We are a family of four, Murray, Stacey, Ryan (10) and Blake (8) spending six months travelling around Australia. After selling our house on the Gold Coast, Murray took his long service leave and we started our adventure at the end of May 2015. We are driving around in a Ford Ranger towing a custom built Evernew Caravan. Currently (August 2015) we are in Western Australia, about half way through our six months.
After having problems in our neighbourhood, we knew that we had to get out. We have completed some month long trips in the past and our boys really loved them, so we decided to make good use of Murray's long service leave and see what we could of this beautiful country.
This happened so quickly for us! We had everything planned with Evernew in December 2014, the colours, the design etc. and put our house on the market at the beginning of February. Six weeks later we had a contract on our house and everything went crazy. We sold all our furniture, packed up what we wanted to keep and had to transport these boxes to Rockhampton as we are storing them at my parents house.
We were due to pick up our caravan on the 24th April in Melbourne.
The day we were to leave to go to Melbourne, we got a call saying it
was not going to be ready for another couple of days, so we had to find a
storage place on the Gold Coast to store our belongings that were to be
put in the van. We left on Anzac Day to drive to Melbourne to pick up
our van, arriving back on the Gold Coast 6 days later 2 hours before our
house settled. We spent the next two weeks in a caravan pack, unpacking
our belongings from the storage unit into the van while Murray
completed his last nine days at work.
You can read more about selling our house here and purchasing our van on our blog - it might help you.
Our biggest joy has been watching our boys flourish and become more confident in everything they do. Before this trip, they had been quite shy and nervous about trying new things. Now they jump at every chance they can get and have fulfilled many of their dreams like holding a snake, feeding a dolphin, learning to snorkel. Now the boys don't want to go home!
Another bonus is how close we have been able to get as a family and how much fun we can have without all the electronic equipment we had at home.
Spending so much time together in such a small space. It took us a little while to get in the groove to having to live in each others face all the time. Learn to be more patient with each other and being able to give each other their own space took some time, but it is something we have all been working at.
Only spending a few weeks in Queensland and now only a few in Western Australia so far, I would have to say the Northern Territory. We spent quite a lot of time in this part of the country visiting iconic places such as Uluru, Devils Marbles, Litchfield National Park and Darwin. ( You can grab your Trip Tracker here - TAWK).
For us Longreach was a disappointment as was the northern part of Western Australia, but this was probably due to our situation. We are travelling on a budget and there are many places, that if you don't have the funds to afford the tours and admission prices, you have to miss out. We have found it harder than we thought to find good, quality low-cost things to do for families.
How well we were able to transition from living in a house to living in a van. We have all fallen into such a great routine and accepted this lifestyle really well.
1. If you have a limited time frame, don't try to stretch your time too thin as you will end up spending more time driving in the car and less time seeing the areas that you want to, especially with kids. Spend more time concentrating on the areas you want to see.
2. Talk, talk, talk to others. When you pull up at a free camp or a caravan park, talk to others around you. We have found this a great way to find about amazing places that we would have missed as we didn't know about them.
3. Make sure you have the type of accommodation and car set up for your intended trip and any spares you think you may need. Also check to make sure you are in all the limits and aren't carrying more than your equipment is capable of.
We have learnt to be a more relaxed family and are able to have fun together without the need for electronic devices. Watching our boys becoming more independent and coming out of their shells has been amazing! Communicating as a family has increased and we have become a stronger and much happier family unit.
One thing we have found is the family prices for well known attractions and tours can be quite expensive, so planning ahead and making sure you have the funds to attend these things is a good idea. Make sure you talk to others to find out if the attraction or tour is worth the money as you don't want to pay a lot for a tour and be disappointed.
If you having been thinking about travelling around Australia, now is the time to go!
If you think you'd like to turn your family travel blog into a little online business then this video will give you food for thought.