Steve’s BRB Journey with XT10E 15YR EDITION

follow us

Get our news and travel inspiration.

Big Red Bash 2022 Diary

Steve's BRB journey blog
Big Red Bash is an annual music festival set on the edge of the Simpson Desert in southwest Queensland. From humble beginnings it has grown to be an epic bucket list event, attended by people with a love of music and thirst for adventure from all over Australia. Each year the numbers grow, and the organisers do an amazing job of scaling the event to suit. More facilities and staff are added to ensure a perfectly run event with a great music line up and plenty of other activities to keep everyone entertained while the music isn’t playing.

day1

Having done all my preparation an early start was to be made at 6.00am to head up over the mountains and meet up with the other members of the convoy. The plan was to reach Byrock on the Mitchell Highway B71 between Nyngan and Bourke.

My choice of caravan for the trip is the light weight XT10E with electric powered roof opening that has as standard the one most important feature I wanted for a winter trip out to the desert, a diesel heater! I had planned to also use an electric blanket in case any of the campsites were in close proximity to other campers, especially in swags or tents and had that been the case, I would have used the electric blanket instead of the diesel heater to avoid bother anyone with the fumes or slight noise the exhaust makes.

Meeting up with The Duck (Rob Smith) from The Offroad & Camping Radio Show, George from Dynamic Wheels and their lovely wives at Lithgow was official stop one except for a quick stop at Glenbrook to check wheel nuts. After the obligatory handshake, we set off to find breakfast with the intention of stopping at Lucknow to check out the boot shop on the highway.
XT10E-15YR-Offroad-004

Just some background on The Duck and my friendship, we met a number of years ago and Rob asked me to participate on his show to share great spots around Australia where you could camp and fish. Fishing has been a passion for me since I caught my first at 4yrs of age.

On arrival at Lucknow, it was time to update the UGG Boots for the wife and I and there’s no better place to shop for them than the Lucknow Skin Shop. Every style and colour in every size as well as country clothing and everything the concrete cowboy could need in fashion.

Making our way west towards Dubbo, there were plenty of campers and caravans out on the road with many I assume, heading to the same end destination as us. Dubbo is the last city with full services between Sydney and Birdsville and last chance to shop for a full range provisions at city prices. Leaving Dubbo behind us we head northwest, and the countryside starts to really look “country.” The scenery is lovely with livestock and farms and this time of year is the cotton harvest. All along the road there’s white “fluffy stuff” being cotton escaping bales during transport. Spotted along the road are huge fields of canola coming into bloom giving the landscape an explosion of colour. This is spectacular country when rainfall has been good, and it’s worth taking the time to stop and take it all in.

Steve's BRB journey blog3

*Canola crop west of Dubbo

Taking the right fork at Nyngan, we soon found ourselves at Byrock at the Mulga Creek Hotel. This pub is as country as cow poop and very welcoming. Behind the pub is an excellent campground with shower and toilet facilities, campfires are permitted unless there is a fire ban and inside the pub itself, there’s a fireplace, beer on tap and a dining room that will cook you a great meal. Camping is cheap at $15 an unpowered site and there’s plenty of space with powered sites also available. Best of all, the air smells so much fresher than the city.

Day2

After a great night’s sleep, warm as toast with the diesel heater running, we packed up camp to head into Bourke. The road is excellent with few bends and the wide shoulders make it safer at dawn and dusk as you can see any wildlife on the roadside. This is great for avoiding animal strikes, but I’d strongly suggest front protection on your vehicle travelling these roads at night as there was unfortunately some roadkill on the way in.

Bourke was a quick fuel up and last minute groceries and we headed for the nearest dirt road to press on to Hungerford. This stretch of red dirt is 200km long and was just like driving highway. Our convoy was able to safely travel at 90-100kph which is great conditions considering Rob was towing an XT16HR East West well and truly loaded. Just prior to departure from Sydney he had some fresh rubber fitted and the boys in his workshop at OZ Offroad do a wheel alignment and his van never put a foot wrong the entire trip.

The roads along this stretch are unfenced and the local’s run cattle on their properties. With all the rain the feed is plentiful, and the herds of cattle looked very healthy and well fed with few along the roadside. Even the native wildlife looked in great condition, the kangaroos looked content with most of the females appearing to be carrying joeys and the echidna I encountered was by far the biggest I have ever seen.

Steve's BRB journey blog6

After a bite to eat we headed to Eulo for the night as this was the best location for data service for Rob to do his show podcast as well as a live radio session later in the evening.

The Eulo campground is just out of town on the Paroo River just off Adventure Way and is a free campsite with no facilities. There is a general store which is well stocked, a pub and fuel is also available at what was reasonable pricing at the time. The pub also has a caravan park for those wishing to stay in town. Nearby are Artesian mud baths for anyone that would like to have a soak and relax. The area is known for opal mining and the Eulo Queen Opal Centre is located in the middle of town.

Steve's BRB journey blog7

After a bite to eat we headed to Eulo for the night as this was the best location for data service for Rob to do his show podcast as well as a live radio session later in the evening.

The Eulo campground is just out of town on the Paroo River just off Adventure Way and is a free campsite with no facilities. There is a general store which is well stocked, a pub and fuel is also available at what was reasonable pricing at the time. The pub also has a caravan park for those wishing to stay in town. Nearby are Artesian mud baths for anyone that would like to have a soak and relax. The area is known for opal mining and the Eulo Queen Opal Centre is located in the middle of town.

Day 3

Today’s target destination is Windorah with the plan of staying the night behind the Windorah Service Station by invite of the owner. With almost 500km to cover it was up early and on the road. This part of the trip is a day of covering the distance and we arrived at Windorah with time to fuel up and get a tyre repaired on my vehicle. The local free camp at Cooper Creek was way too muddy so we found firm ground closer to town and spent the night there.

Day 4

It was great to have a short day with our destination being Betoota. The main attraction here is the reopened pub which is a must visit when in the area. There’s miles of camping, the beer on tap is excellent and with some planning you can also organise a meal. With pay per use showers, it’s excellent for those not towing a van with an ensuite.

The sunsets in this part of the country are spectacular.

On a previous trip in 2018, the work was under way to reopen the pub, but approvals and construction issues made it an expensive and protracted exercise. Fortunately I was able to get a photo behind the bar that time.

Betoota pub was also our meeting place to have MDC’s CEO Vaughan join us for the remainder of the trip. Vaughan tows an MDC XT16HR Family van which also serves as our R&D workhorse for new systems which have since been implemented on the 15 Year Anniversary Editions. Dinner was a treat with Vaughan proving his culinary skills with a perfectly cooked pork spit roast with gravy. The pub was a bit crowded, so we enjoyed a campfire chat and a reasonable early night in preparation for meeting the MDC owners at Birdsville in the morning.

Day 5

Today sees us arriving at the Birdville common to meet the other 50 plus MDC trailers and their owners for the convoy into the bash site. The first order of business was to hit the public showers for a freshen up before getting our tickets and window stickers for entry. All this takes place at the Birdsville Information Centre in the middle of town with the shower block just across the road from the info centre. There are two service stations supplying fuel and limited groceries. If you have time for a drink and a cooked lunch or dinner, the Birdsville Hotel is just over the road and ready to help. One of the most iconic pubs in Australia, it can get a little busy so a booking for meals is sometimes essential.

Steve's BRB journey blog8

The convoy and entry was pretty smooth considering we had around 60 vehicles with trailers. The Big Red Bash volunteers and staff did an excellent job of getting us in and guiding us to our paddock area where we quickly circled the lead vans and created a common area to gather all the MDC owners around the campfire. Taking the rest of the day to setup, greet old friends and take a bit of a nanna nap, it was still good to be back.

The Bash site is huge and broken up into sections with roadways to ensure excellent and safe access. There is bring your own camping for the most part where you can camp in anything from a swag to an RV. There are also glamping options where you can rent a site already set up with a tent and beds.

Day 6 - 9

There are no shortage of activities during the event. Our group entered with a 2 day early entry pass so the first 2 days on site were predominantly grabbing 2022 Bash merchandise, catching up with mates and the obligatory evenings spent around the fire enjoying a drink and the company of likeminded people.

Each year as a group we try and raise some money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), an organisation we all hope we never need but travel with the peace of mind that should we need them, they will come to our aid in the most remote parts of the country. One of the events within the MDC group was some of the guys offered up to get radical haircuts or their heads shaved for raising various amounts. Good mate Col Channing offered to have a mohawk done and guess what! We hit the target. I had the honour of performing the cut and didn’t do too badly if I do say so myself.

Steve's BRB journey blog10

*Drag Race

Other great activities are sunrise yoga atop of the big dune, movies on the big screen, beach volleyball, camel rides and surfing down the sand dune but the main event is by far the music. This years line up was a cracker with none other than Jimmy Barnes headlining.

Jimmy turned on a great show as usual and was well supported across the whole event by the likes of Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Richard Clapton and many more.

Between the hair cuts and Rolly Heath whipping up an amazing pulled pork to be served on rolls for anyone wishing to donate, the group managed to raise $1,547.90 for the RFDS which we proudly presented as a group. As a representative of the brand, it makes me very proud that we are supported by an amazing and charitable group of owners.

Heading home

With all the festivities done, it was time to say goodbye for another year to new and old friends. The drive back to Sydney was relatively uneventful which I’m grateful for. Backtracking the way we came out I was back home in a few days to wash off the dust and get back into the routine.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top