Oz360's Camp Kitchen

Tom's Favourite Recipe for UNDER $3 (for the ENTIRE meal not per person) - we kicked Coles' butt.

This meal is Tom's favourite to date - thank god for that cause it's so bloody cheap!! At less than $3 for the entire meal - it certainly is a winner when you're on a budget.

Green Curry Vegies & Pasta
1 x tin of coconut cream ($0.79)
1/4 packet of fettuccine ($0.25)
1 tblsp pesto ($0.75)
Random selection of vegies ($0.75 - country prices) 
Sprinkle Salt & Pepper, Dried basil & chilli ($do I have to break it down per leaf??)

Was super easy to just throw it all in a return about 10mins later for our meal to be served... simplicity is a huge favourite of ours when you're camping!!! All in all, very tasty :)

CAMPSITE # 8 - A 5 STAR Campsite - Pettinger style

We decided, considering it was once again such a lovely day, to take the scenic route to the big smoke of Sydney. Driving the ocean road instead of 1million miles an hour down the highway was a much better option. Afterall, who's in a rush? We drove through some of NSW's favourite beaches on the Central Coast - Shelly Beach, Terrigal, Avoca Beach, Woy Woy (picture included from scenic lookout overlooking Woy Woy) and Tom's favourite -  Copacabana.
As you approach Sydney city, you spend a good half hour driving through the rolling hills with steep road cuttings through "cross bedded sandstone with limestone" rocks.

Luckily, I was driving otherwise, I have no doubt that we would probably be perched on the side of a very steep drop right now as the Geologist was having some serious difficulty focusing on the road.
We arrived at our destination for the evening, one very different to those we had endured over the last few weeks. Being the freeloaders that you are when you're unemployed and travelling the road, we were very lucky to be offered an invitation to stay at close family friends of mine, David & Chris' house in West Pymble. We were in heaven ... and we sat at a dining table for the very first time this trip and had a VERY lovely meal. It was lovely to catch up with David, Chris, Murray & Ally... thankfully Dave didn't give Tom too much stick for being a Pom but you can just imagine all of the passing comments. Our sleep was like 5 star luxury (sorry Charlie) .. we were absolutely spoiled.

The next day, we thought we would have a little looksie at my family home back when I was 3 - 4 years old. It was tough but somehow - I still managed to pick which house was ours. Tom made me stand out the front for a photo - I was just keeping my fingers & toes crossed that the new owners wouldn't come running after me with their broomstick in hand.

Oz360's Running Tally


  • 1. Berry, NSW - a gorgeous country town with a lovely charm about it. And the cute little shops are so lovely. An absolute must see!!!
  • 2. Mudgee, NSW

Highest Price paid for Diesel per litre
  • $1.32
Highest elevation reached

  • Amy - 1044metres & Tom - 1078metres (The Pyramid, Girraween National Park)

Favourite Campsite yet

Road Kills to date
  • 1 x Flaming Pink Gala
Longest distance traveled in one day
  • 551km
Books read & their reviews
  • Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra-  4.5 / 5 stars
    Amy - I powered through this bible-sized book because it was one of those ones that you just couldn't put down. I really enjoyed it and thoroughly recommend it - maybe more for the females than the males. 
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyoskai - 2 / 5 stars
    Tom - very good for those who are money motivated. Not for me though!

Trip So Far...

CAMPSITE # 7 - We found it!!!

Sunshine... beautiful sunshine. One week in Blacksmiths Caravan Park (20mins south of Newcastle) in the beautiful sunshine at a beachside location is exactly why you travel so far and well, travel in general.... bloody beaudiful!

Pearly white soft sand, crystal clear water less than a minutes walk from our campsite - absolutely blissful. We set ourselves up in a great corner spot in the Caravan Park on a nice grassy spot, conveniently with two trees at perfect hammock hanging distance from each other. One entire week of waking up each morning and our toughest decisions were whether to lie on the beach or by the pool in the sunshine, go for an attempt-to-fish, go for a walk up the beach to the nearby coastal townships... anything we wanted... 

We made some lovely friends - a Northern Irish couple on their honeymoon - Ashley & Hannah. They were really lovely and the four of us even joked about how after spending so long as just a couple, as soon as you meet another couple the first thing you want to do is play cards.. against each other. Pretty pathetic really but I guess that's just what you do when you're camping and on holidays, drink loads of alcohol and play cards. 

For those of you who haven't noticed in the photos.. Tom has grown himself quite the beard. Not because he was trying to but more because of the fact that he just can't be bothered shaving. Apparently, I'm not the only one on the campsite that noticed Tom's massive growth of hair on his face...

We had a few families camped up nearby us and boy did they have quite the rowdy selection of children. One family in particular were camped directly across from us. They had four boys under the age of about 9 (poor mother) and they all had their little scooters that they would do laps around and ride past our site. One afternoon, I returned from the shower when Tom divulged to me that apparently he had just been the victim of child bullying. As he was strolling back from his shower, the four boys were following him on their scooters. One of the elder boys was following behind Tom making monkey noises and proceeded to mimic him and was calling out "Monkey Man, Monkey Man, hairy hairy Monkey Man". Making monkey noises and offering Tom a banana every 30 seconds was not so well received after about day 3.. for some reason. :)

We've found that campers are generally really friendly people. Even after just a few weeks, we have met some really lovely people. At Blacksmiths alone, we met & had friendly chats with - 

  • Ashley & Hannah - the North Irelanders
  • Herb - a travelling poet/author & photographer - gifted in all three
  • John - hehe this one's funny - he was sent by his wife to LIVE in their caravan while she was busy selling their house because he made too much mess. So he got a holiday while she did all the hard work.
  • Schultz - a 60+ year old german man on his BICYCLE who didn't speak a word of English and was cycling around Oz - we thought WE were doing tough
  • An Australian couple who reguarly spend their overseas holidays in Sedgefield, South Africa
  • The heir to Stocksay Castle - Ludlow UK who donated the castle to the Bristish National Trust & who was one of the very last Ludlow's left
  • An Aussie guy named Gareth with his girlfriend who had quite their jobs and were travelling the East Coast in a Wicked Van to head to Sydney to study to become Yoga instructors
Of the whole week, there was one day that the weather didn't agree with us. But we were saved!! We were lucky enough to catch up with Susan's parent who live in Belmont South. Denise & Mick took us for a lovely roast lunch at the 16footer's club and then back to their place to be thrashed by Mick in a friendly game of Monopoly. If it weren't for the kindness of Denise & Mick we would have sat in the back of the Troopie boring ourselves senseless. Instead - we had a lovely day.

Things I've learnt so far - 
  • When going to bed - jump in as quickly as possible and shut the door behind you. Every second equals 1000 mozzies who feast on my legs.
  • When in a campsite - don't slam Troopie doors. Tom's strict instructions.
  • Boys on scooter are cruel.
  • Tom can't fish.
  • Thousands of dead birds on the seashore is not a good look. (Due to rough seas)
  • I don't like rocks.
  • Tom likes rocks.
Things I haven't learnt so far - 
  • The height of the roof inside the Troopie. Ouch!

CAMPSITE # 6 - Roadside Hell !!!

Enough of the rain, enough of the cold, enough of the miserable wet!!! After having a drought for 4 years in outback Oz – you would have thought that it could have at least held off for another 4 weeks just for us to have some fun (yes – narrow-mindedness & selfishness will get you everywhere in life!!!). No more of this – waiting for the rains to settle and driving around in the crappy weather. We decided we needed (deserved) a sea change. When I thought sea change – I initially pictured ourselves basking on a white sandy beach in the beaming sunshine with a slight tingle on our skin from the touch of the sun in the 30deg heat... that one thought gave us the inspiration to just keep on driving. If we actually calculated how far of a drive it was actually going to be – we never would have locked ourselves in to speed through it all in one day but hey – when you have that fire in your belly (and the beach was calling) sometimes, you just have to drive.

And drive we did...

And drive...

And drive a bit more...

And drive a lot more.

Until midnight rocked around having driven through the glorious Hunter Valley (while pitch black without even realising it)... we were so glad to finally arrive seaside. Only to then let the next challenge hit us.
We were so blinded by the smell of the sea air that we never even considered the dilemma ahead of us upon our arrival.. where the bloody hell were we going to stay? Of course, no campsites would be open to let us in at that time of the night and those that would were $40 a night (RIDICULOUS!!!). We considered staying in a backpackers but summed that up to just be a complete waste of coin. So, as tired and completely over it we were – we decided to drive on to the closest rest stop (45mins away) for our first not-so-peaceful night’s snooze set amongst the not-distant-enough moan of the semi trucks hooning 110kms+ down the highway.
One of the most commonly asked questions when friends & family ask us how we’re going is “How many fights have you had?” ... while I often argue “Tom & I never fight, we just calmly discuss the situation and together agree on the most beneficially outcome” ... this night well let’s just say – there wasn’t much negotiating or agreeing on beneficially outcomes.. we both had just had a gut full and both just needed some sleep so bad and we were sooooooo over it.

After many grunts and moans, we made it to the Rest Stop A La Highway . As we lay in bed that night – what else can you do after such a tediously long tension filled drive like we’d just had but.. laugh. And laugh we did, at the fact we just drove 558km at an average of 60km/hr (with thanks to the steep & winding roads through the Hunter) only to arrive and sleep next to the bloody highway!!

Funnily enough...  we both agreed the next day that it was the easiest and smoothest night’s sleep we’ve had since we left.

CAMPSITE # 5 - Terramungamine Reserve - Reserved for a CRAPLOAD of H20

After finding some sunshine in the morning at Coolah, we felt inspired to continue on our journey in search of new adventures plus – how else could you beat a night like we had with the country boys & their tranny friend.

Dubbo was the next biggest town on our map and considering we were in need of topping up our supplies, we thought what better way to head there.

At Dubbo, we freed ourselves in a way that lifted SO much weight off of our shoulders. My personal loan CLEARED, my insurance CLEARED, Tom’s mobile phone plan CLEARED – we were officially CLEARED of every and all ties to the real world. Every day ahead of us we could be safe in the knowledge that we didn’t have any of those horried bills to drag us down. One of the most liberating feelings ever and we know we need to enjoy it while we can! We were officially FREE!

After a not so exciting stroll around the town centre, we decided to go in search for a caravan/campsite in town – just to see what it had to offer. Where better way to start than the cheapest – Oh God, I wouldn’t have stayed there if you paid me! Just think US trailer park trash with loads of concrete and overgrown plants oh and did I mention the highway overpass running over the park itself? For $22 a night, we would have rather slept on a park bench with rats licking at Tom’s beard.

We headed 10km North of Dubbo to a free campsite marked on our Camp5 booked (damn I wish I wrote that book – the folk who wrote it took 2 years to travel around Australia searching for free campsites to document them and write a book... brilliant!!!) aaaanyhow... Terramungamine Reserve was the name of campsite number # 5.
Located right on the river (elevated of course – we’re not stupid after the amount of rain we’d just endured) we found a great little corner spot at the site and setup camp.

Tom ventured down to the river via the walkway supplied to setup his Yabbie pot in hope of a free tasty meal for us later that night. As we sat to enjoy the surroundings, we counted that by 3pm there were only 3 other campers at the site. The sky was clear and it turned out to be a lovely and enjoyable afternoon amongst the sunshine – finally a chance to get the smelly dirty washing actually clean & dry for a change! Laundry hanging everywhere was not such a good look but hey better than smelly dirty clothes I reacon!
Sitting and admiring the wildlife (i.e. Cookatoos pooing on our awning) we enjoyed checking out all of the ‘big rigs’ rocking up for their free evening’s stay. When Tom yells out “HeyUp!...” I know there’s a big rig cruising down the road heading straight for us. Our favourite – was decked out like there was no tomorrow... a 4WD go-everywhere set up including tinny (British Translation – while a tinny is commonly know in the land of Oz as a can of beer it is also referred to as a small aluminium boat mainly used for fishing), bicycles, rods, kayaks, bloody everything! The perfect machine for going everywhere – including 30km/hr up a steep climb but hey who’s in a rush? 

The owners of our dream machine & two other rigs in their gang were really great people. We were invited straight over for a tinny (British Translation – in this case – a beer) and a yarn (British Translation – to tell a long-winded story about nothing in particular) around the fire.  By the time we ventured off to join our new friends around a campfire – we counted a total of 16 rigs setup at the average sized site – twas nice and cosy that’s for sure! Was a really great night enjoying our first dose of road trippin’ company.
The next morning – Tom woke me (as per usual – damn does that boy EVER sleep in?!!! I’m on bloody holidays!! J ) because the river had risen so much – not only could he no longer retrieve his yabbie pot – he couldn’t even see the point where he tied it down – the river had risen at least 3 metres overnight just from the huge rush of water following 7 days of solid rain. So we had to put the whole yabbie thing on the backburner and just hope that the water would drop before our departure the following day so we could get our pot back (we’re on a tight budget and those things cost AT LEAST $10).

We decided to head off on a little walk – right next to us there was some designated Aboriginal land and we thought we’d go through and have a little look. They had the area sectioned off because of the “Grinding Grooves” that had been carved in the rocks over the last 5000 years from sharpening their axes and spears. The Grinding Grooves were the first piece of insight into Aboriginal history to date in the trip – hopefully first of many. Really puts it into perspective how old Australia really is and made me feel sad that for so many thousands of years the aborigines had continued in their way of life and now we were standing there as intruders observing their ancestors history like it belonged in a museum.

 At this point, we met our first ‘rival’ Troopers. They pulled up in their bright red Landcruiser Troopcarrier and set up camp right next to us. We just had to spark up conversation with them just to appreciate and compare of course. Our new friends had also set off to travel around Australia and had only left 3 days after us. Their setup was, I suppose, the homemade version of ours... with a  similar shelving unit in the back and a side & back awning. Tom had some nice long chats about Troopie nuts and bolts and they even joked about how much $$$ we both had to spend on the ‘mechanical love’ in preparation for our adventures. Who knows, our paths may cross once again in the near future...

Given we are unemployed travellers now, every cent really does count. So we vowed to stay at the site until the water went down enough to retrieve the yabbie pot. Luckily, the next morning it had dropped, even though Tom did have to get a little muddie – we got the $10 pot back with no yabbie to show for it. Off to the next one then...

Who does this one-eyebrowed smiling face remind you of?

CAMPSITE # 4 - No Coolah place to be

We rocked up to Coolah Caravan Park after enduring what felt like weeks of soaking wet clothes reeking of smoke and feeling so dirty & stinking of BO. But travelling on the road like we are, really makes you appreciate those everyday conveniences we are lucky enough to have in our daily city living lives - electricity, running drinkable water, hot showers.

When in town, it's only polite to mingle with the locals & what better way to do that than go to the local watering hole... 
The Black Stump Inn, Coolah was the epitome of your local country pub. A G'day Mate! was directed our way as walked in the front door from each and every one of the patrons who were quick to spark up conversation with us, as we were no doubt 'fresh meat' from their usual drinking companions.

A few Tooheys Old on tap later we saw something that you would have NEVER expected to see in such a rough country man's pub like we were in...  with her pleather jacket, straw like pony tail wig, long & sharp-far-from-ladylike acrylic nails and make up applied like it was spac filler... this rather confused she-man really did need to spend a little more time practising her soft & elegant lady like speech. And didn't the fellas love it!! Cracking jokes at every moment about who could find her adams apple first, laughing cause she won the meat raffle but was vegetarian but would take the meat home to her puppies - the boys were querying why she had puppies and not pussies... honestly it was one of the funniest nights we've had in a long time... all at the expense of this Priscilla Queen of the Coolah who came to pay us a little visit. 

The next day... we FOUND SUNSHINE!!! The river had risen a ridiculous amount but the sun was shining and the surroundings were really lovely... 


CAMPSITE # 3 - Rocky Creek Falls - Fantastic waterfall views thru the cloudy haze & heavy rain

Leading up to the next night's stay, we need to replenish our Fruit & Vegie stocks and water supply. We found this great little Fruit & Vegie in a lovely little town called Bingara (not pronounced how it's spelt - pronounced BIN-GRA, we found that out the hard way). We bought nearly two weeks worth of F&V supplies for less than $12 - bloody amazing. Makes you realise how much of a mark up we're paying in the likes of Coles & Woolies and how little the farmers actually get.
Note to self - do not complain to the locals about wishing the weather would quit being so miserable. The lady at the F&V store proceeded to tell me that I would "get shot if you kept talking like that". eeeek.
After BINGRA we were due to set off to a remote around where we knew there would be very little chance of drinking water being available and our 200l water bladder was running very dry. So we crawled Charlie into the town's Caravan Park, sussed it out to ensure there were no nosey Grey Nomads leary about and drove straight in to top her up. If Tom the Do-Gooder loses any sleep over the next few days - I'll know why!

We highly recommend Rocky Creek Falls to anyone providing the weather is a little kinder to them than it was to us. We used 4WD for the first time trying to get out of the site up the gradually sloping muddy mud mud road - after heavy rain that seemed to last a lifetime. If we were in a Caravan or 2WD - we would have slid backwards and gone for an unwanted swim.

CAMPSITE # 2 - Pindari Dam - our first glimpse of sunshine

We were glad we left the painfully tedious weather a Girraween and arrived at waterviews & sunshine. We didn't even care that the only campsite left was the one next to the Long Drops (British Translation - a big tank of poo).
We didn't care - there was sunshine, we thought we were in heaven!

When a bucket is your only option...

Chatteau De Cardboard - with waterviews

Tom - giving it a good poke.

Lamb & Vegie stew on slow cook.

CAMPSITE # 1 - Girraween, where the weather was mean

Our pact for the day number one was to do one thing and nothing else. That one thing was absolutely NOTHING. We decided not to leave camp at all - just reading our books, appreciating the wild life and avoiding the bloody rain.

After enduring blisters during a wet trek on Day #2, we decided to go in our thongs (British translation : Flip Flops) to a walk to the "Pyramids". And wasn't that a bright idea?! You'd think the name would have given it away. This huge Pyramid shaped rock formation 1000+ metres above sea level was bloody high & required a lot of strenuous 'felt-like-vertical' climbing. 

So rather than tackling the climb in our unreliable thongs, we took them off & went bare foot. I stopped at 1044 metres & Tom decided that due to his tertiary education in Geology only he should continue further. 

As I sat to admire the views, I could see some ant sized Grey Nomads (British Translation - Pensioner in their won't-go-over-80km/hr-motorhomes) at the bottom debating whether to even bother trying when I overheard one group say to another - "Well, there are a couple of 17 year olds in bare feet up there so now you have no excuse".

I wish I was 17 again - at least I would have had the energy to keep on climbing!!

Would you like a flake with that?


We imagined our departure from Mt Coot-tha Slaughter Falls to be a great few hours spent under the QLD sunshine, having a lovely spring BBQ with friends, perhaps a game of backyard cricket during the consumption of a few beverages.
One thing we didn't account for - WEATHER. BLOODY WEATHER! We couldn't have picked a better week for the rains to shower upon us. But that wasn't going to stop us. We found a great sheltered area and sent the men off to stand                                                             around the BBQ in the cold & miserable rain.

Tom & I had a lovely time and we were really touched by the 30 or so friends willing to endure such crappy weather just to make sure we actually left.

Driving off - we were both silent in disbelief; sad to know we weren't to see our friends for who knows how long and overwhelmed by the fact that we had actually left. For the next however many months, we would pave our own path and create so many exciting memories during our trip of a lifetime. Great success!

Leading up to the big departure

Two days prior to setting off an a big trip like ours, you’d like to think that you were at a point of just crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s. But not for us, Charlie the Troopcarrier had to let us know that there was just one final bit of mechanical love for us to show him before he was ready to go.

The Friday before our Sunday departure, at 1pm, I had just finished the big grocery shop (2.5 hours later) I loaded all the bags in the Troopie, jumped in to fire it up and it wouldn’t even tick over (good one Amy – helps if you turn the lights off).

Once RACQ came to jump start it and after a visit to the mechanic straight afterwards, I was to be told that we needed a new alternator and we had absolute buckleys of getting it fixed for Sunday’s departure considering it was so later on a Friday afternoon. FANTASTIC! Just what I wanted to hear.

So I drove Charlie down to Toowong Auto Electrics in Milton, right on the verge of break down. I could have hugged Ray when he told me he’d come in on his day off tomorrow to fix it for us and gave me the keys to his “run-around” car to use in the meantime. So after a very last minute little hurdle, Troopie was back on track all thanks to the kindness of one person who no doubt just wanted to get some emotionally unstable nutcase out of his shop.

The big pack on Saturday arvo was a lot of fun – was quite the family affair particularly thanks to two little helpers both under 2 feet tall who we will miss very much.