Final Days – The Drive Home to Brisbane

304 Days On The Road

I began my drive home towards Brisbane after leaving Longreach. There wasn’t too much else I had planned to see or do. I needed to stop in to see some friends and family who live along the coast so that was what I did.
On the way I stopped into Emerald, met a subscriber who recognised me which is always great, and was told to check out Fairbairn Dam. This is the recreational centre of Emerald with plenty of water sports, boating and fishing.

Blackdown Tableland national park, 110km east of Emerald was my camp for the night. The lookout provides spectacular views of the region. Most of the park is 2wd accessible.

Upon reaching Rockhampton I catch up with an old friend from high school and we take a trip up to Byfield national park. This is a lovely coastal park with some tough sand driving. After 9 months of travelling through desert and remote regions solo, I would say I encountered my toughest sand hill yet to climb. I had to drop my tyres down to 16psi and rev like mad in low range to make the crest. I wasn’t the only one having problems with 2 other cars taking multiple attempts to make the dune.Cruising the beach at low tide was a wonderful way to finish up the last of my 4wdriving for my trip. From here on it’s all bitumen.

I take the turnoff from the Bruce Highway towards the Town of 1770. I’ve been out there several times since a child, long before the bitumen road was laid down. It’s changed a lot with several stores and tourists galore on the once quiet seaside paradise. I spent a couple days there with family before the final drive home.

The big arches of the Gateway Bridge welcome me home after 304 days on the road. My “Big Lap” minus Western Australia was complete. What an adventure and wonderful life experience. So many memories which are mine to keep forever.

gateway bridge

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2 comments

  1. So home again Brett. 304 days is a long time away from home, but sounds like you had a blast. Fun to hear that you met your toughest dune in Byfield. Big Sandy, as it’s known locally, can be a bit of a bugger at times for sure. A pity you didn’t go down onto “three rivers beach”, sometimes known as five rocks beach. It’s an amazing photo opportunity from down there, and it can be a bit of a challenge getting back up the dune again from that side, but nothing I don’t think your vehicle could handle.

    Well, all in all, it’s a pity you didn’t get to do your Simpson crossing, though I understand it’s just a bit too hot this time of year. I reckon you did the right thing leaving out Western Oz too, because that’s another whole big area, and leaves something still to do for another time once you’ve built up the funds again. I’d be interested in perhaps joining you for a West to East Simpson crossing sometime (I live in Rockhampton), and have been longing to do it for a while now, but friends and family are a bit reluctant, or maybe I should say, struggle to take themselves too far away from the shops.

    You had a couple of problems with the Landy I gather, the turbo and the gearbox seals, which must have cleaned out your travel funds a bit. I think it would be interesting if you wrote an article on the performance of your truck during your trip, and perhaps include details of further preparations you might suggest for others.

    Well, all the best, and looking forward to hearing/seeing more of your trip via the videos you have.

    • Thanks Jim. Was quite the adventure. Yes I was getting worried my bog free streak was about to end at Byfield. The sand there is so fine. The Simpson Desert will always be there so I can try again when it’s colder. Will see how the next 12 months go for me. Really need to boost up the funds, as you said. I’ve just uploaded a new video going in detail of what worked and what didn’t on my Defender as well as a blog post http://roamingtheoutback.com/2015/12/defender-expedition-camper-review-of-modifications/ . Plan on writing another post with all the mechanical issues I encounted during the trip. Take care and enjoy your christmas! Brett

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