Nov
16
2010

Noodling for opals in Lightning Ridge

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IT’S off to see the natural wonder of Opals, we go. In Lightning Ridge, that is, which is about a nine hour direct drive after collecting your Sydney campervan rental if you don’t plan on having any stops. Lightning Ridge is one of those quirky, bizarre and often downright weird places. But it’s a place you just have to visit in this lifetime, especially for a family holiday. The kids can enjoy noodling – a bizarre name for digging for Opals – above or below ground. Many people have come to Lightning Ridge and struck gold! Or perhaps I should say Opals, anyway. Black Opals. It’s a place so arid and sparsely planted that you often think, ‘Why on earth would anyone live out here?’ But it’s exactly that very fact that attracts so many people each year. It’s an odd place, with living conditions you will only ever find the same in Coober Pedy. Mounds of dirt provide the…

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Oct
26
2010

Great drives – Mighty Murray River country in Mildura

By Victoria /

AFTER leaving the quaint little village of Rainbow we head north to the stunning Sunraysia region on the banks of the mighty Murray River to Mildura. It’s a different route than normal, as most will head to Victoria’s capital city first to collect their Melbourne Campervan Rental Mildura is a happening place and I personally believe it’s really understated. There is so much to do and it’s all really close: winery tours and wine tasting, citrus farm visits, Murray River cruises, great restaurants or even the magnificent Perry Sand Hills. Everything is close by and easily accessible. We stayed at the All Seasons Holiday Park, which is straight across the road from a good shopping centre, so if campervanners have no need to worry about transport with the bus stop right at your door. The two main highlights of Mildura would have to be the houseboat we had for three days – it was out of this world and opens…

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Oct
01
2010

The start of a Rainbow

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After leaving behind a truly awesome week in The Grampians we headed two hours north to a funky little country town called Rainbow – and, no, there weren’t any rainbows in the sky, much to our youngest son Boston’s disappointment. However, there is a big town mural of a painted rainbow! It actually got its name from a colourful patch of wildflowers that grow on the surrounding hills. But all the same, it is a bright and cherry little town to say the least and they make the best pies this side of Africa. The local bakery in town offers a rang of delicious goodies and we nearly ate them out of house and home! Without doubt they have the best pies ever. There isn’t a lot to see and do, but there is a wonderful local icon called Yurunga Homestead. This is an ancient homestead more than 110 years old and which has been amazingly restored. The owners’ belongings…

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Sep
26
2010

The Grampians in Victoria – what a place!

By Melbourne / Victoria /

What a place! The Grampians , which are really easy to reach from Melbourne, are absolutely out of this world! In what is a leisurely three hour drive along the Western Freeway in our Melbourne Campervan Rental, this place is really worth the effort. We stayed at the Parkgate Resort and all of us agreed it’s heavenly. The minute you arrive there is a great sense of tranquility. It’s really quiet, yet there’s also so much to do! If it’s a relaxing break you desire then The Grampians is the place to go and the caravan park is second to none with superb facilities including a heated pool and spa. And it gets even better. For activities, most walks in the The Grampians are easy and have wheelchair and pram access. There are, of course, more strenuous options right up to what they class as the “Experienced” level. However, we did the most basic and the views were simply magical….

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Aug
30
2010
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Great driving holidays – Broome

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BROOME is perfectly positioned on the Indian Ocean with some of the most pristine waters we have ever seen. To get there by campervan from either Perth or Darwin is going to take about a day from either direction. It really is where the Outback meets the ocean, with the red desert dirt continuing until it meets the white sands. This place is definitely up there on the list of things that must be done again. This place has a great surf break, excellent estuary fishing and boating, fantastic walkways and – believe it or not – even a genuine dinosaur footprint. That’s right, take a drive or bush walk down to the lookout and wade out at low tide and see an actual dinosaur footprint! Unfortunately, when we were there, they were experiencing king tides and the tide was never low enough for us to see it for ourselves, but the lookout from the rocky headland was just magical…

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Aug
19
2010
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Great driving holidays – Australia’s world famous Ayers Rock

By Australia / Northern Territory /

LADIES and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the one, the only … Ayers Rock. After picking up a Drivenow Campervan Rental in Alice Springs, it’s about a four or five hour drive to Ayers Rock, otherwise known as Uluru, mainly via the Stuart Highway and then Lasseter Highway. Otherwise, if you are coming from Cooper Pedy, it’s about a six-hour drive. Upon arrival at Ayers Rock you will quickly realise this is the most majestic, utterly enchanting place on the planet. Coming from “the Alice”, it’s all bitumen the whole way and really is a great drive. In your campervan go off-road and take a long cut via Kings Canyon, but if you tow a van, then remember it’s best to stick to the road. Camels are in abundance after the Stuart Highway turn-off. Herds of these awkward looking ships of the desert sprawled along the sides of the roads along with wild cattle. Once you enter the township of…

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Jul
31
2010

Great drives – Melbourne to Sydney (Tumut, a place to sweep you off your feet!)

By Australia / Melbourne / New South Wales / Sydney / Victoria /

MANY Aussies have done the famous trek from Melbourne to Sydney along the Hume Highway, but make sure you take the time to stop in a little town called Tumut. Once grabbing a campervan rental in Melbourne head north and you will arrive at this amazing little destination after about six or seven hours later. Tumut is just before Goulburn, and is only a 25-minute drive from the highway – you won’t be disappointed! This is where you will find Australia’s only remaining original broom factory that makes good old-fashioned straw brooms. Prices start at just $10 each and have an impressive 10-year guarantee! There’s some serious sweeping to be had in these brooms, so you can’t really go wrong. Furthermore, these brooms are an absolute must for your campervan, caravan or motorhome, as they get into all the nooks and crannies. No matter what it is you are sweeping up, nothing beats a straw broom! And while at the…

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Jul
08
2010

Great driving holidays – Melbourne to Nagambie (Victoria)

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

WE decided to try out somewhere close to Melbourne, our hometown, but somewhere where it felt like we were on holiday. So after a bit of research we chose Nagambie. This small town is only 90 minutes north of Melbourne, a great little place with all the services you need and a great little Victorian road trip. It has a great pub and an incredibly good bakery. In fact, people head from Melbourne to Nagambie for one reason – just to go to this bakery! There is nothing better than a loaf of extra-fresh bread. We stayed at Nagambie Lakes Leisure Park. It’s an accommodation venue out of this world. It’s also funny because the park is almost bigger than the town. And to be perfectly honest, you needn’t leave the park either; aside from going to the bakery, that is. This park has absolutely everything. It’s all new, luxurious and surrounded 360 degrees by water with the river on…

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Jun
20
2010

Great driving holidays – Melbourne to Warrnambool (Victoria)

By Melbourne / Victoria /

IF you are looking for a great weekend away from Melbourne in your caravan or campervan, then Warrnambool is the place. There are always some great Melbourne campervan deals on the go. Only a four hour drive from Melbourne, it’s easy driving with plenty to see along the way. There is great coffee in Colac and plenty of rest areas to stop off for a bit of driver reviver – pull over for a snooze if you’re a tad tired. Once you get to Warrnambool, make sure you stay down on Lake Pertobe. We stayed at Discovery Holiday Park, which has a fantastic location as you can walk to absolutely everything. The kids, especially, will love the Lake Pertobe playground. But you can’t really call it a playground as it’s more like 30 playgrounds all in one! It is easy to kill a day here and, besides, it will ensure the kids sleep very, very well that night after all…

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May
11
2010

Great driving holidays – DriveNow is king of the road for campervan hire

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WE took advantage of the great deals offered through this super website for last minute campervan hire and did a test drive. After an easy online booking process, and super deal thanks to the DriveNow gang, we and took one of Maui’s Jayco Conquest campervans for a spin to Adelaide. Peter and I have come to the conclusion www.drivenow.com.au offers the best way to test drive a motorhome (or campervan) without going all out and buying one up front. You know what? it’s actually better than hiring a car and staying in motels and I will even go a stretch further to say it’s tonnes better! In the Maui you can cruise along and stop wherever you want, thanks to the fact the vehicle comes complete with full bathroom, so there’s no need to be hang on until you get to the next town! It’s such a breeze and so much more comfortable. One afternoon, after a late night, I…

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Mar
09
2010

Great driving holidays – Normanton to Quamby (Queensland)

By Australia / Queensland /

LEAVING Normanton, we headed south to a teeny, weeny place called Quamby. The roadtrip was surprisingly easy thanks to good roads and not a lot of road trains, thankfully on this particular day. There were plenty of cattle, though, so you still have to be careful. The cattle around these parts seem to have sound road skills. Believe it or not, I actually saw a herd of cows stop and wait and then cross the road, unlike the horses up around Cooktown who wait, then run out in front of you! There is little warning that Quamby is approaching, so don’t blink or you will miss it. The town of Quamby – and, yes, it still is a registered town – has a population of only 5 (three of whom are the barmaids!) and just one property. However, many moons ago Quamby was a vibrant little village and one of the main Cobb & Co stations. Now it’s a great…

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Feb
13
2010

Great driving holidays – Mt Surprise to Normanton (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

WHAT A CROC! FROM Mt Surprise we head further west and back out almost to the coast to a quaint little place called Normanton. This is the home of the largest salt water crocodile ever officially recorded. And you better believe it! The local publican still has the original photograph of it. This croc came out during a wicked flood and a local lad shot it, 14 times, with his .22 calibre rifle. It could swallow you whole in one gulp and you wouldn’t even touch the sides! No wonder all the farmers were missing a ton of cattle in these parts – sometimes a herd a day, apparently. Just behind the monument of this beast of a creature is the old original prison. Very spooky! It remains just as the last prisoners left it, very airy and the writing on the wall says it all. When in Normanton you just have to go Croc spotting. No matter how scared…

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