Walk in my Wheels

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Destination Darwin

We have arrived at our destination; our new home in Darwin! Yep we made it.

Leaving Adelaide we traveled along the Flinders Ranges on our way to our first stop Port Augusta. We stayed at the Shoreline caravan park, Jes thought the cabin was dated but it suited my needs.  The interest the croc  is attracting is amazing with one fella wanting to buy it.

This croc surely has made us the most photographed vehicle on the Stuart Highway in 2016

This croc surely has made us the most photographed vehicle on the Stuart Highway in 2016

Up early and 600kms to travel to our next stay Coober Pedy, it's a pretty barren drive but we stop at Pimba and Glendambo and start our sticker collection for my toy hauler I'm towing up. Coober Pedy is a real example of anti social behavior in and around town going out of a night is not an option. We stay at a cabin at the Big 4 caravan park (Stuart Ranges Outback Resort) a little out of town and is a grouse place to stay with a little band playing away at the pizza bar next to reception. Refreshed from a good nights sleep and more travel today we head into town for the morning market, after chatting to many different characters it was sadly time to hit the road..

The Stuart Highway sticker haul on the toy hauler

The Stuart Highway sticker haul on the toy hauler

Another 600 kms today as we head for Alice Springs with Marla and kulgera stop at it is a pretty easy drive apart from the road trains and caravaners everywhere. It's Saturday night and Jess has been great so we decide to unwind with a couple of nights at the casino and relax and sit around the pool jess or gambling macca. It's a very luxurious place and is just what we need.

Monday morning we head for Tennant Creek traveling the Stuart Highway the countryside is stunning  as it changes all the time, we stop at Ti Tree, Barrow creek , Wycliffe Well and Wauchope for coffee and stickers and arrive at the motel about 5pm. We have tea at the restaurant and get a good nights sleep. We head into town and meet a few fellas and one particular bloke had me in tears as he told me the struggles of isolated life and his time in the war and how some locals treat him and three other diggers - a fair dinkum tear jerker. I had a couple of frozen crayfish with me and gave them for him and his mates to enjoy.

Crays caught in South Australia that made their way to an old digger in Tennant Creek

Crays caught in South Australia that made their way to an old digger in Tennant Creek

Daly Waters here we come - 400 kms until I can have a beer at the oldest pub in Australia. We collect stickers at Renner springs, Elliott, Dunmarra to name a few.  Temperatures have changed dramatically since Coober Pedy 18 degrees to Daly Waters 33 degrees, ah feeling better already. We book at the Highway Inn and enjoy the night.

Darwin and our new home at Howard springs are 600kms away it's a very easy drive with Mataranka and Katherine to enjoy with rivers flowing because of recent rains.

Although we did have our new toy hauler with us, it was so jam-packed with stuff and it was first of all too cold, then too hot and we don't have air con or heaters sorted in there yet, so we opted to find accommodation along the way. Below is a few pics of places we stayed, reviews on these to come.

 

My initiation into Darwin life has been one of going shirtless and shoe-less, and pouring water over my head in attempts to prevent myself from overheating (quads have no body temperature regulation).

Jess has also been struggling to adjust to the heat but her real initiation has involved the wildlife in her nightly trips out to the outdoor bathroom. This morning the squeals were due to a giant grasshopper perching on the shower curtain (a google search just showed this is actually a thing) and a green tree frog hiding under, and then refusing to get off the toilet seat.

There's going to be steep learning curve I think in terms of life in the tropical north. We just learnt today there's a scary disease you can catch from mossie bites... any other stuff we should know fellow Territorians?!

We've spent our first few days cleaning, unpacking, buying up furniture and home stuff, and exploring the neighbourhood... and we'll likely remain busy doing all of that for a few weeks as well as tidying up the property and house improvements... luckily I love to work myself hard, and Jess is a goer too, when not snoozing the afternoon away!

The plan at this stage is to spend the next few months in Darwin, and see how we go in the wet season, with perhaps a trip south in the new year. Let us know if you're coming up for a break, and tell any locals WE HAVE ARRIVED!

 

On the Road Again!

Yes we are officially on the road again after a few months in Echuca working on business matters, renovating a new southern base, refitting a toy hauler (aka caravan), and packing up my old house. It's been a super busy time but still squeezed in some trips down to Melbourne to check in with some of the newbies at Royal Talbot spinal ward.

We got on the road finally last Thursday and we spent our first few days in south eastern South Australia at my mate Seagull's holiday home in Rendelsham. I've got a few old mates down there as I lived there in my 20s and played in the local footy team. Below are some pics from a stormy day out at Beachport pier.

We had a day out at the races for the Mount Gambier Cup and enjoyed some luck coming our way, including meeting a fellow benny there - Trevor Palmer - who is a good bloke and gave us some top tips for Adelaide hotels.

Chatting with Trevor at the races

Chatting with Trevor at the races

Trevor's Fave Adelaide Hotels:

  1. The Stanford Plaza
  2. Mercure Grosvenor Hotel
  3. Riviera

We tried the Stanford, but they didn't have great availability, and were a tad on the pricey side for the nights they did have available. The Mercure ummed and ahhed, had to move some guests out of our room (that had no need of an accessible bathroom), but came through with a good rate and all five nights available.

We've enjoyed our stay here, although we were disappointed to find there's no wheelchair access to the breakfast buffet - heartbroken! We did have the option of room service however which proved helpful. It is a good central place to be (opposite the casino!), with secure basement parking (we will write a thorough review and post soon).

Our room at Mercure Grosvenor Hotel

Our room at Mercure Grosvenor Hotel

In the past I've spent a lot of time doing volunteer work for Paraquad SA so there were a fair few catch-ups over the past few days in Adelaide including contacts at the spinal rehab as well as personal friends. Sadly didn't get to meet any newbies, but hope to be connected with some people that have been through recently and returned to the NT.

We will be hitting the road and heading north to Darwin tomorrow - Thursday 19th May - with our newly renovated toy hauler (rear-opening caravan) and a whole load of our stuff bound for a new life in Darwin as it gets cold down here in the south.

The setup - snow-skiing croc and all - we've had a few looks and piccies taken of us!

The setup - snow-skiing croc and all - we've had a few looks and piccies taken of us!

If you're along the way and want us to drop in give a shout, we're always keen to meet new people and get some local tips. We'll be taking it easy this trip and doing it over a week or so - whereas I normally aim to make it in 3 days.

Wish us safe travels.

Macca out.

Tasmania Travels - getting lucky in Hobart

Our final days in Hobart consisted of enjoying the harbour views, solid time with the bennies and Peg (an upright mate I used to play footy with in Waaia in Victoria) and his missus Chrissie before heading to Launceston to see some old mates from rehab.

Peg, me, and Boof in front of the Grand Chancellor Hobart

Peg, me, and Boof in front of the Grand Chancellor Hobart

We stayed at the Grand Chancellor in Hobart for three nights, lapping up the 5 star luxury, which ended up being paid for in the winnings off the roulette wheel at the Casino - my numbers 33 and 35 came through for me again. For the full report on the hotel room take a look at the review blog post... did I mention it had an AAAAAAAMMMAAYYZZZIIINNNGG view over the harbour... you'd pay 4 figures a night in Sydney for a view like that!

Whilst there we visited the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery which was right across the road - check out the pics below of the pretty groovy sculptural ramp come courtyard seating. We didn't have enough time to have a good look around but what we saw was really interesting.

We also called into the Maritime Museum of Tasmania where we were greeted by ol' mate x 3 - they finished off our look around with some entertaining stories (even if they did have a tendency of repeating themselves!). Fantastic access here and a lift is going in to open up the second level of the building.

On our drive up from Hobart we stopped into say goodbye to Boof and he recommended we take the turnoff to Ross for a stopover... and we were glad he did.... Ross is one lovely old town and I even bumped into my mate Bruce from the cigarette shop in Echuca there! It boasts the third oldest bridge still in use in Australia - a sandstone number constructed by the convicts in 1936.  There's many lovely old buildings down tree-lined streets- including the old barracks for the soldiers - throw in a great bakery, and a fantastic antique shop or two and this is one town I was happy to have discovered. No antique finds for me, but I enjoyed the process of looking! 

Then on up the highway to Launie...

Tasmania Travels - teddy bears & all things nice

Week two of our Tassie adventure was jam-packed. We had a day on the beautiful Bruny Island, played 10 pin bowling with some other bennys, explored more of Hobart and the south-east coast, snuggled up in Snug for a week, met up with old friends holidaying here, saw the latest Star Wars movie, met a bloke battling cancer striving to finish his Huon pine houseboat … yep... some memories we'll take with us to our deathbeds for sure.

It seems we were a little lax at taking photos at Bruny Island, but here's a few of the ferry that we were able to drive the car onto (hot tip: be sure to go to the front of the line to the wheelchair parking spot when you enter the terminal). Oh, and there's a selfie of us at the cheese factory, and one Jess took of a pretty beach where we let Horsey have a swim.

The highlight would have to be the massive lunch at Hotel Bruny - the oysters were MAGNIFICENT! And a close follow-up was the bargains we got from ol' mate at The Green Shed, the islands only second-hand junk shop. Not much more to say... we drove around a bit, stopped at the cheese place, and then the chocolate place, grabbed a coffee and an icecream at the coffee cart place, and then it was time to head back! Lucky for us we got a couple of hours of beautiful weather before it clouded in and started to rain. 

Our only hiccup re. wheelchair access during this time was a trip to the Sandfly Market which was held in the town hall - but the wheelchair accessible door was blocked by a bookcase (we were told to make a complaint to the local council) - luckily with some 4WDing I got to a side door so I did manage to get in. Jess found my resulting purchases (below) amusing.

The below images are from our drive around the D'Entrecasteaux Channel - part of the Huon Trail. The drive south from Snug through to Cygnet and back to Snug via an inland road, was on a gorgeous sunny day, and the landscape was a mix of pretty rural scenes, quaint little towns, and sparkling beaches.

We stopped at Peppermint Bay in Woodbridge, a beautiful spot for cuppa with some interesting architecture and garden sculptures.... Eggs & Bacon Bay was a pretty spot but we were hugely disappointed there was nowhere selling a bacon and egg sanga... Cygnet dished up some healthy grub and an inspiring chat with Rob whose quest is to finish his remarkable floating artwork/home.

Still to come.. blog posts on the remainder of ourTasmanian trip including Hobart, Launceston, our friends Boof, Trent, Jamie, and the 20 year post rehab reunion!