It’s the Great Aussie Dream, right? Explore our huge and beautiful country on four (or six or more) wheels, often carrying your accommodation with you in the form of a caravan or similar, and Holiday-Park-hop your way around the country.
So many of us have done it, are doing it, or are planning to. We did it ourselves for our TV show – and presented the whole 4.5 month long journey in it’s own 13-part series. It was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives and honestly, we could have kept going, and going, and going…
It’s such a privilege to have so much of our own country to discover and explore. Many of us never even venture overseas – there is just too much to keep us entertained right here. I would even put it out there that we are probably more likely to embark on such an adventure to explore our own country more than many others in the world. We (and our land) just seem… built for it.
So, because we have been celebrating Australia and all of it’s amazing Bucket List experiences and destinations in recent times, (plus getting out there and exploring as much as we can ourselves), it’s natural we have come across many others doing the same. We chat to them online, in Holiday Parks, at events… you name it. People travelling around our great country become an almost ‘community’ and are very like-minded. Just walk into any Holiday Park at Happy Hour….
I have two very good friends who are leaving imminently to do the big trip with their families. Both have taken the kids out of school, both have given up their jobs, and both are planning to take at least a year on their adventure.
I caught up with one family to share their story. For those of you out there who have ever thought about doing the same thing, Kerry and her family’s story might inspire you to make it happen – just like they did.
It can be daunting to make that final decision to go. Many people wait for the stars to align perfectly – and perhaps that never happens. But sometimes just a few stars align and it can be enough. It certainly was for the Allards and, complete with a home brew station kitted out in their Ford Ranger, their well-laid plans are about to come to fruition with the big departure next month…
Here is their story, in Kerry’s own words…
Meet the Allards
Kerry, Troy, Riley (10 years), Ozzy (8 years) and Maisy (4 years). From Ormeau, Northern Gold Coast.
In a few sentences, describe your plans for the upcoming trip:
Funnily enough we don’t have many plans. Our “plan” is to just travel Australia for 12 months. We are heading to Uluru from the Gold Coast. We plan on heading out through Longreach and Winton and doing the Dinosaur Trail… I think this will be an exciting start to the trip for the kids.
We have booked Uluru and Kings Canyon because we are meeting family and friends there… then it’s North for the winter! Up through Darwin then across to WA, heading anti-clockwise around this great country… We have no plans besides Uluru. We are really looking forward to the freedom of having no itinerary – just cruising, meeting up with fellow travellers and seeing where the wind takes us…
What motivated you to make the decision to go?
It has always been a life long dream of both of ours to travel Australia. We do so much camping and travel already and we always just want to keep on going… It just feels right. We did a 6 week trip up to Cape York two years ago and it gave us a real taste of life on the road and has been a massive highlight in life for our family.
We always regret not travelling around Australia at that time.
To be honest it was quite a snap decision to take this trip around Australia… Neither of us needed much convincing. We originally put our house on the market to buy some acreage. During the selling process we realised there was going to be a short period of time that we were going to be mortgage free (until we bought another house while living with Troy’s parents). A few things around that time made me realise life is short, you never know what’s around the corner… so I said to Troy “lets go, lets just do it and deal with “real life” when we get back”. No convincing was needed. Since then everything has just fallen into place, we committed to our decision and have just MADE IT HAPPEN!!!
Since then… we have been living with Troy’s AMAZING family for 9 months! It has given us everything we need to be able to prepare for such a big journey ahead.
We don’t know what the future holds when we get home… Troy has no guarantee of work but the stars aligned and we had this window of opportunity to show our children our amazing country and for them to know that life isn’t all work and school. It’s for living!
They may not remember it or all of it but we can only hope it shapes who they are.
How long will you be gone for and what is your plan?
We are planning and budgeting for minimum 12 months on the road but open to extending if opportunities arise in that time that allow us to keep travelling.
What are you most looking forward to?
I think the whole family is on the same page with this one… Turning the alarm off, no routine, nowhere to be, daytime sleeps in the hammock, no commitments, but most of all just spending nothing but quality time with each other.
Troy and I are personally looking forward the WA and SA coastlines the most and actually trying to finish reading a book….
But the more I look into and plan the Uluru part of the journey, the more I’m really starting to get excited about this part of Australia.
Troy is also really keen to do the Gibb River Road in North West Australia. Troy loves a challenge, getting off the bitumen, being total self sufficient and having real outback adventures.
What are the kids most looking forward to?
“EVERYTHING” and no actual “school” or school uniforms for a year (or shoes, they don’t really wear shoes Hahahaha). They are just so super keen for it all – the adventure of bush walks and exploring new places, the wildlife, the different waters to experience – lakes, surf, creeks etc.
They are very adventurous kids, we have done a lot of camping/travel within Queensland so they will really enjoy the diversity that this type of travel will bring. They also plan to drive their rock crawling remote control cars in the outback and ride scooters in as many skate parks as possible.
Swimming with the manta rays and whale sharks in WA is on top of their bucket lists (and mine), riding camels in the desert, swimming under waterfalls, star gazing at night, dinners around the camp fire, sunrises, sunsets, fishing, surfing and everything in between.
What will be everyone’s “roles” on the trip?
We will pretty much share the load, it will be a great opportunity for Troy to be more ‘hands on’ the with the kids during the day when he is usually at work. We are going be teaching the kids (home education) together – this may mean working at the same time or separately (whatever works). All travel planning will be done as family. As a part of the kids home education they will be planning & researching the destinations, distance, fuel costing, food budget and helping decide on accommodation options through wikicamps.
The boys are also so excited about taking on “teaching” roles with Maisy. Riley as “PE” teacher and Ozzy as “Science/nature/animals” teacher….no surprises there. It’s great! Maisy is going to love “school”…
What have you done to prepare for the trip?
A LOT! Sold the house. Moved in with the in-laws. Upgraded to a Jayco Outback Expanda. Suspended work. Put study on hold. Home school education plan/application for three kids! Purchasing home schooling materials. Many modifications to the car, canopy and caravan. A lot of preparation also goes into packing lists/food/first aids kits and other necessities and weight is a huge consideration with every decision we make. We have replaced a lot of our gear with more light weight options. Done a GVM upgrade on the ute and van. We have also installed heating into the van – being from QLD this is something we have never needed before.
There are lot’s of things to plan – insurance, road side assistance, phone/wifi coverage, emergency contacting devices. Also making sure everyone has had all their health checks before we head off. We have also had to arrange care for our pets and storage for all our things. It is a massive job and the to-do lists seem to be getting bigger by the day, but it will all be worth it once we are finally on the road on the 1st June!
How will you manage the kid’s education while you are on the road?
We will be doing home education through QLD Home Education. This means we arrange our own education plan that gets approved by the QLD home education department. The kids will have an iPad each with many educational programs they are already currently using and lots of School Zone texts to be working through. We plan on visiting many educational centres, attending museums, history tours etc. We also plan on very alternate, hands on and visual learning for the kids. We plan on having an outside classroom and using natural things and the environment around us to learn. We are really excited to be able to have the opportunity to teach our kids in a style that suits their individual needs.
They are going to be very involved in the day to day planning which is going to give another learning element to the trip.
Will either of you be working while you are away? Either remotely or picking up casual work in places you are staying?
We have budgeted not to work but if Troy is able to pick up a months work in WA doing shut down work (it pays well and he is already experienced in that field) that would certainly help and give us a bit more financial freedom during the trip.
What kind of set-up will you have on the road (ie. car and pop top, RV etc)?
We have recently sold our Jayco Outback Swan which we have had for the past 5 years. It was amazing, but we wanted something easier and faster for set up/pack up for such a long time on the road so we upgraded to a Jayco Outback (off road) Expanda (pop top). It’s brilliant – it has bunks so all the kids have their own space, it has a nearly full-size fridge, loads of storage, two table and chair areas inside (to separate kids when needed.. hahaha) and the luxury of a toilet and shower while still being reasonably compact and sturdy to tow.
We are towing the Expanda with a Ford Ranger. The ranger has recently been fitted out with a new canopy that has lots of storage, slide out draws, home brew beer station, keg and an extra fridge. Troy has been brewing beer for 10 years and mastered the art of the perfect schooner so he plans to continue this on the road. Should also save us a few dollars at happy hour!
Finally, how can we follow your journey?
Have you got any questions for the Allards, or are you planning your own journey around Oz? Tell us about it in the comments!