Having come through sub-tropical rainforests, learned to drive on the other side of the road, squished squeaky sand between our toes at beach towns, slept in the chilly high-altitude tablelands, fossicked
for treasure in opal mining towns, driven through the great outback, and hiked through yet more national parks, before seeing the ocean again along the great ocean road, we feel we’ve managed to see a small but pretty diverse
chunk of this wonderful country of Australia.
And having seen the critters at night,
gone into the opal mines, caught some yummy fish for dinner, listened to the mining bells chiming through Broken Hill, toured
the inside of a Royal Flying Doctors emergency plane, and enjoyed
the hospitality of oh so many people we have come across, we also feel we’ve managed to meet a few of the characters that live
here and get a feeling for the pulse of the place.
So when set with the task of leaving something with the van;
something that characterizes our trip and says something about us, we were
Do we leave a chunk of opal we fossicked for? Nah. It’s mostly potch, and if you don’t look closely you’d think it’s
just a rock with some shiny blue stuff.
Do we leave some fish? Nope. Caught it and
ate it already.
Do we leave sand from our squeaky beach? Rather not. Gets between your toes something fierce.
How about a kangaroo, since we got close enough to pet one? No can do. I doubt that future ambassadors would
appreciate this furry friend as a travel companion in the van, despite its
If we had to choose a place or activity that was a true
highlight for us in our six-week adventure, that place would be Lightning
Ridge. With its quirky characters and artistic-yet-gruff feel, we were
delighted every minute of every day of our visit. Among other things what made
Lightning Ridge special for us were the amazing people we met at the Rotary
meeting and the subsequent whirlwind of new friends and great
times that ensued. We would have stayed a week if we didn’t have about 3,000
more kilometers of ground to cover in a limited time.
The culmination of our Lightning Ridge adventure took place
while immersed in the Black Queen experience. Not only do we now
count Gale and Roger as friends of ours, but their home and the brilliant show
they put on struck a chord in us. We don’t know how or when it will come to
pass, but we don’t feel we are finished with Lightning Ridge just yet.
And so the legacy we leave with the van, the little bit of
character that future World Nomads Ambassadors can enjoy as they create their
own adventure, is a memento from the Black Queen: a handy magnet, featuring
none other than the Black Queen herself. This design is also apt I might add,
since many a dark evening was passed playing cards in the van by candlelight.
The Black Queen stayed with us in our hearts long after our
departure, and now it can stay in the van too!
We would like to thank all our sponsors for giving us such a
unique opportunity to see a slab of Australia
for free, and we look forward to our remaining 10 months in this amazing
country. We won’t be as easy to spot without our trusty colourful van, but
we’ll be around.
As the Australians say: No worries.