An early start and a few short miles had us crossing the border out of the NT and into the Sunshine State, welcome home for the Travelling Two. Our 630km run southward today took us along the Donohue Highway to Boulia, then down a series of development roads through the channel country to Birdsville.
On the run from Old Andado to Finke we got to see extent of the rain and flooding that had caused the change in our plans. We looked to be the first vehicles through this part of the desert and were making our own tracks at places where the road was submerged or missing altogether.
We farewelled the rocky escarpments of the East MacDonnell Ranges as the Binns Track took us southward toward the Santa Teresa indigenous community.
From Santa Teresa the gravel road became the Old Andado Track, reputedly constructed on request of Molly Clark the owner of the historic station at southern end of the route, and our destination today
From the majestic West MacDonnell Ranges we cross over to the lesser known but just as spectacular East MacDonnells. In fact, the East Macs became our favourite of the two once we had discovered its many hidden secrets. Our first destination is the Ross River Resort, a former cattle property with pioneer history of its own and plenty of nearby sights to take in.
Eventually blue patches of sky appeared above Kulgera, but not enough to breath life back into our plans to cross the Simpson Desert, that trip will be rescheduled for 2022. We weren’t completely sure where we would be going for the next two weeks, but we were assured that the plan would emerge as roads opened and tracks dried. In the mean time however we were going to be treated to a special destination – Kings Creek Station in heart of the West MacDonnell Ranges.
The morning haul to Kulgera was an easy 180km drive that took us just across the South Australia – Northern Territory border. Where we were bound for after that remained a mystery, in hands of the weather gods and Moon Tours…
For now all roads to the north were open but we knew the forecast low pressure system would change that very quickly, so rather than breaking our trip we again decided forego any overnight stops along the track and run straight through to Oodnadatta to reassess our plans.
At last, we are on our way, Travelling Two are on an outback adventure that will take us over 5,000km around and across the Simpson Desert. But there is a sense of urgency riding in back of our minds…
Patriot has wedged a huge amount of equipment into a very small and offroad capable footprint – but like all vehicles there is room for customisation to suit the user’s unique requirements.
Many of these have also been posted on the Patriot Campers Owners – Official Group on Facebook, with the search hashtag #X3llent Tips.
In an earlier post we mentioned cancellation of our Madigan Line crossing, now to be a Simpson Desert crossing using a different route. Well, the countdown is nearly over, next week we leave for Mount Dare, then a trip back across the Simpson Desert, getting pretty bloody excited!!
Getting back to Fraser Island has been on the Travelling Two trip list for a while and we thought it would be a good shake down before our desert crossing next month.
Lachie and Sarah joined us for this one so we had a recovery vehicle if the rig got stuck… this turned out to be more like a premonition than I would hope.
A hot air balloon ride has got to be on everybody’s bucket list and it took 53 years before it happened for me – actually a little longer because lousy weather cancelled the flight booked by Suzzanne on my birthday, so we slotted it into a busy February a few months later.
Our night on banks of the Macleay River was spent warm and snug in the Patriot Campers X3 while light rain fell through cypress trees above us and the river gurgled along its banks toward the sea. Today we would be following the river’s twisting route and would meet its waters where they spill into the Pacific Ocean at South West Rocks.
Wow what a difference, we woke to a warm and sunny morning, so much different than the brooding grey skies of the day before. But now we needed to start moving to ensure we would reach camp before dark. Given the change in our plans I decided to shortcut across to the Kempsey Road by using the Styx River Forest Way, a formed gravel road that Hema suggested was easy to moderate.
A couple of years back friends of ours moved onto an organic cattle property 30 odd kilometres west of Armidale, on the famed Waterfall Way that carves a meandering path from Armidale to the Pacific Highway near Bellingen. We planned a week long trip through the area, firstly staying with our friends before venturing down the Kempsey Road to George’s Junction campground, and then across to enjoy some salt spray at Trial Bay before returning home.
I’m always on the lookout for short excursions to wedge into the days between weekly chemo sessions and at this time of year it can be hard to find somewhere to also escape the heat and summer rain. Following the lead from my Goomburra trip last month I went looking for another mountain top camp site and picked Bunya Mountains as the target destination.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that we are booked in for a trip to cross the Simpson Desert on the Madigan Line, the route of the first journaled European crossing of the desert by Dr Cecil Madigan in 1939. The Madigan Line is an extremely remote trail across a hostile desert environment – parts…
Summer camping in Queensland usually means hot days and humid nights, with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms rolling through camp. But one way to escape the heat is to head into the hills, to gain some elevation and feel the fresh cool breezes of a rainforested mountain top. The south east corner of Queensland offers…