January 20, 2021

Around Australia Road Trips: 1995-2004

Ford Explorer outback

While on various assignments over the years, I have racked up hundreds of thousands of kilometres all across Australia, favouring backroads when I can and offroad when I have the appropriate vehicle.

Being something of a history nerd, I'm always attracted to little towns and villages off the main thoroughfares. Some have been bypassed by the major highways, some left to wither when the railway line is abandoned, while others might be derelict mining sites or were just never viable in the first place. 

This amazing country of ours is overflowing with stories, not just since white exploration and settlement over the last few hundred years, but also the indigenous history going back tens of thousands.

On this page, I have gathered some dusty images out of the 'shoebox' and linked to stories published back then. The people have moved on, shops and hotels closed and trains long stopped running.

Please enjoy - and I'd love you to share your own recollections of these times and places.

Please note that these stories most likely contain outdated information and pricing. If you spot something, please point it out.
Across the Nullarbor: 1996 and 1997

Cox family, Henry Snr and Gloria, outside their residence at Cook SA

Balladonia Telegraph Station 1997
Ruins of Ballandonia Telegraph Station. Note these ruins are on private property and we got told off, so don't.
Unoccupied Kingoonya Hotel SA. July 1997.  Since restored and reopened. 
Image Galleries:

The Road to Darwin and Central Australia: 1998 and 1999

Ford Explorer off-road near Mad Mike's Mine NT. 1999

In 1998, we joined the V8 Supercar convoy in a Holden (Chev) Suburban and in 1999, we drove on our own in the new (revised) Ford Explorer.

Image Galleries

Cairns and Cape York: July 2004
The late Syd Beck with his famous DC-3

Wreckage of an Australian Beaufort bomber litters the bush around Bamaga (Higgins Field), Cape York


Sydney to Brisbane: 1997

Langford House, Walcha NSW

The Nimbin Museum burned down in 2014

We drove a new BMW 528i T wagon west of the Pacific Highway, exploring an alternate route to Brisbane

Alice Springs to Townsville: June 2001

"Hughie", the life-size Muttaburrasaurus, stands watch over the Grand Hotel, Hughenden, QLD.
The century-old hotel was destroyed by a suspicious fire in 2018.

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