I've never been around for one before- the first year I was in Kambalda and while I seem to remember there was a bit of an Australiana quiz at the wet mess but otherwise all was quiet. I seem to remember I spent the day in the core shed learning how to pronounce 'Strayla the most ocker way possible.
Then last year was the big road trip to learn escape routes out of the southern half of our tenements (we're closer to Newman than the mine down there, so if anything were to go wrong we would be better to head there than home, but only as long as we don't get lost). We got to the southern road and set up camp, then the dust storm came through. Very cool. Then another came through, starting to wonder...
It put the fire out and the ground was flooding. We knew we had to bolt before it got too bad, or we could have been trapped there for a couple of days due to the rivers and poor road conditions. We got to Newman (2 hours ish drive from there, especially in those conditions) and cooked our camp food on the BBQs in the caravan park then had to head out again because there was no room in town. Anywhere. Gotta love Newman for that. So we ended up in a truckstop just as the sealed road stops, hoping that they wouldn't close the road first thing in the morning and that we'd make it back.
It was my first night in a swag. It rained all night, though not as hard as it started out. And I was terrified that a road train would pull in and somehow run us over, though we were way away from where that could happen.
We got up at first light, freezing cold from sleeping in wet leaky swags, cooked up bacon and egg sangas and wished each other a happy Australia Day.
Then the massive drive back home. We tried to stop off in a small town on the way, but nothing was open because it was holiday, so not even any ice coffee or cola to keep us alive. Definitely different, and very Australian, but not really what I had in mind.
This year, my friend and I have decided to do the Haviana Thong Challenge. Should be interesting :)
Packing a picnic and spending the day at the beach, then heading into town for the Skyworks. I have lots of dodgy Australia clothing and bits and bobs, and intend to look like the worst back packer out there. But at least if anyone from immigration happens to be watching, they'll see me showing my love for this beautiful country :)