Number of blogs returned: 1 to 2 records of 2
Port Augusta in South Australia was the starting point for the Uluru and Beyond tagalong Safari 2018. This was going to be an epic trip away with 37 other fellow members. We were all looking forward to travelling and exploring new country over the next 21 days.
Our meeting point was to be Spear Creek Caravan Park, a beautiful little park nestled in the base of the Flinders Rangers just outside Port Augusta, actually located on a working sheep farm. You may be discouraged by the rough road in, including some gravel road (in fact the gravel was better than the main road out front, but once you get past that you can settle down on the grass amongst the trees and begin to unwind and in our case meet our new friends (and tell a few yarns) that we would be travelling with for the next few weeks.
We arrived the day prior and to our surprise most of our new friends were already there getting to know each other, telling stories and so forth. Happy hour was started on the afternoon following and we all got to know each other better, followed by a BBQ dinner that night and a few more stories.
Our first day on the road together today, off we left en route Coober Pedy. Due to the distance we would have an over night stop at Glendambo Roadhouse, passing through Woomera on the way for a lunch stop, with a member later telling us some stories about the rockets that were there from his experience. The next day we headed to Coober Pedy to stay for the next couple of nights where we had tours organised for everybody.
Our members had half a day to take in the sights at their leisure with lunch provided in the cafe and a half day tour where we were shown history, opal cutting and mining, an underground house and mine. The tour included a visit out to the breathtaking Breakaways including a stop at the Dingo Proof Fence. This is a fence that was built during the 1880’s to control dingo’s and wild dog movements across Australia.
Next we travelled north towards the township of Yulara (at the outskirts of Uluru) over 3 days, stopping over night firstly at Marla Roadhouse, where we formed a wagon circle around the grass and enjoyed an afternoon together. A few members decided the local establishment looked good for dinner, must have been good as later that night one member came out from the hotel and had misplaced their motorhome, fortunately we were able to locate their home for them! The next day we kept heading north in anticipation of a famous Chicken burger from the Erldunda Roadhouse which was our next nights stop over, again nice grass sites and magical sunsets to see the day out.
The next day we arrived at one of the major highlights of the trip for everybody, Uluru, where we stayed at the Ayers Rock Campground for 3 nights. The first day’s activity was a big day, up for a sunrise tour, coffee and biscuits, then onto a guided tour around the rock itself, lead by our trusty tour guide “driver” (that was his name seriously), then Driver dropped us back at camp for a couple of hours rest so that we were ready for our afternoon’s activity including a gorge walk at The Olgas, wine and canapés watching sunset on the Rock (unfortunately it was overcast so not much of a sunset this time).
After such a big day we all had a rest day the next day, sleep in and members went off to do their own thing including camel rides, helicopter flights and scenic plane flights to name a few, but we all had to be ready for our night excursion to the fabulous Field of Lights exhibit that night.
Unfortunately our time at Uluru had come to an end and it was time to head for Kings Canyon. Our time at Kings Canyon resort included free time to be able to visit Kings Canyon, either the 6 km rim walk or the gorge walk. About 15 of us braved the 500 metre climb to start the rim walk early in the morning while the rest of the group decided on the more relaxed gorge walk. Dinner that night was at the Outback BBQ at the resort, we all enjoyed the meal, live music, great company then on the road again bound for Alice Springs over a couple of days.
En-route we visited Karrke Aboriginal Cultural experience where we heard from the traditional owners about bush medicine, traditional food, hunting and dot paintings to name a few. We all thoroughly enjoyed this experience and the way that Peter and his wife explained the traditional customs was very informative.
On our way to Alice Springs we once again stayed at Erldunda with some of us enjoying the roast meal at the tavern that night. Leaving Erldunda we travelled to Alice Springs staying for 3 nights giving everyone a time to rest, rejuvenate and absorb our trip so far.
We hired a mini bus and ferried members to the shops and some local attractions while others decided to take in some extra tours, camel rides, cultural visits and a drive through the East or West MacDonnell Ranges in their own vehicles or hire cars.
Whilst we were at Alice Springs we remembered our Anzacs on Anzac day at the dawn service. Andrew once again played “driver” to get the members that wished to partake in the service along to Anzac Hill, we followed this by our own morning tea at camp with donations for Anzac biscuits being made to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Red Poppies made by a member with donations going towards the RSL. One of the members shared a very informative story about the role women played in the war in particular one amazing woman.
We had also decided to collect our cans and bottles during the trip ( a suggestion of a member at the start) and while in Alice Springs we took all the collection to the recycling centre and the money was also donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Off we go again on our next leg towards Mt Isa. This was a long stretch of the trip happening over 3 overnight stays. The first stop was at Devils Marbles Roadhouse with a beaut dinner at the roadhouse that night (the chef being awarded top chef in NT). In the morning we stopped at the Devils Marbles, a must stop on this leg, continuing north through Tennant Creek and visiting the old Telegraph Station for lunch stop. Here we bid farewell to a member as they left our convoy heading north toward Darwin and a further 6 months on the road.
We free camped on the Barkly Highway, enjoying happy hour, trying to ignore the heat, wind and flies. We did make a stop for morning tea at Barkly Homestead, with most of us enjoying a coffee and snack. We then stopped again at another free camp on the Barkly Highway with some entertainment by a member and some more happy hour.
Mt Isa was out next stop, with time to explore the city that afternoon. The next day we embarked on a bus tour taking in the Outback at Isa experience and a delicious lunch there, then we headed out to lovely Lake Moondarra, this was built for the mines and in fact the largest water scheme funded by private enterprise in Australia, it is quite spectacular and well worth a visit. Once again we said farewell to a member who was leaving us to head north towards Cairns.
Our safari was starting to get towards the end as we headed on towards Winton, this visit was to be a highlight with the opportunity to visit the newly opened Waltzing Matilda Centre. We took a tour out to the Australian Dinosaur Museum with a tour of the collection centre and also Dinosaur Canyon. What an amazing place this is. We were treated to a sunset and nibbles and enjoyed each others company watching the sunset from the top of the jump up
Our time had come to an end and we needed to head towards our last destination of Longreach. En-route to Longreach we stopped overnight at the Walkabout Creek Hotel, made famous in the movie “Crocodile Dundee”. The flies were pretty thick here so most of us opted for dinner in the pub and a few games of pool and lots of laughs, what a great night and great hosts at this pub.
Off we went on our last day on the road ending in Longreach. We ended the day with our last happy hour together with a few awards and presents being given out and a lot of laughs.
Our last day together we had a full day of free time and with everyone receiving tickets to the Qantas Museum and Stockman’s Hall of Fame, safari members were able to walk or drive and visit these venues at their own leisure. The last night we all went on a sunset cruise on the Thomson River and enjoyed a great meal and entertainment at Smithy’s Outback Show.
Now this Safari was finished and new friends were made. A time to reflect on the trip and the great times together and to look forward to possible new trips together to explore this great and diverse country that we live in.
See you somewhere around the campfire
Andrew and Renee
Posted in: 4wd tagalong adventures Australia at 30 September 18
Just got back from checking through our up coming Opals & Gold Safari this will run in October this year, taking in some great areas including Lightning Ridge, Hill End and lots more, see the tours section for more information. When setting up the routes we take, I quite often try to take the roads less travelled as you never know what you may find. On this reccie we decided to pass through a small town called Carinda just south west of Walgett NSW. A typical small country town with a sports ground (free camp) dozen houses or so and yes a local hotel. Now we learned when we got there this hotel featured in a David Bowie film clip, so it just goes to show that we need to take the time when passing through these small towns as there is always something of interest to see.
Something which I had time to ponder on our last reccie was communication. We live in a world where communication, specifically mobile phones, are becoming a “must have”. When travelling outback it is expected that between towns you may not have phone reception and a lot of people will take a Telstra phone because they have the best coverage. Now we travelled through a town recently that I would say is not remote, in fact would be less than 1 hour from Toowoomba. We stopped at the Local for dinner and just out the back was a very nice free camp, no phone service at all, never have had phone service!. The publican advised us that 5k either side of town you could get service. We need to remember that travelling throughout this awesome country we have, we cannot rely on our mobile phone’s, and I would suggest that all caravan’s, motorhomes and frequent outback travellers should at the very least have a quality UHF and antennae along with a trip plan that you leave with relatives and or friends. We carry 2 x vehicle based UHF’s, a 5w handheld, Sat Phone, Spot gen3 (EPIRB) and a Telstra and Optus phones (yes there are places that Optus works and Telstra doesn’t)
Don’t be afraid to get out and Xplore our great country and experience its hospitality on your next Xciting Xpedition.
Catch you round the campfire
Posted in: 4wd tagalong adventures Australia at 16 July 18