A gem of a place

When undertaking research and sussing out where other families had gone and recommended on their trips around the country, time and time again Gemtree came up in my research and so I had said to Corey we had to go there. Orginally planning 4 or 5 days there, unfortunately we were only able to stay three nights, and ended up leaving the day of the renowned camp oven roast night which was a bit of a shame. However, with over 2500km ahead of us to get through in 6 days so that I could get home in time for my 20 year high school reunion, we knew we couldn’t afford another night.

The three nights spent at Gemtree were the first time in the three and a half weeks we’d been on the road that we had actually just sat and relaxed. Up until this point, we had been on the go, filling our days with tours or drives or sites to see.

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Gemtree is a beautiful little spot about 140km North of Alice Springs, with tonnes of space and a relaxed vibe and is situated in the Central Gemfields where zircon and garnet can be found. Hosts Aaron and Kate McMaster run fossicking tours and there are 4WD tracks to while away the time for those interested. We decided not to do any of that and try to catch up and chill out for a few days however we did end up buying a bucket of dirt to try our luck at fossicking for garnet under a little hut (made especially for those who want to experience some fossicking but don’t want to do a tour – perfect for families who have kids that are too little for a full day’s tour).

We found a heap of garnet and even managed to find 5 pieces that were worthy of cutting into stones for jewellery so I think perhaps there will be some little necklaces made as a memento of our trip for the girls.img_1246

Prior to our arrival, the area had had over 3 inches of rain in a short period of time so things were quite lush and green, which to be honest can be said for the majority of the Northern Territory that we’d seen. Most places were thriving and the red desert landscape most people are familiar with hasn’t been our experience so far.  I’m not sure if the wet also bought out the mozzies or not, but Billie ended up with some ripper bites which we managed to keep under control and not scratch – yes, it meant I had to get up about 3 times a night to the sound of her yelling at me to put on ‘more cream’ but they’re starting to heal well.Her right foot though was nearly double the size of the left due to a massive bite on her ankle!

The second night we built a fire and toasted marshmallows and cooked damper on sticks. Something that, to be honest, was not so successful given both girls have no fire sense and came precarilously close to the fire on too many occaisions to count resulting in a condensed experience and bed time for both. We tried again the following night with much better success which just reinforced to us that fire safety is something we need to spend more time on with them and not assume that they know.

 

We met other campers and spent a few nights around a campfire talking shite which topped off an awesome time.

The highlight at Gemtree, was hands down, the stars. The nights were so clear and the stars were amazing… a million specs of amazing. I played around with the camera a bit to get some shots, but these pictures just don’t even come close (which probably says more about my proficiency with the camera!).img_0258

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It was nice to have some downtime and a break from the walking and touring and I think the girls appreciated that too.

Have you ever heard of Gemtree before? Where is your favourite spot to camp for a few days R&R?

 

A town like Alice

Now, you can’t write a blog post about Alice Springs and not use the title above now, can you?!

Originally we’d planned to spend a couple of days in Alice, but of course our clutch issues and subsequent loss of time meant that we had to cut a few things. Unfortunately Alice was one of those casualties and our time there became an overnight stopover and opportunity to do a grocery shop.

We stayed at the G’day Mate Caravan Park where we couldn’t have faulted the service. Really friendly welcome and every time we saw Alan around the park, he made the effort to check in with us to sure we were ok.

The one touristy thing we did get to do though was check out the Australian Transport Hall of Fame. Everyone in the place was subjected to the constant cries of ‘Daddy’s Truck!’ and despite it being really interesting, the attention spans of two little girls couldn’t withstand the expanse of the grounds and all the trucking history and memorabilia inside. img_1144

 

We did however, get to see the offerings from Sunraysia!!

Culturally it was an interesting experience driving through Alice Springs. Clearly there is a significant indigenous population there and it was obvious there were a range of social issues within the town. Police officers were situated outside every bottle shop and many service stations, signs reminding people that permits for alcohol were required and we discovered that many of the caravan parks in the NT that we booked into gave us an alcohol permit.

Soup vans were stopped along many of the main throughfares when we went for a drive in the evening to get groceries and many indigenous people were sitting on the sidewalk drinking their soup.   Going through the NT has really challenged my own understanding regarding our indigenous people and the knowledge I have of the issues facing them.

Earlier in the week we didn’t have any TV reception and so I was finally able to get around to watching The Secret River, the Australian mini-series based on Kate Grenville’s book of the same name. I loved the book and it was great to see the book come to life in the movie but now, that film, coupled with our time in the NT I find myself wondering a lot about those early settlement years and the impact colonisation has had on our indigenous communities right across the country. One day I might delve a little more into my thoughts about this but for now I’m letting it rattle around in my brain to digest.

And that is our time in Alice Springs, summed up in a few hundred words!

Have you spent more time in Alice Springs than an overnight stopover? What are your impressions of the town?

Kings Canyon – or at least the bottom of it!

One of the things we reconciled in the research phase of this trip was that there were some things that we wouldn’t be able to see and do with two small young humans and the Kings Canyon Rim Walk which everyone raves about ended up being one of those things.

Unfortunately, the reality is that toddlers get tired and bored and can’t do the things that older children and adults can so despite a great time at Uluru, the girls were kind of over walking and whilst we were looking forward to seeing this canyon that we’d heard so much about, we weren’t sure how it was going to go.

 

The next morning we headed out to the canyon and were debating about trying the Rim Walk or even the Southern walk after Corey had spoken to some other campers who had tried it the day before.  We knew it was likely that we’d have to carry them in parts but we were optimistic that we’d be able to handle it. But the universe had conspired against us and our normally sunny and energetic Miss A decided that she was going to be a grump and so it became pretty clear that strenuous walks were out of the question and so we made the decision to just tackle the easy creek walk.

Miss Grump stayed that way for the first half, but thankfully perked up after a snack at the end of the walk and seemed to enjoy it more coming back.  The Creek walk was surprisingly beautiful and a fun little walk to take the girls on.

Stupidly, we thought that their improved mood meant they’d be up for another 1km walk to the Kathleen Springs. Erm… nope.  We got halfway into that walk and then Miss B  started to crack it, and soon the grump was back – Miss A was over it too so it was piggy back rides home.  The Karma Bus cleaned both Corey and I up for pushing them too hard!

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After our two nights at the Kings Canyon Resort (caravan park – everything’s called a resort out here!), we packed up and decided to try our luck on the Mereenie Loop which is a dirt track connecting Kings Canyon to Alice Springs through the West McDonnell Ranges.  It was try the dirt of backtrack the way we’d come in which would add around 200km to a 300km+ day, so we decided to try the dirt and made it through with relative ease.

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The West McDonnell Ranges is home to wild brumbies and camels and is very rocky terrain.img_1025I’m not sure the Gibb River Road is going to be an option after our little foray off track with our van, but it was good to see what it was capable of and Corey is finally happy that our van no longer looks like it’s a brand spanker!

Have you done the Kings Canyon Rim Walk? What tours or sites have you missed because your kids were too young to go?

 

Uluru awakenings

We posted quite a few pics of our short time spent at Uluru and Kata Tjuta on social media so we won’t rehash it all, but here are a few things that you may not have known about this iconic Aussie tourism destination and that we discovered as we explored the region.

1. It’s not a smooth rock but full of crevasses, caves and gorges.

2. The actual colour of the rock is black/grey. The red comes from the oxidisation or rusting when the minerals are exposed to the air (note the black lines where the rain creates waterfalls).

3. It’s not as long and skinny as the postcards would have you believe. Believe it or not, the rock is actually more round in shape than long and skinny. There are two main ‘faces’ that are depicted on postcards. At first glance it’s actually hard to tell the difference, but when you see the difference you can tell.

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Source: hwaairfan.wordpress.com

4. The indigenous history and significance is understated and it was quite a profound experience to learn more about the indigenous history. It was hard to (try to) imagine a time before European settlement and the commercialisation of the area but when we did it was quote mind-blowing. There’s something magical about the atmosphere here.

5. Kata-Tjuta is so much bigger than the pictures show and is just as significant to the indigenous community as Uluru.  We didn’t get the opportunity to explore ‘The Olgas’ as up close as we would have liked as the girls were knackered after all the walking around Uluru. We got as far as the car park and decided not to push them so we headed back to the look out for a look from afar.  The stories of this place are not as commonly known and for many cultural reasons aren’t shared however the history and meaning of this area just as significant, especially as a meeting and ceremonial place.

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6. As we established earlier, Mt Conner is not Uluru!  It is however refered to as ‘Fool-uru’ (Thanks Lou for tagging me in the link about this!). However, we feel better having had a few messages that confirm we’re not the only ones who have been fooled before! My friend Peter gave me this little tip to tell the difference:

Mt Conner has horizontal lines/layers14397188_10155247838556808_2009126196_nUluru has diagonal lines/layersimg_0176Kata-Tjuta has vertical lines/layersimg_0791

We had a fabulous time exploring this iconic Aussie landmark, but we’re also glad we took the time to take in the sunset and sunrise.  There is already a magical atmosphere when you’re walking around and taking in the sheer magnitude of these rocks – the geology alone is mind-blowing, but when you couple that with the history of our indigenous fore bearers, it’s quite a surreal experience and it seemed that the rising and setting of the sun just amplified this.

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Although our time was so short, we certainly left a lot more aware of the geology and history of this place and a lot less ignorant than when we arrived.

Have you experienced the magic of Uluru and Kata-Tjuta? Were you fooled by Mt Conner?

 

The Uluru that wasn’t…

We’d done a fair bit of research in preparation for this trip. And in particular we’d sussed out what there was to see at Uluru. But in all my reading and research, not once did I come across this little surprise:14388985_10155247838716808_1428038831_n

See it in the distance?? We saw the rock peaking over the horizon and got excited to see the first glimpse. The phone and camera came out to capture that first moment. The kids continued to watch Dinosaur Train…. Ok, so maybe the excitement was just mine.

Anyway, we edged closer and closer to the rock and both Corey and I remarked how we didn’t remember it looking so steep.14355892_10155247838586808_346082153_n

We came upon a lookout filled with buses and tourists everywhere so Corey offered to pull over so I could grab a clearer shot…14397188_10155247838556808_2009126196_n

When I got back to the car the conversation went something like this:

Me: I didn’t realise it was so tall and flat.

Corey: Me either.

Me: It must get photographed from the other side, perhaps the road loops around it because it doesn’t look familiar at all.

Corey: the GPS says we’re still 100km away, that definitely doesn’t seem that far.

Me: I don’t recall it having a ‘skirt’ around it. It kind of looks like it’s been mined up three quarters of the way up.

Corey: I don’t reckon that’s it. It’s not Ayers Rock.

Me: What do you mean you you don’t think it’s it. It’s a big bloody rock in the middle of no-where, what else could it be?

Corey: Grab the 4WD map book and see what it says.

Me: Ok *flicks through book* Ummm… It says Mount Connor.

Corey: I knew it didn’t look right.

Me: I wonder if the bus driver of all those tourists waits for them all to get back in after taking 100 pictures before he tells them it’s not Uluru!

Both: laugh hysterically

Dumbasses! Well, we did get the first glimpse of the real Uluru which looked much more familiar!14397441_10155247838776808_1714070017_n

We have arrived!14389946_10155247838831808_1168502099_n

It’s been a long couple of days as we expressed it from Port Augusta, doing two big 650km+ days to make up for the time that we lost getting a new clutch. Yes, that was the diagnosis after having to return to Port Augusta from the Flinders Ranges.  We headed back and then had to wait until Monday morning to lob up on Holden’s doorstep.

We ended up getting a brand new clutch plus they did the factory recall that should have been done by our dealer when it was serviced three weeks ago but wasn’t (seems to be a trend happening there) and it was really great to get some excellent service – both Broken Hill and Port Augusta Holden dealerships run rings around our local guys. #justsayin

Our time spent in PA was filled with rain and thunderstorms but we had a little poke around.  The Australian Arid Botanial Gardens was a pleasant surprise with some awesome sculptures and we went back again after we were rained out the first time around.
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And then we were finally on the road.

We bypassed Coober Pedy.14356026_10155247872016808_1264505332_n

And free camped about 90km out in the middle of nowhere last night.14389917_10155247872056808_1480655946_n

Across the border today!14348941_10155247872071808_961396362_n

Both the girls have been awesome with the couple of long days.  But poor Miss A struggles with the straight back seat of the Colorado and I spend much of my time twisting in my seat to try and configure something that will support her head.  I may have to resort to velcroing her head to the seat!14388931_10155247872131808_881966034_n

We were lucky enough to get TV reception to watch the Hawks v Bulldogs game but sadly, as I write this, the Hawks didn’t get through to the finals… the reign is over.

Hopefully Corey will recover from his doldrums before we start another day of exploring tomorrow.  Apparently there will be thunderstorms starting tomorrow but hopefully we can have a look around here before heading to Kings Canyon for a night… and then it’s off to Alice Springs!

So I’ll leave you with this gorgeous shot of the full moon over one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.14371834_10155247891031808_1559564418_n-2

Have you ever been to Uluru? Any tips on how to stop a toddlers head from flopping all over the place when they are sleeping in the car?

 

 

Killing time in Port Augusta

 

Port Augusta was an unexpected extended stay due to the issues with our clutch which I alluded to here and here. After lobbing up at Holden’s reception as soon as they’d opened, we ended up spending half of our Monday morning hanging out at Hungry Jack’s which was across the road from the Holden dealership and featured a playground to keep the girls occupied. After a couple of hours, the car was diagnosed and yes, we needed a new clutch, but we had to wait for parts to arrive from Adelaide so we could pick it up to use for the next couple of days and then drop it off on the Wednesday to get the new clutch.

Thunderstorms started to roll in so we were van-bound for the afternoon and Tuesday was similar, although we did attempt a trip out to the Australian Arid Botanical Gardens – unfortunately it was too wet to see much.

Wednesday we dropped the car off and got our courtesy car – luckily we had two spare car seats in the back of the ute (for my sister, in case you’re wondering) so we could use those and not have to pull out the girls seats from the ute. We checked out the info centre and the botanical gardens. The gardens were actually a pleasant surprise and a great way to kill some time before we had to pick up the ute.

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And before too long the ute was done and we could pick it up – thankfully everything that was done to it was covered by warranty and the service at Holden Port Augusta was second to none! But now, it was time to get packed, hit the road and head Northward.

Has there been a time where car troubles have thrown a spanner in your travel plans? What highlights did we miss in Port Augusta (we’ll be back there next year!)?

Farewell Flinders Ranges… we will return!

Warning – epic long post ahead!

After nearly a week spent in the Flinders Ranges (including an extra day more than anticipated), it’s now time to move on. This is a place that we will definitely come back to although I suspect that there will be many places on our trip that we will vow to return to one day!!

We ended spending a night of free camping just out of Hawker on the fringe of the ranges and then five nights at the beautiful Willow Springs Station as our base so we could explore the region.img_1698

There are not too many things in life these days that make you really exclaim with surprise and wonder, but the Flinders Ranges certainly evokes that response. It’s really amazing to see such diversity in the landscape within short distances of each other and when the terrain is over 500 million years old, there is certainly a lot of variation to explore. Sheer cliff faces of sedimentary rock, layer upon layer all slightly different in colour and size to create a craggy, variegated vista.img_1703

Our few days of exploring including stopping into the Wilpena Pound which is a natural amphitheatre and the tourist hub of the Flinders Ranges National Park. Here we picked up our 7 day National Park pass which allowed us to explore a heap of gorges and driving routes.

The next day we packed our snacks into the ute and headed off to explore the National Park which includes the Heysen Range and the beautiful Bynyeroo and Brachina Gorges. We stopped for a snack at Brachina Gorge and found a family of Emus having a dip in a puddle!img_0305img_0290 img_0094 img_0096 img_1712 img_1717-2

As we finished the dirt track through the gorges we headed out of the National Park and back onto the sealed road headed for Parachilna, a small town which pretty much consists of a pub. One of the things that has impressed me most here is the diversification of local pastoralists and business owners in creating unique tourism experiences. Parachilna clearly only exists now due to tourism and the Praire Hotel generates this tourism by their unique offering of their ‘Feral Mixed Grill’. And providing a real taste of the outback apparently works with vehicle after vehicle arriving for lunch.img_1719img_0311

With a meal of kangaroo, emu and camel (for me), a kangaroo burger (for Corey) and chicken strips and wedges (for the girls) under our belt, we headed back onto the dirt track towards Blinman, a small copper mining town. By the time we’d arrived, the girls were asleep so we continued on and decided to pop into the Appelinna Ruins which were the remnants of old stone cottages and the story of the dispute between pastoralists Joseph & Sarah Wells and the Blinman Copper Mine who were fighting over access to the main source of water which was located on the Wells’ lease of land. Step by step we walked through the history starting with the Wells’ stone walled cabbage patch, through their small homestead made of poorly masoned stones.  Whilst exploring the homestead, the fields came alive with over a dozen Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies and 8 emus wandering the field behind us.img_0317I’ve seen many wallaby, kangaroo and emu in my time but this area is just covered with them – everywhere! Miss B was enamoured by the wallabies and loves the emus so we walked towards them to have a closer look.

We continued then to wander through the ruins, walking across the dry creek to the ‘miners’ side of the settlement where there were some more professionally built dwellings including mine manager’s hut, the cook’s hut and what is presumed to be a blacksmith’s hut. We even saw a spiny-backed skink basking in the sun.img_0323

The afternoon was topped off by a visit up to Stokes Lookout to check out the sunset – but as we didn’t anticipate heading up here, we didn’t have the girls’ jackets with us and only stayed for a few minutes.img_0282

Stokes Lookout is one of the few places within the Flinders Ranges to get mobile reception so we checked the weather and saw that an anticipated 20-40mm was to come through the next day which was worrying as we were planning to do the renowned Skytrek on Willow Springs Station. Willow Springs Station is a 70,000 acre sheep property located approximately 20km from Wilpena Pound. Skytrek is an 80km loop of Willow Springs which takes around 6 hours to complete.

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With a very well thought out guide of 50 markers, containing history and key points of interest, the diversity of the property was truly gobsmacking. From peaceful little springs tucked away in little valleys, to craggy outcrops and rocky mountainous terrain on one side, then flat, arid, dusty land on the other side of the range and back into extremely rocky and steep hills and cute little creeks again. Some points of highlight included old Moxon’s Hut, Aboriginal etchings, ochre cliffs and some of the highest points within the range.img_0335 img_0344 img_0347 img_0362 img_0367

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A definite highlight of the trip and Corey’s pleased that our van and ute no longer look new!

The next day was a rest and laundry day and where our time here began to turn a bit pear shaped. Whilst driving on our National Park tour, the brake fluid light came on again and when Corey checked it, the fluid levels had dropped significantly. We did a drive out to Wilpena Pound after the owners rang ahead to see if they had any brake fluid in stock.   On Friday afternoon, Corey was pumping up tyres and checking things over and felt that the bearings in the front right hand tyre weren’t quite right, so again, after having a chat to the owners (and the visiting grader contractor), we were booked in to see a mechanic in Hawker, over 70km away.

Turns out there is a significant issue with a leak and our clutch which the mechanic cautioned us was a safety risk and we needed to get it addressed asap. Annoyingly, Corey had raised the issue with the clutch and the brake fluid with our local dealer back home and we were told everything was fine so after a call to our dealer back home, and a disappointing response, we ended up staying another night at Willow Springs Station (certainly no hardship there!). Despite being low on water in the van, we still had plenty of food for another day or so and decided to make the best of it.

We headed back to explore Wilpena Pound in more depth, which was another awesome day out.img_0431 img_0436 img_0441 img_0445 img_0450 img_0471

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Now, we’re tucked up in bed back at Port Augusta ready to turn up on Holden’s doorstep first thing in the morning!

There is talk that this fix may take 3 days to resolve, parts pending, so we could be in Port Augusta for a while – and given it wasn’t ever on our itinerary, we seem to have spent a bit of time here!

Have you ever been to the Flinders Ranges? What place have you visited that has made you exclaim with wonder?

The things we’ve learnt – Week 1

We’ve been out of range these past few days so I am sitting on top of Stokes lookout watching the sun go down as it’s the only place I can get reception!

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Monday marked a week since we left and we’ve been talking about what we’ve learnt in that time… here’s the list of the top 10 things we’ve learnt/discovered/realised in the first week:

Nardia

  1. Everything takes longer – meals take longer to cook due to the small kitchen, getting organised to go anywhere seems to take longer due to two small children
  2. It takes five minutes for a clean van to look like a bomb has hit it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  3. Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it won’t break down. In the past week we have had the fridge in our van stop working, funny noises in our car (which we think was loose bolts on the manifold), a brake fluid light that keeps coming on (watch this space)
  4. It’s already more expensive than budgeted – fuel has been ok but food has been the killer which probably says more about my budgeting skills or perhaps optimism in how much we’d spend.  That said we did pay $11.50 for two coffees at Peterborough!!!
  5. Neither Corey nor I know how to ‘do nothing’ all day – I’m hoping this will come with time!
  6. ‘Doing nothing’ is exhausting
  7. Four year olds with attitude does both of our heads in. Miss B has just hit a massive defiant stage… but at least you can bribe/threaten/negotiate with her. Miss A however… not so much.
  8. Two girls who are being well behaved are a joy to be around.  Already they’re exploring and getting dirty and we hope there is much more of that!
  9. We are both too dependant on having instant access to Internet which has become apparent since we’ve been in the Flinders Ranges with no access to a signal… Let’s hope that by this time next year we aren’t reaching for the i-devices every five minutes.
  10. I will be drinking more green tea as this moccona stuff is pretty hideous day in and day out.

Corey

  1. The girls are hard work
  2. When they’re good they’re easy
  3. Tight spaces require you to adapt
  4. We should have bought a smaller van
  5. We should have bought a 200 series land cruiser
  6. Bush waking is a concept I just don’t understand – why???
  7. We have to be organised for the day – snacks, girls etc
  8. Things still go wrong with new things
  9. So much to see and do and need more research before getting there Hopefully being on rations we’ll lose weight and get healthier.
  10. Haven’t missed soft drink.

Billie and Asher

I asked Billie and Asher what their top 10 was and this is what I got:

  1. Billie: I can ride my bike better
  2. Both: we LOVE playgrounds
  3. Billie: Mum is not an octopus
  4. Billie: Writing in our journal about our days is fun
  5. Asher: Drawing!
  6. Both: Emus rate highly!
  7. Both: We like seeing where we are going on our map
  8. Both: There are lots of kangaroos, wallabies, sheep and emus
  9. Both: Bumpy roads make us laugh
  10. Both: Chicken and Nuggets!

And that’s week 1 done and dusted!

Has travelling ever made you ponder things? How do you cope without telephone reception?

All aboard for Peterborough – toot toot!

After our wet start in Broken Hill, we proceeded to Peterborough where we spent 2 nights at the Peterborough Caravan Park. The girls were happy as there was a pretty little park with a big playground next door and heaps of space to finally get the bikes off the bike rack for their first ride around.

An historic town, we checked out the train museum which paid homage to the significant rail history as Peterborough (or Petersburg as it was known when it was first established) was a transport hub connecting Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.

Peterborough is now a crossroads which connect travellers to four highways leading in different directions – Broken Hill, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Adelaide, and features some of the best entrance signs to their town that we’ve seen!

A little bushwalk to the top of the Greg Duggan’s Reserve which looks out over  Peterborough started our last day there and the girls were enthralled with the blossoming wattle.

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To kill some time we headed to a local café and grabbed a coffee and took the girls to the town centre playground. Our coffees (which weren’t so great) were a whopping $5.75 each for a regular sized cup!!!

We finished up our time and in preparation I whipped up a batch of jam drops – thanks Thermomix, I knew you’d come in handy!

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Have you ever been to Peterborough? Do you have any other good snack recipes I can whip up in my Thermomix? 

 

 

The low down on Broken Hill

Broken Hill is one of those places I had always wanted to visit but given it was only three hours away, I never wanted to ‘waste’ my weekends or holidays to go and visit.  Overall, my assessment would be that it’s a really interesting place, of mismatched pieces that don’t seem to have been finished or put together properly, coupled with surprising elements of history, culture and beauty.

Having arrived late, we didn’t get much of a chance to check out our digs – the Broken Hill Racecourse – which although was much cheaper than a caravan park definitely lacked the finished amenity.  Which is fine if you’re not into character building experiences… like showering in make-shift showers set up in a working stable.

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I applaud the club’s efforts in diversifying their income and with 30 caravans set up each night, is obviously a success!

That night, we awoke to find the fridge had stopped working so it was a mad dash to get everything from the freezer and into the Waeco. A rainy, dreary old day meant that we kept our exploration to that of the town, checking out Bells Milk Bar (sorry, but not sure what all the fuss is about), and a few of the galleries including the Pro Hart gallery which if not for cranky kids, would have been an interesting wander.  But alas, the girls were well and truly over it and after running up and down the catwalks of the gallery, it was time to depart!

The next day we headed out to the Living Desert & Sculpture Park, a protected enclave of flora and fauna situated out of Broken Hill.  Atop the hill nearby stands 12 sandstone sculptures created by artists from around the world.  I’m not art aficionado but I was impressed! The whole reserve, for the cost of $12, was definitely worth the visit!

Next it was Silverton, best known for the filming of Mad Max 2 and A Town Like Alice.  Silverton was a real highlight and after lunch at the Pub, we spent some time exploring the Mad Max Museum and the Silverton Gaol.  A long day for the girls, but we capped it off with a quick look at the Mundi Mundi Lookout and I have to confess, it was a better than expected day out!

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Day 3 was a write-off after discovering an unusual sound coming out of the car… after dropping the caravan off we proceeded to leave the car at Holden and spent the next few hours frequenting McDonalds so the girls could play in the playground as well as the Westside Shopping Centre.

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A late night realisation that we were about to head over the border which meant dealing with the fridge load of vegetables and at 9pm, cooked and froze it all!

And today, we moved on and made our way to Peterborough in South Australia, stopping at a lovely little caravan park with a site overlooking green paddocks, or at least I presume they are green – hard to see through the smudged windows!

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And so this weekend we shall explore this old railway town and catch up on some laundry before heading to Port Augusta to get the fridge fixed.

Have you been to Broken Hill? Any top tips on the sites of Peterborough?