Australian Travel · Camping · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · Home on the Road · National Parks · New South Wales · Victoria · Writing & Reading

A pretty Australian Australia day

“There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around”
“The Banjo”

What could be more Australian than reading about the life of Banjo Patterson while camping at Tom Groggin, NSW – the home of Jack Riley, “The Man from Snowy River”.

This past Australia Day weekend was our maiden voyage in the caravan since moving to the Snowy Monaro region last year. I know…..no caravaning for six months….. what the?!

Well this trip certainly dusted off the cobwebs on both the caravan and our noble steed, the Colorado.

Tom Groggin near Khancoban in the Snowy Mountains is probably one of the best camping spots we have stayed at…… golly I’m full of big calls lately! It’s totally true though.

On the banks of the upper reaches of the Murray River near the base of Mount Kosciouszko, Tom Groggin is picturesque, to say the least.

I wonder how much as really changed since Banjo visited in 1890? Apart from the obvious, you know – bitumen roads (any roads in fact), the odd “official” campground here and there with drop toilets, a smattering of picnic tables, parking barriers and fire pits. I really do wonder how much the natural portions of this region have changed…. I mean it is relatively untouched by humans.

Tom Groggin straddles the southern border of NSW and the upper Victorian High Country which as you can probably imagine has some great 4WD tracks.

We gave the Mt Pinnibar track a red hot go while we were out and about. Located in the Alpine National Park on the Victorian side of Tom Groggin, the track tackles the steep Mt Pinnibar (1727m above sea level) and it was rough – holy moly! It had definitely been chopped up and was one of the hardest 4WD trips we have tackled to date. If we had known what the track was like we probably wouldn’t have taken it by ourselves, there were plenty of people around so I’m sure we would of been fine if we became unstuck.

I will share some more adventures from Tom Groggin sooon…

Speak soon

S

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Attractions · Australian Travel · Camping · Caravan Parks · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · National Parks · South Australia

our top 5 of the Flinders

The Flinders Ranges is one of those special places that keeps drawing us back time and time again.

The ancient and rugged landscape is steeped with history and remnants of the past remain scattered throughout the picturesque landscape.

There is so much for every type of traveller to keep them occupied for days, if not weeks on end. Whether it is the breathtaking vistas, strenuous hikes, historical tours, scenic drives, relaxing strolls, divine dining or simply kicking back around the campfire and soaking in the 5 billion stars above you, the Flinders region really does have something for everyone.

It is hard to choose a only 5 things we love about the Flinders but we tried;

  1. Blinman; The historic mining town is situated in the Northern Flinders. A quaint historical township with a gorgeous stone pub, an underground copper mine and abandoned ruins. Our highlights included a stroll through the historic cemetery and the side-trip out to Nuccaleena mine.
  2. Quorn: The historic town began as a railway town and is now the home of the Pichi Richi Railway. A quaint town with beautiful stone buildings and welcoming locals stepping foot in Quorn is like stepping back in time. We loved the ride on the Pichi Richi, the railway workshop tour and exploring the streets of Quorn.
  3. Parachilna: From Blinman, a scenic drive to the West through spectacular Parachilna Gorge brings you to the famous Prairie Hotel. This outback pub maintains it historic exterior while
  4. Bunyeroo & Brachina Gorges: Oh my vista! The drive that winds it’s way through the Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges are nothing short of spectacular. Photographs simply don’t do it justice!
  5. Moralana Scenic Drive;  hugs the outer wall of Wilpena Pound and the colourful bluffs of the Elder Range! A great stop along the way is Black Gap!

 

There is so much to enjoy and explore in the Flinders – a top 5 simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

Have you been? What are your favourite places to visit?

Attractions · Australian Travel · Camping · Caravan Parks · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · Home on the Road · National Parks · New South Wales · Travel Photography

oh my darling

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The Darling River has been a long time bucket list dream item. I have traced my finger down the map so many times in anticipation of one day driving along the edge of this beautiful watercourse. The Darling River and the river systems of Australia have always fascinated me!

Why!?!

No idea!

It could be the natural beauty and wonder that comes from the ebb and flow of the Darling. Or it could be the amazing connections the Darling has with our Australian history; the majestic river boat trade, our explorers or our nomadic natives.

Times would of be tough along the Darling, but there is a nostalgia that puts a rose-coloured tint on the river’s past.

As usual we wish we could of taken more time to traverse the river’s edge but when you have limited time you make the most of the time you do have.

We met Australia’s third longest river, the Darling on the drive between Brewarrina and Bourke, where the Culgoa and Barwon Rivers meet in Western, NSW.

We had only planned to stay in Bourke for two nights and ended up staying three. If time was limitless we could of spent a much longer time exploring Bourke and surrounds.

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Our base camp was made at Kidman’s Camp, North Bourke and we have to say it is has crept into one of our top 10 caravan parks ever! That is a big call but we are sticking by it. Great amenities, beautiful grounds, close enough to town but far enough out.

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Our time in Bourke;

  • Back O Bourke Exhibition Centre – 5 stars, friendly staff, excellent exhibits and crammed packed with history! They even let you go back the next day for free! 17880153_10154649571094538_6505065834052485120_o
  • PV Jandra Paddle Cruise down the Darling – a wonderfully relaxing cruise down the Darling on a Paddle Boat. 100% worth it!
  • A day trip to Gundabooka – this is a trip in itself, the majestic ranges and rock art, we will be back for sure and we might even spend a night or two.17833970_10154653155604538_6036086099208362436_o17880256_10154653021809538_4559082656587085622_o
  • Exploring the history of the town including the old wharf, the weir, the Crossley engine – the Darling really was a life-blood, without the Darling towns like Bourke would simply not exist.

 

We headed off from Bourke and meandered our way down the Darling River, West-side, East-side, whatever direction took our fancy at each bridge cross-over. As so many before us we made a slight pub-crawl of it with a stop at both Tilpa and Louth (both iconic outback pubs in their own right). We passed through Wilcannia, unfortunately the town was battered and bruised; I’m sure only a shadow of it’s former self and we made our way to a little patch of paradise back on the Darling.

The Paroo-Darling National Park is approximately 40km south of Wilcannia and an absolute world away. The Coach and Horses Campground is complete perfection. Great effort by NSW National Parks! They have provided BBQ’s, toilets and picnic tables with designated camp-sites along the Darling River.

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From Paroo Darling we moved on down the river towards Menindee. As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to visit Menindee. I don’t know why exactly, it could be the photographs that we all associate with the Menindee Lakes. You know the ones, the ghostly trees emerging from the lake’s bottom reaching up into a wonderfully painted sky. Whatever the reason, it lived up to and exceeded my expectations. We were lucky to see the lakes with a far amount of water in them and even luckier to score what is one of the best free camps we have ever stumbled across, and I do mean stumbled. 17966451_10154659803264538_3977871532047791994_o

Picture this! Wake up, step out of the caravan and onto the soft and sandy loam, the birds are already singing but no other noises meet your ears. You walk several metres and dip your toes into the silky water of Lake Pamamaroo. This was one of those spots where we stayed an extra few days and well thank goodness because it is one of those magic spots, that I will dream about for years to come.

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What did we do while in Menindee?

  • Kinchenga National Park; we explored the Darling River drive, so many more wonderful campsites tucked away in there, the old woolshed and Kinchenga ruins, the woolshed especially was amazing 17972124_10154662352029538_1455704605374242059_o
  • Had a drink in the pub where explorers Burke and Wills stayed in 1860
  • Walked around the historic township Heritage Trail
  • found the boiler from the Paddle Steamer Providence disaster back in 1872

Our only disappointment at Menindee was the lack of information about the Burke and Wills Depot camp and survey tree a short way out of town. We are not sure if the signage was washed away or stolen but it was a real shame to miss such an historical marker. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time this trip but would love to take one of the boat trips on the Lakes. We just have to save that one for next time.

From Menindee, our original plan was to head to Mungo National Park but we weren’t feeling it and we had spent a few of our extra nights along the Darling so we decided to head to Wentworth. Mungo NP will be added to the next trip when we have more time to enjoy and take our time.

We travelled through the town of Pooncarrie which I might add was delightful with beautifully manicured, green lawns and neat gardens. It is always so nice to see towns that the locals take pride in even out there, way outback. We made it to Wentworth where the Darling meets the mighty Murray.  17972388_10154665537934538_3015918485766752436_o

We made a lovely free camp on the edge of the Murray and explored Wentworth;

  • Old Wentworth Gaol; in such wonderful condition, interesting and eerie, so many stories of times gone by 17991572_10154668420319538_1841414843296520947_o.jpg
  • Wentworth Pioneer Museum; absolutely crammed pack of history, highlight for me was the historical photograph collection of all the old paddle steamers.
  • We took a drive out to the Perry Sandhills, attempted sand boarding on cardboard no real success but lots of laughs. On a side note; was horrified by the amount of rubbish floating around! 17973727_10154669342389538_6467889000138221445_o
  • The walk out to the junction of the two rivers was highlight, the colour difference is very clearly defined.

We would definitely complete the Darling River Run again and again as there were things we missed and we would love to spend more time there, Plus it is one of those places that would be different each time your visited.

>>>>>Coming soon our Flinders Ranges trip note<<<<<<<

S & S

Attractions · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · New South Wales · South Australia · Travel Photography

rivers and ranges

Oh my!

What an absolutely brilliant trip we had.

This country never fails to amaze me. It’s beauty is splendid and varied.

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short due to the passing of a close family friend. The last portion of our trip was cancelled and we will add it to another adventure at later date. While it was a sad way to end this trip, it reminds us again how life is short and so precious. We aim to treasure every moment and live a life worth living. Our passion is travel and inspiring others to travel, we will continue to do so as long as we are able.

We titled this particular adventure; rivers and ranges. It saw us follow the Darling River Run in Western NSW where we met up with Murray River and crossed over the border into South Australia. From the Riverland we headed into the Flinders Ranges; one of our favourite places to visit in Australia. We spent a wonderful 8 nights in the mountains even with some rainy days thrown in. We then headed for Outback South Australia and the Strezlecki and spent a wonderful night in Farina. As we were about to embark on the Strez to head up to Innamincka we heard from home and it was time to head South again to the Riverina to be with family. We tried to make the most of the long trip back to Griffith and stopped in at Burra, the most beautiful little town and a few river towns along the Murray.

We gave the drone a work out and look forward to sharing some footage with you. In fact there is a link to a teaser posted below so stay tuned.

https://www.facebook.com/norrisaroundaustralia

S & S

Four Wheel Driving · Home on the Road · Preparation

disaster averted

The trip is fast approaching. Shaun is already on leave and undertaking some last minute vehicle preparation.

Today he was working on the Colorado and he happened upon this little nasty with potentially big consequences.

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Shaun was rotating the tyres and spotted a broken spring. Panic set in because of time frames and $$$$$ but as per usual we get things sorted.

After ringing around half of northern NSW and SE QLD he finally ordered the parts and hopefully they will arrive in the coming few days.

In all fairness, the springs have been on the vehicle since we purchased the Colorado 190,000km ago.

It certainly isn’t something we need right now, time-wise or financially but it sure is better than being in the middle of nowhere and having something happen.

Thanks to Shaun’s attention to detail and thoroughness, potential disaster has been averted.

S & S

Attractions · Camping · Caravan Parks · Destinations · Finance · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · Home on the Road · National Parks · Preparation · Random Thoughts · Words of Wisdom · Working on the Road

no excuses

Haven’t been away for ages?

Do you feel like your Facebook news feed is full of friends, family and random travelling and flitting about everywhere? Meanwhile you are sitting on the couch, watching re-runs of Mash and daydreaming of your next holiday. Or you are so busy you haven’t had time to think straight when one day you realise it has been 6 months since your last weekend away?

STOP!!!!

You can be out there too.

No excuses.

We are the makers of our own misery and by the same token the makers of our own happiness. Chose to live a life you love.

Money tight?

Why not go for a cheap camp-out? National parks are great, low-cost and are quite accessible for most no matter which town you reside in. There are also endless free camp sites dotted across Australia. Keep meals simple and easy to reduce costs further.

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Time poor?

One night away is better than none? A night at the coast sounds lovely doesn’t it. Or why not hop in the car for a drive and see where you end up. Stay the night and enjoy the sites and head back home the next day.

Day 59: Our Time in Griffith is Ticking Away

 

Too busy at work/school/study/life?

It will all be there when you return. Our lives are forever fast-paced but we have earned at least one to two days here or there! Haven’t we? You don’t need to head off on a 12 month voyage to have a good time. Plan around your schedule! Fit in some time to getaway. Make the time.

Day 88

 

Australian Travel · Budgeting · Four Wheel Driving · Preparation · Random Thoughts

a clean slate

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We finally SOLD our beloved camper-trailer. Talk about mixed emotions. We have been to so many places and experienced so many good times since purchasing it back in 2012. The trailer has been our home on wheels and has treated us very well indeed. However, although there may be a few nostalgic tears it is still VERY EXCITING!!!!! Why? Because it means we now have a clean slate. It means we can start to seriously look forward to the next chapter, WHAT NEXT?…………

Watch this space…….. there is change in the air…..