Showing posts with label Roadtrip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roadtrip. Show all posts

Monday, 24 February 2014

Stuart's Pool { The Bumpiest Ride Yet? }

I love a weekend where we get the chance to do a little road trip and sightseeing. It's a long day. And it always makes for a quiet catch up nap day on Mondays, but they are worth it. Everytime.

Our trip to Stuart's Pool, was one of the rockiest and bumpiest rides that we've done so far. Ungraded roads (read lots of bumps, holes in ground), steep hills up, steep hills down. We really tested out our little bumpy car, and maybe our daughters in the back seat too. Really, a car needs a lift kit to be able to drive over such surfaces, with more ease, and less risk. And ours doesn't have that.

Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about? Well I really don't at all. But I will say, in the short time that we've been up here, that my husband is 4WD'ing like he knows what he's doing. And I'm mildly impressed with his newfound driving skills. Though it does help, when travelling on such bumpy roads, to do so with someone in the know. Insert Mark. Who knows what he's doing. Or at least more than we do. Which isn't hard at all.

We were given some friendly advice from a driver by on his return back from the pool. The road ahead was very uneven. And with our cars, it might be best for us to first walk the bumpiest parts of  the track, decide where to place ours tires before we start driving. And he was right.

So there was lots of this.

And that.

Checking of depths.

Checking of tracks before we ventured up.

Or down.

Before finally finding ourselves at Stuart's Pool.

These drives are always scenic. In fact, the drive is one of my favourite parts of the trip. I don't 4WD, so I can really take in the vast, undulating landscape that is this country. There are times being up here where I just can't stand living up here another day. Particularly with all the hot weather. But trips like this, always remind me, how lucky we are to live here and be able to enjoy this part of the country.

Have the chance to get out and explore somewhere new on the weekend?

Hope this post hasn't been too 4WD'ey. It wasn't meant to be!!!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Wanna Munna and Aboriginal Rock Carvings

We are lucky to be surrounded by so many beautiful sites around town. Wanna Munna, has to be one of my favourites. With so much rain lately, the small waterhole was just stunning. With fresh, clear water, and even a small waterfall. It was the perfect picnic spot to our day.

There are hundreds of rock carvings in and around this waterhole. It was a beautiful art site. A reminder of the ancient culture, that once prospered in this area. And the traditions that were once such a prominent part of Aboriginal lifestyle.

Despite living here. And being surrounded by a lot of Aboriginal folk in town. It can be easy at times to forget this beautiful part of their history. And the realities. That this is really their land. They know it better. Explored it's ways deeper. And resonate with it spiritually more than many other Australians ever will.

Now that the girls are starting to get a little older, coming to waterholes like this is getting simpler. We arrive with less stuff then we used to. We can leave home almost on a whim to close by waterholes like this. And while the water is still an obvious hazard (I do watch the girls like a hawk), I feel a little more relaxed about it all. My eldest, less likely to run off unannounced. Our youngest, in a clingy, likes to be nearby phase. Both stay close by, and aren't at an age where they are inclined to wander (a big touchwood after that statement).

Either way, spots like this we can all really enjoy now. Especially the cool water on hot days like we're having now.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Rains are 'Ere

The hot weather has really arrived now. But so has the wet season. And with it, marvellous storms and downpours. Despite the stifling heat, I am actually (surprisingly), enjoying this time of the year. The contrast in the weather on stormy days is truly beautiful. Worthy of a cup of tea, and a sit down, to watch and enjoy.

Stormy weather comes on so quickly. It floods our yard, almost immediately. Rivers go from dry to flowing overnight. Only to disappear again just as quickly with the heat. The road trip down Fortescue River, that we did only recently, wouldn't be quite possible anymore. You certainly would not want to find yourself, camped on the river, if a storm came on suddenly.

Flowing water is a novelty up here. People head to the river, to see if it's full, flowing. And make random trips to find their own little spot to swim and relax by the water. Sometimes it doesn't always go so quite to plan!

Not quite the beachy blue sea we have been used to, but beautiful in it's own way!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Drive Down the Fortescue River { The Wrong Way }

Our bumpy car has been on a hiatus. Too hot to be taken out on the road for any type of adventure, it has languished in the drive. Taken out only for the occasional small trip around town. Not quite what it is meant for.

A spontaneous call over the weekend, ended all that. And took us on a drive in the wrong direction (further away from civilisation than we intended) down the Fortescue River.

A mostly dry and sandy riverbed made for surprising fun. We took the mountainous way to reach the river, which was typically scenic and stunning. A reminder that despite the mundane of town, that we are lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful scenery. And to also have this opportunity to live here, and be able to enjoy and do things that we would never have experienced otherwise. This, is partly what we moved here for. An adventure. Albeit a red one.

A love heart in the sky! ( Please excuse the dirty windscreen! )
The wet season has arrived here, and while nowhere near enough rain to fill the river, small waterholes have formed in and along the riverbeds. A perfect spot to enjoy the peace, rest and wet the feet. Or if you're young enough to still get away with running around nudie rudie style, then you can cool yourself off completely.

Driving onto the riverbed.

The smiley faced man who may, or may not have wanted to go left.

Without a road sign in sight, and the evening approaching faster than we realised, it was time to make a decision. Do we go left or do we go right down the river, back to the Great Northern Highway and home. We took the left, a scenic drive yes, but the wrong choice. One which we realised after a good while. A U-turn. And then a faster drive home than the one we made to arrive at our afternoon waterhole. It all left the car a little quiet. It was a rather fast and bumpy drive. Nobody wants to 4WD in the dark. Or get bogged.

Funny how a toddler can pick up on everything left unsaid. The mood of the car told her that we were lost. And she was a little concerned. No we weren't lost at all. We just took the long way home was all.

That we did.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Timing of the Friendly Wave

A long straight road. With nothing but red dirt, dry grass, cattle and the odd mountain range to amuse yourself with.
It makes for boring stuff.
There's nothing quite like the spontaneous friendly wave (more of a lift of the finger from the steering wheel really), from the very occasional passing car to break things up a little bit.
We've enjoyed this courteous gesture and hello while travelling in this part of the world.
But we've lived here long enough now to start returning the favor, and spreading the love to others.
The secret to the spontaneous wave is timing. With both cars travelling at high speeds, in the opposite direction, you can easily miss the most opportune time to do this. Getting your wave not only noticed, but most importantly, allowing time for a reciprocal wave.
My tip, start waving as soon as you can see oncoming traffic. It's your best chance.
My husband prefers a more casual approach. Attempting to judge the best time, and waving when the car is almost on us. He's had a lot of missed waves, way too late waves that couldn't be even seen, let alone get many waves back.
The enthusiastic waver always wins. And also gets occasional toots from passing road trains (that's a truck with a very long load, in case you weren't aware). 
A good tip to remember, if ever you're driving in this past of the world.

Fuel anyone? The dustiest roadhouse I've ever seen!

A Road Trip with Children

Our first real holiday out of town.
And our longest drive yet. Seven hours or thereabouts. For this part of the world, I guess that isn't considered huge. But it will be long for us. Especially with two toddlers in tow. Funny how that changes things. In the past, I've found these drives suffer their good and their bad moments. The more prepared I can be, the better we are able to avoid "must get out of my car seat now" kicking spasms.
For me, I love the big drives. A chance for me to sit down and relax. And just be stuck in my seat. Almost always, I will also fall asleep myself. My husband, I'm sure, probably just enjoys the peace and quiet from the 3 of us. And the chance to choose his own music to listen to. Without Peppa Pig oinking in the background.

It's ridiculous, how much  you need to pack now that we have the two girls. Their things, literally fill the car. Between the portacot, nappies, high chair, their clothes, there will be hardly any room left for our stuff. Which is why we now have a Pod on top of the car. So we can bring a change of clothes for ourselves
Travelling with young children, definetly comes with it's difficulties.  Travelling light, takes on a whole new meaning now. I find it almost impossible to pack light. But I do attempt to pack smart. If anything, I try to pack light for myself. To compensate for the overabundance of child related items.

Here are a few things I've discovered that work well for us, during our short time on the road.
1. You need less toys than you think. Pack next to none. You're going to a new place, everything can be exciting. Make it an adventure.
2. Pack laundry soap, just in case. Red dirt gets in to everything, clothes can get dirty very quickly. Save yourself packing numerous, most likely needed, changes of clothes.
3. Pack lots of small, toddler friendly snacks. Not just for the long car trips, but for restuarants, in case meals don't arrive before the hungry toddler tantrum.
4. Save a special, new toy just for the car trip. Something easy to use, with no small pieces. I love the water painting notebook by Melissa and Doug. You can buy it here from Classic Baby. It keeps both girls entertained and quiet for long spaces of time. And uses a refillable water pen. Easy. I try to bring it out for long car trips only.
5. Always find room for a couple of bottle of wines for the (hopefully) quiet evenings.
6. Keep your expectations low. I don't mean this in a negative way. But sometimes if you prepare for the worst, then you are often pleasantly surprised when it comes to travelling with young children. Though sometimes, your worst nightmares, do come true too.
8. Be flexible. This is one I need to remind myself of often. You're not going to have everything that you usually have at home. And it might not flow quite so well. But it's for a good reason. A holiday, full of new experiences and excitements. As long as everybody is happy, nobody is crying, tired and whiney then it's not a big deal.
7. Try and keep a sense of humour and fun. It is catching.
8. Oh yes, and an Ipad full of Peppa Pig, Angelina Ballerina and Charlie and Lola works too.

Do you have any trips on packing light with children? Doing a road trip with children?

Monday, 7 October 2013

Glamping it up at Karijini Eco Resort

We are back after a weekend away of adventure at Karijini National Park. Our first night away, from the same same boringness of this town. We chose a hot, 38 degree weekend, to explore the nearby Karijini National Park. By nearby, I mean just under 200 km's away. That's classified local up here.
It's remote. Rugged. And stunningly beautiful.

My husband and I had been here before, years ago. But this was the first time with the girls. We chose the more child friendly pools of Fern Pool and Fortescue Falls. Part of the Dales Gorges.
A relaxed walk, despite the numerous stairs, found us at the shady "rockpools" (as my daughter calls them). A baby carrier is a must here. As is a sense of adventure, to help propel my eldest daughter along at a reasonable pace, now that she prefers to walk more, rather than be carried. And of course, so were my ugly shoes.

I use a Tula baby carrier. I've bought other brands, and borrowed different brands from friends. Trying to find one that suited me. This is easily my favourite. Slim fitting, comfortable to wear. All those things.
I wasn't able to find one in the shops to buy. But you can find them online here.
After all that walking and coaxing, and on such a hot day, it was a relief to be able to take a swim and enjoy a picnic lunch next to the water. Even with so many other people, enjoying the same things, it was still relaxed and peaceful. And also, lots of fun. My daughter, watching people jump in. Talking all things French with visiting tourists. And trying not to slip over on the slippery rocks in the shallow parts of the pools.

We were lucky enough, to spend the night, glamping under the stars at the amazing Karijini eco resort. Domed tents, scattered throughout the landscape. Some powered, some not. All non-airconditioned, but positioned for natural ventilated comfort. Our first night, all sleeping in the one room together. And a tent of all things. The Mum in me, who likes to knock of at 7pm bedtime, was a little nervous about how that was all going to unfold.

In one word, our stay there was perfect. Our eldest, nicknamed the tent, a cubby. And the two, spent the whole time, exploring, playing. Eating icecream on the deck. Showering in the open aired bathroom. Collecting rocks. And we managed something we haven't been able to do for awhile in the day time with our charmingly busy two daughters. Read the paper. Undisturbed. Drank wine. Undisturbed.

An early tea in the alfresco restaurant, was short and sharp. It had been a long day in the hot sun. Everyone was tired. But the food was yummy. Wild barramundi, emu, cooked in front of us, complete with flaming pans.

And bedtime, well that worked out ok too. Later than normal. But that was ok. And after much chitter chatter between the girls, when they should have been asleep, which was amusing at first but not so funny after awhile, it soon became funny again. As we listened to our eldest telling off the other, "shhhhhhh, nigh nighs now Jessie please." Silence eventually followed, and my husband and I sat on the deck outside the tent. With a bottle of wine. No phones, laptop or tv. With only the light of the stars. We sat in almost darkness and talked. It was nice for a change. And just what we needed.
Day to day life's been busy lately. We needed a little holiday, and this was perfect.
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