No trip to the Red Centre is complete without a visit to the incredibly beautiful Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon! Camping near Kings Canyon is a great way to see all this area has to offer.
The colours of nature in this part of Australia are truly breathtaking…. From the deep rich red soil (that will make its way into every crevice of your van!), to the spectrum of ochres that can be found in the 400 million year old sandstone cliffs, domes and ranges, to the fascinating and beautiful ripple rocks that feature in the Aboriginal dreamtime stories of this land.
SET UP CAMP AT KINGS CREEK STATION
An easy 38km from the Canyon itself, Kings Creek Station caters for every style of traveller with fantastic large caravan and camping sites, and a number of glamping tents that overlook the Giles Ranges. With an onsite restaurant/cafe, pool, free laundry and great playground, it makes the perfect base to explore the National Park. We loved our time here so much we extended our stay!
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN NATURE
There are a number of walks available within the National Park including 2 short and very easy family friendly options, the beautiful Kings Creek Walk, and the Kathleen Springs Walk which is also accessible for mobility devices and wheelchairs. The main event is the spectacular 6km loop Canyon Rim Walk, an exhilarating experience that requires a good level of health and fitness… the first section is a very steep 500 step climb to the top of the Canyon, some 300 meters high, however you will be rewarded with breathtaking (quite literally!) views and an ever changing landscape for the remainder of the walk.
HAVE A DELICOUS MEAL
Whether you are staying at the Kings Canyon Resort, or up the road at Kings Creek Station like we did, do yourself a favour and grab an evening meal at the Resort’s fantastic Outback BBQ! The food was amazing, fresh and great value, so much so we went back a 2nd night! Yum!
Check out our YouTube Episode for all the stunning footage from our time at Kings Canyon!
It’s hard to put into words the feeling of Uluru…. It’s one of those places that will stay with you forever, and somehow changes you a little for the better. Camping in Uluru, in the midst of this incredibly ancient giant life’s worries can seem fairly insignificant!
Located 2300km north west of Melbourne, 3200km west of Brisbane, and 3600km from Perth, this truly is the beating heart of the Red Centre! We travelled from Adelaide, following The Explorers’ Way en route to Darwin, a journey of over 5000km!
CAMPING ULURU – OFFGRID JUST MINUTES FROM THE ROCK
Whilst we had heard some fairly negative comments and reviews around staying in Yulara, we loved our time camped off grid within the Ayers Rock Resort overflow campground. For $30 per night per van with more space than you’d ever need, and full access to the campground facilities including the pool, this is a great place to stay!
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE BEAUTY
There are so many ways to experience Uluru, from watching the sunrise or sunset, to completing the 10km base walk, hiring a bike, Segway tour, or getting in the air on a helicopter or plane tour. We purchased an annual National Park pass for $50 per adult (kids under 17 are free!) to make the most of our time in this sacred place.
EXPERIENCE THE FIELD OF LIGHT
This incredible art installation by Bruce Munro is not to be missed and is truly magical. 50,000 stunning hand blown glass bulbs, gently moving with colour across the vast outback make for a breathtaking experience. We enjoyed the Star Pass, an extended experience that includes drinks and nibbles on a raised viewing platform overlooking Uluru.
STAND BESIDE A GENTLE GIANT
It’s hard to believe, until you are standing amongst her, that Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) stands 200 meters taller than Uluru! The very easy Walpa Gorge Walk takes you right into the heart of this beauty and beside her spectacular towering cliff walls. We recommend allowing yourself a good amount of time to sit, be still, and take in all her glory.
Our Lap of the Northern Territory
Check out our YouTube Episode for all the stunning footage from our time at Uluru and Kata Tjuta!
One of the quirkiest and remote towns in South Australia, Coober Pedy is unique in so many ways. Known as the world’s opal capital and famous for its incredible underground dwellings, this fascinating town is definitely one for your must-visit list when travelling through the vast South Australian outback! Camping in Coober Pedy is a great way to experience all this town and its surroundings have to offer.
Located 850km north west of Adelaide, 2000km south of Darwin and 2500km west of Brisbane, getting to Coober Pedy is half the fun! We travelled from Adelaide, breaking up our drive with overnight stays in the historic towns of Peterborough, Quorn, and a night off-grid at the Glendambo Roadhouse. We also stopped for a rest at Woomera to check out the rockets and missiles on display.
OVERLOOKING THE INCREDIBLY VAST LANDSCAPE – COOBER PEDY CAMPING
There’s no mistaking you’ve arrived in Coober Pedy, with its incredibly unique landscape dotted with thousands of huge piles of mining tailings. Whilst there are a number of caravan parks in town to choose from, we chose to stay at a fantastic Hipcamp property called Coober Pedy Views. There we enjoyed uninterrupted panoramas over some of the most incredible country we’ve seen to date.
EXPLORE THE TRUE CHARACTER OF TOWN – NOBLE TOURS COOBER PEDY
The absolute highlight for us was the half-day tour with Aaron from Noble Tours Australia. This was one of the best tours we’ve been on during our travels, and very reasonable in price. The tour takes in 7 different locations around Coober Pedy including an underground mine, underground house and underground church, as well as the remarkable landscapes of the Moon Plains and culturally significant Breakaways.
NOODLE FOR OPAL
And of course no trip to the opal capital of the world is complete without trying your luck at noodling for yourself! There are dedicated areas around town that allow you to fossick for opal without the requirement of a permit. A number of mine sites also offer a paid tour and fossicking experience. We enjoyed some night noodling using a shovel, sieve and an ultraviolet torch that allows the opal to shine bright and be found amongst the darkness.
OUR LAP OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Check out our YouTube Episode for more great things to do in Coober Pedy!
Known as the capital of the NSW Outback, and the only city in Australia to be heritage listed, Broken Hill is incredibly vibrant and full of surprises! Camping in Broken Hill is a great way to experience all this town has to offer.
With over 65 visitor experiences to choose from, we are sharing our round-up of the best attractions and things to do to fill your days and make your stay truly memorable! From world-class art galleries, quirky pubs, rich history and passionate locals expect the unexpected in Broken Hill!
Our very first stop before we headed to The Broken Hill Pub for a cold drink and bite to eat was the Visitor Information Centre where we grabbed a touring map to mark out our Top 10 must-do experiences.
BROKEN HILL REGIONAL ART GALLERY & PRO HART GALLERY
Opened in 1904 Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery is the oldest regional gallery in New South Wales. The beautifully restored emporium displays a selection of permanent works and a quality program of temporary exhibitions by local, state and national artists along with touring exhibitions.
A highlight for us was viewing the collection from the famed Brushmen of the Bush, a group of 5 artists that collaborated in the 70’s and 80’s, including Jack Absalom, Eric Minchin, John Pickup, Hugh Schulz and Pro Hart.
A trip to Broken Hill would not be complete without a visit to the Pro Hart Gallery. This multi-level building and studio is jammed packed with hundreds of impressive and colourful artworks by Pro himself, and a number of other artists, and is a wonderful homage to the life and work of one of Australia’s most iconic and unassuming artists.
The gallery is housed alongside Pro’s original studio and home, and includes many of Pro’s sculptures and his impressive car collection, including a hand painted Rolls Royce.
The Palace Hotel
A must see is the Palace Hotel, and you might recognise this iconic hotel from the 1994 hit Australian movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
The scale of this building is just incredible, with its 3 levels and 52 accommodation rooms and of course the famed Priscilla Suite that we were lucky enough to have a tour through. Remarkably this building was originally erected in 1889 as a coffee palace to set it apart from the licenced hotels that were already abundant in Broken Hill. Unfortunately though the venture was just not profitable, and so it morphed into a licenced hotel in 1892. Something incredibly quirky and unique about this hotel are the over 500m2 murals that are painted across every wall and ceiling in the building, and the story of how the artworks transformed the hotel to feel like an oasis in the outback.
BELLS MILK BAR
For generations people have been coming from far and wide to taste the famous sodas, spiders, and milkshakes on offer at Bells, Australia’s oldest continuous running milk bar. Established in 1892, it’s literally like time has been paused somewhere in the 50’s where you can enjoy old school service, over 50 original recipe drinks, and listen to old school favourites through the jukebox.
SULPHIDE STREET RAILWAY AND HISTORICAL MUSEUM
A highlight for our little train enthusiast Jasper, was the Sulphide Street Railway and Historical Museum which houses the Silverton Tramway Company (once the richest railway in the world), locomotives and railway memorabilia, set in the original 1905 railway station. We had a guided tour with the incredibly passionate Christine who also shared the Broken Hill Migrant Heritage Museum and the fascinating stories of struggle and resilience that led to the dynamic multi-cultural community that Broken Hill is today. There is also a Hospital Museum, an impressive mineral collection, an antique amusement park, and the highlight of course is being able to walk through the Silver City Comet engine and carriages.
THE BIG PICTURE
Another fascinating art installation you can’t go past is The Big Picture, located within the Silver City Mint and Art Centre. Home to the world’s largest acrylic painting on canvas by a single artist, at 100m long, 12 m high and using over 9 tonne of paint, The Big Picture is an incredible and immersive experience and sure is a spectacular site to behold.
THE LINE OF LODE MINERS MEMORIAL
A dominating presence that forms the backdrop of the city, the Line of Lode Precinct and Miner’s Memorial recognises the life and work of more than 800 miners who have tragically lost their lives working on the Broken Hill mines, dating as far back as the 1880’s. Sitting dramatically on a huge mullock (the gigantic pile of rock and earth mine waste material) that overlooks the city, the adjoining Broken Earth Café gives you the opportunity to enjoy a cuppa and really take in the views over the city.
ROYAL FLYING DOCTORS SERVICE
The absolute highlight for us was the Royal Flying Doctor Service Tour, located at the Broken Hill Airport. The interactive museum celebrates the history of the RFDS, the school of the air, and the life saving services that this incredible organisation offers the people of the outback (and those visiting too!). The tour incorporates the history of how Reverend John Flynn created this service over 100 years ago and the way the history is recognised on our Australian $20 note. And the best part was getting to walk into the hangar amongst the planes to hear the rich stories that are a part of this iconic and remarkably free service for all Australians.
In its hay day Broken Hill was known as Australia’s very first mining town with an impressive 75 pubs to keep those thirsty miners happy. Many of those pubs still remain today and The Broken Hill Pub, that has recently undergone an incredible renovation and transformation into a surprisingly sophisticated and architectural triumph, is our pick for a great meal and a satisfying cold beverage.
STAY – Broken Hill Camping
We set up base camp at the Broken Hill Tourist Park that is conveniently located close to town and the major supermarkets. The park features a great pool, playground and jumping pillow, brand new amenities and accommodation options to suit all travellers.
There’s nothing better than discovering a caravan hack that can give you a convenient solution, improve your experience and deliver all round great value!
Here are our 3 must have hacks for 2021 to add value to your RV lifestyle:
1. MOONLIGHT MOVIES
Our # 1 hack to satisfy every member of the family! Break out the popcorn, grab the camp chairs and use your caravan as your movie screen. Alternatively if you don’t have a blank canvas on the back or side of your van, or the weather is sketchy, you can also project straight on to the side wall of your awning. After a lot of Googling and speaking with the instore expert, we found the Phillips Neo Projector was the best value, gave excellent performance and just as importantly only weighed 860g. Streaming directly from your phone or tablet, with the ability to Bluetooth to speakers or headphones (if you don’t want to upset the neighbours), and coupled with a JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth speaker, this really is the perfect combo. Check out our video for a full overview of the products and how to easily install, set up and maximise your outdoor cinema experience.
Products used: Phillips Neo Projector and JBL Charge 4 Speaker, purchased at JB HiFi
2. OUTDOOR SHOWER
We recently enjoyed some spectacular Gold Coast weather and beachside camping at the Miami and Burleigh Heads Gold Coast Tourist Parks, and Jasper certainly found a way to bring as much of the beach back with him to the van (as all 4 year old’s do!). This very inexpensive hack, for those who don’t already have an outdoor shower installed, is the perfect solution for keeping the sand, soil and salt out of the van and best of all it costs less than $30! A quick trip to Bunnings and only 5 minutes to install on the van, makes this an absolute ripper of a hack!
Products used: Coil Hose Set and Multi-Function Watering Wand, purchased at Bunnings Warehouse
3.BUNGEE CLOTHES LINE
This genius Aussie made product has quickly become one of Katie’s favourite outdoor accessories. A mesh peg bag and bungee cord combo featuring cleverly designed fixing tabs that slide perfectly through your awning runner, make this clothes line a must have product that is simple, strong and consistently does the job every time. With a carabiner style attachment on either end, it’s easy to use without the awning by stringing it between a couple of trees or even between your vehicle and van.
Our mates at Crazy Dog Canvas are offering a FEEL GOOD 10% discount on this awesome product, exclusive to GoRV readers! Simply click ,here to bag yourself this great deal!
Products used: Clothes Line & Bag, purchased from Crazy Dog Canvas
~ Katie Guerin
New episodes of our Family Travel Australia series are released on YouTube every Sunday 6.30pm (AEST), with weekly Podcast episodes airing Friday’s at 8.30pm (AEST).
The wonderful thing about being back “home” on the Gold Coast, is the precious time we get to spend with friends and family before we hit the road again. This week we spent Australia Day catching up with some very dear friends, relaxing and hanging by the pool, and sharing some deliciously healthy and easy camping meals.
This super delicious Aussie damper never fails and is a great alternative to baking a fresh loaf of bread. Historically prepared by swagmen, drovers, and stockmen, and baked in the coals of a campfire or in a camp oven, damper is about as Australian as it gets.
We love serving ours warm with butter, or with jam and cream as you would scones. And it makes a great accompaniment to soups, salads and other main meals.
2 cups Self Raising Flour
60g melted butter (*melt butter over low heat)
1/2 can of your favourite Pale Ale
1 drop of Lemon Myrtle essential oil*
Place a trivet into your Weber and heat on full heat for 10 minutes. Turn heat down to half way, to ensure a low/medium heat of around 190 degrees celsius.
Grease a baking tray or pan with a small amount of butter. We use our Weber pizza tray with a sheet of baking paper.
Combine flour, salt and melted butter in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or butter knife. Slowly add the beer a small amount at a time, while stirring. Continue to add small amounts of beer until the mixture forms a dough.
Knead dough for 1-2 minutes and flatten into an oval shape. Score the top of the dough, place on baking tray, and bake in the Weber for 40-45 minutes, checking after20-30 minutes.
When your knife comes out clean, your damper is ready!
Best enjoyed warm with lots of butter!
* When cooking with essential oils we recommend using only the highest quality, purest oils available. We choose,,dōTERRA Essential Oils for this reason.
There’s nothing worse than having your camping trip spoiled by pesky midges and mosquitos! And if you’re anything like us, avoiding the nasty chemicals and toxic sprays can be really hard when the bugs at are their worst!
Thankfully we have a number of go to essential oil blends that can be applied (diluted with Fractionated Coconut Oil) directly to your skin to help keep the bugs at bay, and others that provide soothing relief for bites and itching.
This DIY Midge and Mosquito Buster is a great and simple recipe that can be used to spray around your campsite, on the ground, mats and camp chairs to deter the bities from entering your environment, ensuring your camping trip is the best possible experience!
3 x flat beers (leave the lids off overnight)
1 bottle of mouthwash
1 cup of Epsom salts
Add all ingredients to a bucket or large container, and stir well. Fill up a spray bottle/s and store excess solution in an empty bottle or air tight container.
Spray around your campsite as often as needed to keep the bugs at bay!
With a few days of down time between Christmas and New Year we have been happily spending more time together enjoying the simpler things, like relaxing in our camp chairs, watching Jasper play with his Christmas presents, making bubbles and cooking outside on the Weber! We also took the time to try out one of our easy camping meals.
We found this delicious and simple slice recipe on the Weber Australia website and decided a sweet treat was the perfect addition to enjoy on these merry days!
250g butter, softened
2-3 large lemons & 1 lime (2 tbsp finely grated rind & 1/3 cup juice)
2 cups caster sugar (we halved this amount)
1.5 cups self raising flour
1 cup desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
Prepare the Weber for indirect cooking over medium-low heat (170°C to 190°C – baking setting).
In a Weber frying pan, add the butter and place onto the BBQ to melt the butter. Once just melted, pour the butter into a large mixing bowl. Use a piece of paper towel to spread the leftover butter around the pan to grease. Line the pan with a sheet of baking paper (this will help to lift the slice out once cooked).
Add the sugar into the bowl with the butter and stir to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each one. Add the flour, lemon & lime rind, lemon & lime juice and 1 cup of the coconut. Stir to form a cake batter.
Pour the batter into the frying pan. Sprinkle extra coconut over the top.
Bake the slice over indirect medium-low heat, with the lid closed, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool completely before slicing.
During our 15 months full time living and travelling on the road we have had the privilege of experiencing some amazing locations, attractions, people and places! However, there have been a few favourites we have missed from our hometown of the Gold Coast…the quieter, natural side that the locals love.
If you only have a few days to explore the best of the GC this itinerary is a perfect blend of free or great value for money, natural and immersive activities that will keep the entire family engaged and happy.
1. Charis Fish & Chips and Daily Pelican Feed
The local’s favourite fish and chippery, and not just because of the fresh seafood! Located on the water’s edge the views from the ample outdoor tables and well shaded seating areas overlook a natural swimming lagoon, with the stunning Broadwater and its many sand cays the perfect backdrop. A highlight is the daily pelican feed at 1:30pm, where up to 50+ resident birds awkwardly fly in and jostle for prime position on the beach, for up to 2 hours before the feed commences.
*tip – arrive at 12:30pm to enjoy a take away lunch and front row seat prior to the pelican feed.
2. G:Link & HOPO
The G:Link (light rail) covers a 20km route with 19 stops and provides transport for a staggering 10 million locals and tourists per annum. We enjoyed a short 20 minute walk from the Broadwater Tourist Park to catch the G:Link between Southport and Surfers Paradise, before hopping on the new HOPO ferry service that offers a circular link through 5 iconic locations on the GC waterways. If you love being on the water, this is by far the best way to take in the incredibly beautiful Broadwater and canals of the Gold Coast… we even spotted a pod of dolphins!
*tip – catch the light rail after 9am to avoid the daily business commuters.
3.Burleigh Headland Sunrise Walk
Burleigh Heads is world famous for its perfect waves, but the real hidden treasure is the world class walk around the headland that juts out from the Pacific Ocean’s edge. This popular sunrise start to the day is complimented with breathtaking scenery, turquoise swimming areas, natural Australian landscape and envious options for really good coffee from either side of the headland’s coffee nooks (a reward for all your effort)!
*tip – park your car on the Tallebudgera side of the headland for a less congested and calmer start (and finish) to this amazing natural and free experience.
4. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Hands down our favourite family fun experience on the GC! Known as the premier native wildlife sanctuary in Australia, there is perfect blend of entertainment and education on offer. Famous for their daily wild rainbow lorikeet feed, you can also have your photo taken with a wedge tailed eagle or giant python, marvel at the majestic Wild Skies Free Flight Bird Show or for the younger family members, sing and dance along with Blinky Bill and friends. A ride on the miniature train is a must for everyone to enjoy, and the real heartbeat of the Sanctuary is the incredible onsite Wildlife Hospital that rescues, rehabilitates and releases thousands of injured and orphaned wildlife back into the wild each year.
*tip – pre-register your entry ticket online as numbers are currently limited.
We chose to stay at the Broadwater Tourist Park located on the northern end of the Gold Coast. With 9 parks and campgrounds located across the GC there are accommodation options to suit every traveller! https://goldcoasttouristparks.com.au
~ Katie Guerin
New episodes of our Family Travel Australia series are released on YouTube every Sunday 6.30pm (AEST), with weekly Podcast episodes airing Friday’s at 8.30pm (AEST).
There’s nothing better than foraging for local ingredients, and creating a meal inspired by your current location! This week we were thrilled to spend a few days camping on South Stradbroke Island, one of the Gold Coast’s most pristine and secluded natural environments. We loved our time getting back to nature on the island, and took the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the simple things like getting up early (ahh, 4am!) to watch the sunrise, exploring the sand dunes on deserted beaches, and stand up paddle boarding in the calm Broadwater.
The boys had the opportunity to go pipiing with the campsite managers Lachlan and Emily, bringing back an awesome haul of these tasty little morsels. After a good discussion and some friendly coaching from Emily, we tried our hand at one of the island’s favourite dishes, a super easy and incredibly tasty, Pipi Pasta!
Pasta of choice – we used Linguini
Fresh pipis (purged, see tip below)
Diced red onion
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
Handful of grape tomatoes, chopped
Shallot, finely sliced to garnish
Salt & Pepper to season
Cook pasta per the instructions to al dente.
Meanwhile, add a small amount of olive oil to a hot pan and fry off red onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the grape tomatoes and reduce heat.
Add a small amount of pasta water to the pan to create a sauce consistency, and carefully add your fresh pipis. Cover with a lid and let steam for approximately 3 minutes. Your pipis will be cooked and ready when the shells open.
Add your pasta into the pan and stir through to combine all ingredients. Serve immediately, seasoning with chilli flakes and salt, and garnish with fresh shallot.
TIP: You can easily clean your pipis prior to cooking by purging them in a solution of cool water and sea salt – 30g salt to each litre of water – for several hours or overnight, in a cool part of the house. Do not refrigerate them as they will close up and won’t “spit out” the sand.