We made to the tip, the top of Australia and the furthest north you can go on this mighty continent. It was an achievement for us, the last couple of days before the tip were spent doing running repairs to the Land Rover and to finally reach our goal was a very proud moment for us. It was also tinged with disappointment as this also signaled the end of the trip and the next few weeks was all about getting ready to pack the car up and send it home. As we took those final footsteps to the sign marking our destination I willed it to be further away as any steps taken after that sign would be south and would have an air of ‘homeward bound’ about them. Cape York was never our original goal, our goal was to get to Australia overland, but that changed pretty early on when it was clear we couldn’t get through Pakistan and the car caught fire in Turkey….’Megan, Megan, do you remember when the car caught fire in Turkey and smoke started pouring out from between your legs?…ahhhhh…good times!’. So that plan changed to getting the car shipped to India which fell flat on its face when the costs involved became clear, and many a plan after that changed due to various changes in our mood, the level in the bank account and the amount of sunshine on offer. We didn’t so much trek to Oz as ship to Oz, but you can’t really plan what’s going to happen on trips like these, can you?

Look at me getting all nostalgic, and we still have just under a month to go and a short break in Malaysia on the way home. Well, after this trip we both felt like a holiday before returning to the world of work, ten mile queues on the M25 and Saturdays in Waitrows (it’s actually Aldi, but I’m trying to impress you all). In actual fact it’s worked out cheaper for us to fly via Kuala Lumpur, go on a diving holiday for a week and then fly home via Air Asia, than it would be to fly direct to London from Brisbane with a major Airline. Ah Air Asia, for enabling us lower middle class to travel the world uncomfortably but cheaply we thank you.

Anyway, I’m sure you are not interested in our travel plans and the six flights it’s going to take us to get home (our carbon foot print is going to be massive, I’ll plant a small coppice when I get back to the mother land). So yes, the top of Cape York, like much of the rest of it was deserted, quiet and simply stunning. It was rather windy when we reached the furthest north you can go in Australia which all added to the sense of occasion, and looking north out to sea past the islands I really wanted to keep going, but the road quite literally didn’t go any further!

 

The beaches were probably some of the best we’ve seen on this trip, but unfortunately we couldn’t swim in any of them due to the number of animals that would kill you if you put so much as a toe in the water. Never mind though, we still had an amazing time sitting on these deserted stretches of sand and wondering how one country can have so many different and stunning landscapes. This country really is pretty awesome, if only it had a quality, high brow Sunday tabloid that hacked celebs’ phones like we do back home, then we would stay for ever….oh wait…

Reach the top of Australia – Tick

Drove off road – Tick

Forded deep rivers – Tick

Camped on beaches – Tick

Swam in Creeks – Tick

Three days without a shower -Tick

As you can see from the above list we covered all the main aspects of outback bush living and ‘roughing it’, so we began the long trip south and back to a decent latté, Mcflurry, and paved roads. It’s just so difficult to get a half decent hot beverage when you’re in the middle of nowhere: I ordered an earl grey tea the other day and I was asked if I wanted milk in it! Savages. It was at that point that I told Megan we needed to get back to civilization, stat. The roads back down south seemed to have got worse since we drove north and the corrugations had definitely got bigger. Corrugations are ridges in the road that cause a car to shake and bounce all over the place. The best way I can describe them is it’s like driving over a really big cattle grid, but the grids are spaced far apart and they last for 20kms at a time. To try and make it as smooth as possible you have to drive fairly fast so you skim over the top of them, which is fine if you are driving in a straight line but the problem comes with the corners: as the wheels are not really fully in contact with the road surface turning the steering wheel has little effect! For the second time this trip I managed to power slide a 3.5 tonne Land Rover. Jeremy Clarkson would be proud. Megan, rightly so, wasn’t and my pleas to do it again and to video it fell on deaf ears. We slowed down for the corners after that. Boo.

The list of car issues grew daily. First the handbrake light came on for no reason and now it won’t go off, the rear roof rack snapped in half, the bonnet kept popping open, but worst of all a turbo hose came off. When this happened the noise it caused was horrendous and I thought my world had come to an end. Luckily with a bit of handiwork with a hose clip it was reattached and we continued south, both on edge and waiting for the next thing to go wrong. Thankfully noting else did and after three days of driving we made it back to the tarmac. Happy days.

We loved Cape York, we finally made good use of the car and its capabilities and really enjoyed the camaraderie of the fellow travelers. Plus I met loads of Land Rover owners!

 

Currently we are back in Cairns, having a bit of time to clean the car and fix some of the bigger problems. It’s nice to be back here again as we both like Cairns and think we will spend a week up here just being lazy and chilling (is that what the kids say?) before the long drive back to Brisbane and the cold weather that awaits us…

Oh I nearly forgot, I managed to get published in a great magazine in Dubai called Outdoor UAE.  Check the link out below, its on page 30. I’m feeling pretty chuffed about it to be honest, it’s the first step towards a book, the TV show and finally the film deal!

http://www.outdooruae.com/onlineMAG/2011_Jul.html

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Comments
  1. Ranga says:

    Well done guys! You’ve now seen more of the country than most Aussies do.

    It’s been a pleasure reading about you (mis)adventures, and I apologise for not replying more. As a token of appreciation, please try and find time to call back in when you return to BrisVegas. This time I’ll have some proper seafood for you (last time was very below par, to be honest), and given I’m not working, perhaps can show you around a bit if time permits, or play taxi driver once you part company with the Landy.

    Take care.

  2. inishmore says:

    Have u used the winch yet!! get that one ticked!!

  3. kevin cardno says:

    Guys,,,so glad you made it but its far from over yet enjoy whats left,,,,,,
    Happy out backing,,,,,

  4. Paul Betts says:

    well guys its coming to an end … but you do have a good month ahead of you so all is not over yet!

    Weve been to Billing Landrover show today and thought of you guys .. the amount of gear for overlanding is massive .. oh where to start!

    so im guessing now itll be time to reflect … would you have done anything different or bits of kit you wish you had or didnt need … ?

    if you think the weather is bad in Brissie … you should try London and the south east at the momemt its grim!

    anyway keep up the last remaining blogs !

    Paul and Caf

  5. robin welch says:

    Hi Simon & Megan

    Many congratulations on reaching your new target, we have all enjoyed your regular and sometimes comical updates, and I think we have all felt a little envious of your adventures.

    Have a great few weeks left in Aussie and good look with your packing and return journey (that seems so final)…………..well to this adventure anyway. You have now gathered a wealth of information and knowledge………next thing may be a book or movie deal!

    May see you at the landrover show in September if your going, drop me a line and maybe we can meet up for a beer,

    Youve kept us all entertained and amused and for that we thank you
    Best Wishes
    Robin

  6. Matt De'Ath says:

    Well done to your both and never under estimate your achievement. We have never met, and I am not even an acquaintance, i discovered your blog by accident on a late night surfing session, as I am sure many others did and instantly took an interest in your public life. Your blog has kept the dream alive of doing something similar when the children are over 5, and lunchtimes at work eating a plastic sandwich at the PC whilst trying to get some work done a hell of a lote more interesting.

    Cheers Matt

  7. Mum "Maple" says:

    Well done Simon and Megan. Wonderful journey – very proud Mum and Dad. The Blog has been amazing and so entertaining, every last word. We feel we have shared something very special with you both. Thank you so much.

    Have had lots of very complementary comments from friends and relations who have followed your adventures regularly. We are all going to have to revert back to conversations about “the weather” rather than “have you seen the lastest blog!”

    Now looking forward to having you home soon and reliving the adventures all over again with you both.

    Have a safe journey. Love Mum and Dad x

    • peterbst1 says:

      Thanks Simon and Megan, I’ve really enjoyed your blog. What an achievment, well done. Would love to see a final list of top tips and budgets to assist in future planning.
      Enjoy the remainder of trip,
      Pete

  8. Anthony says:

    OMG this is all getting pretty emotional…..I’m all welling up!

    The next epic adventure will be as eagerly awaited as the new series of Gossip Girl – or is that just me?

    James, Michael and me are looking forward to meeting you both for a beer in London sometime soon, down by the Thames.

    I am trying to make it sound exciting but compared to what you have seen and done in the last year the best way of getting you to meet us is to fall back on the old favourite “I will buy the beers!”

    Enjoy the rest of your adventure.

    Anthony xx

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