Well, we finally hit the road today. It seems like it’s been a long time coming, but in reality we only dreamed about doing the Big Trip. But since The Husband’s long service leave was approved late last year, we have gone like the clappers to get everything prepared.
Not long after the long service leave was approved and we had a debacle in camping in our camper trailer (I will have to write a blog on this one!), The Husband, during a chance Gumtree trawl, found a brand new, second-hand 2016 model Jayco pop-top camper trailer. The Hawk model. It came with everything we needed… except an air conditioner. For me it simply had to be a non-negotiable, but next minute we made and offer and it was accepted.
The trouble now was that the Jayco, which we have since dubbed Harry Hawk, was in Brisbane and we live in Darwin! So, bring on it’s maiden voyage – Brisbane to Darwin via the Queensland coast and Savannah Way. The two kids and I flew down and the husband did the rocket run by road in the Prado.
The trip gave us a chance to test everything out, and see what modifications, for both the Prado and Harry Hawk, we needed ahead of the Big Trip. And we made a list of all the things we needed kit-wise.
I’ll blog about all this prep work separately – but needless to say, when we arrived back in Darwin in mid January we had exactly three months to get road trip ready. It was hectic to say the least! Scheduling work, finding great deals (mostly online) and ordering in time to receive the delivery, watching the credit card limit and timing orders to coincide with statement cycles.
Our plan for this trip was to be self sufficient as much as possible and either camp in National Parks or nature parks, or at free camps along the way. We will have to stay at powered sites along the way though – for sanity’s sake to get washing done a little more efficiently – both clothes and oneself!
So after a crazy-busy week pre-D-Day, we were finally ready to step off. The excitement was quickly dispersed though on our first stop a short way down the road when we dropped our furry family member Ollie-Dog to the kennel. It was very difficult to leave him behind for three months, but it was the right thing to do considering our trip. If something was to happen to him in the remote Kimberley area – help would be hard to come by. We don’t the emergency services will like it if we cracked and EPIRB if Ollie-dog was bitten by a snake!
Back on the road we had thought we only forgot our water bottles (easily fixed), but alas… about 200 kilometres from home I realised I had also forgotten the Easter eggs and gifts of matching PJs for the boys (dinosaur ones from Peter Alexander), and a book each. Oops…. Read more about our first Easter in the tropics here. Other items on the ‘oops we forgot that list’ were summer PJs for the boys, a massive Tupperware container of healthy in-car snacks, restocking our Thermacell mozzie repeller, and packing plenty of batteries.
We detoured into Katherine to pick up the essentials and backtracked to our first camp – the unpowered campground at Edith Falls – yeah that one where they caught a 3.1-metre croc just a couple of days before Easter – the first one ever found in this area! Thankfully we were well away from the water though. And we were sleeping high in Harry Hawk. Pretty sure the croc bait was in the next campsite over – yeah the rowdy young ones (probably playing Cards Against Humanity) who have their swags set up… much easier for a hungry croc, right?!?! ;)