Members Trips

stories from Australia



our inland adventure

by Barry Fitzgerald

After packing the car the night before we settled in for a anxious night with not much sleep nervous with excitement to the 3 weeks away, we woke up around 7.00am and had breakfast showered put the last things in the car and headed off, our first spot was Mendooren a free camp spot behind the police station right on the river and apart from the moron running his genny all night a brilliant spot (we were far enough away for it not to bother us too much)

    Next morning another casual start, some breaky then off again leaving around 8.30am for Bourke, we found another free camp at Mays Bend about 13k north of Bourke right on the Darling river and right under a huge river gum, it was a beautiful spot, with all the rain it was a bit muddy so picking a dry line was critical especially with the camper attached but got in OK, after setting up we sat down by the fire and just soaked up the atmosphere with a beer of coarse, had dinner then off to bed.

    Next morning I woke to a beautiful sunrise so I had to share it with Nessie with some effort I finally got her up to witness it, we then had breaky, then packed up, reluctantly I might add, and headed off again, we had no probs getting out even with the track being chopped up from others coming in during the night.

    Next place was Cunnamulla for lunch and supplies then Eulo to have a look at the Date farm and mud springs bought some date wine, Liqueur, Port and Dates then headed for our camp for the night, Lake Bindingooly another lovely spot just past the Paroo river which was flooded and the Lake had no water, only twice in Whiteman's history that it didn't have water in it just our luck oh well still a great spot, tomorrow we will be camping at the Dig Tree our first camp we pay for, $11 for the night, and worth every penny, it is right on the Cooper creek and just plain beautiful, our first and thankfully only real problem in the trip was the reset switch, which I fixed while crossing the Simpson, as it was an intermittent fault and only because of where we mounted this switch after installing my dual battery system, it's a fuel cut off which is activated after a large impact or rollover, it went off after we hit a very large trench across the road caused by water erosion, this hole was about 2' wide and 1 foot deep and we hit it around 70kph, after we came to a stand still I assumed the worst and thought our trip was over, some guys working the gas rigs tried to help but as the mechanic said, geez maaate don't know much about these Land Rovers, anyway after much swearing and panic I remembered why it had stopped pressed the reset switch and we were back on the road again and off to the Dig Tree much to everyone's relief, it happened a few more time till I stuffed something in the switch to solve the problem for good, all that technology stopped by an old rag .

    After having a look around we then headed for Innaminka to fuel up and fix our pole carrier which had the end cap come off, after much searching I found something to use but it had taken such a beating from the gibbers in the Stoney Desert it was beyond repair so we transferred the poles to the one on the roofrack and inside the camper then headed for Birdsville via Cordillo Downs, Coongie Lakes and Cadelga ruins staying the night at Cadelga ruins, next to a creek, this was one of many homesteads that didn't survive this area due to drought and harsh weather conditions, Cordillo Downs being the exception. It's now a great free camp spot for travelers with a hot bore that you can have a shower at if you choose and nice flat grass area for camping, all right by a creek, just brilliant.

    We got up about 7.00am packed up and next stop Birdsville arriving at 10.30am as we drove into town we saw Willems GQ a friend from ExplorOz, parked outside Karstens Big Red Cafe, so we stopped in to chat and have one of Karstens famous cappuccinos, I have to say after meeting Karsten I was surprised that SHE is actually a HE and a top bloke too, very friendly and entertaining especially with fire sticks we then booked into the caravan park for our 3 night stay for the ExplorOz gathering and a place to leave our camper while we crossed the Simpson Desert, for me this was the main reason for the trip, the gathering was secondary really but still a great way to meet old and new friends.

    After booking in and meeting Ruth and Ian (EO members) we setup, then Willem came over, he was already there on day 85 of his big trip he had booked into a cabin for some luxury as he put it for the gathering.

    After much talking and catching up over a few drinks we decided we would look around Birdsville, 5 minutes later we were back at the caravan park to see what sights there were to see around Birdsville, it was decided that we would have dinner at the pub then a few night caps and look around tomorrow while we waited for others to arrive for the gathering.

    While waiting for the others to arrive for the EO gathering the rain came Friday morning about 2.00am and didn't stop till Saturday as a consequence all roads in and out of Birdsville were closed, as well as Innaminka and all surrounding towns, the only people aloud on the closed roads were those who were already on that road when it was closed. Because of this I missed out on that beer with John (Big Ted} from AULRO.

    JohnR & Ruth, Wim & Judy were the first to arrive then later Howard & Margaret, campertrailers members too, John & Edel & Ava and last of all Mike & Ruth, also campertrailers members, they made it in on the closed roads but were on them when they were closed so were aloud to carry on.

    The gathering was good we had it at Karstens Big Red Cafe, we sat around the fire at the cafe talked and drank and eat the night away with in house entertainment from Karstens fire juggling show with Karsten as the star, there was Karsten from the cafe, Ruth from the van park and me, Kerry, Venesser and the above people, a great night, thanks to Karsten for his hospitality and everyone else that came, it was a shame the others couldn't make it but that's the bush and besides they need the rain.

    The next day, Sunday we went to big red for a play and a camp cook up at the foot of Big Red another good day to finish the gathering, Monday was the day all were leaving for home or more adventures to come, ours being the crossing of the Simpson with a slight change of plans from our original one of the car only, it was decided that towing the camper across was a better option as there was more rain predicted and we didn't want to be in the situation of being stuck somewhere and not be able to get back to Birdsville to pick it up, so the decision was made to take the camper.