So, North Australia and the Top End with all it’s warm weather, greenery, gorges, pandanus and palms, waterholes and wetlands morphed into a landscape of dry cold air, river gums and brown and red dirt.
And beautiful clear chilly evening skies. Tennant Creek provided us with a night’s entertainment as we stayed at the caravan park which backed onto an aboriginal reserve full of party people. Let’s just say we were happy there was an 8 foot fence in between us and them.
The Devil’s Marbles were a strange feature in a featureless landscape.
In the middle of nowhere these massive balls of rock stood, like giants in the middle of a game of marbles.
It was another one of those surreal dreamscapes. There was a campground right beside them, but I reckon it would be a bit spooky to spend the night there!
We were excited to get to Alice Springs.
It was much nicer than we expected and perfectly framed by the MacDonnell Ranges. The main detraction though was the temperature that plummetted below zero at night. We had to stock up on winter woollies from Best and Less!
We spent a few nights here before we tackled what was to be the icing on the cake of our ’round Oz trip – Uluru and the Olgas.
So we took the scenic route. We drove west from Alice along the West MacDonnell Ranges to Simpson’s Gap.
And Standley Chasm:
It was a nice walk along a stunning creekbed to reach this implausible chasm.
One of those memorable walks.
The next stop was the wonderful Ormiston Gorge.
It had an orange and green mountain with a picturesque waterhole at the base.
A resident dingo, and a simple campground with an unbeatable view.
It was so bloody cold though and you weren’t allowed campfires much to our chagrin.
The road to King’s Canyon was dirt. Red corrugated dirt.
When we got to the campground, we really felt like we had earned our spot! It was a beautiful drive though.
Rain was forecast for the next day so we hightailed it over to the canyon and Brian headed off on the rim walk,
while the kids and I strolled our way along the bottom of the gorge.
I am not sure who had the better view! Me:
I think it was me because mine was not only immensely beautiful, but I could take the pram 3/4 of the way! Winner!
The next day it rained as promised so we decided it would be a grand day to drive the 300 odd kilometres to Uluru. We packed up quickly in the freezing drizzle before the red dirt could turn into red sticky mud!
We drove past the mysterious Mt Connor in the distance.
Before we got our first glimpse of Uluru, obscured partly by cloud.
It was very interesting up close with dark wet lines running down every furrow and crevice.
The rain and later, the wind prevented us from climbing it unfortunately as it was closed on the 3 days we attempted it. The cloudy conditions gave the rock a different colour.
It was surprising how interesting a big rock was! It just sits there, but it seems to have its’ own personality as it behaves differently, depending on the weather.
The Olgas were also more than impressive. From first glimpse to a closer approach, you really got a sense of something pretty special.
We did a walk into a gorge, and the sun came out just for us!
It was always cold though. So cold.
But, inevitably, sadly, our time was at an end. With our money slowly depleting and our list of places to visit also depleted, we were actually feeling quite ready to end our epic adventure. Uluru was really the cherry on top of the cream on top of the best trip ever!
With heavy hearts and a flat battery, (our long drive home was delayed by a couple of hours due to a roadside assist) we farewelled the red centre.
We hit the road!
The road north was straight, cold and flat, with a couple of aliens along the way.
We spent a night at Three-Ways where the Stuart Highway North and South meets the Barkly Highway Eastbound.
It was certainly a crossroads. And the pub there had some uber-cold beers!
Then we headed East!
We camped for free, we froze our bits off, we even visited an overpriced dinosaur museum at Richmond.
And before you could say Kronosaurus Korner, we we back on the East coast and arrived in Townsville to sleep in our Jayco Eagle for the last time (for a little while anyway!)
We lived here a few years back and this is where Brian and I actually met each other so Townsville always has a special place in our hearts. It’s even better these days!
This is us ready to embark on the last 388km leg of our trip around Australia.
And this is the view from home. (Ok, so it’s Mum’s house. We will stay here for a few months until our tenant’s lease runs out).
Not too shabby.
And it feels really good to be home.
Over 45 amazing weeks or 315 dazzling days we travelled a total of 31300kms and spent about $35000.
And everybody thought we were crazy, but we proved that we can do it. We have seen Australia with 3 young kids in tow and we could spend all that time as a family while doing incredible things. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth it.
Don’t dream it, Do it!