Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019
Setting off *dark* and early at 5am, we met up with the rest of our crew at the local McDonalds [because where else do you meet, right!?]. With eight Lifestyle Camper Trailers in tow – one Stylecraft, two Reconn’s, and five Ultra’s – we set off out of Brisbane heading for Thargomindah.
After two hours of uneventful driving over the Toowoomba Range, a call came over the UHF: our Tailend Charlie’s radiator had blown up!
For most people, that would spell the end of the trip, but not for our mates Jeff & Sharon! A quick call to a Tow Truck and their vehicle was loaded onto the bed with the Breakaway Ultra being pulled behind it all the way back to Brisbane. Switching the Ultra onto another 4WD, Jeff & Sharon were back on the road and only a couple of hours off the pace.
But, no sooner had Jeff and Sharon put 200km on the dial then their second hit of bad luck struck.
At a roadworks intersection in Dalby, suddenly Jeff & Sharon had a ute hurtling towards them and connecting with the drivers side of their Ultra.
Again, this might have spelt the end for most travellers but not for this determined couple. As a mechanic by trade, Jeff had the knowhow but not the tools to repair the trailer damage so they found some local accommodation for the night and made a call to a friend who drove out to Dalby to repair the trailer for them overnight.
Given the events of the day, the main group was keen not to stray too far ahead of our embattled friends so decided to pull up stumps at the Wallam Creek Free Camp just outside Bollon; Thargo would have to wait till tomorrow.
From Bollon, we had a mile or two to make up to stay on track for our trip. Driving on, we were mindful to keep a steady pace so that Jeff and Sharon would be able to catch up.
We stopped in to say g’day to the Cunnamulla Fella and met a fantastic traveller called Handyman Ralph at Eulo who was driving around Australia in an extremely vintage Model T Pick-Up. It was in Eulo that Jeff & Sharon re-joined us after a solid 7hour drive. With the crew back together, we headed off for Innamincka.
Not wanting to stay right in the centre of the town and given the size of our group, we parked up just before Innamincka at Durham and had our first middle-of-nowhere camp out.
Up early for a history filled morning, we set off through Innamincka for Burke & Wills Grave and the Dig Tree. Then it was straight down the corrugations of the Strzelecki Track, and out through Arkaroola before pulling in at the Lyndhurst Hotel right on the crossroads of the Oodnadatta Track for the night. Our first indoor shower of the trip and – more importantly – our first Pub Meal!
After bouncing down the Strzelecki and with a collective 35 hours of driving under our belts, it was time to give the trailers a once over. After a quick wriggle under each of the trailers, a good check and tighten, the only thing missing was a nut from a suspension bolt; a pretty good result given what we had thrown at the trailers so far! But, wouldn’t you know it, that nut wasn’t especially common and given our remote location in regional South Australia, we were not excited about our prospects of finding a replacement.
Since the nearby petrol station couldn’t help us, we zip-tied a pair of vise grips to the bolt in place of a nut, packed everyone up, and drove out for the next town; Copely. With a total population of around 100, there are likely more cars in town than people – surely we would find the right size nut!
Rummaging around an extremely old spare parts car yard, luck was on our side and an exact replacement nut was found. Once we tightened everything up, we set off for our home for the next four days – the Flinders Ranges!
Every one of us will remember that drive into the ranges – the views are second to none and the beauty of Australia is more evident than ever. From the mountains to the valleys, it was all breathtakingly memorable.
Booked in at Willow Springs Station, we signed in and went to find a good spot to set up. We ended up at a fantastic pre-made clearing beside a small creek with more than enough flat ground for all eight trailers, plus a cracking fire pit.
Cue a giant campfire, home cooked meals, and plenty of drinks and stories to go around.
Waking up to find ice covering every square inch of our camp, we can confidently say that it had been, hands down the coldest night any of us could remember.. With minus 10 degrees celsius recorded that night, it was no surprise literally every awning, car, esky, and chair was frosted up!
[One of our crew was in a swag but went-a-knocking to find room in one of the trailers through the night before her teeth chattered out of her mouth].
We stoked up the fire, and simultaneously cracked a few eggs and a few beers to get the day started.
Taking the day to relax in such beautiful countryside, the girls whipped out the board games and colouring in books, while the boys went bush bashing and one of the families travelling with us drove into town for a fabulous small plane flight over the ranges.
As a group we headed into Wilpena Pound for dinner and [of course] State of Origin Game 3. As through and through Queenslanders it’s safe to say we all went to bed as happy campers that night!
On our second full day in the Flinders we drove their Skytrek track that took in some of the most amazing views of the property and of the Ranges. And with 70,000 acres of land waiting to be explored in Willow Springs, we didn’t even make a dent. Take a look at the views from the top:
To end the day, we rugged up, packed some snacks, and headed for the nearby lookout to watch the sun set behind the mountain range.
Marking our last full day in the Flinders Ranges, we spent the day exploring the nearby town of Blinman. This included a tour of the historical Blinman mine, and sampling the pastries at the bakery, before downing a few at the pub and heading back for a prelim pack down and another massive [national park appropriate of course] bonfire.
Tune in next week for part two as we head the red centre!
Are you planning a cross-country trip with your Lifestyle? Plan ahead and speak to our Service Team about making sure your trailer is in peak condition before you go, and after your return! And while you’re there, why not ask about spare parts for your trip?