What’s it like in the middle of nowhere? Will the kids enjoy being off the grid? We asked our mates from Lapping Oz what their top tips were with tackling remote locations with kids….
REAL STORIES | REAL FAMILIES
With the right preparation and the right mindset, any family can tackle a remote caravanning with kids adventure!
While most destinations around Australia are easily accessible, there are some iconic locations that pose a serious risk for an unprepared traveller.
I don’t profess to be a survival expert, my advice is purely based on my own experiences, good and bad! I know it can be hard to determine what to expect and what’s important to bring along when you’ve made the decision to take your family on a remote adventure.
This remote caravanning with kids guide is exactly that, a guide!
Let’s take a look at what “remote” really means and how this impacts you when you take your family. According to Wikipedia, a “remote and isolated community refers to a settlement that is either a long distance from larger settlements or lacks transportation links that are typical in more populated areas.” This essentially means that you’re a long way from services such as grocery stores, medical practices and vehicle assistance in the event of a breakdown or accident.
There are 6 major considerations to factor in when planning your remote adventure.
- Water and food storage. There’s no getting around the fact that kids virtually inhale food! When shopping for your remote adventure, you’ll need to consider how many days/weeks you’ll be unable to get access to fresh food. Choose food with minimal packaging. Go for products in cardboard packaging and avoid plastic as much as possible. It could be a while until you can dispose of your garbage. If there is no total ﬁre ban, it’s okay to burn all the paper/cardboard rubbish in a responsible way. Before leaving home, you can prepare precooked dinners and stock up the freezer. Choose fruit and vegetables that can withstand corrugated roads. In my experience the best choices are apples, oranges, mandarins, watermelon, rockmelon and canned fruit. Try to avoid nectarines, peaches, plums and bananas as they tend to bruise and spoil quickly.
2. Family health. Something that people take for granted is good health and access to health care. Drill into your kids that if something goes wrong, you are a long way from any help and this is deﬁnitely even more true when you don’t have mobile reception. During one of our visits to a remote community, I became concerned about a skin infection on my son’s knee that was not healing. Cleaning it regularly with Dettol was not having any eﬀect and the decision was made to take him to the local district hospital on a Friday night. Luckily, we were only a few kilometres from this hospital! While it was a positive experience and outcome for us, it was a little unnerving to know that the next medical facility was a whopping 720kms away. Its a very good idea for everyone in the family to have a complete health check and recent dentist visit before you embark on your remote journey.
3. Vehicle capability – ask yourself if you can be conﬁdent about your vehicles reliability? Consider upgrading highway terrain tyres to good quality all terrain as many remote areas are only accessible by unsealed roads. Perform a health check on your engine and running gear before you leave, ensuring hoses, belts and ﬂuids are in top condition. It’s a very good idea to carry spares of these items too. Fuel
consumption will increase once you hit unsealed roads and this is partly due to fuel quality and road conditions. Our vehicle’s fuel consumption increases by 2L to 7L per/100km when towing on unsealed roads and our fuel capacity sits at a comfortable 120L.
4. Have a good idea of where you are going, when you plan to arrive and then tell someone! While we were visiting Kakadu National Park, a French tourist had decided to camp in an undesignated area, leaving his vehicle and possessions behind. A full scale helicopter and land search, using Police and Park Rangers was launched and 5 days later he walked back to his car, completely oblivious to the fact that he was in fact the missing person. Don’t be that guy!
5. Get roadside assistance. For a small outlay of a few hundred dollars, roadside assistance is worth its weight in gold and will help you ﬁnancially in times of mechanical failure. Go for the ultimate cover as the top of the range policies oﬀer the best service for remote travel.
6. Boredom. Wait, what? You’re covering massive distances and its understandable that being in the car for long periods of time can be quite challenging for some kids. We have a compressor fridge separating our two children and it acts as border control, though it is still possible to make a sibling cray cray with incessant singing, humming and breathing. At least they can’t touch each other, so that’s a win!
Take plenty of breaks, pack snacks like fruit and encourage kind behaviour on the back seat!
A remote journey is calling you and your family. To disconnect from your busy lives. To escape the mundane. To be a family creating deep and meaningful memories that will stay with everyone forever. Start preparing now and get out there!