We said our goodbyes to Mum and Dad and set off early from Charleville. The road to Cunnamulla was saturated...with lots of water lying alongside the road. Apparently a lot of rain had fallen a week or so before. We checked out Cunnamulla and saw "The Cunnamulla Fella" statue. Tried out a pie from the local bakery and it was terrible. Frey threw hers in the bin!
We got to Bourke early enough to go into town and buy some lunch. Then we had a quick look at the Port of Bourke and The Darling River, before driving back out to North Bourke to set up the van at Kidman's Camp. Let me tell you...what a beautiful park! Right on the Darling...out of town, very clean amenities, beautiful pools, landscaped grounds and a terrific open fire area. The towel hangers in the bathrooms are horse-shoes...thought that was cool!
Frey, Georg and I walked down to the Darling and saw the Jandra Paddleboat heading off on a tour. The girls and I did a spot of fishing and before long, G had landed a nice size yellowbelly. F was quite content playing with the worms we had bought. Bec decided that she would come down for a visit (with drinkies), so we sat and fished and had a nice bevvie! The rest of the night was spent in the van...catching up on the girl's school work and reading. Quite restful!
We left Bourke early and by the time we were at Cobar, it was obvious that there wasn't going to be any more nice weather. From that point on...the temperature stayed under 12 degrees! Brrrrr! Quite a shock after 8 weeks of good weather....and the last 6 have been over 30 degrees. Anyway...we continued our long drive...stopping for a cuppa on the side of the road between Cobar and Hillston (a lonely stretch of road with lots of goats) before we got to Griffith early afternoon.
I'd promised the girls a bit of retail therapy and Griffith delivered. We had a late lunch at Griffith Central Shopping Centre and looked around the shops. We then had a look up the main street before deciding to upgrade our powered site to a self-contained cabin. We felt cold, so we thought it would be nice to sleep in-doors and have a heater, tv and toilet/shower indoors.
After tea, we decided to go to the movies across the road as a last night treat. As there wasn't much on for the kids, we all saw Eclipse again...the 3rd time for Bec and G!
We left early the next morning and traveled home through Deniliquin...stopping for a coffee and a snickerdoodle at the Beechworth Bakery in Echuca. Walking back to the car, F looked into the Campaspe River and said "Are there crocs in there?". We all discussed just how used to the top end we had become...to the point that we were all expecting to see crocs! Lol.
We were home by 1.30pm...after picking the cats up from Heather's. It was good to be home and we had lots of family and friends call in throughout the arvo and evening.
Bec must have enjoyed it. She thanked me for organising such a great trip and said it was so enjoyable and much better than our last escapade to FNQ. Her highlight? Gunlom by a whisker from Lawn Hill. Bec just couldn't get over swimming in cascades at the top of a huge waterfall...and when you looked out...you could see forever. No wonder they call it the infinity pool!
Georgia struggled with missing her friends...but admitted it was a great trip and that (like Mum) she had enjoyed it more than our last trip too. Her favourite? Lawn Hill National Park. She just couldn't get over the experience of canoeing down emerald green rivers with blood red canyon walls towering over you on either side. Magic!
Frey was Frey....she just went with the flow...and enjoyed wherever she was! Her favourite? Easy. Climbing the rock. She was so proud of herself going all of the way to the top. I guess it was a pretty good feat at the age of 6.
Heather couldn't get past The Red Centre. She was expecting it to be a little dull...but couldn't believe how spiritual, ancient and beautiful it was. It was one of those cases where it was worth believing the hype.
Mum and Dad are still travelling, so I'm not sure what was their favourite thing. I'm pretty sure it was Kakadu or Lawn Hill though!
As for me? Well...I enjoyed this trip far more than last because I knew what to expect in terms of how fast the time flies...how the world still goes on without you and that everything is still going on as normal when you get home. Due to that, I feel that the holiday was even better than I could have hoped. We had sun from Day 1 to Day 56...with only a little bit of rain on the way home! The two weeks in the Centre were around the 20 degree mark...and the 6 weeks in the Top End and Queensland Outback were 30+...so we couldn't complain! We're all brown...which is a laugh now we're sitting in 11 degree weather.
My favourite? A hard one. It would be a toss up between Gunlom, Jim Jim Falls or Lawn Hill....but since Gunlom and Jim Jim are both in Kakadu....I'm going to say Kakadu by a whisker over Lawn Hill. Like Bec...I though Gunlom was an unreal experience....while Jim Jim was one of those days in your life where you know you'll probably never do anything like that again. Swimming out 130 metres (in a plunge pool that is 50m deep) to the edge of a waterfall....that tumbles 100m from the top of the Arnhem Land Escarpment.....to sit under the spray is something that I will never forget.
So...that's it....done and dusted! We're sad it's all over...but hey....how lucky are we that we had such a trip? Can't really be sad about that....and if the Universe is kind to us....there'll be more!
So....final word....Viva La Vida! Live the Life! Get your backside into gear in the near future and travel...cause life's too short....and you just don't know how long any of us have got!
August 6, 2010