We've given up our jobs, we've sold our unit ...
Now we're ready to live life - a caravan, a car, just the two of us . . . the possibilities are endless.

Come join us on our adventures ...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

See ya later 2011

Can you believe that it's finally (well not even finally, cause it's flown by!) the end of 2011?!!  What a year!  Here's hoping that 2012 brings many great things to everyone out there.  Universe, if you're listening, we're looking forward to all the wonderful things coming our way - thanks ... in advance :)

Well, we spent yesterday morning going down to the Dangar Falls - so pretty.  The path was DEFINITELY not too wheelchair friendly (not that it was signed that way.. but still) - at some spots you were walking on nearly a 40 degree angle on the footpath... while being greeted rather closely by some ferns - getting close to nature :)

I'm as big as the waterfalls.. hehe (and yes, it was pretty chilly here, hence the long sleeves)

So a slight hiccup in our travel plans .. Az had an accident with some glass and has damaged his right arm.  He managed to cut through a few tendons and did some nerve damage, so went into surgery last night after a trip to the Coffs Harbour hospital in an ambulance - and who says we're not having lots of new experiences?!  He's got a nice looking cast on and we'll be doing a bit of physio in the coming months to get him back in tip top shape again.  It puts a slight dampner on the travel plans, so we're just going to take it all one day at a time.  The good to come out of this is that after I felt like a completely useless female - having to get an 80 year old NRMA guy to tow our van to his petrol station - I can now say that I have towed the van and set up our caravan (with some help from the all-knowing one of course) & feel much more equipped to potentially continue on with our journey if we decide to go that way.  Of course I'll be requiring some more practise, as you can't really travel at 50km/hr on the highway, can you ..  or can you??  Kidding!  

And for my next trick... tomorrow I'll be cutting a new window for the caravan (it was the caravan glass that he damaged his arm on) out of ply and siliconing it into place.  While we were in Bunnings to get all the required materials, we were picking up the silicone (apparently messy stuff if you don't know what you're doing) and Az looked at me and then without saying anything, picked up the silicone clean up liquid.  Naturally, I scoffed and said I don't need it - I'll be able to handle it... hhhhmmmm.. we'll see.  I then joked to him and said we should get the silicone that you can paint over.. just in case.  We didn't get either the clean up stuff or the paintable silicone... so the pressure's on!  Hey, if I can tow a caravan, I can silicone - and the pressure won't be there, cause I won't have a line of 20 cars behind me all willing me to hurry the hell up (am sure they weren't thinking it that politely though)! 

Az with his cast - if he holds it upright, he looks like the guy on the KFC add - the Cobra ..

We're staying at Bellinger River Tourist Park http://www.bellingerriver.com.au/, just 15 minutes outside of Coffs Harbour.  It's a really nice Caravan Park, and it's right on the river.  And close enough to everything that we are able to do a few day trips and still explore in the Troopy - once Az is up to it.  The couple Managing it are absolutely lovely.  If you're looking for a Caravan Park that you can bring your boat to and ski, fish etc, this is perfect!

We'll keep you updated with our travels - am sure this won't keep us down for too long... so stay tuned, new adventures coming soon.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the Road .. and loving it!!

We've finally left Yamba and are on the road down south.  We decided to try the inland road .. and wow, were we in for a surprise.  What amazing country-side!!  We had no idea what we were in for .. the roads ended up being extremely steep and they seemed to go FOREVER..  every turn there were more hills and they seemed to get steeper and steeper.

We left Brooms Head about 10am this morning, headed to Yamba and had a hot shower (sooo nice!) and waved goodbye to the yacht (still no solid offers .. although there are a few things in the wind).

I found a church on the way that I'd like to buy, only need a cool $199,000 - and it's right across the road from a Timber shop and two antique stores.. and a river.. beautiful!

It was so refreshing to be driving through country side that we haven't been through .. and the mountain areas up to Dorrigo are really beautiful.  It's funny, looking on the map, you have no idea what the roads will be like - smooth, rough, steep or windy.  I guess we need to read a little more into the places we are headed to so we have some kind of idea what we're getting ourselves into!  We passed a small town that had a petrol station - but knowing that there was only about 100km to go and 4 small towns in between,  we wouldn't worry about it.. oops.  Mental note to self, start carrying more fuel and fill up more often.  I'm getting a bit of dejavu here writing that sentence.. and seem to recall we might have said something similar in Cape York as well.. you'd think we'd learn wouldn't you?!

As we were driving up yet another steep hill through the glorious mountain side, we came across a Jeep on the side of the road, one of the occupants was holding her head in her hands.  Here we were thinking the worst, that someone had had a heart attack or something .. so as we were racking our brains for the last time we did any CPR, we pulled over to offer assistance.  Aaron is the first one to pull over if there's a car on the side of the road to help out - just one of the many things I love about him.  Turns out they were out of fuel and a car going the other way had told them that the first petrol station was another 2.5 hours away...  Major crisis averted!  Although, as we were listening, we were also thinking, "Oh boy, we're in trouble" .. although you can imagine the language we were using in our heads :)  We were nearly at the red light zone (in petrol terms) .. and here Aaron was pulling over to offer assistance - hello knight in shining armour!  The Jeep took petrol and we luckily had some in the jerry can on the roof - that we were using for the tinnie.  So ol' Macgyver (aka. Aaron) got out a coke bottle, cut off the end and using it as a funnel poured the last of our petrol into their car.  Our Troopy runs on diesel, so we couldn't have used it anyway.  So as the boys were doing their manly duties, we got the maps out to try and work out how far to go until the first petrol station... we had no idea!  After all 5 of us looked at them, we decided it wouldn't be too far .. or perhaps that was just wishful thinking!

We took off.. and you guessed it, more steep hills!  We hadn't even gone 3km and the red light came on in our car.  Which sucked donkeys balls, because we went passed the best photo opportunity - and we couldn't stop, because we didn't want the other car to worry about us and use unnecessary fuel to come back to get Aaron to get more petrol.  As we were making our way up another hill, the Jeep came back with flashing lights and arms flailing outside the car to tell us to pull over. .. yep, you guessed it, there was a petrol station!!!!  Although not sure you'd even notice it was a petrol station if you blinked on the way passed!  We stopped and got our Diesel (at a very "competitive" rate of 171.9/L) and were on our way.  We asked the lady who was behind the counter (you need to picture this place.. there were no lights on at all, there were random groceries on shelves, two dogs with very peculiar growths on their underbellies and then a brand spanking new Mac on the counter) what we could do in the area, as we were heading to Dorrigo.  I don't think she was a huge fan of the area - as everything we asked about, she told us was "Shit" ... sooo, we made an executive decision to make up our own minds and disregard everything she had told us.  And after arriving into Dorrigo, we are very glad we disregarded what she was saying!

The mountains up were nothing compared to the countryside we experienced once we got up the mountain - words can't describe how beautiful it is.  The air is fresh (albeit quite crisp) and the meadows are a brilliant green - and the houses are so quaint, cottages and old houses .. beautiful!  There was a river running along most of the way to Dorrigo after we left the "petrol station" .. and it was crystal clear - just magic.  The properties are beautifully manicured and you can see how much they love the area - so much pride taken in everything.

Just before we drove into Dorrigo, we looked down the mountainside and saw just lines and lines of old trains .. and it turned out to be a private collection of trains and train memorabilia that they are working towards building a Museum to house for public viewing.  They had spent over $7 million of their own money to acquire the collection and are all putting their own time into building the infrastructure.  It's a shame that the Council don't see the potential and help them out - but they won't give them any assistance.  Such a shame.

Can you see the lines of trains???  And that wasn't even half of them

There were some HUGE cows overseeing the trains .. thank goodness there was a fence!!

We did the touristy thing and pulled over and took photos of the trains, as well as the potato farmers harvesting their potatoes on the way in.

Potato farming .. was pretty interesting to see how it's done
Once we got into town, we both just fell in love with it.  You can imagine the feel - old buildings that were still in their former glory, funky little stores as well as the old Pharmacies and Butcher.  And the most amazing shop EVER, was a second hand/antique store .. I don't think I've ever seen such a great collection of antiquities in one place.  The store itself used to be an old Department Store.  We found so many little trinkets that we would have loved to buy, but we were strong and didn't buy anything.

Dorrigo Antiques, Hickory Street, Dorrigo

I did cave to a little handmade chocolate at the sweets store (just doing my thing to support the little guys) .. so quaint!  A wattle seed flavoured chocolate .. yummo.

My Wattleseed Chocolate from Dorrigo Sweet Shop

And then across the road was a Vodka Distillery .. all distilled right there in the shop.  I tried the Truffle Vodka .. very different.  There was also a Lime Vodka, Potato Vodka (apparently the most popular) and heaps of other really unique flavours.  We got talking to the owners who were locals and they were such lovely people - they were telling us about the area so we got some real insight to the area.

Dangar Falls

We are staying at a little camp ground just outside of Dorrigo, next to Dangar Falls (not pronounced Danger Falls.. as the shop keepers were very quick to point out.. hehe).  We can hear the Falls from the caravan.. beautiful.  It's quite fresh - I can only imagine how cold it gets in Winter!!!!  Apparently there is snowfall in Winter sometimes but it melts before it hits the ground.  We ran into the Owner, who is a weathered old guy, we think probably over 70 years old, and was telling us about his property and how he got the house transported here... really interesting.

Our camp site for the night .. 

Our view from the van

So we're here for the night and then tomorrow we'll do a bit more sightseeing.  The Vodka shop lady was telling us about Crystal Falls and you can walk behind it, which would be amazing, but then she told us to  expect a few leeches .... *shudder shudder* ... so I might have to carefully consider that one .. hehe.  As I type, Aaron's checking out the maps to see where we're headed tomorrow .. only time will tell where we end up tomorrow night :)

And now some photos...

 Not your usual "Slippery When Wet" sign .. that's when you know it's going to be cold in Winter!

Such a great initiative - free filtered water - more towns should have these!

A log just out of town - it took one of these logs to build one Australian cottage

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas .. gone for another year

Christmas Day has now come and gone .. and both Aaron and I agree that it was pretty uneventful.  We had both decided to do something, but in the end, we both ended up thinking we wouldn't bother.. BIG mistake.  We were both miserable and were both wishing we had of made a bit of an effort.  No regrets though and it will make each coming holiday a reminder and will encourage us to make an effort, no matter how small.

The weather has been good and then bad .. Christmas Day we were expecting huge rains and wind, however it ended up being relatively pleasant.  We woke to a very heavy rain shower - both jolting up and doing the customary shutting of vents and windows and then falling back to sleep.  We ended up jumping in the car and driving to Coffs Harbour and then stopping in at Pebbly Beach.  Our Christmas lunch consisted of a ham and camembert sandwich in a park somewhere near Coffs Harbour.. and some chocolate to numb the Christmas spirit.

Today is such beautiful weather - if you didn't know of the preceding days, you'd think it had been like this all week.

I decided to try my hand at shortbread the other day - trying to get a bit festive.  And I must say, it turned out surprisingly well :)  And all in my awesome caravan oven.  Aaron said this morning that he thinks we've used the oven and stove more in the last week than the previous owners did in the van's lifetime.   And I think he is probably right.  It was definitely a good decision to have the oven!
I didn't pack any cookie cutters (part of my culling.. insert sad face here), so had to use a piping bag nozzle.. which I think actually worked out much better than a normal cookie cutter - I cut out with the big end and then used the star end to make a pattern in the centre... very festive!  I shared it with our new carabuddies and then Aaron and I seemed to devour the rest of them in no time.. oops.  I think I'll have to make another batch though .. might try some chocolate shortbread... or choc chip ones... maybe just half a batch.

The shortbread, prior to the oven

 We've had the boardgames out lately - Aaron's favourite, Scrabble, and then an oldie but a goodie, Monopoly.  Our gnome friends joined us... as you can see below.  Our new addition is the little fella to the left .. Mum and Dad bought us this one  - doesn't it remind you of Aaron?!  Giving everyone the finger!  So we had a bit of fun posing them in the game..

 Gnomeo and mate (still unnamed) playing Scrabble with us ..

Aaron looking up his words in the dictionary - I kicked his butt TWICE .. it's unheard of I tell you!!

 The boys kicking back enjoying the fire and some drinks... note the goon bags (red wine & Pina Colada) to the right.. 

Aaron showing his artistic side - Gnomeo farted flames at his mate .. you can see he didn't appreciate it

In between the yacht maintenance and being un-festive, we haven't been doing too much.  The other day Az was amped for a surf, so we headed to Brooms Head to check it out..  unfortunately it wasn't any good, so we sat around and charged all our electronics - which was actually a pretty funny sight.  We had batteries, phones, computers, cordless tool batteries, ebooks - you name it, it was out on the table with cords twisted and tangled around each other, all vying for the power points.  Each time we'd driven into Brooms Head, we'd noticed a sign that mentioned a waterhole.  We were curious and as we were so bored and undecided on what we should do, we took the turn!  

Boy, we had NO idea what we were in for.  It was like we were in another world, so very different to the open bush and beach we had been camping in and driving through the past week.  Once we got through the open bush scape and down a bit of a bumpy track, we found ourselves in the middle of the thickest, lushest rainforest we'd ever seen.  The colours were just amazing - the rain had bought out the greens and the blacks, as well as the yellows in the wattle trees.  It was just beautiful - the photos just don't do it justice.  And the tracks were really challenging (well, I thought they were.. hehe) - I nearly had to bring out the sports bra again!!  We both agreed that we had expected this type of track in the Cape - so not expecting it here.  Aaron has been through this area hundreds of times, and even he didn't know it existed - I was pretty excited that we'd finally had a 'first' for him in an area that he'd been to just a few hundred times... and I was there to experience it too :)  We had no idea where we were going, or where it would bring us out - we turned on the GPS and while it picked up the road we were on, it didn't actually take us anywhere.  We drove up this super steep hill (we hadn't taken our haymen reese tow bar off the back of the troopy, so it kept hitting on bumps whenever we'd go over something .. imagine the scraping sound.. not nice) and were awed by the scenery  - there was a thick fog curling around the trees and as far as we could see was just thick forest.  It was so foggy that we couldn't even see the ocean, and could only just make out a few houses back at Brooms Head.  We had no idea where we were!!  We got to the spot where the GPS told us we'd come out to town... only to be confronted with another steep hill and corrugated roads.  We decided to head back (the 12 or so kilometres we'd just driven) because at least we'd be sure that we would come out somewhere familiar and it was starting to get quite late.  Luckily we're in daylight saving!!  

On the way in we had passed a guy in a Landcruiser who had a few real Christmas trees poking out the windows and squashed up against the back... he cautioned us on the roads ahead and the water crossings .. Az smiled cordially and you could see in his mind that he was thinking "You haven't seen half the stuff we took on in the Cape.. this is going to be a walk in the park!" .. I had a quiet giggle to myself.  As we were coming back after about an hour and a half of driving and exploring, we passed the same guy again - windows were wound down and pleasantries exchanged.. then Az asked, jokingly, "You blokes come back to check on us?"  .. and they had!!!  They were worried about us... Az thanked them and they exchanged 4WD tracks they'd both accomplished - very macho.  So we were on our way out and then Az looked back and couldn't find them, so then WE waited for THEM, cause we were worried about THEM..   All was well though - we think they may have been scouting some more Christmas trees.. hehe.  We both laughed when we suggested that we might see them selling them on the side of the road - to ourselves of course.  So it turned out to be a great afternoon - you've got to love on the spur of the moment exploration sessions!

 Az testing the waters to see how deep it was .. we were told 'over the bonnet' .. um, not quite

 This was the view at the top of the big mountain we went up - can't see much apart from fog .. was very pretty though

You wouldn't think that I'd spent hours cleaning our Troopy before we came would you .. just a little bit of mud and grime ..  

The beautiful contrasting colours of the yellow and the black - so much better in real life

This is how the track started - as you can see, totally different from the thick forest we ended up in

 When we were playing Monopoly, this guy was checking us out ... yep, another green tree frog.  I'm now positive I have a green tree frog magnet somewhere on me.. no matter where I am .. they'll be there.

 So we thought we'd give Scrabble a rest for the night and bought out the Monopoly.. big mistake.  I think I am the world's worst Monopoly player .. EVER.  Aaron, being the clever strategist that he is, whipped my butt, BIG time.  I thought I was going so well, I'd bought property, had the whole colour lots, and was gradually putting houses up..  He went straight through the houses and put up hotels.. on EVERYTHING he owned!  So clever.. I never had a chance.  It was so depressing!  He was loving it though, especially after I had kicked his butt at this favourite game, Scrabble.

Happy Aaron with wads of cash in hand - enjoying the moment

At the finish line... He even had a hotel on Mayfair!!!  Thank goodness the game finished before I landed on that one!  

I've decided that Monopoly might just conveniently end up in the post back to Mum and Dad for safe keeping...hehe.

So we're back at the yacht again today - the last day before we have someone come and inspect it.  Keep your fingers crossed people - we need everyone's positive thinking to have it sold tomorrow.

We were looking over some maps this morning and deciding where we are headed next.  We figured that seeing as we'd driven through to Coffs yesterday that we might head inland and go to Dorrigo and do a bit of sightseeing.. and then head back to the Coast and head down south.

If anyone's got any spots they can recommend, feel free to drop us a line and let us know - we're just looking at maps and reading touristy stuff.. so would welcome any 'local knowledge'.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas day, and enjoyed spending the day with loved ones.  We were thinking of everyone and sending cyber hugs.

Until our next post xxx

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rainy Days

Today we're experiencing our first full night and day of rain (it is only the middle of the day, but looking at the map, I'm quite confident to say the full day).  I slept on the 'couch' last night - I have become so addicted to the Twilight books, that I'm staying up late to finish them .. one a day so far.  I'm trying to stay away from the third one today.. I need some sleep!  The rain started early in the evening and didn't let up until I went to sleep - and am assuming from the puddle (or perhaps a lake is a more apt description) that I stepped into when I stepped off the caravan step this morning, that it kept going all night.  

We were planning on Aaron doing a day of painting on the yacht (I tend to distract him apparently, so I was (self) assigned to chores throughout town.  As we left "home", it was overcast, but had finally stopped raining.  Coming into Yamba, it started bucketing down - not the kind of painting weather one usually finds advantageous.  There are signs up throughout town promoting a surf photography exhibition at the Yamba Museum.  In all the years we've been coming to Yamba, neither of us knew there was even a Museum in town!  It was my goal today to find that and check it out... until the rain.  As we sat in the carpark of the Marina, we thought we'd go check out the Laundromat in town (it's the new thing to do on a rainy day) - there were piles of laundry and you had to precariously step between them to the one table and chair setting they had there.  We decided to head back to the Marina, where it was $1 more expensive, but they have 3 power points (our phones had died and the computer hasn't been charged properly in days) - pros and cons people, pros and cons.  So here I sit, on a plastic garden chair, in a tiny laundry room that has two doors (allowing the chilly wind to have a thoroughfare to blast through), while Aaron is out at the yacht (the rain had slowed to a drizzle).  I can't go into town, as he doesn't have his phone with him (no powerpoint on the yacht), and I have no idea how long he'll be.. and it's not really fair to leave him stranded at the marina without transport or a towel for a nice hot shower.

We were lucky enough to be given a new mooring - it's right on the roadside of the Marina - prime real estate position!  So we'll be doing up some new signs and getting her ready for the Christmas traffic.  He's moving her into position now.  We'll nearly be able to walk out to her from the shore .. well almost.  It means that there'll be no more rocking from side to side (which put me to sleep every time I got onboard.. much to Aaron's amusement - I found it quite convenient when we went there to do work though.. heheh), as she won't be so exposed to the winds and waves.  

The last few days have been fairly non-eventful.  We had a bit of a road trip to Ballina yesterday, to meet up with Mum and Dad and my Aunty Helen.. which was wonderful.  They bought us the dinghy (if you can call it that.. a shell that Aaron's pumped so full of expandafoam that it floats.. just) for the yacht and some mail....  surprisingly no lotto cheque in there though, so we'll continue on with our thrifty travels.  Mum and Dad bought us a new gnome too - which will accompany Gnomeo.  I haven't taken any photos of him yet, but when you see it, you will laugh with me in thinking that it is perfect for Aaron.

The Council had decided that road works in the festive season would prove a great mood booster for all travellers.. needless to say the UHF radio was working overtime with some colourful truckie conversations, which is always great entertainment!  It was good to be in the Troopy without the tinnie on top or the caravan behind us - we were flying!!!

In more important news, did I mention how much I love our toilet?????????  Our new 'carabuddies' (caravanning friends) had warned us that with the influx of people the 'public toilets' (which are an ecofriendly long drop.. which is great if you don't mind spending your toilet time with a million flies.. which fly out of the toilet as you open the seat cover) would soon become unbearable.  We thought it time to set up the toilet and I'm pretty sure my bowels knew exactly when it was set up.. if you know what I mean!   Those of you who have been following our travels over the last year would know that I was a little skeptical about our little toilet.. but I can tell you, I am reformed!  And anyone planning on travelling without a toilet in their caravan, invest in one!!!!  Will be the best thing you do :)
So we have a little shower tent, complete with shower and toilet - and I'm loving it!!  The little 12V shower we have is also another great investment - soooooo good!  

We hosted our first 'sundowner' drinks on Tuesday night - perfect opportunity for me to bake!  I made some chocolate slice (have been having chocolate withdrawals after our pig out at Aaron's Mum and Dad's), and did up a nice plate of nibbles.. yummo!  

The surf hasn't been awesome but we managed to get in 3 surfs (I surfed twice.. Az 3 times) on Tuesday - I think my body had forgotten what sun looked like and has given me this awesome tan line.. of my bikini.  I surfed in my bikini, while Aaron wore my rashie (ironically, it was giving me a rash) and I might add, I think he was secretly loving wearing it.. every time I looked at him he'd be posing ... making him look gayer than he already did in a female's rashie.. lucky it wasn't pink!  We surfed for probably 2 hours at Brooms Head .. water was beautiful.. and as we were traveling back home, we both realised that we'd forgotten to put suncream on .... so each time I sat down for the next day or so, I was reminded that I had a beautifully sunburnt bum!

I had finally taken some photos of the set up and a few around here and there .. so will share them with you today :)

The above 3 photos are of Redcliff - the beach we are camped at

 Our campsite - complete with 'ensuite'

Aaron introducing Gnomeo to his favourite beverage

The view from our 'balcony' .. bit of bush and bit of beach .. perfect

 From where the car is parked .. can still see beach 

Aaron and Gnomeo doing the dishes

 Aaron's eating fruit!!!

But like a kid with broccoli, he has to share it with his 'friend'

When we were at Aaron's Mum & Dad's .. nice rig!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The New Addition to our "Family"

We would like to introduce "Gnomeo" to you all .. he's tagging along on our adventures & is proving to be quite entertaining for us.  You can imagine the shots he'll be in can't you?!  Aaron wants to play 'Where's Wally?" in the photos, to see if you can all find him .. as you can tell, we are working on our own forms of entertainment.. hehe..

So.. this is Gnomeo .. very fitting for us we thought

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Broom Head

I'm pretty sure I've started our blog with, "I can't believe we've actually left" a few times now... but seriously, we've REALLY left this time...  We have waved goodbye to the Gold Coast for the last time and are now fully, really, and truly on our way to the trip of a lifetime.

We've waved goodbye to Aaron's parents and spent an early Christmas with them - which was fabulous.  I don't think either of us have eaten as much in a very long time.. and we're both sure we were just subconsciously stockpiling fat for the 'leaner months' that are sure to follow.  That's our excuse anyway!  On our second last day up at Toogoolawah, we went on a family day outing - tip shopping.  I was in heaven!  I'm not sure if any of you watch American Pickers, but we were just like those two..  Aaron was even doing the narration, 'Picked for $4, Valued at $50, Profit $46' .. hilarious!

So I guess you're wondering what our picks were... welllllllll, we got an amazing little tricycle for $4!!!  Imagine when we do this up... oh yeah baby!

And a Universal Two Tone sewing machine for $10.. which was a present from Enid & John.  It's amazing to see the underside, with it's mechanical workings - Aaron was more excited about this one than I was I think.

So the tip shopping ended a great week up at Toogoolawah.  We then headed back to the Gold Coast for a few alterations before continuing the big trip .. boy was it hard to say goodbye!  We'd left a few times, but we knew that we'd always be coming back .. so you can imagine the tears on my behalf..

With great timing, my Sister and her son were down on the Gold Coast, so we all went out for dinner at the local Chinese restaurant.  There was a huge Christmas tree up in the Shopping Centre, so my nephew took our photo.. I think he did a pretty good job.  You can tell by our smiles that we were loving him acting all professional - he even told us to say cheese!!  My nephew is 6 years old and can already take great photos! Remember me when you become a famous photographer Riley!!

We're now staying at Brooms Head in the Yuragir National Park until Christmas.. we got here in time to get a great spot - right on top of the hill.. the wind is crazy though.  We stayed at a different spot in the NP last night and the wind was so strong that it felt like there were a bunch of kids outside pushing our caravan from side to side.. . a little unnerving to start with.

I got up this morning to go to the "awesome" toilets (complete with hundreds of flies) and opened the caravan (or as our friend's son calls it, a caraban) and was welcomed with about 25 kangaroos... so the walk to the toilet was quite quick... and my eyes were to the ground, no eye contact made.. except for the little joey that was leaning out of it's Mum's pouch to eat some grass.. so cute!

On the way back, the joey had exited the pouch, and as I walked passed them they were hopping away.. the joey was trying to get back in to the pouch as the Mum was hopping away - I had a quiet little giggle & wondered if she was hopping away from me or the joey!

We stalked some school kids this morning for their camp spot - they were leaving today and we wanted prime position.. of course.  It took them FOREVER to leave.. am sure they knew we wanted their spot and were just teasing us.

The van looks great all set up - will take some photos tonight and upload them tomorrow - the internet service is pretty bad, as is phone service.. so if you need to contact us, text is good.

Until the next post.. 

Monday, December 5, 2011


After 8 months, Aaron has finally fulfilled his dream of jumping out of an airplane.  I got him a tandem sky jump for his birthday - way back in April.. and it's taken this long to finally jump. The weather was against us for the first two attempts and when we awoke on Monday, we thought it might be the same - but turns out third time lucky!  It was overcast and the wind was howling.  We later found out that they were actually ideal conditions .. who would have thought?

As soon as he woke up and all the way up until he got his suit on, I kept asking him if he was nervous and if the butterflies were starting to invade his tummy.  I'm not sure if he was just trying to be tough, but he said he wasn't nervous at all.  He's been looking forward to this for so long, I think the excitement was overpowering the nervous energy.  He was so caught up in the moment, that he didn't even say goodbye to me before he left for the plane!!!  In saying that, I was so excited for him and caught up in the moment as well, that I didn't even realise until the plane had taken off.. hehe.

[Az filling out the pages of paperwork .. I loved the sentence on the left .. "Parachuting is Dangerous" .. for those that don't notice the obvious!]

He had a French Instructor/Tandem Jumper.... and you know how Az is with accents - he had no idea what he was saying!  Which was quite funny when he started pulling at straps around the family jewels!  The suit that he was given was quite snug and the funniest part was the bum was nearly worn through .. hilarious!  The Instructor had me worried for a bit - he was a bit late and as he came past me, he mumbled, "I've only been awake for 5 minutes".. and proceeded to get the parachute pack and check it over .. I wanted to throw a cup of coffee at him and get him functioning a little more before he started looking at their lifeline!  The majority of the boys around the drop zone were hungover .. imagine jumping with a hangover . . no thanks.  Actually, I think I'll just pass on the whole jump thing all together.

The instruction part was so brief that his parents were able to come down and see him jump, which was great, as we thought they'd miss it.  They kindly bought the DVD of his jump, so he can relive it as often as he likes.  Am sure he'd like to take the hobby up but after finding out that the initial costs in getting your license starts from $10,000, don't think he'll be taking up that hobby!!

[Az looking mighty snug in his flying suit]

[Walking with his instructor to the plane and then showing the boys his moves]

The plane seemed to take forever to climb to the 14,000ft that they were jumping from.  We kept losing it in and out of the clouds, but finally heard the shutes being opened.. looked up and saw him like a fly in the sky.  You should have seen the smile on his face - I could see it before he even landed!  Needless to say, he was absolutely buzzing from the adrenalin and the experience.. and wanted to go straight back up and do it again!  The bank balance was keeping his feet firmly on the ground though :)

[Aaron's reaction to his jump]

[The plane...]

[The Aaron...]

[Aaron with his Nan - so happy she was there to see it]

His new plan is to do another tandem jump, as often as he can .. need I say more??