Due to delays in us receiving some sponsor supplied goods, we have had to change some of our Itinerary. Please refer to ourItinerary pagefor the latest information. Don’t worry if it looks like we’re not coming to visit you in Victoria, Tasmania or South Australia. To keep our itinerary on track, we’ve changed our trip to come and see you towards the end of our journey instead of the start. We’ve already found that sometimes things happen outside of our control, and we’re learning to adapt and be flexible. It probably won’t be the last time!
Are you part of an Emergency Service, Country Women’s Association, Men’s Shed, Sporting Club, Motorsports Event, Community Resource Centre, Automotive Club, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Scouts/Guides, Sports Clubs/Event, Primary and Secondary School, University, Trade Show, Local and State Government? If you are and would like us to visit you, please contact us on 0427 388 168 or via email DrivingOzBlackDog@gmail.com For more information click here!
With all the generosity from our current sponsors (which is fantastic), we have not yet been able to get a sponsor to help us out with a fridge. We are not expecting a free fridge/freezer, but it would be fantastic if we could at least get a discount. With 3 (4) kids and two adults traveling to some of the remotest communities in Australia, we need a fridge that we can rely on!
We have contacted fridge manufacturers across Australia but we have yet to receive a single response. If your company or the company you work for can assist us, please get in contact with us as soon as possible on email@example.com or 0427 388 168. We will be leaving the Melbourne area next weekend, so it would be fantastic if we could organise a fridge before we leave.
We have produced a 3 minute video explaining a bit more about what we are doing and why we are doing it. To see theIntroduction Video click here.
Paul is deeply honoured to be the FIRST ambassador for the Nissan Australia Foundation. We are also super excited about getting our new Legend Edition Nissan Patrol early next week. This vehicle comes many accessories as standard that other manufacturers charge a fortune for. It’s been out with the Press for them to test and review, and it has been called back for us to use on our trip. This new vehicle has had some AMAZING signage put on it so that people will see ALL of our fantastic sponsors company logos. Yes we have seen the design, but you will have to wait for the official handover to see what it looks like! Trust us, you’ll see us coming a mile off, and we won’t be anonymous anymore.
We received awesome news yesterday from one of our Platinum Sponsors – Videocraft, letting us know that they have now received all the equipment that we need to start producing our documentary. Videocraft have joined forces with some of the best equipment manufacturers in the world to ensure we have broadcast quality images and video. At this stage we will be in their Melbourne office on Wednesday to pick up the equipment so stay tuned for an update.
As of Easter Saturday, the kids are away for a week with family, so Paul has been busy installing our Redarc inverter. We’re now completely off grid and charging the camper trailer battery with the gorgeously flat and foldable Redarc solar panels. Of course, when we are camped in a valley, we can’t make the internet come down to our level, so today we have walked up the hill for a quiet shower, and to get back ON the grid! (hence all of our catch ups .. lol!)
We were hoping for a quiet week, but realistically we know it will be anything but. Once the vehicle swap with Nissan happens, and the fully wrapped Nissan Patrol Legend carries all our sponsor logos as well as our own, we know that our relative anonymity will cease to exist. We’ve been proud to wear our Nissan polos and bright red Nismo jackets as a type of uniform, but the Legend will put us well and truly in the spotlight for our beneficiaries – Lifeline and mindDog Australia.
A super quick border cross into Victoria on Day Seven saw us bound for Blackwood’s Mineral Springs Caravan Park. The awesome husband and wife team responsible for the park made room for us at a great rate, for which we are hugely thankful for! It was pouring rain when we got here, and even though it let up enough for us to set up camp, we had significant rain over the next couple of days, and had our first experience with trying to camp when everything is wet! Definitely not fun! The location, however, is idyllic. A bush camp on the banks of the Lerderderg River and we are still here!
On Tuesday this week we took a drive to Campbellfield in Melbourne for a very special appointment. We met Steve and Dave at Cub Campers, and took delivery of our platinum sponsored camper trailer! Steve took time to show us over the trailer and answer any questions we had, and walked us through the no-fail instructions for setting up and packing up, the Supamatic Escape! Every customer gets the same service to ensure they know how to work with their investment in adventure. Once hooked up the Nissan Patrol, they tested indicators and brakes, including helping to adjust the Redarc electric brake system so that our towing experience would be as smooth and safe as possible. The kids explored many of the display models in the showroom, and were fascinated with how such a big tent folds up into a trailer!
Back in Blackwood, and with the sunshine back, we set up our full camp for the first time, and were quite proud of ourselves! The kids are sleeping in the roof top tent and annex, Paul and Kirstine are in the camper trailer, and Luna is able to help Paul again when his nightmares take hold. We are finding huge enjoyment in sitting around the camp fire as a family. The kids do their chores, and have had the freedom to go on “adventures” as they call them, with the handheld UHF radios which were supplied to us by Future Systems. We’ve lost count of how many times each of the children called us up on the radio to tell us that they love us, were going to the playground, crossed the trickling river, made a friend, or were headed to the toilet..lol! The Easter holiday guests at the caravan park know who we are and we’ve had some great conversations as we walk around.
Morning Star Bakery is built around the old police station!
Eldest son tries his first radio sched with Alice Springs
Kooky way to repurpose an old filing cabinet 🙂
Day Six meant tackling Adelaide traffic – something which always stresses us out. After a couple of years living in a small town, the hustle and bustle of cities puts us on edge. This time we had a reason to make a detour here though, as Walther Pro provided us with an additional multi-tool so that we each have one, and one of their new knife sharpeners. These multi-tools have been used every single day, most recently for fixing the water tap on our camper trailer!! If only the parking opportunities had been more friendly for 4WDs towing furniture trailers, it would have been great to pop in and see the staff at Walther Pro and say thank you! We do have to come back to Adelaide, so we’ll have to catch up on that. It was a relief to be back in quieter quarters when we arrived in Bordertown for the night, and had the pick of GRASSY sites. We truly think this is the quickest we have set up camp since we started! Our eldest son had a go at a radio sched on the VKS737 network through our Barrett HF radio, but atmospheric conditions meant that he couldn’t quite get through to the Alice Springs base we were hoping to reach. Luna’s good behaviour made quite the impression with two other sets of campers, and Paul chatted with them the next morning about Luna’s training and role in his life.
Day Five’s destination was Port Augusta. Getting closer to the more densely populated side of Australia meant we could do some shorter days, so we were enjoying some warm weather and sunshine by 3pm. We were the only ones camped in the unpowered section of the park, and had a direct view of the kids playing in the playground and watching more and more children drift to their location. Remember my kids = magnets theory? We spoke to some of the other guests at the caravan park while cooking our tea, and people do seem amazed not only that we have some very serious sponsorship, but that we are game to do the trip with 4 children!
Day Four meant crossing the Nullarbor National Park, and seeing the sights from the awesome lookouts along the Great Australian Bight. Whilst it was too early for whales (which you can spot for free at the lookouts by the way), we did see a pod of dolphins playing/hunting in the surf far below us. The kids had a great view by standing on the lookout wall, which is at least 5 metres back from the undercut cliffs. We were dismayed when a lady suggested we take the children out past the wall and closer to the cliffs to see the dolphins. Like THAT was ever going to happen!! Surprisingly, an older couple got into a conversation with us while dolphin watching, and gave us a donation towards our charities! How completely random and wonderful is that?! We stopped for the night in windy Ceduna (more rocky ground at the caravan park), and had a relaxing evening in the camp kitchen, chatting with a man who was adventuring on his motorbike. His brother had some ongoing mental health issues, so he was really glad to hear about what we are doing.
Back down the sand dunes to the car from the Old Telegraph Station
Day Three led us to Eucla. On the way we refuelled at the BP at Caiguna, and were most amused to find that it is the self proclaimed Hub of the Universe, and Home for Wayward Gnomes! On a previous trip through Caiguna I seem to remember that there were many many more gnomes on display. Perhaps they were shamed into pursuing the straight-and-narrow and were cured of their Wayward-ness??
Eucla itself is just before the border to South Australia on the Western Australian side, but being soo far away from the rest of the state, it lies in a curious twilight time zone which is 45 minutes ahead of the rest of WA. No phone networks detect this change, so to ensure we knew exactly what time it was, Paul changed his watch, and the clock on his phone. We were however, super impressed to see that our TomTom GPS unit had a lovely little note about our estimated arrival time (ETA). It declared the time we should arrive – complete with +3/4hr reference. Very clever piece of technology!
We’ve camped at Eucla before, and knew to expect the rocky ground. Many more tent pegs tried to become horse shoes, and several expletives were uttered before we were ready for the night. The next morning we headed out to the Old Telegraph Station for a quick look, and were dismayed to find that vandals had made an eyesore out of this piece of history which is slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding sand dunes.