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

AroundAus Summary: The best places in Australia are ….

It’s the question we are asked most frequently: Where are the best places to visit? Or one of many similar variations such as ‘Which place did you enjoy the most?’.

Well, I’ve both good and bad news for you. The good news is that you can go almost anywhere in Australia, and you’ll see stunningly beautiful landscapes. The bad news is that ‘best’ or ‘nicest’ are very subjective as everything is so different – just as apples are different from toothbrushes (sorry, oranges are too similar to apples to use them in that metaphor 😉 ).

How can you compare the imposing structure of Uluru, to incredibly diverse wildlife at Kakadu, to jumping into rock pools at Litchfield, to gem stone mining in QLD, to stunning beaches in southern WA, to majestic views from the Flinders Range, to climbing through gorgeous rock canyons in the Pilbara, to…. I think you get the idea!

There were many standout locations for us personally. Any list must be viewed in that context – what we enjoy may be different to others preferences, as we have our own lenses, our own likes and dislikes, through which we view everything.

I polled each member of the family for their 5 favourites. Here are the results: Continue reading

AroundAus Summary: Australian Tidbits

Just a few interesting ones 🙂

The most trusting bloke in Australia is on the Fleiurui Peninsula in South Australia. He’s a mechanic and has a small service station out the front. It’s all old mechanical equipment, and a note on the bowser says to remember the dollar value to advise the bloke when you pay. Sure enough, you walk into the office, he leaves the car he’s working on and joins you at a desk, you tell him how much fuel you put in (in $’s), pay him that much, he writes the number down in a table on some paper, you walk out and drive off, he goes back to work on the car!

The most trusting woman in Australia is from the rural Yorke Peninsula town of Maitland, South Australia. We were in the post office organising my license docs when a woman came in to collect a parcel. Stood talking to the attendant for a while. We left and went out the front door, noting the baby in a stroller she had left waiting outside the post office….

Cheapest pedicure in Australia is at a palour in Rockingham, a town a little to the south of Freemantle, WA. How does $25 sound? Typical pedicure (from what I’m told – never had one myself!) starting with your feet in a hot rock spar bath, and a full body massage in a massage chair.

Run-in’s with the law? Just the one! On our return to Brisbane I found a nice little letter from the Victorian Police… Turns out a camera had caught me speeding in the motorhome! Speeding in a motorhome, of all things! Coming into the town of Marlo in Victoria’s East Gippsland, I hadn’t slowed to the town speed limit soon enough… Oh well, it’s my first ever traffic infringement of any sort – not too bad to get to 37 with a perfect record! Marlo, the home to an ugly sea lion and the loss of $185 and 1 demerit point!

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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Home Again!

We’ve made it – our amazing trip is over! After 6 months having an absolutely awesome time travelling around Australia we are back home. Wow, back to ‘normal’ life! Well kinda of, we don’t actually have our own home to go back to yet… but we’re back in Brissy!

Happy to be on holidays, and happy to be home!

Happy to be on holidays, and now happy to be home!

the motorhome looks a little more ‘used’ now!

As expected we took 3 days to travel from Canberra, arriving in Brisbane Tuesday afternoon, 23/12/2014. That gives us one day to relax and catch up with some family (and do some washing…) before our Christmas festivities start on Christmas eve; Christmas dinner with my Mums side of the family. Continue reading


Having conquered Mt Kosciuszko, and with less than a week remaining in our AroundAus trip, we left Thredbo resort in the NSW ski fields and headed off to our capital city – the land of politicians and bureaucracy. Speaking of politicians, on the other side of Canberra the Federal Hwy (heading north) descends steeply revealing a huge flat plain straight ahead. The hwy ends up skirting around the edge, but clearly visible in the mountains on the other side is another large wind turbine farm. Looks good to me, but this must be the one that federal treasurer Joe Hockey calls an eyesore… What a turkey!

But this visit to Canberra wasn’t all about politicians and turkeys. One of the main reasons for visiting was to see my uncle and aunty; Richard & Lyndal, and their two kids Yasemin and Jonny. As unlikely as it seems, it turned out that Lyndal was visiting Brisbane for the few days we were in town, but we did get to catch up for a couple hours before she boarded the plane. We spent more time with Richard and Yasemin, and the boys had a great time with Jonny. Mostly based around their mutual interests in soccer – out in the yard and on the x-box. Now Daniel is researching x-boxes so he can play FIFA 15 more….

In our few days in Canberra we also fitted in a number of sight seeing activities – Questacon, Royal Australian Mint, National Arboretum Canberra, Parliament House and the War Memorial.

Believe it or not, I think I actually found Parliament House the most interesting of all those! We arrived just in time for the 2pm tour, after spending the earlier part of the day at Questacon. The tour guide went through and explained the design and construction of the building, which seems well designed and nicely finished. We viewed the Great Hall, the House of Representatives chamber, the Senate chamber and more. He explained some of what happens and why. It would be good to see a lot of our Parliamentary processes changed – a lot of the ridiculous procedural technicalities and stuff based on old laws and traditions for starters. Whilst we are dreaming about improvements, we could also make the whole thing a bit less oppositional and put a more constructive tilt to our parliamentary discussions/arrangements/operations, and somehow require more of a long term focus in all decision making. But all in all, despite its many shortcomings, we’ve still got one of the best systems in the world.

Parliament House facade

Parliament House facade

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On Top of Australia!

We made it – to the top of Australia! Here we are on Mt Kosciuszko’s peak, physically higher (more elevated?) than anybody else on Australian soil.

On top of Australia!  (at Mt Kosciuszko's peak)

On top of Australia! (Mt Kosciuszko peak)

It was a tough, steep and dangerous climb up the side of this incredible mountain. OK OK, I’m exaggerating a little – it was actually an easy stroll up a wide boardwalk and a well formed path…. that doesn’t sound as impressive though! Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, as we had to get there first.

Tuesday morning we left our camp slightly north of Bombala, and headed west along the Snowy River Way. Continue reading

Sapphire Coast

North of the Vic/NSW border, Eden is the first town found on the coastline. It’s a pretty place, living up to comments we’d heard about it. We had a nice relaxing Sunday in Eden; lunch at the lookout and the arvo at the surf beach. We didn’t bother with the Eden Whale Museum, having been to the Historic Whaling Station in Albany WA which was quite in-depth and thorough.

The surf itself wasn’t that good, but we took the boards in anyway as the sun was shining and the water temp seemed warmer than in Vic. We had a lovely relaxing time. Nicole even joined in some interval sprints on the soft sand! (yes, a bit of exercise is relaxing 😉 )

the lookout, facing south.

the lookout, facing south.

nearby point, looking north to the surf beach in the distance

nearby point, looking north past Yallumgo Cove to the surf beach in the distance

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East Gippsland

Following our brief excursion west of Bairnsdale to Tarra-Bulga NP, Wednesday morning we headed east towards Lakes Entrance. On the way we stopped by the pretty little upmarket tourist town of Metung. The clouds refused get out of the suns way, but we got some photos and had a look in a nice photo gallery.

one of the Metungs main wharf areas

one of the Metungs main wharf areas

looking back at Metungs main shopping precinct

looking back at Metungs main shopping precinct (behind the yachts)

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Tarra-Bulga NP

Our travels over the Victorian Alps brought us to Bairnsdale, in the middle of the Gippsland region (well, the western edge of eastern Gippsland….). The question now was, where to go next? We’d always planned to go east along and up the coastline, but did we have time for some backtracking westwards into the central/southern (and perhaps even western) Gippsland regions first?

Yes, we’ve noticed that time is getting away on us. I’m sure family is going to be thrilled to hear that we’re planning to be back in Brisbane for Christmas (what would Christmas be like without us??)! That’s in about two weeks time (less as I actually write/post this)!! The boys really want to be there (you know, play with cousins, get presents and the like….), and it isn’t that often that families get together like they do at Christmas so it is a great way for us all to catch up.

Despite the limited time remaining in this travelling holiday, we decided to do a quick detour into the central/southern Gippsland region. We spent Tues night at one of the Golden Beach campgrounds that form part of the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park. Not sure how Golden Beach got its name, but I suspect it is a grandiose interpretation of the yellow sanded beach! Unfortunately the surf was no good, and a pretty heavy invasion of seaweed would have discouraged any water entry regardless. Still, a nice spot to spend the night.

Golden Beach

Golden Beach

It was tempting to detour just a little further west, and visit Wilsons Promontory NP, and perhaps even Phillip Island. However Nicole and I have visited both places previously, and the now looming deadline of being back for Christmas caused us to decided against doing so.

We did however detour slightly further, to visit Tarra-Bulga National park which we’d been told is a must see. The whole Gippsland area is pretty & green, so it was no surprise to find that we were entering a lovely moist green rainforest type environment. We came in through the south, and the lower reaches of Tarra Valley road heading in were beautiful. The narrow road and surrounding hillsides were lined with tree ferns, sometimes with only just enough room for the motorhome to drive between the fern fronds. Please excuse the quality of these pics; taken thru the windscreen from a moving vehicle….

Ferns lining Tarra Valley Road

Ferns lining Tarra Valley Road

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