Paul and Rachael Take On The Outback
Names/Travellers: Paul and Rachael PLUS two of Australia’s most well-travelled Beagles Indy and Keg
Lifestyle Model: 2016 Reconn
Best part about your Lifestyle: The kitchen – “We eat better on the road than at home – the ease of set up for an overnight stop is a winner!”
Days Travelled: 17
Kilometres Travelled: Approximately 5,900km
“Initially we had planned on taking 7 weeks to head south from Darwin, swing up the east coast and then home. But just three and a half hours into the trip a ute pulled out onto the Stuart Highway northbound near Katherine and we had no choice but to hit him side on and roll him. Our 10-month-old Jeep Grand Cherokee was a write off but thankfully there were no injuries in either vehicle and our Reconn performed flawlessly.”
“A month later, we started afresh with a new Jeep, and headed to the Painted Desert (a detour off the Stuart Highway that’s been on our bucket list for years) down to Port Augusta, then to Horseshoe Top End in the Flinders Ranges and back in 17 days…”
Day 1: Wed 6 June
Darwin to Dunmarra
After a disastrous first attempt at making their dream trip, with a new vehicle and a renewed determination Rachael & Paul began their journey (again) from their hometown of Darwin. Passing THE intersection near Katherine that had nearly cost them their lives a few months earlier, they both breathed a sigh of relief.
With a full day of travel coming to an end, they made their first overnight stop at Dunmarra Wayside Inn, south of Daly Waters and just off the Stuart Highway. Hoping for a hot meal and a front row seat to the State of Origin game playing on the telly in the local pub but their plans for the night quickly changed when they noticed a ‘no dogs’ sign.
Stopping for a pricey fuel top up ($1.89/L) they continued on to a roadside rest area at the McDouall Stuart Memorial for a well-earned cold drink, enjoying a beautiful red sunset after another long day on the road.
Day 3, 4 & 5: Fri 8, Sat 9 & Sun 10 June
McDouall Stuart Memorial to Kulgera then on to Arkaringa Station
A quick stop at Alice Springs for a restock of supplies and they found themselves setting up camp in Kulgera for another overnighter before making their way on to the beautiful Painted Desert Road – something they could finally tick off their bucket list! A few photos later and a walk around Arkaringa Hills saw them headed back to camp for a warm bonfire and delicious stew, before calling it a night to prepare for the next day’s adventures.
Day 6: Mon 11 June
Arkaringa to Bon Bon Rest Area
Not long into the journey on day 6, Paul noticed that their compressor wasn’t working and that there was an air leak in one of the jeeps tyres. So out came the jack and off came the tyre.
A roadside stop for a tyre change couldn’t get much prettier than being a surrounded by 360’ dead flat Australian outback landscape!
Another day of delays meant a forced overnight stop at the Bon Bon rest area.
Day 7, 8 & 9: Tue 12, Wed 13 & Thur 14 June
Bon Bon Rest Area to Port Augusta
A planned short stay at Augusta turned into a 3 day long stop allowing time for a few beach walks with the dog’s and a bit of relaxation before making their way onto the Flinders Ranges.
Day 10: Fri 15 June
Port Augusta to Flinders Ranges
Back on the road again Paul & Rachael headed for Horseshoe Top End to a lovely campsite set amongst gums and pines with its own spotless long drop toilet (who would have thought the words “spotless” and “long drop” could ever be mentioned in the same sentence!), firepit, outdoor table and sheep ‘baa-ing’ in the distance.
With the temperature dropping overnight to about 4 degrees, the fire worked a treat, as did a few glasses of red and a few extra layers of clothing.
Day 11 & 12: Sat 16 & Sun 17 June
Horseshoe Top End
Horseshoe Top End, likened to a mini Wilpena Pound, hosts a variety of scenic four-wheel drive tracks ranging from beginner to advanced levels. Needless to say this adventurous couple headed off for a few days of 4X4ing and exploring!
Day 13 – Day 17: Mon 18 – Fri 22 June
Horseshoe Top End – Darwin
Sadly, Horseshoe Top End was the last stop of the trip with Paul and Rachael then making the long drive back North to Darwin where they are already planning their next exciting trip away.
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