Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The journey doesn't end...Murray Sunset National Park

Well, we did make it home (albeit 7 months ago now!) and had a very bumpy landing (no power to the house for 2 days for a start and great difficulty coping with all the stuff that we had at home after 9 months of living out of a car and trailer/tent and so many people in the big city!), but we are slowly getting used to it. (It took me a good week to work out how to use the stereo and then there was the microwave...)

We have learnt that we need big gasps of air out bush (or desert) to keep us 'OK' and keep us connected to each other as life at home keeps pulling us apart.

So last Easter holidays we ran away to the Murray Sunset National Park hoping for some peace & quiet. We got it on the whole...until the hordes arrived 4 days later on Good Friday...and camped on top of us! By Easter Sunday, we were done, and packed up and came home. We didn't need to camp that closely to others when we live in the inner city.

Things that we did while we were there...

Fiddling around with the car

A little bit of driving around the sandy and eroded tracks...to explore the massive National Park (all up we drove about 500km in the park)

Throwing seeds in the air to watch their aerodynamics

Walking on salt and tasting it

Eating damper, pancakes, Easter eggs, and roasted pumpkins.
And we did watch some crazy people get themselves out of being intentionally bogged...what can I say, it was Easter!

We did learn that most of our kitchen camping stuff had disappeared back into our house (oops!), and that whilst camping on our trip by ourselves was fine, short trips would be more fun with another family or two (need to find another family, or people that would like to go 4wding and camping where there may not be showers into interesting places - takers?).

Next stop is Mungo National Park, NSW these holidays...although we have decided to stay in the Shearer Quarters at Turlee Station instead of camping as the kids have all been sick. We really wanted to go there on our way home back in October, but it was closed due to wet roads - it is a very sensitive area and has very old fossils in it. We are hoping that the roads are dry when we get there!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Across two borders, through the rain, flooded plains, and icy rains to shelter

We left Canberra, wet and cold, without a distinct plan (as we often have) as to where we going, other than Cooma. At Cooma with our heads in the clouds, literally, we decided that it was time to make a run for my mum's holiday house in Inverloch to try to dry out the tent before getting home given that we have no space at home for that.

The rain did not stop the whole day. We were amazed at all of the water everywhere. We crossed two borders that day, and the ground got soggier. The rain got heavier. We had tried to stick to bitumen, yet even one of these was being worked on and we slipped and slid all over the place. When the wet is wetter.
A cuppa in Cann River in the drizzle. Lovely spot there, even in the drizzle. The drive all the way through there is so beautiful. It reminded us of South West Western Australia with the beautiful big trees.

This was our longest day travelling, but we knew that we didn't have to set up the tent at the end of the day and that made a huge difference. We travelled 670 km altogether.
Fish and chips in Bairnsdale. What a treat. Great when you are freezing and everything is saturated!

We finally arrived at 10pm and turned on LIGHTS!! and opened DOORS!! A roof! Wow, it really is the small things. People call this civilisation. We are calling it transition.

Friday, December 3, 2010

So much to do in Canberra!

There is so much to do in Canberra!! Even if we did feel a bit like bushies who had just come in from way out, and everyone else was wearing matching, clean clothes. We still jam packed our days there. First day was great. It started with sunshine, but we still had to go to the indoor Questacon. The boys would have chewed my arms off otherwise. Brilliant

There was so much to see and do there. All hands on, all related, in some way to science, and with people there who could answer questions.
John had a question from the day before about the speed of the earth... answered.

Games to play, Weather to understand. Worth spending as much time as you can here.

Next day we thought we could fit in a few things...wrong. Once we got to the National Museum, spent ages in the Canning Stock Route Exhibition (on until end Jan I think), in which I cried again (I do seem to cry a lot) as I remembered all of those brilliant people who we had met along the way. I suddenly felt so lost without them nearby.

The rest of the Museum was brilliant too, A KZone where there were vehicles to design,

and a journey through Australia, our emotions, our plants, our people, our animals.

This took a whole day, in which Canberra rained for the entire day. Our tent seems to be getting a little leakier...or the rain is rainier...or it is sick of the rain. Either way, it leaked. Lucky to have swimming towels, and tarps. Time to tarp up. The huge bubble of water that was sitting on the roof looked like it was going to pop right through when we got back. Glad we got back when we did!

Next day it was getting colder (still wet), a visit to the Australian War Memorial exceeded our expectations and nicely wrapped up all of the war memorabilia we have seen around the country. It gave it all a sense of place and presence. We went on a guided tour which was brilliant to get all of that inside knowledge. Not a word of complaint from anyone about being there for two hours.

Great fun at the end for the boys playing in the hands on area "Discovery"

A great view from here down to New and Old Parliament house down Anzac parade (nice and clean and shiny in the wet!!)

From there we went for a look at the Mint (because it makes cents...ha ha). Boys really loved this, movie to watch, the coin collectors in the family had a great long look at the history of coins and the rare coins, then we watched the process of making coins for a really loooonnng time.

As the rain continued to pelt down, we managed to squeeze in one last thing, a visit to the Old Parliament House. What a great surprise this was too. There was a treasure hunt for the kids to follow which took them through every room at a great rate of knots, which was probably a good idea as we didn't have much time before they shut. It was brilliant in there. So much information and so many rooms, and so much history. We have to go back. We were all fascinated by it.

We didn't get to the tent embassy as it really was pelting down, and we figured that they were probably zipped up and keeping warm, not wanting wet soggy people coming in for a chat.

John, Pete and Matt had a quick run around the Old Parliament House gardens to have a look at the roses (I was too cold by this stage), then that was it. Time to leave Canberra. Too wet, cold and soggy for us in a tent, we loved it, but the camping bit was getting too miserable. Time to move on.

From Dubbo to Canberra, through the country...

We said our goodbyes to the Dunn's now knowing that they are only 800km up the road, we are sure to see them again...

Our first stop was Parkes to see The Dish and have a go at the Whispering Dishes
 We were lucky enough to get one of our few family shots here too by some people who had been up to Lake Eyre (by plane..).  We watched some movies on going to Mars, the size of stars (Canis Major is the biggest one), and watched a man walk to the top of the dish.
 We decided to stop at a little town called Gooloogong, because it showed that they had free camping right in the centre of town, was on the way to Canberra, and we really like little towns.  There were only 4 other people camped there (all a little older).  This gentleman serenaded us with his accordion making us feel like we were in an SBS movie with all the odd things driving past on the back of trucks - harvest time.

 The campground was right next to a playground which was pretty handy for 3 boys.  They made sure that they made good use of it.

 We had a little look around town and found the local shop to get some food for dinner and then had a drink at the pub and a yak with the locals.  Love a country town.  Nice folks

 Next day we needed to get to Canberra - we had to vote by 6pm.  Still enough time to pop into the "Fun Museum" at Cowra.  We thought that we would find some of the war memorabilia here, knowing, as Matt did (I didn't), that a POW camp had been in Cowra.  I think that "Fun" may have been a loose term.  They allowed us in on a discount, not sure if that is because no-one else goes there, or just felt sorry for us.  There is SO much stuff there, rooms and rooms and rooms and rooms of war, transport, farming, modelling, and other weird collected stuff.  Wow.  Apparently it is all going to close down in a couple of years time, so, if you love this stuff, go, but, make sure you go with PLENTY of time and energy, as there is heaps and heaps to look at.  One really good thing about this place was that they had a treasure hunt for the kids (apparently there were prizes, however, no-one to be seen when we left....),  A slight odd, collectors paradise place.
This is perhaps my overwhelming memory...army stuff, and dust
 Signs (Matt's obsession)
 Room number 8
some missile thing...impressed? 
 War things, and me being really excited about it

WOW - Is that the Hume?  This seems really, really close now.  Been here before!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dunley's Down in Dubbo with Dunn's

One of the brilliant things about this trip has been the people by far, and one of the not so good things has been the rain. 

So when it came to all dirt roads in NSW and VIC closed due to the rain (has the drought broken yet?), and we couldn't go to the places that we wanted to (Lake Mungo NP...etc), plans had to change again.  Good to be flexible.  If we kept heading south, we would have arrived in Melbourne very quickly with nowhere to stay, so it was time to head east. 
Dubbo Zoo was a dot on the map, and we had met some great folks from Dubbo all the way back in Norseman (then Esperance, Perth, and Kalbarri).  They had said that if we get close to Dubbo, pop in, so time to give them a call. 
"No worries",  they said, "come and camp on our block, we've got 100 hectares"


On the way we enjoyed the delights of reverse parking, knitting socks, playgrounds in rest stops (!), big things on the way to harvest, more great sunsets and a town called Never Tire.

Time for a taste of the farm life.

Lucky too, as when we came over the hill to see Dubbo, we were a little overwhelmed at the size of it!  It was probably the biggest centre we have come across for a while.

Sheri and Anthony made us feel very welcome at their farm, and it was great to catch up with them after they had been home for 2 months already.

We took Luke, their son, along to the zoo with us.  It was good, the kids loved it, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting it to be.  The "drive around" bit made Matt & I think that it would be a bit like our Werribee zoo, more of an open plain zoo, but it reminded us more of our Melbourne Zoo, just perhaps a little bigger.  In the end, we were all a little tired of getting in and out of the car. 

The boys all loved the new playground at the end with the flying fox.

The museum in Dubbo is really worth checking out.  It is really well done and Lyn, a lovely older lady, showed us around, telling us stories about the older Dubbo.

We also checked out the op shops (as we do...).  There are 9 in Dubbo!  A sign of the size.  Temptation to get a few things here and there...

A swim in the local pool, until we all realised how cold it was! (They said it was heated, but we are now used to warmer waters)

We popped into ABC Local Radio to pick up free stickers for the kids journals (great to do if you are on the road), and they decided to interview us...

But I think the best fun was had was back at the Dunn's property. 

Matt helped Anthony out with getting starting on putting in his new solar system.  Digging in 8 holes to hold up the massive panels, and getting the positioning right.  The boys all helped out.

The boys also loved collecting the eggs from the chickens, playing with Layla the dog and talking to the steers. 

We had a ride around in the ute (apparently, it has to be done), and chatted with the neighbours about, well, stuff.  We cooked, in an oven!!!  Then we left, as it was time to go.  Dubbo, only 800km from Melbourne.  Just up the road.