The planning for our “Tip Trip” started back when I was pregnant with Riley, who will be two on the 27th and involved selling Shane’s Nissan patrol 4wd Ute. We had ‘‘The Troll’’ set up so we could live out of it on camping trips, but it was only a two seater and we now needed a family 4wd wagon. Hence an 80 series Toyota Landcrusier was purchased. We left “The Cruiser” as it was with only the addition of a baby capsule. Other than a few nights out bush bashing and an Easter trip to Narrabri It hasn’t really left the yard. You see Shane has vehicle he’s given to use for work purposes and we use my little Mitsubishi Lancer wagon “Lancey” the rest of the time.
We intend to travel inland on the way up. First stop will be Lighting Ridge, then onto Chareville, Longreach, Winton, Mount Isa, Lorella Springs, Hells Gate, Lawn Hill, Normanton, Musgrave, Branwell station, the Old Telly Track and finally Loyalty Beach.
Then back down the coast via the Peninsular Development Road, the Frenchmans Track to Chili Beach, Captain Billy’s landing, Weipa, Musgrave (again), Lakefield National park, Cooktown, the Creb Track, Cains, Undara, Airle, Lake Awoonga, Caloundra, Coffs Harbour, then home to good old Lake Macquarie.
It’ll be approximately 12,000 kilometers all up, not including sightseeing kilometers.
The modifications and work that has been done on the Cruiser falls into two categories (1) add-on’s for trip and (2) had to do because they were worn out.
(1) Roof rack, roof top tent, in vehicle water tank, rear bar with two spare wheels, Engel 60 ltr camp fridge (transplanted from the Troll), light bars, reverse camera, Hema GPS mapping software for Shane’s iPad, iPad holder, rear storage draws and cargo barrier.
(2) Heavey duty clutch kit, reconditioned transfer case, braided brake lines, suspension (springs & air bags), wheel bearings, cv’s, rust repairs, heat gage and winch.
I’m not going to talk about the cost involved in getting the Cruiser up to scratch as it’s a sore point between my husband and I. The Cruiser has cost us a lot more than planned and wasn’t in as good of a condition as we originally thought – but at least the damn expensive bitch is all good now.
I’ve been so stressed out over the whole trip I think I’ll just calapse once it’s finally here screaming “IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING”. I’m really looking forward to doing sweet f*** all at Lorella Springs & Loyalty Beach, just relaxing, reading, swimming and going for walks through the Daintree rainforest.
I am worried about our our dog Ellie being home alone for two months. Ok so she won’t really be alone as my parents only live two houses up from us, but still the poor thing will miss us, probably. I am really nervous about being in Croc territory and Riley getting eaten. Like having nightmares about it nervous. We’ve been trying to fit as many supplies in the Cruiser as possible. Drinkable water and food for Riley is first priority. We have seriously limited room for food for ourselves – oh well hopefully i’ll lose some weight on this trip LOL. I’m hopping Riley is going to be a good traveler, the furthest he’s every gone was Narrabri and that was when he was having two naps a day. With so many Kilometers being spent behind the wheel, I’ve downloaded a fair few Audio Books and plan to play them over the otherwise wasted hours of driving.
Oh and did I mention Riley is still in nappies – all those dirty Nappies – Oh My.
Shane’s super keen for the trip, he’s loving the idea of not having to go to work for two months, as well as getting some fishing in, driving the Creb and old Telly Track and taking Riley on the glass bottom boat for the Great Barrier Reef tour. It’ll be wonderful to see his face light up at all the fishes.
The only thing Shane is really worried about is getting the Cruiser stuck somewhere and damaging his pride if we have to be helped out haha.
I imagine Riley is most looking forward to getting to sleep up top of the roof top tent with me and take up all the bed, as well as terrifying me by constantly trying to run off. I think he’s too young to worry about much, but hell hath no fury like a toddler whose banana and yogurt supply runs out. And I know I’ll get a tantrum every time we have to pull him away from park play equipment.
On the trip I’m going to be keeping track of the kilometers traveled, litres of fuel used and our food and accommodation costs.
These are my Approximations before the trip and I think it’ll be interesting to see how far out they end up:
Fuel Costs $3,000.00 – We are not even sure of the exact kilometers we’ll be travelling, it’s rather hard to judge some of the areas we will be going to.
Groceries for three for two months $2,500.00 – so that includes everything from nappies and soap to milk and sausages.
Accommodation $1500.00 – most of the parks we will be staying at do have a small daily fee and even though we will be camping as much as possible there will be a few times where we will be staying at a hotel on the really high kilometer days.
We will be trying to pack as light as possible with the bear minimum of bedding, clothing and cooking equipment being taken. A small first aid kit, emergency EPIRB and recovery gear. While squeezing in camera equipment and a few special small toys of Riley’s. And a small range of tools with the following spare parts: fuel & air filters, assorted hoses, clamps & belts, engine oil, brake & power steering fluid, wheel bearings & grease as well as some assorted fuses.
We did a practice day trip up around Barrington Tops to see how the Cruiser will chug along fully loaded. We averaged 6.41 kms per Litre (15.61 Ltrs/100km) – the Cruiser weighs around three tonne fully loaded, so that’s probably pretty good.
I’m going to keep a journal while we’re away and when we get back share the best bits with you, what we enjoyed the most, how the Cruiser held up on the tracks etc.
Now for the THANK YOU roll call: Triggs Motors, Dennis Trigg, Gordon Trigg, Sean Davies, Scott Holms, Jacob Hector, Mark Elliot, Graham Mitchell, Paul Clarke, Toronto Brake Service and Carey Bay Auto Electrics for helping out with getting the Cruiser ready to rumble.
And an extra BIG thank you to Gordon Trigg for talking Shane out of spending more money on s**t he didn’t need, like diff lockers front and rear.
Until Next Time, happy traveling everyone.