Australian Travel · Finance · Four Wheel Driving · Words of Wisdom · Writing & Reading

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.

 

Attractions · Australian Travel · National Parks · Queensland · South Australia · Travel Photography

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?

Australian Travel · National Parks · Northern Territory · Reader Interaction · South Australia

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
Australian Travel · Four Wheel Driving · Preparation · Writing & Reading

Counting Down – One Month Today

We love a good count down here at Norris Around Australia.com  Who doesn’t?

Our 2015 4×4 Desert Trek is coming up quickly. In fact it is one month today until D-Day! With one month to go and 12 months of planning or more, everyone involved is itching to hit the road. Time will fly in this prep stage and it will be the 19th of June before we know it.

At the moment we are working on a few upgrades to our 4WD.

Here is what we have done so far:

  • We have installed a nice, new and convenient drop down fridge slide.
  • Shaun has created a snazzy 12-volt set up which Shaun is absolutely in love with.
  • We have replaced the shockies with Bilsteins.
  • We have installed a larger water tank and Shaun’s created a superb plumbing set up.

We still have to finish off the plumbing and electrics which shouldn’t take to long. Although we do have only four weekends until the trip sets off. Time does have a habit of getting away from us.

The camping gear has been updated, restocked and sorted. However, there is plenty of organising to do and a few bits and bobs to add here and there.

So in honour of loving count-downs we have THIRTY days to go…..21 work days…..4 weekends….. Let the pointy end of the stick begin….

Attractions · Australian Travel · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · Travel Photography

Reliving the Simpson!

Australian Travel · Camping · Preparation · Random Thoughts · Working on the Road

Itchy? Scratch It!

The itchiness of our feet is almost unbearable. One location – 12 months. That is normally our limit but we are holding on. We are going to lightly scratch the itch in JUNE!! More details to share with you shortly. It’s in the name of a good cause.

Open roads and dirt roads are calling.

The ebb and flow of having NO FIXED ADDRESS swirls endlessly around us. To settle or not settle? To continue the travels or stop them. We will always be nomadic.

We all want somewhere to belong but what if that place is the largest and most beautiful continent on Earth. We have travelled and worked around this vast land since two thousand and eleven and have merely scratched the surface. There is still so many places left to explore and places we have been that we would love to explore deeper.

Here are the first ten places that come to mind that we want to see (or see more of)

  1. The Simpson Desert
  2. The Flinder’s Ranges
  3. Corner Country
  4. Gibb River Road and the Kimberlys
  5. The Victoria High Country
  6. Arnhem Land – East and West
  7. Cape York and Surrounds
  8. TASSIE – All of it
  9. Gunbarrel Highway
  10. Canning Stock Route

They list took me a split second to type and ages to deliberate because I ran out places. Our bucket list between the two of us would be miles and miles and miles long.

What are your must see destinations? Locations? Tracks? Where do you want to go? Are you feet itchy? Scratch them!

S&S

Attractions · Australian Travel · Four Wheel Driving · Northern Territory · Travel Photography · Writing & Reading

Our Affair With Alice

Last weekend saw us adventure back into civilisation for a weekend away from cattle station life. We had a few things to restock  so with a couple of days off now was a good as time as any. We decided to go the extra distance and venture to Alice Springs verse Mount Isa! We had only been at Mt Isa several weeks early and it didn’t light any fire of desire to rush back.

Welcome to Alice!

There is something about Alice that Shaun and I keep coming back too.I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly! I love that it is in the red centre. The capital of central Australia really. The mountain ranges that surround it create a scenic landscape and some naturally beautiful tourist stops. These reasons could be why we like it so much. More so our love for Alice probably  stems from actually getting there in the first place. To come through Alice in your travels you have to come the long way. Simply because there is no short way. You either have cross the Plenty like we did this time. Or you could have crossed the Simpson Desert, been out admiring the grandeur of Uluru, wandering on the rim of Kings Canyon, digging for opals in Coober Pedy or travelling through somewhere else in remote Australia. This is why I think when we have got to Alice each time we have said: “Bugger it!” Booked a hotel to relax in luxury after days of dust, heat, corrugations and flies.

This trip to Alice was mostly to re-stock on boring necessities. We also planned on  acquiring some warmer apparel as the desert we reside so close to is becoming colder by the day. Yay for me – I detest the cold. Although I also detest early mornings and so far I am coping just fine with those. So who knows I may even come to love the cold!!

While in Alice we decided to head to the Start/Finish Line of the 2012 Finke Desert Race. Wow what a rush. Would love to head to another Desert Race and camp along the track for the few days. It was a real buzz. For those who don’t know the Finke Desert Race is one of the biggest sporting events in the Territory which sees hundreds and hundreds of competitors on bikes, cars, buggies and quads complete an off-road course from Alice Springs down to the small community of Finke. The course is one of the remotest in the world and runs 230km one-way. The competitors race down one day and come back the next. That is one hell of a long ride.

2012 Finke Desert Race

 

1st, 2nd & 3rd Bikes Catergory

For more info on the Finke Desert Race head to their website http://www.finkedesertrace.com.au