Big Desert NP

We spent a long time pouring over the map trying to decide where to head next. We had a hard time choosing between The Grampians and Big Desert National Park, but in the end decided that Lake Albercutya on the edge of the Big Desert sounded attractive as the kids might be able to swim there.

We headed north-west for quite a while past silos and windmills, through towns with quaint names like Rainbow till we reached Lake Albercutya at about four that afternoon. “Windmill! Windmill!” Lucy would exclaim gleefully at each sighting.

When we reached Lake Albercutya the campsite was on the edge of the lake. We were disappointed to see the lake was dry, but then felt foolish when we found out it had been dry for over twenty years. We thought there might have been more camping a little further on but were stopped abruptly next to a farmer plowing his fields when the campervan sank in the sand up to the hitch.

Jarrad got down the spade to dig and dig the sand away from the wheels and the hitch again and again without managing to move anywhere. The trees were too small to winch ourselves out on. Finally we managed to move after an hour or more of coaxing car and campervan out of the sand. We were rather thankful to stop at the first camp site and have a lazy leftover dinner in the hot weather. The campsite had all the facilities we needed with water and a toilet, as well as somewhere to string up the washing line.

We were not all alone at Big Desert, as two or three other cars went by each day. It was so hot while we were there that the kids bathed outside rather than inside in the blue laundry tub that doubles as a bath. The insects were so plentiful that Dad left a torch on overnight near the campervan to try and attract the bugs back out.

We drove across Lake Albercutya, and cried “kangaroo” at each sighting. We were a bit sad to see a dead one in the middle. We drove into Big Desert on the second day. Lucy, Susan and I all usually dislike four-wheel driving, but even we love the sand driving. The first few hours everyone giggled and whooped their way over the sand dunes.

We saw signs warning about burning off but had not seen any further notification. Peter was the first to notice smoke in the distance, “Look at the smoke, Dad, it’s quite close,” he cried.

“Oh, so there is. It’s quite a while away, though, nowhere near us,” Jarrad assured him, though only a few minutes proved he was wrong. We mounted a dune that revealed smouldering grasses and shrubs with one burning only ten meters away. A ranger passed us in his car and stopped for a chat. Dad offered him some water in case he didn’t have enough to drink but he reassured Jarrad that he had plenty.

We stopped for a while so that the kids could play in the clean, white sand. “It’s the world’s biggest sandpit,” Susan squealed happily as she and Peter tumbled down a dune together. Edmund loved looking at his footprints in the sand and drawing patterns with his fingers. Lucy was so pleased she bounced and bounded from one sand game to another running, jumping, digging and rolling to her heart’s content.

When everyone was tired we continued the drive and Lucy and Edmund were soon lulled to sleep. It slowly dawned on us that the road wasn’t a circuit but rather went through the park. We were all whinging and fed up when we tumbled out of the car eight hours later and thankfully collapsed at the campervan. This is not one of the bonuses of being location independent.

“Let’s go for a drive,” Jarrad suggested the next morning and everyone groaned.

“No,” Susan sulked, “I want to stay here.” Her siblings joined in her protests, but Jarrad was adamant we were going to the eastern side of the park that day.

“Want to do some more sand driving?” Jarrad asked me. I glared at him in way of answer.

We drove a short way to the other end of the park and shortly after we re-entered the national park we found ourselves driving alongside three emus running quickly along the grass. We saw ten more emus that day and a large number of kangaroos and birds. It was a most exciting day. One of the emus was a young one who raced alongside our car for several minutes.

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road. Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.

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About Amy and Jarrad

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road.
Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.

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