Our great big Outback adventure

Well the old 'Dunny Door' made the trip, even though we were 20 kilos over the recommended weight for a 'Commodore'.

Our first day at Nardoo Station was a little wet.

All farm activities were cancelled.

Our last day at Nardoo Station, Oh, will you look at that?

It's a beautiful blue sky! 

Our first challenge was the rain. It was everywhere, even in our roof luggage. So-ooo, most of our clothes were wet. Luckily the kind hosts at Nardoo Station, a sheep and cattle station in Cunnamulla, put us up in one of their comfy family cabins. The cabins were more expensive than the unpowered campsites, but I didn't care. After seeing many wet campers digging trenches around their tents and some tents even appearing to be floating on a lake of orange water, I was happy to pay whatever the cost.

On our first night at Nardoo Station, I dressed the kids in their only dry clothes and we went for a walk around the camp. Despite my protests, my husband led us through a flooded paddock to look at the artesian spa. Which I was sure would slip up one of the kids and they'd be left with nothing dry to wear. My husband expressed his appreciation when I withheld the words, 'I TOLD YOU SO!', after rinsing out the clothes of my three year old daughter, who ended up covered from head to foot in orange mud.

All was forgiven after an enjoyable evening of sausage sizzle, wine and stories around the campfire.

The next day, all farm activities were cancelled due to the rain, so there was only one thing left to do . . . go for a dip in the artesian spa. Now that was very relaxing, and good for a hangover too. Not that I had a hangover, but if I had, I would imagine it would have helped.

After that, we went for a trip out to Eulo and fossicked through ice-cream buckets for $2 opals. Then we did some bird watching down on the Paroo River. I really wanted to get a photo of that rare looking waterbird who was posing perfectly on a rock. However, my kids decided to play their favourite game . . . let's chase the birds. It appeared to me that the birdwatchers were also trying to capture a photo of that waterbird, and I had the feeling they had been camping out there for some time in pursuit of it.

Spectacular sunset at Nardoo Station.

Anyway, with not much to do back at Nardoo . . . except enjoy more spa baths and this spectacular sunset, we headed to Charleville a day early. Under dryer conditions, Nardoo Station would have involved us in one or many of their exciting farm activities (only if we wanted to be involved that is). Visitors can simply enjoy relaxing in the spa and watching the sun go down with a glass of bubbly, which was nice too.

Although, it would have been nice to see a sheep or a cow, you know, being a sheep and cattle station and all.

An Outback adventure isn't an adventure

without a frog in the dunny.

Or a family of emus in the backyard. 

I was very excited about visiting Charleville with so many interesting sites to see. Our first stop was the Cosmos Centre. We took the kids for a daytime tour and the boys went back later that evening to see the stars through a huge telescope. I stayed back at the motel with little missy as it was way past her bedtime.

This pedal powered radio was used by the
 Royal Flying Doctors Service in the 1930s.

Our next stop was the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) visitors centre, followed by the Historic House Museum. And then on our last night in Charleville, we enjoyed The Bilby Experience. Although, my five year old boy was a little disappointed that the bilbies didn't perform backflips. We had recently visited Sea World, so it was only natural that he would be expecting backflips.

A bilby we captured in the wild and brought home. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

We explored some of Charleville's surrounding towns. I loved the town, Augathella, with it's beautifully painted murals and the classic Ellangowan Hotel. You can't have an Aussie country pub without a true blue Aussie publican sitting right out the front. One hundred percent class, he was.

Ellangowan Hotel, Augathella. 

Now the trip from Charleville to Carnarvon Gorge was the longest. Just when we thought we were home and hosed, arriving at the Carnarvon turn off, we found the road had turned to dirt and there were several overflowing floodways along the way. The clouds were gathering over the gorge and growing darker. Which meant more rain. And more rain meant those floodways were only going to get higher.

We stopped to ask one of the locals for his opinion.
"Moo-ooo!" He replied. Yep, that's most helpful, thanks. 

We arrived at Takarakka Bush Resort and were directed to our campsite. The ground for our site wasn't as high as we had hoped. Anyway, we set up our tent as quickly as possible, because the rain was getting heavier and we didn't want to sleep in a wet tent. Once that was done, we headed over to the kitchen to cook our dinner.

The kitchen was amazing. We were spoilt with a five star camp kitchen. There were plenty of stainless steal gas stove tops, bbqs and wash basins. Nobody had to wait their turn. They even supplied the detergent, scrubbers and tea towels. (Oh and I have to mention how clean the shower and toilet facilities were. I was so-ooo relieved to see that the toilets were the flushable kind).

After our hearty meal of . . . canned spaghetti on bread, we headed back to our tent for a sleep. Then the rain came. I mean, the real heavy stuff. My husband said he'd pop outside to check on things. Well, he just didn't come back! There was a creek developing near our tent and he was madly digging trenches to divert the water.

Meanwhile, inside our tent there were droplets forming from above and that's when the drip, drip, drip started. Soon the boys were completely wet, although they didn't know this, because they were too busy being fast asleep. So I carried my kids over to the not dry, but dry-er corner of our tent. And it was really hard to balance, as the tent floor felt like a waterbed sloshing under my feet. That was when I realised the creek had found it's way under our tent, despite my husband's trench digging efforts.

Finally the trenches had won and the creek was diverted, so the ground beneath our tent felt like earth again. I asked my husband if he was having fun. To my surprise, he said "Yes". He poured himself a long yearned for rum and climbed into the tent to relax. However, before his lips touched the edge of his cup, it tipped over and his rum spilt all over the place. Every precious drop. I decided to ask him again, "Are you still having fun?" He was lost for words.

Moving our camp to higher ground made for a much better experience the next night. 

The next day the word was out that we were all rained in. Go figure. The roads were closed and there was no escape. So we moved our tent to higher ground thanks to the friendly and accommodating Takarakka staff for allowing this to happen. Even though the campsite beside us was already booked by Joe Bloggs, who was probably stranded on the other side of the creek and couldn't get in anyway.

The camp shop informed us that they had ran out of bread and milk, but they reassured us there was a plentiful supply of beer and wine. That's when I knew, we were going to be ok.

Mickey's Creek walk, Carnarvon Gorge National Park.

Aboriginal Rock Art, Baloon Cave, Carnarvon Gorge National Park. 

There were a few nerves over snakes after we saw this fellow swim across the creek towards us. Especially the next morning when, out of my blurry eyes, I spotted a snake which appeared to be sleeping on the end of my boys' air mattress. Now, I know that my five year old brought along his wooden snake on our trip and it looked a lot like this one. But I couldn't be sure whether it was real or not. So I gave it a gentle prod. Yes, that definitely feels like wood. I thought. Then I poked it a bit harder, just to be sure.

We were told we'd find a platypus family in the platypus pool.

Guess we'll have to settle for this snake. 

Holding the head in one hand and the tail in the other, I lifted this lifelike wooden snake and, like a cat about to pounce on a finch, I tiptoed towards my peacefully sleeping husband. "You were going to get me with that, weren't you?" He asked, popping his head out from under his covers. Obviously not sleeping as peacefully as I thought... shucks.

"No," I replied. "I totally wasn't."

Later that day, we found out that some bright spark had decided to drive across the floodway which was 1.2 metres high with a fast moving rapid. Despite the ROAD CLOSED sign and the park ranger's strong suggestion . . . "I don't care if you're driving 'the unbreakable' HiLux. You're a bloody idiot if you think you can drive through that! "

Luckily he managed to get his powered windows down just enough to slip out to safety before the electrics died and his vehicle was swept down yonder. All that was left to be seen was his roof, metres down the creek. We were all entertained by his efforts, especially when we found out that the brand new HiLux was his bosses!

As we were happily driving out of Carnarvon Gorge three days later, we saw the HiLux heading back to Takarakka on the back of a tow truck, after it had been dragged from the creek. The HiLux was covered in weed and inhabited by creek life. Maybe the platypus that someone said they saw get washed over, was living in it. I mean, if I were a platypus and my burrow washed out, I wouldn't bother digging another if I had a brand new HiLux to inhabit, especially if it was the deluxe model, which I'm sure it was.

The whole campsite was laughing and 
applauding HiLux guy's efforts. 

Anyway, it was an enjoyable trip, even in the face of a deluge. I think we'll be better prepared next time. Yes, that's right, there will be a next time.