We managed to get out of WA and into the NT, avoiding any issues with lockdowns with either state and the impending mandates destroying our freedom to travel.
I took over 1,000 photos and videos, whilst not boring you with that many pics I wanted to share some of my favourite foodie (and a couple of wildflower) pics.
We travelled from Busselton to Uluru via the Great Central Desert Road which was around 1,000km of dirt road. It was amazing travelling this road and I feel very fortunate to have experienced it. We stopped in at Kalgoorlie and also Lake Ballard - the statues were pretty incredible. We camped in the vast remoteness of the outback, with just us and the stars - these were some of my favourite nights with a campfire laying back on a blanket looking up! Entering the NT was without fanfare, not really even a sign (which was disappointing as I was becoming quite a photo taker of all the road signs). The only thing we noticed was the condition of the road deteriorating, as apparantly the NT doesn't maintain their roads as well as WA. We did a shockie on the camper trailer but otherwise came away unscathed.
Uluru really blew my mind, what a special place - and with being the end of the tourist season and many states blocked from being able to travel we were so lucky to experience it with relative ease. Kata Tjuta was actually the first thing we saw as we approached from the WA border, it was so magnificent we felt like we were entering a different world.
We spent a bit of time in the Kings Canyon area, then travelled through Alice up to Borroloola via the Tablelands Highway. We laugh everytime we talk about this highway, it was a single lane bitumen road that was rougher than the dirt roads we had travelled on so far. It had a sign that said 'Overtaking lane 20km' and when this 'overtaking lane' appeared it was actually the bitumen widening to two lanes of seal! We loved staying at King Ash Bay near the coast, wishing we had a boat with us at that stop.
Limmen National Park wasn't on our original route but I am so glad we detoured there. The first section of the road as we entered the park was incredibly rough, and with the broken shockie we were forced to take it easy which meant it took us 4 hours to travel 150km. So many incredible natural formations in the park, the Lost City was another highlight. Because this park is off the beaten track we barely saw any other people and had most places to ourselves. I've also never seen so many butterflies as we did there.
Mataranka, Bitter Springs, Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk), Katherine Hot Springs and Edith Falls were also amazing highlights on our way to Darwin. By this stage it was pretty hot and we were in need of some swimming, these places were a welcome relief. We also took a boat cruise and helicopter ride at Nitmiluk which was absolutely breath taking. We spent a few days in Darwin preparing for our remote trip to Arnhem Land and a little site seeing. I hadn't been to Darwin for 20 years and was really impressed to see they have a swimming area at the foreshore that is croc and jellyfish free. It was so popular and the eating establishments around the area were pretty vibrant.
On our way out to Arnhem Land we stayed in Kakadu and might I say all of the national park camp grounds we stayed at in the NT were incredible. For the most, they were $4 per person a night paid through an honesty system and we were most impressed with the facilities.
We witnessed the magic of Ubirr at sunset and it was actually quite packed with people so decided to get up at 4.30am the next day to see the sunrise. We really hit the jackpot as unbeknown to us, the gates were usually locked until 8.30am and this day the ranger forgot to lock them! So we had the whole of Ubirr to ourselves to witness the sunrise, literally so lucky!
This is pretty close to Cahill's Crossing (google this) where there are incredible amount of huge crocs, you can only cross this at low tide otherwise you get washed downstream to meet your ultimate fate. We crossed this in a convoy and headed out to the edge of Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, we stayed out there for 10 days at a remote outstation where most of these photos were taken.
We fished, went crabbing, chipped oysters and even had a sneaky swim on a clear water island spotting amazing coral and tropical fish. We saw an extensive amount of turtles swimming near out boat when out on the water and could spot the resident croc from the cliff at our campsite. It was the true disconnect where we had to be self reliant, where the solar panels struggled to keep the fridge and freezer charged, where our battery powered fan would only last 5 hours so we would wake up in a pool of sweat when it ran out of battery. Some nights I considered disconnecting the fridge so that we could plug the fan in, but decided there was no harm in sweating it out.
Our fresh produce was all but gone by day 10 so when we got back to Darwin we were excited to eat some fresh veggies. I also learnt early on in the trip that it was virtually impossible to eat gluten and dairy free while on the road. With such limited fridge space, having a salad for lunch was not an option. My body certainly took weeks to getting used to this new way of eating wraps every day for lunch (these wraps were my go to for lunch on the road, so convenient and they didn't go mouldy after 2 days like bread does - I know - preservatives hello, but needs must).
From Darwin we had to start making our way back to WA, it is another beautiful drive back to the WA border especially when the spectacular boabs start to appear. We ended up camping on the WA side of the border in the Keep River National Park, another highlight. We had the place mostly to ourselves on the riverbank, it was even hotter here and we couldn't swim in the river due to the crocs. I have to add we didn't see them during the day, but by torch light it sure did show their abundance. Because we were only a few days away from civilisation we didn't have to conserve our water as much. We made use of our bucket shower tied to a tree up overlooking the river. We learnt that the water out of the tank on the camper was about 40 degrees, super handy for a refreshing midday shower! Fun fact, if you put the water into a bucket and put it under the camper in the morning it stays coolish and really is refreshing for the shower this way!
Broaching the wet season, we found the Kununurra area was to be the hottest part of our trip with daytime temps hitting 43 and the night around 30. Yet again the fan was getting a hammering! Probably the most amazing drive we did was the Kurunji Track from Wyndham to the Pentecost River and the Gibb River Road. It was a bit tough on the ute and the bash plate got a massive hammering with all the rocks we drove over. The Karunjie Track from what I can gather is the old Wyndham road and travels around the base of the Cockburn Range on the opposite side to the Gibb. The landscape was so sensational and we didn't pass any other travellers on the road which made it even more special.
Although the heat was stifling we were blessed to arrive at El Questro and encounter very few other tourists. We had our own private camp along the Pentecost River. We walked El Questro Gorge which I found slightly terrifying at times climbing over boulders I needed a push to get over. It was incredibly rewarding and I am so glad I overcame my fears and completed it! We also had all of Moonshine Gorge to ourselves to float around in, most of the sunset 4wd tracks we had to ourselves to watch the sunset at also. Having been 20 years since I had visited, it was a real highlight that we didn't have on our itinerary to begin with, and I am so glad we managed to get there. They closed a week later for the season so it was really well timed!
Finishing off our Kimberly component of the trip we headed back to Lake Argyle where we met some friends and enjoyed a few days there. Their famous infinity pool was a pretty lovely place to escape the heat and watch the sunset. The sunset cruise on Lake Argyle is actually a must do if you head here, it was amazing - we were blessed with a glass off on the lake, the perfect way to spend our last night before our mad dash home.
We decided to spend 3 days getting back to Perth rather and maximise our time up north, we were so glad we did this and mostly enjoyed the 12 or so hours each day in the car. We stopped off at Barn Hill on our first night on this trip home, it was nice to have a swim in the ocean (with no threat of crocs I might add) and a walk on the beach before making it south of Newman that night. We took the dirt road through Marble Bar and Nullagine which was really scenic.
Each night closer to home we had to close more windows on the camper, and had to resurrect the doona which had been in hiding for most of the trip. The fan was put away and out came the jumpers.
Our trip came to an end and we were left with some absolutely amazing memories.
When people ask what my favourite place or experience was, I really cannot answer that. The whole trip was amazing, every place was different and we were so lucky to get to some of the places we went to.
I can be a little more conclusive with the must have items. We took an old ipod, one of the ones with the circle in the middle and over 10,000 songs on it. A little trip down memory lane with many of the tunes and a good laugh, my singing was of course of such a high standard and completely welcome everyday.
Wet wipes, always a must have - from backpacking South America to an Australian roadtrip, you can never have too many. They are a shower in a packet and can clean a variety of things you would never believe.
Snap lock bags, I know it's plastic and not great for the environment but they are a must have. Coconut water was also a total must have too, bordering on dehydration daily this little gem really helped restore the sweated out electrolytes. As were the hydrolyte icy poles, having them semi frozen mainly but a bonus if they were completely frozen.
I already mentioned the wraps, but they were such a must have I'll say it again - and probably never want to see another wrap again in my life but hey...details.
I also purchased one of those Yeti stubby holders, at a pricey $40 a pop I thought it was a bit outrageous but I was wrong, it was worth every cent!
A packet of clothes pegs, this was a last minute inclusion and boy were we happy we took them. As was the 10L stainless steel bucket - we used it so many times and it was so great because you could put it in the fire to heat water.
In terms of the must have clothing, pack your bag then take half of what you have out, except for undies...make sure you have two weeks worth! I could have taken one pair of shorts and left the rest at home, we also lived in long sleeve fishing shirts for the most as well. And my hat - so glad I bought a good quality hat.
Vital Health & Nutrition
A few delightful photo galleries, a few controversial topics.