Our camping around Australia ended successfully.
It is now the 20th of February. We both got jobs in Brisbane. Ridiculously and luckily I found my job after my first application. Marius had applied for at least 8 jobs, before getting one, so I was extremely lucky. Now we moved to Brisbane – our new city.
New City – New life. We will see how we go…
Preparation for a new life
On our arrival to Brisbane, we stayed in Newmarket Caravan Park. This was the time to rent a place and find childcare for Nell so before we start our jobs on the 12 of March, we are prepared.
Everything looked so different to us. We were not used to seeing the crowd and street traffic. During our trip, most of the time we stayed in quiet places where we could unwind.
So, we felt weird for a few weeks before we finally adopted to a big agglomeration in Brisbane. But, we liked Brisbane, and that was most important.
Brisbane - our new home
Brisbane is picturesquely located at Brisbane River. It is the third most popular tourist destination after Sydney and Melbourne. There are numerous attractions like South Bank Parklands, Roma Street Parkland, City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Forest Park or Portside Wharf.
Also, the suburb of Mount Coot-tha is home to a popular state forest and Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Right on the top of Mount Coot-tha there is a restaurant with a stunning view of Brisbane.
Brisbane has over 27 km of bicycle pathways, mostly surrounding the Brisbane River and city centre.
The river itself is popular for fishing and boating. Other popular places are Story Bridge adventure climb or rock climbing at the Kangaroo Point cliffs. Brisbane City is not as crowded as other major cities.
We did not have to rush to go and see as much as possible because it would be our home soon. So, occasionally we were going for a drive to the seashore, city or Southbank. There was no ‘holiday’ feeling anymore.
Camping around Australia Summary
After spending ten months camping around Australia we decided to write a trip summary and point out some good or bad things that happened to us.
Before the trip, our family and friends were in a big shock when we told them about our plans to go around Australia.
Selling everything and going for a long drive with a small child? They must be crazy, they said. Would we do it again? Yes, we would.
This trip was not only about travelling but also about breaking some barriers and standards. Also, it was about freedom.
Imagine what kind of luxury we had during that time. Wake up whatever time we wanted, going wherever we wanted and seeing whoever we wanted.
Believe me, after a few months we completely lost track of what day of the week it was. We were FREE and we could make our own decisions. We were not dictated by our boss, family or friends. Most of them said before that trip to not do it as it was too dangerous.
But you know what, we did the opposite. We prepared well and had the best time of our lives.
We were well prepared for driving and camping around Australia. Before the trip, we took a 4WD driving course to make sure we know our vehicle and learn how to react in an emergency.
Our car was fully equipped and our trailer was an off-road van that we could take everywhere (maybe with some exceptions).
In the car, we had a fridge and two drawers. One filled with spare parts and tools and the second filled with food (car pantry).
We had two jerry cans for diesel, a shovel and a 6th spare tyre on the roof rack. We considered if something happens to the trailer, we could use the car. So the car must have been prepared very well.
Driving off-road was our favourite activity during the trip. We were waiting to see all the famous spots in Australia – some popular, and some very isolated.
Before the trip, we had that weird feeling of going to the unknown. Our imagination played with us, and sometimes we expected something different. We really did not know what it means to do camping around Australia.
However, Australia is not as wild as in the past or as many of you think. Wherever we went we spotted many tourists.
Some places we visited were very isolated like Gibb River Road, Kalumburu Road, Great Central Road, and Plenty Highway and we met nobody.
Every place we stayed we considered as our current home and we felt ok with it. Indeed, after a while, we felt that Australia is our home wherever we parked our trailer.
Looking from a technical point of view we had a problem with the car. We put some contaminated diesel and had problems starting the car.
Later it happened to be a costly fix, so advice for the future: do not fill up your tank in dodgy places, and if you have to, bring a funnel with you. Also, you can install an additional fuel filter.
Driving distances is a different story. We normally drove not more than 350 – 400 km per day. We did not want Nell to feel uncomfortable. Occasionally though, we drove more or less depending on the situation.
Our biggest distance was 550 km from Perth to Kalgoorlie-Boulder. That time we were so thirsty to escape from the big city that we were driving continuously for 6 hours. Another thing was that if you drive every day, 200 km is like a short trip.
Driving remote was quite interesting. This happened when we were going the Outback Way – from Perth to Cairns by Great Central Road and Plenty Highway.
Great Central Road is a really good and wide dirt road. It is well maintained and easy to drive. Normally Marius was using cruise control set to 95 km/h. During the three days drive, we spotted only 5 cars so you could imagine how remote this road is.
To kill the boredom we counted 237 car wrecks on both sides of the road. Plenty Highway though was not so wide but still driveable and Marius set the speed to 90 km/h. It was a really good off-road experience.
A serious 4WD driving was a little bit limited for us. We still drove many 4WD tracks but there were some places we could not go alone.
If something happened to our car, we would have to stay on the road and wait for help. It is common for 4WD drivers to go in pairs to help each other out in case of emergency.
The tracks we would remember well are Jim Jim Falls Track, Wunnamurra Gorge Track, Mitchell Falls Track and Danbulla National Park track.
Thus we already have a ‘Bucket List’ of places that we missed or did not visit so we can do it in the future.
During our trip around Australia, we met some amazing people.
Right in the beginning, we met a nice man in Mildura who told us to change the direction of our trip.
Originally, we were planning to drive Nullarbor and around via Perth, but he suggested that it was better to go to Darwin first, and then do Kimberley, Perth, and return through the middle.
Thanks to him, it was the right decision and we were able to see all places at the right time.
Talk to people and ask for advice if you were not sure about your next destination. You may get some useful tips.
A funny situation happened in Ubirr. We went for the always stunning Ubirr look out at the sunset. To do that we climbed on the big rock. Suddenly we heard lady laughter. I thought I know this laughter.
We approached the lady, and it happened she was the one who we met last year down south, in Victor Harbour, South Australia. She was travelling with her husband and two young kids and now they were in Ubirr, next to us.
Can you imaging that!
In Jabiru, Kakadu National Park, there was an older lady who we spotted in many walks during our stay. The lady made a surprise for Nell and she gave Nell a present for her third birthday.
In Bungle Bungles National Park, we met an elderly couple and had such a good conversation that we were even invited after the walk to taste their damper.
They invited us for lunch to their home in Rockhampton. We visited them after six months and spent with them a really good time. That time it was actually New Year Eve and the first time we had a chance to go to a Rodeo.
Later we were invited to their kids’ homestead inland to see real country life. It was an amazing experience.
On Great Central Road, we helped Nathan and Renee to call for help after their trailer broke down. After two days, we met and watched rugby finals together in one of the Alice Springs pubs.
As a rule of thumb, if you are friendly and talk to tourist you can find some good people around during your travelling.
Fairly, there were also some tourists that we could not stand due to their noisiness or rudeness, but it was just a few isolated cases. In general, people are friendly.
Our camping around Australia was mostly in caravan parks but quite often we stayed in national parks or free camping spots.
There are a few things about camping I have to mention.
Firstly, camping is caravan parks was great as we could enjoy all park facilities including a swimming pool and playground for Nell. It was only in pick times, during school holidays, that we did not enjoy it too much as it was crowded.
We loved camping in national parks as we stayed close to nature and we could take great photos. It was only once that we did not like it. In Gunlom campground there was a loud concert with drums where we could not fall asleep.
Free camping was good too. We knew that the best way to stay safe was to talk to other campers, hide any valuables and lock the van for the night.
During our camping around Australia, we did not have any accidents or thefts.
One of the main reason we decided to go around Australia was to see all this amazing nature. I cannot describe in my own words how beautiful Austalia is, and how much more we love it now!
During our trip we have seen:
- around 50 gorges (Our favourite: Kings Canyon)
- 40 waterfalls (Our favourite: Mitchell Falls and Wallaman)
- incredible rock structures and formations
- deserts (Great Sandy, Great Victoria Desert and the Simpson Desert)
- unique rocks(Kata Tjuta)
- stunning lookouts (Our favourite: Saddleback Ridge Lookout and Castle Hill)
- numerous rivers and river crossings too,
- Whitsundays Islands
- World Heritage Daintree National Park
We attended many walks where we all learned about plants and fruits. While we walked often we could study the labels and descriptions that are places in most of the trails around Australia.
We learned a lot about saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and we had an opportunity to see them in their live Inhabitat or animal sanctuaries.
The big highlight of our trip was the birds. Australia is home to many bird species and we always directed our ways to find them and take great photos. Thus, if there was a birdwatch place or wetlands we always stopped and stay there for a while.
We thought for a while to point was our favourite bird that we spotted and we decided it was brolga, jacana and jabiru.
- Dearest – Warburton (Great Central Road) – $2.56
- Gibb River Road – $2.00 – $2.20
- Stuart Highway (Port Augusta – Mataranka) – $1.75
- High max – Karumba (October) – 39 degrees with 90% humidity
- Low max – Alice Springs (May) – 16 degrees
- High min – Karumba (October) – 28.5 degrees
- Low min – Alice Springs (May) – 6 degrees
Driest period: May – September – No single drop of rain
Driest town – Coober Pedy
Wettest town – Daintree (December)
Longest drive (without civilization) – Laverton (WA) – Yulara (NT) – 1100 km
Longest drive without stopping – Perth to Kalgoorlie – 590 km
Total kilometres – 30000 km
Camping around Australia - Final Word
Our campaign around the Australia trip will always stay in our minds forever. This trip had changed our perception and how we perceive the world. We learned that sometimes you have to take some unpopular or undesirable decision to open your mind and give yourself a chance.
I think we feel braver now. We know that travelling is great and camping in Australia is awesome.
People always are afraid of the unknown. But, believe my the unknown is not that bad if you are physically and mentally prepared.
After all 30000 km we drove around Australia, we know now, that we can go anywhere as we have not finished our adventure. We only paused it for a while. There is so much more to see in this beautiful country.
We will do it again. That’s for sure!