Lapping Aus’ – What Next?

Salt lake campWe’ve completed The Lap, an Aussie dream and yes… we adored our time travelling. It was all part of our retirement plan and given 18 months we feel that we took way too little time to appreciate all our country has to show us. We planned diligently and as happens, found we had commitments to meet with family and friends all along the way as well as our many adventures. These we all very much enjoyed but there was so much to see that we had to set aside for another visit a great deal and already we have made plans to return to many of these places. We also made lots of new and great friends who we continue to run into, who we follow on Facebook and with whom we will catch up with again for sure. Plans are already afoot.

So what comes next? Many who tour Aus’ would now settled down and a few of our friends expected this of us also. It was expected that having seen the continent we would settle for a bit back at home base and now maybe tour out from here on shorter and more local runs. Not a chance!

From our point of view, having barely tasted the flavour of the country, we are now planning to be off again very soon to explore all these wonderful places we seemingly just breezed through. First we need to spruce up the rig… a bit of strengthening work here, a bit of equipping there and a lot of fun planning.

tup swimmingThe fur kids will be staying home this round too as Tuppi… my erstwhile and lovable companion of many years is feeling her age and even her kennel mate Scotty Dog has been fussing over her. Tup is up for an op’ on her knees like so many of us when we get grey hairs and given her age and we have decided this time that she needs a long stint of recouping. The Baby Boy and one of the loveable Out-laws (daughter-in-law’s) are taking over the responsibility for the pups for a time and we are scheduling visits to some of our beautiful National Parks.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 7.32.15 amHaving lapped the continent… albeit relatively quickly in our books, we now plan on a desert run. It is time to visit and experience more slowly the great red heart of our country. The season is good, the winter approaches and the monsoons are over mostly. The plans are being made and we are keen as mustard to get underway.

First though after much thought and debate we are upgrading the forbie to a new high performance engine. Yes, despite incredulous comment, we are dropping a new imported motor into the cruiser rather than invest in a new and supposedly improved 4×4… not too keen on the computerization of cars I’m afraid particularly when you spend a lot of time touring remote regions. We love our cruiser; it’s relatively basic, comfortable, accommodating and has travelled with us through thick and thin, literally over mountain and moorland. It has always been on the plan to upgrade at this stage, a change of car that is. Only we have decided to keep the car and just change the motor… it’s a sound economic and practical decision for us. One we have laboured over long and hard and we are more than happy with out choices.

Once this is completed within the next weeks, we are putting The Turtle into hibernation, ie parking it up the caravan on the Homesite in favour of a camper trailer, which has been much used and enjoyed by Son No.1 over the intervening years. The camper trailer was bought some years ago just for this eventuality. We invested in what is ‘the family’ camper trailer for the kids to use… to join us in our travels when we reached each of their regions… I think I have mentioned that our kids are dispersed all around the country and the family camper trailer is one that makes its way around between them. It was also bought for us to use when we wanted to go places where the caravan should not go. It isn’t that we doubt the caravan would survive… I mean it’s not like we are not headed into the rigorous tracks of Cape York. However we are headed out over some relatively tame desert tracks and it is more about the experience, than the trial of towing over dirt tracks vs the conveniences of caravan.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 7.00.54 pmFor the coming 6 months or so the camper trailer will be our home and the red desert of the Outback our back yard. Now I am not a fan of putting this thing, the camper trailer that is, up at the best of times! It takes time and it lacks the ease of climbing out of the forbie and into the van for a cuppa. Because of this The Man and I also use a good ole Aussie swag, coupled with an annex and a little tent thing that hangs of the forbie along with a newly added shade and insect tent. This is a great way to travel and simply proves that you really don’t need an expensive rig to tour the country.

swag campI love ‘swagging’ aground as there are some huge advantages. You can quite simply get into places that a caravan or big rig would never go. These are the quite places, the hidden places and simply some of the most beautiful spots on the Earth, as diverse as they are abundant in our continent. The camper trailer…? Well that is for when we camp up for a stint and have the time and inclination to fuss about and put the thing up! It’s also a portable kitchen that we can use without the need to erect the canvas side of things. It is storage while on the move and convenience for when we are stationary and we plan a number of these rest-up stints along the way.

Macdonnell rangesWe are planning to explore the red heart of Aus’, this is the Macdonnell Ranges of the Northern Territory, these ranges sit smack in the centre of the continent like a beating heart and we will be exploring both east and west of the highway that runs down through the centre of Aus’.

We plan on skipping into Alice to catch up with some special friends during a celebration and then up to Darwin for a tour on the Ghan… something we have always wanted to do. We enjoy epic train journeys, they give you the chance to see the country like nothing else does and having recently taken the opportunity to tour on the Gulflander we are looking forward to spending time on the Ghan as it travels from Darwin to Adelaide.

BungleThen we will head west back into WA and the northern gold country, then down into the Bungle Bungles where we will camp up for a few weeks and explore the astounding country there abouts. Perhaps even revisit the beautiful Lake Argyle.

After this we will head south along the Tanami and back into the Macdonnell Ranges and then back East into Homebase eventually. These are our plans and my feet are itching to head out once more to complete what will be the inner figure 8 of the Outback, through the heart of the country. We will be travelling via the desert tracks of Aus’ well off the tar highways and seeing just what this new motor can do. These are not the serious desert tracks but the testing variety such as the Bourke Development Rd, the Sandover, the Plenty Highway and the more difficult one the Diamantina Development Rd, this assuming they are passable when we are passing. All is in flux along many of the desert tracks of the Outback.

Come with us as we explore our land. Click the little follow button at the top to keep posted about our adventures as new blogs are published, or checkout our past adventures under the tab ‘Oldies at Large Aus’. You can also download the e-book ‘Discovering Australia and Her Lore’ which is an anthology of these blogs that will take you travelling around the countryside with us, visiting all the wonderful places we have toured at your own pace.

Travel well, life is meant to be lived.

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Jan is an author and traveller. You can read more about her fictional novels on Aboriginal Lore in the Dreaming Series tab, or The Spirit Children. The stories are drawn from her interest and studies in ancient Aboriginal Lore.

Discover a world that survives hidden quietly within our own.

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