HELLO + WELCOME as we roll our way from Sydney to London, via Africa.
It’s Kirsty here today writing the regular Wrap Up, with Gareth ready to jump in with some Horizontal Falls and Engagement news!
It’s Day 120 on the road and we are, totally, in love with the beauty of our country.
The odometer is about to clock 18 500 kilometres since leaving the Sydney Harbour Bridge earlier this year. Occasionally, in conversation, we put that into perspective and stare at each other in wonder. We say things like ‘We have been on the road for four months!?’, ‘We have been moving since before Easter!?’, ‘Remember Mt Dare? That feels like so long ago’.
It kind of blows my mind the length of time we have already been on the road and the length left. Yet, all in all time is irrelevant, it’s the experiences and journey that mean the most.
DRIVING AROUND AUSTRALIA
Right now we are on the Coral Coast of Western Australia. Without using too much hyperbole, the past few weeks have been some of the best of our lives.
We’ve been floating on cloud 9, camping on the coast, venturing into the Pilbara and trekking through it’s ancient gorges. After the hectic encounters of the last Wrap Up, we are back to loving life.
G here with Hori Falls.
The Horizontal Falls has been on my Life List for ages. Ever since the legendary Malcolm Douglas took me there in one of his documentaries.
The Horizontal Waterfalls are located in Talbot Bay. This forms part of the Kimberly Region in Western Australia. It is a natural wander that occurs when some of the World’s biggest tidal movements ebb and flow. This forces the water through narrow passages and creates what is known as the Horizontal Falls.
There are companies that offer thrilling rides through the falls at certain times of the day in high powered boats and although expensive, well worth the hard earned coin.
The flight to the falls was special. From the air we could spot sharks and turtles swimming in the waters below. Then once we landed on the water we fed Tawny sharks (from the safety of a cage) and jumped in a jet boat to zoom through the falls.
Here’s how the day went down:
^ Seaplane cruising through the remote Kimberley region of North West Australia
^ The colours of the Kimberley from the air.
^ Horizontal Falls from the air
^ SO much fun. SO much happiness.
^ Co-Pilot Gee flying us home (to the Troopy). If he looks a little excited and contemplative it’s because he’s cooking something up for when we land…
VERTICAL KNEE DROP
G here with Engagement news.
^ She said YES!
^ The ring being crafted
^ The ring being crafted
^ We got plenty of pics from the night. Yet, these final two photos are our favs. They are as blurry as we were after a a bottle of Veuve Cliqout and celebratory mojitos, but they capture the moment of K looking at the ring and me celebrating
I knew the Horizontal Falls was also something that Kirst wanted to do, but she was always thinking the money could be better spent elsewhere. So that’s when I decided to cover the cost and play out that it was an early Christmas present.
IT WASN’T. It was time to get married before she caught on and left me for greener pastures. Well I knew ages ago but needed the right place and the right time.
We stumbled upon this amazing jeweller in Adelaide. Ben from Utopian Creations crafted some of the most beautiful works that I have seen. I just knew he was our man. So, two days later when Kirst was having her hair done I went back in to talk to Ben. I told him my requirements and our situation “We are living in a car and travelling at the moment” and all the rest of our contact was done via email.
He tracked down one of the only two Australian champagne diamonds available from his suppliers (Kirst’s favourite). As soon as I saw the pictures of the rock I knew it was it. It was then left to Utopian Creations to sculpt and set this diamond into a pure platinum ring.
A couple of weeks had passed and we were now on our way to Darwin. With regular photo updates along the way, I had the last email from Ben saying that he had finished. It was complete. I would have a parcel waiting for me upon reaching Darwin.
I somehow had to collect it without Kirst knowing. Easy. My hands were shaking as I carefully unwrapped the cleverly wrapped parcel in the post office. WOW! I was so happy at seeing it. After all the packaging evidence was stuffed into the post office bin I was off to buy a new fishing rod. (Yeah serious. Lucky I didn’t get rolled).
To cut to the chase, after our amazing sea plane / Horizontal Falls adventure, I said to Kirst we should go and celebrate the day down at Cable Beach. I had bought a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and some champas glasses so we made our way down to the beach. The rest is now very private, and as they say, history… she said YES and made me the happiest little lad in the World!
* We unknowingly put the ring on the wrong hand! We lefted the issue the next morning when G’s sister said ‘Isn’t it on the wrong hand?’ Hahahah.
KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK, PILBARA, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Our introduction to Karijini has taken place over the past four months with everyone we have met telling us ‘You have to go there’.
We spent our time in this special National Park waking early and climbing through ancient gorges. Until the walls of the gorges closed in and our hikes became swims through icy cold crevices filled with water.
At times it was pretty full on, particularly when we were scaling down narrow passages and pretending to be spider man. G is great with stuff like this. Me? Not so much!
One particular section of Hancock Gorge had me frozen for minutes as I talked myself out of climbing barefooted down the side of a waterfall. Luckily G was there to encourage me on! I’d like to think I’m not much of a wuss with outdoorsy things, but for me this was scary.
Luckily we didn’t see the detailed Rescues Board until after the fact, as it outlined the painstaking 12 hour recovery that takes place whenever someone needs to be recovered from the gorge.
The park itself is packed with colours that are astounding – red iron cliffs smash it up with green ferns, see-through waters and soft magical light that sweeps over the whole place.
There is a place in the park called Circular Pool that now has pride of place amongst my personally curated list of ‘Most Beautiful Places In The World’.
^ Dales Gorge, Karijini NP
^ Circular Pool, Karijini NP
^ Gorge trekking, Karijini NP
^ The gorge trek soon became a swim, Karijini NP
^ We climbed down that crack in the cliffs.
MEETING THE GROWING AUSSIE OVERLANDERS COMMUNITY (OF LEGENDS)
^ Meeting up with the Tassone’s at Tyre Pro Mechanical in Tom Price
^ Meeting Storm (Trooper) and Taylor (Swift) in Tom Price
We absolutley love meeting people from the growing Aussie Overlanders community. It’s a real thrill to meet such incredible and like minded people.
A few weeks ago Amanda from Tyre Pro Mechanical in Tom Price invited us to stop by on our way through. We dropped by and were welcomed by her lovely loyal husband, Jason, who stood chatting with us despite not knowing a thing about us and who was no doubt thinking ‘Who the hell are these people!?’. Soon enough Amanda and her son rocked up and we were all gas bagging away like old friends.
Then, something exciting happened.
A guy came up to the group of us pointing at G. Gareth naturally pointed towards Jason, signaling that he didn’t work here and that Jase was the guy to talk to. But the young guy kept pointing at G, eventually he blurted out the words ‘I know you!!’
The seven of us soon worked it out, helped by ‘The Pointing Guy’s’ girlfiend Taylor explaining ‘He is having a MASSIVE fan moment right now!’
As it turned out, Storm and Taylor are a young Aussie couple from Perth on their very first 4WD adventure through Australia. They spotted G from the Facebook and website. Storm was full of awesomeness and his beautiful girlfriend Taylor was beaming. We chatted, took some pics and drove off full of wonder and excitement from meeting these 5 incredible people.
A personal note to Tassone’s: See you guys in about 50 years in Broome
A personal note to Storm + Taylor: Hope the car got fixed up easily guys. Drop us an email, because we would love to catch up in Perth!
The drive from Karijini NP to Tom Price and then on to the coast was one of the most beautiful of the expedition so far. The road was framed by lilac coloured grass, red earth, soft green spinifex and craggy iron ore formations.
Then we arrived at one of the most beautiful beach scenes in Australia we have seen: Coral Bay.
LOVING + NOT LOVING SO MUCH
NOT LOVING SO MUCH: Nothing. Way too happy and excited with life right now for anything to zoom into this zone.
LOVING: Becoming engaged + getting inspired about the future + thinking big + meeting incredibly inspiring people from our Aussie Overlanders community + staring into the most incredible ring I have ever seen in my life (the man did good!) + calling each other Fiance + aqua waters + our good friend’s Jules and Marshy from Exmouth offering us a place to park off for a while + Coopers Pale Ale + wild camping with a billion stars, a bull and a ghost (true story!)
That’s us all wrapped up.
A MASSIVE thank you, as always, for sharing the journey with us. It truly makes this expedition so much richer. We promise to tone down the romance factor for the next Wrap Up!
If we can leave you with one lasting thought it would be this: You know all those things you have always wanted to do? Get out there and do them.