As a final blog entry, we thought we’d collect some of our favourite photos and music from the trip and collate them into a slideshow. Enjoy.
After catching up with the family in South East Queensland and exploring the magnificent Fraser Island, we still had a few weeks until we wanted to be home. Given our nomadic lifestyle over the previous five months we were getting itchy feet being in the one place for too long so we decided to drive up to The Whitsundays for a couple of weeks and check out what was on offer. Our decision was also based on what much of our decision making has been based on – the iPhone weather forecast!
Our arrival in Queensland was timed perfectly for an appearance at a surprise party for my sister in law Shelley’s birthday on the Gold Coast. We just missed the surprise reveal but were happily greeted by the amassed Robbo family. In typical tradition, there were spits of meat roasting and a nice toasty fire to converge around and share stories of our adventures.
Many of the Robbo side of the family live out in Western NSW, so this leg of the trip was a good opportunity to catch up with as many of them as possible (as well as a few others) while travelling through on our way up to Queensland. We arrived first at Cobar to spend a few nights with Uncle Ross and Auntie Wendy. We’d timed our stay to coincide with my cousin Demi’s return home to Cobar for a few days and included her 21st birthday celebrations so we had a great time celebrating with Demi, her boyfriend Luka and her friends at the Great Western hotel. Uncle Ross took on the task of tour guide and drove us around Cobar for a fantastic guided tour of the mines and history of the area.
From a satellite phone call in the middle of the Simpson Desert to the delivery in Birsdville, our brand new shocks took just over 24 hours to get to us. Big thanks to JC, our brilliant ground crew for sorting that out. As luck would have it, the shocks made overnight freight to Brisbane and made the connection with the mail plane to deliver Birdsville the next morning. Dave set about installing them and within half an hour we were fully functioning again. Just in time too as there’s not much to do in Birdsville with a broken car…
After driving the scenic Oodnadatta track from Lake Eyre up to Oodnadatta we travelled along a REALLY rocky little track to Mt Dare. Mt Dare was to be our last supplies before heading straight across the Simpson Desert so we did a final vehicle inspection making sure everything was still attached after the rough ride in. We also jammed as much diesel and water into the Prado tanks as we could and had the mandatory meat pie and a beer in the pub before heading off.
We left Alice Springs very hesitantly heading further South…Alice had be soooo cold the idea of more of it was starting to weigh on our minds a little so we planned some alternate routes to head up to Cairns etc instead of going out across the Simpson Desert and Outback NSW. We decided just to harden up and endure the cold weather of the central Australian winter and looking back now are overwhelmingly happy with our decision after seeing the beauty and serenity the desert had to offer.
We made a beeline south after leaving Darwin and stopped off in Mataranka for the night. We paid a visit to the Bitter Springs where warm crystal clear artesian water flows through a sandy channel surrounded by Pandanus and palms like a little oasis. We slipped into the warm waters and thought if only every long drive could end like this!
Mum and Dad made their long awaited arrival in Darwin and bought with them a souvenir from Sydney – a cold! Something that seemed quite out of place in 30 degree Darwin. But they were determined to push on and we thought a bottle of bubbles while watching the sunset on Mindil Beach was in order. No markets this time round but some colorful locals added to the experience! Mum and Dad put us up in a beautiful apartment which was a far cry from our usual camping style and had my most missed piece of furniture – couches!
Our last port of call in WA was Lake Argyle and like the rest of WA it didn’t disappoint. Lake Argyle is a man made lake which was created to provide permanent water for the East Kimberley shire. A dam was built over 2 dry seasons stemming the flow of the Ord River. The cattle station which was flooded was Argyle Downs, hence the name for the dam. The homestead was recovered was and later reconstructed as a museum about the Durack family who were early pioneers of the area and the construction of the dam. The dam is absolutely stunning with the red cliffs dropping down into the blue lake with 9 time the volume of Sydney Harbour!