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Motorhome Travels - April 2010

03/04/2010

We are now back parked at my sister and bro-in-laws property (The Grey Ghost) and well into planning and preparing for the winter trip. We have never planned a major trip like this before (in fact we normally make a point of not planning much at all), so it is an interesting change for us.

The plan

In a nutshell - the plan is to travel east to Leonora, then across the Great Central Road to Uluru, up to Alice Springs then along the West MacDonnell Ranges to join the Tanami Track and follow the Tanami north west to Halls Creek. We will then complete the loop by travelling back to our start point. We will be travelling with my sister and her husband who will be driving a Nissan 4WD.

Detailed description

The Grand Plan for winter 2010 - [Click for a Larger Image]
The Grand Plan for winter 2010

Stage 1 - (Yellow track on map) Our plan (as it stands) has us leaving here (200k north of Perth) at the beginning of May and travelling via Kalgoorlie east to Leonora. This 900km part of the trip is all on sealed roads.

Stage 2 - (Pink track on map) - This section sees us leaving the sealed roads and travelling through the desert along the Great Central Road to Uluru. This is 1600km of unsealed road. Our research suggests that this road is normally quite reasonable depending on how many vehicles have traversed it since it was last graded.  Regardless of how long it has been since it has seen a grader, we expect it to be hard on the vehicles. We are required to obtain permits for this section of the trip through Aboriginal lands(separate permits are required for the WA section and for the NT section).

Stage 3 - (Dark blue) - We plan to travel from Uluru up to Alice Springs then west along the West MacDonnell ranges to join up with the Tanami Track. We have been along this road before and the scenery is amazing. The Tanami Track is of course unsealed and normally quite rough - 1200km of dust and corrugations. There is a lot of history to the construction of the Tanami and we intend to explore it well as we make our way back to Western Australia. The Tanami ends just south of Halls Creek and I expect that we will be pleased to see a sealed road again by this point.

Stage 4 - (Light blue) - This is the longest but perhaps the easiest section, being 2650km of sealed roads. We travel west towards Broome then down the inland highway past Meekatharra and back to our starting point (to perhaps repair all the broken things).

I am sure that four wheel drivers will be quick to point out that these tracks are normally quite passable and pose little threat. Consider however that we will be travelling in a 1968 bus weighing in at a little over 11 tons and road ahead may look little more of a challenge. We are currently in the process of going over every part of Hobohome in an effort to make her ready for the worst. It is very likely that we will have issues and things will break - we will deal with the issues as they arise. We are viewing this as an opportunity to visit and photograph some of the most remote and isolated parts of Australia. 6,300km of fun?

You are of course invited to come with us - we will be taking our satellite internet system with us, and will be making regular blog entries.

You will notice that there is no dates (other than the leaving date) and no transit times in the plan - that is simply because we don't know how long it will take. Our attitude will be that we are very unlikely to travel these tracks and visit these places ever again - so we will be making the most of the opportunity to explore while we travel.

Can you tell that we are excited?

 

13/04/2010

We spent a few days in Perth last week dealing with some appointments and took the opportunity to get some more things sorted on the bus in preparation for the trip east. We have extra spare parts, extra tire tubes, a new electric compressor and a plans to carry an extra spare tire. I have been going over every nut and bolt to make sure they are as tight as they should be and we have started making a list of items we can leave behind to shed some weight. We were considering leaving the Moke behind to shed a lot of weight, but have decided to take it with us as we think that having a second vehicle is an important safety thing (it saved us heaps of grief when we travelled the very rough Mereenie Loop Road back in November 2004).

If you have travelled either the GCR or the Tanami Track, we would love to hear how you found it and what you felt were the must see sights and must avoid areas. I am guessing that we will only do these tracks once - so we want to take our time and see all that there is to see out there. Tracey has been busy arranging the necessary permits to visit these areas. While these seem to be fairly easy to obtain, they are quite restrictive in their requirement that we provide our exact itinerary including dates.

 

20/04/2010

(Mainly just to show off the big fish I speared yesterday)

The Western Duh Fish, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
The Western Duh Fish,
WA

We are still at Cliff Head (north of Perth). We have had a great time fishing and catching crayfish. We (the Grey Ghost crew and us) have been baiting and pulling 4 crayfish pots each day and have had a good degree of success with these. On the way back from checking the pots I normally jump into the water with the spear gun and shoot a few fish for lunch. Yesterday was a great day to be a spearfisherman and a lousy day to be a Western Dhu fish! Duh fish are by far the most prized of all West Australia fish species - great eating with firm white flesh. This particular Dhu fish was minding his own business in a small cave when I happened to look through a small window into the cave. He put up quite a fight but we had fresh fish and chips for tea last night :-)

This may be the last fish to feed us from my current spear gun. After many years of service my gun is finally worn out. The trigger and line release mechanism has just clean worn out. I wish I had kept a count of how many fine fish meals that faithful gun has provided. I have ordered a whole new firing mechanism for the gun - hopefully this will restore it to its former glory.

I prefer spear fishing over all other types of fishing - I like to get up-close and personal, and you can't beat the opportunity to actually select the fish that you want to eat. There seems to be more fish around these waters than we have seen for a number of years with huge schools of mullet swimming just 5 meters from the beach.
This is a truly wonderful part of Australia! 

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