In this special Father’s Day post, Aussie traveller and photographer Campbell Jones reflects on how his journey around Australia gave him a deeper connection with his Dad, plus he shares a few highlights from his trip.
As we approach Father’s Day, I’ve had a chance to reflect on what my Dad means to me, and where we’ve been able to bond together over the years.
Throughout 2019, I was road tripping solo around Australia. Dad had done a similar trip when he was my age, so we could share in the experience, even though we were not together. He kept track of my movements and recorded the places I camped on a map. He would recall stories of his experience in each of the areas I was in and he’d recommend places that stood out to him 25 years ago.
Obviously, things have changed since back then, but the beauty of our great country hasn’t changed. While I was sending photos back to my parents, Dad was able to re-live the great memories he had of his travels.
Dad was living vicariously through me as was on the road.
Sharing my journey with dad
Dad didn’t spend as much time as I did in certain areas when he was travelling Australia 25 years ago, so a lot of our conversations (while I was in those areas) were of me telling stories and explaining what the area was like. It was as if the roles had reversed and he was now looking to me with wide eyes.
Far North Queensland and the Kimberley are areas that Dad had visited, but not spent much time in, so these were the places that he was most intrigued about.
Dad was taking notes of the spots that I loved, so that he could plan his next big trip once he retires.
I absolutely loved the Atherton Tablelands and sharing that time over the phone with Dad was really special.
I had just come from the Kimberley and Northern Territory, where it had been so dry for so long, so everything looked incredibly green when I made it to Atherton. The standouts for me in that area were:
1. Nandroya Falls
A reasonably easy walk through the beautiful forest to get to the peaceful 50m high falls. I sat here for a couple of hours just appreciating the peacefulness and chatting to my family on the phone.
2. Dinner Falls
Another great walk through the trees to a peaceful area by the falls. Dinner Falls is located in Mount Hypipamee National Park, on a section of the upper Barron River.
3. Zillie Falls
Quite a tough walk to find your way to the base of the falls, but well worth it if you can manage it. The view from the bottom is amazing and the amount of water there is breathtaking. I would love to go here straight after the wet season to see what it’s like then, too.
Exploring the Kimberley
While I was in the Kimberley, I also spent a lot of time chatting with Dad and describing the spots I was headed. Unfortunately, during the time I was there it was extremely dry and I didn’t do any of the Gibb River Road, which I was so looking forward to seeing. That didn’t dampen the trip in any way however, because the Kimberley region is beautiful regardless and I thoroughly enjoyed:
1. Paddle boarding on the Ord River
When there is no wind and the sky is bright blue, the water is so peaceful and the reflection of Carlton Ridge is breathtaking.
2. Willie Creek
The colour of the water here is so unique, like nothing I had ever seen before. I wish I had camped here too, so I could have seen it at all hours of the day, but only spent a few hours here on my way north up the coast.
3. Lake Argyle
Simply incredible! No other place like it. You could sit for hours appreciating the vastness! Plus, the resort is an awesome place to stay, especially when Steve Case is playing his set by the beer garden!