NOW: THE WASHUP
Sooooooo…. We’ve done it! Twenty-eight months ago David turned 60 and we left our four bedroom, two bathroom, six car garage home and set out on the Emu Track in our Pajero and Tvan. We knew we’d need two years to see the places on our list but we hadn’t made it to Tasmania so the last 3 months were the food and wine tour of Tassie.
We travelled 92 000 kilometres and spent $105,700, meaning it cost us $1.15 per kilometre over two and a quarter years. Interestingly, I’d read somewhere you could travel long term for a dollar a kilometre and we nearly did. Our first year was the most expensive but we did fly out to the Horizontal Waterfalls, helicoptered over the Bungle Bungles, went helifishing for Barramundi at Home Valley Station and ate lobster in Cervantes. David also wore out one camera and had to buy a new one. We’ve edited down to the best 2,000 photos and are currently choosing the best 200 from these.
In our second year we went on fishing charters on the Daly River, Cobourg Peninsula, Honeymoon Beach and Arno Bay, visited Litchfield, Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks and went walking with dinosaurs in the lava tubes at Lawn Hill. We had our fill of crab at Port Vincent in South Australia and then again up north at the “Secret” Fishing Spot at Lorella Springs.
We wore out 2 sets of tyres, blew two tyres on the tar, cracked a wheel rim near Alice Springs and wore out a whole set of shock absorbers on the car and van. We had the car serviced 4 times in major towns – Alice Springs (twice), Perth and Mt Isa. Each time we had to wait for parts like a little oil seal so it paid to ring ahead for car servicing early in your stay!
We often camped in National Parks and avoided main highways like the Stuart Highway that were a procession of nomads racing to the next free camp. Some of our best nights were by the campfire up a dirt track with nobody else in sight. We used caravan parks when we needed to shop, do the washing and charge everything up after a few weeks outback. We learnt not to stop in roadside free camps if they had rubbish bins or were heavily used as the flies were horrendous.
The best butcher was in the main street of Katherine but we used lots of others who were nearly as good. If we placed our order and waited another 24 hours butchers would cryovac and freeze our meat flat ready for the Engel. We got used to longlife milk but always carried it in a tall plastic container so the carton didn’t get crushed and rub through. Generally we carried our food in the packaging we bought it in and most things survived. Fresh fruit was a bit tricky to keep but oranges travel well and you can slice a pineapple and keep it in plastic bags in the freezer. I did wrap a couple of pears in tissues then put them in a lunch box until they ripened and they survived with a lot of care!
Our favourite places are on opposite sides of the country. We loved the peace of the Victorian High Country, with its clear fast flowing streams, chilly nights, great camps and views and the glorious seascape at Cape Leveque north of Broome. But after a few months in the dry Savannah of northern Australia we really enjoyed our week by the surf at Coolum Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
When we watch a touring holiday show on TV or look at magazine photos we remember another great place. We can recognise places all over Australia on sight! After 4 days at home David ended up in Intensive Care with Viral Pneumonia and Heart Failure. Our best friend said we should have stayed away but we stick to our motto – if you want to do something just do it! So unfortunately for us we have parted with our beloved Emu Track Tvan which is going to a new home and owners in South Australia. David’s heart will prevent us going to remote locations but we don’t intend staying home. We’re off to Broome for a few months in 2019!
The new owners of the Emu Track Tvan are the Howard family from Adelaide, South Australia. We were very sad to part with our beloved Tvan but pleased to see how excited Caillan and Saffin were when we handed over the keys. Give them a wave and say hello if you see them on the Emu Track.
FROM THE END OF THE EMU TRACK
Cheryl and David