sharing recipes from one generation to the next
As we sat at the bar enjoying drinks on the final night of our trip, conversation naturally became a reminiscence of our personal highlights.
After 96 days driving 15,000 kilometres we had a whole grab bag of experiences to choose from, a diversity of landscapes, weather and culture. Mother nature’s riches topped the list unanimously: gorges, waterfalls, beaches, migrating marine life and the local indigenous flora and fauna.
After driving through farmland and mineral rich mining country, rainforest and desert, on roads varying from 4 lane 110 kph freeways to sandy 5 kph outback tracks we reflected on our experiences, what we did, what we didn’t do and what we should have done, remembering chance encounters with nameless people who added to the richness of our experience and new friends we made along the way.
We agreed that research is the key to undertaking such a momentous trip, calculating distances, terrains, availability of fuel stops and hazards that might be encountered so there are no nasty surprises.
Phone calls, YouTube clips, traveller’s blogs and driver advice did little to prepare us for the crossing of the Pentacost River on the Gibb River Road. We’d heard stories of 3 metre tides, crocodiles and monstrous potholes What a joke, the water barely reached the wheel hubs and no chance of a crocodile handbag! Our timing following the wet season was impeccable.
Upon advice from travellers approaching from the opposite direction we decided that the road to Cape Leveque was too much of a challenge for our equipment. From what we learned later we now regret that decision but plan to return in 2015 to fill the gap.
The wisdom of experience has taught us that ultimately you need to make up your own mind, put your toe in the water and give it a try. Everyone as different levels of tolerance when it comes to corrugated roads, river crossings and dust and equipment is as varied as the users. We proved that by maintaining your equipment in tip top condition, reducing tyre pressures and travelling slowly, incident free outback travel is not only possible, but a pleasure.
Allow plenty of time to explore. Time gives you the freedom to make your schedule flexible, rest when tired, explore thoroughly and take unexpected side tracks. The real gems are often hidden away.
Station stays have been a highlights. Camping on the space set aside at working pastoral holdings has given us the most genuine experiences in the most beautiful natura enviroments. The best of these we heard about from casual acquaintances we met on the road
Maintain a healthy cynicism about commercial tourism and refer to trip advisor. Compare and contrast what’s offered by competitors, the cheapest may be the best, but more importantly, remember for some experiences, choose the experts.
After a rowdy, boozy debrief tinged with sadness we returned to our not so ordinary everyday lives, the big trip now just happy memories.
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