Travelling the roads of Australia

Hits 35c interior, but you get that when you’re travelling the roads of Australia. Our bus engine is up front and throws a lot of heat as well as the existing outside temperature. But that doesn’t stop us from getting exited about our next stop, Coober Pedy! If we ever get there that is…

We have broken down once again in the bus and oil can be seen flowing down the Stuart highway for miles! Not to mention the slick black lines and fl ecks all along the sides of the bus. It’s a major oil line that requires soldering to fi x the problem. Once again the kids and I are stranded in a gravel siding doing school work under a bush, while Steve the “bus driver” goes on into town without us! Once again I am grateful for the 2nd vehicle to get around in.

Getting used to ‘being left behind’, and this spot being a little more interesting than the last breakdown spot, the kids cant wait to fi nish school so they can explore and have some fun. We school from 8.30am till 11.30am with a half hour break for morning tea, or as close to that as we can make it. We still try to maintain a routine in the kid’s life as they thrive on that. I think with all the unknown travel destinations and people we meet we need some constants in their life.

We couldn’t fix the problem quick so decided to just try and makeit to town in the bus as I was sick of being stranded on the side of the road.

We ended up needing a tow which a lovely family in a fi fth wheeler was willing to provide for us. They were travelling around with their family for a year and were home schooling also. Our kids got on so well that we camped together and got to know each other better.

We explored Coober Pedy and all the under ground mines they had to offer. The kids loved it and learnt a lot about how the town developed and came to be.

The men got a tour of an underground working mine (too dangerous for kids) and actually found some opal which the owner of the mine allowed them to keep.

(Steve, at a later date, had it made into a ring and a matching pendant for my 40th birthday. How special is that!) In one of our many breakdowns two guys had given us some fire
works. They were leaving Darwin to go to Melbourne and as we found out later are banned there! So being in the perfect place to let off those little beauties, my husband took the kids out into the Painted Desert one starry clear night and lit it all up like a Christmas tree! The kids thought that was fantastic. We still here about the time Dad used a small tree stump to cradle the fi re works for detonation, to come back and find nothing left of it.

The Painted Desert has to be a high light of our trip through S.A. It can take just a day to drive and experience many of its wonders it has to offer. A lot of people would say it’s boring with a lot of nothing. However, we love fossicking for any kind of stone, and this ground carries a lot of gypsum. The kids loved fi nding pieces. We also admired the many colours and formations the terrain throws up for navigation and it is defi nitely 4wd country. Of course it’s also known famously for the filming of Mad Max, staring Mel Gibson.

With our new friends we followed all sorts of tracks and ended up on the banks of a dry creek bed to have our picnic for lunch. We spent all afternoon exploring and getting to know one another. We discovered tiny little sand covered frogs at the base of trees now exposed to the dry elements but once was covered by fl ood waters. These tiny frogs can survive for months without water, living in the last remnants of anything even resembling moisture. How amazing! We showed the kids their tiny burrows and then put them back to survive the remainder of the dry season.

The kids rode imaginary horses made of tired branches cracking due to lack of water. As we travel and take in the many experiences and different people we come into contact with, it is a constant living classroom for the children. Not once do I ever feel that my kids miss out. On the road we have a community of “travellers” with the unspoken promise of “look out for each other”. And we all do in our own unique way. Once again we made friends, had support till we were ready to go again, gathered valuable information for further down the track and felt ready for another day’s adventure!

Happy travels, regards Tania.