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Travelling Oz - Part 1

Travelling Oz - Part 1

After a year of deliberations in 2012/2013 we decided now was the time to retire, purchase our motorhome and sell our house much to the surprise and bewilderment of family and friends. We picked up our new bus from The Motorhome Conversion Company in July 2013 and drove back to Cairns via the inland roads. Now it was time to sell the house, start researching and preparing for our new adventure of a lifetime. To familiarise ourselves with the motorhome, we did some short trips around North Queensland to Bramston Beach, Kurrimine Beach and Cooktown. After these short sojourns, we were confident enough to get into bigger trips and travel on the road permanently.

Once school started late January 2015 and we saw our second grandchild off to school for the first time, we headed on our first planned adventure travelling from Cairns via Innisfail, Ravenshoe, Mount Garnet, Mount Surprise, Croydon, Normanton then down to Cloncurry, Mount Isa, west to Camooweal, to Three Ways and south to Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Marla, Coober Pedy, Port Augusta and then Adelaide. This would be a mammoth journey of around 4,044 kilometers. We planned to be in Adelaide for our granddaughter’s second birthday mid February 2015 so the journey to Adelaide was virtually straight through over a period of 8 nights.

The whole trip was to free camp wherever possible on the entire journey. Our motorhome only has cabin air conditioning and unfortunately the weather in April was unusually hot with temperatures ranging up to 41 degrees and the sun not setting until 8.30 to 9pm except Coober Pedy where it did not set until 10pm! Along our journey we experienced the Australian way of flies during the day and mosquitoes after sunset. Fortunately prior to our trip we had purchased flexible fly screens which we mounted on the windows quickly before each stop. These screens proved invaluable and allowed us to escape the flies during the day and enjoy a good night’s sleep. We highly recommend these flexible fly screens during the dry time of year to anyone travelling west. We did a lot of miles during the day to escape the heat and use the cabin AC and stopped wherever we fancied for our free camp for the night. Travelling at this time of the year is very hot and dry and apart from large river systems such as the Georgina River (too muddy for swimming) outside of Camooweal, all creeks were dry so there was no option of stopping and cooling down.

One pleasant surprise was a stop at the Mary Anne Dam just before Tennant Creek. There was plenty of water for an enjoyable cool dip. There is no camping at this dam only day trips. This dam serves as the water supply for the town of Tennant Creek. Another enjoyable night was a stop at the Finke River just before the border between NT and SA. This river is one the ancient river systems and whilst the river itself is rather wide it has only a small trickle of water in it. We have been told it only flows once a year in the wet season. We were able to enjoy a much needed cooling down by lying in the shallows. 

Coober Pedy was quite interesting with underground houses and facilities; however February is not a good time for a visit. We plan to go back when the temperature is much cooler. We decided to stay in a caravan park in Coober Pedy and enjoy a swim in the pool to escape the heat however much to our dismay when we booked in we were told the pool was closed for maintenance.

On our way to Port Augusta and Adelaide we enjoyed a two night camp at Mambray Creek in the Mount Remarkable National Park and the Flinders Ranges. This site needs to be booked and there is a fee for the vehicle entry as well as camping, however there are hot showers, water and good toilet facilities available.

Finally we left Mambray Creek and headed for Adelaide to catch up with family and spend some time to plan our new adventures.

Part 2 - Off to Port Lincoln, Coffin Bay and Eyre Peninsula and more…

Tags: Camping Stories, Travel Stories

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