Two sleeps and we leave home on our well-earned thirteen-week road trip around a small part of Australia. The plan is to spend our time pottering about camping trails as we spend time at free camping spots beside beautiful waterways, mountain ranges or desert vistas. Internet connectivity permitting I am hoping to post weekly; that way we can take you with us for the ride.
We are long time campers; our children were toddlers when we first camped and while they have left home the MOTH and I have continued to enjoy the outdoors. The years have softened our grit and determination to experience nature in the most basic outdoor accommodation, ie the tent. Now we travel and sleep in the comfort of a small caravan that has an en-suite. I said we’ve softened but we are unashamedly revelling in our luxury.
The MOTH salvaged our first family tent from a workmate who couldn’t be bothered to fix bent poles and clean tent canvas after a cyclone had blown the family tent about the backyard. It was ours if we packed it up and carted it away. Job done! The MOTH is visionary and soon the tent was reinstated to its former glory. We scrubbed the canvas, the MOTH made sturdier tent poles and we fixed rips and tears to the lining. Next school holidays we packed the family into the car and headed for the beach. It was the start of our love affair with the outdoors and camping.
Fast forward two decades when we arrived in Australia and settled quickly into a comfortable groove. This is a big country. A really really big country and we wanted to explore some of this great land. We purchased a camper trailer and explored up and down the New South Wales coastline; we are beach and ocean loving people and the white beaches and pristine waters drew us back again and again.
1Our camper trailer
We travelled far and wide in the comfort of the camper trailer which served us well. We camped through all seasons and saw a lot of the eastern seaboard as well as chunks of the Australian hinterlands. However, hefting heavy canvas – especially when wet – on and off the trailer as we set up and pulled down camp became difficult with our ageing shoulders not to mention our failing grit and determination.
After months of fine-tuning our wish list … we ignored it, and purchased a small caravan that had only a few of the items from our wish list. However, the little caravan, aka The NinkyNonk, was the talk of campgrounds wherever we set up. It had cute factor in bucket loads and the envy of many campers pulling large caravans that needed equally large tow vehicles. Our Holden Astra sedan was happy pulling The NinkyNonk uphill and down dale around great swags of New South Wales and the ACT (Australian Capital Territories).
Our wish list for the next camper/caravan was a basic list of comforts the tents, camper trailer lacked: fridge, air conditioner, en-suite, pull-up-and-crack-open-the-bubbly ease of set up and be light enough to preclude having to purchase a four-wheel drive vehicle.
We recently purchased a new-to-us Jurgens Sungazer caravan hence the reminiscences of times gone by. When we moved to Australia the MOTH and I continued our tenting capers in an exquisitely large country. In our fourteen years here we have explored parts of New South Wales coastline in summer months (beach bums from way back) and taken to the hills in Autumn and Winter. We had wonderful times and lots of photos to remind us how agile we were and how we hiked and biked.
Our pace is more sedate now hence the purchase of the newer, 19ft. and amazingly luxurious caravan. Did I mention it has an en-suite.
In three days’ we set out on our three months’ long service leave road trip. The plan is to do a loop around parts of NSW, South Australia and into Central Australia. We’ll be seeing and doing what countless others have done before but for us it will be a new adventure. We are excited.
We will be driving a Holden Sportswagon and towing the Jurgens: our bikes will be racked between the wagon and the Jurgens so we can cycle around the base of Uluru. Now that studies are over, time will be well and truly mine to write, photograph and replenish the well of joyfulness and contentment.