Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Road trip to the Red Center

Road trip to the Red Center Sept. 16 - 27   PART 1

Day 1 - leaving
Home right after school Friday and we were gone.  Scott had picked up the caravan/motor home that morning and had it all packed and ready to go.
We drove up the range and got as far as Mt. Surprise, just passed Undara for the night.  We stayed at Bed Rock Village & the kids played miniature golf and went for a swim before turning in for the night.  The kids were very excited about the camper van and setting up the beds.
buckled up & ready to go

let's go!


I have to concentrate.

First of many pools
Day 2 - Emu
Up early and gone by 8 am heading west on the Matilda Hwy.  We saw a variety of wildlife including emus, wild pigs, & skinny Brahman cows.  The terrain is very open and dry out here with lots of termite mounds.  We saw so many dry river beds, it was hard to imagine what it would look like in the wet season.  The only water we saw was in a few billabongs.  We shook our heads in disbelief every time we saw a flood way sign and 2 meter measurement sticks when the water gets high.
Queensland outback

hard to believe!

Dry river bed
The roads were bitumen, but often narrowed to one lane.  If you came upon a road train, they don't move over, so you better get off the road!
MOVE OVER!! & they mean it!!
Stopped in Normanton to see the world's largest crocodile and take photos.  We made a small detour north to Karumba and the Gulf of Carpentaria.  We had a picnic lunch there and put our hands & feet in the Gulf.  We saw large pelicans on the shores as we explored.  Temperature was 36 degrees so we quickly got back in the air conditioned caravan to continue our journey.
Krys The Savannah King

Gulf of Carpentaria
We continued to Burke & Wills Junction and pulled in shortly before 6:00, after a 9 hour day.
This caravan park had a cement pad and a plug, in the dirt parking lot next to the Roadhouse.  It was a place to stay for the night, no swimming tonight, but the stars were brilliant in the outback.
Burke & Wills Junction

our lovely site for the night

tonights dinner
Day 3 - NT
Again on the road by 8 am, but it wasn't a good night for the wallabies as the roadkill was high in this area.  Our GPS just shows a straight line across the screen as we headed south!
Holy straight!
Finally turned & headed west at Cloncurry, the "Gateway to the Kangaroo Outback".  There was a sign "kangaroos next 190 km", too funny, why not just say kangaroos everywhere in Australia!
As we neared Mt. Isa the landscape reminded us of Arizona.  We were now on the Barkley Hwy and it had lots of stopping bays for cars &/or trucks. 

Too Funny!
Just after Camooweal we finally arrived in the Northern Territories (NT).  Stopped for photos and moved the clock back 30 minutes.  The landscape was becoming even more barron now and the speed limit was 130 km/hr!
Rolled into Barkley Homestead on fumes shortly after 5 pm, after another 9 hour day.  Set up the caravan for the night, went for a swim and then to the pub for supper.  We watched Crocodile Dundee and ate popcorn before turning in.  There was so many sayings & slangs in the movie that we all understood from living here in Oz.

Saskatchewan or Northern Territory?

Good cruising speed for our caravan!

supper at the pub

Popcorn & a movie

Day 4 - Bush Fires
Another 8 am start to driving through cowboy and ranching territory.  It was a hazy morning due to the bush fires.  Not a lot of vehicles on the road, we past maybe 10 cars/hour.  Therefor playing car spotting games seemed to last forever!
Look wildlife, a big bird!
Turned on to the Stuart Hwy heading south to Alice Springs.  The next couple of towns were in areas called "trusts" which had a lot of aboriginals.
Stopped at Devils Marbles for lunch and a walk around.  Very cool rock formations.
Devil's Marbles

We drove through the bush fires, the flames were really close on both sides of the road and you could feel the heat.  Pulled into Alice Springs Big 4 Caravan Park for the night.  I took the kids to the large jumping pillow before we went for a swim.  After supper Scott went to an information night on 4X4ing in the area. 
Extremely close to the road

you could feel the heat

Giant jumping pillow

Almost there!
Tomorrow we should arrive in Yulara, the town/resort just outside Uluru!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brody's 13th B'day

Brody's 13th Birthday - September
Brody got to enjoy his special day during our road trip through the outback.  He got his special breakfast of toasted English muffin with melted cheese & Milo in his new Uluru mug. 
We stayed at Wycliffe Wells, Australia's UFO Capital for the night.  Brody went swimming on his birthday and saw baby emus.
Then he thought he wasn't going to get his favorite supper as we were in the camper van with only a small fridge.  But he was surprised with chicken lasagna and carrot cake for dessert.
Cheesy, just the way I like it!

"I love money!"

Let's turn the TVs on!

mmm chicken lasagna, mmm!!

Sara made the cake!
He got money and a special shirt that changes color in the sunlight.
They all got a special gift of a helicopter ride over Uluru and Kata Juta .
great gift!
Once we were back to school Brody planned a small party at Bowlopolis, 10 pin bowling.  They played 2 games, had lunch, ice cream cake, opened gifts and then played on the arcade games.
"stylin shoes"

Great hang time Brody

Grace, Tahlia, Ben & Brody

A little salt?

Gift time - a nerf gun
air hockey competition
Wow, we have a teenager now!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Darby's 11th Birthday

Darby's  11th B'day - September

Darby decided on a birthday party at home with 3 of her closest Aussie friends, Meagen, Evie, & Chelsie.  They made lip gloss, played a memory game, sat in the spa, played a 'chocolate dress up game' and finished with a treasure hunt.
making lip gloss

Crazy Australia party game

Brody wanted in too! Nice hat!
Chelsie, Darby, Evie, Meagen
Looking for treasure clues
The chocolate dress up game consisted of everyone sitting in a circle around a plate of a large chocolate bar, and rolling dice.  If you rolled six, or double sixes, you quickly put on the dress up clothes, picked up the knife & fork and eat as much chocolate as you can, until the next person rolls the same.

She chose tacos in a bag for lunch before having cake and ice cream.
more cheese please!

Hope the gifts fit in my suitcase!
On her actual birthday, Sept. 14,  she got her favourite breakfast of dippy egg and toast, before heading off to school.  It was Holy Cross Day as well that day & she took muffins with Canadian toothpick flags to share with her class.  She received a new swim suit and a DS game on gymnastics, as well as Australian money sent from Canada.
Birthday breakfast

nice togs

I like it!
We had fun celebrating birthdays Aussie style with a little twist of Canadian cultural added.