Nerrell, our 1984 Mazda 323, looked good to burst; even a sturdy bum slam onto the boot struggled to keep her closed at the seams. Water, snacks, a tent, a tarp ready for some shade in far North Queensland, an outback first aid kid, two feather pillows, a bulky tool kit, parasols and two lightsabers.
What were we thinking?
I mean food and drink, all good, but it made me wonder: with knees to chins at the start of this mission, would the early smiles and whoops soon dissipate into a thick air of frustration, the three of us sworn enemies before the initial 2,397km leg up past Cairns was even complete?
And no map. Seriously. We did have a National Park camping book, balanced on top of the picnic basket, but other than that just a Cairns Google Maps print out shoved somewhere beneath the front passenger seat. It would be a while until we needed that print out, no need to worry. Hours of driving and discovery ahead.
And with one main road up the north east coast of Australia, how hard could it be to navigate?
It was Wednesday 7th November 2012, I’d finished work midday and quickly packed up too many socks and undies and heavy tops. Squished into the car, we set off, three friends on an Aussie adventure, heads filled with bubbly lightness brought on by the promise of two weeks of freedom and adventuring up ahead.