Our holiday in the outback wasn’t as long as we had expected. However, it was the best five days I have spent holidaying in a long time. The outback of Western Australia is spectacular. The colours and the scenery you have to see to believe. As we drove around, we were taken back in time, passing through the Wool Wagon Pathway and the Mail Run Pathway. Our pioneers of the outback would travel these almighty long and dusty roads in wagons or on horseback to move cattle and sheep from one end of the state to the other. Amazingly, water was aplenty. There were wells everywhere, with troughs for the animals to drink from, or if there weren’t wells, there were creeks, rivers and water holes for them. This was a big eye opener for me when I realised just how much water there really was in the outback, even when the rain was sparse. When the cyclone season hits to the north west, they cross inland, dropping their rain into the creeks and rivers, sending cascades of water down and often times flooding the area so bad, that no one can get in or out. It was heading into summer and hot weather was forecast, the day we set off. I was a little worried that we didn’t have enough water. You can never be too sure out in the bush. We had plenty of food to keep us going, even if we did break down, however I hoped that wasn’t going to happen. We did however get a flat tyre in the camper trailer, the first night out, so that was a little disturbing. But Bob is a handy man and has changed many a tyre in his time, he’s also a ‘jack of all trades’ so I was not fearful the whole time we were away, even the day we got to Mount Augustus and the 4WD wouldn’t move. It stopped, dead in its tracks! We’d pulled over at Cattle Pool for some lunch, then when we went to leave, the vehicle started, but it just wouldn’t go anywhere. We rolled back down to the pool where another vehicle had parked just after us, but before we called for help, it suddenly started to move. Yay! Whatever that little glitch was, we don’t know. It never happened again, thankfully.
That first night saw me going back and forth to the 4wd, trying to work out whether the food I wanted was in the esky (Cooler for those of you in the US) or in the Waeco fridge/freezer. I’d get back to the kitchen and realise I needed something else. Back to the 4wd I’d go, not before realising what I wanted was on the other side of the vehicle. By this time, I was getting a tad frustrated with camping!! But, it did get better. We spent 2 nights at the camp site, exploring the area. Climbing over rocks and tree stumps, stopping every now and then to take in the view or just to listen and watch the birdlife. We did see a few snake tracks, but fortunately no snakes.
There was no escaping the dust, so it was a relief to be staying at a camp site that had showers. Not that I stayed clean for very long. Each time we moved on, we had to collapse the tent and fold it back over the trailer, then zip up the dust proof cover. I’d hate to see what everything would be like if that wasn’t there. The zip of course got full of dust, so by the time we had everything all secure, we really needed another shower. But of course everything was packed away by then, so it was a quick wash with the onboard water and away we went to the next spot. The dust wasn’t really a problem, you knew you were going to the outback, so dust was par for the course. The 2nd day out, the temperature climbed to 37c (98.6f), not hot by any means, but too hot to stay out exploring for too long. So we came back to the camp for some lunch and sit in the cool shade. I had opened up all the zippers on the doors to let the breeze through and was sitting down reading, when we heard this sudden roar. OMG! Before we could even jump out of our chairs, this willy willy came through and whipped up the dust, sending it all over the camper, through the bedding, all over us. Thankfully all the food and our clothes were in covered plastic boxes. Now that was fun. Not! But it is a story to tell. You have to stories, or there’s no point on going on adventures! On the third day, after we’d explored all over Mount Augustus, we headed over to The Kennedy Ranges. This was wonderful, the ranges went for miles and miles and the camping spot, although no showers, did have an outback “dunny” (toilet) as we call them. The ground was pretty hard, but we could still pitch the tent. This was another great place to explore, lots of dry creek beds to walk along and so many birds. It would be wonderful to see after the rains. Maybe another time.
It was blissfully peaceful and quiet. Even though there were other campers nearby, it was so so quiet. Bob and I watched the sun go down behind the range and the first stars started to come out. The sky was as clear as could be. Not a cloud. It got so dark, the sky was pitch black, and the millions and trillions of stars shone brightly. It was heaven on earth. Magic. Indescribable. There is no way you can get the same experience from home, with the lights from our houses and the street lights, the sky would never look as black. It was just amazing. I lay back in my fold out chair and just stared up at the sky, watching the stars, listening to the quiet. Yep, and even my tinnitus was quiet. Gotta love that! We’d been having problems with our new fridge/freezer from day 1. All the frozen food had started to thaw out. We had plenty of dry food, but we decided to start heading home with maybe one more night on the road, however as we got further and further along the road, the thought of putting the tent up for one more night and eating out of a tin, just didn’t entice us very much. We were only a couple of hours from home, so we continued on to our own beds. We were covered in red dust, but a quick shower soon had that removed and several loads of washing the next day, saw our clothes nice and clean again. The experience was fantastic. I would do it again, but this time with maybe an Off Road Caravan that can take the dirt roads. We’d love to go further north to the Kimberley’s and Bob has always wanted to go to Darwin in the Northern Territory. You just never know. All in all we travelled 1751 kilometers (1088 miles) and used 205 litres (66 gallons) of fuel at a cost of $AU347.77 @ an average of $AU1.80 per litre (1 litre = 3.78 gallons). Thanks to NomadNotes on the laptop for accurate recording!