Crazy ideas can brew when you’re on maternity leave and while Charmaine was watching a segment about a family travelling Australia she had her first thoughts that ‘dream’ was definitely possible! Fast forward to today after loads of research and planning her family are on the road and learning loads as they go…
Out with the old, in with the new
Goodbye house and old car too
After welcoming baby number two, we’ve set off to see the Australian view 🐊
I’m Charmaine, currently 4 weeks into our Australian adventure with my partner Shane, 7 week old Cruz and almost two year old, Travis.
Our home is Townsville but we’ve decided to take a gap year, shrewdly funded partly by maternity leave. We sold our house with the intention of upsizing, instead unregrettably downsized to a 22.6ft Regent Weekender Caravan and 2015 SR5 Hilux ready for the trip of a lifetime.
We’re currently in the Blue Mountains and have been on a VERY steep learning curve; from the caravan falling off when driving out of the Roma caravan park to figuring out how to stop Travis’ head from flopping when asleep in the carseat or simply just how to manoeuvre two infants around when sightseeing!
We’re still learning to juggle the balance of sightseeing and relaxing, how far to drive when moving to the next town, and arranging accommodation. We’re yet to figure out tolls, permits and weigh bridges – we have so much more learning to do!
So how did we get here?
I was on maternity leave with our first and due to head back to work when I saw a segment on a show about a couple that travelled Australia. When Shane got home from work that day I said that we should travel Australia when on leave with the next bub. He flat out said no and thought I was crazy. Until the next day, when Shane was outside at work in the hot sun during smoko, when I received a call saying, ‘Why not?’
Once pregnant, and after plenty of research, we sold our CX5 and spent one night in Emerald picking up our SR5 Hilux. We (by ‘we’ I actually mean Shane) celebrated by stopping and having a beer at every pub between Emerald and Townsville!
We finished the renovations on our Queenslander and were lucky enough to sell it within the month at auction; pair this with pregnancy hormones and you could call this process quite stressful!
After the sale we moved into Shane’s parent’s granny flat until we bought our family caravan. The van had everything we needed – triple bunks, aircon, ensuite and washing machine.
Once the van arrived from the Sunshine Coast we practiced living in it at my parent’s place. Travis meanwhile was quite resilient throughout these transitions and took quite well to his new ‘big boy bed’ in the van.
On a later learning curve, we only actually took the van out once and thought we had the hang of things – we’re so naive!
3 weeks after Cruz was born, we were on our way south to spend Christmas in Ballina. In which NSW kindly welcomed us with a hail storm as we were crossing the border! My parents met us in Ballina and travelled with us for the next two weeks, in which we are super grateful as they kept us sane by showing us the ropes to caravanning life.
What’s our touring plan? No plan! All we knew is that we were heading out of QLD quickly then south for the summer. We’re letting brochures, Wiki Camps and word of mouth guide the rest of the way. Currently, Shane’s favourite saying is, ‘Let’s get lost!’
Accommodation-wise, we’ve only stayed in powered sites so far, but we’re set up for free camping which is our next test. Showgrounds are our current go to places for cheap, no frills powered sites that are generally central to the city. We’ve also enjoyed the luxury of a Discovery Caravan Park, a farm stay and unfortunately a trailer park full of permanent shanty vans. We’ve discovered that we actually enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of big van parks and are eager to try out free camping down the southern coast of NSW.
We are looking forward to visiting WA the most as neither of us have been there and it’s furthest away from NQ. We are particularly excited about meeting family and friends who will be joining us for the Pilbara and Kimberly leg of the trip.
2018 was a super busy year of preparation for us, but we’re now reaping the rewards and enjoying the best type of family quality time!
Happy Travels – Charm xx
THANK YOU so much Charm – we can’t wait to hear more about your adventures soon – Team CWK