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Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

I promised to blog more. And here I am. But it’s really a trip update – and not much actual unschooly stuff…although of course if Kai was at school we wouldn’t probably have just spent 5 days on Kangaroo Island in ‘term time’!

For those who don’t know, Kangaroo Island is off the coast about 1.5 hours south of Adelaide. You get there on a ferry (or a plane, if you are richer than we are!).

There are kangaroo’s on Kangaroo Island. But I didn’t get any very good photo’s of them! Only this one…

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 There are also many, many Rosenberg’s monitors….I got some good photo’s of them!

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There are lots of echidna’s….they don’t  seem to like to be photographed though!

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We did a lot of beachy stuff – we snorkelled (the last two days…which were warm!) – at Stokes Bay and at Emu Bay, and I used Kai’s camera to photograph some cute fish…

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….and while i’m not a fan of the ‘selfie’, I feel like a snorkel selfie is acceptable!

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Kai and Brett fished…at every beach we went to, pretty much! Turns out Kai is a super dooper caster! They caught some Australian salmon at Hanson Bay.???????????????????????????????

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And Kai did some boogie-boarding at Vivonne Bay…(that day was freezing!! No way was I going in the water that day!).

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We also went to visit the Australian sea lion colony at Seal Bay, which was very cool, especially as there were lots of baby seals!

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….all the dots on the beach are seals (except the one’s that are obviously rocks!).

We visited the Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park – they really are quite remarkable!

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And also Admirals Arch and the New Zealand fur seal colony – there are some black things behind Kai – they are NZ fur seals!

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We found another species of carnivorous sundew….furthering our excitement of carnivorous plants! We think the species is Drosera Pygmaea – Kangaroo Island..

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And we visited the Marron Farm – coffee was good, ice cream sundae better, and the Marron tanks fascinating – though with Kai’s shellfish allergy, we didn’t bother to buy any to eat!

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Aside from all that, Kai did a bit of photography, and we read a LOT of Beast Quest! In the car while Brett was looking for lizards, in the tent with a head-torch…pretty much anywhere! Desperately requiring Beast Quests 19 – 24 now!! Kai also spent hours in the car pouring over the Book of Beasts – clearly doesn’t inherit my car sickness!

All in all, a great few days away….although I wouldn’t rave in general about KI, the beaches were pretty stunning and we had a wonderful time!

 

 

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We’re back in Alice! In fact, we’ve been away for more than a week already! We drove via Coober Pedy, as always (because there is no other way!), but finally found a cool place to stay – The Underground Motel. It was pretty awesome – like staying in a cave (well – it was actually staying in a cave, I guess!)….

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Unfortunately I ate too much seafood and got sick that night, but other than that, Coober Pedy was uneventful, although we did learn a bit about opals and hope to do some opal mining on the way home (real life Minecraft, dontcha know!)! Kai did do a bit of ‘mining’ with the geopick on the roadside anyway….

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The next day we drove to Alice….lots of stops on the way to look for bones, buy ice cream, and our usual lunch stop in the middle of nowhere! Erldunda roadhouse is always an interesting place too! For some reason these two are currently behind bars!?

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We arrived in Alice at a reasonable 5pm on Sunday afternoon. This time we are camping, to keep costs down, and it was VERY hot (like 39 C!)…we put up the tent and had sausages for dinner…

Since then, the weather has gone from incredibly hot (while putting out the pitfall traps, of course!), to now quite cold (it’s forecast to be down to 13 C tonight!). There has been much red sand. Much digging. And quite a few lizards, thankfully…as well as an Australian tarantula (a barking spider) and giant desert scorpion!

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Kai has really loved the whole thing this time, more so than last time, and seems to have come into his biological element on this trip! He has been spotlighting every night, and found gecko’s, trap door spiders, and a bunch of other stuff! Last night and tonight he took his new friend Harry spotlighting too!

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That’s a very cute baby sand goanna!

Since its Easter this weekend, there are also lots of kids here, so he’s spent a lot of time in the playground playing with a big group of kids, in the playground (including in the dark!), in the pool, spotlighting, on the hire bikes….

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We’ve also done some cultural stuff – we went on a little drive to Ellery Creek Big Hole – a swimming hole along the Red Centre Way, which was beautiful…

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We returned to the Desert Park for a second look, and had fun there…and yesterday we went to Emily Gap and saw some Indigenous rock paintings of the Caterpiller dreaming…

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And….Kai got his ear pierced on Thursday! He’s been asking for a while, and was very sure, even after I explained it would hurt, might get infected and might scar… It was no big deal really (I have quite a few piercings, and Brett has his ears pierced and once had an eyebrow piercing). We took him to a proper piercer, as guns are BAD! He is rocking his new bling, and really loves it! (you probably can’t even see it in that picture!)

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He’s also been fully into camo clothing…so we got him some camo pants and a t-shirt (definitely developing his own eclectic style at the moment!)…and he bought himself a plastic machine gun, and has been having fun running around in the spinifex in camo with his gun!

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Easter Sunday I just about managed to get the eggs hidden before he woke up! We did the Easter egg hunt around the tent and the car.  He was pretty happy with his haul, ate some of the Lindt chocolate balls, then went to play. Most years he gives the majority of his chocolate away in the end, although this year I was careful to buy good quality chocolate all the way this year, as he won’t touch cheap chocolate eggs (quite rightly!)! We’ll see how it goes – currently his Easter basket is still full.

It’s been interesting coming camping now he is so much older. As soon as he made friends i’ve barely seen him! He’s been off spotlighting at night on his own or with a friend, and we’ve been using the walkie-talkie’s to stay in contact. He and Harry took off for an hour on the hire bikes today! He asked to sleep in a separate part of the tent this time, and next time has asked for his own separate one man tent!!! So independent and amazing, and so confident. He’s such a cool kid!

One more day to go, and we are heading home. We’ve had a great trip!

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This could be the last post ‘on the road’…or not, if i’m struck by inspiration tonight!

So, Nanango was really just the Motel, then we headed off southward to Giraween National Park, nestled in granite boulders between Stanthorpe in the north (and in Queensland) and Tenterfield to the south (and in NSW!).

I LOVED Giraween, it was just beautiful, and reminded me of my Magnetic Island! We got a good site (well….in dry weather…more of that later!) with a climbing tree…

I think Kai’s spent about 50% of the trip up a tree!

There were lots of places to swim and paddle in rocky creeks…

and we went for a little hike to Dr Robert’s Waterhole (and no, i have no idea who Dr Roberts was!)…I didn’t go in (because i’m a wimp!) but the boys did, and found themselves having a swim with a red bellied black snake and a water dragon! cool….

this is them swimming over for a closer look – the red bellied black had made it to the bank!

Since it was a weekend, there were some kids around, so Kai made some friends…and we mostly just mosied around…early afternoon on the second day (Sunday) there was a HUGE thunderstom. Brett was out lizarding (yikes!) and Kai and I were in the tent listening to the rain on the roof….the downpour was so heavy, the back of the tent began to the flood and campsite was surrounded by little rivulets! When it stopped, i made some channels to drain the water, but everything was SOAKED!

Brett made it back, he’d shred on a rock somewhere! Our neighbours went off to check the weather, and came back saying more thunderstorms, hail and high winds were forecast and the area had a flood warning….so, after much discussion and debate, we decided to pack up and go south to a motel for the night.

So, after a mad, wet, pack up, we had dinner in a BBQ shelter and got to Glen Innes, about 1.5 hours south into NSW.

Yesterday we did a MASSIVE day…we drove from Glen Innes to Nyngan – about 700 km!! Our biggest day yet! We stopped for coffee in Tenterfield, then made a random stop in Gunnedah to get Kai to the hospital…..

….after days of trying to treat his wounds and insect bites, i came to the conclusion that he most obviously had a bacterial infection, probably staph, and that it just wasn’t getting better with anything I was doing…..so, we decided that a rural hospital would be quickest to get some antibiotics….here’s Kai’s knee….

…and he has blisters coming on his face and other leg too. And, while i’m not a fan of antibiotics in any way, I still think sometimes they are warranted, and I’ve decided this is one of those times….now just hoping if it is Staph, it’s not resistant to the type of antibiotic we’ve got! I covered them up last night so haven’t looked yet today!

So, we made it to Nyngan. At 7pm! The boys had a quick swim and I made some pasta, Kai watched a DVD and we all passed out!

Today we have a more reasonable distance – Nyngan to Broken Hill…back to where we first started!! We might go to a different campsite, since the first one was a bit average….but part of me feels like we should finish the trip at the site we started at! ha ha!

 

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We’re on the way back down south….slooowwwwly!

After a lovely week of luxury in Townsville, we hit the road to head south for the long trek back to Adelaide, with some interesting stops on the way so far!!

First stop was in Sarina, which is just south of Mackay. You wouldn’t believe the trouble we had finding a place! We literally looked from 3.30pm until after 6! Everywhere was full of mining workers. We finally found a room in a B & B on Sarina Beach. We arrived at almost dark, and the place was seriously trippy!!! It had a stuffed lioness, a wooden pirate and a suit of armour in the foyer…

 

 And the owner, Val, smoked while she cooked in the kitchen! They also had two dogs that were not safe with children! So….not ideal, but we didn’t have much of a choice by that point! Breakfast was…well, as expected! But on the bright side, we did get going by 8am the next morning!

We headed south toward Gladstone, and then slightly inland to Kroombit Tops National Park, which is tucked away between Bioela and Gladstone. It was a pretty long dirt track, some 50km from the nearest town. When we arrived, aside from 3 rangers, we were the only people there…There are no services – at all – no water, no toilets and certainly no showers!

We got set up, I made pasta, and we had a fire…

 

And the following morning I had a fairly gourmet breakfast given our isolation!

We went out looking for lizards, and on a bit of a tourist trail. Brett caught a lace monitor…

And we went to the site of a WW2 bomber which crashed in 1945 – The Beautiful Betsy…it was pretty interesting, and very sad.

 

 

We then did the rest of the loop road which involved some fairly serious dirt and 4WD. Rather remarkably Kai fell asleep on that bit! He has been regularly having afternoon sleeps on the trip. I think he really needs them, there is so much going on!

Today we drove out of Kroombit Tops. Supposedly we were headed south toward Monto….but apparently we took a wrong turn, and ended up descending a terrifying 4WD track that ended in Ubobo – essentially adding about an extra 80km at least on to our day’s drive, and about 2 hours because it took so long to descend!

Anyway, we got out eventually….and tonight made it to Nanango and blissful hot showers, TV and fish and chips, but not till 7pm! It is lovely to feel clean…two more nights in a National Park to come, but I heard rumours this one has hot showers! Whoot!

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I’m tired, so this will be brief…punctuated with a number of pictures! We’re slowly edging our way up the Queensland coast. Well, it seems slow, but really we’re doing 6 hour days in the car!

We stayed for two nights at Tin Can Bay, and on the second morning we went to see the famous Tin Can Bay dolphins…they come into the bay and get fed each morning, and you can stand right in there with them….Kai did….

Rather randomly, he also stuck his head under the water right by the dolphin’s head! Apparently he was trying to talk to it….the dophin seemed unperturbed – but other dolphin viewers thought it most amusing!

While at Tin Can Bay Kai also purchased, with his allowance, a Doctor’s kit. He’s been wanting one for ages – something to do with Peso from the Octonauts (so really he’s a vet, not a doctor!)….he looked cute in the tent!

From Tin Can Bay we drove north…Brett decided we should stay at Woodgate, which is on coast north of Bundaberg, as it is surrounded by National Park.

That was only a shortish drive, so while Brett went lizarding, Kai and I spent a couple of hours on the beach, surfing and wave jumping -no pictures because i was in there too! Kai’s confidence in the ocean seems to have progressed at an alarming rate – he’s now comfortable diving into waves…..but i’m not so comfortable watching him! Waves scare me!

We had a nice quiet night at Woodgate, and the boys went off for an early morning wave diving experience this morning before we got packed up and set off north once more….(Woodgate was a lizard dud, by-the-way!). Kai’ ever-growing box of sticks, home-made bow and arrow, and (most recently) constructed bush turkey leg traps, came along too…

Today was a long one…we reached Rosslyn Bay, which is near Yeppoon, just north of Rockhampton.

We decided, since it was late, Brett needed to go lizarding, a we have a long drive to Airlie tomorrow, that we’d stay in a motel and not have to unpack/repack the tent….we had a bit of trouble, but eventually found somewhere with a vacancy!

So, lap of luxury tonight..relatively! We have a TV. Kai’s already watched ‘The Clone Wars’ and is currently watching ‘Horrible Histories’ (A double-bill, no less!).

The site also has a pool, which we went in as soon as we got here, and a jumping pillow. I dunno, I feel jumping pillows must be a Queensland thing – this is the first time i’ve seen one since we left Townsville! Kai had it to himself….

There actually is some other kids here, and Kai made friends with them in the pool. It’s quite depresing me, never seeing kids anywhere….I guess the upside is – we get the pool and playgrounds to ourselves…but I guess the downside (especially for Kai) is the same thing!!

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Aggh….so many days with no internet….so much to catch up on!!

It’s Monday, I think!? But I can’t do an Unschool Monday, although of course every Monday is Unschool Monday really! So, i’m just going to carry on with an update of the trip so far……….

So, we stayed for 2 days in Broken Hill, in the 1970’s era campsite. Kai absolutely loved it, and made two good friends during our stay….Brett caught a lizard….the first Ctenotus of the trip!

 

 

On Sunday we drove from Broken Hill to Cobar, and on route saw numerous emu’s, some with chicks…very cool! Many dead roo’s, and a couple of live one’s, and hundreds of goats…all alive (bar one)…wow – I had no idea of the scope of Australia’s feral goat problem…

We also came upon a very large wild pig, dead at the side of a road, with an arrow sticking out of it….truly….here it is…

….ahh, the Outback!

We decided to stay in a motel in Cobar, since we had to have an early start the next day, and Brett had a sore back from the tent (this early on…oh dear!)…..Kai went for a swim in the pool, and we made dinner at a free BBQ in a local park, where we met some other travelers with 3 kids and they all played for a while before it got dark.

Monday morning we left around 9am to drive to Hungerford, which is north and just across the Queensland border. On the way we drove through Bourke – famous for the ‘Back of Bourke’ saying…it was quite nice, we got a good coffee and had a quick play in the park before heading out.

Not long after the road turned to dirt and we were truly outback!

We made good time to Hungerford, even with a couple of lizarding stops.  Hungerford is across the dingo fence, and I got the honour of having to get out to open it for us to cross…

 

 ….but got into a bit of a pickle because the campsite was closed for ‘repairs’!? It really is out the back of Bourke, and the only other options were the back of the pub, or driving out to the national park (Currawinya). We ummed and ahhed for a while….mostly because there was no water in the NP, and we don’t have much to keep water in….but we decided to fill up all container options and take to the NP, mostly because out the back of the pub looked full of bits of rusty metal, and there wasn’t much for Kai to do….(there are about 4 houses, and apparently no kids!)…

Kai had some sword fights with some ‘people’ and the ‘bus stop’ outside the pub!

Currawinya was absolutely beautiful – SO glad we opted for the National Park! We had the campsite pretty much to ourselves, only about 4 other campers for the whole 3 days…

Kai found plenty to do, there were awesome climbing tree’s, he did some drawing and cutting, some ‘reading’, digging, dressing up as a jedi….

Kai’s Sunset Tree

Bearded Dragon Friend

And we saw many amazing birds and other animals, including two species of spoonbill, egrets, herons, honeyeaters, willy wagtails (Kai’s favourites) and unsavoury introduced pigs and goats! Kai became a bit of a twitcher and spent a lot of time in the bird ID book…which is  somewhat worrying!

On day two we drove out to the Granites, which is an area in the park, and came upon piles of bones. Kai and I deduced in the end there were both kangaroo’s and goats (by their feet!), and Kai took a few things as memento’s…(horns…and a femur of a kangaroo!)…and we spent sometime with the Barbara Briggs book pouring over differences in the jawbone of kangaroo’s and goats and the footprints of pigs and goats!

So, we spent 3 blissful days there. I even managed to get some work done – without internet – obviously! And Brett did ok on the lizard front….

On Thursday we drove out and got to St George, via Cunnamulla, where we had an amazing lunch and coffee in a coffee shop called ‘ Boulders’…We stayed at a camping site. It was pretty nice to have a hot shower and do some laundry, and check email and facebook! Unfortunately there were no kids about, so Kai still didn’t have anyone to play with…but he did a spot of drawing and a lot of playing with sticks!

On Friday we drove north-west to Glenmorgan – apparently a lizard mecca (we found it not to be so…..). There’s not much in Glenmorgan, although slightly more than in Hungerford…a shop, a vintage car museum (closed!) – no internet or phone coverage again! There’s no campsite in Glenmorgan, so we stayed at the Myall Park Botanic Gardens, as they have areas for camping and caravans. The caretakers also let us a use a little inside area for the fridge and to get away from mozzies, as we were the only campers (again!)…

So, still no friends for Kai, but he’s been busy making potions (yes, even in the bush with limited equipment!), drawing, watching DVD’s and generally running about with a rapidly growing collection of stick ‘weapons’ which seem to come from every campsite – and we also made a stick bow and arrow, which he is coveting greatly!

There is a gallery at the Gardens and they have an exhibit on, and I fell in love with one of the paintings….it was called ‘The Childrens Tree’ and was of this tree….

Sadly, it was already sold, so I guess I wasn’t meant to have it! But we had fun finding and climbing on the real thing!

The Gardens also had some fun stuff to play with, musical instruments and a thongaphone…

On Saturday we drove 40 minutes to Surat to go swimming, but when we go there the pool was empty and closed….Kai was a bit sad, but we found a playground and he had an ice cream, so life wasn’t so bad!

We packed up and left Glenmorgan a day early, because the herping was so bad – Brett and I come to the conclusion that because it is written up as a great place to find lizards in most of the ID books, unscrupulous herpetologists have basically ruined the place…we didn’t even see any skinks running around….it was very weird….We did however see our first (live) snake…this big eastern brown…

Anyway, so Brett decided on a change of plan and we headed directly east. And made it to the coast at Tin Can Bay. It was a loooooong drive, but Kai was willing to sit it out if it meant ocean and a swimming pool! We made it by about 5pm, which was pretty good going. Brett and I stayed at this camp site almost 6 years ago when i was pregnant with Kai!

We haven’t been to see the famous dolphins yet, but will do later. Kai’s been in the pool 3 times so far (and just come out with a very sore, scraped knee…a nice addition to the tree climbing bruises and multiple mozzie and sandfly bites!), and we had fish and chips for dinner last night…

So, that’s where we’re at…heading north again tomorrow, and hitting the Unschooling Conference and Airlie Beach on Thursday. Which will be great, because of course there are few other children around anywhere at the moment, as they are all incarcerated (whoops, sorry….in school!).

I’ve managed to get some work done, albeit under strained conditions in the car and tent! I’ve also almost finished reading ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which i’m absolutely loving (to the exclusion of work and other important things…like shopping today!). So many amazing Unschooling quotes in there! I totally identify with Scout!

Righto…hopefully the next installments will be somewhat more regular, and i’ll be sure to keep you regaled with tales from the Unschooling Conference!

 

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So, we’re finally on the road! Installments may or may not be sporadic, and will depend upon internet access in remote locations, blah de blah!

Before we left we had a pretty crazy week…Tuesday we had open gym with the natural learning group at the YMCA, Wednesday we went to see The Gruffalo’s Child at the theatre, and then went to ‘Mummies Unwrapped’ school hols program at the museum, and Thursday we had a shed load of things to return to the library…and pack, and clean…oh, and in between all that we had to get the ipod returned and replaced…which was a pain in the butt!

So, we finally got away around 10.30am yesterday, and drove to Broken Hill…oh yeah, we’re pretty outback! Got here just before 6pm, and thankful that Broken Hill is on SA time!

Here’s Kai enjoying the scenery! ha ha! Actually he’s watching ‘The Cat in The Hat’ and for some reason waving a gun around….

We drove into some stormy looking skies…and stopped at some seriously dodgy looking roadhouses (and wished we hadn’t watched all those ‘Australian True Crime Thrillers!)

The campsite is a bit average….clearly built in the 70’s (not that there’s anything wrong with that – I was myself built in the 1970’s!)…with not a lot of upgrading! Our tent site is next to the playground, which is a blessing and a curse…

To Kai – definitely a blessing…he made a big group of friends as soon as we arrived!

After a fairly sleepless night during a massive electrical storm, we went out this morning for some lizard reconnaissance….

He does love lizarding – honest! ha ha!

I discovered that the arid zone is full a plants with large spikes and prickles…

…And promptly bought myself some sock protectors (but i’m still wearing my holey Vollies…which is probably a bit silly!)…

Went for a scout about town. Bought supplies. And came back to camp. Brett is out looking at another area, and Kai and I just stopped by the pool at the campsite, which is FREEZING, but Kai went in anyway! Back on the road tomorrow….not sure where….lizards are messing up my carefully laid plans!

More lizarding and a shower before dinner, then i foresee and early night….

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