By ERWIN CHLANDA
Tina Mawer and Kylie Keighran proved that in a trip of nearly 3000 kms from Cairns in Queensland to Alice Springs in a motorhome with their four daughters aged seven to 11.
It was all about the country, says Tina: “The wide open spaces, the vastness of the country around Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
“The rocks and mountains jump out of the landscape, first Mount Connor and then you see The Rock. Breathtaking to see them pop out of nothingness.
“You can feel the presence of The Rock and you feel you’re being put into your place because it is so commanding.”
Around The Alice was a big surprise for the first-time visitors: “We thought it would be quite flat and to see the hills and the ranges was astounding.
“The different rock formations we’ve seen, the layered rocks that were formed so long ago. To experience the natural surroundings was amazing.”
She says the children we keen to climb.
“I asked them to read the sign at the base and from there to make their decision. They did not want to climb once they had read the sign. They had the choice and that’s the choice they made.”
They climbed the small sand dunes at the caravan park instead.
The downside? The two women, who are a couple, both working with the Queensland Department of Housing and Homelessness Services, saw no negatives in their adventure.
“The vast distances between places is not something that can be overcome,” says Tina.
“The cost of fuel is high but the trucks bringing it here have got to drive the distance that we have driven to be here.”
Boredom is part of a big trip like this – but what the heck: “It’s nature at its best. It gives you the stark reality that you are in Central Australia, pretty much in the middle of anything, and it’s not easy to get to.”
“Just little hints that you pick up along the way,” says Tina.
And as for the kids, they had great time fossicking at Gem Tree for garnets and they are now campaigning to move into the Outback so they can attend the School of the Air.
PHOTO AT TOP: Introductions to new-found friends along the road are a bit of a mission. On the bunk are Nevaeh Klingner (11) and Eliana Klingner (7). At the bottom (from left) are Elliotte Kilgower (11), Tina Mawer, Kylie Keighran and Kiahna Klingner (9). They are all one big happy family.