Plans for this year
9 May 2007
Finally off - well almost!
Visits to specialists needed for both of us. Ophthalmologist found that cataract surgery needed for both Joy(2) and Ted(1). After some discussion, in view of travel bookings made, decide to postpone till back in Melb in Sep. Cardiology/vascular man at the Alfred gave Ted another 6 months of freedom, which should allow travel plans to take place. Joy had arthroscopy on second knee and it cleaned up pretty well. Ted saw Joys orthopaedic surgeon and there may be some way for him to have knee replacement surgery previously advised too risky (new to him, decided to see him and look for alternatives to doing nothing, as little trust in his previous surgeon and knee deteriorating). Further discussions/tests/consultations after our return will decide if surgery viable.
Family and medical commitments now being complete, we are off!
First stop Shepparton for Caravan service. We have found a company we trust there and keep going back yearly. Apart from other things (e.g. modifications) caravans are like cars, and need lube and wheel bearings done regularly. In addition, specialist items such as sacrificial (anti-corrosion) anodes in the hot water service need replacing. As we are heading outback, and in view of water shortages (??) had extra water tank fitted.
We are participating in a 'Caravan Safari Trail' under the auspices of the NRMA - from Dubbo to Longreach over 2 weeks. What you do (and where) before and after is up to you.
Before -- we are just going to the RACV Cobram resort for a few days then up to Dubbo.
After -- is a different story - plan is to go Longreach - Cloncurry - Mt Isa - Normanton - Korumba (on Gulf of Carpentaria) then across to Cairns (or maybe Townsville), gradually down the Qld coast as the fancy takes us for a reunion on Gold Coast in early Sep, then gallop back to Melb for grandson 1st birthday.
We have been interested in these Safaris since first sight of an ad in a caravan book for 'Australian Caravan Safari Trails - We love this Country'. Originally set up and conducted by the Industry body (Caravans and RVs), their first trial safaris were in 2006. For various reasons we could not participate in any last year but kept our eyes open for follow ons. The NRMA absorbed the full time staff of the safari operation into their travel department, reviewed the results, and set up modified trips for 2007. We booked the 'Outback Discovery Trail' as soon as it was announced.
Their set up is very thorough, professional and complete. Hats, quality backpacks, maps, manuals provided. Fee includes all caravan park fees, attraction entry costs, and many meals. Professional guide contracted (he commonly takes 4WD convoys across Simpson Desert and led some of the trial safaris last year) and NRMA road patrolman - complete with patrol vehicle - to travel with us. All vehicles must have CB radio - provided where needed; limited to 20 vehicles (caravans or motorhomes). Safari manual and maps supplied. At a number of the stops where evening meal supplied, we also have the local mayoral group along to give a talk - we thought 'boring', but found quite interesting!