Up at 5am today to start on our adventure driving to the Red centre from our home just North of Brisbane Queensland.We plan to drive west through to Birdsville in Queensland and then south down the famous Birdsville track and west again across the Oodnadatta track to pick up the main highway that runs north between Adelaide and Darwin.
We are not sure how the trip will go and we are intending to use a tent and camp everywhere we go. We’ve planned this for a while and have very slowly been getting ready, but as the day came closer it was obvious a few things still needed doing before we were going anywhere.
With a trip that is going to take 21 days, driving nearly every day and spending most of the time in the remote outback, we need to ensure we can carry plenty of food without it spoiling. For this reason I had our Nissan Patrol fitted with dual batteries and we purchased a car fridge. We had always relied on a cool box or esky before and filled it with ice at the nearest service station. I also needed to get some new rear tyres on the Patrol so we purchased an extra wheel to give us two spare wheels. I built a home-made cradle for the roof rack to take our gas bottle, all good to go.
It wasn’t until 11am that we finally pulled out the drive.We headed south-west to Dalby arriving around 1pm and then drove due west to Chinchilla. We arrived in town around three thirty and decided for the first day this was probably far enough. We had done a little over 300 kilometres. We went to the Blue I (Information Centre)and I asked where we could find a camp ground for a tent. The lady told me that if we went to the city weir we could camp for free and there was power if we needed it.We buzzed off south out-of-town and sure enough there was a small reserve with a Weir in it that had a parking spot for caravans and tents I suppose. I say that as the area designated was really shingled for vans but we found a spot out-of-the-way for the tent.The place had basic toilets and was full of grey nomads in various styled caravans, camper vans and camping trailers. Probably twenty or more outfits and they were turning up after we arrived, You could camp for two days for free so it sounded like a good deal to us.We took a while to put the tent up and get things set up but I am hoping that is only because it is the first day on the road, We will see how things go for the rest of the trip it could get tiresome if it takes and hour and half each day.
I went to make a cuppa tea and coffee for us and the gas stove flared out of the connections, Ooops. I had to turn it all off and start again this time putting a spanner to the joints. I finally got the kettle on only to find out that the kettle had a tiny pin prick hole in the base. Oh well I guess that’s camping, I have plenty of pots and pans to work with.
Dinner was lamb stir fry with nice fresh greens and some sweet potatoes on the side, all cooked from square one with garlic, ginger and oyster sauce.
The first van we encountered in the camping spot was a pop top style caravan towed by a yellow 1970’S Ford wagon. The owner had it rigged up with three extra batteries out the back connected to the mains. He ran a loud television and radio, and all his doors and windows were open. His other half wandered over to pass the time of day but I suspect she was being nosy about who we were and what we were doing.
The old guy was out and about for most of the night, just doing stuff and making a lot of noise about it. He was wearing khaki shorts and a white singlet, and could barely hobble around the place. There were groups of couples sitting laughing and joking over their evening glass or two of wine. We deliberately didn’t have any wine with us, a decision we both regretted later.