Boys on Tour.

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 16:04
ThreadID: 53832 Views:4447 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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7.30 Monday the 10/12/07 Kissed the wife good bye and headed off, driving through Kakadu thinking how much it will change before I return.

About 9 am disaster strikes. I look in the rear view mirror to see smoke bellowing off the camper tyre, so I pull over to find that the spring hanger has broken off.

A slight mod and I nursed it 10 km to Mary River Ranger station, These guys let me use their work shop and I was able to fix it and I was on my way.

Now 3 hours behind I cruised into Katherine and fuelled up, had some lunch and on my way.

I reached Renner Springs at 9 pm, had some dinner and got to the Three Ways at 11.30.

7.30am on the 8th packed up the camper and headed east now back on time, 75 km before the Barkley Homestead the phone rings it's a mate just saying g'day ( who said Next G is Crap lol, anyway, a quick bite and off to the Border onto Camooweal then Mt Isa.

I fuelled up at Mt Isa and had lunch then set off for Normanton.

If it seems like I'm travelling fast here it's because I was on my own and did this section last year, I was just keen to catch up with Mum and Dad before my sister, her two kids and Philip arrived the next Monday.

I got to Normanton at 8.30 and it was pounding down and off to the east was the most amazing lightning storm, so I decided to drive through it and find some where dry to camp, I am now doing 60 kph, finally at 2.30 am I decided to sleep in the car as the rain and lightning weren't giving up. I was just before Mt Surprise, a total of 1500 km travelled that day, as the sun rose, just after 5am the rain had stopped so a bush shower on the side of the road and off again.

I reached Lake Tinaroo (Yungaburra) just after 10 am much to the surprise of Mum and Dad. After setting up the camper Mum and Dad had plans for lunch so I laid down for a rest.

Mum woke me at 6 pm and said dinner would be ready soon, so I must have been tired.

We spent the next 3 days there before moving to Cairns.

We stayed at Cool Waters Caravan Park. The rates were reasonable, the park had budget, cabin and motel style accom, it also had camping areas, a great pool and spa with a BBQ area and a large camp kitchen set in a well established tropical garden with a creek flowing through with fish and turtle feeding, it also had a PieWIFI wireless hot spot.

Monday the rest of the family arrived (let the chaos begin), anyway, the usual Xmas shopping and short trips were done, one day Philip and I drove up to Cape Trib and then on the Bloomfield track to Wujal Wujal. Then we went back to Palm Cove jetty where Philip caught his first ever fish (a Yellow Tail).

Xmas came and went we did a few more short trips, then I had a lunch with Neil and Margie at the Cock & Bull. Crazy Dog wasn't able to make it that day but I went to his house the next day for a beer or two, This man is a wealth of knowledge and helped me sort out a few problems with my batteries.
Thanks guys for spending time to catch up!

On the 2nd of the 1st 08 I had my car booked into Cairns Toyota for a throttle timing adjustment to stop copious amounts of black smoke. While it was there they did the recall on the front disc rotors, total cost was $104 as quoted no extras for the disc rotor job. I picked the car up at 11.30 as told, excellent service worth a big plug.

We left Cairns after lunch and off to Mission Beach to catch up with Doug T from FNQ, We spent the afternoon talking and having a couple of beers, I now understand Doug a whole lot better. LOL.

The next day we drove to Cape Hillsborough N.P. and spent 3 days there waiting for the weather to clear on Fraser Island.

The caravan and camping area and the pool were great, the rates were 25 per night with power. The toilet block could have been better and so could have been the attitude of some of the staff, other than that we had a great time in the area.

We set off for Fraser Island and got as far as Gin Gin and our first Motel for the trip.

The next day we went to Hervey Bay and then to Inskip Point and 3 days on Fraser. Yes we supported the Manta Ray barge.

The first day on Fraser was great, not including the clean up around our camp see thread 53810, we went to Kingfisher Bay and did some fishing off the jetty and a bit of fun 4WDing the Island, that afternoon Philip had a ball swimming in the wash on the beach.

The next day the weather was pretty average but that didn't stop us 4WDing some of the places we didn't go last year.

The third day we decided to leave early as the tide was high at 9 am, which meant we could do nothing until 1pm, so up at 5am packed up the camper an off down the beach. With literally minutes to spare I reached the inland road and down to Inskip Point.

After spending about $25 at the car wash we set off to Bundaberg and out to Turtle Sands Caravan Park (Mon Repos). We spent 3 days there without seeing a turtle laying eggs but we did see where they had been. This is a great family area, the rates were $24 for power, clean toilets, no pool but beach swimming, turtle tours or do it yourself, and great fishing areas not far EG: Bagara andBurnett Heads, I had the car serviced at GT Autos in Bundaberg. These guys fitted me in without a fuss. I had my own oil, so with filters and labour and they fixed a couple of small things they only charged me $84, I was well impressed so another big plug.

We met some really nice people Mon Repos and Philip made heaps of friends. It was good for him as after we left, it was just him and I for the remainder of the trip.

Off to the dessert we went the first day we reached Mitchell and our second motel with a roast dinner at the local pub. The next day we got as far as Noccundra, a small road house with great people, it was $9 for a powered site. Stan the barman gave me some great tips for the Strzelecki Track and a big thanks to him.

70 km on from Quilpie there is a place called Eromanga it make its own Diesel being in the SANTOS oil fields and you pay $1.46 per litre.

Well, off to the Dessert we go, the first stop was at the Dig Tree and we had lunch there. This was another tick off my things to do before I die and I was not disappointed. It was hot, as you would expect. Philip was keen to learn all about Burke and Wills and the Dig Tree is still one of his highlights.

We then set out for Burke's Grave and Innamincka, as we approached Innamincka the sky was getting dark around us, so a quick trip out to Wills grave and Kings place. Then back to Innamincka to fuel up $1.88 per litre, it was 49 degrees in the shade. I decided to head south as I was not keen to get stuck there although I had enough provisions for 9 days. So off we set on the Strzelecki Track. Well, about 100 kms out of Innamincka bang! a tyre on the camper blew, luckily the worst of the bad road was behind us and after replacing the wheel off we went, Well, how pretty is the Strzelecki desert?

We ended up just past Montecollinal bore and camped on top of a ridge for the night.

Packing up the camper the next morning was fun as the wind was blowing a gale and Philip learnt some new words today.

Once packed we went onto Lyndhurst, fuelled up and off to Marree to replace the tyre before setting off to Oodnadatta. 2 km out of Marree I blew my first ever Bridgestone 693. It had done over 55000 km so I wasn't too upset until I replaced it in Marree.

I replaced the 2 back tyres and he had the 693s so that was good. The trouble was they were $100 more than I pay for them at home, a brand new tyre for the camper as he had no second hand ones, so $880 later off we went.

At this point the cold Philip got in Bundaberg had been passed onto me and I decided to push the trip on a bit quicker, so off to Oodnadatta we went and once again the drive was picturesque and fantastic.

We got to Oodnadatta at 7pm and the place was like a ghost town so we camped about 10 km out of town, the next morning we headed for Marla, had a hot shower, and the off to the Rock.

We got to Yulara and did sunset at Ayers Rock, the next morning we did some small walks around Kata Tjuta and the rock before heading to Alice for a couple of days.

While we were in Alice we went back to the camel farm and did a camel ride. Philip loved that! Then we went to Rainbow Valley before returning to Alice. The girl at Stuart Well roadhouse said the Hugh River Stock route was open to the public even though the sigh on the gate says no entry, this will take you to Maryvale station and on to Chambers Pillar, the start of the stock route is 101 km south of Alice on the Stuart Hwy and is 92 km to Maryvale Station.

We had an extra day in Alice, we were both pretty stuffed by then as this cold had really taken over. Drove to Daly Waters on Monday and arrived home 4.30 pm yesterday.

2 states, 1 Territory, 12300 km, and one awesome time.

Cheers Steve
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:01

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:01
Hey Steve,

A good read mate.
Sounds like you guys had a ball.


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AnswerID: 283371

Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:08

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:08
Phew!! I'm tired just reading it hehehehe.

What a trip in anyone's book. Glad it went well and only a couple of incidents to test the language skills.

Cheers, Trevor.
AnswerID: 283373

Reply By: Member - Crazy Dog (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:15

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:15
Yo Steve and Philip,

What a hoot you pair had. Extremely jealous of you both. Pleased to hear only very minor issues on the trip and pleased you both got home safely...

BTW Doug T visited the other week and we both had a good chinwag as well....

It was really great to meet you both and I look forward to catching up again sometime in the future.

From Marg and Lance in Cairns...
AnswerID: 283374

Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:04

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:04
Hey Lance

A day without learning is a day wasted, that afternoon I spent at your place I learnt heaps.

It was also fun to teach Philip about our history, I actually feel proud and privileged to have had the opportunity to take him on such a journey.

I still want to be out there, but we have to come home some time.

If you ever venture this way my door is open.

Cheers Steve.
FollowupID: 548042

Follow Up By: Member - Crazy Dog (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:23

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:23
Mate it takes an evening to demolish a cartoon so I will be your way - just a matter when......

Teaching our children and our grandchildren (to the best of our ability) has been one highlight of my life as you already know so I do understand your feelings regarding the young fella.....

Talk soon my man.... regards to the family..

FollowupID: 548051

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:50

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 18:50
It must be a hard life Steve, but then I suppose someone has got to do it! Cheers.
AnswerID: 283379

Reply By: Members-Neil & Margie-Cairns - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:31

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:31
G'day Steve ,, good to see your home safe , bit of luck we'll be out your way later this year , will catch up then ,, all the best ,,

Neil & Margie ..

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AnswerID: 283444

Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:44

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 22:44
Hey how you guys going??

We had a great time, we have already started to make plans for next year, the west coast beckons.

Give us a yell when you decide to come over and I will give you some tips.

Cheers Steve.
FollowupID: 548063

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