Author Archives: kethelboysadventures

A Boys Weekend

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The mid year school holidays are here and that means trying to keep the kids entertained for two weeks.

I thought it would be good to do a small camping trip. Unfortunately Hayden is not old enough to go camping. A little too cold for a 10 week old this time of year. So it was decided my self and the two older kids would do a weekend away. But that plan changed when Siannah decided she would rather stay at home with mum and Hayden. So I invited a mate and his son and made it a boys weekend camping trip. Mick and his son Lennox, Alec and myself couldn’t wait to have a weekend away from those pesky woman.

We decided to go down to Levuka 4×4 Park a place that Mick and I have been many times before.

Arriving Saturday afternoon the weather wasn’t the best. With light showers at regular intervals we only got to see blue sky briefly between the clouds as they rolled over our camp spot. After setting up camp and getting a fire going, We settling in for the night hoping we would wake up to better weather in the morning.

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All set up for the weekend.

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Hamburgers for dinner. Nothing flash but it filled our belly’s.

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The property’s owners dog decided to spend the night with us.

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Not a bad fire considering everything was wet.

The next morning we woke up to the same weather as the previous day. We didn’t let this dampen our mood or our spirit for fun and adventure.

The first activity of the day was a small bit of four wheel driving. We aired down tyres, locked the hubs and went for a muddy drive around the park.

Well once everyone had finished playing with our new found friend. It spent the night sleeping in one of our camp chairs.IMG_1655IMG_1656

 

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Tackling the rainforest track.

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Then a small water crossing.

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And to finish off with some really slippery mud.

We stopped at a lookout and had some morning tea while admiring the view of the surrounding county side, before heading back to camp.

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Now thats a good looking bunch of blokes. 

Once back at camp the activity’s and fun continued, and so did the showers. Mick and I spent a lot of the time trying to keep the kids warm and dry. Between the showers the kids enjoyed playing outside, but it was often hard getting them back under cover when the rain returned.

The afternoon was spent riding bikes and playing with remote controlled cars.

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It was a hard walk up the hill.

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Lots of fun riding down the hill.

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Alec having fun making ramps for the R/C cars out of our firewood.

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As the day quickly drew to a close we set about getting the fire going and something ready for dinner. Dinner was Mick’s job. I organised dinner the first night.

A fire for the night proved to be difficult to start. Everything was wet and we had run out of fire lighters. But being rugged out door men we got it going. Our methods probably shouldn’t be discussed in a open blog post.

As night settled in we ate lamb stew around the fire and had roasted marsh mellows for dessert. A good way to finish a fun day.

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The following morning we slowly packed up camp and made our way home. We had only just started to relax. Maybe next time we will make it a longer trip.

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With the camper hooked up we are ready to head home. Muddier than when we arrived.

Same but Different

The birth of Hayden is an exciting new chapter in our lives and a chapter neither of us believed would happen.

Miranda and I both thought the opportunity of having another child was lost when our respective partners passed away. Resigned to the life of single parents all our efforts went into the well-being of the children we had, while also trying to put our lives back together after such tragic events. One day we might fall in love again and assemble some sort of family unit with a new partner, filling the void of our loss. But having a second child was too much of a dream to ask for.

With both of us feeling comfortable in our relationship and the subsequent joining of our family’s. It wasn’t a hard decision for Miranda and I to have a child together. However we both knew it would have to happen sooner rather than later. Neither of us are spring chickens and the gap between any new baby and Alec and Siannah wasn’t going to get smaller.

When Miranda fell pregnant it was happy and exciting news, but for me it was more than that. For the first time since Peta’s passing I felt an excitement for the future. A resetting of my life, as if it was back on track.

Other feelings came over me too. Ones that involved the first time I become a father.

As the family adapts to having a new baby in the house. I can’t help but look back five years ago when Alec was born. The birth of Alec was a amazing and happy moment for Peta and myself. However it also marked the beginning of a very hard ten months as Peta fought against Postnatal depression, which she eventual  lost. This is weighing heavily on my mind as Miranda and I become parents together and start the journey of parent hood with little baby Hayden.

Since Peta’s passing, I constantly replay in my head events that occurred during those hard times. Should I have or could I have done things differently? Would it of made a difference? I have analysed all aspects of our lives together over and over again. Trying to pin point the cause, time period or event when it all went wrong. Of course I can’t. The best I can do is identified many factor’s that contributed to her passing. The benefit of hindsight and none of it can be changed.

The feeling of deja vu seems to happen a lot. Memory’s are constantly flooding back to me as we go about the daily choirs of having new baby in the house. Small things trigger memory’s of Peta and I when Alec was this age and having Peta in the these early memory’s is often hard. A simple memory of washing bottles can lead on to a memory that I may not particularly want to remember or ones that hurt.

Miranda and Peta are completely different woman in nearly all aspects and of course this isn’t our first rodeo. Even so I am always looking out for signs of problems. Doing my absolute best to making sure as a family we are not only surviving, but thriving. After all not everyone gets a second chance.

Our First Family Holiday.

Christmas time means holidays and holidays means family road trips. As a family we just completed our first holiday road trip, and we didn’t do it by halves.

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We’ve been on a couple of weekend camping trips together. As well as a short trip down to Newcastle, which we flew. This was our first proper holiday. A total of 6 nights, 5 of those sleeping in the camper trailer. Add to this a 800 kilometre drive to get to our destination. Done in one day.

Our destination Newcastle. Miranda grew up in this former steel city and was keen to show off  her home town and also catch up with family.

We prepared for the big drive with plenty of snacks to feed the worms and half a car full of toys and activities to keep them occupied. The kids not the worms that is.

We set off early. Carrying the kids from their beds into the car, trying not wake them.

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Loaded up and on our way.

We made good time. Stopping regularly for toilet breaks and to stretch our legs. Generally the kids were good. Alec is use to be in the car for long periods of time. While Siannah says she “would rather fly next time as it takes sooooo long.”

To make life easier we stayed at Miranda’s parent’s place the first night. This saved having to set the camper up after such a long day in the car. We spent the night and the following morning catching up with family. After lunch we headed off to our camp for the week.

Our camp spot was south of Newcastle on the banks of Lake Macquarie. I don’t know much about the area but a reckon we got the best camp spot.

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Getting some help setting up the camper.

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The view from our camp site.

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Play count the swans.

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Sunset over the water. Could you ask for anything more.

The following day we had a rest day. Tested the swimming pool and had a bike ride.

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Our first bike ride for the holiday. The kids were fascinated by the pelicans hanging around the local fisherman looking for an easy feed.

The following day we went on a little four-wheel drive adventure. Beach driving on the famous Stockton beach.fullsizeoutput_138b

Stockton beach and the Worimi Conservation lands, is a 32 km stretch of beach and coastal dune area north of Newcastle. With a permit you can drive the beach and some of the dunes. A lot of the dunes have been closed off to vehicle traffic in recent years. However a large section on the southern end has been set aside so the big kids can have a play in the sand.

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On top of one of the large dunes.

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The dunes are always on the move.

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Driving on the beach was hard work. The sand was very soft.

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This group of sheds is known as Tin city. They have an interesting history, including being part of the Mad Max movie. Tin City History

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We stopped on the beach and set up the awning for some beach fun.

After we got off the beach we decided to head over to Nelson bay. We had afternoon tea at one of the trendy cafe’s at the harbour and had a small explore. As we were leaving I spotted a sigh to a look out. I can’t resist a good look out.

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A birds eye view of Nelson Bay.

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Um…. Not really sure what is going on in this picture.

The next day we did some more exploring but this time closer to camp. Miranda was keen to show us the local beaches that she grew up around.

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First stop Merewether Beach.

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We had a look at the Merewether baths and the explored the rock pools. It was far to hot to go swimmming.

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Then a short walk along the memorial walk above the cliffs overlooking the city.

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 Lunch on the harbour. I had fun watching the large ships being towed in and out of the harbour.

On our last two days in Newcastle we caught up with friends and family, and relaxed around camp.

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Lots more bike riding was done.

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The kids loved collecting shells.

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 Did some fishing.

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Two minutes later when their realised finishing take patience.

Unfortunately it came time for us to leave. Again we had to drive the trip home in one day. We packed up camp by mid morning and prepared ourselves for a long day in the car and a late arrival home. At least we were able to sit in the air-conditioned car to escape the hot weather everyone was experiencing.

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We still made time to visit the big banana at Coffs Harbour.

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And have a yummy treat. Yum Banana split.

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Still on the road as the sun sets.

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The kids tucked in and asleep as we pushed into the night.

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This is a screen shot of the navigator I use. It was a big drive home.

Now we are home and able to look back on our holiday. We can confidently say our holiday was a success. Not everything went to plan. We had some extremely hot weather, the kids weren’t always angels and we had a small car problem. But as a family we worked together to over come the drama’s and have a great time. Miranda and Siannah survived living in the camper for a week. In fact I think I might have some budding campers on my hands.

Now where will our next holiday be. Maybe somewhere off the beaten track.

 

Four Years

Four years have now passed since we lost you forever. As time passes we have all learned to continue on with our lives without you. The constant feeling of loss becoming normal. Often getting blocked out by the daily routine of life.

Alec is well and growing fast. Not our little baby any more. He is a proper little boy now and loves building stuff with Lego. He makes some wonderful creations. Sometimes he is such a big boy and seems he doesn’t need his dad anymore. Then other times he is still my little man who just wants cuddle’s from his dad.

Alec starts school this year and is very excited about going. I am sure he will do well. He takes after you in the brains department.

His first day of school will be an emotional day. We have done so much together and Alec is what kept me going during those tough times. I going to miss the days when it was just Alec and me against the world.

A sense of ending has come across me and a unease has set in. Not sure why. Maybe each new milestone means it’s closer to telling him what happen to his mother. Something I am not prepared for.

There has been some big changes in our lives this year. I have found love again. The same lady that was mention last year. We got back together. Alec and I moved in with her and her daughter. We have made a family together. Her daughter and Alec get along really well. Being part of a larger family environment has been good for Alec.

Miranda is a wonderful lady. We get along really well and even laughs at my bad jokes. She is also a widow and just like me has had a rough couple of years. We are able to support each other in our times of need.

The other big news is Miranda and I having a baby together. Everyone is very excited. The kids keep asking when will they get to meet it.

I really hope you approve of Miranda and of our exciting news. I have really struggled writing this letter. It’s a strange thing. I am the happiest I have been in years and feel like life is starting again.

However I also feel that I am turning my back on you. Even a feeling of being disloyal, as my life moves forward with Miranda.

It’s a complicated mix of feelings and it’s something I have to deal with as a result of everything that has happen over the last four years. Death of a loved one was never going to be a simple affair.

We have a busy year ahead. But an exciting one. Even as our lives move forward. There is not a day I don’t think of you. I will always love you and always miss you.

Love Loves Peter

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A Big Change.

As the year comes to an end. An update of the Kethel’s boys is well over due. It’s been a busy year and one of change.

As most of you are aware, Alec and I did a trip into central Australia. While we were preparing for new adventures and adventuring. A lot was going on in the back ground that would change the course of our lives forever.

Way back in early 2017 Alec got a new day care teacher. A lovely lady called Miranda. Or Miss Randa as Alec called her. A couple of weeks into Miranda’s teaching duties the topic of family’s was discussed in class. That afternoon during pick up Miranda pulled me aside. Alec had said “he didn’t have a mother.”

At five o’clock in the afternoon in the pre-kindergarten classroom, Miranda and I had our first of many conversations about a part of our lives that unfortunately we both had in common. Miranda had lost her partner and had a daughter not much older than Alec.

Looking back this was the pivotal moment when everything would change.

Over the next couple of months Miranda and I got to know each other, we often talked during pick up and drop off’s. For some reason I looked forward to picking up Alec more than usual.

We eventually went out on a couple of dates and continued to see each other outside of daycare. I would like to say the rest is history. But like a lot of things in life it is never that straight forward.

I was struggling with the change and Miranda also had her fair share of drama’s in her life. I found it very hard at times and later in the year I broke off the relationship. We still stayed friends and of course we still talked a little. She was Alec’s teacher after all.

I started planning our next big trip and the end of the year passed by with Christmas and the usual end of year celebrations.

In the new year Miranda and I started to talk a lot again. January is a tough time of year for both of us and we supported each other during these times. It was then we both realised we mean more to each other than just friends.

However we had a problem. Alec and I were planning to leave on our next trip in a few months with no set time to come home. We agreed to enjoy each other’s company until I leave and what happens after that who knew. At least we would get that short time together.

Four weeks before we were meant to leave on our trip. I found major problems with the caravan and had to cancel the trip. I was very disappointed not to be traveling but on the bright side I got to see Miranda more. A lot more as it turned out.

Alec and I were spending a lot of time at Miranda’s house. We all enjoyed being a family together. Even if it was only on weekends. It seemed the obvious thing to do was join both our small family’s together. But not till after the trip Alec and I were doing instead of the bigger trip that I had originally planned.

Alec and I left our home to conquer the Simpson Desert knowing that when we return it would be to a new home and a new beginning.

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Attending a friend’s wedding together as a family.

As all four of us move forward in our lives together our unique family is constantly learning and changing as we work as one family. We have been blessed that both children get along really well.

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It’s crazy how well these two get along……most of the time.

Slowly both children are accepting of Miranda and myself in the roles as mother and father. Even if we are called by our first names. We are very aware of not closing out either lost parent. We openly talk about them with and in front the kids. Neither one of us are trying to be replacement. But to be a mother and father figure that loves and cares about them in the absence of their respective lost parent.

Joining two family’s together no matter what the circumstances, is not aways straight forward and is a constantly evolving process. Some of the settle in process is not so fun. While some is. Getting to experience each others hobbies and interest’s is in the fun category. In our case Miranda’s daughter Siannah does ballet and we got to attend her end of year performance. Miranda and Siannah got to experience camping with us. With two small trips away already. Hopefully plenty more to come. Of course a big trip around Australia together has been spoken about. But first some more important things have to be sorted first.

The first one is to wait till our new baby is old enough to travel. That’s right Miranda is pregnant with our child and is due in May next year. All of us are very excited. Alec and Siannah are showing very little patience and want the baby now. In the mean time we are having lots of discussions about names for the baby.Resized_20181112_154418_9839

This new child will cement us as a family. But it’s more than that. Both Miranda and I alway’s expected to have more than one child with our respective partner’s, and having the joy of bringing up the children with a loved one and as a family. We didn’t get that. Both of us have been raising our children alone, lonely and dealing with loss. We have support from family and friends and thank everyone for the help. But it’s not the same as having the mother or father of your child there for help and support.

This time will be different. Miranda, Siannah, Alec, the new one and myself as one family. We are going to laugh, cry, joke, get angry, and love as a family. Go on epic adventures, play, work, go to school, and just live an amazing life as a family.

Next year we may not be crossing the Simpson desert or tackling Cape York but it’s still going to be one hell of adventure. Bring it on!!

 

 Happy Christmas and have a wonderful new year.

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The Trip Home

fullsizeoutput_12f1We left Alice Springs and started the first day of a massive week in the car. To get us home we had to cover 2500 kilometres in 8 days. I even brought Alec a new DVD to watch on his little player. I needed something different to be played over and over and over.

We followed the Stuart Highway north for a short while than turned east onto the Plenty Highway. The Plenty highway started with bitumen but soon turned into the usual Northern Territory unsealed road. Dusty and corrugated.

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I like seeing the open signs.

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Sandy and corrugated. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

The kilometres ticked over as we bumped and rattled our way along this so-called highway. We stopped for lunch at the Gemtree caravan park. Later in the afternoon we found camp for the night at Jervois Station. A lovely bush camp not far of the highway.

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Gemtree Caravan park for lunch. Might have to camp here one day.

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A lovely morning photo of the bush surrounding our camp.

In the morning we got away early and just like the following day, we spent most of it in the car. Lunch was at Tobermorey station on the Northern Territory and Queensland border. A lovely grassed area was set a side for camping. We almost stayed the night. Unfortunately it was too early in the day and we hadn’t done our travel quota for the day.

We crossed the border and was surprised that the road improved. Still dusty and corrugated, just not as much. Maybe it was because we were not longer on the Plenty Highway. At the border it changed to the Donohue Highway.

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About to be back in our home state.

Not far from the border we came across a couple of road trains parked near a set of cattle yards. It seem like a great opportunity for a photo. We drove across to the trucks and got a few good photo’s. It turned out the drivers were still about and we all had a good chat. Alec even got to sit in one of the trucks. We were told that 4 more trucks were on their way and will be loading in the morning. The property was de-stocking due to the dry conditions. The cattle were being moved closer to the coast where feed was more readily available.

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They make them big out this way.

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We passed a couple of the other trucks as we continued on.

We arrived in Boulia late in the afternoon and set up camp at the caravan park. We than treated ourselves with dinner at the local hotel. After another big day in the car the swag actually felt comfortable for a change.

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Another town another selfie.

Waking up slowly the next morning we packed up camp and found the local roadhouse. Then fueled the car and ourselves. Nothing like a greasy roadhouse breakfast to get the heart pumping.

As we digested breakfast we drove out of town and headed south. Our goal for the day, Birdsville.

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Yes we are heading back to Birdsville. I really want to drive up Big Red. The trip down to Birdsville was fairly uneventful. The road was a mixture of good gravel and some bitumen. It was a lonely road and we didn’t see a lot of traffic.

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Nothing to see here.

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We came across a look out. The view was amazing. Some might say boring.

We arrived in Birdsville and booked into a cabin at the caravan park. The same one as our last visit. Staying two nights in Birdsville, we used our day off to drive out to the edge of the Simpson desert. To have another attempt of driving up Big Red. With out all the weight of the fuel and water for the desert crossing we did this without a problem.

Once on top of  the big sand dune we spent time soaking it all in. We were lucky enough to have the dune to ourselves. Alec and I had great fun running around in the sand.

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Another visit to Birdsville another photo in front of the Birdsville Hotel. 

Satisfied after driving up Big Red. We had an early dinner and got a good nights sleep. Tomorrow we would be back in the car, this time heading east.

As we left Birdsville, we crossed the causeway and the bridge that straddles the Diamantina river. Much dryer than five weeks ago when we crossed it with the tag along tour.

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Where did all the water go?

Windorah would be our camp for the night and again the trip was not that exciting. We had traveled this road on the tag along tour and not much had changed. As we got close to Windorah the road turned from dirt to bitumen. That was the last of the dirt road for the trip. Our adventure rapidly coming to an end.

We camped in the town camping area. The same spot we camped during the tag along tour. At least this time we weren’t worried about the water level of the Diamiatina river and if we could get in Birdsville. Again I was lazy and we walked down the local pub for dinner.

We had a great time down at the pub. A fire was going and Alec met a new friend to play with. It was the cooks daughter and the children got a huge plate of nuggets to share.

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The next day we traveled 480 kilometres to Charleville. Another day of sitting in the car and not even the excitement of dirt roads to keep us occupied.

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Yep another exciting day on the road.

 

We stayed a little bit out of town at the Evening Star Caravan Park. An absolute gem of a place. Very welcoming, clean and with a bar and fire in the evening.

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Not a bad way to relax.

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Alec was a little cold in the morning while eating breakfast.

The next morning I woke up feeling a little worse for wear. I might have had a couple too many drinks the night before. So we slowly packed up camp and continued heading east. We made it to Mitchell and came across the Great Artesian Spa. Perfect, exactly what I needed.

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Like a big warm bath.

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After the swim and lunch we were back on the road. However driving was the last thing I felt like doing. 88 kilometres down the road we pull up and found a place to sleep. Roma was the town and a nice hotel for our last night for the trip was found. Only 287 kilometres was traveled. The next day was going to be a 500km day to get us home.

Leaving Roma the first thing I notice was the amount of traffic on the road. We were no longer in the remote desert county of central Australia. As Brisbane and home got closer the end of this adventure also got closer. We finally arrived home after 7 weeks of travel. But not the home we left 7 weeks ago. But a new home for me and Alec, but that’s another story for another time.

 

That’s a Bit Random.

Somewhere between Boulia and Birdsville I pull off the road to take some photo’s. The landscape was like the moon and just went on forever. This was the sort of country where you might pass one car an hour.

I climbed up on to the roof rack of the patrol to try to get a photo that really encapsulates the remoteness of this county.

As I was taking photo’s I notice a speck in the distant coming along the road. As it got closer I realised it was a bicycle. I watch the bike approached then a small wave and a nod was exchanged with the rider when he passed. As if nothing was out of the ordinary.

Maybe 6 weeks of fly’s and heat were starting to get to me.

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Believe it or not but there is a bike in this photo.

Uluru

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We arrived in Alice Springs and set about getting organised for the next part of our trip. My brother and Alec’s grandparents will be flying to Alice Springs and then traveling down to Uluru with us.

Alec was very excited to see his grandparents and uncle as we greeted them at the airport. With very little trouble we got them thought the airport, picked up the hire car and found there accommodation for the night in the centre of town.

The next morning Alec and I packed up camp and then met our new travel companions on the outskirts of town. We then heading south down the Stuart Highway stopping once for a coffee break and then a lunch stop at Erldunda roadhouse. Alec’s and my second visit in as many weeks, and just as busy as the first time.

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Bitumen all the way.

After lunch we turned west onto the Lasseter highway and to Yulara. The resort village that caters for all the tourist visiting Uluru and where we will be staying for 4 days.

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On our way to Yulara we pulled over at a road side lookout. That is Mt Conner in the distance.

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Across the road from the look out was a salt pan. It required a short climb up a sand dune but the view was worth it.

There are numerous options suiting everyone’s budget and taste at Yulara. We shared a split level apartment. This worked well for us. More comfortable and stylish than we were use to and it was good to spend time together with family.

Over the next 4 days we played tourists and did a variety tours and activities.

First we did a sacred site tour. This gave us an understanding of the cultural significance of Uluru to the local indigenous population. As part of the tour we visited the interpretation centre and got a guided walk though some of the sacred sites around the rock.

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Everyone soaking up the information from our tour leader.

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 This water hole is only supplied by water running off the rock after rain.

A sunset viewing is a must. We did a tour again. Getting picked up from the resort and driven to the viewing area. The tour also included wine and nibbles.

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Just couldn’t help my self. It is a Scania bus after all.

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Everyone trying to get the perfect picture and Alec making sure he get his fair share of the food.

Both David and myself enjoy bike riding. We couldn’t go past riding around Uluru. So we hired bikes and rode around the big red rock.

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Right we shouldn’t get lost.

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Another tag along bike. I wish Alec would pedal more.

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This is the starting point for the walk to the top. This will be closed permanently in 2019.

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Selfie time.

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While I got a well deserved nap in. Everyone went and watched a native animal display that is on at regular times at the resort. Alec and Grandad were very brave.

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The reptile’s weren’t the only desert animals that we came across. Grandad, Grandma and David decided to ride a camel. Alec was to young so we couldn’t go. Instead we got to watch while everyone got on and off the animals. Very funny indeed.

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On the way up.

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Made it safe and sound. 

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David nice and comfy.

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Alec and I fed the farm animal’s while we waited for the camels to come back. Hopefully with people still on them.

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We also got to check out some of the other camels.

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Grandad saying thank you for the good ride and not biting him.

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On the final day David and I drove out to Katu Tjuta and did a bush walk. Katu Tjuta is a group of large rock formations not far from Uluru and is well worth a visit if in the area.

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Katu Tjuta from a viewing platform.

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David admiring the awesome rock formation.

We also did a night tour of the Field of lights Uluru. This is an art installation by artist Bruce Munro. Photo’s were near impossible due to the low light. Below is the link to the website which will give a good idea what we had seen.

Field of lights Uluru

Once our four days were over we drove back to Alice Springs. We had a day to fill in before we had to part ways. We decided to go have a look at the National Road Transport Hall Of Fame. This also includes the Kenworth Dealer Hall of Fame and the Old Ghan Heritage Railway.

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This was Alec’s favourite because it had a crane.

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Uncle David showing Alec how it is done. Wait what?

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I did my apprenticeship working on this model Scania truck and now they are in museums. I feel so old.

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The Kenworth hall has an impressive selection of trucks.

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New vs old.

The next day we said our good byes. Alec and I made an early start. We had some kilometres to make over the next week. The final leg of our journey. Alec’s grandparents and David would fly out later that day.

Watching Cranes.

In the caravan park that we were staying at in Alice Springs, new cabin’s were being added to the park. The cabin’s are made off the property and trucked in. We were lucky enough to be there when three of the cabins arrived to be put on site.

Alec loves his cranes and this was a super exciting time. We were able to spend the time watching the crane lift the cabin’s off the truck and onto the cement pad.

Alec watching with great interest and often explained to me what was happening.

This was one of the high lights of Alec’s trip. Sometimes it just a matter slowing down and observing what is around you. It very easy to get caught up in all the tourist places and hot spots. To a four-year old anything can be an adventure and interesting.

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Alice Springs and Trip About Part 2

With a hearty pub meal in our stomach and a good nights sleep we headed north. This time on the smooth bitumen of the Stuart highway. A nice change from the rough roads we had driven the previous two days. Driving 74 kilometres we then turn west on to the Lasseter highway. But not before getting fuel and having lunch at the Erdunda road house.

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Ah. Smooth bitumen

There was no way to escape the fact we were back in civilisation and at a very busy tourist stop. The Erdunda roadhouse is the half way stop for all the tourist going to Uluru from Alice Spring. As well as a major fuel and rest stop for caravans and road trains traveling along the Stuart highway. It was a shock to the system after being in such remote area over the last few days

107 kilometres along the Lasseter highway we turned onto the Luritja road. Once again heading north. Alec and I weren’t going to Uluru just yet. Our goal Kings canyon.

Arriving in the afternoon we found a home at the Kings Canyon resort. Staying in single room accommodation for the 2 nights.

Unfortunately we didn’t see much of the canyon. Alec was a little young to do the rim walks. So we decided to do the 2km walk into the canyon. However we got half way in and found the track closed.

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This is the one we can do dad.

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Lets go dad.

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The resort had a sunset viewing platform. It was very popular.

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Sunset is a special time in central Australia.

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Looking from the sunset platform over the resort.

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The resort had a dingo problem.

Leaving Kings Canyon we traveled on the Red centre way. This well maintained gravel road loops around to the MacDonnell ranges. A permit is required as the road passes though Aboriginal lands. I enquired at the resort reception and was told ” Yes you do, however we can’t sell you one as we don’t have any left. They are supplied by the local traditional owner’s and they havent supplied any new ones. However it will be fine to travel the road.” At least I tried.

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Some of the red centre way. Some might say it was rough. But we had driven far worse of the last few days.

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We came across this look out. It is also a free camp spot.

We had been traveling for a while soaking in the amazing country as we went. We came across a turn off and a sigh pointing to the Tnorala conservation reserve 12 kilometres away.  We could see a small mountain range in the distant and decided to go have a look. I am glad we did. The mountain range turns out to be the remains of crater formed by a comet crashing to earth 142.5 million years ago. A picnic area is located in the centre of the crater and a number of small walk’s start from there.  Alec and I climbed a rocky out crop to a look out. Alec did an amazing job climbing. We pretended we were mountain climbers.

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A view of the crater.

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Alec and his mountain climbing pose.

From the crater we continued to the MacDonnell ranges. Stopping to take photo of the amazing hills and mountains as we went.

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As we got closer to the Macdonnell ranges the country changed. Often with large rocky escarpments on either side of us.

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Yep. Driving a tourist route.

We stayed at Glen Helen resort. This time sleeping in simple bunk house accommodation. A small room with 2 bunk beds, a light, fan and communal bathroom and shower. We were only going to stay 2 nights but the service, food and location was amazing so we stay 3 nights. I can’t recommend this place enough.

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Glen Helen resort is in an amazing location. The resort is old and a little run down in parts. But the service and food were spot on.

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This is what you look at from the deck and bar area.

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Alec having a paddle in a section of the river in front of the resort.

We spent our days exploring the gorges of the Macdonnell rangers and having the occasional cold swim.

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With reluctance with left Glen Helen and made the short trip back to Alice Springs. We had to get ready for the next part of our journey, and meet up with family who are flying in to join Alec and myself on our next part of the journey.

 

The story of the missing child.

Glen Helen resort is located near the Glen Helen gorge. The main section of the gorge and swimming hole is approximately 500 metres walk from the resort.

Alec and I had arrived back to Glen Helen after another day of exploring the gorges. We were having a treat and relaxing on the resorts deck which over looked the river and the cliffs of Glen Helen gorge. While doing this I started chatting with a family from Western Australia. Alec got bored with daddy chatting and wandered in the reception and bar area. By this stage the staff had gotten to know Alec. I assumed he had found someone to play with or at the least had found something to occupy him.

After about 10 mins one of the staff members found me and said they think Alec has wandered down to the gorge. They had received a report of a child by him self down by the water.

I toke off down the gorge and found Alec coming back up with some fellow travelers . They had realised he was alone and got him to follow them back up.

Alec was a little upset when I reached him. I gave him a big hug and we had a talk about what had happen. He told me that I had promised him a swim and that’s why he wandered off.

A couple of days later we were back in Alice springs and just so happened to be camping next to the family from Western Australia. I woke up early one morning desperately needing to pee. Alec was still sound asleep so I grabbed my shower stuff.  I figured I might as well have a morning shower while at the amenities block.

I quickly had my shower then headed back to camp. As I got closer to camp I could see my neighbours up and about and around my camp. Then I saw Alec up and about.

Alec had woken up and decided to get up and look for daddy. The family had heard Alec and was looking after him. I was so embarrassed. Twice in as many days this family had seen me fail as a father. They didn’t seem to mind but I did.

From then on I have been much more cautious. I have changed how I parent to accommodate Alec’s new-found independence and his ability to use zips.