tips for content group travel

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For our recent Simpson Desert crossing we decided to invite along friends and family. We normally travel by ourselves or with one other couple so how did we go with five couples and one family?

With no false pretences we had a fantastic time. Yes, there were difficult moments but it was a wonderful experience. Would we do it again? Yes. Would we do it every trip? No. Travelling as a group should not be entered into lightly. It should be entered with flexibility and eyes wide open.

Why did it how recent group trip work?

  • We were selective with who we invited. It sounds harsh but you have to be realistic.
  • We had reliable experienced trip leaders who took control of the messy side of planning. (preparation, bookings, group discounts, logistics and timing)
  • We had a well-planned trip itinerary which everyone had a copy of. It was open to changed and had several options at each destination.
  • We were all open and flexible.
  • Within the first few days of travel we were aware of each others strengths and weaknesses and factored these into planning.
  • As we were a group of 14 we were often privy to group discounts which was a travel perk.
  • We had plenty of “free-time” which allowed everyone to do what they wanted at their own pace.

At the end of the day everyone was there for the right reasons. We were all happy to be travelling through these amazing parts of Australia together. The key to happy group travels is choosing the right people and that we did.

 

low cost camping – glebe weir

We don’t know about you but we love LOW COST CAMPING!!

Please don’t get us wrong, we love FREE CAMPING too, well who doesn’t?

Why do we like low cost camping? 1. you get a few more facilities and 2. you are injecting funds into the local community.

Just around the corner from our current location is a hidden little gem of low-cost camping and it is on the water. WIN WIN!

The Glebe Weir is situated between Taroom and Theodore in QLD and falls within the boundaries of Banana Shire. From Taroom you are looking at a 54km drive and about 94km if heading South from Theodore. The road is all bitumen which is great for those who don’t like heading too far off road. It is quite a scenic drive in but beware of roaming cattle as the road is unfenced.

There are plenty of sites available for tents, camper trailers and caravans. Amongst the camping areas there is quite a few places to plug into power. First in best dressed. The facilities are basic but mostly clean. There are cold showers, flushing toilets, sheltered picnic tables and BBQs. Fires are allowed when there is no fire bans but travelers must bring there own wood. All this for $7 a night per vehicle!

The camp-sites over look the Weir and the Dawson River so water based activities are a must. Kayaking along the water at dawn and dusk is a must! While the keen fisherman can take out the tinny and have a flick around. Don’t forget the yabby pots!

If you are heading this way stop in and take a look for yourself.

plans unravel but plan anyway

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We often get asked about our travel plans. More commonly we get asked do we plan?

The answer is yes and no.

Throughout our travels we have had itineraries planned down to the letter and other times we have had no plans at all.

Now for the honest truth. Neither of these two options suited us.

Itineraries that were too planned suffocated & stifled us while when we had no plans at all we felt we had lost our purpose. How? We are meant to be super nomadic, gypsy-like people who head where free love is and fly with the wind. We tried but in reality it wasn’t us. Free Love is great, free anything really! But it wasn’t going to keep us on track.

This line of thinking confused us. To think we couldn’t hop in our vehicle and head for the sunset no thoughts at all. We wanted to be carefree but we couldn’t! Why! For those of you who know us well. Sarah is a Planner (with a capital P) and LOVES lists but spontaneous! (yes, crazy right?) and Shaun is careful and thinks about consequences but leaves planning to Sarah (Yes, scary right?)

So what was the solution for us. We PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!! It’s so fun who wouldn’t? There are lists and more lists. Maps are checked, doodled on and re-checked. To counteract this we have become flexible. We have learnt to follow the ebb and flow of travel which is wonderful to embrace. If we change our plans we are okay with it. We even plan for the unexpected. We have all the time in the world for planning, so why not!

A perfect example is our recent trip across the Simpson Desert. We were joined by several other couples raising money for the RFDS. This trip had to be planned, well planned and it was. However, even this trip had hiccups due to weather and so forth but we kept on going, changed itinerary, made adjustments and you know what the world didn’t stop turning.

Our advice

When planning your trip of a lifetime, go your hardest! Check maps, write lists, fill spreadsheets, research and more! Why? 1. because it is fun. 2. a well researched traveller is a good traveller and 3. what better way to count down to your BIG trip then by living it through countless hours of planning. As you set off out your driveway you will have purpose, you will have direction and it will feel GREAT! Remember though even the most carefully made plans can unravel and as long you’re aware of this, WHO CARES? Plan anyway!

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OffRoading online magazine

Did you see our article in OffRoading Online Magazine? Head across and check out our article and others about all things off-road. Click on the screenshots and we’ll take you to the OffRoading Online Magazine.

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wildflowers of the desert

On our recent trip to the Simpson Desert we were lucky to witness the first wildflowers blooming after the rain. It was spectacular to see the sand-dunes blanketed with vegetation of all shapes and sizes.

Can you name any of the flowers pictured below?

we haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on our list

It has been a long while since we updated our travel map of big old Australia. So here it is…. this is our travel paths since the commencement of our blog & indefinite travels back in 2011. As you can see we have barely scratched the surface! This country is well and truly AMAZING!

Where are you up to in your travels? Share your maps with us on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/norrisaroundaustralia

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our top 5 Aussie national parks

These are 5 of our top national parks from our travels so far. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Australia and most of these can be found in our national parks. We have so many favourites however here are 5 of our top spots. We love these places so much we have visited multiple times and will return again for sure.

  1. Flinders Ranges National Park, SA

What’s not to love? Stunning mountain ranges, rich Australian history, four-wheel driving and beautifully rewarding bushwalks with breath-taking visitas. Check out some of our posts on the Flinders HERE & HERE.

Our favs from the Flinders:

  • Bush camping at Rawnsley Station and dining at their Woolshed Restaurant.
  • Wilpena Pound; our favourite walks were Hills Homestead, Wangara Lookout and Mount Ohlssen Bagge. The Hills Homestead is quite a leisurely stroll while Wangara Lookout and Mount Ohlssen Bagge are more strenuous the views are well worth the effort.
  • The historical Nuccaleena Mine. The drive out is spectacular and the ruins are in fantastic condition.

2. Kakadu National Park, NT

Kakadu is amazing. It has a diverse and natural beauty which is hard to beat.  The national park is situated in close proximity to Darwin making it easily accessible for every traveler. Check out our post from Kakadu HERE.

Our favs from Kakadu:

  • cruise Yellow Water wetlands – both at sunrise and sunset
  • visit Twin Falls by four-wheel drive and boat
  • swim in the pools on top of Maguk (Barramundi) Gorge
  • view the rock art at Ubirr Rock and climb to the top for spectacular views from the lookout
  • camping at Cooinda Lodge is excellent with wonderful facilities and central location

3. Simpson Desert National Park, SA

Oh my! The Simpson is spectacular. The parallel sand-dunes go on forever and we never got sick of the beautiful red sand. Every time the Colorado would crest a sand-dune it took our breath away. It is a natural Australian wonder. Check out our post on the Simmo HERE.

What to experience in the Simmo:

  • remote travel at it’s finest
  • wildflowers, glorious wildflowers
  • slimbing to the top of Big Red
  • the wonders of Eyre Creek
  • bush camping at its absolute best
  • star gazing – the most spectacular skies we have ever seen
  • take in the view from Knoll’s Lookout
  • cross wide, stunning claypans
  • stand where QLD, SA and NT meet at Poeppel Corner
  • while technically not the Simpson National park make sure you stop in at both Purnie Bore and Dalhousie Springs both oasis’ in the desert, brimming with birdlife.

4. Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park

The region surround Alice Springs in one of favourites in the country. It’s smack bang in the Red Centre and capital of the Australia Outback. The West Macs as they are affectionately known lay to the West of Alice Springs (funny that). The stunning mountain range has numerous gorges that have been carved over millions of years. The red of the rock, the blue of the sky and the green of the vegetation is nothing short of beautiful.

Our favs from the West Macs:

  • our favourite place to camp was at Redbank Gorge
  • a refreshing dip in Ellery Creek Big Hole
  • the stunning landscape at Ormiston Gorge
  • the aboriginal culture of the Orche Pits
  • Simpsons Gap is closest to Alice with stunning gorge walls and lots of rock wallabies.
  • for history buffs like us the West Macs also home to the memorial grave of Rev John Flynn of flying doctors fame


5. Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, NT

What says Australia better than our red heart? Uluru is iconic and recognised internationally as an Australian icon. It is truly a spiritual experience to visit and explore this region. While the town Yulara has become quite touristy due to the amount of tourists that flock to the rock each year, the National Park itself is relatively untouched. Check out our past posts HERE & HERE.

Our favs from Uluru & Kata-Tjuta:

  • sunrise and sunset at Uluru and the Olgas – the colours are ever changing
  • the Valley of the Winds walk through the Olga- OMG! One of the best walks in Australia – Amazing.
  • walking the base of Ulura – 13 km of ever changing beauty
  • the shorter guided base walk is also not to be missed. Its free and so informative. We’ve done it twice now.
  • the Cultural Centre is a great place to start you Uluru Adventure

dreaming of water

385405_10150355416394538_1247540912_nWhen one lives in the middle of nowhere during  a drought they cannot be scalded for dreaming of water. I’ve been constantly thinking about rain, rivers and oceans, oh my. Apparently it can also cause people to book two water based getaways within the space of a fortnight. Well that’s our excuse and where sticking to it.

Our first getaway coincides with the October long weekend and will see us head to Noosa in Queensland. We are looking forward to exploring the Noosa area including:

  • boating on the Noosa River
  • beach fishing at Noosa North Shore
  • enjoying a wine &/or coffee along Hastings Street
  • walking through Noosa National Park

Please share with us things we must see and do while visiting the Noosa Region. We’d love to hear some insider secrets.

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Our second water based holiday is one we have dreamt about for years. You cannot get anymore water-based than holidaying ON the river. So we’ve booked a houseboat on the Murray River has been booked for our Christmas-New Year break. Our boat departs from Echuca which is a lovely town that we have visited multiple times in Victoria.

Have you house-boated on the Murray River? We’d love to know how you enjoyed your experience? Please share any places to stop and explore?

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let there be light

The mail came today and we have a new toy.

Hints:

  1. It’s going to be bright
  2. It will help us see
  3. May the force be with you……..Lightforce

Guess away!

Reduce the Roadblocks

Let’s get you out there travelling and seeing Australia.

What’s holding you back? What’s blocking your road to travel?

House/Mortgage:

Is your mortgage the only thing that stands in your way of full-time travelling? If you want to travel short-term why not get a house-sitter? Or a short-term rental tenant. If you find your tenant through family or friends you may be happy to leave your furniture in place to reduce storage costs. If you are travelling full-time rent your property out for an amount around the cost of mortgage repayment. if the market allows. This will ease up the financial burden of paying your mortgage while allowing you some financial freedom to travel.

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Children:

We cannot speak from experience here as we are yet to have a family. However, we have met many families along the roads travelling with their children. There is children of all years on the road from very young to school-age. If your school-aged children are making you question whether you should wait until they finish school, home-schooling is a definite option. Your children will learn fulfilling lessons from a trip around Australia. Imagine the life experience they will gain. There are many distance education options available for travellers.

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Insecurity:

Let’s focus on why you feel insecure? Are you worried about leaving family? Money? The biggest fix for insecurity is knowing you can always return to your everyday life. While it might take you a while to get back your ideal apartment/house and get your fantastic job back, you can always go back. No one will judge you for deciding to go home, after all at least you took the plunge in the first place. As they say; “You never, never know, if you never, never go”. You will learn so much about yourself, your partner and your family. You will love it but you may hate it. This is okay, at least you tried. Trying is the most important thing. Don’t always sit there wondering, what if?

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Savings:

We were by no means savers when we decided we wanted to go travelling. It was less than 12 months from when we decided to travel to when we hit the road. This is not a long time to get yourself sorted. We were in debt and didn’t have much in the way of savings. However, when we made the decision it was like a switch was flicked. We went into over-drive, we set our departure date and then made a plan. We downsized and moved in with family. (This may not be an option but why not move into your caravan before departure or move into a one bedroom flat instead of a 3 bedroom house with high rent?) We cut all our costs that weren’t necessary, no more Foxtel, no more fancy dinners out and so forth. We still lived in that 12 months with numerous adventures and camping trips. Everything went into paying off our debts and building up our savings. We saved a substantial amount over that 10 month period and hit the road. It proved to us if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it.

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Debt:

Debt is a hard one to overcome. When we refer to debt we are not referring to mortgages. We are referring to  bad debt such as personal loans, store cards, car loans and credit cards. We recommend travelling this form of debt free. Why? Well because the repayments on these types of loans can eat into your savings very quickly and can make you more reliant on finding jobs along the way. From personal experience you want to work when you find a place you like not because you’ve run out of cash or need to make your next repayment. Our advice: create a budget which focuses on paying off your higher interest loans first for example start with credit card and then follow with your car loan. Set yourself a deadline to have each paid off by and you can make it happen. Keep a little nest egg to the side but put everything into paying off your debts. Cut back your house-hold costs to ease up cash flow. Look at all your money going out and question where it is going and why? You can probably go without Foxtel if it means your loan is paid off in 6 months instead of 12 and lets you leave on your journey sooner.

Day Twenty Two: Mapping it Out

If it all seems too impossible start with little trips a weekend here, a week there, a month here. Dipping your toes in will allow you some security while still exploring this beautiful country.

What is holding you back from travelling? We’d love to help you out and reduce the size of your road blocks…….If something is holding you back, you can and you will overcome it.

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