If you’ve ever had the interest to travel outback Australia and experience the Red Centre, then we highly recommend following our featured Adventure Seekers, Gary and Amanda. They are the creators of the website and travel pages, Travel Outback Australia and are both extremely passionate and knowledgeable when it comes to the Australian desert and all that collects that famous red dust within it. There isn’t much they don’t know, haven’t seen and we bet, not too many tracks left they haven’t driven. Enjoy their story!
Names: Gary Weir and Amanda Markham
Where are you based? Originally I (Gary) am from Adelaide and Amanda is from Bowral in the Southern Highlands, out from Sydney. Having just left Alice Springs we are now living in the southern extent of the outback in the Riverland of South Australia.
Describe yourselves in 5 words. Adventurous, outgoing, relaxed, open, persistent.
What are you up to right now? We generally travel during the cooler months so right now we’re planning our next big adventure.
Where has the love of the Australian Outback come from?
I spent 20 years as a park ranger in the NT, living in many isolated locations around the Territory. It is one of the few places I still attach a sense of adventure to. Amanda, an anthropologist/archaeologist, came to Alice Springs in 2002 and worked with Aboriginal people right across the Territory. We met when she was seconded to Parks and Wildlife.
What is your current OFF-ROAD VEHICLE including your SET-UP?
We have a 2014 Toyota Prado diesel. We are pretty minimalistic most of the time and so settle for open swags, sometimes under a mozzie dome if need be. At other times we use our 30-second tent for a bit more shelter or if we’re hanging around somewhere for a while. Our big project this year is to home build a camper trailer. We are hoping to get some big names on board to provide assistance along the way.
As lovers of the Outback do you ever venture to the Coast for a sea change and do you enjoy it?
After living in the Red Centre for all those years, it is always nice to visit the coast somewhere and walk along the beach. Of course, there are also a few locations around the country where the outback kisses the coast!
What INSPIRED you to this ‘Adventurous’ lifestyle?
In both our careers we effectively lived the ‘adventurous’ lifestyle every day. It wasn’t a hard decision to ultimately leave my day job once our website Travel Outback Australia began to grow. Amanda still works and travels around Australia in her work as an archaeologist.
Destinations and Tracks are on your BUCKET LIST?
There will always be places that we haven’t got to (yet) but this year it will be the Madigan Line, and at some stage, the Canning Stock Route and all of Len Beadell’s tracks will be on the agenda.
Tell us one of the most MEMORABLE MOMENTS you’ve had during your travels?
There are so many memorable experiences that we have had over the years which makes it hard to pin point one in particular. I’ll tell you what though, no matter how many times we do it, nothing beats lying under millions of stars on a clear night just looking at the stars and, of course, counting satellites.
The most BIZARRE EXPERIENCE you’ve encountered on your travels?
I was driving from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon one afternoon and came across a pair of Japanese tourists in a rental Commodore, stuck in the sand. Of course, the Ernest Giles Road is a recommended 4wd track and I couldn’t work out why they had travelled this way. After snatching them out of the sand, I turned them around and said to go back the way they came. Before they left I asked them what possessed them to come this way and the driver said, “GPS, GPS say come this way”.
I had this vision of a driver that tried to drive across to North Stradbroke Island, off Brisbane, for the very same reason. You can’t fix stupid.
Describe your IDEAL CAMPSITE.
This is another hard ask. Anything remote, away from civilisation, and sitting by a fire either by ourselves or with friends.
Biggest MECHANICAL FAIL on the road and were you able to fix it?
While reviewing a camper trailer last year, we suffered a wheel bearing failure on a brand new camper on the Birdsville Track. We tried to get parts to avoid a costly recovery, but unfortunately, the bearings that arrived were the wrong ones.
After already having camped on a desolate part of the track for two days and with the weekend coming, we gave up and called on our automobile association to come and save the day. Luckily we were members.
Name one PRODUCT you wouldn’t leave home without?
Our Jetboil. It boils water fast and is easy to use and means we get a cuppa when and where we want one!
What LUXURIES do you miss most when you’re travelling?
I can’t think of any off the top of my head. We aim to get away from all that and enjoy the simple things while on the road.
Favourite MEAL to cook on the road?
We still like a good ol’ BBQ so whether it’s steak, chicken or a good pattie, they all seem to taste better when you’re out bush.
ADVICE for new 4WD enthusiasts who are planning a trip into the Outback?
It’s not only about your vehicle. Here is a post that has been pretty popular with our readers
‘5 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Travel Outback’ but in summary:
· Have you done your research?
· Are you mentally ready?
· Can you go the distance?
· What’s in your luggage? And,
· What are your limits?
It doesn’t hurt to think about all these things. Some people love the outback, the remoteness but we have talked to some people who are a little freaked out by it.
We are all about encouraging people to leave their comfort zone, leave their cities and get out into the outback. It’s a place where you can leave the world behind, and thankfully in many places, get away from phone coverage and recharge yourself.
Just one thing to remember though, as a wise person once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Go forth and enjoy yourself!
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