The first days on the road! From Kalgoorlie to Fraser Range

Finally we are on the road!

After the car troubles from Monday, and the poo disaster within 20 minutes of driving out of Kalgoorlie the day we finally left again, we are finally on the Nullarbor!

Hot tip: Line your boot with a tarp when travelling with dogs! Ideally one of those cheap, pretty much disposable ones! And carry a spare!

We had two stops between Kalgoorlie and the place we decided to stay at for the night.

One was just a quick stop for petrol at Norseman, where we realised that we’re about to hit the Nullarbor! A very exciting milestone in this trip for us – we are officially travelling across Australia now!

The second was a rest and lunch stop at Muddy Waterhole, about 30kms out of Norseman (sans the water and the mud, because… summer! Bonus attractions: decomposing camel carcass and a lizard the kids got to traumatise by trying to catch!)

Travelling Family Nullabor Australia

Travelling Family Nullabor

Traveling Family Nullabor

We then drove to Fraser Range Rest Area which is located on a salt lake and was an absolutely stunning place to see a sunset at! Though we certainly do need to skill up on our sunset photo-taking skills, to truly capture the beauty! Fraser Range Rest Area is a 24hour rest area with toilet facilities. Dogs are permitted to stay there, but there are warning signs about the 1080 poison being used in the area, so they need to be on leash at all times and very closely supervised.

Fraser Range - Nullabor

Fraser Range - Nullabor

Fraser Range Rest Area

Going to bed when the sun goes down and waking up when it goes up meant that we were up all rested by 5:30am. We had a lazy morning, enjoyed a coffee outside, walked the dogs, the kids got to ride scooters and play soccer, and we were still packed up and on the road by 8:30am!

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The first speed-bump: how we ended up camping on our verge!

The last week before we headed off was filled with social engagements! We wanted to catch up with all our friends before we left, so we were seeing people every day up until the departure day.

Everyone was asking us if we were excited. In our heads we knew we were. But did we feel all giddy, jumpy and thrilled? No, I don’t think we believed it was true, after 10 years of dreaming this trip up! The kids still saw daddy going to work, he was working right up to the day we were leaving, and I had a neverending to-do list.

“I have imagined this moment for so long. Is this real?”
The Matrix Revolutions

Finally, the day came

It was a beautiful, sunny, 33’C day. We packed up, hooked the caravan up and drove off… only to smell a weird electric smell out of the aircon vent! We hadn’t even left the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder yet, we were maybe 10-20kms out of town. We pulled over, popped the bonnet and saw nothing unusual. The smell was gone, so for a moment we thought that it must have been coming from the car in front of us. It was only when the smell reappeared, that we pulled over, popped the bonnet again, and realised that it was definitely us!

The air conditioner compressor’s clutch pulley bearing went bah-bye. We had a crazy thought of bypassing the air conditioner and continuing on, but the thought of crossing the Nullabor without the airconditioner did not seem appealing, and we were less than 30 minutes from home. So we turned around, parked the caravan up on our verge, bought a new bearing and pulled the car apart.

*Insert a million phone calls to family for advice*

We were going to be back on the road within a couple of hours.

Air conditioner compressor's clutch pulley bearing

Then we broke the pulley while trying to remove the bearing.

Let’s be honest: we were not at our finest after that. Trying to get specific car parts in Kalgoorlie takes time. We wanted to be on the road, not camping on our verge!

Everything happens for a reason

We learnt quite a lot from this situation. Or, more accurately, we learnt quite a lot from our kids in this situation. We all hear that life is whatever we make of it, but to kids, making the most of every situation comes so naturally. When a mother yells out “We’re leaving in 5 minutes”, a child will see it as an opportunity: “I have 5 minutes to get as many jumps in this muddy puddle as possible!”. Am I right?

The day we broke the pulley, I heard Mr9 talking to hubby:

– Daddy, will you play with us?
– Not now.
– Why not?
– I’m not in the mood.
– But if you’re going to sit there being miserable, you may as well play with us being miserable.

The holiday has started. The kids were ready to have fun despite the circumstances. To them, the fact that daddy is home every day is all that matters. So holiday activities ensued: a trip to the local swimming pool, park and playground trips, and lots of board games.

It took three days for us to get the part sorted and shipped from Perth. We installed it and decided to leave the following day. Lets hope this speed-bump at the start of the trip means smooth-sailing from now on! Lets also appreciate the fact that I now know what an “air conditioner compressor’s clutch pulley bearing” is!

Do you have any stories to share with us?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Also, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest blog posts and to see where the road takes us!

Would you like to work with us? Contact Us!