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Tom Schmakeit's Travel Page

Hello & welcome to Tom's travel page. I am planning to record pictures and stories of our family caravaning trip to Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and back through NSW - I hope you can follow the trip and send me your comments. Rgds, Tom

Diary Entries

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Location: Australia

Our last week (Coober Pedy, Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges & Broken Hill)

On the last week of our big trip we went to Coober Pedy, which is the largest opal-mining place in the world. I went looking for opals and I found some good ones. Before we went into Coober Pedy we crossed the South Australian border.

After Coober Pedy we went to Lake Eyre. Lake Eyre is the biggest salt lake in Australia it was amazing you could see salt on the ground everywhere. Even more amazing was that there was water in the lake after the floods in Queensland. We stayed at a place called William Creek which is next to the Woomera Rocket Range. The local community collect parts off space ships and rockets in the local park.

After Lake Eyre we went to the Flinders Ranges. We went and explored the Flinders Ranges and there were lots of different animals like Kangaroos and Echidnas. I patted a Kangaroo that was wild and climbed a huge tree, even did some homework and had lots of fun.

We left Flinders Ranges to go to Broken Hill. On the way to Broken Hill we crossed the NSW border. At Broken Hill we saw the huge silver mine and we also went to the chocolate factory where there was some amethysts and silver that had been dug up from the mines in Broken Hill.

At Broken Hill there are some great Australian artists including Jack Absalom and Pro Hart. We also went to Silverton where lots of movies are filmed including Mad Max. I got to stand next to Max’s car.

Cool Road Kill Updates
1 weird bone thing that looked like a person.
See if you can guess what it is?

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Location: Australia

Days 45-48 (kings canyon, Uluru)

We stopped at King’s Canyon for one night. We did a walk that was called the ridge walk. It was 6km long and there was great scenery on the walk. There was a part of the gorge that was called the Garden of Eden and it was beautiful. We went over a bridge and look at it. We looked into the Canyon and it was very deep. We saw lots of rock formations, gullies and cliffs it was a great view.

After Kings Canyon we went to Uluru we stayed there for four nights. We first saw Uluru 50km away from the caravan park. I was amazed by how big it was we went to have a closer look at it. Uluru was huge it was way bigger than I expected. There was a climb up the rock that you go on but it was closed because of the strong winds.

While we were there we went to Kata Tjuta. Kata Tjuta used to be called ‘The Olgas’. On the way we spotted a huge wild camel in the scrub on the side of the road so we stopped to take some photo’s. These camels are amazing as they were used to explore Australia up until about a hundred years ago. After that when motor cars came the camels were set free and now there are about one million that roam the outback wild. At Kata Tjuta we went for a walk to a lookout in the Valley of the Winds to get some good photos. The lookout was great.

On the way back from Kata Tjuta we saw a sign that said that the Uluru climb was open so we turned around and headed back to Uluru for the climb.

We started climbing up Uluru at about three o’clock in the afternoon. It was so hard because it was soooooo steep. We stoped for a rest every two minutes. It was soooooo scary because there was only a chain to hang on to and there were no harnesses.

Mum was not keen to go to the top so Dad, Ellie and I went to the top. I felt safe at the top and it was an excellent view from up there. It was fantastic.

Cool Road Kill Updates
- 1 wild camel that had not actually road kill as it was alive, but its hard to believe that it is alive when Dad is driving.

Sunday, 03 May 2009

Location: Alice Springs, Australia

We left Kakadu and headed towards Alice Springs. We stopped at Katherine to get a didgeridoo. We got a cool one.

We stoped for the night at Mataranka. Dad and I went for a fish in the evening and the next morning but had no luck.

We left Mataranka and stopped for the night at the Devils Marbles. They call it the Devils Marbles because of the huge rounded boulders that are there. We played on all the big rocks and it was great fun. I had a great time.

We left Devils Marbles the next day and stopped at a place called Tillmouth Well where many people have spotted UFO’s over the years. There were statues of aliens made out of fibreglass and there werealso aliens made out of paper. We went inside and saw all the newspaper articles about the UFO’s that have been seen.

We left Tillmouth Well and arrived in Alice Springs many hours later. We stoped at the G’day Mate caravan park. We spent six nights at Alice Springs. While we were there we went to the Alice Springs Desert Park where we saw so many desert animals and plants. There was a great bird show telling us about different types of birds and how they live while the birds flew into the arena.

We also went for a camel ride while we were at Alice Springs, it was so uncomfortable but fun. The camel I rode was called BJ and he was the tallest one. We got to feed the camels hay after the ride.

We also went to see the East McDonnell Ranges. We saw lots of gorges we went to the old gold mines in Arltunga. There were so many old houses and bits of mining equipment there. We travelled on lots of dirt roads, it was so bumpy. We also went to the West McDonnell Ranges. We went to some more gorges and a big chasm called Standley. The chasm was so skinny and was very cool. We stayed at the Glen Helen gorge overnight which has a lodge. It is supposed to be a resort but it didn’t look like a resort. The pool was freezing cold. We had dinner in the restaurant and we listened to a live singer. He was great.

We went back to the West McDonnell Ranges to see Palm Valley where the palms are red when they’re small. The palms were around when the dinosaurs were alive. The track into palm valley was so bumpy that I had to get out and walk.

On our last day we went to the markets in Alice Springs and got some things. We had lunch in town I had Subway. No more towns for a while now, we have done 8000km and not had TV for six weeks now!

Cool Road Kill Updates
- 3 wild boars
- 1 scrub bull

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Location: Australia

Days 32 - 36 (Kakadu)

We had 3 nights at Kakadu Lodge in Jabaru and while we were there we went to see the views and the ancient aboriginal rock art at Ubirr. We saw some of the best rock art we have seen yet.

We climbed Ubirr rock and saw the amazing views of northern Kakadu and the Arnhem Land wetlands as Crocodile Dundee did in his first movie.

Dad and I went fishing for barramundi on the East Alligator River where the road crosses into Arnhem Land. We didn’t have a lot of luck but saw some big barra caught.

We went swimming everyday, the wether was hot and sticky. While we were at Jabiru we ate a very large mud crab – I love mudcrabs!

We left Jabiru and headed south to Yellow Waters (Cooinda) to stay for three nights. We went on a cruise of the Yellow Water billabong and saw 2 kingfishers, 4 eagles, lots of crocs and heaps more. There were also lots of beautiful flowers.

Dad and I spent some time driving up tracks looking for a good place to go fishing from shore. This is always a bit tricky because of the crocs and the mozzies were terrible.

One day Dad and I hired a fishing boat with a fishing guide to show us some barra fishing techniques and spots at Yellow Water billabong. We caught 5 legal sized barra and lots of smaller ones – we took two home to eat. They were delicious. It was a good day to have a fish! I had a great time in Kakadu.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Location: Darwin, Australia

Days 27-30 (Darwin NT)

We arrived in Darwin and after we set up camp we went into town to have a look at the Crocosaurus Cove where there were live crocks in big tanks and lots of fish. After we had a look we decided not to go today because we had missed the crock feeding and the fish feeding.

The following day we went back to the Crocosaurus Cove. We saw crocodiles everywhere in tanks it was amazing. I loved it. We saw lots of animals. We went over to the crocodile feeding and saw them feed the crocks it was entertaining to watch.

After the crock feeding we went back home to get changed into our swimmers to go to the nearby water park. We played at the water park for two hours. The water park was for free and there were three huge slides. It was great. There was also an area that was like the nickelodeon water park at White Water World.

While in Darwin Dad and I went to see the fish feeding in Darwin harbor. We saw a huge mud crab, some barra, a massive coral cod, Queensland groper and some catfish and mullet. We also went to the Darwin Museum there was an exhibit of cyclone Tracy. We went to a room that was completely dark and had sounds of the cyclone ripping metal off people’s roofs. It was scary. We found the crocodile called Sweetheart in the museum. Sweetheart made a number of attacks to fishing boats and eating cattle in the 1970’s. One day some crock catchers came to get Sweetheart to put into a crock farm. When they tied her up she drowned. Sweetheart was 17 foot (about 5 meters) long .

After the museum we went back home to get dressed to go back to the water park. It was sooo fun.

On the way to Kakadu we stoped at the Adelaide River to go on a crock spotting cruise. All the crocks we saw were magnificent. They were jumping out of the water and snapping there jaws at the buffalo flesh that was being dangled over the side. I held an olive python while we were there, it was longer than me.

The tour guide fed the eagles. She threw some meat in the air and the eagle swooped down and grabbed it. There was a big sea eagle that swooped down and grabbed a big bunch of flesh with its claws and flew away.

Cool road kill updates
Only cane toads in Darwin, dozens of them – but they’re not cool.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Location: Australia

Days19-25 (Edith Falls, Daly River, Litchfield National Park)

We left Katherine to go to Edith falls. We arrived at Edith falls and went for a swim where there is great swimming hole and a large waterfall. We had a snorkel and saw lots of different fish. Then left the waterfall to go to camp. We didn’t have any power so we had no air conditioner, it was boiling.

The next day we left to go to the Daly River. We had 4 nights at the Daly River and Dad hired a boat for 2 days so that he and I could go fishing. On day one of fishing we didn’t catch anything. We had some hook ups on large barramundi but didn’t land any. Day two in the hire boat started at 7am and was a much better day. There were a lot fewer boats as most people had gone home from the Easter weekend. Heaps of crocks were out on the banks, small freshwater ones and also large saltwater ones. A local man had been eaten by a croc the day we arrived there.

I caught a large Threadfin (King) Salmon early in the day on a lure that I spotted in a tree while we going up the river. An hour or so later on the same lure I caught a massive barramundi. It was 85cm long and weighed 18lbs (8kg). Dad caught a 60cm barra. My barra was the catch of the day at the caravan park, it was so cool! I was so happy that I caught a barra. I have always wanted to catch a Barramundi. Mum cooked fish and chips for dinner, it was unreal.

The following morning we left to go to Litchfield National Park. When we arrived we set up the van and went for a swim.

The next day we went over to the waterfalls in Litchfield national park to have a look at some waterfalls and to have a swim. First we had a look at some waterfalls that were closed for swimming. Next we went over to a place where you could swim I went underneath the waterfall it was a good massage because the water was coming down so fast. We had our snorkels with us I looked on the bottom of the waterhole and found a 50c coin and dad found a solid gold necklace. The next place we went to had a smaller waterfall then all of them I found a bullet that still had gunpowder in it. There were so many waterholes it was amazing I loved it.

Cool road kill updates
1 ferocious scrub buffalo
6 nice frogs
600 cane toads

P.S there are photos of the Barra on planet ranger.

Wednesday, 08 April 2009

Location: Australia

Days 14-18 (NT - Dunmunrra, Mataranka, Katherine)

We left MT Isa and we are heading for the Northern Territory. We had breakfast at a petrol station in Camooweal then passed the border and now we are in the Northern Territory.

We arrived at Dunmunrra and stayed for the night and in the morning we left Dunmunrra to go to Mataranka planning to go for a swim in the hot springs when we got there. We arrived at the springs we went for a swim in the spring. It was nice.

We left the springs to go to Mataranka Caravan Park which also has hot springs. They are called Bitter Springs. We set up the caravan and went for a swim. We had brought some goggles along and had a look around under water at the springs. We caught a turtle as we drifted along.

The next day Dad and I got up early to have a fish in the Roper River behind the van park but we caught nothing so we went back to the caravan for some breakfast. After that we went over to a place that does barramundi feeding. A man fed the barra and told us some things about the barramundi. He asked if any one wanted to feed the barra and I was the only one that wanted to feed the barra. I fed the biggest one, it was over one meter long. After that Dad and I went to have another fish but still caught nothing.

The next day we packed up to go to Katherine. We arrived at Katherine and unpacked the van. We had a look around. Dad and I went down and looked for the best fishing spot in the river. On Tuesday we got up early for the boat tour in the Katherine Gorge we got on a boat and set off. I saw some crock traps and a small crock on the bank that Dad and I think was a fake. We went to a lily pond that had a waterfall. We all had a swim in the lily pond then we went back to the café to have lunch. After that we went back to camp and when we got back to camp there was a bush fire behind us but it was brought under control.

Cool road kill updates
3 snakes.
7 ferocious scrub cattle.
4 dead birds
1 feral cat
plus a really big wedgetailed eagle trying to fly off right in front of our car dragging a small roadkill wallaby

Thursday, 02 April 2009

Location: Longreach, Winton, Mt Isa, Australia

Days 11-13 (Longreach, Winton & Mt Isa)

On Tuesday afternoon we arrived in Longreach and went straight to “The Stockman’s Hall Of Fame” which is a museum dedicated to the early Australian pioneers who discovered and worked in the Outback. They did it very tough back then and still do today with all the droughts and floods we get.
We then stopped to set up camp on the side of the road next to the ‘long reach’ of the Thompson river. There were toilets there that didn’t flush with lots of green tree frogs in them (see photo), even in the toilet paper holder.
The next day Dad and I went fishing early in the morning, no luck today, one catfish only. We left then to go to the Qantas Museum in Longreach. We went on a tour to visit the 747 Qantas Jet.
We got to go inside and look around, even in the cockpit.
The tour guide gave us some interesting facts about how the jets work, about the black box (even though it is red – I’ve attached a picture of it.)

We then went on to Winton for lunch, which is famous for Dinosaur fossils, and where Australia’s Largest Dinosaur bones were found, his name is Elliott. He was a sterapod (long neck). We had a look at the Museum and saw heaps of fossils and bones.
Now we are heading to Kynuna hotel to stay at the back of it. We all went for a cool drink in the pub and had a look around. Dad and I played pool and I thrashed him. The pub was called the Blue Heeler Hotel and anyone who goes there can write their name on the walls. There have been some very famous people there.
Next day we took off towards Mt Isa, we stopped to see the very famous pub called “ The Walkabout Creek Hotel”
Which was filmed in “ Crocodile Dundee”.
We stopped at Cloncurry to get morning tea and we passed a sign that said that Cloncurry was the only place to register a staggering 51.3 degrees. It is the highest temperature recorded in Australia. When we went through it was only 33 degrees and I thought that was hot!
We arrived in Mt Isa around lunch time on Wednesday to spend a couple of days. We had some time in the afternoon to catch up on homework and write up our diaries.

On the Thursday morning we drove out to Lake Moondarra, Mt. Isa’s recreation lake and water supply. It was nearly empty with less than one month’s water left before the big floods here after Christmas. It looks great now.

When we returned from the lake we visited the Mt. Isa School of the Air and took a tour around. We even sat in on a lesson, it was cool.

We also went and visited the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Mt. Isa to see how they help people in remote communities.

We are now packing up and getting ready for a 650km drive tomorrow into the Northern Territory.

Cool Road Kill since last update:
1- Big Brown Snake (Dad got it!)

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Recent Messages

From lachlan
nice picters off ulla roohope you are having a grate time hope you catch a lot of fish
Response: Thanks Lachlan,
Having a great time see you at school in about a week or so. Tom
From Judy Darby
Hey Tommy Boy,
Great stories, and pictures.Looking forward to hearing all about it next week when we see you. Cant wait. Say Hi to Dad for us
Luv The Darby's
Response: Hi Darby's,
Can't wait to see you next week. I'm bringing home some fish for us for dinner! Tom X
From Cam
Hi Tom
I like the look of that bara, especially seeing you are showing up your Dad. Keep up the good work. Dont listen to him, any fish you catch larger than his you post the pictures so we can all see.
What was the Qantas museum like in QLD, I've heard it's great?
Hope you are all having a great time.
Response: Ttanks Cam,
I know im a better fishman than Dad only he doesn't know.
From Zoe Darby
heyy tommy
It looks like ur havin a FAB trip and getting to experience once in a lifetime stuff!
I cant wait to here from u again!
Tell me wen u go to Uluru
luv Zo-Zo
Response: HI Zo Zo,
Good to hear from you can't wait to catch up soon. Mum and dad says hi too Tomx
From Mrs Bower
Hi Tom, as I wrote to Ellie, my messages don't seem to be going through to u?? We'll see if this one works. Keep up the fantastic fishing with your dad, you have caught some huge fish. Say hi to your parents and we'll see you all soon. 5/6 B has been missing its class councillor! Drive safely, Mrs Bower :0)
Response: Hi Mrs Bower,
We have been out of range for a week, sorry we have been all around Alice Springs and only downloaded tonight. Everyone says hi! Tom
From hades
yo whats up i hope u are having a super time i have spilit my eyebrow and i got 4 stiches later
Response: Hi Hayden,
Great to hear from you what were you doing to split open your eyebrow mate. See you soon Tom
From nath
hey tommy i hope your having a splended trip around the country and hope you don't hurt your self to much!

Response: Hi Nath,
How are you mate thanks for writing. I miss ya! Having fun no injuries all good See Ya Soon DUDE! Tom
From Tracey
Hi Tom
It sounds like you are having a fantastic time.I can't get over the size of the fish you and your dad are catching a little bigger than the ones at Seal rocks but only by a fraction.The photo's are great.We have just had our internet reconnected after our move.Hadyen and Nath will read your adventures and be in touch shortly. They have a lot to catch up on.Have fun. xx
Response: Hi Trace,
Having a fantastic time going Quick so much to see and do. Loving it! Taken haeps of pics as you can imagine in my glory! I hope the move went well and your all sorted now. Missing everyone but having a blast. About to hit the Rock can't wait Take care and see you soon. Lisa Mark Ellie and Tomxxxxxxxx
From jesse, abbie
G-Day Mate!
Sweet Photos Tom, scaught a good looking barra. Yeah those cane toads arent cool at all. Thanks for letting us stay at your house while your away. We enjoyed ourselves. Your very lucky. I (abbie) wish to go to kakadu one day. Cya Bud. Love ya xo.
Response: Hi Jesse, Abbie and Lii,
Thanks for your message I'm glad you had fun at home. Now don't forget to come back when I get home. I might even bring some Barra home with me!
Yes you have to go to Kakadu one day, its really worth it. TomXX
From Mrs Bower :)
Well Tom, you will certainly be an expert fisherman by the time you return! Can I put my order in now for a salmon please?? Eeeekkk...I'm not sure what's worse, frogs in your bed or frogs in the loo?? I hope u were watching out for those wild crocs when you were swimming up north. If you get this before you hit Litchfield National Park, could you please keep an eye out for my gold necklace I lost in one of the swimming holes there? You have been very brave feeding barra's and holding pythons and crocs. The photo of you and Ellie in the dome (bubble) is fantastic! How awesome to get up close and personal with baby crocs like that. As I told your sister in her message, we're hoping you didn't enjoy the School of the Air too much, cause our class is definitely missing its class councillor! Happy belated Easter to you and your family, looking forward to hearing about the last few weeks of your adventure, Mrs Bower :0) p.s. I was only kidding about the necklace, but wouldn't that have been a coincidence!!
Response: Hi Mrs Bower,
Thanks for your message I am having heaps of fun. Yes I am loving the fishing and best of all I am beating Dad. Saw heaps of crocs but it did'nt worry me. Say hi to everyone for me can't wait to see everyone soon.Tom
From fletch
Hey there tomster:)
First of all i have also held a croc about the same size as yours. Aren't they fierce(being sarcastic of course) Heard your having a great time. You are so lucky getting time off skool because it's tuesday and we have to go back to skool tommorow. See I told you to fit me into your bags 'n' stuff so now I am really jelous and wish I was there you lucky duck. Sounds like you got the good weather because down here it is absolutely freezing. Jono is all good. Because they may have to do the massive opperation he may have to wear his earplugs and head band again for the rest of his life though this time because he wouldn't be able to get water in it. Mum says hi to everyone. And she says hope ur having a great time. anyway i will keep in touch miss u heaps,
Response: Hi Fletch,
Sorry your back at school NOT! I"m glad Jono is doing OK say hi to everyone for me can't wait to see you all again Mum and Dad says Hi to Tom.
From The Whitty's SWR
Tom sounds like the fishings great,we're loving the road kill updates,hope mums cooking some for meals,enjoy
Response: Hi Guy's Having heaps of fun about to leave the NT so no more barra for a while but I still beat dad on the count and the biggest! Dad and Mum say Hi! tom xx
From oli
hi tommyy
hope the easter bilby was good to ya' 'cause he was to me anyway miss u
c u soon
sencerly oli
Response: ya it was nice to me it was luky to make it because of dads driving miss you to from tom.
From aunty bin
Hey Tom Are you home sick yet? Swimming sounds so nice ,its starting to get cold here wish i was up there with you.nan said you caught a huge barra so i cant wait to see your pics.barra is my fav eating fish.please say hi to mum and dad for us, keep safe luv for now AUNTY BIN

Response: thanks Aunty Bin i am having a great time up hear it is so hot up hear and there are so many flyes miss you from Tom.
From Tanya
The road kill count beats "I spy" LOL!
Response: Hi Tanya,
Nice to here from you,nice supprise. Yes we are all having a great time going qiuck though. It's so beautiful and so much to see. Cheers Lisa, Mark and kids xxxxx
From Kane
Great Barra Tom! I bet you are proud of this one! Beats cutting your foot on glass and spending two nights in hospital!
Keep having fun and say hi to everyone from our house.
Response: hi kane did you cut your foot on glass owh!that whould hert. did you have fun with Jono. anyway have fun and dont cut your foot on glass. from tom.
From fletch
hey there tommy,
to start off top barra mate. Awesome job. We went to a place just like your stop called ladies wells up in the barrington tops. Only problem was the water was about 15 degrees so i wasn't so much fun. So I hope you are having a great time.
Fletch :)
Response: hi fletch did jonos ear infection get beter. we have been swimming in the pool three times a day because it is sow hot up here and there is so many flies.
From Zoe Darby
heyy tommy just looked at ur pics and saw the biggest fish i've eva seen any1 catch...WELL DONE :)
i went fishin the otha day and caught a Long Tom!!!!
anywayz miss ya heaps
Response: Thanks Zo Zo,
I'm glad you liked it. Well done to with your fish to, where did you catch them? miss u 2 Tomxx
From fletch
Hey just a quick comment NICE HAT DUDE !!!!!!
Response: thanks fletch
From fletch
Hey there tommy boy,
How are you doing, I am having an awesome holiday( aka my place is a holiday!!!) And my uncle and nan came UP from Dubbo. I may be going to dubbo but i am not sure. We got some new gear for the motos so i am super excited about that. Jono's ear infection came back so he was in hospital for 3 days and is having surgery within the next month. Just think if he didn't have surgery, It would eat through all his ear bones and then start eating out his brain and he would eventually die. On a happier note i hopr the easter bunny was good to you because i sure got a heap and i feel like throwing up at the moment but i will hold it down anyway i will talk to you sonn cya
Response: hi fletch i hope Jonos ear infection gets better from tom
From Jack Hawko
Hey Tom,
I hope ya havin a great time in NT! Happy Easter and I hope the Easter Bilby finds its way to your Caravan, that is if your Dad hasn't run over it yet!!!!!
Hawko Boi
Response: the billby was luky to make it to our caravan from tom.
From jack
Hi tom it's only jack.b I like your blog howes your trip.
Response: hi jack whats up i am having a great time from tom.
From Mitch Bond
Hi Tom, how was the turtle at the hot springs? The barra feading looked awesome!!!
How close to the croc did you get?

Have a great easter up there! Miss you lots!!!

Please reply

From Mitch!!!
Response: thanks mich miss ya heeps from tom
From Zoe
Heyy Tommy
I miss u heaps! im sooo glad to c ur having a great time.
Please tell ur mum and dad that i said hi and i miss them lots!!!
Please reply
love zoe, judy and steve
p.s HAPPY EASTER FOR THE WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Response: Hi Zo Zo, Miss you too
Have a great Easter to
Hi from Mum and Dad and Ellie. From Tom
From abb, den, mollie
heyy tommy.
how are yahs!!....
missing you's .

enjoy your time, have lots of funn.
love yahs xoxo.
Response: Hi guys, How are you all
Can you say hi to pop for us and tell him we send lots of kisses and hugs!
From Tom, Ellie, Mum and Dad. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX