Our big little lap

My wife and I have been planning a trip around Australia for the last 2 years and this is the year! We will be leaving Lightning Ridge, NSW on the 1st July 2017 and heading west going along the Darling River towards Menindee  and Mungo national park. From here we head towards the Flinders Ranges and spend a month going up through the centre of Australia visiting places like Akaroola, Finke, Uluru, Alice Springs and the West Mac ranges.

We will embark to Katherine before heading west towards Kunnanurra.  We spent around 10 weeks in the Northern Territory in 2015 so we are planning to spend more time in WA this trip. We will have around 4 weeks exploring Lake Argyle before heading down to Purnululu and checking out Wolfe Creek crater. Once back on the Gibb River Road we’ll head North up to the Mitchell river and Kalumburu before heading back down towards Derby trying to see the most of the Kimberleys.

Once on the North WA coast, we will head to places like Cape Leveque and Broome before roving South taking in the usual sights like Karijini, Cape Range National Park, Francois Peron NP and Kalbari NP. From here we’ll head to Perth, but really just pass through so we can check out the wineries in the Margaret River region. We will basically travel the furthest roads south around to Esperence and Cape Le Grand before ducking up to Kalgoorlie before heading along the Nullabor.

Once we get back in SA we’ll be shooting through fairly quickly to the Great Ocean Rd in VIC. From there we travel across Bass Straight to Tasmania where we have a month there to explore.  The below image is what our trip should look like

A4 Australia Report map Edn2

Mount Kaputar – NSW

Here are a few of our pictures from our little weekend away shakedown with our new Cub Campers Drover in the beautiful Mount Kaputar National Park. At 1500m high we underestimated how much cooler is was up there. Narrabri being around 39 degrees we thought it would be late 20’s early 30’s, but Mitch had to put some socks on with his thongs to keep warm (Now that’s saying something 😜).
We were lucky enough to be alone at the Dawsons Spring campsite, which was really nice. An awesome spot with really great, clean amenities. There were plenty of Kangaroos around the camp which people obviously feed.. they would come from everywhere as soon as we would start to prepare meals was kinda annoying as you could tell that people feed them. 

There are lots of great walks within the park, a few easy and medium grade ones which we did, with our favourites being Sawn Rocks and the climb to The Governor. Everything is very well signposted with tonnes of information for the kids and adults to read.
Mount Kaputar is the perfect place (10/10 if it wasn’t a total fire ban) to relax and reset.. we would highly recommend it!

Jindabyne and Thredbo


After leaving Geelong, we headed to Wagga Wagga to stay with some great friends who took us in and spoiled us with a warm bed, great company and an absolutely delicious dinner! The kids especially loved this stop.. It was hard to get them in the car to leave. Thanks so much Hackett’s!

We left Wagga Wagga, travelling along the Snowy Mountains Highway to spend a week in Jindabyne. It was like a winter wonderland! We were so lucky to have a big snow fall just 2 days before we arrived. The excitement in our car as we found snow, before we had even got to Cooma, was just priceless!

It was a week of memories we’ll treasure forever. We were lucky enough to find a great big house to share our snow adventure with our family, overlooking Lake Jindabyne.
With this being our first time at the Snow as a family, we all took on Ski lessons. The kids just amazed us at how quickly they picked it up. They were doing the bigger slopes before we even got up there. We all enjoyed it so much that we think this will definitely become a yearly trip!

Next stop Canberra…

Great Ocean Road, VIC

Wow! What an amazing coastline. We spent the last couple of days travelling the Great Ocean Road.. Warrnambool to Geelong. And absolutely loved it. All while the big weather system hit from down South. The wind was soo crazy, we’ve never seen anything like it. But we hung on (the kids literally had to 😂) and really enjoyed the ride!

We had another recovery here where someone had driven down into a very wet and muddy look out spot. They were in a 2wd van and just couldn’t get traction. I could help myself but try the winch out.

Whilst the weather was very windy and stormy we had some glimpses of sunshine that helped put a smile of the kids faces.

Grampians, VIC

While the weather wasn’t on our side, we decided to leave the tent and swags packed up and stay in a Villa at Halls Gap. Thank goodness we did, with 60km gusts of wind and trees down everywhere.

We still braved the rain and freezing wind to explore what was visible! Doing the 5km climb to the Pinnacle, which looked out over Halls gap.. We timed it perfectly with the rain and clouds coming across as we were on our way back down. Then onto the small 2km treks to Silverbend Falls and Mackenzie Falls. No matter which way you look in the Grampians, the view is amazing!

Of course we had to check out the No.1 business in town 😜.. Coolas Ice-creamery! With it only being 7 degrees outside, it was the 1st time the kids haven’t dripped Icecream everywhere 😉

Halls Gap were expecting to get snow tonight into tomorrow morning, but we just missed it as we’re back on the road, heading along the Great Ocean Road. Stopped in at Port Campbell tonight.

Onwards to Broken Hill

Lightning Ridge – Broken Hill

We left Lightning Ridge and head towards Louth  and stayed at a free camp on the western side of the river. Bloody Cold this time of year. We then headed to a little farm stay called Nelia Gaari which was beautiful and will stay at again.
We set up camp out at the Broken Hill Racecourse and would recommend it to anyone looking for affordable unpowered/powered campsites with amenities. We even had lush green grass 😜 spoilt!

The first day in Broken Hill we checked out the sights of the town. The miners monument on top of the big mollock heap was a good reminder of how tough it must have been mining back in day! The list contains the name, age, and cause of death. Hundreds of people have died working in the mines over the years, which brought about unions in Australia, to try and improve working conditions. Did you know that the mining company BHP was started at Broken Hill, and stands for Broken Hill Proprietary?!
In the afternoon, we couldn’t go past having a look at the ‘big picture’ at the Silver City Mint and having a soda spider at Bells Milk bar.

Silverton was a great day out. Stopping into the Daydream Mine for a tour with Boss, which we all found really interesting, and then treated with fresh scones straight out of the wood fire oven, yum!
We drove out to the Mundi Mundi Plains and had a picnic lunch at the Reservoir, which use to supply water to Broken Hill and Silverton.
Next stop was the Mad Max 2 museum which was definitely a highlight and then a cold one at the Silverton Hotel- where Mel successfully completed the ‘Silverton challenge’.
Finishing off our big day at the Living Desert and Sculptures, right on sunset.. Amazing!! #Drifta #snowpeak #camping #4wding #silvertonhotel

Kakadu and Darwin

Yesterday we had a massive day exploring, visiting Anbangbang Billabong, Nourlangie Rock, Jim Jim Falls and the Twin Falls.

Nourlangie Rock was a 1.5km walk past an ancient Aboriginal Shelter and some of the most recent art sites in the Kakadu National Park. Most being done in the last 1000 years. The kids were so intrigued about how they made their ‘ochre’ and the stories behind the artwork.

The Twin Falls were spectacular! The 1km rock walk with our little adventurers in the beaming 35 degree sun was well worth it. It’s just a shame you can’t swim there, with the chance of Saltwater crocs (but they are working on opening it again to swimming at the moment). They do have traps in place, they caught a 2 metre one, this time last year.😀

We decided to squeeze in the Jim Jim Falls as well, with a 1.8km return walk and most of it climbing over boulders. The kids loved it! These Falls were only trickling as there wasn’t much of a wet season this year. But still a stunning view, especially the walk as the sun was starting to go down! You can swim at this one as apparently the only way Saltwater crocs can get in is over the falls and it’s very unlikely they will survive the 150m drop.

We made it back to camp just in time for the start of Origin on the big screen, set up next to the pool! The kids swam as we sat back and watched the blues win!
Awesome day! 😊

What a jam packed 5 days we have just had in Darwin. A bit sad to leave, we could definitely live here… During Winter haha.
We did the Mindil Beach Sunset markets on both Thursday and Sunday, went out in the boat fishing for an afternoon (Thanks Uncle Gary for lending us your boat), catch ups with family, watched the V8’s at Hidden Valley and rocked out at the ‘after concert’ to Jimmy Barnes, watched ‘Minions’ at the movies, checked out some crocs at Crocosaurus Cove, did some shopping at the Northern Territory’s biggest shopping centre (HELLOOO civilisation 😜), ate way too much good food, lots of swimming, got 4am wake ups nearly every morning from the RAAF  Jets doing training and then finished it off with the Leanyer water park, which was awesome and free!!
Looking forward to sitting back and relaxing for the next 3 days at LitchfieldNational Park 😀 Ha, who are we kidding?! 😝

Daly Waters to Pine Creek

Onward from Daly Waters, another beautiful day in paradise after this mornings fright of Levi being attacked by the biggest grasshopper in history. We set off around  mid morning and the Pub serves breakfast and good coffee. We heading north towards Mataranka. This place is amazing, if you’ve driven through town and and missed the sign for the springs you’ll be kicking yourself. Mataranka has the most amazing hot springs springs I’ve seen. Firstly you could go to the Mataranka Homestead where they have a pub and camping, and have plenty of parking. The springs are only a short distance walk down a track, if you’re lucky enough to be there when it is quiet, it is lovely and peaceful, but every time we have been there, its crowded. Next you could go through through town and on the right is a sign with Bitter Springs on it. Again can be crowded, but probably the most beautiful of the two. It has a large step down ‘pool’ area, then due to the springs coming rising at one end there is a weak flow down stream,  take your noodle or tube, and float down the stream around 200m and walk back up. The water is amazingly clear, so take your googles to have a look around around. We had lunch here, and expect to stay for at least an hour.

We drove through to Katherine, it is a large town that has most amenities. Plenty of specialist shops like butchers and bakers. This is the next big town from Darwin, So stocking up here is a must if you’re heading to Jabiru.  Just out form Katherine is the famous Katherine Gorge, w spent a night out here, but due to the cost of going on cruises as a family of 5 it was going to cost a lot. We hadn’t budgeted it into our trip and passed on the cruise, but the camp ground was lovely, and the night we were there the local rangers came and did a talk about the area. We plan on coming back here on our big lap so will have it factored in then.

An hour drive north of Katherine is the Edith falls. This is another sensational area that has beautiful camp sites (first in best dressed) and picnic area. Definitely worth the drive in.

We pushed on and came across the Cutta Cutta caves, they run tours nearly every hour from 0900-1500 and use cash only. It’s amazing to imagine that this cave system was only found because a farmer kept losing his cattle, When he went looking around the vast area he found this small opening, with brush and bushes around it. It was then cleared out to expose the opening and now have the cave system. It was then later protected to save it from being destroyed, and access is only available via NT Parks and Wildlife.

We stayed a night at Pine Creek which is a old gold mining town, there is plenty of rich history there so dropping in and having a look around is worth it. Although the drive from Daly Waters to Jabiru is very easily done in one day, It is worth spending the day exploring in all the great spots I’ve mentioned above in between.

Litchfield National Park

This place has so much to do for everyone, we struggled to choose what we wanted to check out this time.. Everything looked and sounded amazing!
We decided to start at Bamboo creek, where there was an abandoned Tin Mine which was still active until the 1950’s. The ground just sparkled in the sunlight with tin speckled through most of the rocks.
We then went with the Cascades.. ‘A 4km energetic walk, only for the adventurous’! 😀 A walk that is definitely worth it.. We had our own little Oasis at the Curtain Falls. Our little adventurers got so many compliments with how well they did, making it all the way to the top. It’s classed as a moderate-difficult walk so they did awesome.
We squeezed in a swim at the beautiful Wangi Falls, which is a pretty crowded tourist spot as it isn’t a very big walk from the carpark to the Falls and most tour groups stop in there.
Yesterday we took the ‘4wd only’ track to the Suprise Creek Falls to escape the tour groups. It’s a 27km rocky/sandy track with a few little creek crossings and one longer river crossing. This was probably our favourite spot in Litchfield.. Waterfalls flowing into 2 big Rockpools that were so deep, noone could touch the bottom (even the guys jumping from the higher rocks). There was an eerie feeling at one stage, with not knowing exactly what was living down below us (especially when your husband jokes about seeing something beneath you) but that feeling went pretty quickly! (Don’t worry, I returned the ‘joke’ with a swim under water and grab to his foot 😂) The kids had a ball jumping off the rocks into the pools.. Big kids too 😉
The termite mounds along this track were unbelievably big.. Some getting to at least 5 metres high! There was also the ‘magnetic termite mounds’ along the way that we found really interesting. They are all built about 2 meters high but fairy thin and all aligned north-south to minimise the exposure to the sun. It looked like a graveyard with the mounds resembling headstones.
We also stopped into the Blyth Homestead along this track, which was built in 1928 and the home to the Sargent family with their 14 kids. An interesting stop showing the tough conditions faced by the pioneers in remote areas.
We finished the day off with 139 stairs to the Florence Falls.. A pretty spectacular double waterfall. This one is another popular spot but perfect if you go late in the afternoon like us and miss the crowds!
Today we are heading for Katherine Gorge with a lunch stop at Edith Falls. We are loving all this swimming, before heading back south to the freezing cold