that were camping up a bank right on the roadside. We went to the Gregory National Park and found the old rest area that was in our book. It must have been moved because the toilets and tables and things were gone, all the was left was an empty tank and a cleared area. It was on part of the old road and nobody else had found it, so we set up camp. We can still hear the road, but weíre further away than the other places we looked at would have been.
Sunday August 13th.
Today we dragged ourselves out of bed and spent a while lazing around the campsite. Grandma and Grandpa went off before us to find a shady tree just down the road, but radioed back that there wasnít one and theyíd have to go on further. We packed up and headed after them. Along the road we met up with them at Sullivanís campground. It was a fee campsite and had been fairly full overnight. We stayed for lunch and did some fishing. Grandpa caught one just big enough to be worth keeping, but not big enough to write home about (wait a minute! Isnít that what Iím doing?). Dad wanted a barra but didnít catch anything at all (sound familiar?). We threw the fish trap in, but didnít catch anything. Weíre not sure what Grandpaís was, but he ate it for tea and said if he keeled over tomorrow weíd know it wasnít edible. We moved on through Victoria River, which is basically just a roadhouse. As it was Sunday, we listened to a sermon as we drove along. We went to Timber Creek and tried to get BP fuel, but it didnít take cards, so we got Mobil fuel. We went over Little Horse Creek and came back because Mum thought she saw a croc. Dad saw something, but it bounced. It was a kangaroo. Along the road was Big Horse Creek. There was a campsite here and we claimed a spot. Grandpa and Grandma stayed there while we went and got wood. When we got back and got the tent partly up, I saw that the petrol flap on the car was open. Mum checked it out and found we were missing the cap too. Weíd left it at Timber Creek! Dad and Grandpa took the campervan and went back (about 10 kms) and found it. Dad tried fishing again. After a while Emma and I went to find him, but couldnít find him in one direction. Grandpa came down and went the other way to see if he was there. We got to the boatramp and then headed back. By now it was nearly dark. We found Dad coming toward us, he was looking for us! We got back and had tea. Grandpa had his fish (said it was nice, well that the lemon was nice anyway) and we had a roast chicken.
Monday August 14th.
Today we got up fairly early. Grandpa went and handed our remaining half bag of Tasmanian onions out to people going east. We packed up and headed out. There was nothing of consequence until the NT-WA border where there is a quarantine checkpoint. We stopped there and had lunch at about half past eleven - twelve oíclock to use up our salad ingredients as we couldnít take any fruit, vegetables or honey over the border. Grandpa had a bowl of cereal with honey on it to try to use up his honey. We crossed the border and handed in the last of the fruit that wasnít worth eating. We turned our clocks back to West Australian time and it was only half past ten. We had a very early lunch! We drove for a bit and then went to have a look at Lake Argyle. It was quite big and a lot of water for this kind of country, but we have more impressive dams at home. We had a look at the Argyle Homestead museum, home of the Durack family, but werenít very impressed. After here, we went back to the main highway and went to Kununurra. We tried to check into the "Top Tourist" caravan park, but it was full. It didnít have a pool anyway, so we tried another. We went to the Hidden Valley Caravan Park. It was a nice park with a good pool, but the amenities could use a bit of maintenance. I brought this log up to date so we can post the latest instalment tomorrow. We all had a swim. This makes six swims in two weeks, which Grandma says is more than in the last twenty years.
Tuesday August 15th
Today I got up early. It was fairly light and felt like time to get up, but after I was up I found it was only midnight and I went back to bed. We got up and packed up. We washed part of the car, trailer, and campervan. When we left the park, we found the road was under repair and we had to go through the gravel and get dirty again. We went toward the agricultural area to try and get some cheap fruit and veg before we did the shopping. We let Dad navigate (mistake!) and we got lost on some gravel roads and found ourselves heading out the woop-woop somewhere. We found where we had gone wrong on the map and went back. We found the right road (admittedly there was a serious lack of signs) and found a fruit and veg place. We found some good buys, but others werenít that good. Grandma and Grandpa stayed for a rock melon with icecream and we went back to the supermarket. We did our groceries and then chased up potatoes. We checked out a couple of places and eventually went back to the supermarket and brought them there. They were expensive for spuds, but they were the best we could get. We couldnít find Grandpa and Grandma until they rang and said they were out at the picnic spot near the river. We went and had lunch there and Dad tried fishing. Once again he was unsuccessful. We headed out. There was nothing terribly interesting, but we did have to turn off the road and head south to Halls Creek instead of heading to Wyndham. We passed March Fly Creek and decided it wasnít a good camping spot because of the name. We went on until Bow River and found a track that lead of the road to a gravel pit. We told Grandpa to come up and camp, but he was out of range and we went back out to find him. He had found another gravel pit up the road that was closer to the road, but probably a better campsite. We found some wood and set up camp. We ate some melons and as we were throwing the peel away into the scrub, Grandma said someone else should throw hers because she canít throw. Emma convinced her to, and Dad got watermelon peel in his face.
Wednesday August 16th.
Today we got up and found a heap of flies waiting for us. They were worse here than almost anywhere else on the trip. Grandma and Grandpa packed up first and headed out and we followed as soon as we were packed. We headed south to Warmun (Turkey Creek) and went straight through. We had a look at the entrance to the Bungle Bungles. It was a gravel track and said it was rather rough and 4x4 only. It also cost for a day pass (lasts a week) and per night camped in the park. We gave it a miss and we on to Halls Creek. We found Grandma and Grandpa here and tried to get BP fuel, but they didnít take the BP Plus card, so we used Mobil. As we left we saw a Helicopter coming back in, but Grandma said when they left it just cleared them and they were worried it wouldnít make it. From here we drove on to Mary Pool. This was one place Grandpa really wanted to go. He was told that he could catch Cherubim Prawns here. It is a rest area and was full of campers already, and it was only lunch time. We had lunch here and decided to camp despite of the crowd. We investigated the other side of the river and found a track that led to nicer campsites, but it was a sandy track and through close trees, so Grandpa couldnít come. It was also nowhere near as crowded and we got the pick of the spots. Grandpa and Grandma camped on the other side with the crowds. Grandpa came over and we tried fishing for prawns. We ended up with fourteen. We ate them for tea along with chicken. "It was well worth coming," Grandpa said.
Thursday August 17th.
Today we got up and packed up early and beat most of the flies. Grandpa left a while before us and we had to catch him up again. We went to Fitzroy Crossing and found Grandma and Grandpa. It was a bigger town than Dad remembered. We got fuel and looked through the tourist bureau. We headed up a track to Geikie Gorge via a pioneer cemetery. We considered going on a boat tour, but decided not to. We had lunch here, and went for a walk. Grandma and Grandpa went on ahead. We went for a drive past the old township and across the actual old crossing. We got some ice and icecreams at a supermarket and then headed out. We met Grandpa and Grandma at a rest area about an hour later. There wasnít much to report until we turned off the highway to go to Derby. From here on we were looking for a campsite. We passed the Curtin Airbase and found a backroad that we think led back to it. We tried it to find a camp, but didnít find one. We tried a couple of other tracks, and eventually settled for a gravel pit off the highway. We left some tape between some trees to show Grandpa where to come. They turned up not long after as we set up. It was a okay campsite.
Friday August 18th.
We packed up early and moved out toward Derby. The first interesting thing was the Prison tree. It is a boab tree with a hollow middle and was used as a jail for a while. Next to this was the longest trough in the southern hemisphere. We went into Derby proper and had a look at the jetty. As we stood there, the tide flowed out over the mud flats. We saw bits of anchor chain and an old chair and things on the mud where the water had been. We watched some little mullet swim about. We did a bit of shopping and went to the pioneer cemetery before we left. We had lunch at the Willare rest area. Grandma and Grandpa wanted a rest, so they lagged behind and we went to Broome to find a caravan park. We rang ahead and the Top Tourist had only four sites left. When we got there, we didnít like the park anyway. We discovered we had come during a festival. We got the mail and looked around for a caravan park. We looked at lots of parks and the only available sites were makeshift ones anyway. We finally found the Cable Beach caravan park which had more than 500 sites. Half the park is really new and doesnít had any shade or grass yet. We camped here anyway. We had a restful afternoon, what was left of it. There is a natural phenomenon called stairway to the moon that Mum, Dad, Emma, and Grandma went to see, but Grandpa and I stayed here. They said we didnít miss much.
Saturday August 19th.
Today we hit the town and saw the Dragon boat races. They are rowing sculls with a dragonís head on the front. An Aborigine came and flirted with Emma and asked how old she was (he was closer to dadís age). We went to the supermarket and did some grocery shopping and Emma brought a skirt. We came back for lunch and collected Grandma and Grandpa, who had stayed at the park until now, and went to Malcolm Douglasís Crocodile Park. We spent two hours here with a tour and watching a video. After here Dad and I went to see some Dinosaur footprints that are visible at low tide, but although we found the place and the plaster casts at the top, we couldnít find the tracks. We got down to where they must be but couldnít find them. We came back and tried to book for another night at the caravan park, but the reception was without power and they said to come back in the morning. The speedway was on tonight, so we treated ourselves and stayed up until nearly midnight watching the races.
Sunday August 20th
Today was a Sunday, so we slept in for a while then headed out to a Baptist Church after booking in for another night. The church service was okay, though different from what weíre used to. We had morning tea and I had my toast (okay, so I was late getting up!). We went down to Cable Beach and the others (but not Grandma and Grandpa) went for a swim. They really enjoyed it. We came back for lunch and then the others really wanted another swim and convinced me to try it. We went shopping first and then went for the swim. It was fun, but the others said it was better earlier. We came back and had tea and then the others went for a walk down to the beach to a festival thing and watched fireworks. I saw them from camp.
Monday August 21st.
I apologise for any mistakes in this log, but Iím doing this on Tuesday because the laptop is confused and doesnít know how much battery power it has, so to be safe, Iím using power to do this. Anyway, today we got up and packed up and then hit the road. Grandma and Grandpa went for a drive because theyíve seen little of Broome so far, and we went to do the shopping. Grandma and Grandpa met us here and we left after Mum had a look through an pearl shop. We headed down the road out of Broome to the highway and found a stall with cheap bananas. We brought some and then came back to the Roebuck roadhouse at the highway. We were once again on roads we havenít seen before. We saw quite a few willy-willies that kicked up dust and were visible for ages. We had lunch at a rest area. We put up the roller camper for shade because all the trees are really only shrubs and give little shade. We drove for ages through similar scenery. It didnít look like very good camping country and there were fences on both sides, so we camped at the Sandfire roadhouse. Grandma said it was her turn to cook and bought us fish and chips.
Tuesday August 22nd.
We woke up today and decided it should be the Great Windy Desert, not the Great Sandy Desert. It had been windy most of the night and now we had chairs blowing over and the tent trying to as we packed. We hit the road and the wind was nearly behind us, so we have a much easier time than the others going the other way. We went past Pardoo, which is the other roadhouse between Broome and Port Hedland. We have been going through lots of burnt country and finally went past an active burn. Grandma missed it though, and wondered where the smoke came from. We came to Port Hedland and had lunch near a jetty. While we were there we watched some local fishermen launch a boat. They had trouble and one lost a thong. He eventually saw it floating out to sea and they had to chase it in the boat. We went to the visitor centre for a while and then went and did some shopping. We left the main town and drove past South Hedland and then kept on going. We drove for a while and came to Yule River. It is supposed to be the best rest area for a while, so we set up camp here. All the good sites were taken so we had to go further along the river to find a site . Grandpa and Dad had some fun throwing ropes over dead branches and pulling them down for firewood (if you donít believe me itís on video).
Wednesday August 23rd
Today we didnít do much before we came to Whim Creek. Dad had been there on his rally trip and one of the blokes with him had been stuck at the Whim Creek roadhouse years before when he had been flooded in for a month or so, and had been interested in the changes that had been made. Since the rally the place had been badly damaged in a cyclone and rebuilt and Dad took some footage to show the guy. Along the road a bit was Roebourne and itís old Gaol which is now a tourist bureau. We had a look here for a while. We went to Karratha for lunch. We had told Grandpa about the Macdonalds thirty cent icecreams and he had been looking for a Macdonalds since Alice Springs. We found one at Karratha and had lunch there using some vouchers I got in a newspaper. After lunch we did some shopping and Dad brought some shorts, a shirt and some sandals. From here we went to Dampier, which is the industrial part of town. We had a look here and at the Gas Works on the way back. Donít tell anyone, but Grandma and Grandpa got lost twice while they were here. We went out of town and camped at a place called Miaree (not Mary) Pool. It is a rest area and most of the spots were taken so we had to settle for a spot closer to the road. Grandma borrowed the laptop to write a letter and Dad checked how deep the pool was by putting his foot in it (by accident, his bootís still wet).
Thursday August 24th.
Today we didnít do much except drive. Well, I canít remember much. We had lunch at Nanutatrra by a river near a roadhouse. We put in the traps (Dad brought a new one at Karratha), but didnít catch anything. A man saw a brown snake in the grass and told us and we passed the message on, so everyone thought weíd seen it. We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn during the day. We finally camped at Minilya Rest Area near another river. We put the traps in and caught a few fish, but only small ones. Emma went down the bank to get some water and because there isnít much else in the log today, Iíll say what happened. There was a steep bank down to a flat area where some trees grew out over the river. Emma came here and put the first bucket down on a rope and brought up the water. She had dragged it up the bank and got it dirty, so threw it back in. She made a mistake and threw it into where she was getting the water from, and polluting the whole lot a bit. She finally pulled the first bucket and then the second after tipping over herself. I offered to help but she declined. She then struggled up the bank in two trips and lost half the water from the buckets. She got the water up okay from here and we went back to camp. I wouldnít mention it, but thereís not much else to say. A Tasmanian (dubbed Mr. Chatterbox) came and talked for a while and I think some of us were glad when he went.
Friday August 25th.
As we were packing up I saw a small snake dart from under the trailer to the grass. It was only about 200mm long and nobody else saw it, just the tracks, so Iím not sure if they believed me. We hit the road and headed for Carnarvon. We found some fruit stalls on the way and brought some fruit. We got to Carnarvon a while before lunch and booked into a caravan park. We had lunch, then went to do some shopping. We did the groceries and Dad brought a drill bit for fixing part of the trailer. We came back and Dad went to work. The expensive drill bit broke straight away and the cheap ones were better. We decided to take it back tomorrow. When I tried to use my TV, I broke it the same as it had been in Darwin. The jury-rigged repair didnít hold properly. We might buy a soldering iron to mend it properly tomorrow.
Saturday August 26th.
Rain? Whatís that?
Today we discovered that it had rained during the night. The sky was overcast and Mum complained all day that it was cold and wanted to go back up north. Sure it wasnít over 30į like up in Darwin, but it wasnít too bad. The top was only 17į, but weíve seen worse. Anyway we packed up and checked out after raiding the book exchange. We sent Grandma and Grandpa to do the groceries and we went to the hardware. They gave Dad credit on the drill bit that had broken and we looked at soldering irons. They advertised a cheap one, but it was out of stock. We went for a fairly good one that was marked down, but still cost nearly half what the TV did in the first place. It came with a kit and it will become part of my Christmas present. We can fix Grandmaís fan in the camper too, but itís not so hot now and itís not so important. Grandma is enjoying the cooler temperatures. Anyway, we went back along the highway to get some more fruit, but discovered it was a lot further than we had thought. We finally got there and back and found Grandma and Grandpa were just ready to get going. We headed south. It started raining, fairly heavily at times, but at others it cleared up. Grandpaís camper wonít seem to go over 70 kph now and he thinks there might be something wrong with it. We had lunch at a rest area in a dry patch and Dad and Grandpa tried cleaning the air filter. It didnít change anything. The country was the same it has been for the last few days. A lot of boring red dirt and small shrubs and very little to see. After Carnarvon we only saw a couple of roadhouses and that was it. We finally set up camp at a rest area. It is a large area and only a few are camped here. The rain comes and goes, so I hope weíll survive without too much drama.
Sunday August 27th.
400 kilometres and still in the same spot!
The rain stopped just before we went to bed last night and the stars came out. In the morning Grandpa went to work on the camper to try and work out why it wouldnít go as fast as it should. With his head in the engine he asked Dad how far from civilisation we were because he had problems. The problem was that he had broken a fuel line and until we could fix it the camper was stuck. After making preparations Dad and Grandpa set off for Geraldton (about the size of Devonport), 200 kilometres away. The rest of us stayed and filled in the day here. Before the others left, a man came and showed us a new BBQ system he had made and sells. If Grandpa hadnít brought one already from Hillbilly Campers, theyíd have brought one. Another highlight was when a young man was seen taking his book and coffee to the toilet and making Mum wait. After Dad and Grandpa had gone, a guy in an old car pulled up to use the loo and Grandma and Emma said he could have been Mel Gibson. Mum, Emma, and I went to get some wood for a fire. Mum chose a tree and got to work. None of us are too good with an axe, so we all tried. Mum did most of the work, about which Emma complained, and we finally got the dead tree on the ground. Later on Dad said it was very tough wood. We listened to a sermon as it was Sunday, had lunch, and then basically just read a book for the day. When the blokes finally got back they had got some rubber pipping and the right ends and jury-rigged a semi-permanent fix. The good news is the camper will go, the bad news is that it is still slow. Mum said he lost a couple of horses out of the engine and needed to rouse them up again. We had tea and talked about weird dreams and what trouble there would be if time-travel ever was.
Monday August 28th.
It rained again last night. We packed up during a dry patch and hit the road. We stayed with Grandpa and Grandma for a while to make sure they were going okay. After a bit we left them and went to Kalbarri. Grandpa was going straight to Geraldton (fairly slowly though) to try and find someone who can offer some advice on his fuel problems. Kalbarri was a nice town on the seaside, but the road in and the road out was boring. The country was less like desert and more like home now. The weather is more like home, cool and wet. I donít mind the temp, but the rain is annoying. We had lunch at Kalbarri. We had fish and chips near the beach. We headed for Geraldton via a different road past the Hutt River Province (or something like that). This is where a guy seceded from Australia and isnít part of the country now. We came to Geraldton and found it was a nice town. We found our way to the Belair Gardens Caravan Park and booked in. It was quite nice, except for the rain. It is patchy and comes and goes. Dad and I left to find Grandpa while Mum stayed with Emma who had a headache. We went to the place where they were getting their camper fixed and they werenít there. We rang them and they said they were at the supermarket (which is where we were going next), so we went to find them. They said the problem was another filter we didnít know existed. We did the shopping and then went back to the park. We rigged up our fly we bought at the camping supershow in Sydney (the first time weíve used it) as an extension of the annex and had tea under that.
Tuesday August 29th
Today we got up with more scattered showers. It rained one minute and was nice and sunny the next. We packed up nearly dry and headed out. Mum wanted to see the supermarket so we went there. We had a little look around and then headed out. Grandpa was going better because we had trouble catching him. Most of the day was dry but threatening, though it did rain a few times. Weíve decided not to go stright to Perth but to head inland to the Dowerin Field Days that are on this week (W.A.ís version of Agfest). We had lunch at a rest stop. We didnít do too much interesting stuff. We found the cheapest fuel weíve seen in ages. Along the way Grandpaís camper slowed down a bit. We drained some more sediment from the filter and after a while it gave a cough and took off again. We went through Moora and then New Norcia which is a town built around a monastery and convent. We thought about camping here, but it wasnít very inviting. We tried to find a postcard of the nice old buildings, but there werenít any. We moved on and looked at a few possible campsites and settled for one off a secondary road. The rain hasnít started yet, but it still might.
Wednesday August 30th.
It rained once or twice overnight, but not much and it was a nice dry morning. We got up slowly and hit the road. We went to Bindoon and Grandpa got fuel and we bought some fruit. We went on to Toodyay and laughed at the name. We thought a Queenslander named it "Toody-hey". Well, Mum thought so anyway. The locals pronounce it "2J". We went through Goomalling and got to Dowerin by lunch time. This is where the field day is held. They pronounce it "Darren" when they say it quickly. We went to the field day and decided Agfest is better. But everyone enjoyed it. Dad went his own way, and so did Grandpa. I stuck with the others, but they were only interested in boring stuff, so I went back to car. It rained for a while, but soon past. When the others got back and told what theyíd done. Emma had found an animal display and played with cats and kittens. When Dad got back, about five or so, we headed out to find a campsite. We had a look at a couple of places and settled for a gravel pit. There werenít any clouds and the stars were out so we thought it might not rain. We watched some TV, but in order to get reception, I had to tie the ariel up to the roof.
Thursday August 31st.
Guess what? It started raining during the night and half flooded our gravel pit. There was a river running through the kitchen. Because we hadnít thought it would rain we hadnít put the annex up, and so we had a bit of trouble. My stuff was about the only dry things in the tent. The otherís bags got wet, as did quite a few other things. From the amount of water in cups and things left out overnight, we must had over half an inch of rain. We packed up the wet tent and headed out. Itís times like this when I would like a campervan or caravan. We drove into Meckering and used the toilets there so Dad could put on some dry clothes. Meckering has been hit by an earthquake sometime in the past and the park we stopped at had quite a bit of information about it. We drove through Northam and into Perth. We rang up a Top Tourist Caravan Park and booked in. We then had trouble finding the right roads, but we got there. As we needed to dry out, we booked an on-site van and Grandpa just booked a powered site. Our caravan was nice and big enough for us. We spent a while after lunch just watching TV and relaxing. Later Dad, Mum, and Grandma went shopping, but we stayed here.
Friday September 1st.
Today Dad got up early and took the car in for a service. We stayed here. Dad came back and wanted to know what we wanted to do. Grandpa wanted to see a tractor museum heíd heard about. After lunch we went to Underwater World. It was cool. The main part is this walkway through a tube underwater. This one had a moving walkway so you could stand still and still see it all. There were lots of fish, some big sharks, and a couple of huge skates or rays. A diver came down and fed some of the fish. There were lots of small aquariums with different kinds of fish in them. There was a touch pond, which Mum and Emma enjoyed. They touched a Flounder and a Port Jackson Shark. There was a seal pool outside and they were fed while we were there. You could watch from above water, or watch from a glass window underwater. We enjoyed this and then went shopping. Dad took us to a cross between a hardware and Chickenfeed store. After here we came back and had tea. The weather has still been wet, and Iíll miss the caravan when we leave.
Saturday September 2nd.
Today we left the caravan. Emma watched Rage and we packed up. It was good weather for packing except one bit when it rained. We got packed and headed out. Grandpa wanted to go back to the Tractor Museum he was at yesterday, so we went our separate ways. We went to the center of Perth. Emma and Mum went to the Guide shop. We looked around the shops and laughed at the discount Aussie souvenir shops where everything was made in China and the shop was run by a Japanese. We looked around the place until lunch time and then headed out. We went down to Fremantle and drove along the water and had a look at the wharf. We had lunch at Fremantle South by the beach. The weather was still overcast, but it was a nice spot. It rained while we were in Perthís center, but after that it didnít much. It was still overcast all day though. We headed down the track to Rockingham. We saw a sign for a Macdonaldís, but it led us up the wrong way, and we got a little lost. We finally found it and had an icecream. We went to a shopping center and looked around while we waited for Grandma and Grandpa to catch us up. When they did, we hit the road again. We read about a free camp in a national park and headed that way. The road we wanted was closed because they were making a freeway, so we had to go around. We found our way to Jarrahdale, and from there to the Serpentine National Park. We found the camping ground. Apart from being a bit wet underfoot, it was very nice. There were even flushing loos, something you donít see very often in National Parks. We decided weíd probably stay two nights, as tomorrowís Sunday and Fatherís Day. Itís a pity I canít get TV reception, because thereís a good movie on tomorrow, but Dad said weíll rent it.
Sunday September 3rd.
Today is Fatherís Day. We gave Dad breakfast in bed and let him sleep in. It rained a little today, but only patchy and never too heavy. We stayed put today, so thereís not much to record. Grandpa cut lots of wood and dried it out both to use on the fire and to take to the next place where there wasnít any good wood. We used his reserve last night because all the wood here was wet. Grandpa bought some cooked prawns yesterday, but hadnít realised how much effort and time it took to shell them. After most of us helped for about half an hour, he decided that buying already shelled meat would be much better value. Anyway, we had prawn curry for lunch and it was very nice. We listened to a sermon and Dad went through this log, looking for mistakes. The campsite filled up with people at lunchtime who had come for a Fatherís Day BBQ. Some had tea here, but we are the only ones to stay for the night.
Monday September 4th.
We packed up and headed out. Before we left a council worker turned up to take the roof off the toilet block and fix it. We left and headed back toward the highway. We went over the Serpentine Dam and joined the highway at the other side. We went through North Dandalup and Mum saw a sigh saying that the Pinjarra bridge was being repaired and to expect delays. Dad didnít believe her and went back to have a look. She was right, but we pushed on anyway. We got through, and only had to wait a little while. We went to Bunbury and had lunch near the sea. It was a nice spot. We went on to Busselton and found a Macdonaldís. We radioed Grandma and asked if sheíd like an icecream. She said yes, but so did a heap of others who were using that channel on the UHF. As we left the town we went past a heap of church camps and a guide and scout camp right next to each other. We took a wrong turn and found ourselves in Yallingup down by the water and had to backtrack a little. We read about a free campsite near Margaret River and headed that way. We found the town and looked at a museum there and decided we might go there tomorrow. We headed up the road to the campsite and found it was much further than expected. We finally found the campsite called Canebreak Pool. It was a nice place and although the weather wasnít too nice we enjoyed it.
Tuesday Sept. 5th.
We packed up the tent in the dry, but the tent was still wet. We went back into Margaret River and went to the Museum. It was a bit disappointing and needed maintenance, but was interesting. We had a look at an Eagle Heritage bird park, but as it was now raining we gave it a miss. We drove on to Augusta. We went and looked at the Cape Leeuwin light-house. It was the most south-western point of Aus. It is also the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. We went back into Augusta and had lunch. Grandma and Grandpa had takeaway fishíníchips and we settled for sandwiches as take aways are expensive here. We had lunch in a bus stop and got wet getting things in and out of the car. We then headed east toward home. We went through a lot of rainforest (and rain) and got to Pemberton. We stopped at the visitorís information center for afternoon tea. The weather was still bad, so we decided we wanted an on-site van. We headed to Mangimup and camped at Fontyís Pool caravan park. We had a nice caravan and had room to invite Grandpa and Grandma to have tea here. As we got the stuff out of the trailer the handle broke on the back door so weíll be looking for a hardware store tomorrow. We filled in the log to here and put it on disks.
Wednesday Sept. 6th.
It rained during the night, so the van was a good idea. We got up and had showers. Dad got into trouble with Mum when he put he never-been-washed blue towel in with the white washing. Fortunately it didnít cause a problem. Grandma and Grandpa had a bit of trouble too. When they got up the door handle broke. Now we both needed a new handle. To make things worse, they were stuck in the camper. Grandpa climbed out the window, with the use of the ladder from his bed, and got his tools out of the front. He then took the handle off and let Grandma out. The door can still be locked with the small catch down the bottom. As we packed up it rained again. We got the gear in without too many problems. When we had packed Grandma let me use her printer and I printed a couple of letters I wanted to send. We left the park, but didnít go into the town of Manjimup, which was only two kilometres away. We went back part the way weíd come and then went further south. Most of the country was rainforest with lots of big trees. Kind of like parts of Tassie. We didnít do much. We stopped for morning tea at a rest area and later at a lookout. We got to Walpole and had lunch. As the weather was cold and there were free BBQs, we went to a shop and brought some hamburgers and cooked them up. Grandpa and Dad had fun trying to part the frozen hamburgers. From here we went to a place called the Tree-top walk. It is a walk on a raised platform at tree-top hight. Iím sure the view was interesting, but I didnít look down. The walkway swayed when walked on, and if youíre like Mum, Grandma, and me, the best bit is getting off at the end. It was worth the trip to say Iíd done it, even if I didnít see anything except the tops of trees as we walked by. When we were on ground level again we did another walk around the bottom of trees. I liked this one much better. We hit the road again and drove through Denmark! Apart from that, we didnít do much until we got to Albany. We drove into town and looked up what was the cheapest caravan park and headed for it. Mum forgot to navigate and Dad didnít know where to go. We left the main park of town and drove over a hill covered with scrub, and saw a heap of people and cars at a lookout pointing at something out to sea. Whales! At the next lookout we stopped and had a look through binoculars. When we hit the road again Mum looked at the map and found we were on the right road anyway. We found the park and booked in. For the price of the caravan last night we got a cabin. It was very nice and Grandpa got a powered site right next door. We watched Blue Heelers on the TV and went to bed.
Thursday Sept. 7th.
It rained a bit during the night, but the day was the best for a while, and the weather reports say itís getting better. We should be able to bush camp tonight. We moved out of the cabin and hit the road. We went back up the hill where weíd seen the whales and had a look at a monument there to the light-horse brigade from WWI. There was a lookout there too, which commanded a great view of the bay and parts of the town. Unfortunately, Grandma couldnít make the sixty steps to see either. From here we went up another road to an old fort. We decided to pay and have a look, but Grandpa and Grandma gave it a miss. It was a very good display. The fort was from before WWI and they used the buildings for the displays. There was more on the Light-horse brigade and on the Anzacs who actually sailed to Gallipole from Albany. There were big guns in emplacements and other bits of interesting stuff. An Army chaplain from Albany held the first dawn service and there was stuff about him too. After about two hours we were back on the road and looking for Grandpa. Heíd rung and said theyíd been looking through the museum inside the old sailing brig Amity. They had said it was good too, but we didnít have time to go through it. We went into town and posted some letters and did some groceries. We saw Dog Rock. It is a rock that looks like the head of a blood-hound. Dad found a RAC office and went to get some maps. Unlike the rest of the country, members still had to buy the maps, but they got a discount. We went to a caravan place and hardware shop right next to each other. This is where Grandpa finally caught up with us. Dad brought our new door handle from the hardware and Grandpa got his from the caravan place. We had lunch in the carpark, as Grandma and Grandpa had already had theirs. We hit the road and headed out of town. For the rest of the day the trip was fairly boring. Some of the time we were in farming country, gum forests, or coastal scrub areas. We decided to get some firewood, and as Mum was driving, had some trouble finding a place where there was wood and space to pull over. Eventually Dad took over driving and found a spot and we got our wood. We stopped at Jerramungup and used the loos and a man told us about a good campsite up the road a bit. We found the place and settled in. The Fitzroy River is somewhere nearby and there are quite a few mossies, but apart from that itís a nice spot.
Friday Sept. 8th.
Grandpa packed up first today and left before us. We left a while later after packing up a dry tent for the first time in ages. The first place of interest was Ravensthorpe. We came into town and saw Grandpaís camper. We did a loop and got fuel and when we went past again the camper had moved up the road a bit. We found a place to park. We found Grandpa and Grandma in a native flower show. There were heaps of wildflowers here. Mum and Grandma really enjoyed it and so would have Gran. After a while Grandpa went up the road to get his hair cut and we pushed on. We drove and drove. We had lunch at a park in Malingerup. We then drove some more until we came to Esperance. It is a bit smaller then Albany, but still big enough to have a Woolworths. We went to the tourist bureau and asked where things were. We went to the Post Office and got our mail. We sat and read it and finally got our boat tickets (I suppose we have to go home now). We then checked our email. Grandpa rang up and said he was in town and asked where we were. We met up and went shopping. They had driven through swam of bees and had the windscreen splatted with them and some had gotten into the car. After here we went to a lookout that over-looked the water and the town. We left the town and headed north. We travelled for a while through small towns looking for a campsite. We finally settled for a campsite between Scadon and Grasspatch. It is a sandy place in low scrub. The area around is rather wet underfoot and the mossies are as thick as flies.
Saturday Sept. 9th.
Today we packed up and Grandpa went ahead before we were packed. He decided to go a different way out. After a while we heard something that sounded like Grandma yelling help. We dubbed it the "Grandma bird". When we got the car started Grandpa radioed that he was stuck and needed a tow. We hit the highway and headed for the place heíd been trying to get out. He had bridged himself in the ditch beside the highway. When we got there a truck had stopped and offered to tow him with our snatch-strap. Instead Dad dropped off the trailer and gave him a tow. I got it on video. It was fairly easy to get him out and then we headed north. We went to Norseman, which is where we have to come back to head east. We had a look at the tourist bureau and drove around the town. We drove on to Wigywatsit and had lunch. Along the road we saw heaps of dead emus. During the trip we have seen lots of dead cows and kangaroos, but few dead emus until today. We drove into Kambalda and were surprised how big it was. It is big enough to have a Woolworths. After Grandpa got lost and led us on a crazy tour of the town, we discovered we were in Kambalda West and the main town was still to come. We decided not to spend too long here and gave it a miss. After another period of boring travel we arrived at Boulder-Kalgoorlie. We were in Boulder first and drove through it to Kalgoorlie. They are two goldmineg towns that have grown into one. We went to the Goldfields Museum and looked around there for an hour. It was quite interesting. We put our photo films in to be processed and then found a Top Tourist caravan park. It was basically full and we were told we may need to share a site, but when the guy showed us around he found two sites that used to be permanent sites and werenít listed in the office. We ended up camping here for only eighteen dollars, and that was for both sites, Itís the cheapest caravanpark weíve been in, even if it was an accident. It is a pretty cool caravan park. Instead of a key to the toliets you get a code and have to type in on a keyboard before the door will open.
Sunday Sept 10th.
Today some of us slept in (okay, so I was last up). We got up and packed up. Dad put some things on the roof under the boat and the caravan park man said he was worried about us getting the boat down when there wasnít any water for miles. We left the park and headed out. Grandpa had a card to open the boom gate, but as he hadnít used it to get in, it thought he was still outside and wouldnít let him come out of the park until he had come in. The lady from the office helped us out. We went for a drive through town and picked up the photos. Some were good shots, but others were fairly poor. We went out a different road to the one we had come up on. One of the reasons was that we wanted to go through Coolgardie. We got there and found it was a lot smaller than Kalgoorlie. It was another mining town, but wasnít as prosperous. We got fuel and had a look around. We walked around a park full of statues and old machinery that was just pilled there without any explanation. Grandpa got fuel while we went to the toilet and when we got back he had gone and we werenít sure which way. We headed down the road to Normanton again and soon caught up at a roadworks. We headed south again. There isnít much to tell. We had lunch at Wigywatsit again. We went back to Norseman. Grandpa asked Dad over the radio to tell him what the price of diesel was at BP and another guy chirped up that it was always cheaper at Ampol. We got fuel at BP and they went to Ampol. We did a little shopping and filled up Grandpaís water tank. We hit the road and headed east. We were now on the Nullarbor. Nullarbor means "no trees" in Latin, but so far there were lots of trees. In patches there were just shrubs. We went a while and found a lot of possible campsites, but Dad said weíd keep on going. Lots of Sundays when we go past possible sites we then have trouble, and today we had a bit too. Suddenly there were fences and we couldnít get off the road. A sign said there wasnít another rest area for over 200 kilometres, but we have a brochure on rest areas that said there were some. We trusted it and went ahead. We finally found a rest area that wasnít marked on the road, but the road leading off the highway was called Newman Rocks, which is the name of a rest area in the book, so we went down it. We found the site and we had it all to ourselves. We set up camp and cooked tea. We had roast chicken and listened to a sermon while it cooked.
Monday Sept. 11th,
Today is one of the tripís boreingest days. It really is the Nulla-boreing. We got up early. I have been told to note that Grandma was up before seven. They left at seven-thirty and went ahead and we followed later at a quarter to eight. We caught up at the Balladonia roadhouse. We got fuel and Dad picked up a travel quiz about the Nullarbor road. We pushed on and I have been told also to write that we broke the tradition of not having a morning tea break and had two. We stopped at most of the roadhouses and filled up at most of them. The price was getting more at every one. We had lunch at a rest area. We went on Aussieís straightest bit of road. 90 miles and ?140? Kilometers. Twice the road was marked as a Flying Doctors Emergency airstrip. Just before Madura we drove down a cutting and found ourselves driving on the bottom side of cliffs for the rest of the day. The plain above and the plain below were similar, but with a steep hillside separating them. At Mundrabilla we stopped at what had been a Caltex service station that now accepted BP cards. This was the cheapest fuel weíve seen since Norseman or somewhere. We drove on and camped in a rest area this side of Eucla. We drove for about six hours today and covered over five hundred kilometers. Sometime today we crossed a semi-official time zone and adjusted our clocks three quaters of an hour.
Tuesday Sept. 12th.
Last night it was very moonlight. I got up and it was almost as easy to see as during the day, except it was in black and white. Later on the wind picked up and when we got up the toilet tent had blown over. Grandpa was the first up, but as he didnít know how he wasnít game to put the tent back up until someone else was up. I was next up and helped him out. We got going early again. Grandpa left a while ahead of us again. It didnít take us long to get to Eucla. Just before we got there we saw sand dunes and the sea a couple of times. The hill we had come down yesterday and had driven on the bottom side of, seemed to turn into sand dunes and disappear into the sea. Before we got there the road went back up the hill to the plateau and the town. We arrived a little after Grandpa and had to find them. From here we down a short drive back down the hill and to the sand dunes to look at the old telegraph station. The track was rougher than we expected and it slowed Grandpa down. From the carpark it was a short walk over the sand dunes to the ruins. It would have originally been built on solid ground, but the sand dunes now half cover it. One side is exposed and we walked through the doors and windows. Most of it was covered with sand to roof height and we were walking on top of it. We decided this was probably a house and the other ruin would be the actual station. The reason is that we saw a photo from when it was in use and it had one big room and the one we saw had lots of smaller ones. Anyway we headed back up to the town. We saw some emus trying to take off on the runway. As we drove up the hill we saw where the highway went up and saw a interesting truck go up. When we were at the top we stopped and filmed it. It was one of those huge dumptrucks that get used in mines. After we left the town we headed east again. We crossed the border at border village and stopped and put our clocks forward another three quarters of an hour. We are now in South Australia again. We have said goodbye to W.A. for this trip. After here we decided we needed to push on and headed out. Although Grandpa didnít stop, we did. First Dad needed to use a tree, and soon after they ran out. Iíd better clear this up, there were still trees in sight, but not big and often to far to walk. The other reason was we had a look from a lookout. This part of the Great Australian Bight has big cliffs going down to the nice blue water. It was a very pretty spot and we took some footage. We then noticed some whales playing around and stayed and watched them. Some even did the thing of putting their tails in the air. We tried to get it on film. It was interesting, but I wasnít game to go near the edge, especially with the gusts of wind. We decided we had to catch Grandpa up and headed out. We drove and drove and caught Grandpa just before the Nullarbor Roadhouse. They had taken a break too and thought we must have passed them and were rushing to catch us. We both stopped at the Nullarbor Roadhouse and had lunch there. This had the second whale statue we have seen today (first at Eucla) and Grandpa took a photo for Ayden. For a while after here there werenít any trees and just saltbush of no more than two feet. It didnít last very long though. Dad just thought he should take some footage while there were no trees in sight when we found them again. From here on the country became more normal and sometimes farmed. We stopped at the aborigine owned petrol station at Yalata. As it wasnít BP and was expensive we filled our tank from our jerry cans. The cans had got warm and the petrol had expanded and built up pressure so when Dad opened it, it slopped and spilt on him. He put on a clean shirt and we drove on. The country became more civilised and farmed and we were basically out of camping country. We read about a rest area this side of Penong and headed for it. We went through Nundroo and came to the area. It was okay and had a few trees about. We camped here, even though part of the ground was hard to put pegs in. Grandma made a comment about the moon being full and Mum said it made some people go strange and do weird things. By the way they are acting now I can believe it.
Wednesday Sept. 13th.
Today we got up and found that it was windy and that there were heaps of flies again. The toilet didnít blow down today because we had used better pegs and tied it to a tree. Grandpa packed up and headed out before us again. We packed up and somehow we forgot to tie down one side of the tarp. We left and headed into Penong. We didnít do much here. Grandpa brought some bread and we got a postcard. We then headed on to Ceduna. We were stopped at the checkpoint and gave up the fruit waste. We had planned it well and had eaten our last fruit in the car. Grandpa was in the lead and we stopped at a BP just this side of the checkpoint. As we stopped we saw a roadtrain with a load of Chamberlain Tractors coming back from their trek. We radioed Grandpa and asked if heíd seen them. As soon as he heard the word tractor he was pulling over. He came back and had a look and chatted to a lady who was also looking. As it was still very windy Grandma said theyíd be blown into the water. We then went into town and did some shopping and stocked up on fruit and veg again. Emma tried to post a letter but couldnít find the right door to the post office. Eventually Grandpa told her where to go. We had lunch down by the water. Just over the road was a caravan park that Grandpa and Grandma stayed at last trip. Grandma told Grandpa off for not remembering having a meal at a pub there. We then drove down to Smokey Bay. As we went into town we saw a wreckers yard with some old tractors, and this is where Grandpa headed as soon as he left town. In town we brought an icecream and Grandpa was impressed because choc wedges were back to a dollar and have been as high as two dollars fifty. He went back to the wreckers yard and would have stayed for a while, except he didnít see the sign that said browsers welcome and Grandma didnít tell him until afterwards. We headed further down to Streaky Bay. Along the way we passed some professional looking bicycle riders. They were pulled up by a police man and he was talking to them. As we got there he moved on and talked to a caravan and the bikers kept going. Along the road we stopped at a lookout and the policeman passed us. As we were stopped the bikers rode up and stopped. They were fairly old to do this type of thing. Dad said hello and one replied "Bonjour". Grandpa didnít hear what he said and then said "Howís it going?" The biker stopped and looked perplexed for a while, then said in a French ascent, "Tis good," and put up his thumb. We got to Streaky bay and headed for the caravan park. We passed the police man in town. Grandpa said he remembered having a meal in a pub here and Grandma had to admit she had been wrong. We booked into the park and spent ages deciding where to set up. This was due to the fact that no-one would choose and kept saying that they didnít mind. We finally decided and set up camp. Grandma and Grandpa had also stayed here before. We did the washing and in "a moment of madness" Grandma took the sheets off her bed and got them washed. She regretted it when she had to put them back on.
Thursday Sept. 14th,
I was up first today, but for some reason I was really tired today. We packed up and headed further south. Grandma and Grandpa did a different drive round town and were later leaving than us. We waited for them at a place called Eyreís waterhole. Along the road a bit was the rock formation called Murphyís Haystacks. We originally planed to stop here, but as Dad and Grandpa saw them from the road we kept going. I didnít get to see them at all. During the day we passed the French cyclists again. We had a look at Elliston. We went up to a lookout and then went back into town. Grandma said there were lots of murals (theyíd been there before) and we had a look at them. We stopped at a hall with public loos and Emma and I went to film a shingleback lizard crossing the road. Weíve seen hundreds of these on the roads. We decided to have lunch and Grandpa lead the way while we got in the car. Mum said she had see them drive one way and so we went that way. When we radioed them, they said they had gone the other way and Mum had been wrong. We then took a different road to the waterfront where we thought they were, but still couldnít find them. We drove back up the street to the hall, and found them. They were visible from the turn where Mum had turned us wrong. After here we had a look at a lot of small towns, but I canít remember them very well. We passed those French bikers again. Grandma and Grandpa left us during the afternoon and headed out toward Cummins to see friends. We arranged to meet tomorrow at Cowell. We wanted to get a bush camp if we could and went down to Farm Beach where a map said there was coastal camping. We discovered Farm beach has a caravan storage, a piece of land where residents leave their old caravans, and drag their caravans out to above the high-water mark in summer. This wasnít our sort of camping, so we didnít stay for that. The caravan storage area looked like a very run-down caravan park, but we didnít find it very appealing. There was a tractor storage area too, where people left their old tractors they use to launch boats. Grandpa would have been interested. We went for a drive up a track that took us out on a point, but was too rocky for camping. We then decided to aim for a national park camping ground. We must have driven through the township of Coffin Bay, but I donít remember it. We camped at a campground inside the Coffin Bay National Park. It was better than most National Parks and had a fire place, but didnít supply wood. It was a pretty nice place to camp.
Friday Sept. 15th.
Today I slept in and it took us a while to get going. We went to Port Lincoln today, which is the big town on the bottom of the Eyre peninsula. We found a BP in the book, but had trouble finding it even with the address. The reason was that it was a shell that took BP cards. After having looked around here we headed north. We passed the French bikers again. We had lunch at Tumby Bay beside the water. We were amused by the sea gulls fighting with the bigger ocean gulls and a sea eagle being attacked by a magpie wren. When we left we passed the France bikers yet again. We then drove up the coast through Arno Bay to Cowell where we were supposed to meet Grandpa later. We drove around the town three times to fill in time. Mum took the others to a Jade shop and had a look. I didnít go in, but Iím told the person wanted to sell Dad an eyebrow ring. We had seen the main caravan park and hadnít liked the look of it as much as most beachside ones. We had a look at the other one out of town a bit and checked in. It was a nice park and gave us some free fish. As today was the start of the Olympics, I set up the TV so we could watch it. It was interesting, but after hearing all bout it all day on the ABC radio, I was already a bit sick of it. Grandpa and Grandma rocked up after it had started and watched it too. I stayed up late and watched Chariots of Fire. Dad said that he wasnít sure if I would be able to get up in the morning.
Saturday Sept. 16th,
I was the first one up today. There were lots of flies about as we packed up. We got going and headed to Whyalla. Grandma had been there before and recommended Hummock Hill Lookout. We went up there after convincing Mum she didnít mean Fraser lookout. We went up there to what had been a gun emplacement during the war and had been turned into a lookout over the town and BHP workings. The whole town is basically a red-brown colour. If the buildings werenít painted that colour they were made that colour later by the dust and dirt from the BHP works. Grandma and Grandpa went on ahead, but recommended a museum. We went down and inland a bit. The first thing we saw of the museum was the navy ship Whyalla sitting high and dry. We went into the museum and looked around. The Whyalla was the first ship built in the town and served during the war. It was then used by a company for a while until the council brought it and took it out of the water and restored it. We were given a guided tour through the ship, a corvette, and enjoyed it. The only problem was that the museum has a model railway display, but it was being re-modelled and not working. After here we hit the road toward Port Augusta. All day Mum and Dad listened to the radio and the Olympics. It got extremely boring. At Port Augusta we found Grandpa and Grandma near a Woolworths. Mum went and brought some sauce for lunch and I went and brought some batteries for my walkman and a new tape to listen to when the others want the Olympics. We do a drive through town looking for a park. We ended up out the other side and had lunch at a pull-off beside the road. The flies here were really thick and annoying. The only good bit was that we saw a glider take off and fly over and land. It was strange, it seemed launch with an engine on itís tow rope and not a plane, that it later dropped to earth. We moved on and came to a place called Snowtown. It has been famous for some murders when bodies have been kept in a bank vault. We checked into a huge caravan park. It has three sites. The caretaker is very chatty and talked for ages. We take up two thirds of the park.
Sunday Sept. 17th.
Last night a couple of trains went past, including the Indian Pacific, while Grandma was thrilled to see. In the morining Dad spilt coffee on Mum and burnt her a little (I wasnít there, Iím relying on stories). We drove through Balaklava down the road a bit. We went through Nuriootpa and Angaston on our way South. We didnít stop much and just drove through. As we went further down we came to the area that my great-great-great grandfather lived and Grandpa had been here before looking up where he lived. We called in at Collingrove homestead where there was an old church where Grandfather Fairy preached on occasion. From here we went into the town of Keyneton. We looked at the house where he had lived and then headed toward the church he preached in most of the time. We went past an old church and on to another near a graveyard. Grandpa said heíd forgotten and that the church here was a different one and the one we wanted was the one weíd passed. We had a look at the graveyard though, because one of Mr. Fairys sons drowned in a dam and is buried here. We went back down the road to the church and had a look around the outside. We headed out and stopped at the Herbig family tree. It is where a family lived in the hollow bottom of a tree. From here we drove on to Mt. Pleasant and had lunch in a park here. There are a lot of wooden animals here, including crocodiles and snakes. We went further on to Murray Bridge and down to Wellington. Here we caught a ferry to cross the Murray River. We went down the road to Mellingie and down to the coast near the Coorong peninsula. We saw some Pelicans flying in a "v" formation. We drove along the road and passed quite a few caravan parks on the foreshore, but as the day was overcast and grey and there was a bit of wind, we aimed for a more sheltered one inland that Grandpa had stayed at before. It was just short of Salt Creek and we checked in. We were the only campers here and another car is parked near the cabins. We think itís in a national park and most of the buildings are old farm buildings. We started out without the annex but put it up a while ago because it started drizzling. As soon as it was up the rain stopped.
Monday Sept. 18th.
Grandpa packed up first and headed out ahead of us. We went through Salt Creek. We didnít think it would be very big until we saw signs for both a Shell and Ampol service station, so we though it might be a reasonable size. In reality it wasnít much more than the two servos and a couple of shacks. We hadnít caught up to Grandpa yet and passed a crossing to the Coorong, but it was closed. We then found the "Forty-mile" crossing and decided to have a look. It is forty miles from somewhere, not that long. We drove along the track and wondered what the crossing would be like, was it a ford, and if so, was it natural or man-made. We eventually discovered we were driving on it. We got to the Coorong and walked up a sand-dune for a look. We didnít stay too long because we still had to catch Grandpa up. We got to a town called South-East Kingston. Can you guess where Grandpa was? At a tractor museum. He had finished there though and was ready to move. We had a drive through look of Kingston including the giant lobster and then headed down the road. We went to Millicent and saw a Kimberly-Clark paper mill. We werenít sure if Grandpa went ahead or was behind us. We decided to speed up and see if we caught him. We did. The country around here has lots of pine plantations for the paper mill. We got to Mount Gambier about lunch time. Grandma had counted her money last night and decided to cook lunch. We had McDonalds. Grandma wants me to put in that she did the washing up too. After here we crossed the border into Victoria. Not far in we met a roadblock. Every one was there. The police got Dad to do a breath-test, and the fishery guys got us to open the back and trailer looking for fish. There were other services there too, but they didnít bother with us. We drove through Heywood and on to Port Fairy. We decided we needed to press on for a while but thought Grandpa might be tired. We asked if they wanted an afternoon tea break. Grandma perked up at the idea, but we discovered that Grandpa wanted to keep going and try and break the record of our longest day. We watched the surf and a guy braving the cold to go surfing. We went through Warrnambool, which was bigger than expected and onto the Great Ocean Road. We stopped at the Bay of Islands for a look. It is an interesting place where parts of the bank have floated out to sea. We went to Peterborough and booked into a caravan park for the night. It is a top tourist and a very nice one too with a friendly caretaker who came and made sure we were okay a few times.
Tuesday Sept. 19th.
The caravan park was very nice, but we had a sleepless night. To start with, Emma hadnít been in bed long before she needed to go to the loo, but was a little worried by some unfriendly looking people hanging around outside, and Dad got up and made sure she was okay. After midnight, although I slept through it, some loons in a car with the radio up loud came driving around the park looking for some young girls who were staying here. Dad got up and offered to pop them one, and they left a lot more quietly than they had arrived. Later it got very windy and things started blowing about. Dad got up and found most of our stuff had survived, but Grandpaís annex had pulled itself down. Grandpa got up too and they took it down and packed it up. At six my alarm went off and woke everyone up except me. Dad finally got me to wake up and turn it off, but I thought I was dreaming. I woke up later and wondered why it hadnít gone off. We were all up fairly late, but partly because we were used to the other time-zone. Grandpa got up after me and was worried heíd missed the porridge again by being late. I assured him that as Dad wasnít up yet he hadnít missed it. Apart from the night here and the weather, I think it was one of the best parks of the trip. Dad talked to the manager, who had slept through everything, and he rang the girls mother, who was horrified, and was about to evict them as we left. The first interesting thing of the day was the Grotto. It is a cave down near the water. We looked from a lookout, but didnít go down because it was still overcast and threatening and we also had to catch up with Grandpa again. We had a look at London Bridge further down the road. London Bridge has fallen down! It used to be two arches that you could walk out on, but the first one caved in, leaving an island. The terrible thing was that there were people out there who had to wait for a helicopter to rescue them. We went along to the Loch Ard blowhole and had a look. There were a lot of places around here to look at, but as it started raining we only went to the Loch Ard Gorge. Emma and Mum didnít bother getting out of the car, and Dad and I went and took some footage. We went through Port Campbell to the Twelve Apostles. These are more formations that are tall small islands not far off the coast. Again, only Dad and I had a look. We went to Apollo Bay for lunch, but the main park was crowded by picnickers. We settled for a park near the tourist bureau. We went through Lorne and Aires Inlet. We saw quite a few surfers brave the weather and rocks. We went past Bells beach, which is one of Aussieís best surf beaches. We decided to try and stay at Queenscliff or somewhere and crossed the Barwon Heads bridge. We went into Queenscliff and stopped at the Big4 caravan park. As it started raining we wanted an on-site van or cabin. They were fairly full, and could only offer a motel room. We rang up the other parks, but they were full too. We booked in and found it was a very nice two-room affair with itís own toilet. It had a TV, which Mum liked because she could watch the swimming. As we sat there we heard a screech and turned to see a car stack into a telegraph pole. The road was fairly slippery, and we told Dad to be careful when he went shopping. I find it hard to believe that tomorrow weíll be on the boat.
Wednesday Sept. 20th.
Today we got up early and packed our gear up for probably the last time. We separated the stuff we wanted on the boat from the other gear. We went to Grandpaís camper and waited for Grandma to get back from the shower. We said goodbye and wished each other a safe trip. We then hit the road toward Geelong. Today we wanted to do some birthday present shopping, so we headed through Geelong toward Melbourne to find a shopping center. We found our way down to where the boat is docked and unhitched our trailer and left it parked there. We went toward St. Kilda looking for a shopping center. Melbourne must have lots of them, but we had heaps of trouble finding one. We eventually found one at _______. It was huge. There was Target, K-mart, David Jones, Myre, Coles, and Bi-lo there, just to name the big names. We did our shopping, hard as it was, and then wanted lunch. Dad had promised us another Subway lunch and we headed out looking for one. Melbourne seems to be hiding things from us, but eventually we found one. It took us a while to find a carpark, but got one and brought lunch. We stopped at McDonalds and brought icecreams and a McCafe coffee for Mum and Dad. We then headed back to the wharf and attached the trailer and waited for while. We queued up and the rest of us were about to board via the gangplank when an official told Dad he had to empty his jerry cans and fill them with water. We had topped up our tanks and jerrys with cheap fuel, so we only fitted one and a bit in the tank. We then went and tried to give the rest away. Most people took diesel or super or had full tanks. We finally gave it away. We then filled them with water and was a little grumpy when we boarded. We dropped our bags off and then went to the theatrette to see what was on. It was Prince of Egypt. We watched it because we were fairly bored with everything else. We then went back to the cabins and read for a while. We went to tea and as we were eating we came out of the heads and the voyage which had been really smooth got a bit rougher. It is rocking a bit, but not too bad yet. Unlike previous crossings the cabin temperature is quite reasonable and not super hot. We will be home tomorrow. There is so much we have to do when we get back. We need to unpack and then get the car ready to sell, a dayís work in itself, and find at least one car to buy. We donít know what to expect at home. Weíll need to do some shopping and maybe lawn mowing and gardening and things. Mum and Dad need to move their clothes and things from the school room back into their room. As well as this and other things we want to catch up with family and friends, especially Grandma Kerrison who is really missing us. All that and only one car, and we want to get rid if that as soon as possible, and Dad goes back to work on Monday. Our epic trip is nearly over.
Thursday Sept 21st.
Today was fun, but seemed like a big anti-climax. Actually slept on the boat this time. We went for breakfast and then prepared to dock. As a couple of people had talked about meeting us at the boat Mum, Emma, and I walked off and then waited for Dad to drive off in case someone was waiting there. No one was. We waited for ages. Dad had expected to be one of the first to leave the boat, but theyíd changed procedure and we were one of the last. He finally made it off and went through quarantine. He handed in a bit of fruit and they didnít bother even checking the car. We hopped in and drove to Rebeccaís. We were welcomed home and Bec commented on my glasses. We stayed a while and then headed back for home. We stopped at Geneva and gave the Lincolns back the water containers theyíd lent us. They really wanted to hear our stories, but we only had time for a short talk. We finally headed home. We noticed the changes that had happened in our five months. Paddocks that had been grass were now growing a tree plantation and some other things had changed. Most of it was still the same though. We got home and discovered that Alison and the guides werenít here yet. She had been here, because we could see the mop and broom where sheíd been cleaning. She arrived not long after with some food and Emmaís friend Stacey. We started unpacking and moving back into the house, Marcus was supposed to keep the lawn mown, but every time heíd been free lately it had rained. The grass was pretty high and would take a couple mows. The Vasics turned up and we had a welcome home lunch. After this the rest of the day was spend moving back in. The next couple of days were the same. There was a lot to do. We had to mow the lawn and unpack the trailer and get the car ready to be sold. We also plan to go up to visit Grandma Kerrison sometime soon. There are many other friends we want to catch up with. But even so, We all feel like the trip shouldnít be over. It was too much of an anti-climax. We are so used to travelling now. I almost feel like the trip didnít happen at all. It almost as if itís something weíre dreaming of doing one day and we never actually left.