Week one – done and dusted

IMG_9564We’ve done it. We left Sydney a week ago on our trip around Australia. So far, so good.

We definitely got off to a slow start, with some last minute lost keys at home and a child with a touch of gastro. This led us to our first night in Narrabeen. There was something really familiar and comforting about having our first night on our doorstep.

With a successful reverse park, set up, BBQ and first nights sleep under our belts – we felt ready to venture a little further.

With the blue mountains on the horizon we packed up and went on our way. Arriving at our campsite and setting up again felt like another mini achievement. With the van sorted, we went out to look for adventure. The children have learnt about The Three Sisters at school so we’re desperate to see them. We went on a short walk from the look out to Honeymoon Bridge where you can touch the rocks. Both Orla and Dan loved this. The following morning we drove down to Govetts Leap car park in search of something slightly longer and more taxing. It’s fair to say, we’ve fallen in love with the blue mountains again. They were stunning.

Having said that – next stop was Orange, the start of our journey that was new for everyone. At first glimpse we were a little underwhelmed, but when driving to the top of Mount ┬áCanobolas and going on a real bush walk we realised the beauty of it. Despite the campsite being bland and windy – we survived and headed off to Parkes. The Dish! What more can we say – we’ve BBQ’d bacon and eggs at The Dish. A really lovely stop on our way to Dubbo – both interesting and exciting as we watched a 3D movie on space and new discoveries in the solar system. However, the big ticket had yet to be experienced – Dubbo Zoo. This was our next stop and the children knew it – with much excitement we kept driving and headed to Dubbo. Cycling around the zoo is an awesome experience and after a few minor falls and some lessons on safe braking we were on our way without too much incident. The open spaces and the large enclosures for the animals were a real pleasure to see. Listening to a couple of talks reminded us of all of the conservation work that continues to be done. We had a lot of fun and will definitely head back there at some point.

We decided to leave Dubbo a day early and head towards Broken Hill. This was to be the start of our Outback Adventure. We headed West to Wilcannia 560kms from Dubbo – by far our biggest drive in a day and by far the most remote. For the most part we were travelling at 100 – 110km/hr with absolutely nothing around us. The roads just got straighter and flatter until we reached our destination. A couple of things that stood out were the road trains – they are massive and travel at incredible speeds – the amount of road kill is immense – and the gorgeous sight of an emu male walking along with his baby’s on the side of the road. This all added to our adventure. We got to our campsite 6 hours after leaving Dubbo to find a beautiful, tranquil oasis in what had been a journey of sparceness. Quintessentially Aussie – there was happy hour around the campfire, emu’s, the Darling River and a mob of boxing Kangaroos first thing in the morning. Oh and a pet Emu that the children got to stroke and feed.

As much as we loved the place, we had to move on after only one night. Our destination was Broken Hill to stay and explore for 2 days. With it’s history deep in mining, it was hard to pass by the opportunity to go to the Memorial on the top of the old line looking out over the town and landscape. Over 800 names are listed as people who died working in the mines. Astonishing conditions. The weather turned whilst we were up on top of the hill and it started blowing a gale – so at that we decided to drive down and take cover – we had been recommended a 1950’s milk bar – that hadn’t changed since then. It did not disappoint. The kids had soda spiders and Al and I shared a chocolate milkshake. A perfect end to the day. As I sit here now – in our van – with rain hitting the roof – I can’t imagine not going home. It seems like a lifetime ago that we were at home packing boxes, yet on the other hand, I can’t believe it has gone so quickly and we are in Broken Hill Outback NSW. Surreal yet exciting. Liberating yet daunting. I’m guessing though, the best is yet to come…