AroundAus Summary: 6 Months on the Road

Everybody copes with travel differently – some are happy to spend years out on the road travelling a nomadic type lifestyle. We came across a number of people like this; Jan, who we met at Genoa is an example. She’s a single middle-to-older aged lady and has been on the road for 14 years now, and had a motorhome identical to ours! Then there are others who can’t stand being away from home/work for more than a week or two, and just have to get back regardless of what further travels were planned!

Myself? I really enjoyed the trip, but would not like to live in that manner permanently. Not enough stimulation for me – I enjoy the challenges in my job and the stimulation it provides. Around the 4th month I did check work emails a few times, till my phone broke and the new one didn’t have work email set up on it (guess if I was keen I would have logged in via the notebook). Perhaps it would be possible to include more technical/engineering type stimulation into travelling, but the people management side of things would be harder! Or perhaps I’m not thinking broad enough and there are other activities I could do that would keep me on my toes. I guess the short story is that I thoroughly relaxed and enjoyed the trip, and was not bored, but I’m also not about to give up my job and go living like that for good! A trip like this once every 5-10 years sounds nice. 🙂

Writing this blog probably helped me a little, both in terms of a task/goal and in terms of contact/relationships with people. Of course there was also direct contact with family and friends via phone, texts etc. Nicole enjoyed the travelling lifestyle (except for the dirt roads 😉 ). It really suited her! She may have become a little anxious in the final month or two, but I think that was actually due to the thought of having to come back, more than the long time spent on the road!

We all generally got on very well, but I certainly won’t say everything was perfect! Continue reading

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

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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Life in a Motorhome Week 17

Bit of an odd week to choose, week 17, but it aligns with us leaving WA on Wed 29/10/2014 after precisely 2 months and 1 day in the state! We had a great time, and as mentioned in our 3 month video review, WA is well set-up for travellers. There is a great range in the type of country out here, and it is mostly different to what we’re used to back in QLD. The Kimberleys, the Pilbara, the beaches and coastline, the southern forests and related tourists areas are all great places. And very different from the QLD outback, rainforests etc. We’ve enjoyed doing so much here – I think we’ve forgotten a lot of the earlier stuff already! Lucky we have the blog and diaries to look back on…

One thing I have not mentioned so far is that WA is way ahead when it comes to mobile networks. The major interstate hwys have very good mobile coverage (not complete, but close) around the whole state. They have obviously taken a much better approach than QLD and NT, who have very limited coverage and are still stuck with those UHF radio repeater towers in remote areas!! It is mostly Telstra only of course (until you get to the populated areas), but that’s a lot better than nothing! I was however surprised that the main interstate hwy in the north of the state (going into NT) actually go down to just one lane in quite a few bridge crossings (10 or more!). I don’t mean one lane each way, but one lane altogether! Traffic density is rather low, so perhaps that justifies it – there is a lot more traffic heading across the Nullarbor to SA than across the top into NT.

Not the whole of WA is as open to campers as what we encountered in the first month in the remoter north part of the state. Continue reading

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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Alarm ON!

No, I’m not going back to work… tomorrow we are off on a cruise to Great Keppel Island! We’ll get to spend the day snorkeling, boom netting, looking through a glass bottomed boat and laze around on nice sandy beaches! So just in case, the alarm is now set for shock…horror… an 8am start!

As you may have gathered, today we made the great distance (not) into Rockhampton, then Emu Point and Yeppoon. It’s a beautiful coastline here at Rocky, and the weather has been perfect – sunny, warm enough during the day, and not much wind. We did a bit of shopping at Yeppoon, and have set up camp for the night on the beach just south of Rosslyn Harbour.

View to Rosslyn Harbour

View to Rosslyn Harbour

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On Our Way!!!

That’s right, we have departed! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Final packing and preparations took a little longer than we expected, but today we left the big smoke for fresh country air. 6 months of it!

Even the moon was smiling down on us, in a perfectly shaped smiley (but it disappeared below the horizon before I could photograph 🙁 ) We didn’t get away till later in the arvo, so are spending the night on the outskirts of Gympie.

Preps for the motorhome took longer than expected, with some items such as the 200W solar panel not arriving till mid last week. Our home for the next 6 months also now sports a Thule bike rack on the back, as well as a 1000W pure sine wave inverter. But I’ll leave these details for another time…

Here we are, preparing to embark….

family ready to leave in front of motorhome

The obligatory family photo

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Schooling Plans

Friday the 5th of April was a milestone in preparing to leave for our 6 month trip around Australia. It was the last day of Term 1, and Nicole reluctantly submitted the form to exit Jonathan and Daniel from their current school at the end of term 2. It was a little scary for her – what comes next?

My rather casual attitude was for the boys to spend 6 months being schooled by the ‘School of Australia’, if you know what I mean. However, concerns over the legal requirement for kids to be schooled, and desire to ensure a smooth re-entry to school in 2015 put an end to that idea. So just this week, the boys were finally enrolled into a locally based distance ed school. We deliberately picked a school that would be fairly relaxed about education during our six months trip, with only minimal subjects required to be completed.

There will no doubt be heaps of ‘natural’ lessons on so many subjects throughout our travels. Learning Australian history, for example, is guaranteed. The Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach will be the first of many history lessons! Continue reading