Mid-Week R A N T

Lots of people have been asking questions such as : What’s it like living in van? What are we doing for food? etc etc.

There’s so much ‘other’ stuff that goes on. It’s not all sightseeing and happy snaps, so for my memory and for your curiosity here are some ‘MUNDANE’ rants about what really goes on in this caravan of luurve !

Space (as in personal space)

There is none.

There’s no room to move, 1 person only at all times is allowed in kitchen area (which is also the wardrobe area and Olivia’s bedroom and bathroom). We also have to walk sideways to get to this ‘area’ and if Sarah is in her wardrobe (her 1 drawer) and I’m trying to get past her to get to the kettle.. LOOK OUT because there is a bit of yelling.. and really, there is no need to raise voices because we are ALWAYS within earshot. Does this do our heads in after almost 10 weeks on the road ? The answer is YES.

Alone time (as in personal alone all by myself time)

Again, there is none. . not really anyway.

Wayne and I came to a decision about a month or so ago, that we each needed about an hour a day to have on our own. Whether it be alone in the van, alone in the pool, fishing, shopping.. anything really that lets up regroup and take a breath and just BE. So far, this hasn’t happened and I’m not really sure why. Wayne has been fishing a few times and in order for him to do this he has to pretty much work his arse off, and not because I make him either. I think he feels guilty so he insists on making dinner and bathing Frankie, while I sort the 2 older girls out. Can’t leave Frankie on her own at all – not that we would – but she’s fallen off the bed already (and it’s quite a fall) and she can reach the oven etc etc. About 10 mins before he leaves, Frankie starts crying (or screaming a better word) something she never ever does, so he leaves with a heavy heart and guilt. He’s usually back within about 2 hours sans fish ! He’s done this 3 times in 10 weeks.. When we first had this talk about ‘alone’ time, I chose the 3.oopm slot and he chose the 11am slot.. but it’s never happened. We are either travelling in the car, out and about somewhere or we just plain forget about it. Wayne will take the girls to the park and vice-versa, this is when we usually are doing housework though. . Maybe we don’t need the time alone as much as we think we do ?

Laundry

I’m being as honest as I know how when I say I love doing Laundry. Actually, I guess this could be classed as ‘alone’ time as it takes a while and usually I’m on my own. In Port Douglas the Laundry area was really nice. It was outside amongst the palm trees, lots of tables in the sun and magazines. Their wash cycle was 40 mins, so I snuck up there, took my coffee and it was quiet and peaceful. Olivia found me, then Sarah and then I saw Wayne and the pram and my serenity went out the window.. I think he cottoned on somehow, but it’s not just the washing, you then get to hang it out and that’s easily another 20 mins or so.. The most annoying thing is that the  machines are almost always old, they don’t wash clothes well, some rip the clothes, I’ve yet to get  a stain out of clothing and that’s with stain remover. It say’s it’s washing the clothes with COLD water but the clothes all come out HOT.. and they cost up to $7 a load. Even though we all have limited clothes with us, there is always so much washing to be done. It really is never ending, but at least it’s a way of forcing us into ALONE time. Even today Wayne and I both had a discussion about who was doing the laundry. Frankie was all wet from the pool, her swimming nappy hanging down to her knees.. she had biscuit everywhere, through her hair and all over her hands.. He said ‘do you want to sort Frankie or do the washing?’. I said very quickly, yet begrudgingly (do not want him to know the truth YET) ‘I guess I’ll do the laundry then’ !.. and stalked off.. Win to me..

Food

We have a ‘full size’ fridge in the van. Or so we thought.. it’s probably a 3/4 size fridge/freezer and while it can hold a fair amount of food, it’s not enough. Not with 5 water bottles, and Milk and Beer etc. We are at the grocery store probably every 3 days. We also have a WAECO which is in the car 24/7 which is perfect, because we can use that as a fridge/freezer too and we’d be lost without it. The good thing is that we are more organised with what we eat everyday and so far we haven’t really been stuck without dinner. We get takeaway probably once a week and a couple of times a week we will go somewhere for lunch. We could get easily carried away and think ‘we’re on holidays, lets eat out again’ but in reality we are gone for 8 months and we’ve been really good with trying to remain normal when it comes to mealtimes. I’m actually impressed with myself because usually I would be the one who would want to eat out all the time. The kitchen is small  but we have everything we need and surprisingly it’s very easy to cook in. I don’t even miss the dishwasher, we only have 5 of everything anyway so there’s never much to wash up.

TV

We have a TV in the van, and Wayne also made sure we took our Apple Tv with us. At a lot of places we only get 2 tv stations anyway and most of the time we don’t even turn it on.I couldn’t tell you what was happening in my fav shows and apart from watching ABC 2 or 3 every now and again it’s mainly used to view the photo’s that Wayne has taken. We do have a few series that we have been watching, like Nikita and Person of Interest etc.. once the kids go to bed. We have about 1000 movies but we’ve yet to watch 1. This is a good thing, before this trip I would watch television a lot once the kids went to bed.. just because.. not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s nice to have peace and quiet.

US

Wayne and I. We get ‘our’ time together once the kids go to bed. I miss him, and he tells me the same. Usually this is the time that we figure out where we are going next and what things we want to see. I google stuff, he edits his photo’s, we listen to some music, he falls asleep and I am usually the one who stays up late. I guess this is the only time we both get to THINK or RELAX and it seems to take me ages to wind down. Look out family in Sydney .. you are on BIG TIME BABY SITTING DUTIES 🙂 People had said before we left that it would be hard to find time together. Even though we are with each 24/7 we  are mummy and daddy most of this time. I’m not complaining.. honestly I’m not !

SLEEP INS 

This is something that should be happening right ? I mean we have no where to be for 8 months.. Frankie dictates what time is wake up time (Sarah too, she’s also an early riser) As soon as Miss Frankie is up, the other girls wake up with big smiles on their faces. Frankie loves being able to see everyone and is so happy that it’s hard not to wake up smiling. We do however put her in the bed with her 2 sisters and they play for a bit while Wayne and I try to go back to sleep, but it doesn’t long. I have constant bags under my eyes and look extremely tired ALL the time. Just the way it is.

Kids bedtime

Sarah and Frankie are awesome. Sarah puts herself to bed, anywhere between 6.30-7.30pm. Off she goes without a worry. Frankie goes to bed about 7pm and she’s also pretty easy. I lie down with her, sing her a song and then 9/10 times she’s asleep within 10 mins and we don’t hear from her until morning. Olivia is NEVER tired,and she is also the  one who is the most energetic during the day. I don’t know how she just keeps on going and going and going. She uses every delay tactic she can think of. We usually let her stay up a little longer, play a game with her etc but it’s the end of the day and Wayne and I are craving ‘our’ time at this point. She’ll eventually go to bed, but because her bunk is in the middle of the caravan she hears everything, like the Fridge, the kettle, us talking. . It’s not ideal but once she’s asleep she’s a very sound sleeper and she doesn’t wake up until morning either. The good thing about all 3 girls is that Wayne and I can be talking/laughing/ and they don’t wake up.

PUBLIC AMENITIES 

I hate them. All of them. Wayne doesn’t mind them at all. In fact he refuses to shower in our caravan as he thinks it’s too small and it probably is for him. He’s pretty tall and has broad shoulders. I love my shower and have only used the public showers twice and that was because they were very very clean. I find it so much easier to wash the girls in the caravan shower than I do taking them to the shower block. Everything is already here, they jump in and wash themselves and jump out again. Easy.. however, they would prefer to use the shower block like their daddy. I think they believe it’s an adventure. So more often than not he’ll take them with him. I prefer not to think about it. They come back nice and clean and assure me that they didn’t see strange naked men. Doesn’t happen all the time, but if they are really dirty and I’m cooking dinner and Wayne wants them to go to bed early, he just grabs their stuff and then takes them over. Frankie is easy. We either wash her in the tub outside if it’s still warm or she uses the laundry sink or the baby bath.

Travelling with a baby 

People thought we were crazy with a capital C. Not all people I admit, but some! She’s been the BEST little camper in the entire world. At first there were a few teething problems. She had an ear infection before we even left Perth and was in a lot of pain. We were staying with friends for a week before we got our van and she pretty much screamed their house down the entire time. Very unusual for her, but we finally got it sorted and she had to have antibiotics for 3 weeks while we were traveling. It took her probably 2 weeks to get settled. New surroundings, new bed and travelling in the car for hours on end was not something she was used to. She’s great now though, doesn’t really muck up in the car, she usually sleeps and then we feed her and that always makes her happy. She’s more than happy to just crawl (now walk) around the van site, play with dirt and sand and mud and gravel. She’s good in the pram, she loves the water too so now we are in the hotter climate she’s been in the pool a lot. As much as she has been easy, she’s also the one we have to watch constantly. We can let the big girls go for a bike ride and play in the playground without us being there etc.. but that means 1 or both of us (Wayne and I) are on Frankie duty. No time to relax, but it’s worth it. We both know how precious this time is with her. Wayne is so lovely with Frankie. He adores her and is all over her. Every time I look over he’s kissing her cheek, picking her up, tickling her. He’s mentioned more than once that he loves watching her fall asleep and that he never got to see that with the other kids because he was working. We’re trying hard not to take this time we have with Frankie being so little for granted. Looking at Lu and Sarah we know how fast it goes. So it’s hectic yes, but we get so many kisses from her and we are always laughing.

BUGS 

Haven’t seen too many. There are a few mozzies and in outback QLD there were a lot of larger flying insect things that made me eat my dinner inside rather than outside. I’m sure they are coming.. but so far so good !

PACKING AND SETTING UP THE VAN 

Finally we have this sorted. We all have jobs to do and we get it done in an hour. That’s from the time we stumble out of bed, have breakfast, do the dishes, get dressed and packed up. The van is pretty easy to pack up, and Wayne has the most to do outside. Setting up the van takes a little longer if we are planning on staying more than 1 night somewhere., but that’s because we’re making the van our home for the next week or so, so we are sweeping, getting chairs out, putting up the shade cloth and taking bikes off the rack etc. Still, it’s pretty easy. The van itself needs a massive clean on the outside. Inside is OK. Doesn’t take long to clean but the dirt is everywhere.. I’ve learnt to close my eyes (Pinchy – you would be proud of me) but I still don’t like anyone on my bed unless they’ve JUST had a shower. I hate dirty feet on my doona !

Noisy neighbours

This hasn’t been a problem with us. We are probably the noisy ones. I think we’ve just gotten used to the noise, the traffic etc. At times it’s noisier than others but it hasn’t bothered us.

PETROL 

Yep, expensive. At times we have paid around $800 a week for diesel. Mainly when we were travelling from NT into QLD and then outback QLD into Far North Qld. Hoping it will settle down a little now as we aren’t travelling long distances for a while. I couldn’t tell you the prices though, there has been too many petrol stations and too many ‘one sided’ discussions on petrol prices and fuel economy. I’ve learned to switch off ! Thankyou Raybo (father inlaw) for insisting we get the long range fuel tank..

Premium CARAVAN sites

Hard to get. We all want to be near either the toilet block or the playground. Asking the question is usually met with a hostile glare from reception, followed by ‘I don’t think we have any sites in that position’ only to be told by Wayne later that ‘yes you do actually, site # 4545 is free’ and then ‘oh that’s right, well ok then you can have that one’.Geez, it’s a hard gig.

HAIR AND BEAUTY (for you BG)

My routine is as follows. Have shower, wash hair every 2nd or 3rd day, comb it, slap on sunscreen.. DONE. Sometimes I will put some mascara and gloss on if I can be bothered, but usually not. You wouldn’t recognise me.

MUSIC

Wayne thinks we are a travelling nightclub. His favourite thing to do is crank up the itunes on the outdoor speakers and then walk away. See, we really are the noisy  neighbours. I get embarrassed and turn it down, only to have him turn it back up upon his return. He’s obsessed with anything electronic. He has this van wired up to within an inch of it’s life. We have everything you could think of and he’s made little hanging leads and hooks so they are easy to get to. Everything has it’s own power lead and no one has to go far to charge anything. Just reach your arm and grab. You’re certain to get what you’re looking for.

We are all so very lucky to be experiencing this trip and although we sometimes get narky at one another and miss our own space, that is very quickly forgotten once we see a truly spectacular waterfall or a group of cows wandering through a meadow, beautiful vista’s, ULURU and the Atherton Tablelands. We are taking it all in… and thanks to the blogosphere and our weekly blogs I’ll never forget it.I’m so glad I can share with friends and family what’s happening in our world at the moment, but even more than that, we’ll always be able to look back and read about it. Especially the girls as I’m sure somethings they wont remember.

So if you’ve managed to stay awake whilst reading this blog I shall say goodnight.It seems I will be serenaded to sleep by the green tree frogs outside my bedroom window.. I’m one lucky lady (seriously I am)..

(Paul Probin – it’s midnight.. no spell check but feel free to edit if you like, I’ll send you my password) x

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Week 8

Yes, I’m a day late.. but I’ve had writers block (due to the shockingly overwhelming response that Wayne received).. Green eyed monster is sleeping – for now…

Atherton Tablelands 

Without going back to the Antichrist blog to see exactly where he left off, I’m pretty confident we had just arrived in Atherton and spent the day checking out all the waterfalls. Such a pretty place, and the scenery is etched in my memory for always. We also spent the day at Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham. We did a boat tour of Lake Barrine and it was surprisingly very interesting. A quirky lady was the boat driver and she kept the girls entertained. We learnt about turtles, eels, ducks and even pythons. The plants surrounding the water’s edge were magnificent (I know.. just plants but I’m serious).. After the cruise we had lunch overlooking the lake and basically we could have stayed there for hours. It was very peaceful..

Lake Barrine

Beautiful

After lunch we went for a drive and ended up at Lake Eacham. Wayne had the Kayak still on the roof, so a perfect opportunity for him to go for a paddle and the girls a swim. I didn’t take my bathers so was a little unprepared for this impromptu swim, but I found a large tree and soaked up the sun with Miss Frankie, until she also got to jump in the kayak with her Daddy. We had been told about this lake, a ‘must do’ before we left the tablelands.

Lake Eacham

Wayne and his Kayak

Still in Atherton… We also went to a town called Mareeba where they make coffee and chocolates, and spent half the day at a place called ‘Coffee Works’. You pay a certain amount of money and you can have the run of the place, tasting as many coffee blends, tea and chocolates. They have a huge display too where they have coffee and tea memorabilia from around the world. It’s a self guided tour with a hand-held audio speaker which the girls loved. I loved the gift shop and spent accordingly!

This is the day we also visited the Fig Tree and the Cathedral Tree. . I’ll let the pictures do the talking.. WOW !

Cathedral Tree

Cooktown 

This wasn’t somewhere that we had planned on visiting, but after meeting a few people who had recently been we thought the 300km trip may be worth it. We arrived late afternoon and the first thing we did after setting up was go for a swim. The pool at the caravan park was beautiful and the best one we had swum in so far. The girls were very excited as it wasn’t freezing like the others and even Frankie got in. Sarah was impressed with the parks bathrooms too. It’s all about the bathrooms with Sarah, I wonder where she gets that from ?

After our swim we drove into Cooktown down to the docks and Wayne chatted to the fisherman (still yet to catch a fish) we watched the sunset and then got some fish and chips for tea. We had 1 full day to explore the town so we got up early (early for us) and went to the Captain Cook Museum, Heritage walk through the cemetery and also visited the lighthouse lookout. The Museum was pretty good, although I found the Aboriginal stories a lot more interesting than good old Captain Cook! The girls were pretty impressed with the Anchor though and also the dentist equipment from years gone by… they are funny little kids.

The view from the lookout was breathtaking ! The water a gorgeous turquoise colour, shame we weren’t allowed to swim.. Bloody Crocs !

Another little town that we are glad we made the effort to see.

View from the lighthouse

Museum

 

The Docks..

We left Cooktown and are now in Port Douglas. Rather than split PD in 2 blogs, I think I will wait for next week. I need to start writing these blogs earlier in the day, I’ve clearly lost my MOJO this week (thanks Wayne) but I do have some special mentions : Paul – I will do a spell check and Hayley – Now you’ve commented on Wayne’s blog, you’ll have to do the same for me.. It’s just the way it is 🙂

Thanks for reading.. Until next time, The traveling Morrells

x

Week 7

I’m not sure if you’re ready for this. I am handing over the BLOG this week to my very capable husband Wayne. He’s been dying to get his hands on this, I’m sure he will entertain you (although not as much as me). . so here goes..

OK so its my turn to knock out a few words, Ive been cruising along allowing Jo to do all the blog work, which Ive got to say was working for me. On previous trips Ive been called “The laziest man on tour”! (very unfair Kimbo) but it seems the gravy train is over and here I am tapping away.

Camooweal

This is our entry point to Queensland, we drove all day and crossed the border late in the afternoon, another one horse town. The caravan park is a joke, I had to share my shower with two green tree frogs, another famous griffo curry mince mmmmmm, the sunset was also good.

Camooweal Sunset

Julia Creek

Another big drive in outback Queensland to Julia Creek, this is a lovely town, quaint visitors centre, famous for the “Dunnart” (small ugly rat like mammal). They detour all heavy vehicles away from the town centre which was nice, the town centre is quiet and relaxed, but just another over night stay for us.

Richmond

Not sure what happened here, Richmond is only a stones throw from Julia Creek but we decided to give the kids a break from the car. We had also heard about an excellent fossil museum “Kronosarus Korner” in town. This turned out to be excellent, who would have thought they are still finding full skeletons of reptiles that lived 100 million years ago in down town Richmond. Last year they found a mini dinosaour skeleton, very cool.

In 2002 the town dug and filled a lake, as part of this they built a cool water playground which the kids loved. I tried to fix Livy’s kite, much to Jo’s disgust, I think I killed the serenity………I also talked Sarah into a walk around the lake (1.5km) on the promise of an ice-cream, only if shes gets the ice-cream first!!! No problem, its all good until shes gets a quarter of the way around the lake, the ice-cream is finished, its hot and she wants out of the deal, not a happy little camper.

Pliosaur Skeleton

Frankie Frank

Porcupine Gorge

Well this is a place we will never forget, its a national park about 70km north of Hughenden. I’d heard the gorge was worth the 140km detour so I convinced Jo that we should give it a go. Its fair to say that without the shower / toilet in the van, we would have never visited this place, but give Jo her due she agreed to give it a go.

To set the scene, when we drove into the camp area there was one other car in the park. We parked the van in a gravel slip site amongst the high dry grass, it was hot and the flys were abundant. We set the van up and Livy and I went to have the first look at the gorge, the view was amazing but the track to the base was a steep 1.2km goat track. Not sure Griffo (Jo) will go for this!!!!

To my surprise Griffo decides she will go, “We should do it as a family” she says, but I will have to carry Frankie, my backpack and tripod. Im happy to do that, this is going to be worth it.

So the preparation begins, the trail is listed as a 1.5 hr walk, Ive allowed 4hrs, Ive packed the first aid kit, water, sunscreen and oranges. The kids have their own backpacks with water bottles, lollies and hats. The kids and I have proper boots, but Griffo only has sneakers, I know this as she told me this ten times on the decent. We leave at 2.30pm thinking that will easily get us back before dark, Ive thrown two head lights into Livys backpack just in case, we are ready to go.

On the way to the trail Jo stops at the parks long drop, nasty…..  uncleaned long drops are no longer long drops…….We leave the pram at the top of the trail and commence the decent Jo is not sure about this, but Im saying nothing. Ten minutes in and Jo’s legs are wobbling shes sweating and not happy with me. Sarah is crying, she wants to go back to Perth and Olivia wants to run down the hill. Ive decided to keep quiet, push on and let them sort out their own issues, Frankie and my load is heavy enough.

Pushing on the  trail slowly gets worse and worse and worse until we are on a 60 degree decent of a thousand uneven rocky steps. For some reason the bugs are attracted to Griffo, its an odd thing! This is Jo’s worse nightware, both Griffo and Sarah are exhausted, between the two of them its whinge and cry city. I try to keep them motivated with “Good work, we are almost there” only to have head bitten off, “You have been saying that for the last hour, I cant feel my legs!!” followed by “Ive only got sneakers on, not boots”

Finally we reach the base and its beautiful, coloured sandstone cliffs, trees a plenty and a gentle crystal clear creek flowing. I drop my boots and socks and walk into the water, its beautiful. Frankie loves it she’s happily sitting in the water, this is a dream for her, carried down and now there’s water to play in. Olivia is off, shes exploring base having a ball.  I turn around to see Sarah and Griffo snarling at me. Ten minutes on and they are both in the water enjoying the base, how could you not, what a place.

Its all good until thoughts move to the accent. I know Sarah ate most of her lollies at the base and we all had a good drink, but something strange happened. Ten minutes into the climb and now Sarah is the action kid, shes leading the climb and calling for us to catch up. Olivia has hit the wall, she is complaining of not being able to see properly. We stop for Olivia to rest, she has more to drink and some sugar but shes quite poorly. Griffo has wobbly leg again and now shes worried about Olivia, Im officially the antichrist and a selfish one at that, thankfully Im carrying Frankie. Ofcourse I do what any bloke in my position does in this predicament, shut up, keep my head down and stay out of Griffos way, which was going well until Frankie starts chimming in, they’re in sync, not sure how they do this, shes 14 months old!!!!!! (Im cracking myself up recalling this part)

Finally we get to the top, we are all exhausted. Im proud of Griffo and the kids, that was not an easy walk, it was worth it and now its time for a beer. A cheer returns to the family. We return to the van, the kids are excited with lemonade and Griffo tells me thats the best cold shower she has ever had, we enjoy chips and dips and a pleasant evening in the bush until Griffo turns for the worse. Personally I think her body was shocked with the idea of strenuous exercise, maybe its stirred up the toxins or maybe the heat??…..anyway she was terribly sick all night, vomiting and seemingly hung over the next day, poor thing, then out of nowhere she says to me “I think Im going to start doing hiking……” A strange creature is the women, you never really know what your in for.

Well there you go, Porcupine Gorge, a beautiful spot and a life changing time for all. And to think Olivia, Sarah and Frankie got to Porcupine Gorge before Bali thats really something when you live in Perth…..

No power, No water, No phone, No TV and No radio.

Porcupine Gorge Base

Anger Distraction Activity

Bath Time

Charters Towers

Another nice town and a reasonable size, but only an over night stay again for us. Mind you enough time for the kids to have a swim and play on the jumping pillow at the c/van park. Steak at the Enterprise Hotel was awesome, but a little wary of the Rebels clubhouse across the road and the number of people wearing cowboy hats. Also at dusk the bats came out in their thousands, filled the sky, the guy at the c/van park reckons on dusk a park in town has flocks of 10-20 thousand bats kicking around.

Atherton

Well where do you start with this place, its remarkable, it kind of reminds me of Norfolk Island scenery. Olivia wants to move here, but theres no way Sarah is buying into that. Its tropical Queensland the best we have seen, rolling green hills, with dairy cows, horses and rain forrest.

Today we took in three water falls (Millaa Millaa, Ellingaa and Zillia) a volcanic crater and ate organic lunch at the Mungalli dairy.  I’m not one for the whole organic thing but that lunch was awesome. Theres something about this region thats welcoming and beautiful, it should be on everyones bucket list of places to visit, I’d be surprised if anyone comes away disappointed.

Millaa Millaa Falls

Ellingaa Falls

Zillia Falls

Livy at Zillia Falls

Well thats enough of me rattling on about week 7, I hope I havent bored you entirely and with some luck Griffo will be back again next week. We still have a couple more days at Atherton and then we are heading for our trips northern most point.

Until then enjoy your 9-5 gigs

Cheers

W

Week 6

The weeks are whizzing by !

Kings Canyon 

We left Uluru intending to go straight to Alice Springs, but we decided to make the detour to Kings Canyon as who knows if we will be back in this part of the country anytime soon. We only stayed 2 nights and to be honest I felt a little wiped out by the time we got there. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to do all the walks as we didn’t have a backpack for Frankie but thought we’d go and explore anyway.

The first day we were pretty knackered and also had some sad  news from friends of ours, so didn’t really feel like doing much. A swim in the pool, a play at the park and that was about it really. Nothing too exciting.. We got up early the next morning though, packed some lunch and drove the part of Kings Canyon called Kathleen Springs. It was an hour walk that was sealed so we were able to take the pram. It was really lovely and the girls were able to take pictures along the way. The walk ends at a little spring (where the rainbow serpent lives) and it was gorgeous.

Wayne went back out to Kings Canyon later in the day and did the ‘bigger’ walk while the girls and I watched ‘alice in wonderland’ in bed ! Told you we were a little knackered 🙂 That night we walked up to the viewing area in the caravan park where you could watch the sunset over the Canyon, and that was pretty amazing.. Did I mention there were no mice, but DINGOES ? Yep..lots of them.. again, not much sleep for me 😦

Very glad we made the detour..

  

Sunset at Kings Canyon (posers) x

Alice Springs 

Alice Springs was our first real ‘large town’ since Port Lincoln, so we were excited to get there for a number of reasons and unfortunately none of those reasons were tourist attractions. We’ve since learned of a lot more places in and around Alice that we should have made the effort to see. We needed to get the van serviced and also a few things serviced on the car and that took pretty much 2 days. We also needed to get the girls some summer clothes and shoes, stock up on groceries etc and that took another day. We were grateful that the caravan park we stayed in was awesome and there were hundreds of kids which meant our girls were enjoying themselves and didn’t really want to leave the park grounds.. We did however manage to visit a few galleries, we went to the reptile centre and we all held a snake.. (will not post my picture because I look so frightened, therefore terrible and I’m VAIN).. we also had a didgeridoo lesson which was fun. Wayne can’t seem to hold his breath and breathe out his nose.. which is why he finds it hard to swim too… so the lesson was fun mainly because of him (and I got to pick a beautiful hand painted blue didge to take home with us). Unfortunately by this time in our travels, we were all (mainly me, but wayne and the girls too) over the red dust and dirt and we wanted to make tracks to get to Cairns ASAP. We stayed in Alice for 4 nights and we enjoyed it, but Alice as a town itself.. I just can’t describe it. In the middle of the day, during office hours Todd Mall is like a ghost town..Not many people around, quiet. . It’s funny how we are so used to noise and activity…Here are some pics !

Brave Lulu with Angus

Brave little SarBear x

 

View from Anzac Hill

Pictures a little blurry sorry 🙂

Juzzy – Yes the man is wearing crocs.. there’s no stopping him 😦

So that was Alice Springs… we were leaving bright and early on Saturday morning when our car batter decided to leave us.. so we weren’t able to leave until 10.30am. A massive day in the car as we wanted to ‘free camp’ for our first time at Devils Marbles. We arrived late in the afternoon but we were able to get a spot. Loads of vans were already set up. We went for a walk and took more photo’s of these amazing rock formations.They really were incredible and the girls loved walking through them and taking pictures. Pretty relaxed after that, had some cheese and olives, made some dinner and as we had no power we all had an early night. There was one incident when I had a shower.. I wont go into details, but let’s just say during the course of this shower I swore black and blue that I was NEVER free camping again. I did however ‘get over it’.

 

Photo’s don’t really do them justice. There were hundreds of them. All shapes and sizes just plonked there !

So that’s all from the NT… Feels like we have been in the Northern Territory for weeks, although to family and friends that we’ve spoken to it seems to them that we’ve been in and out of places really fast !.. There has been a lot of driving with not much in between. Thank goodness for dvd players, the Ipad and ‘conversations’ with Richard from ABC..

I’ve been writing this blog for almost 2 hours and I’m exhausted today. I apologise if some things don’t make much sense or if the pictures aren’t in order. Our internet connection here isn’t the best and it’s very slow.

Until next time…

The traveling Morrells x (being super slack and not doing a spell check..oops)

Week 5 ( a couple of days late).

Where to begin. I have to be mindful of how many pictures I upload this week, there are so many to choose from 🙂

Marla

We left Coober Pedy and headed for Marla (SA). Another overnighter, in another little town again in the middle of nowhere. We had heard that it was ‘green’ and that there was a pool also. We were pretty excited to hear this, so far we hadn’t seen much grass of any description and the thought of letting Frankie go wild on the soft green stuff … well, I was pretty happy. HOWEVER a small patch of burnt itchy scratchy white and green ‘something’ does not a grass make ! The pool, well the pool was only for ‘house’ guests and not campers. Oh well, it wasn’t that clean anyway.

The caravan/camping ground was attached to a roadhouse which was pretty ordinary. It was clean enough I guess, but when I went to get the girls a bucket of hot chips to share and the man behind the counter looks sweaty and the lady serving the chips says ‘I’m not sure how long they’ve been there love, you can try them though’.. you can guess how I felt.. Wayne’s fault of course ! (The lady made them fresh chips – YAY). Next to the roadhouse there was a tiny art gallery filled with canvas paintings of aboriginal artworks. They were pretty amazing, but no one there to tell us the stories behind the painting and also the artists themselves. We wanted to buy one, and had picked 3 to choose from, however we couldn’t agree and then we decided we would wait until we got to the NT. Not much else to report about Marla, we showered, had dinner and slept..

Erldunda NT

We crossed the border sometime the following morning and we were headed for Erldunda. We called ahead to book a site, because it’s a RESORT after all and I didn’t want to miss out. . I’ve since learnt that ‘they’ whoever ‘they’ are, use the word RESORT very loosely. I guess if it has a licence to sell alcohol and has a pool they can call themselves a resort. It’s so disheartening, but I’m learning. The girls were actually allowed to swim in the pool though this time, and they did… freezing! Another overnighter and up bright and early the next day for YALARA..

Yalara (Uluru) – Ayers Rock R E S O R T .  .

We had previously met a Victorian couple (so many VIC people traveling too, way more than any other states)who had just been to see the ‘rock’. They told us that when they drove into Yalara they thought they saw Uluru but were mistaken, the mass they thought was the rock was actually Mt Connor. I couldn’t believe that you could mistake it, but even though we were armed with this information as we drove along all of a sudden we see this massive, huge rock formation that just HAS to be Uluru – doesn’t it ? We were a little unsure, but then firmly came to the decision the closer we got, that NO it wasn’t Uluru, but Fooluru (as we’ve since been told).Amazing all the same, and on the opposite side of the lookout, you can climb a small sand dune and see a salt lake as far as your eyes can see. This was when we all started to get excited. Uluru was really our first major stop and we had essentially been driving for weeks to get here. Driving along for another hour or so and then our of nowhere you see it. Words can not describe the feeling, the largeness of it, the colour, the awe you feel. It takes your breath away.. I’m not sure if I understood how majestic Uluru was before I had seen it in person. I’m still having a hard time trying to explain why everyone I know MUST go there at least once. It is just a rock, but it’s so much more. It’s intimidating and full of history/culture/spirits.. We couldn’t wait to see it up close ! But first.. a picture of Mount Connor & The Salt Lakes (also pretty amazing).

Mt Connor

It was late in the afternoon by the time we got to Yalara, so we drove to Ayres Rock Campground and set up. I was so relaxed, almost immediately which must be unusual behaviour because Wayne commented on my ‘change of attitude’ straight away. I don’t know why, but I felt relaxed and was really happy to be there. We took the girls swimming, hat a chat with a couple of other families that we had met at Coober Pedy and basically just settled in for our first night. Silly me put something on FB about being here and my cousin, who had no idea the effect it would have on me, mentioned very breezily in a message to ‘watch out for the mice when you sleep, they can get in your van’. My relaxed and carefree attitude went out the caravan door in a second. I tried to be all ‘ha ha ha’ on FB, but really I was scared. I made Wayne plug the holes in the sink, remove everything outside, I even googled ‘how the hell can mice get into my bed’ and I found out many ways.. much to my horror. Wayne put up with me for a bit, but then I could see him getting a little tired of my rantings, so I had to calm it down. (for the record, I did not see one ‘cute little aussie bush mouse’ my whole entire stay) ! I didn’t sleep  much either..

We were up early the next morning and drove out to ULURU, about 30 mins from the campground. We were just captivated.. We had decided on doing the Base Walk with a Ranger guide as it was pram friendly and went for 2 hours. We figured the girls could handle that (me too). Ranger Tim was awesome. He knew so much, and had been working as a ranger in the National Park for 16 years. I don’t know where to begin sharing everything he told us, there’s so much history and he was very passionate about the reasons behind preserving the rock (and that means NO CLIMBING PLEASE) We weren’t even considering climbing the rock, and to be honest I can’t remember when I even knew that the aboriginal people would prefer you not to climb it. It was just something that I knew you didn’t do. A lot of people climb the rock though, and the question was asked ‘if the aboriginal people don’t want you to climb it, why are you able to’. Simple response really. They give us a choice. They want you to visit the cultural centre, learn about what the rock means to them, how it needs to be preserved and protected and the more our ‘footprint’ makes its mark, the less sustainable it becomes. Then, after you know all this information it’s up to us to make the decision. Do we climb it or not ? Pretty simple to me… NOT. We were amazed at how many people we met at the campground that were planning on, or had just climbed it. One little boy asked me if I had climbed it, and I said No, he said ‘yeh, it’s pretty hard’ and his parents were laughing with him. I just said that’s not why I didn’t climb it.. I wanted to say it is disrespectful and it’s not ours, but really… everyone has a choice and everyone is different.

Our girls were completely awestruck.. for the first 1/2 hour or so.. then I think the novelty wore off a little. I suppose their tiny minds take everything in so rapidly, while Wayne and I are a little slower these days, absorbing information ! Sarah was tired after the walk, Olivia is like a little energiser rabbit and could go on all day, and Frankie slept through most of the tour. It was pretty amazing. We went to the Cultural Centre which is also very informative and Olivia sat down and drew her interpretation of snakes etc. Wayne chatted to a few elder aboriginal women who were painting outside and Olivia wanted me to buy a painting that was $7,500.00. Sorry Lulu, no can do ! Pretty amazing day..

Beautiful

Another view

Enormous

After spending a few hours at Uluru, we went and had some lunch then Lulu and I had a date with a Camel called Spinafex !

We were so excited, and a little nervous. Lulu and I were going on a Camel ride, at sunset in the Desert. Wayne was taking one for the team and stayed behind with Frankie and Sarah (he went to the rock again with the girls and took a million pictures again). The Camels are huge and the noises they make when you mount them are pretty horrific, but thankfully we got a good one, he was nice and placid. About 10 mins in Lulu turned to me and said ‘mum, I’ve lost my fear – have you?’… and then about 30 mins in ‘mum, thankyou so much for this, it’s amazing’. It was.. and I’m not sure if it’s because I was with my beautiful big girl, creating a memory or because of the location.. Both !

Camel Toe (for all the Perth people out there) !

My girl and I xx

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

I’ll be honest, until we started talking about the places we were going to see on our travels, I’d never heard of The Olgas. Kata Tjuta means ‘many heads’ and there are 36 separate domes and the tallest is actually 2oo mtrs higher than Uluru if you can believe that ? They are pretty spectacular. Unfortunately we didn’t get close enough to go walking. We had been to the Rock again in the morning and by this time Frankie was getting tired. We drove there though, and had some lunch and took some pictures. Wayne in particular was amazed..

Many heads !

Aboriginal dance in the town square

Being Emu’s …

We ended up staying a fourth night at Ayers Rock Campground. We had such an awesome time and I’m so glad we drove the many km’s to get there. It’s an experience we’ll never forget and hopefully a memory that the girls will never forget too.

Until next time.. (Kings canyon and Alice Springs).. Traveling Morrells.

ps.. In my time at the campground, I spoke to numerous ladies in the bathrooms, a lovely aboriginal painter/dancer and the women who worked in receptions. I casually snuck in every conversation ‘so, I heard there’s lots of mice here’.. I kept going until I found an answer I was happy with (the lady in reception who told me ‘not this time of year’ it was only THEN that I slept and that was the last night…..