While the rest of us wait for spring Marg and Robby Robinson are camping their way across northern Queensland for the eleventh winter in a row.

Last week they were in Camooweal, near the Queensland/Northern Territory border. They had found a spot near a lagoon with lots of birdlife, and were planning to take in a rodeo event in town and maybe watch the All Blacks play on a pub TV.

It was only 16C, but temperatures have ranged from 30 to 36 degrees this trip.

The self-employed Whanganui couple have spent three and half months in northern Australia for the last 11 winters.


It started when Mr Robinson looked to buy a really rugged caravan. He found the Bushtracker model he liked in Australia, and took it for a spin.

It was so good the couple now leave their Land Cruiser and caravan there, stored with friends or relatives, and return to use them every winter. They'll carry on "as long as health allows", Mrs Robinson said.

They've done most of outback Queensland, been across to Broome and over to Perth, Adelaide and Alice Springs. Last year it took them seven hours to drive 140km from Birdsville to Poepell's Corner in northern New South Wales, across 150 sandhills.

Most of the time they're on unsealed roads, and see few people. Their expenses are mainly food, alcohol and diesel.

Mr Robinson's work is building forestry roads - and winter is not a good time for that. Mrs Robinson is an architectural designer. Neither have employees, so it's easy for them to get away.

They love the remoteness of the outback, the vibrant colours of the desert, the freedom they have to stop and camp wherever they are. On this trip they spent a rainy night in a supermarket car park, and three nights beside a flooded road, waiting for water to subside.

Both love Australian wildlife. Mr Robinson is a hunter. Mrs Robinson has been photographing birds with new camera gear. Their newsletters to friends have pictures of sunsets, snakes, sea eagles, yabbies and waterholes.

They now have friends all over Australia and have tried gold prospecting and cattle mustering.

Coming back to their farmlet in Whanganui is no hardship, especially when the weather heats up and biting insects come out. They will be back soon, Mrs Robinson said.

"We want to come home. We love our little farm. We get all excited about what we want to do at home again, and we've got to get back and earn some money before Christmas is on us."