Day 1 Saturday 25th July – Brisbane to St George (560 Km).
Back in early May when the Callide B2 plant outage was in full swing, I was working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a town 600 Km away from Martha. Was this really why we came over to Australia? At some point in those long and challenging work hours, we had a brilliant idea. Let’s pick a date and go see this beautiful country. What better way to make these work blues fade into distant memory than sun in your face, the road stretched out in front of you and red sand as far as you can see? We had hatched a plan to head west into South Australia to a place called Innaminka. Now all we had to do is figure out what else we wanted to see along the way. Have you looked at the Australian map lately? Every time you look at it, you see a new place. If you mention a trip into the Outback to some other travellers, you here about more places to go!
We decided to divvy up the pre-trip preparation tasks. As this was our first time being totally self sufficient in this new land, the preparations were quite extensive. Martha was in charge of the first-aid kit and meals. Pierre was in charge of truck preparations and modifications. Martha got her St. John’s Ambulance first-aid certificate back in April and this helped her identify the appropriate contents for an Outback worthy first aid kit. Experience from our previous short trips helped to identify the top three priorities regarding vehicle preparation: sleeping arrangements, water supply and fuel capacity. To address these items we installed:
Due to financial and time constraints, we opted to use our tried and true Moutain Equipment Co-op Apollo tent and Thermarest sleeping pads.
- a long-range fuel tank with a 180 L capacity to increase the total fuel capacity to 270 L;
- a rear bar capable of carrying the spare that had to be moved because of the new long range fuel tank; and,
- the appropriate suspension upgrades to cope with the additional weight.
Our first hiccup occurred early in the morning on departure day as we were loading up all the food, camping gear and clothing. Our 6 month old fridge freezer had been loaded with pre-frozen meals and selected to freeze the previous evening. When I removed the basket before loading it into the Landcruiser, I noticed that most of the items were partially thawed. My heart skipped a beat before my pre-trip excitement turned to frustration. Thankfully the fridge freezer was purchased from a very reputable Australian 4WD accessory company who shall not be named until we get to the bottom of the issue. One phone call saw my frustration dissipate as they pulled a few strings and supplied a brand new replacement unit for the trip given we were leaving town at that exact moment. Ok, our first crisis had been averted.
After months of pouring over maps, talking to various acquaintances and packing, we were finally off to see for ourselves what the Australian Outback is all about. The anticipation was over and the kilometres were ticking by...
We settled into a comfortable rhythm and continued our westward progress. As the daylight started fading, we started searching for a decent place to camp. Around 5:30 pm, we rolled into St. George and figured it would be as good a place as any to set up for the evening. We chose to stay at the St George Caravan Park for no specific reason other than it was convenient. At $15 for the evening, the price was reasonable but we could not in good faith recommend it to other travellers for two reasons: first the Balonne Hwy crosses a bridge very near the camp site and every time a tire hits a metal junction on the bridge, it makes an awful racket and that managed to keep us up most of the night. Second, the local dogs started barking as soon as the sun went down and did not let up until very late. It probably didn’t help that Martha had the bright idea to sleep out under the stars instead of setting up the tent. So much for a peaceful sleep...
Pictures are loading...