Lessons learnt - from the Mr.
So we’ve been home for a while now and have had some time to reflect on our trip (as well as a few getaways down to Busselton to see the folks). This trip really was a steep learning curve for us both considering our “touring” experience was minimal. Planning and preparing for a trip of this scale should not be underestimated and while we will try share everything we learnt, there is a lot that must just be learnt from your own experiences too. I’m sure we will learn something new on every adventure.
We thought we would each give our own opinions, that way you get it from different perspectives. Since being home I know there have been a lot of Mrs. who have contacted me and asked “Did you actually have a good time?” and the most common question “Are you still married?” The Mr.’s out there who’s other halves are hesitant about doing a trek like ours, can show them a female perspective which I wish I had more of prior to heading up there. So here goes…
In no particular order from the Mr...
We definitely didn’t do this! We could have taken less clothes, less food, less bits and pieces, less fuel and I’m sure more! Not only does this have a detrimental affect on your fuel economy and put extra load on your vehicle, but it also means more space is taken up and unpacking, packing up and finding stuff becomes more difficult.
Towns have supplies
This goes with travelling light. We took a lot of food, somehow in our planning I didn’t look into the fact Broome and Kununurra both have big Coles stores and being such busy towns for this sort of trips they all carry everything you should need. We came home with nearly as much food as we went up with! Rather than taking 6 cans of corn, take 1 or 2 and restock if you use it OR take minimal food and just buy it all up there in town. Somehow we ended taking 25 or so rolls of toilet paper and used less than 1.
We also ended up eating out a bit also in Exmouth, Broome and Lake Argyle. On the long days on the highway we quite often ended up eating at fuel stations as we didn’t want to lose the time preparing food when we could be clocking up the km’s! This just added to the excess food we brought back with us.
Have refuge from bugs
We were prepped with head nets, bushmans and fly spray. Little did we know, bushmans actually doesn’t work for flys, the headnets never got used and flyspray doesn’t work on all bugs! Don’t get me wrong we weren’t swarmed with bugs everywhere, we only had some issues really in Purnululu and El Questro with bugs swarming on our lights at night and at Lake Argyle with midgies, 1000s of midgies from the tree we were camped under. In hindsight we needed a mossie net room under our awning so we could cook, eat, relax and play board games in peace.
Have a flexible itinerary
This can be harder than it sounds, We booked a lot as I was petrified of travelling so far to be turned away at the gate. While some places definitely required bookings such as private campsites at El Questro pretty well everywhere else we could have just turned up on the day. The key is timing your trip, the Kimberley is apparently packed in school holidays and bookings would be essential which would limit your flexibility. But the joy of not booking anything is you can take as little or as much time as you desire at each location, and in our case a breakdown won’t be as stressful.
Maintain your car well
I would argue I do, we had the Paj checked over two weeks prior to leaving and everything that was found was fixed or replaced. We actually found the front left sway bar link sheared on this check and replaced. The right snapped early in the trip. The pair had been replaced about 6 months prior and in hindsight I should have replaced both again when one was found broken before the trip! I even took a spare because in the back of my mind I must of felt it was a matter of when not if.
Have contact numbers for along your way
This could be never ending but have some basics on hand. Keep the numbers of mechanics and your car manufacturers dealerships along the way. Probably a good idea to have phone numbers for hospitals, towing companies and caravan parks. We found ourselves at El Questro needing to organise parts and repairs for the car and only had access to a phone, no internet. Luckily we had the phone number of Mitsubishi Broome and our mechanic in Perth, speaking to both of them we were able to formulate a plan for fixing the car. Generally numbers can be found in tourist books if you have them.
Enjoy yourself when things don’t go to plan
I’ve never felt so out of control as at times on this trip. I didn’t embrace the feeling like I should have, but when I did it really did feel good. Life sometimes gives you lemons and how you deal with them with really dictate whether you have a good trip or an amazing life changing experience.
Don’t over complicate things to try maintain a city slicker lifestyle
I planned and attempted to be a bush barista. It just didn’t work on a trip like this, too many days we were up early and having a quick breaky before leaving to get on the road. Boiling water, putting the water and coffee into the stovetop brewer, then warming milk in a mug and whisking it then having to clean everything afterwards… You get the idea. A simple breaky made things easy and thinking back to my childhood I remember we used to have those little individual cereal packets where the milk goes into the package and once you’re done all you have to clean is a spoon, the rest goes in the bin. Things like these, up and go’s and coffee satchels are some ways to quicken things up.
The Mrs will give her side of things next!
Until next time!