Host: Zoe Hayes
Location: North West Queensland
Now, I was always told when I first went to work on a cattle station for the first time with a boyfriend that “if you can work in a set of cattle yards together and survive, well, you’ll survive anything”! Although I thought that to be very true because it was a trial and beyond testing to a very new relationship I quickly learnt that no … if you can survive a trip around Australia in a 92’ series single cab landcruiser with two adults, two puppies and no aircon – only then if you could survive that did I think we would survive anything… (Unfortunately this is not the love story is was supposed to be; never the less it was a trip I’ll never forget!)
First up I recommend for anyone starting out on a new adventure, going to work on the land for the first time or, if you simply had a memorable day – write it in a diary. As I sit in my donga floor wetting myself laughing reading back through a travel journal I’ve kept for the last few years, I can relive the memories all over again – the good, the bad and the ridiculously funny!
Thursday 18th February 2016 Day One:
“What a way to start off a trip! 1,227km driven in just the first day, that was it I’d had enough of listening to D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F by Kevin Bloody Wilson 200km down the road. The most ridiculous part of this is we were (for privacy reasons lets just call him X) had been staying with a friend in Pannawonica, WA, but had to turn around and drive south 446km to pick up the boyfriends new purchase of a .22 rifle before turning around & driving the 446km back north on the road we’d just come down on, to start off again where we had just hours before. Just a few weeks prior to this we had already racked up 4,039km from travelling to & from Perth to the Gascoyne in Western Australia. Anyway, finally making some progress on the trip & K.B.Wilson on repeat at 10.45pm, we pulled up to camp on the side of the road in a truck bay in the ol’ faithful swag with the two pups piled in with us for protection … you know just in case someone MURDERED us out here!”
19thFebruary 2016 Day Two:
“Early hours of the morning X and I set out to source a cup of coffee and a soggy ham and cheese toastie from the road house hot box on the outskirts of Port Headland. Travelling through to the hottest bloody place in Australia and before arriving in Marble Bar, I think we’d already called it quits on our relationship six times although it wasn’t a huge day of travelling having covered 205km by the end of day two, the heat and previous nights poor sleeping arrangements definitely got the better of us (ok just me!). Nevertheless, a decent pub feed at the Iron Clad Hotel and all was forgotten with a full tummy until the swag was rolled out on the dirt car park. Much to my disgust with the heat, I bunkered down with the two dogs and the semi intoxicated boyfriend for the night.”
20thFebruary 2016 Day Three:
“Ok! Things are looking up! Back on happy speaking terms, singing away to Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton – my request of course! Marble Bar to Broome Western Australia 515km completed ending the day with a beach, beer & bloody ripper of a sunset! Putting the worries of the previous days world war 3 behind us and enjoying pure bliss and silky white sand like I’ve never seen in my life. Thankfully X agreed we could splurge out and pay to roll the swag out in a caravan park where we had access to a lovely mozzie infested patch of dead grass on a powered site and cold showers – romantic or what! The dogs and I stuck it out the night in the swag being eaten alive by the billions of bugs while X found comfort sleeping on the cement floor in the shower block underneath the fan.”
21st February 2016 Day Four:
“Its 6:30pm driving through Halls Creek Western Australia with plans to drive through to Katherine Northern Territory another 800km ahead of us- are we freakin’ nuts!!! Wait don’t even answer that! The Kimberley’s threatened with storms with the sky lit up with lightening like some fancy Sydney sky show. Not wanting to run the risk of getting caught in the storms with river crossings already rising we continued driving with the dull beam of the headlights and now had both puppies in the front of the single cab with us keeping dry from the storm hammering down on us. Before long both dogs were snorting there little wet snouts off and at this stage I’m not sure who it was that just let their guts drop between the two dogs & the boyfriend the cab was enough to make anyone’s eyes water! We played dodge ball with the Bovine camped up on the middle of the roads, irritated the crap out of one another and repositioned the two dogs several times so I had enough leg room to be in some form of comfort. Its 2am the morning of the 22ndbefore we pull up.”
22ndFebruary 2016 Day Five:
“Parked up in yet another glamorous resort (truck bay) just outside of Timber Creek Northern Territory, the next destination in sight is Katherine. But not before a cup of coffee from the next road house we pass. Considering we had a rough nights sleep in an upright position in an old ’92 with the two dogs clambered up on top of us and the fear we could be kidnapped or killed with a .22 & .3030 laid up across our chests, breathe, we managed to keep high spirits. Thankfully we had no deaths to report back to loved ones. As we roll into Katherine it’s now 1,558km travelled since the morning of day four. Day five is the most tiring and testing of our relationship, having just a couple of hours sleep in the cab of the Ute we managed without killing each other to push through to the Barkly Homestead just 400km short of the Queensland Boarder. A cabin with fresh soft sheets and the option to have a hot or cold shower was like winning the lottery. Finally crawling into bed well after midnight, its now rolled over to day six. A kilometre total of 836km before crawling our sorry butts into bed on the Barkly! Beyond exhausted we lay awake in bed wishing we’d stopped for a burger 300km ago.”
23rdFebruary 2016 Day Six/ The Final Day!
“It was the final leg of our journey to embark on a new adventure working on a cattle station in Boulia Queensland. It was another remarkable effort finishing up 754km for the last leg it left us with a rather humbling sense of achievement and one we were surprised to live to tell the tale of. I think by the end of it we had a new sense of appreciation for what the other person ‘bought to the table’, more so in our case the cab of the tray back.”
In six days the final tally was 7,606km travelled, completed, accomplished! Two pups in tow, no working aircon and only the use of old cassette tapes, its my most memorable road trip with seeing some of the most incredible Australian landscapes, but, I’ve vowed to myself that next time I choose to set off half way around the country, it will be in a motor car that at least has the small luxury of air-conditioning!