Elliott, the shithole

September 29, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



"Elliott is a shithole." The tone she used was neutral but the words very clear. Ok, we still wanted to believe that Elliott was the next "heaven" for us, no matter what the young girl at the reception/bar/restaurant in one of the former small towns said. A place where we, a week later, should be able to relax, refuel, eat and drink from more than one menu and maybe even buy new shoes for Anders. Well, now we know. Elliott IS a shithole. She definitely knew what she was talking about! A friendly shit hole though.

We have another week of skating until the next imagined heaven, Tennant Creek, and our legs beg us for a rest day. The skating equipment too, things loosen on a longboard riding this, mildly described, shaky road. We'll stay in the shithole for two nights.

So, for anyone else who reads in a few years old guidebook or have any kind of fantasies about Elliott as a metropolis, please remember that it's still a nice town but:

  1. There are NOT a couple of roadhouses here. The only room we found was an old cabin at the hotel, when you enter the town from the north. It had seen its better days to be honest but the bar area is really nice . The hotel didn't open until noon due to the "Alcohol restriction law" though. (We just wanted a room but as mentioned it also serve as the local bar.) There is a caravan park at the other end of the town too, according to Google Maps, 750 metres away from "our" hotel. Didn't find any rooms there, can't be sure.

  2. You can't buy any other footwear than thongs here and that's not what Anders needs.

  3. The only "Breakfast Menu" in town, which is in the hotel that opens at 12, is no longer available. Same thing with "Lunch Menu" which is said to be between 12 and 1 pm. Doesn't exist. The "Dinner Menu" though, between 6 pm and 8 pm is still there and pretty decent for the outback too.

  4. There is a "Take Away" kitchen at the BP store. When we went there the kitchen was closed though, because of the chef's birthday. The next day it seemed to be her birthday too!? Besides that the staff is helpful and friendly.

  5. Another place for hot food around lunchtime is in the store next to the campsite. The store is randomly closed though and when we were hungry around noonish yesterday we couldn't find a single soul. All doors closed. No sign and no opening hours available. Today at the same time the store was open but the kitchen closed. Friendly staff here too, that helps.

  6. The minimart that's supposed to be adjoined to the hotel is no longer there. I guess they've just closed.

  7. If you find the store next to the camping open and make some complementary shopping at the BP store you can refill your grocery supply pretty well. They do have a selection of canned food and some other things you'll need if you travel slowly in the outback. That's good! Expensive as hell of course but what the heck, we are just passing.

Elliott is also the place which is almost in the middle of what we have decided to be the "Grand Final" of our skating adventure. Darwin to Alice Springs, hurray... If I find the opening hours for the bar, if they keep it open on these hours, if they actually store gin, which seem surprisingly rare, and if they have someone serving I will try to find a GT tonight, celebrating that we only have another 761 kilometres (Google Maps again) to skate before we'll turn into, what other people call, more "normal" travellers.

Well, now it sounds like Elliott is a totally boring place to be. I must say that it's not fair. We've had our share of smiles and warm faces and the people still living here can't be blamed for the decreased numbers of inhabitants, which I guess is one of the main reasons for this towns status. It's still a shithole, but a nice and friendly one.

Cheers! :)

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Insects, the wind from hell and Chinese television

September 23, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments


Lately we thought things were going better and better day by day. Then the head wind started. Phew... A warm and hard wind, right in your face. Making every push a hard struggle continuing for hours and hours with heavily loaded trailers containing huge amounts of water and the daily dosage of canned food. The asphalt was also teasing us, and for a while happy faces turned into not so happy. The good thing with the head wind though is that the flies don't know how to keep up crawling in your face.

I had new cravings, ice cream or/and really chilled Fanta! I could also see myself eating "raw" ice. That's not a new one though. I've always loved it.

Two days of this wind, staring down on your feet for every single push, slowly moving and slowly taking all the fun away. Then, the Chinese TV team stopped, asked for an interview and offered us less warm water than we had in our water containers. Chatting and a photo shooting was fun and when we finally took off again the wind from hell had decreased a tiny little bit and we had new energy for an hour or so, enough to find us a new and excellent wild camp. No ants, a million flies but no ants. Happy faces.

Today we just decided to take a detour to Daly Waters Historical Pub. What a place! I can't decide what's better than the other. The delicious food or the clean shower. We need to rest from five days of skating with a head wind. Looking forward to two lovely days of gluttony and a massive consumption of soap. Gaah!

Burned area along Stuart Highway


Anders is taking a break along Stuart Highway


The Chinese TV team!

Flies, flies and more flies!

Sunset at wild camp

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Just another day of travel with a longboard

September 20, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

It's 40 degrees and we're sipping on hot chocolate from a powder portion bag stolen from one of the fancier rooms we had, mixed with newly boiled water from our gas stove. Dirty and totally soaked in our own sweat we hear each other giggle quietly, what a choice for drinks on a hot afternoon like this but wow, it's so good.

We've just chosen our spot for wild camping but the sun is unbearable where the tent is pitched and we found a grassy area shaded from a tree next to the highway, not far from our campsite. As soon as my hot chocolate is finished I use my longboard as a relaxing bed and begins to listen to a new audio book, downloaded to my phone.

The only car we hear passing by the next hour is a single police car and we start to wonder if we should have continued skating for an hour more or so. Legs were awfully tired though.

When the golden hour before sunset is over we see the moon rise as thin as it is. We only have the inner mesh tent and lying on thin sleeping pads we watch the sky getting darker. No sleeping bag needed in this tempature. While the birds stop singing the stars get more and more twinkling. We fall asleep like that, but only an hour later or so I wake up again. The silence is broken by someone jumping on dried branches, a wallaby I guess and get back to sleep, accompanied by Anders' heavy breathing.

Traffic is still slow at 7.30 in the morning and we don't have to be as patient as usual. Just pushing and enjoying the relative fresh air with the knowledge that an hour from now the sun is already hot and burning. The asphalt is behaving and the ride is quite smooth. Only 20 kilometres today and less food and water to carry since we are reaching civilisation again and our stocks are either eaten or drunken. Well, if you call the tiny town of Mataranka for civilisation. I guess you can have different opinions on that.

Life is so much easier with running water, a bottle of chilled wine and someone else preparing your dinner. More expensive too. We enjoy the cabin life for two nights and mix it with a lovely swim in the thermal water called Bitter Springs.



Longboards ready to go


Camping dinner




A shoulder on Stuart Highway



Me, on Stuart Highway



Bitter Springs

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A short one

September 13, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

This, my friends, will be a short one. Travelling, exploring and skating has taken all my time and no matter how long I have it's always to short. I might have more spare time soon but less Internet. That's also hard for a travel blogger.

Well, we've been skating some really rough roads lately and we are going to slow, that's a fact and we're trying to deal with it. Last one was 10 hours and 48 kilometres. That will give you an idea of what kind of asphalt we're fighting. We needed a nice break in Katherine with surroundings.

Rivers, gorges and a burning sun gave us a nice break with refreshing swims and stunning views.

Tomorrow we leave again. Internet will be limited so don't worry if you don't hear anything. We will be busy fighting new asphalt. :-)








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It's not flat, mate.

September 06, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

"Let's give it another day or two before we give up, honey.", "Wow, this asphalt is fantastic!!", "Why the bloody hell does the road train have to disturb my ride right now!?", "Seriously, if we don't stop now I will die...  for real.", "Look, wallabies",  "Look, more wallabies", "Can you help me, my legs are too stiff to climb those 5 steps of the stairway!?",  "Oh God, can we go to sleep now? (8 pm)",  "Wow, even more wallabies"

Ok! Here I am, 6 pm in the afternoon... have been drinking beer since one o'clock and was just reminded of what a lazy lifestyle I have. Well, try skating Stuart Highway yourself is all I have to say.

Anders said, "How hard can it be?". Now it's more,  "How slow can it be?"

My wheels are already very much eaten up by the asphalt, the trucks have scratches everywhere. We try to fasten every bolt every day, still... the road loosen it again and we sound like someone who's dragging an old cart on gravel.

Still, every day is laughter and sometimes relaxation too I guess. I need that.

We found a new friend in Ralph, she picked us up and invited us to her outback life. She seems to have everything, living in a shed with a lot of rooms and as simple as that she shares it with birds, snakes, cute dogs and a pair of teenagers. She loves them all.

Ralph became our private guide in the area and she showed us Litchfield National Park before leaving us there for some bush walking and camping nights with the Milky "starry" Way accompanied with a full moon.  Waterfalls, swimming and a couple of days of Beef 'n Chunky for dinner. Ralph also squeezed in time for a rodeo night and taught us how to appreciate a muscle car burning rubber. What a difference from the silent camping nights.

We've been alone for a while now. Well, you are never alone when you travelling the Stuart Highway with a longboard and a trailer but anyway... being almost by yourself is good too.

The flat road turned out to be quite hilly. At least around Hayes Creek where we approached yesterday and left this morning. Tonight my legs are resting nicely towards the armchair. Hopefully recovered a little until tomorrow, early morning.

That's a strange thing by the way... I fall asleep around 9 pm and get up at sunrise. I guess that is amazing for you people who know me. :)



Ralph 's friendly bird




At the Noonamah Rodeo




Our camp site in Litchfield National Park




Anders is bush walking



A nice afternoon shower



Me, my trailer and some rough asphalt



Preparing before take off



Anders is teaching a local how to skate




Bush fire between Hayes Creek and Emerald Springs

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