A Yarn Around the Camp Fire

Camping in Australia

There is something very satisfying about heading down the driveway, out of the “rat-race” and into the heart and soul of this great country of ours.

And it was time to do just that, the day to head off to the deserts of Western Australia had finally arrived…

Rest assured I was eager, departing before the kookaburras’ were stirring, the neighbours no doubt awoken by the familiar sound of “The Landy” edging down the driveway..

Mind you there is the mundane of actually getting out of the city, but before long “The Landy” was pulling the TVAN up and over the Blue Mountains, along the Bells Line of Road and through the small apple growing community of Bilpin, on what was a cold start to the day.

I elected to take the TVAN Camper Trailer on part of this trip to give some comfort on the journey to Central Australia and back again, especially as Mrs Landy will be joining me when it is time to point “The Landy” homewards. Otherwise it will be a swag roll to sleep under the stars whilst in the desert…

Nyngan Camp Similar to recent trips to Australia’s centre I headed west on the roads less travelled visiting the small rural towns of Tullamore and Tottenham, in the New South Wales central west. And central it is, as the route passes close by to the geo-graphical centre of New South Wales not too far from Tottenham.

At the risk of being called anti-social, it is quite pleasant driving along by yourself and it is something I greatly appreciate from time-to-time as it provides a welcome escape from the close working quarters on the currency trading floor of a major Australian bank – my usual haunt in between the weekends.

I even got to argue and debate with myself, and win a few of those exchanges during the day!

The sun was starting to head towards the western horizon as I reached the outskirts of Nyngan and a camp, the first of the trip, by the Bogan River. Before long I had the camp established, pulled out a chair, sat back, and relaxed!

Here I was, finally released from the shackles of urban living in Australia’s largest city, Sydney and the phone rang!

No way, it couldn’t be work, surely?

Although a call on a Saturday is not unheard of, it was Mrs Landy and the Crown Prince ringing to see how the first day Out and About was!

Perfect, thanks!

Baz – The Landy

A Yarn Around the Camp Fire

The Camp Fire

“A Yarn Around the Camp Fire” is an opportunity for you to take a front-seat ride in “The Landy” as it heads into some of the most remote parts of Australia, for that matter – the world.

After all, Australia’s remote location on the globe is matched equally by the remoteness of its sparsely  populated outback…

It will be a journey that will take us across our sunburnt land towards Uluru and beyond to the Central Deserts of Western Australia…

We’ll travel to a place where time has forgotten, where the hot scorching sun parches a landscape that is as beautiful as it is rugged. A country inhabited over the millennia by Australian Aborigines and crossed in more contemporary times by explorers’ who challenged themselves to discover what was in the Australian interior.

You will get a camp fire view of the setting sun as it slips gently below an orange tainted horizon, and if you are an early bird, watch a rising sun cast its first rays of light over the windswept land, a mug of piping hot tea in hand.

But for sure, you’ll get to experience the teeth shattering corrugations of the Great Central Road as “The Landy” makes its way westward, and at day’s end, quietly slip into a deep slumber under “The Milky Way”.

During the next few weeks “The Landy” will cover over 10,000-kilometres across a landscape that will transport me from the urban living of Australia’s largest city, Sydney, across the Australian Bush and into the vibrant and colourful Australian Outback.

Now perhaps there will be some who are thinking, is this city slicker meets the outback?

Crikey, who knows…

Mind you, I’m as comfortable in the outback as I am crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the daily commute to the office, having travelled to many remote parts over the years flying light aircraft or driving “The Landy” – our mode of transport that has morphed as time advanced.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Okay, I do agree, the good old ‘Fender hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years, seemingly, so we’ll just say I use the term “morphed” sparingly.

And despite the opportunity to view the magnificent Sydney Harbour each day, I won’t miss that daily dodgem car run!

But I am digressing…

Along the way I will be travelling with a group of like-minded people, sharing a few laughs around the camp fire and I’m sure, fixing almost as many punctured tyres as there are flies buzzing around.  Importantly, I will be spending time with the Traditional Owners and Elders of the Birriliburu Country to assist them in building some “back to country” infrastructure.

Our travel will be along remote tracks that are covered in spinifex grass and frequently travelling where no tracks exist, where a never ending blue sky caresses the ochre-red earth on a faraway horizon.

And don’t go worrying if you haven’t heard from me for a while, rest assured, I’ll be around the camp fire at day’s end, recounting, laughing, and dreaming!

Whilst we live in a modern society with plenty of gadgets to keep us all in contact, sometimes they just don’t work in the Australian Outback – well that is what I told my boss anyway, so best I continue to run with that story…

I’ll welcome your company in the front seat of “The Landy” as the journey unfolds and don’t worry about long lapses of silence, it’s okay –  the sounds of the Australian Outback will more than compensate for the lack of chatter!

And if you are stuck at home in-the-armchair, be sure to drop by every so often, I’ll be updating the blog as the journey unfolds and you can check out where I am as “The Landy” rolls along the bulldust by simply clicking on the “Map – Where is The Landy” tab at the top of the page.

Anyway it is almost time to get under way, so buckle yourself in and give Mrs Landy and the Crown Prince, TomO, a wave good-bye…

Photos: Baz – The Landy

What’s in a Name (Hey?)

Seriously, who would call a blog “The Landy – Out and About Having Fun”?

Someone challenged me on this just the other day and it is quite simple really…

“The Landy” came about as a consequence of owning three, four-wheel drive Land Rover Defenders over the years. And there is no doubting the ruggedness of this great marque and its capability to tour around our great Southern Land, to travel into our remote outback.

As you can see “The Landy” has morphed over the past decade or two and is now a  sleek looking Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab, customised for long-range and remote area travel with a range of over 1,500-kilometres.

Mind you, that type of range can be dwarfed by the distances from civilisation in the Australian Outback…

Oh, and yes, thank you, I’ve recovered fully from the “Defender” era, although the bank balance remains in rehab after years of supporting the Land Rover specialist’s retirement fund…

Crikey, you have got to love the old Defenders though, and having owned three it would be hard for me to argue that I don’t still have a fondness for them, especially “Red Rover” but they take more work to keep them on the road than it does to keep your mother-in-law happy…

And strewth, not to mention the expense.

Clare, my dear mother-in-law, only costs me a bottle of good champagne once a year, and even then I get to drink it anyway…

Whilst I’m reluctant to refer to the new vehicle as “The Landy” that’s for sure; the owners’ of either marque, Toyota or Landrover, would never forgive me,  but “The Landy” reference has stuck, so “Baz – The Landy” it is…

“Out and About Having Fun”

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Red Earth and Blue Sky Country

In three weeks I depart for the desert areas of Central and Western Australia to travel into some of the most remote and inhospitable areas Australia has to offer.

“The Landy” will be pointed westward on what will be an epic journey taking six weeks to complete and covering over 10,000 kilometres in distance.

Travelling with a small group of like-minded people we will make our way towards the Gibson Desert in Western Australia where we will be assisting traditional landowners built some infrastructure, including shelters to use when they visit this remote part of Australia.

I have always been fascinated by Aboriginal Culture and the Australian Aborigines have a rich heritage and association with our great sunburnt country that dates over 40,000 years. Mind you, it was only in the late 1970s that an old couple, Warri and Yatungka, came in from the desert not too far from where we will be travelling, having lived a traditional lifestyle with no European contact.

You can read more about their remarkable story in the bookThe Last of the Nomads by WJ Peasley.

Our travel will be along remote tracks that are covered in spinifex grass, and much of it will be in areas where no tracks or roads exist.  In fact, our main role is to mark a route into the area where the infrastructure is to be built enabling a group of people from Track-Care in Western Australia, who will be towing trailers with the construction equipment, an easier run into the region.

Whilst in the region we intend to do some off-track exploring of the travel route of some of Australia’s early explorers, and more specifically, the Calvert Scientific Exploring Expedition of 1896-1897.

Our small team is being expertly led by someone who has travelled extensively in the region over the past decade and it is due to his experience and familiarity with the region that he has been called upon by the Central Desert Native Title Services and Track-Care to assist in this undertaking.

As you would expect there is a reasonable amount of planning that goes into this type of expedition, including water and food supply, as well as vehicle preparation.

The typical choice of vehicle, and one well suited for Australia’s harsh outback, is the Toyota Landcruiser in its various forms.  “The Landy” has been specifically modified, including upgraded suspension, specific tyres, and additional fuel tanks, to enable long-range travel in the outback.

On this trip I will be carrying 400 litres of fuel for the remote area work we will be undertaking, which will total near to 2,000 kilometres, and will consume a total of around 2,000 litres on the trip by the time “The Landy” arrives back home in Sydney.

So be sure to drop by every so often to “Check out Where I’m travelling” (on the tab at the top of the page) and I will update on the adventure as communications permit!

Cheers, Baz – The Landy