Detouring from mainstream life, leaving work, school, home and the city behind us is something Ashley and I have been planning for years and it has finally become a reality. Touring around Australia in six months with our camper and three swags for the kids will be an experience we will remember forever. Our plan is to get off road as much as possible during our estimated 30,000km trip. We are trusting Red Dog, our much loved 16-year-old Nissan Patrol to get us around safely on what will be her 3rd lap around Australia.
The longest time we have spent on the road was for three months when our youngest, Bailey was just 1 ½ years old. We conquered the Old Telegraph Track, took the back road to Darwin, traversed to the top of Arnhem Land then through the Red Centre and back to Perth via the desert.
It was a trip that made our family and travelling in close quarters created a special bond between us all. For the first time we really felt connected and before we even made it home, we started planning this adventure, not knowing if it would ever come to fruition.
The preparation has been extensive and we have spent months organising everything from swags for the kids, safety and recovery gear, school work, modifying our camper, getting Red Dog in great shape as well as fitting ISI off road bike racks to carry our five new fat bikes. This is our one opportunity to do a big trip with the kids and we want to make the most of it and have some fun.
Working out what to leave at home has been the hardest part, even though we are towing a camper, space is at a premium. We do however have a few luxuries such as a large box filled with fishing gear together with numerous fishing rod tubes, snorkeling gear, our five new fat bikes and accessories. The fat bikes are perfect for beaches, mud, gravel and rocky surfaces. As we are planning on being off road as much as possible, we need bikes that can handle the terrain and they will be our key to accessing remote beaches, creek beds and those hard to get to places.
The kids will be able to continue their education through their school, which for us is much better than remote schooling or home schooling as it means they can do the same work as their peers but also write about where they are going and their experiences. The boy’s teachers at Quintilian School have been brilliant at assigning tasks which complement our travels such as comparing Aboriginal art across Australia, writing scientific reports about the Undara volcano lava tubes and presenting videos on their experiences. This together with their school books, written diaries, an online blog which the boys write and upload and having skype conversations with their class will hopefully keep them connected and on track while we are touring.
Sleeping in a tent by themselves is second nature for our kids and Bailey joined his brothers in when he was a toddler and still sleeping in a porta cot. Ashley and I have a bed in our camper but now our kids are aged 11, 8 and 6, they are all old enough for a swag. This will be their first trip sleeping outdoors and the boys can easily set and pack up their swags which makes life easier when we are doing a lot of moving around..
Cape Leveque, 200km north of Broome is our first stop as we make our way around the top of Australia during winter, then along the east coast and down to Victoria and Tasmania for summer. The plan is to be back in Perth a week before the kids start school in January, 2017. We are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to travel, see and experience both remote and well-known areas of Australia and I look forward to sharing our stories, successes and challenges as we make our way around Australia.