Our time on the road is surprisingly busy, so wishes of spending long afternoons swinging in the hammock reading a book don’t often eventuate – it seems that any hammock lazing is always interrupted by one or more child wanting to share your comfy spot and you’ll know that sharing a hammock is not easy, much less relaxing. That said I have certainly had a lot more time to read since we have been away and have read a lot more Australian non-fiction that I usually do. I thought I’d share with you some of the good ones:

The Dig Tree by Sarah Murgatroyd: The story of the explorers Burke and Wills and their expedition to be the first to make it from the south to the north coast of Australia in 1862. Great story-telling and full of information that I never knew.

The Kimberley People by J.R.B. Love: An account of Bob Love who ran a mission in the northern Kimberley region during the early to mid 1900’s. He gives a factual account of the culture and customs of the Aboriginals living in that area at the time. It’s amazing to read this book and gain a better understanding of how the locals were living less than 100 years ago, during a time when many had not yet seen a white person.

We of the Never-Never by Jeanie Gunn: A year in the life of a wife of a cattle station manager in the (then) very remote Mataranka area. Definitely a book that finished too soon.

A Song in the Daylight by Paullina Simons: A thumping 1000 or so pages, but could not put it down.  A story about a 40 year old (sounding almost familiar here) woman who has it all and the unbelievable things she does to ‘find herself’… can’t elaborate any further or I’ll spoil it for you!

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. This series is targetted towards teenagers I realised once I was half way through the first book, regardless, they are brilliant can’t-put-down books.  Set in a futuristic environment with a tyoe of Big Brother game taken to the extreme.  Not something that I thought I’d really enjoy, but I really did!

The Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson. I must have been the last person on the planet to read this trilogy, so no need to elaborate on what it was about I guess.  Really loved all three books.

There have been others which were ok, worth a read if there’s nothing else around!

Dog Ear Cafe; Andrew Stojanovski

For the Term of His Natural Life; Marcus Clarke

Birdsville; Evan McHugh

Lightning Ridge; Ion Idriess

And plenty of others not even worth a mention, so un-riviting that I have forgotten about them already.



  1. Hi Maria,
    I love your travel diary, I have just logged in. I am however having a completely differnt experrience to you all, I had my first snow day. We were cooped up as there had been 10 inches of snow fallen over night and day!
    I have been travelling for two months from Japan to Finland to Austria and Switzerland and then on to UK, now in USA.
    Love to everyone.

    • Great to hear from you Philippa, hope you are enjoying the snow even if it’s a liitle cold! We’re not too much better here at the moment, down to 7 degrees over the past few days with snow down to 900 meters. I thought we were supposed to be enjoying summer! We’re still a ball though, have really settled into the routine of travelling and I know we will wish that we are gone to more than 12 months. Enjoy the rest of your travels, I guess Elizabeth is heading home now and you’re travelling on alone? Love Maria

  2. finally had a squiz at where you been babe , cant believe so much lies ahead .. miss ya but so proud of you
    such an achievement for u all
    keen to hear the adventures and am now signed up for the malpass blog

    • I wondered where you had got to! Missing you all too, but having a fantastic time… might not make it home! Hope you are all well and those bunnies aren’t breeding anymore! M

  3. Hey lovey. Just checking out your website a bit more tonight. Have read all the kids blogs and will post something on each one in a mo. Will check out where you are off to next as I can’t seem to zoom in on the map – told you I was IT deficient!! Girls are in bed now – ahhhh – nice and quiet. Lots happening at the mo aye!! We had the Tsunami warning here on Friday after the Japanese disaster. I threw the girls into the car and high tailed it up to Michael and Lindas. They live at the top of the Kaimai’s now so we headed for them hills!! The girls love it up there – especially my little farmess Ella. She loves being on a farm – well farmlet in Michaels case. They have a tiny house but all they need. Linda is very mothering and we woke up safe and sound on Saturday morning after the 1inch Tsunami – to Lindas waffles – never had a waffle in my life but may have to invest in one of those gadgets!! Another cooking gadget to add to my array. Did I tell you ma is shifting over our way. She has cleaned out her house and it is on the market. She gave me back my bridesmaid dress that has been hanging in her wardrobe for over 10 years now – gotta say – that puppy never went out of fashion!! The girls have been eyeing it up but I have said NOOOOO!!! They also have my wedding dress in their sights but may have to sell that!! – hahahaha. Well my lovely, will move onto the kids blogs now – they probably will be perplexed at my blog but tell give them a kiss from us all – tell Tobey he can still be my son in law one day – bit of a scary thought (for him at least)!! XXXXX

    • Hey you, so good to hear from you and everyone loved your messages. We’re having a great time and already I am thinking about how the year will go too quickly and we;ll have to settle into normal life again all too soon! But for now just enjoying the laid-back life.
      I’ll update our itinerary page with some more useful info over then coming weeks – when I get around to it… have stopped worrying about deadlines now! But from memory we’ll be in South Australia or Victoria around my b’day… quietly getting older! Will try to call you sometime when we have better reception. xxx

    • Hello Malpass Family!!! Ella is going to write to you all so I will let her take over now…..

      Hello whats it like going around Australia? Mum has said that your mum is teaching you all. Mum reckons that she would be too grumpy to be a teacher but has told us that Auntie Maria would make a lovely teacher. Could you let me know where you are at the moment and I will tell all my friends in class when we have morning news.

      I will write again soon but my tea is ready now. Bye love Ella xxxxx

      • Hi Ella, Thanks so much for your message, we love hearing from our friends. Today we made it back into a spot where we could get phone and internet reception after about 10 days without being able to make a phone call – just imagine that! We are in a little place called Fitzroy Crossing in the North West of Western Australia. We will be heading towards the west coast from here to Broome where the beaches are supposed to be lovely. We can’t wait to swim in the sea again, you can’t swim in the sea very much in the north of Australia because there are big saltwater crocodiles everywhere which love eating small children who take a swim in their territory. Say hello to your mum for me and tell her I promise to call when we get a bit of down time in reception – maybe in Broome. Lots of love from your Malpass buddies. xxxx

        Follow us…

  4. Hey Maria and gang! So great to find out about this blog. It is so amazing that you’ve had such great adventures so far. We just had a wonderful weekend past – finally temperatures well above freezing and the snow has finally melted. I managed to get a get a trowel in the garden and in a few weeks should be able to plant some flowers. Finally some warm weather!
    I will stay posted – hope to hear from you soon. Is this the best way to connect?
    Miss you!
    Lots of Love,

    • Great to hear from you Carolina, apologies for the late response, but with poor internet reception in many places and the rapidly decreasing need to be on the computer I rarely get around to communicating!!! Unbelievable to hear how cold your winters get, something I’m sure I’d not get used to.
      Love to you and all your boys, Maria
      PS – you can either contact us via this website or at my usual email address (

  5. Hi Maria,
    Its been some tme but I have just spent the last 90 minutes sitting on my bed looking at your storey. Joe was beside me and getting me to zoom in on every photo. Your adventure looks amazing and I am still extremely keen to do the same at some stage. Dave and I spoke about it last night and I think 2 years is probably on the cards. You mention that your finding the camper easy now, and packing etc was better than you thought. We were thinking a caravan just for ease. Do you think that would greatly limit us?
    You know I think we JUST may have missed each other in QLD. We were up there with Vicky and Terry from March 22nd for 10 days. We did the same and just missed the school holidays. We did the same theme parks. I really wish we could have met up! Sooo close.
    Well say hi to Ben and the kids for us. Take care Love from the Hancocks.

    • Apologies for the slow response, takes a little time to get in front of the computer lately. Such a shame we missed you at the Gold Coast, would have been brilliant to see some familiar faces again.
      Regarding the camper trailer/caravan decision, we were discussing this the other day and whole heartedly believe that for what we want to do the trailer is the far better option. It’s a tough decision, but really a very personal choice with factors like where you plan to go and how much you are willing to ‘rough’ it being major considerations! We especially like that we do all our living ourside of the tent and the kids have no reason to go into the tent (dragging dirt and sand behind them) until bed time. We eat, do school work and play outside. We’ve noticed that the caravans that have pop-up this and pull-out that do not have a significant;y shorter set up time that us anyway. If you are planning on going to Cape York I don’t think you can take a caravan there and the Gibb River Road is brutal on all caravans (even the most ruggard and expensive). No help at all was I???

      Hope you are all well and next time you take a holiday, check that we’re not going to be there!!!!
      Love Maria

  6. Maria and Family
    I have loved reading about your adventures, I showed Max some of the pics and we were at Sea World just before you guys (shame it wasn’t same timing) Max was thinking of Tobey when we did the climbing like Tree Tops. As I said before you left you guys are making me think of packing up the caravan and heading off around Australia too…. this way I get all the latest and greatest places to visit!

    Thanks for keeping up all updated. Enjoy!

    • I can’t believe we missed you at the theme parks, we’ve had the same story from several other friends too. Tobey talks of Max often, but can’t quite bring himself to write an email or postcard! Too busy doing ‘stuff’ I guess! Hope you are all well. Maria

  7. Hi Malpass Family,
    Finally have managed to look at your blog – great stuff – I am still in Airlie Beach!! leaving Tuesday – Townsville didn’t sound so good for you. Weather here has turned a bit off so time to move on!! maybe it is coming from North! I met another family from Canberra in the same set up as you guys at the Big 4 Airlie Beach they have 2 daughters so I gave them your website they have one also & were going to contact you – take care say hi to the kids – we may catch up again some where but you are moving a lot faster than me!!

    • Hi Cathy, we’re a little slow on the responses aren’t we!! We’re in Port Douglas now, loving it here and loved Cairns too. Both times have stayed in the only campgrounds near to the centre of town – perfect for you and both reasonably priced (Cairns was Cairns Holiday Park and Port Douglas is Tropical Van Park). Hope all is going well for you and that your friend is catching you up!

  8. Hi Maria!

    Love your site and will take the computer to Mum and Dads so they can check it out too. Am very envious! The following message is from Mum which she wrote out on 15th May.
    Great to hear from you. Very envious of you in warmer weather than here. We are off on a 14 day cruise soon to Fiji, Noumea, Vila and surrounding islands – can’t wait as first holiday in 18 months. Will miss having you close to collect mail and feed birds etc. Chris and Tanya take off from Darwin mid August. Bruce has built Milly a box with rain proof roof and a warm rug inside to sleep on. Don’t think she likes the dog over the road and hardly spends any time there. Bruce wants to know if you’ve been doing any fishing? Will keep in touch through Jocelyn. Best wishes, Virginia and Bruce

    • Hi Jocelyn, thanks so much for the message and for being postie to us! We are having a ball at the moment, totally recommend something like this once your girls are a little older. The things the kids are REALLY learning by being absorbed in it I am sure they will never ever forget. Can you please pass on our enormous thanks to your parents for keeping an eye on Millie, we really appreciat it… we too had thought that the stay at No. 2 may have been a little much for Millie. SO pleased she has a quiet refuge to escape to. I hope B&V have a great holiday away, we thought of them a lot over the last few days as we have been in Cairns and Port Douglas seeming to follow a cruise ship along as it docked in the two ports for a land visit. Let Bruce know that Ben has been doing A LOT of fishing and that we have been having A LOT of anything but fish for dinner! It’s all very dismal, except for a fairly good period while we were on Fraser Island. Best wishes to you all and hope the Sydney winter isn’t too cold… I’m getting a tan here!!!

  9. Hi Maria,
    My goodness this looked amazing. I am so jealous however Jeff reckoned he would have been the nervous one! We have just spent a week in Queenstown, and on the way back I was looking at the car, strewn with snack wrappers, apple cores, drawings, pens, mud and dirt and I commented to Jeff… I wonder how Ben and Maria’s car looks after 6 months of this!!!! Hopefully better than ours after a week.

    Things here are still shaking and moving… its becoming a bit hard now I have to say. We are back boiling all our water, and just living in fear that it will happen again. But what can you do, you just have to carry on.

    On a brighter note we are in the process of buying a house. Made offer and it has been accepted, however just a bit more tricky than normal. We will get it, if we can organise house insurance, but apparently the insurance company’s are not doing any new insurance policies at all at the moment in chch. So we will have to cross our fingers.

    Well hope you are well and happy and travelling safely.


  10. Hi Maria,
    Hope you’re all well, sorry Oli hasn’t written back to Tobey yet, too much homework in year 3!!
    We are planning our Tassie trip, off in 3 weeks for 4 weeks so on the island for about 3 1/2 weeks.
    Where can we not miss??? I have Dismal swamp, Freycinet and Bruny Island on the list, anywhere else you hadn’t mentioned?
    And any campsite nono’s? We will have our camper trailer but it is only semi off-road.

    • Exciting!!!! The only no-go I can think of is not to bother with anything further west of Stanley (on the north coast). With limited time there’s not a whole lot to explore here. Now I know this is where Dismal Swamp is, so you may want to reassess my recommendation. There are other tree based adventures around the island, but the mountain biking at Dismall Swamp I don’t remember seeing elsewhere -depends on what you’re after. I don’t have any no-no’sfor camping that I can think of (if they were bad then time has erased the memory), but on your must-do list you have to include:
      – Narawantapu NP (Near Port Sorell not far west of Devonport) – be sure to do the night ranger walk looking for wombats
      – Mount William NP (We stayed at Stumpys Bay campround) – Bennetts wallabies galore there – be initially amazed that you can hand feed them then spend the rest of your stay trying to keep them out of the tent.
      – Cosy Corner campground on the north coast from St Helens- beautiful Bay of Fires and be sure to pig out on the $8/dozen Tassie oysters available at the roadside stalls around here.
      – Fortescue Bay in the Tasman NP
      – “The Wall” near Derwent Bridge
      – Strahan (and the Gordon River cruise)
      and all the popular touristy things like Cadle Mountain, Mount Wellington, Lake St Clair etc that I won’t go into.

      It’s making me want to go back! Hope you have a brilliant time.

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