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Sunday, May 31, 2009


Leaving Alice Springs

OK, back on the Internet at last and with enough time and energy to catch up on the last week since we left Alice Springs! As it was an overcast day on the morning we were leaving, we decided to give the visit to Standley Chasm a miss. Spent a couple of hours at the auto electrician so he could replace the 12V plug he put in on the Friday with the RIGHT size this time! All good now so we headed off to camp at the nearby Arltunga Historical Site and Campground, just over an hours drive away. Unfortunately, it was ALL closed and the house for sale! However, the toilets were open!!!
So rather than go back to Alice Springs, we decided to head on to Gemtree down the road, taking a 'short cut' along a 60km stretch of road called the Cattlewater Pass, which wound through The Harts Ranges...
This is how it started out - narrow, flat and reasonably easy to negotiate along with about 3-4 farm gates to open and close. Then things got interesting and daylight was running out... this photo is a bit blurry due to the car being thrown around!!
It was a very interesting and challenging adventure! Annie could rarely get above 10kmh for most of it, especially as it became darker and the track more difficult to see! We finally arrived at The Plenty Highway in the pitch dark a bit after 7.00pm... nearly 3 hours later!! Laughing in a slightly hysterical manner at having made it through this 60km 'short cut', we headed for The Gemtree Caravan Park just 30kms down the highway. By the time we arrived, the campground had closed for the night, but we drove in to look for somewhere to set up the tent. We were met by the friendly owner who showed us a nice spot and told us to just get settled and pop up to the office in the morning! Here are a few pics -
Annie enjoying the camp-fire

The magic sunsets at Gemtree
Our sheltered campsite at Gemtree

We had 3 great nights here at Gemtree and even went fossicking for garnets one morning! Lots of fun and we DID find several pretty red gemstones to take home. I even found one large 7mm beauty, so it was a very successful excursion! Met many lovely and interesting people in Gemtree and I would love to return here one day.

This stretch of highway is said to be the most challenging part of The Outback Way... and it was! But nothing Annie and Gert the Landcruiser couldn't handle! We were in very safe hands. :) Lots of corrugations and bulldust and here's the proof!
Had lunch on the NSW/Qld. border and from there on the road was a dream! The roadside scenery was mostly very flat but changed constantly. And many HUGE termite ant hills, including this monster!!
Arrived in the small town of Boulia just before dark and set up our tent on a nice green lawn in the local caravan park set on The Burke River. Headed off to the roadhouse for a bite to eat before retiring to our cosy tent! Next day I took a long walk down the dry river bed to photograph the many bird varieties that live on and around the water.

Amazing countryside!

Left for Longreach Saturday morning on good roads most of the way. Saw lots of birds - emus, wedgetail eagles, little hawks, brolgas, budgies, weiros etc! Oh, and lots of big healthy cattle - Droughmaster, Brahman, Santa Gertrudis and everything else in between! Stopped for lunch in Winton, which was a lovely friendly little country town, famous for the Waltzing Matilda Museum! I drove us to Longreach where we arrived just after dark so we booked into a nice little cabin for a couple of nights, across the road from The Qantas Longreach Museum where the beautifully restored 1959 Boeing 707 is on display along with the Boeing 747 used to transfer the victims, rescuers and investigators following the Bali bombings. We are also just down the road from The Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame and Outback Museum - both museums were very interesting and full of fascinating information. Definitely well worth seeing - excellent displays. Am going back to the Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame to buy a great hat I saw today!!

Tomorrow we head to Emerald overnight and then on to Dysart to stay a few days with Annie's son Matt and his girlfriend, Syrita. More in a few days! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


We've had a lovely relaxing 3 days here in Alice Springs - well, mostly! Bit of washing, having the car serviced and re-arranging the way the car is packed. :) Met some lovely people here in the Wintersun Caravan Park and made a visit to the nearby Desert Park today, which was truly wonderful and inspirational. Quite amazing just what lives and grows in the desert.

With our energy recharged and ready for the beginning of the final leg, we will set off tomorrow for Gemtree, visiting the Standley Chasm first. With a bit of luck, all the flooding in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland will have subsided by the time we reach that far! The B&B that Annie is minding in Mount Warning, has been totally cut off for a number of days!!

Stay tuned for our third week on the road. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

One of the many roads coming into NT with fabulous countryside. Mostly, we have found the roads to be good and able to keep up a good safe speed.
Approaching the Northern Territory (above & below) - long roads and amazing views!

Visiting Docker River Aboriginal Community we came across this funny roadside sign... so Annie thought she'd better look for people!!
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Our camp site at The Eco Resort at Karijini. This was a lovely spot with a fabulous restaurant, bar and beautiful surroundings
Where several (4) gorges meet in Karijini NP at The Oxer Lookout - very impressive and amazing rock formations
Annie standing by the Wiluna sign
The long dusty road!
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Annie testing the water at Hammersley Gorge - what a beautiful spot!
Anne-Marie at Kalamina Gorge - this was at the other end of the gorge.
Kalamina Gorge (above & below) in Karanjini National Park near Tom Price, WA

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PHOTOS at last!

At last a few photos! I have decided to just pop them all in one post with descriptions rather than trying to post them into each separate post... I might be here all night! :)

The photos are uploaded in small size but if you click on them you will see the full sized image. Enjoy! I plan to upload most/many of the photos to my Online Picasa Album, so here is a link to that site for anyone interested - http://picasaweb.google.com/annemarie55/AcrossOzAdventure I will add to this album continuously and when I return home.

We have seen so many, many wonderful and also very funny sights/signs - will locate the photos on Annie's external hard drive soon and upload a few of them!

Our visit to see The Olgas/Kata Tjuta, Ayers Rock/Uluru, Mount Conner http://www.redcentrerock.info/crags/mt_conner.htm Kings Canyon and the amazing Gosse Bluff crater (created by a comet over 142 million years ago with a million times more power than the atomic bomb!) were absolutely fantastic and very powerful places to be. We also went to a lovely gorge called Redbank Gorge and decided to bush-camp there overnight as the campsite was in such a lovely spot with the mountains all around and incredibly peaceful. We decided to leave off the fly cover over the tent so we could lie and stargaze from our beds! What a wonderful experience and to be in such beautiful surroundings.

Annie and I are currently enjoying 2-3 days here in Alice Springs, treating ourselves to a nice little cabin with all the mod cons and a chance to do some washing! Spent a bit of time shopping in town today and tomorrow we plan to visit the Desert Park. Met some nice people here in the caravan park and joined them for their 'Happy Hour' this evening.

That's all for now... back to uploading more photos! :)
Anne-Marie sitting at Kings Canyon, NT and below another photo of Kings Canyon... AWESOME!

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Annie and me with Bob (left, from Narracourt, SA) and Dave (from Back of Beyond Tours) at Warakurna Roadhouse on our day of departure. Very interesting chaps! :)
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Friday, May 22, 2009


Sorry for the absence! Have been in the middle of the bush mostly and now in range at last here in Alice Springs. Have had a great time so far - will write more tomorrow. Been washing, servicing car and other stuff today already! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


We have now reached Warakurna Roadhouse near the Rawlinson Ranges, just a few hundred k's from Yulara and Uluru! (Ayers Rock) We have set up our tent and seeing as we have free wi-fi we thought we'd take advantage of that... and it's after 5pm NT time so drinks in hand too!!! So far it has been a great roadtrip with lots of interesting sights and experiences. The road is no worse than anything in The Pilbara or the backroads through Wombeyan Caves! We have seen a helluva lot more camels than cars over the last 500+ kms! In fact, we could count on our hands how many vehicles we've passed and still have fingers left! We camped overnight at Tjukayirla Roadhouse last night and had a lovely night there. This campsite is amazing - SO clean fantastic camp kitchen with power and very friendly management. The campsite is behind simple gates and a fence to keep out the camels and uninvited guests!!! We were the only campers until we were joined at our HUGE camp fire by 3 lovely European travellers, so it turned into a very interesting and cosy night.

Here at the Warakurna roadhouse it is once again, very nice, very friendly and very peaceful... and FREE Wi-fi!! We've just been invited to join a mob of other campers here around a big central camp fire. Sounds good to us!!

Until next time - nite, nite and keep following us! Having a few image upload issuses, so photos later.

P.S. Whilst here at Warakurna, we also visited the nearby Giles Weather Station for a guided hour long tour - for free! Very interesting and fascinating to watch a weather balloon being sent up along with all the other manual recording done at this original weather station which dates back to 1956.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Well, here we are in sunny down-town Meekatharra! Am sitting writing this in our 'luxury' accommodation here at the hotel! ;) It was a freebie owed to Annie so a free room/feed is good!!We left Tom Price Tuesday morning and headed for a quick look at Mount Nameless with its awesome views and very cute critters... this is a very large Bungarra (Monitor), maybe a Perentie or a Goulds Monitor...

...and a tiny Rock Wallaby, happily posed for us as well!
We then continued on to Hammersely Gorge and Kalamina Gorge - both fantastic and very powerful places to be.

After seeing the beautiful gorges we headed to The Karijini Eco Resort and set up our camp... photos to follow! This was such a beautiful spot - fantastic setting. We had a drink at the bar before having dinner at the Eco Restaurant - superb food in amazing surroundings. Set off about 10am for a look at Oxer lookout where all the major gorges converge and the beautiful memorial for SES volunteer worker, Jim Regan who lost his life tragically in 2004, in an effort to save an injured tourist in the gorge. Both Annie's daughters are SES volunteers and were involved in the same rescue and were lucky to survive! BE CAREFUL!!! These places are stunning but they can also also dangerous.

We then set off for Newman to do a few things in town, had a minor hiccup there with loose battery cable, ably attended to by our on-board mechanic, Annie!! This left us a bit late in continuing on to Meekatharra (me driving!) so we arrived about 7.40pm at the hotel! Bit of a challenge driving in the dark with cows and other critters on the road, not to mention the HUGE roadtrains! Had a quick clean up in our room, then headed for the front bar where 2 fabulous pub meals awaited us. Good stuff! Back in our room it wasn't long before there was a bit of alcohol fuelled 'activity' outside and the gates to the hotel carpark were shut and locked!!

As it is now after 10am we must away! Will add many photos, I promise. We are now heading for Malcolm Dam, a free camp outside Leonora and next stop after that will be Laverton, which will probably abe the next update.
Until then - take care! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009


Just a quick post to say 'I am here!'! Arrived late yesterday afternoon in Paraburdoo - glorious 29C, stunning countryside up here and the most incredible colours. The white trunks and brilliant green crowns of the big gum trees against the red landscape is breathtaking - to me, anyway! I was met by my dear friend, Annie and we sat and waited in the sun for the luggage trolley to arrive. I decided to ring Andrew to let him know I'd arrived... NO VODAFONE reception up here!! I should have known! Never mind - Annie has a Next G phone, thank God! I will be able to text and call when I need to. After grabbing my bag off the trolley, we headed off for Tom Price, about 70 kms away, driving through more beautiful countryside. It feels amazing and wonderful to be here and the excitement of what lies ahead, is building!

We had a lovely 'Mother's Day BBQ' last night with Annie's daughter, Kath, husband-to-be Jason and Annie's delightful grandson, Callum along with Annie's son Mark and a few other good friends. Good food, good wine and definitely, GREAT company and setting! Thanks Kath and Jason. :)

The two mums - Annie & I at Kath & Jason's BBQ!

Annie, Kath & Callum at the Mother's Day BBQ @ Jason & Kaths.

That's all for this post - I must get on as we have a lot to sort out today before heading off tomorrow! Indulging in a massage swap later today with Jaj, Annie's other daughter! Looking forward to that very much!

My gorgeous Masseuse, Jaj (Jennifer) - great massage!

Over and out!! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009


OK! This is my last post before I head off to the other side of this beautiful, diverse and amazing country of ours! I think I have everything sorted and packed... I hope! Too bad if I haven't - I'll just have to beg, steal or borrow whatever is forgotten!! :)

I just know Annie and I will have a fantastic trip and create many wonderful memories along the way. I also know that it will all be over before we know it so I plan to take in everything around me that I can and learn something new every day! I don't want to miss a thing!

Take care, look after each other and please keep in touch by email, mobile, text message, facebook or whatever means you have!! I promise to keep in touch as best I can and as often as possible.

Ciao, adios, hasta la vista, farvel, auf wiedersehen... and goodbye - for now!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


All our plans are coming together now! We will be leaving on Tuesday 12th May for Hamersley Gorge, then on to Oxer Lookout and the Karijini Eco Retreat (camp-site) that night.

The next day we will visit Circular Pool and walk down to Fern Pool/Fortescue Falls before heading down to Meekatharra for the night, where we’ll stay at the pub as they owe Annie a free night!! Next day we continue on to Laverton to overnight and catch up with friends of Annie's before commencing the big trek to Yulara and Alice Springs! Yay!

This link tells you a bit more about the area we will visit around Karijini National Park along with some great images. I plan to get lots of my own!!


Bye for now...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I sent Annie an email a few days ago, checking with her what I should or should NOT bring with me and if there was anything else she could think of that I needed to bring with me. She answered it beautifully...

'Cant think of anything else you need to bring - just your smile, an open mind to absorb the experience and a large jar of resilience to turn the thousands of kilometres into an adventure!'

Isn't that fabulous!?

So, today I started to sort through what I wanted to bring and what needed to stay or be thrown out! I was ruthless! I ended up throwing out a lot of old clothes hiding in the depths of the wardrobe and the same ruthless attention was heaped upon the bathroom cabinet! An awful lot of half used, unused and old bottles and jars of lotion, potions, creams, shampoos etc. were ditched... something I had been meaning to do for a long time! Great morning! And my duffel bag still weighs under half the allowed Qantas baggage allowance! Even with the last things added, it will struggle to reach 20 kilos. Am very impressed with that!

Last night I spoke with Annie on the phone and we went over last minute details before I leave on Saturday. We are well prepared power-wise - from solar-powered battery chargers to 240v battery chargers, solar-powered light, big torches, little torches, car-battery operated compressor with a light, extension lead, power-board AND a little inverter that I will bring into which we can plug in a number of chargers and even Annie's laptop! I think we have it all covered when it comes to power!!! :)

That's all for this post - I may get another one in before my departure for Perth, but if not - the next one will be from the roadside somewhere!

Ciao for now!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Exciting news! Annie has just told me that our first camping stop will be at the magnificent Karijini National Park (The Hamersley Ranges), not far from Tom Price. Fantastic! The gorges there are absolutely stunning - the whole landscape is something to behold, so I am really looking forward to this first stop and taking loads of photos! By camping here as our first stop, not only do I get a look at this beautiful National Park but it also allows us to check out all our gear and make sure we haven't forgotten anything!!

This is a very good link with fantastic photos of this incredible area: http://www.stewartmacdonald.com.au/blog/2008/05/karijini-national-park/

This is my last weekend at home with Andrew and Bekky, so as excited as I am about this trip, I will be a bit sad about leaving my 2 darlings behind in the cold Bowral weather! I will miss you both heaps. xx