Goodbye to our First Home on Wheels

It is a sad day today, as we’ve just said goodbye to our motorhome 🙁 . Precisely 1 year after we picked it up – to the day. So many good times, and think of all the places it took us! The vehicle may go, but fortunately the memories stay with us (see further down for a series of photos).

It took us a while to empty, clean up and get her on the market, what with settling back into work and school, then buying a house and moving in. It was advertised on Gumtree for just over a week, and I’d had a few inquiries from guys more interested in a bargain rather than the motorhome itself, but then Cliff and Liz came to inspect it Sunday. Like my parents (and of similar age) they already had a motorhome, an older Winnebago on a truck, and fell in love with the more modern layout & interior and the relative car like performance and acceleration (hint hint). Their daughter and her husband and the grandkids (including a slightly younger Jonathan!) all came to inspect it shortly after, and after a couple of hours of looking and a couple of test drives a deposit was put down. We are told it makes the decision a lot easier when buying from a lovely family like us! 😉

Sale price ended up being exactly what we paid for it, which is what I was wanting, so happy with that! Though it has an extra year and 32,000 km’s on it, we did spend money improving it – solar system, inverter, bike rack etc.

And so the next phase in our life has begun. Continue reading

A permanent home!

Looks like we’ve got ourselves another home – one that isn’t on wheels!!!

Contract signed, got to organise finance now… Nice big brick house, only a street away from our previous rental in Rochedale South. Bought from the original owners, so could do with some cosmetic updates (but is completely livable as is). That is silky oak throughout the kitchen, one of the most beautiful timbers around! Plenty of space for teenage boys, and a pool out the back makes them happy….

All going well, we pick up the keys 11th Feb. 🙂

Our new home!

Our new home!

the kitchen

the kitchen

AroundAus Summary: Facts and Figures

Initial planning: late 2013
Motorhome purchase: 5/03/14
Left Brisbane: 30/06/2014
Returned to Brisbane: 23/12/2014

6 Months on the Road!

~2 weeks Queensland
~1 month Northern Territory
~2 months Western Australia
~1 month South Australia
~3 weeks Victoria
~1 week New South Wales
~3 days Australian Capital Territory

This was consistent with our general plan to spend most of our time in the states furthest from home, which we can not easily visit during normal annual holidays. We explored very little of QLD and NSW, due to living close by and having already seen many of their attractions. So for any overseas readers, these two states have a huge number of beautiful places and attractions that are not even mentioned in this blog. We did not visit Tasmania due to time constraints, and ferry availability and costs. Tasmania is on the list of places to visit sometime.

I’ve sketched our route in the map below (very approximate!).

Our route Around Australia!  (approximate)

Our route around Australia! (approximate)

Distance travelled: 29,842km’s My original estimate of 30,000k’s was spot on!
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Back in the big smoke! Well, OK, Perth isn’t that bad – quite a nice place actually. But it is full of housing estate after housing estate, roads clogged with cars all wanting to get somewhere in a hurry, and all the busyness typically seen in a city of almost 2 million people. Having spent a month traveling through the remote areas of WA, you kind of get used to a quiet relaxed lifestyle!

Our time in Perth was based in a couple of different caravan parks – the first 3 nights at Karrinyup Waters Resort, which is on the north side of town. Whilst here we did some of the more practical necessities, such as getting 3 new tyres put on the motorhome, and getting it serviced (to my surprise a lot cheaper than at Darwin). When it was in for the service, we took the train into the CBD, and had a good look around.

We spent most of that morning at the Perth Mint, which used to mint legal tender for Australia (but is now all handled by the mint in Canberra). However, they still do a lot of gold and silver coins, for collectors and the like around the world. We did the tour, where we got to see a demonstration gold pour (the $40k gold bar was real!), and the stamping of silver coins. There are various information and displays to review, or handle, as in the 100oz gold bar that you can pick up (heavily secured!)! There is a large $1,000,000 face value pure gold coin on display, I’d estimate about 80cm diameter, and perhaps 150mm thick! The actual gold value of this coin is around $44 million! Interestingly, it is not secured or screened off at all – would be easy to jump onto the display and grab it! I guess they rely on people not being able to carry over a ton away, lol, as well as being in the guts of a solid building that is crawling with security staff!

The boys got to mint their own custom coins! Real gold plating, with there own design on one side (helped by the staff), and the Perth Mint logo on the other. Continue reading

Still in Darwin….

Well we’ve had a good chance to look around Darwin. Not a bad city – don’t mind the place actually! It’s been longer than expected, as the motorhome is going in to Ford tomorrow for analysis.

What have we been doing? We started our Darwin activities at Crocodylus park, as mentioned in the last post. Saturday we went to a RAAF Open Day at Darwin International Airport, as exercise ‘Pitch Black’ is on at the moment. Defense feel like they need to compensate for shaking and deafening the whole city (military jets are really loud!!), by letting the community in to have a look at the planes! So we looked at a few displays (boys looked in a Bushmaster), and of course the planes including FA18 Hornets and Super Hornets, Tiger helicopter, an EAW&C plane, various transport planes, quite a few Singaporean fighter jets (F15 etc), and some planes from a few other countries participating.

Jonathan in Airforce Cadet training plane. He'd actually be old enough to learn to fly it in a years time!

Jonathan in an Air Force Cadet training plane. He’d actually be old enough to learn to fly it in a years time!

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Life in a Motorhome Week 6

Wow, we’ve just passed 6 weeks of living in a motorhome! Yes, it definitely feels like home now! I didn’t really realise this till we spent those two nights in a room at Kings Canyon – it felt ‘normal’ to be back in the motorhome the next night.

It is still a small area for a whole family to be living, and that is most obvious when it comes to the two boys. Going to bed is the main issue – they talk, argue, carry on and complain for ages. Especially Daniel, who complains about any noise Jonathan makes – anything from talking, sniffing to just plain breathing…. Daniel used to get more sleep than Jonathan, so he is probably still getting used to living with a little less sleep than previously. One thing I should do is rig up a curtain just in front of their bed (the rear one), so that if Nicole or I have any lights on it doesn’t affect them as much (our bed has a curtain to close it off). But generally they are pretty good, and we all get along fine.

Practically, everything has been going well (aside from that split turbo hose). Fridge, food, water supplies, toilet, diesel – all seem to be settled down into a routine and working fine. The motorhome still desperately needs a wash, with MacDonnell range mud still splashed onto it! We’ve packed all the cold weather gear away – blankets, jumpers etc – jammed into the seats below the mid table. Hopefully we won’t need them again!
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Motorhome Problems at the Centre of Australia

Saturday we left the Devils Marbles to head to Alice Springs. It’s a long drive, with not a lot along the way, but we did stop at the centre of Australia!! Below, the boys are standing next to the Stuart Memorial at the centre of Australia – as Stuart calculated it using a sextant. More recent calculations, using different techniques have yielded other locations, but we’ll stick with this one for now!!!

Jonathan and Daniel at the Stuart Memorial at the centre of Australia!

Jonathan and Daniel at the Stuart Memorial at the centre of Australia!

If Jonathan is looking a little uncomfortable, it is because he was…. It has gone cold again! The weather has been all over the place – when we first headed out from Brissy, the weather was fine. Then at Longreach, about a week ago, it got really cold for a short period. One night I actually got out of bed to change out of my summer PJ’s and into something warmer, despite a blanket and quilt. ABC news the following morning talked of record low temperatures in Brisbane, and a quick look at the BOM site indicated it had got down to -4.8C in Longreach! No wonder it felt cold!
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Life in a Motorhome Week 2

Well two weeks are over, and we are still going OK. Around 2,700km’s under the belt. It seems pretty normal now, living in a motorhome. What do we need a house for again?? 🙂 Don’t worry, we haven’t got to that level… yet…

It has been a busy trip so far – starting to feel like we need a holiday! (Lol, I’m starting to sound like Mum and Dad…). I think the number and frequency of ‘tourist’ activities will decrease as we head west of Mt Isa, which will make it feel a little more relaxed.

Not surprisingly, the further west we head, the more people wave as they pass on the road. Out here even a good proportion of caravaners wave, as well as the occasional car! There are a lot of people travelling in caravans, far more than I had realised. They’re still all old though….
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Week 1 of Life in a Motorhome

We’ve survived our first week living together in a motorhome! We’ve been having a good time, though the boys were particularly irritable and problematic with each other on day 5. They’ve since been settling down, and we haven’t had any major problems. It’s been good overall.

One thing we discovered, somewhat belatedly, is that motorhomers all wave at each other when passing on the road (or perhaps we are just really friendly looking?)! The first time I noticed a passing motorhomer wave, I thought it must have been Dale and Cristine – similar looking motorhome – but it wasn’t. We are not just talking about lifting a finger here, but rather the whole arm! So sorry to all the early on passerby’s that we rudely ignored – we now know better! The exception is of course rental motorhomes – they aren’t worth it – none of them bother waving….. Oh, and caravanners are a bit of a different breed too. A few wave, but most don’t bother! Lol.

I think we are the youngest motorhomers we’ve seen. Continue reading