Alice Springs to Queensland: what a drive! We’ve left the ‘Red Centre’ desert behind and travelled through some pretty harsh drought stricken country, where the animals are skinny, and when the wind picks up so does the dust. We did not see much in the way of green vegetation for a few thousand km’s, just a lot of dead kangaroos and pigs, who, seeking out the scrubs at the side of the road, get ‘cleaned up’ on a regular basis by vehicles – worse we’ve seen on the road was between Winton & Morven, on the road to Toowoomba. Carnage would describe it! Once we dropped below the Tropic of Capricorn, the vegetation turned greener, the cows & sheeps got fatter, and the towns got prettier – amazing what a bit of water can do to a town!
Cowboys and cowgirls really do exist and I can’t help starting at these strong, fit folk who are mustering cattle along the highway or dropping into the local pub with their well worn hats and boots. We so wish we were here for the Outback Festival which is taking place in the wee town of Winton (population 950) in two weeks. They run their own Ironman and Iron women competition at the annual show: the ‘Iron’ bit being the steel rods they hold in their arms whilst running across a field! It looks like an amazing event and one which I think every ‘Townie or city slicker’ should experience so they can appreciate the resilience, talent, skill and sense of humour of the folk living in the Outback.
It’s been a bit of a mega driving session to get to Toowoomba with early starts and late finishes. We camped, stayed at motels and mixed it up depending on where we ended up and how we felt. Staying fit and eating healthy on a trip like this is probably the hardest thing for us to do. You get a bit bored from all the driving, and eating breaks things up; you are shattered after eight hours in the car and ‘jammed’ up, so you don’t feel like moving much; you don’t know the town or the surrounding area and it’s getting too dark for a cycle; you are staying in a caravan park with 300 people as an audience, and they’re taking up every available bit of dirt that we’d maybe hope to do a mini-workout on.
So here’s what we did:
Alice to Barkly Homestead: 720km drive with 1 stop in Tennant Creek.
Breakfast: Weetabix, banana, apple, yoghurt and milk.
Snacks: Raw nuts and a Carmen’s fruit free muesli bar
Lunch: 2 x poached eggs on 2 slices of multigrain bread with half a tomato and some avo at a cafe in Tennant Creek. (It was not great!)
Dinner: La Zuppa soup (minestrone, kale and quinoa mixed together in a pot). We added chopped broccoli whilst it was cooking. A tuna salad: spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, chopped capsicum, goat’s cheese and chopped celery.
Snack: 1 x Emma and Tom’s fruit and nut bar
Exercise: Jules did 20 down to 2 push-ups; 100 sit-ups (variation of sit-ups) and 50 squats performed next to the pool at the caravan park. Jack did a mini HIIT session on his bike around the perimeter of the campsite & out on the main highway which is dead around sundown.
Barkly Homestead to Mount Isa: 450kms of nothing but crosswinds!
Breakfast: Weetabix, milk, kiwi fruit and yoghurt.
Snacks: Lot of raw nuts, 1 x Carmen’s fruit free muesli bar to share, mandarins, apples
Lunch: celery with hummus dip, Marys crackers with goats cheese.
Dinner: Outback Hotel pub in Mount Isa: garlic prawns to share; wild caught grilled Barramundi, with salad, chips and a side of veggies. We got about 10 chips each if we were luckyJ. It was Tuesday night and the queue for food was out the door and it was an hour wait for food. I don’t think anyone eats at home in Isa!
Exercise: We stayed in a motel, which was quiet, one other person and there was a lovely garden with a swimming pool. Jack did a 30 minute TRX workout. I did a bodyweight workout that I adapted from Women's Health magazine.
3 x 8 minute workouts
50 secs of work/10 secs of rest
Skipping, Abs crunches, Pile Squats, arm circles, High knees, roll ups and roll downs, lunges, Jumping Jacks
50 secs of work/10 secs of rest
Skipping, Plank to push-ups, Squat jumps, arm circles, high knees, Bicycle crunches, Lunge jumps, Jumping Jacks
50 secs of work/10 secs of rest
Skipping, Mountain climbers, Squats: squat deep and then come up half way and back down – repeat, arm circles, Mountain Climbers, Russian twists, Lunge walk, Star Jumps
Mount Isa to Winton: 620km, we intended to do 750 that day and go as far as Longreach, but it was 37 degrees with high winds and dust storms plus we needed to visit the hospital to check out a cyst causing Jack’s face to swell up (he’s currently sporting a chipmunk look!). We stopped for the day and found a motel to escape the dust storm.
Breakfast: we decide to fast from the previous evening until later that morning, giving us at least a 12 to 14 hour fast between dinner and breakfast. We stopped in Cloncurry and made up weetabix, banana, pumpkin seeds, milk and yoghurt.
Homemade Tuna salad sandwiches on sourdough rye bread.
Snacks: apples, mandarin, 1 x Emma and Toms fruit and nut bar, brown rice crackers and hummus dip
Dinner: Baked potatoes drizzled with garlic olive oil and topped with fried celery, onion, capsicum, broccoli, goats cheese, snow peas and lots of spinach.
Exercise: Push-ups 20 down to 2, 100 sit-ups and 50 squats. 20 minute walk to the pub and back J (Totally recommend Tattersalls pub in Winton).
Winton to Morven (population 250): 750km
Breakfast: two slices of Burgen bread toast with tahina and banana
Snacks: Apples, 1 x Emma and Tom’s fruit and nut bar, brown rice crackers with hummus, celery with hummus, raw nuts, slice of sourdough bread with tahina and banana
Lunch: weetabix with milk, yoghurt, pumpkin seeds and banana
It was a banana day!
Dinner: A big salad: spinach, goat’s cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, broccoli and 1 chopped baked potato. 1 small bowl of LaZuppa minestrone soup.
Exercise: 20 minute ride out to national park on bikes with 6 x 1 minute sprints and 6 x 1 minute recovery.
Morven to Toowoomba: 600km
Breakfast: poached eggs with 2 slices of sourdough, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber.
Exercise: at our motel which was called ‘Pick-a-box’ and consisted of 10 ‘boxes’ – sort of Eco-cabins, done out with IKEA style furniture and all the mod-cons. There was a great barbecue area for our early morning TRX.
50 secs on and 10 secs off (20 Exercises, lower body/upper body/core etc.)
Snacks: 1 x Carmen’s fruit free muesli bar to share, mandarin, raw nuts, slice of sourdough with tahina and banana
Lunch: tuna salad sandwiches
Dinner: Salmon and big green salad
Liquids: we drank a minimum of 2 litres of water a day, if not more, the first water bottle with two caps of apple cider vinegar. We had two large long black coffees per day, okay sometimes three! I don’t have a problem with coffee, promise; I just can’t live without it! We also consumed ‘a few’ beers and a glass of wine most evenings!