One Tough Month

5 August 2021

I guess the one thing we disliked about Gunn Point was the hooning that occurred, particularly on weekends. The previous weekend a young girl was seriously injured after an accident on a quad bike. Other campers told us this was not unusual, and things do get crazy at night sometimes. So with this in mind, we decided we would drive on from Gunn Point before the weekend warriors arrived. So after a lovely sunrise, we had a quick breakfast and packed up camp. We left Gunn Point mid-morning and went into Darwin – the Casuarina Shopping Centre. Here we stocked up on food and topped up fuel and water. We camped many years ago on Dundee Beach, and at the risk of spoiling a wonderful memory (as you can when you go back to a place) we headed off to Stingray Head, Dundee Beach. We arrived at Stingray just as the sun was setting, and it was magnificent.

For the next few days, we sat back and enjoyed the view. Alison did her daily walks and rediscovered some magnetic termite mounds that we had found the last time we visited here.

As we sat back and enjoyed the view, we decided it was time to look at getting a house, and that we should take a look at Perth. The one thing that we have found in our travels is that once you decide to change states in Australia during this terrible time of Covid it is to move quickly. Not wanting to be around people, we decided also to take the roads less travelled and to avoid Katherine as much as possible.

11 August 2021

We were grateful that the Dundee Beach area had not changed much since we last visited it back in 2006. I think we found it more beautiful, and we enjoyed it immensely. After a week away from shops etc it was time to head back to Humpty Doo for Woolies, laundry and fuel.

The Laundromat at Humpty Doo was a shocker – It cost us $28 for a very small amount of washing, The driers were $15 alone. I think this is the most we have ever paid at a laundry anywhere.

We left Humpty Doo at 2 pm and headed south, skirting around Katherine and then into the west.

Along the way, we stopped at Adelaide River for a  shower and a bit of a snack. We camped on the side of the road, up a hill, well away from traffic.

12 August 2021

Early start this morning, by 11 am we arrived on the eastern edge of Judbarra / Gregory National Park. We stopped at the Victoria Roadhouse to top up fuel. We saw a great looking Travel Truck built on an Iveco base.

These vehicles look so good for short term touring. Our next stop for the day was the old crossing on the Victoria River. We have stayed here in years past and it is certainly a beautiful spot. The next point we wanted to see was the entrance to Gregory National Park where we had photographed a Boab tree. It was interesting to see how much it had changed.

Then it was on to Timber Creek, (Policeman’s Crossing) to try and spot some crocs. Sadly we were disappointed. With the evening fast approaching, we then backtracked to the Buchanan Highway, to find a camp for the night on the top of a hill overlooking the valley. It was so windy, but the view and sunset were awesome.

13 August 2021

Today we headed further down the Buchanan Highway to Jasper Gorge.

We drove through the gorge for many kilometres before stopping for morning tea at the southern point. It was on to Victoria River Downs where we could not believe how many helicopters they had. Truly impressive.

We followed the Buchanan further to cross the Victoria River where we took the opportunity to wash off the dust and cool off.

3:15 pm – Sadly, we blew a rear passenger side tyre 21k before the bitumen starts at Top Springs on Buchanan Highway. Appears we took a side impact on the tyre that slowly let the air out.

Within 30 minutes we were back on the road on the Buntine Highway, headed for the WA border. We camped near Wave Hill. That night we caught up on the news to hear that a Covid case had been discovered in Katherine just 24 hours after we had skirted around it. We were glad we had decided to not take too much time to get into WA.

14 August 2021

After a good night’s sleep, we were back on the road again. At 8 am we decided to change the other rear driver side tyre for a spare. This meant that both spare tyres were now on the rear.

We recorded crossing the NT/WA Border at 11 am by photograph, in case we needed evidence of the time of crossing. We then continued to visit Nicholson River Gorge.

We stopped to help a couple change a tyre on their car. They told us how they had accidentally entered WA without a G2G pass and that the police had found them at their campsite. The police were nice about the missing G2G pass and didn’t find them on the condition they headed back to NT ASAP.

The last stop for the day was Saw Tooth Gorge, where we decided to stay for a few days after the long drive from Dundee.

15 August 2021

Met some lovely people here, and it was a beautiful spot to camp on the Ord River. By mid-morning, the police arrived at the camping ground and inspected everyone’s G2G passes.

We were told that we had to officially scan in at the Halls Creek Police Station. We agreed to do this the next day, as we were heading that way to the Bungle Bungles.

16 August 2021

Our friendly police also told us of some great spots to visit on the way to Halls Creek, so we 4WDrived around the ridge tops to visit some abandoned mine sites.

Arrived at Halls Creek at about 10 am, where we officially arrived in WA via the G2G check-in. We also came across an incredible Unimog Earthcruiser. Wow, that’s some serious offload ability there!

We had planned to revisit the Bungle Bungles, our last visit being 7 years ago. Sadly, the road into the  Bungles was in such bad condition we abandoned the visit. We were disappointed. We headed back through Halls Creek and found a campsite in the Mueller Ranges.

17 – 18 August 2021

After a decent sleep, we headed off to Derby. We have 2 wonderful friends here and we had promised next time we were in the area we would stop by. Fred and Bernie are just wonderful and we spent 2 days soaking up their company. It was here we caught up on news and realised how lucky we were to have made it to WA, as the border had tightened up, requiring negative Covid tests.

19 – 21 August 2021

We left Derby and headed Into Broome for a quick resupply, then onwards to 80 Mile Beach. In Broome, we saw a great looking expedition vehicle with the motto: Life is too short for a world this big!” So true!

Arrived at 80 Mile Beach just on Sunset. Made friends with the OKA owners with the cool number plates MYOKA. Catching up on news at 80 Mile Beach Alison received the terrible news her good friend Bob had passed away. We decided to postpone the departure for a day so Alison could adjust to the news.

22 August 2021

Big day driving today as we travelled the shorter route south. We had to do a quick detour to Marble Bar to revisit the town sights, including their Hottest Town in Australia sign.

We camped just north of Nullagine amongst the spinifex and in the shadows of the ghost gums on the red cliffs.

23 August 2021

Another full day of driving. We fuelled up in Newman and found a camp nearby for the night, close to the Tropic of Capricorn.

24 August 2021

Continued our trip south, stopping at Kumarina where we saw the most impressive self-built MAN motorhome.

We admired it before heading off for morning tea at a rest stop a few kilometres down the road. It was here we got the chance to take a close look at a couple of self-drive mine haulage trucks.

They were Impressive and it was a great experience to see inside.

As we had a couple of days to reach Cue for our second Covid shots we headed to Peak Hill to explore the area. It was here we discovered an abandoned Shearing shed and quarters and Steve cut himself on a piece of corrugated iron. So nurse Alison to the rescue! We camped on a little waterhole for the night.

25 August 2021

Arrived at Peak Hill where we met Robbie and Michael and their MAN motorhome named “Wonder WoMAN”. This was the same expedition vehicle we had seen the day before and had admired. Turns out Michael and Robbie built the camper module themselves. They achieved a quality of finish you would see in an SLRV build.

After we all enjoyed morning tea together we decided to explore the area on foot. It was mid-afternoon by the time we returned to the trucks and we decided to celebrate with a meal at the Meekatharra Pub. After a wonderful night, we found a campsite nearby.

26 August 2021

Today we get our second Covid vaccination, but before we headed off we met a couple of OKA owners, who were also camped near us last night. They had 2 great looking trucks. After a late breakfast, we said goodbye to Robbie and Michael before getting on our way to Cue.

Arriving at Cue we found the local nursing station where we received our second Covid Vaccination.

We decided to only have a short day today in case we were not feeling well, so we drove the short distance towards our Paynes Find camp to take it easy for the rest of the day.

27 August 2021

We both felt quite good this morning, so we headed off to Perth to look at real estate.

29 August 2021 – 2 September 2021

Arrived at Daryl and Kaths, our friends who also owned an Amesz.

Sadly, they have now sold it. Daryl is very mechanical and he helped us replace the blown suspension bush on our front springs. Sadly we only got a couple of months of service from the bushes Royan Truck Repairs used. We replaced them with spare bushes we purchased from SSA in Brisbane.