Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Holiday time - On the way to Arnhem Land

We had been very excited about this trip away. It’s been over a year since our last trip to the high country & we definitely needed a break. Seeing more of Arnhem Land has always been on the bucket list & we love going north.  We did the western side of Arnhem Land with Mats family in about 2002 or 2003 & then didn’t get to do any of it on our big trip in 2014 so we were keen to explore some more. 

This trip was to be more family orientated as our little man is now 2 & a half & we are travelling with my brother & his wife & their kids aged 3 & 5 & some friends as well. My brother Josh is mates with one of the park rangers up here & it was to good of an opportunity to pass up for a visit. 

We set off a day earlier than the others so had a pretty easy first day into Winton. We took the easy option & set up in the caravan park for the night & had a walk around town in the afternoon & a few beers at the pub. An early night & the next morning we packed everything up & headed out to the dinosaur experience just out of town. We had an interesting 3 hours looking at the laboratory, collection room & amazing walking tracks they have made on a jump up overlooking Winton & western Queensland. When they open the museum & new laboratory in the next 5 years it will be an amazing tourist attraction.

                                         View from the lookout at dinosaur canyon

Dinosaur museum at Winton

We headed back through Winton & grabbed some lunch & headed onto Kynuna to meet up with the others. We camped at the back on the Blue Heeler Hotel & when the others rolled in after a huge day driving we were all pretty excited & it felt like our adventure was starting. An early morning pack up & we were on the road again at 6:30am, not bad for 3 camper trailers & kids. 

Most of us had never been out this far & we had a quick look at Camooweal & Mount Isa as we drove through. Lunch lined up with a stop at the Queensland Northern Territory border & we got some photos & the boys had to have a beer under the sign. It really started to feel like we were getting closer even though we still had so far to drive. That late afternoon we made it to Three Ways Roadhouse & called it a day & set up a basic camp ready to get going early in the morning again. 

Mataranka was the destination for the next day to give the kids the afternoon to get out of the car & use up some energy. We stayed at the homestead as the springs at Bitter Springs were closed for crocodile management. We had a lovely swim in the springs at the homestead & dinner at the restaurant. 

The next day was the last push up to Nhulunbuy & to get there we had 750km to drive with 600km of them dirt. When we left the bitumen & hit that red dust the adventure really started. We saw some buffalo pretty soon after & had to get some photos. We also saw lots of donkeys & a few cattle. The road was surprisingly good for the most part & we made pretty good time. We filled up with diesel at Bulman at $2.05 a litre. The roads around Bulman were the worst of the whole trip. About 30kms out of Bulman one of the camper trailers got a flat tyre but other than that we had a fairly uneventful trip. 

We were all relieved to hit the bitumen again because we knew we were almost there. We rang Josh’s mate Terry & found out he actually lived at Yirrkala just south of Nhulunbuy. As we turned into the community we got a glimpse of a gorgeous white sandy blue beach & couldn’t wait to explore the next day. We set the 3 trailers up in his front yard & met his fiancĂ©e & kids & they cooked us up a feed while the kids had a great time playing. The next day they showed us around Nhulunbuy. We went out to the beach near town, it was gorgeous, such a pity you can’t swim. We then headed to the wharf where the barge comes in & boats are loaded & walked on the beach there for a look. We then went out to a few of the camping spots nearby to have a look & then to the Lattram river where you can swim & had a BBQ lunch while the kids had a swim. Back home for a while & then we had dinner at the boat club & watched the sunset over the water, magic.

Touching a dinosaur bone 

Dinosaur canyon 

Dinosaur canyon 

Beach at Nhulunbuy 

Swimming at Latram River
NT border 

Daly Waters Pub 

Helicopter at Daly Waters 

Central Arnhem Road 

Waterholes on the central Arnhem road 

Waterholes on central Arnhem road 


Beach at Nhulunbuy 

Time to run! 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Smoked Salmon & Brie bread

Salmon & Brie in bread

This one looks pretty fancy but is very simple to make. It definitely has a wow factor & tastes amazing.

- 1/2 a quantity of bread dough (I made 1/2 a Laucke crusty white mix which is 300g of flour, 1.5 teaspoons of yeast & about 200ml of water)
- 1 small onion sliced finely
- 100g of smoked salmon
- Cracked pepper to taste
- 1 wheel of soft cheese (I used Double Brie)

- combine bread dough as per the packet instructions & allow to prove until doubled in size.
- Once doubled, knock back the dough.
- Cut/tear off about 1/4 of the dough & flatten out to a circle shape to fit around the bottom & up the sides of the cheese
- Place around the cheese & put in the middle of a tray lined with baking paper (we use a pizza tray to fit in the camp oven).
- Poke 2-3 holes in the top of the cheese.
- With the remaining dough, place it on a clean surface or chopping board & shape into a rectangle shape.
- Spread the onion & salmon over the dough leaving a 2cm border on the long sides.
- Then roll up the dough from the long side into a scroll.
- Carefully place this around the circle of cheese so it touches the dough already on the cheese & forms a circle on the outside.
- Allow to prove for 15 minutes
- Bake in a preheated camp oven  for 30 minutes but check after 20 minutes. Moderate heat is sufficient.
- Remove from oven & allow to cool for 5 minutes so the cheese sets again slightly or it will run everywhere like ours did.
- This was very tasty. Other combinations that I want to try is adding capers & sweet chilli sauce but the possibilities are endless.

Friday, 13 January 2017

What's been happening at Red Dirt Roaming

It's been way too long since our last post. Lots has happened since then. We welcomed our first baby in November 2015. So we have had some new learning about camping with babies & now a toddler. Our first trip eased us into his first trip by celebrating Australia Day 2016 with family staying at the 1770 caravan park. That went well & he has since been to Carmilla beach, Theresa Creek Dam & Lara Station at Barcaldine. It's obviously harder with a baby but we are creating some wonderful memories & he loves it.

The camping trips away have dwindled a little as we purchased our own little farm in October 2016. We camp on our block & do the majority of our cooking over the fire so we have lots of new recipes to bring you soon.

We are also heading back to the Victorian High Country next month, so we will document our trip again here.

So we are sorry we haven't been around for a while but hoping to get regular posts happening again soon.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Facing Island - Gladstone

So what do you do when you get home from camping around Australia for a year? Go camping again of course. As we left our fur babies Milly & Robbo at home with Mats parents while we were away so we decided we should take them for a week at the beach to apologise! Mats parents & their dog Henry came along for the adventure. 

Beach at camp

Facing Island Camp site 

It was only an hour drive up the road to Gladstone to the harbour to catch the car ferry over to Facing Island. We have been once before & it's a quiet little oasis. The Ferry ride only takes about half an hour & then it's about a 15 minute drive across the island to the camp site. There was only 1 other campsite set up when we arrived, but they must of left their gear there & we didn't see them for the whole time we were there. The camp is under the casuarina trees, right on the beach & very quiet. There are long drop toilets but that is the only facilities. The camp spots are marked & allocated & you book them through the Gladstone council. 


Ferry landing spot, there are a few permanent lucky residents on the island 

We pretty much just relaxed for the days we were there, catching up with Mats parents & taking the dogs for long walks on the beach. The day we decided to go for a drive around the island it started to pour rain, so we headed back to camp. It was a lovely relaxing week. There are plenty of 4WD tracks & fishing spots to keep you occupied & the beach at camp would be fantastic for kids. I can imagine it's a busy spot on school holidays. The cost is $5 per person per night. The ferry costs $120 per car with driver & $30 per extra adult. A car & camper trailer is $220 return. This is through Curtis Ferry Services. They also drop off at Curtis Island but there are no dogs allowed in the camping area there because it's a national park. 




So if you are looking for a quiet spot to camp & a set price holiday (there is nothing to spend your money on at the island) check out Facing Island, one of our favourite camping spots in Central QLD where the dogs can also enjoy the fun. 

Toilet block

The toilet block makes a good house for some

A lovely spot to watch the sunset over the water

The western side of the island is protected by the mainland & other islands so is nice & calm 

Waiting for the ferry

Plenty of tracks to drive

The eastern side of the island is much more exposed to the open ocean

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The last camp site of our big adventure

Well this post has taken almost a year to write. This campsite was the last one on our big trip & we stayed from the 16-20th of February 2015. We were planning to visit family after this camp site (which we did) & then camp our way back up to QLD. But cyclone Marcia put a spanner in the works & we had to rush home to check our house in Rockhampton & help Mats parents with the clean up at theirs. Not an ideal end to our trip of a lifetime. 

But this last campsite was fantastic & free. It is near Tumut & called Yachting Point & is on the Blowering Reservoir towards Talbingo. There are long drop toilets & picnic tables as well. The water level was quite low but it was still a gorgeous spot. We had a quiet few days & just enjoyed the serenity as we knew we were about to have to get back to the real world. We cooked up storm in the camp oven from roasts to cakes & sat around the fire at night watching the stars. The wildlife was amazing & there were Roos, emus & all sorts of birds around. 

We went for a drive down towards Talbingo one day & then did the Goobarragandra Road track. It was a pretty easy drive & went through beautiful mountains, creeks & farm land. The morning we had to pack up was very sad as we knew our time was up. Where did the year go? How could it possibly be over already. But sadly it was, but it was the most amazing experience of our lives. This camp spot also gave us something very special for our future, but will share our news on that soon.....

So this ends our big trip reports but we will keep updating the blog as we get back into camping again. Thanks to all of our loyal readers & those that visited the blog. Especially those that left us some wonderful comments. It was a joy to bring our trip to you & we will have this record of our adventures for the years to come. 

Camp site views

Yachting point camp spot

Beautiful views along the whole edge of the lake

Our very last camp site & it was fantastic

Beautiful creeks throughout the drive on Goobarragandra road

This gorgeous little waterfall was a great find

More creeks

A rocky crossing, the water was freezing

Gorgeous farmland on the way back to Tumut

More hydro power

At the dam wall near Talbingo

It's a hard life for the Roos around here, not!