By Kiarra & Ethan Nolan
Day 1 - Saturday 16th June 2012
My day began with waking at 5:00 in the morning, it was still dark. We were travelling with my Grandma, Granddad, Nana & Kev (Nana's partner) as well as my family, Mum, Dad, Chelsea and Ethan. The plan was to get to Longreach today. About lunch time we stopped at Emerald Botanic Gardens for lunch. From Emerald we went onto Longreach. We stopped at the Drummond range lookout to look back over the beautiful ranges. We finally reached Longreach about 4pm and we stayed at my cousins house for the night.
|Drummond Range Lookout looking back towards the way we had come.|
|Drummond Range the railway line going through the mountains.|
After we got going this morning we left Longreach to go to Birsdsville. It seemed like this was just one straight road but it wasnt. Everytime we drove up a mountain range the landscape was different. We went from cattle and sheep properties with hardly and trees and lots of grass to rocky places with hardly and grass and then back to cattle properties. Dad ran into a sheep, they are really stupid. IT was on one side of the road and then it ran out onto the road in front of the car. Dad only just hit its back leg it was ok and ran off with it's mates.
We also went thruogh a little town called Wyndorah which had these huge solar panels. These solar panels provide enough electricity to power the whole town. When we finally arrived in Birdsville we stayed at the only caravan park. We camped down near a huge billabong.
The Billabong had lots of birds, such as pelicans, spoonbills, hawks, shags, ducks and many more.
|Solar Panels at Wyndorah|
|Sheep in the long grass|
Today we did not go anywhere, we decided to stay in Birdsville for another night to relax after the frist 2 days of nonstop driving which was 1500 kilometers. We went to the information centre, and found out lots of different things about where we were going and the history of Birdsville, like the first mail man was Tom Crusie (not the actor) and he rode his old truck with the mail from South Ausralia. I also fed the Hawks by throwing meat up into the air and they would swoop down and catch it. After dinner we went to the historic Birdsville Hotel (pub) to have a look.
Today is the start of the real adventure. We are going to start crossing the Simpson desert starting today. After we left Birdsville we had to do a detour around a lake of water. This water had been there since cyclone Yasi flooding from two years ago. IN the water there were black swans. After the detour we finally came to all the sand dunes even though we wernt technically in the Simpson desert.
These sand dunes range from 14 - 20 metres high and there are over 1100 sand dunes. Dad drove up the biggest sand dune that is nicknamed "Big Red". We finally made it into the Simpson Desert. We only travelled about 150kms today in 6 hours.
|Black Swans in the water from the flooding|
|The Big Red!|
It got cold last night it was 0 degrees. Today when we finally got moving we reached Poeppel Corner. This is a marker which markes where Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory all meet up. As well as crossing sand dunes we also started crossing salt lakes. These are big lakes that have no water in them anymore due to evaporation and all that's left is white powder which is salt. Some of the lakes still had water in them from all of the flooding over the last 2 years and we had to detour around them. Ethan tasted the salt and it wasnt very nice. We only travelled 90kms today.
|The track through the desert|
It was another cold night last night and it was -2 degrees. Lucky Mum bought us all thermal clothes, gloves, beanies, winter sleeping bags and heaps of other warm clothes. We saw lots of wild plants with some really pretty flowers. We also saw a wild camel on the top of a sand dune. Today we managed to travel 110kms. The sunsets, the moon and the stars out in the desert are really bright and amazing.
Day 7 - Friday 22nd June
Today we started off driving ok, but then the clutch blew up in one of the cars which meant we couldnt drive it anymore. We tried towing it with one of the other cars but that didnt work too well. We had no mobile phone service. Lucky Mum hired a satellite phone and we were able to ring someone to help us because we were stuck in the middle of nowhere. We only travelled 7kms today before the car broke down. So we had to setup camp and wait for the recovery people to arrive.
The recovery people from Mt Dare arrived about 11:30 today. They towed us back to an easier track and then onto Puni Bore which is still in the Simpson Desert but also part of Witjira National Park. We got there about 9:30 that night. There were some lovely people there who had a fire and they let us get warm around it. They also had some leftover chicken and vegetables which they heated up for us for dinner. There was a shower that had lovely hot water straight from the bore.
|Us getting towed.|
|Nighttime and we are still getting towed.|
Day 9 - Sunday 24th June 2012
Dad couldnt sleep last night because it was freezing cold and when we checked the thermometer it was -5 degrees, our coldest night yet. When the sun came up there was a wild dingo that was following Dad around. The tingo then ran into some bushes and started jumping over the shrubs with a yellow rope. The rope turned out to be one of the straps Dad uses on the trailer. Dad wasnt very happy, he had to chase the dingo up a sand dune to get the strap back. Dad won and got it back. ONce we got moving, well only 2 cars and the 3rd getting towed, we finally reached Mt Dare station which is just 10kms outside of the Northern Territory. We also saw a white dingo which chased after the cars.
|The white dingo that chased after the cars.|
|The dingo that stole Dads strap.|
Mum and dad decided not to camp at Mt Dare and to stay in cabins instead. It was great sleeping in a nice warm bed. Dad drove into Kulgera in the Northern Territory today to pick up the new clutch to fix the car so we could continue on our journey. We all stayed at Mt Dare. Mum, Nana and Grandma did all the washing. There were lots of birds at Mt Dare. We had fun watching the budgies, galahs and corellas. Dad finally arrived back in the afternoon with the new part.
|The emus at Mt Dare|
Today Dad started pulling the car apart so he could fix it up. We went to Dalhousie Springs in the grandparents car. It was beautiful. It is a huge spring (looks like a dam) that has water that has come through the ground. The water temperature was 34 degrees and outside the water it was only 10 degrees. We got to swim in the spring it was like having a huge pool like bath.
There are these little fish that nibble your skin and clean it if you stay still for long enough. It tickled heaps. After we finished at the spring we went up to the Dalhousie ruins. This is a really old homestead that got deserted during a really bad drought. They used to use the spring water to water their animals and grow plants. On the way back to Mt Dare we stopped at a waterhole that was only marked on the GPS monitor just off the road and it was a water hole in the middle of the desert. It was pretty amazing that these springs and waterholes are everywhere in the desert if you know where to look.
When we finally got back to Mt Dare Dad was still working on the car. He had managed to pull out the broken part but that was all and it was now night time.
Dad continued to work on the car today by putting the new part in it. We stayed at Mt Dare and just relaxed and watched all the birds. Dad finally got the new part in at night time. It was a big job for just 1 person but he did it. But it was 9pm at night and he still needed to put everything else back together so that would have to wait until the next day. Dad was worn out.
|Budgies at Mt Dare|
|Gallah at Mt Dare|
Day 13 - Thursday 28th June 2012
Dad finished putting the car back together and fixed a few little things on it as well. Then he had a rest day.
Unfortunately, we had to now camp instead of staying in the cabin because other people had already prebooked and paid for them.
|Our campsite at Mt Dare.|
|An old piece of machinery.|
Today we left Mt Dare. Jeff & karen at Mt Dare were both lovely people who helped us out heaps during our stay. The new plan was to get into Alice Springs to restock our food supplies before going to Uluru. We crossed the border between South Australia and the Northern Territory. We were finally back onto normal road instead of sand or rock roads. We stopped at Kulgera for lunch. This is the first place in the Northern Territory from South Australia. We made it to Alice Springs late in the afternoon. We stayed at MacDonnell Range Holiday Park.
|Kiarra & Ethan at the border.|
Day 15 - Saturday 30th June 2012
Today was a day to just relax and for Mum to restock all of the food from the shops. We got to ride bikes and play on the jumping pillows at the caravan park that we are staying at. Mum and Dad decided that we would stay another night and day in Alice Springs to spend relaxing.
Day 16 - Sunday 1st July 2012
Today was our second rest day. It is Territory Day in the Northern Territory. It is also the only day in the year that you're allowed to buy and set off fireworks. Mum bought a whole heap of fireworks for the big bonfire. once it was night time everyone that was staying at the park went to the big bonfire area and they all set off their fireworks. It was so much fun. Dad let our fireworks off. It was also a bit scary when the fireworks fell over and went off in the crowd. Lucky no one was injured, but one landed right beside my foot but did not hurt me.
Day 17 - Monday 2nd July 2012
Today we packed up to head down to Curtin Springs Cattle Station. The station let people camp there and use the toilets and showers. We got a good spot. We are now only 1 hour drive from Uluru which we are going to see tomorrow. At the station they have a pet Emu, which walks around everyones camp site looking for food. It ate some crackers out of my hand.
|Pet Emu eating a biscuit out of Dads hand.|
|Sunset at Curtin Springs.|
Today we drove to Uluru, I cant really explain what its like seeing it. To say it's amazing is a bit of an understatement. It's so big. You can see it from the road when it's still further than 30 minutes drive away. You just keep looking at it as you are driving closer and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, it draws you towards it. When we finally got to the bottom of it you could see the people climbing it but it was too windy and Dad was a bit scared that I would fall so I didnt climb it.
We did a few of the walks around the bottom and learnt a lot about the aboriginal people and what they did around it. My Granddad, CHelsea and Kevin climbed it and it took them about 4 hours from the bottom to top and back down. The wind at the top was really blowing and they stopped people from climbing it just after granddad, Chelsea and Kevin went up. They were lucky because no one else was allowed to climb it for the rest of the week.
|People climbing Uluru|
|An Aboriginal site at the bottom of Uluru.|
Today we went to the Olgas. These are just as big and amazing as Uluru. We did some of the walks around the bottom and saw trees and grass growing at the top of them. We wernt allowed to climb them becuase it is a sacred place for the Aboriginals. We also went to the valley of the winds. It was really windy and cold. We did see some parrots which are only found in this part of Australia and are called Australian Ringnecks.
Day 20 - Thursday 5th July
Today we drove to Kings Canyon. Once we got there Mum had so much washing to do, we got to go to the park and play while she did that. At night time a dingo put his head into our tent and scared Chelsea and me, we almost screamed.
|The Red Centre, which is the road that links Uluru, The Olgas and Kings Canyon together.|
Day 21 - Friday 6th July 2012
We went to Kings Canyon and walked along the bottom of the canyon. We could have walked the top of the rim walk but we had slept in and it would've taken way too long. The bottom walk was really spectacular. There were little caves that we climbed up into and a rock pool right at the end which was fun to walk around. That afternoon we got a really big surprise from Grandma and Granddad. They took us on a helicopter flight over Kings Canyon at sunset. It was really wonderful.
Day 22 - Saturday 7th July 2012
It's Grandmas birthday today and we went back to Alice Springs to start our journey home. We stopped along the way to see the Henbury craters which is the craters created from Meteorites. Mum and Dad decided that it would be nice to stay in a cabin instead of camping for the night. It was great to be sleeping in a proper bed for a change. We had cake for Grandma once we got into the cabins. We watched TV for the first time since we left as well.
Day 23 - Sunday 8th July 2012
Today we left early so we could go to Tenant Creek. We stopped at heaps of road stops to have a look at the different memorials along the road. We also stopped at what they call the Devils Marbles. They were these huge boulders all on top of each other and there were so many of them. Once again they were amazing and beautiful as well. Ethan and I climbed them as well. It was really warm in Tenant Creek which was a really nice change from being freezing cold.
|Metal figurines along the way from Alice Springs to Tenant Creek|
|One of the memorials on the highway.|
Day 24 - Monday 9th July 2012
We all had a good nights sleep last night because it wasnt so cold. Today we went up to Battery Hill underground gold mine to have a touer. It was really fun being underground and we got to try some of the old machines. At night time we went to see a bush tucker man and he read us some bush poetry as well as showed us different types of bush tucker which we got to try as well. There was witchery grubs, bush saltanas, bush bananas, bush coconuts which had little bugs in them which you could eat as well. We tried it all. The bush saltanas were not very nice but the witchery grub was the best (according to everyone that ate them - which I didnt)
|The lunch room in the underground gold mine|
Day 25 - Tuesday 10th July 2012
We continued our journey home today. We finally made it back into Queensland and stopped at Mt Isa. We went to dinner at the Irish Hotel with my cousins that live in Mt Isa. They had our fmaily crest up on the wall. There was also a tram inside that you could sit in.
|The Nolan coat of arms.|
Day 27 - Thursday 12th July 2012
We had to wake up early today so we could make it home before night time. It was pretty boring in the car. Once we got near Rockhampton it started raining and continued to rain all the way home. We finally got home about 5:30pm.
OUr dogs and cat went ballistic when they saw us. They had missed us heaps and we missed them as well. It was good to be home. We had seen some really amazing things. There is so much to see and do in Australia, we are very lucky to live in such a great country!