Hein, his wife and their daughter took a 16 day trip in September, 2010, into Australia’s Outback. Hein provides this report and these images of his great adventure. If you missed it, one of their more memorable encounters was with the Camel Man, which I reported a few days ago. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us Hein!
Hein writes, We had a Fantastic trip through the Outback, not totally without its “interesting” moments! We broke the trailer chassis completely on day 2, blew a tyre in the middle of the desert and had to replace that, but the Jeep ran like clockwork trough some extremely harsh terrain.
Some of the roads were so corrugated that even with soft tyres we vibrated clean off the road at 20 to 40 kmh; then there were other sections where we plowed differential-deep trough clay and mud for hundreds of kilometres at a time, but all in the name of FUN!
We covered over 7,000 km (4350 miles) in the 2 weeks, 80% off sealed roads, and camped wherever we got to each day. The average fuel-consumption was just a fraction better than my 7.5 km/L expected, with the average price of fuel about $ 1.75 /L due to transport-costs to these remote locations. It was certainly a trip to remember!
Day 1) We left Brisbane heading due-west trough some farming-country and camped on the bank of an abandoned road-quarry with looming rain-clouds Everywhere!
Day 2) It rained quite heavy during night. We had to pack-up in the rain and head out further west into ever more sparsely populated areas, encountering the first of many roads closed or severely-damaged due to flooding. As a result: the next town was already out of Fuel! The last 100 km of Adventure-Way into Innamincka was barely passable even in 4wd. We passed a few abandoned trucks already stuck axle-deep, pummeled by constant rain.
The light was fading and we had no idea where or if we are going to reach somewhere to sleep. Needless to say, the family was extremely Anxious and Scared! Well after dark we continued travelling, the road now an Absolute Quagmire that the Jeep can barely crawl trough in 2nd/3rd gear.
As we approached about the hundredth floodway (normally dry , now a Raging-River), this one more churned up than most by some previously-stuck truck, I had to really nurse and cajole the jeep to get trough. Slip, slide, bounce, repeat was the process until we barely make it up the opposite bank.
However, there was a casualty, the trailer now sat at a Very Disturbing angle. I launched myself out with the camera and ratchet-strap into the pouring rain and ankle-deep mud, with daughter crying and wife not looking too happy either. Fortunately, my wife is a farm-girl and trusted that I would make a plan. A few minutes later I had the trailer strapped together and we limped into town after another half-hour, and one last river-crossing, straight into the Hotel!
Day 3) With the trailer needing repair, I had to unload everything and find Kbong, a local Trucky with the only workshop in town. After moving the family to a camp in the National Park across the river, I would spend the rest of the day cutting out the remains of the rusted and broken frame. Then in the afternoon, I built a much-sturdier new, vastly-improved little red-trailer, from the only length of 2 1/2″ Square-tubing in town. Then, I got to immediately test it by crossing the now flooding river to meet up with the family at the National Park!