We farewell Broken Hill and the eclectic mix of people encountered during our stay; many of your stories have inspired me. In front of us is the long lonely stretch of road; I mean very lonely, as we only pass 3 caravans between Broken Hill and Nyngan. With Christmas drawing near, most travellers are making their way home.
We pass through Wilcannia, Cobar and Nyngan. Many of these towns have bad reputations, which may explain the lack of tourist numbers in western NSW however we find a sensational campsite in Nyngan, following a vote on whether or not we camp by the roadside or opt for luxury… a shower. Mike was outvoted and we were all very pleased with that outcome as the campsite was right on the river and we had the place virtually to ourselves. I do hope in the near future that NSW realises that capturing the ever growing caravan numbers in this country, like so many of the other states have done, would inject life back into these towns.
The flowing Bogan River (Bogan free thankfully) is renowned for water skiing and fishing. We savour the tranquil setting as the sun sets.
We are up bright and early, and following Liam squeezing a quick fish in the early hours of the morning with his makeshift rod, we hit the road and sadly only pass another two caravans within the first few hours. We reflect on the large number of people that have been living on the road and we can only imagine this number will increase with our aging population. We arrive at our final stop, Tamworth, and spend the afternoon in and around the country music capital’s town centre. We make our way to a café and discover the best coffee we had on our trip. It was amazing, and a flavour I will savour for some time.
We all have mixed emotions, as we discuss our impending return home. The realisation of returning home and seeing our animals is exciting, not to mention catching up with family and friends. We do, however, feel a little depressed about the prospect of returning to the grind and that of mundane daily life; well, compared with what we have been accustomed to. We are incredibly fortunate to have been able to travel this great big land of ours and enjoy what Australia has to offer. We have all taken something very special from this trip and have all grown as people (not too wide I hope… we have been sitting in the car a lot though). Along with all the great times, laughs and tears we have all had our moments, which is no surprise given the size of our mobile residence (approx. 12m2); there were no electronic devices (mobile phone aside) with very few toys on board. Being so close to each other 24/7, and bumping into one another and sometimes not having the space we would like, certainly tested us all from time to time.
Getting the kids to do their homework was not always easy, nor getting the kids to do chores (wow, pocket money does help though). The way the kids were able to interact with all types of people and their ability to adapt to any situation really made both Mike and I very proud though. Their capacity to entertain themselves in the car for hours on end was phenomenal. They truly embraced and adapted to the travelling life remarkably well and it will be interesting to view their progression now we have returned home.
As I sit writing this final blog entry I think about how interpretations of places can vary from person to person. Throughout our trip, fellow travellers were always providing tips. Some places people raved about and we were left a little disappointed, and conversely some places people said to avoid we visited and were pleasantly surprised. No doubt I will get asked what the highlights were, so, in no particular order Mike and I have listed our top ten. We have excluded our extremely memorable stays with Jack and Debbie (Lyndon) and Charlie and Ange (Boulia) as these were properties we stayed at. Had we included these, there is no doubt they would feature in the top ten. Once again, thank you very much; we had a fantastic time.
1. Kakadu National Park
2. East and West MacDonnell Ranges
3. Uluru & Kata Tjuta
5. Cape Leveque
6. Bungle Bungle
7. Cape Range National Park
8. Mornington Wilderness Park (Gibb River Road)
9. Katherine Gorge
10. The Pilbara
After six months travel we clocked up 28,600km. We put up our little Jayco Eagle Outback on 75 occasions and were away for 180 nights.
Arriving home was quite surreal, as we travelled with little more than a couple of plastic tubs of clothes and books, the kids bikes, a couple of fishing rods and a few matchbox cars and games. My head was literally spinning as I entered our home; I was quite overwhelmed and felt dizzy. It felt as though I was unable to digest the visual overload of what we had eliminated from our lives for six months. The kids thought Santa had already been as they were actually rediscovering all the toys, books and clothes they had forgotten all about. Maddox ran straight for the sandpit, just like when he would arrive at a caravan park.
To all the great people we have met, enjoy your trails and thanks for the memories. To those of you that are thinking of a change, getting out of the rut, deserve a break or are in a position to give your kids the ultimate field trip……..get out there and experience AUSTRALIA.