South Stradbroke Island is one of our favourite places to visit when we are back on the Gold Coast spending time with our family and friends. This week was a great opportunity to try out one of our easy camping meals.
This time we were treated to a delicious cook up with our lovely friend Bec, head chef of Tipplers Cafe – a South East Queensland institution renowned for its laid back beachside environment and mouth watering fare.
Whether you’re visiting the island for a day trip, or staying over at one of the 3 campgrounds, Bec’s Thai Style BBQ Fish is an easy camping meal to cook up on one the free gas BBQ’s, after snagging yourself a fresh catch of fish.
1 clove garlic
1 very small knob of ginger, peeled
1 coriander root, washed well and chopped finely
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon kaffir lime leaf, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons coconut cream
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 fresh local fish fillets
4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds
Washed coriander leaves for garnish
Pound the ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaf, salt, pepper and coriander root in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Add spices and coconut cream and continue blending to a smooth paste.
Rub the fish fillets with the paste.
Heat the BBQ and brush some vegetable oil onto the BBQ hotplate, drizzling the rest over the fish fillets. Make sure the BBQ hotplate is hot before you add the fish, as this will help to stop the fish sticking to the BBQ.
Place fish fillets onto the BBQ and resist moving them or flipping them until the fish is cooked at least 2/3 of the way through.
Once the fish is 2/3 of the way cooked through, then flip and finish cooking.
Serve drizzled with sweet chilli sauce, wedges of lime, coriander leaves and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
If you are planning to caravan or motorhome around Tasmania, chances are you’ll be taking your vehicles over to the small island aboard the Spirit of Tasmania. Here’s our Top 10 Tips – everything you need to know before sailing:
1. BE PREPARED (But don’t be early)
Check out Spirit of Tasmania’s website for all your pre, during and post sail information. They have a great itinerary and road trip planner, plus a fantastic pre-sail checklist to ensure you are 100% prepared for your trip. Checkout opens 2.5 hours before your sail time (in most cases) and closes 45 minutes before sail time. The check-in and boarding process is systemised and easy!
2. BIOSECURITY (Know what you can’t take with you)
Spirit of Tasmania will send you all the information you need to know about what you can and can’t take into Tasmania, upon booking. Take the time to read through the information and check out the FAQ on their website for full details. For a full list of Tasmanian biosecurity requirements, visit Biosecurity Tasmania.
3. TOILET BREAK (Especially the kids)
A mandatory toilet break for everyone travelling before you commence the check-in process is a great idea, especially for the kids!
4. FUEL RESTRICTIONS (Taking a car or camper?)
Spirit of Tasmania will send you all the information on what you can and can’t take onboard. Read through the fine print and check the FAQ on their website for full details. If you are travelling with a vehicle or camper there are restrictions on carrying fuel, LPG and propane, so best to be prepared.
5. BOOK A CABIN (Especially if you have kids)
Crossings can be anywhere between 9-11 hours depending on the weather conditions so booking a cabin is a great idea. You’ll have a private space to retreat to when you need. And, if you are sailing overnight having a bed to sleep in, as well as a private toilet and shower, makes the journey much more comfortable.
6. FEED THE FAMILY (Don’t go hungry)
There are so many dining options on board the Ship to keep the troops happy and full, plus a number of bars and lounge areas to ensure every member of the family is satisfied!
7. TOURISM HUB (Purchase your National Parks Pass)
Pick up your National Parks Pass at a discounted rate, plus there are loads of brochures and information on everything Tassie – from regions to experiences and attractions.
8. EXPLORE THE SHIP (Pick up a map at Reception)
Pick up a map of the Ship at Reception and have fun exploring the decks, facilities and activities. There’s something for everyone!
9. WAVE GOODBYE (To Melbourne City)
Find a good spot on the port side of the Ship and wave goodbye to the city. If you are sailing at night the city lights are beautiful! Be sure to be on deck 15 minutes after sail to get the best view!
10. KIDS PLAY ZONES (Decks of fun)
There is plenty of fun for kids of all ages. There’s a play area for the little ones, a games arcade, and two cinemas for the bigger kids.
BONUS TIP (Don’t get sea sick!)
The Bass Strait is notorious for big seas that are no fun to cross. Be prepared with sea sickness tablets just in case. We love to use our doTERRA Essential Oils like Ginger and the Digestive Blend to keep us feeling our best when we are on the high seas!
Check out our YouTube episode #131 for our complete Tasmania Touring Guide – what you need to know before you go! Including the best campgrounds, best foodie experiences, best waterholes, best tours and attractions, best free activities, the locals favourites, and Tassie’s #1 destination. As well as the must have apps, maps and resources that you’ll need to make the most of your time in Tasmania! Plus the Top 10 Tips for sailing on the Spirit of Tasmania.
Known as the Capital of Australia’s ochre Outback. Alice Springs is nestled between the spectacular East and West MacDonnell Ranges. Camping in Alice Springs is a great way to get amongst the incredible environment on offer here in Central Australia.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN AN ANCIENT ENVIRONMENT
Stretching 161 kilometres west of Alice Springs, Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park makes for some pretty exciting and incredibly scenic day trips to take in its natural wonders. With permanent freshwater waterholes and ancient gorges, the number of culturally significant landmarks here is certainly impressive! We visited Angkerle Atwatye (meaning “the gap of water”), also known as Standley Chasm. An incredible geological formation billions of years in the making. The chasm is a significant cultural icon for the Arrernte Aboriginal people that have lived in this area for tens of thousands of years.
TAKE IN SOME OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST ROCK ART
Like its westerly twin, the East McDonnell ranges stretch 150 kilometres east of Alice Springs. They are home to more incredible natural wonders. N’Dhala Gorge Nature Park is an important archaeological and heritage site that protects thousands of prehistoric petroglyphs (some of the world’s oldest Aboriginal rock art carvings). The easy and family-friendly 1.5km walking track takes you into the Gorge, and past what is believed to be approximately 6000 individual stone engravings.
Alice Springs Camping
We found the Big 4 MacDonnell Ranges a great base to make the most of our time in Alice Springs. The caravan park has large, generous sites and all the facilities to keep every member of the family happy. Be sure to stay over the weekend to enjoy their free Sunday morning pancakes tradition!
Check out our YouTube episode #99 for all the incredible footage from our time exploring Alice Springs and the surrounds.
Other Popular Destinations in the Northern Territory
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!