6 months on, and off, the road – and we are only part of the way through our figure 8 “lap” of Australia. Seems like one year definitely won’t be enough to get around this massive country. And we’re just starting to feel like we’re sort of getting the hang of it.
I love reading travel blogs where organised and well prepared travellers faithfully record and break down every km they have driven, every cent they have spent, and on what, complete with excel spreadsheets of meal plans and packing guides. They are enormously useful. We do none of that. We are not really much for facts and figures and keeping track of, or planning, things. Plus, accounting for my time reminds me uncomfortably of timesheets. Which makes me shudder. So we are blissfully unaware of where our money is going, how far we have come, where we are going next and what we are going to eat tomorrow. It all just tends to sort itself out.
But here is the general vibe of how things are going so far…
- Kilometres travelled: heaps, but many more to go
- Diesel guzzled: shitloads
- $$ spent: WAY more than we expected, but way less than living in Sydney and paying off a gigantic mortgage
- Frequency of tantrums, meltdowns and screaming matches (of both the kiddie and parental variety): Every. Single. Bloody. Day
- No. of times we think it is pretty cool to get the chance to spend all this time and have all these adventures with the ratbags: Also every day. Well, most days (grateful sentiments tend not to directly overlap with the meltdowns noted above)
- No. of times the hubby hooned around Uluru on a Harley and got paid for it: 378 (approximately)
- No. of AFDs (Alcohol Free Days): No comment. We seem to be struggling slightly with this one.
- Regrets: Zero. Zip. Nada
All in all, we’re trundling along just fine. No plans to stop anytime soon.
6 month milestone means …. highlights reel
We always get asked what has been the best bit of the trip so far. It’s easy to be vague – so hard to narrow it down and name favourites, just keeps getting better and better – rah, rah, rah. C’mon – specifics please! So I had a bit of a think about it over a glass (ok, a few glasses) of wine (and there goes today being an AFD) and here are some of the best bits.
- It’s not work. It really doesn’t matter where we are, because every morning I wake up very happy that I don’t have to go into the office. Yep – the novelty hasn’t worn off yet. And when we wake up at the bottom of a waterfall on a Thursday morning, hike to the top and sit in a natural infinity pool looking over Kakadu, then I am super-duper especially excited not to be at work. No fixed abode, unemployed and still absolutely loving it.
2. “Climbing” Mt Kosciusko. As in catching a chairlift almost to the top and then walking on a footpath to tick off the easiest of the seven summits. Not the most strenuous of mountain climbs, but I got to do it with my son, see the Snowy Mountains in summer, and it was a pretty awesome way to kick off our trip.
3. Chilli crab in South Australia – the crabs were caught, cooked and chilli-ed by the hubby and we ate it with a bottle of rose from McClaren Vale, sitting at our campsite right on the beach. I pick this one because I happened to take a snap and get photographic evidence of this feast before we guzzled it, but really the whole cooking, booze, lovely scenery and general hedonism has been spectacular most nights.
4. Uluru – pretty much everything about it. Hooning around it on a Harley, riding around it on a bike with the kids, the Camel Cup, Gemma having her first day of school there, getting to meet all the Yulara school families, being a lady of leisure – oh and going to a party at the fire station. Definite highlight.
5. Tinder for travellers – social media
stalking research of other travellers, then randomly bumping into them on hikes, in carparks, at waterfalls and weirdly knowing everything about them (I am unashamed – I have achieved many great things in life, including nabbing the hubby, by my stalking habits persistence). Kinda creepy but handy for finding drinking buddies and friends for the kids – and giving the hubby someone to talk to other than me. We have met some great mates on the road and no doubt will stalk meet many more as it seems the whole travelling community is in the NT heading to WA at the moment (and I know this because – stalking).
6. Sunset in Kakadu – we have had some pretty incredible sunsets, but the favourite so far would have to be sitting at the top of Ubirr, surrounded by ancient rock art, with a soothing warm breeze after a steep climb, looking over the wetlands of Kakadu to the stone country of Arnhem land.
7. Hot springs in Mataranka – after freezing our butts off at Uluru, it was pure heaven to arrive in the tropics, and float along the crystal clear turquoise water in Bitter Springs. Unlike the concreted thermal pools in Mataranka, the lesser known and better hidden Bitter Springs is completely natural. Could do with a completely unnatural pina colada stand though.
8. Nature – it’s the best — Living in a tent on wheels we have total exposure to the elements. Going to sleep every night under the stars, and waking up every morning to birds singing (and sometimes dingoes howling and crocodiles splashing) and fresh air. Blergh, vomit, sopp-orama. Cheesy but true. Massive highlight.
- patting Dolphins in Whyalla (and the surprise of Whyalla not being a total shithole)
- not getting blown off a cliff in the middle of the night at the Eyre Peninsula (phew)
- spending a night at the pub with all ten of the locals in the tiny town of Kingoonya
- pretty much the whole of South Australia (well other than Coober Pedy which was quite weird)
- Darwin being totally delightful
- Beechworth wineries
- seeing my old boss slum it in a campground
- swimming under waterfalls in Kakadu and not ending up as “lawyer gets eaten by a croc” headline on the front of the NT Times.
The list is long. And growing.
#NTpours. Bonus highlight as we near the end of our time in the NT. Conversation from a bar in Kakadu as the barman/my kindred spirit filled my wine glass almost to the top, and way above the “standard drink” white line printed on the glass.
Me: “Nice one thanks – love those NT pours”
“Fuck the line” grunts the barman
“Fuck the line” agrees me.
NT we’re gonna miss you – we’ve been here for 4.5 months of our first 6 months. Heading west next. I’m sure WA will also deliver many highlights – and I hear they’re pretty liberal with their pouring too. The fun continues.