TAWK Featured Family -
'Cherry's Trekkin' Down Under & Beyond'

1.  About you

Road tripping has long been a passion of our’s. That incredible feeling of freedom & exhilaration that comes with the open road and exploring lands unknown. Cruising off into the yonder, map in hand, gazing out the window,eagerly awaiting the next horizon, the next landscape, the next encounter and discovery! Nothing beats that sensation!

We are the Cherry’s, a family of 4 living full-time in our Retreat Daydream caravan for the past 2 & a half years, travelling and working our way around this amazing country with Trev (the Dad, husband, chief driver & chief breadwinner), Megs (the Mum, wife, chief navigator & chief Homeschool teacher), 8 year old Shilah & 6 year old Cooper!

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

Our journey began on 29th March 2015 from the Sunshine Coast, QLD, where we departed with our 24 footer, towed by our 2006 100s Landcruiser.  Road trip adventure had captivated us pre-kids, 3 years after we married when in 2006-2008 we completed the ‘Big Lap’, becoming addicted to life on the road, thus making our decision to TAWK a relatively easy one. We were prompted to create a permanent life on the road when we kept returning ‘home’ after our travels only to start planning the next journey, thus we thought, “Why keep going back?”

3.   How did you get organised and how did you prepare?

For this particular adventure (life on the road with the kids), we prepared by selling an investment property to lessen the financial strain, we researched caravans, having our favourite custom built to our specifications, we sold our camper trailer which had previously taken us around the country plus we sold many other items namely nursery furniture, toys and items that held no sentimental value, wouldn’t fit in the van or that we saw ourselves not wanting to return to.

Trev worked his butt off and we saved every other penny while Megs wrote lists upon lists of purchases required before departure, job sites, rough itinerary’s, bucket list places to visit and experiences not to miss. Then once it seemed like everything was coming together, we set a date for departure and aimed for it!

With delays on the sale of our house as well as delays in the building & receiving of our caravan, our original plans had to be altered and instead of departing in the early Summer of Dec 2014 to head South, we ended up leaving late March 2015, choosing to head North for the Winter! (thus why flexibility is a huge advantage!)

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4.  What has been your biggest joy?

Our biggest joy would differ for each family member - Trev’s biggest joy would be being able to spend so much quality time with the kids & Megs during our travels in-between stopping to work. Megs biggest joy has simply been making the dream of life on the road a reality, escaping routine of suburban life, the continual feeling of freedom, being together as a family experiencing new adventures, having such quality time away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life and having Trev around so much more!

The kids love - meeting new kids, the array of pools or beaches, the multitude of playgrounds we frequent and the animals we come across, whether that be in a zoo, on a farm or in the wild!

5. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Our biggest challenges have included ongoing one’s as well as one off’s. The ongoing challenge is always where & when the next dollar will come from. This remains the missing link of our otherwise dream life that we live! To find a location-free income would be our ultimate dream come true. In the meantime, we will continue to stop for work in one location whenever the bank account dips too low.

One off challenges have included car/caravan issues (minor) and THE COLD weather down South! At the end of the day though, these are first world problems and we remain focused on the most important factor of our travels - that we are all healthy and safe, including our family and friends.

6.   Where have you enjoyed the most and Where disappointed you the most?

It is impossible to name just one place we have enjoyed the most!  With so much incredible diversity in this amazing country, there are a myriad of places which have captured our hearts! And for many different reasons. Our highlights have included but are not limited to:

  • Bargara, QLD,
  • Agnes Water/1770 & the LARC, QLD,
  • Swimming & rock sliding in Big & Little Crystal Creek, QLD,
  • Dunk Island/Mission Beach, QLD,
  • Paronella Park (day & night tours), QLD,
  • Cape York - Fruitbat Falls, Eliot & Twin Falls and reaching ‘The Tip’, QLD,
  • Whitehaven Beach & Daydream island w/ Cruise Whitsunday, QLD,
  • Carmila Beach Free Camp, QLD,
  • South West Rocks, NSW,
  • Crescent Head, NSW,
  • Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo, NSW,
  • Driving Mount Panorama, Bathurst w/ the van in tow, NSW,
  • Echuca, VIC,
  • Boat Harbour Beach, TAS,
  • Bay of Fires, TAS,
  • Taste of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS,
  • Bruny Island Cruise, TAS,
  • Cradle Mountain, TAS,
  • Mersey Bluff, TAS,
  • Great Ocean Road, VIC,
  • Flagstaff Hill Historic Village Sound & Laser Show, Warrnambool, VIC,
  • Long Beach, Robe, SA,
  • Rapid Bay, Fleurieu Peninsula, SA,
  • Innes NP, Yorke Peninsula, SA,
  • Boat fishing out from Parsons Beach, Yorke Peninsula, SA,
  • Eyre Peninsula, SA,
  • Darwin & surrounds, NT.
  • And sooooo many favourites from journey’s in the past yet to explore again, this time with the kids, in NT & WA!

Overall though, the place we truly enjoy the most is on the open road! Rather than specific destinations, it’s the journey that we hunger for. The journey truly is the destination!

Unfortunately, the place that disappointed us the most has been

Tasmania and I know MANY will disagree! We had high expectations from all that we’d heard as we headed across to the Apple Isle on the Spirit of Tasmania.  This was the one State that we had yet to explore! Our 6 weeks in Tassie was certainly an adventure, however, it was marred by cold, windy weather and a climate that just did not suit the lifestyle we love.

If you are thinking of Travelling Australia With Kids, then the TAWK Guide would be a great place to start.

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7.   How did you get organised with schooling, what did/do you do and how did you come to that decision?

We chose to Homeschool our daughter Shilah, registering with Home Education QLD when she approached the compulsory age. Our decision to Home Educate over Distance Education was due to reading many travelers comments & viewpoints between the two. With a bit of self-encouragement we concluded that we would be able to implement our own curriculum & educational experiences for Shilah throughout our travels and that it would provide us with the most flexibility. Focusing predominantly on English & Mathematics, many of the other subjects fall into place and are touched on throughout her experiences.

8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

What has surprised us most about our journey is that it took us 20 months to depart the State of QLD! Aside from this, there haven’t been too many surprises for us as we’d embarked on our previous adventures, including traveling the Top End when Shilah was a baby and again when she was a toddler, both times in our camper trailer. Plus our 3 month road trip of the United States of America back in 2013 gave us plenty of  insight into what it is like traveling with kids! 90 days trekking across a country in an RV with a 4 & 2 old was eye-opening to say the least!

9.   What would be three pieces of advice to give to future TAWKers?

  1. Ironically, try not to take on TOO much advice from others. Find your own groove. What works for one family, may not work for yours. What one traveler enjoys, may not be your cup of tea. Just as what one traveller dislikes, might be right up your alley, however, you may miss those experiences or places if you take on board everyone’s opinion. Listen to advice, but ALWAYS be confident in your own abilities to explore this great country the way it suits you!
  2. Allow yourself rest days. Days when nothing is planned, you’re not in transit and there’s no schoolwork or ‘housework’ to be done. Time to just sit and be and refresh for the next part of the adventure. We find our journey becomes less enjoyable if we are constantly on the go for long periods of time. It’s hilariously exhausting!
  3. Try to remain as flexible as possible. We used to be big ‘planner’s’ until we learnt that you can only plan so much, as life will continue to throw at you what it pleases. Our minds change regarding direction of travel or places to go. Incidents can happen that delay everything or financial situations can crop up that will slow you down. You may fall in love with a place you wish to stay longer or might come across a place that chases you away sooner than expected. Flexibility is a wonderful thing.

10.   How do you think that this adventure has changed your family?

To be honest, we don’t feel this adventure has changed our family much. We’re living the lifestyle we’d always longed for and because the kids have been born into an already road tripping family, they almost know no different. This adventure has become life and we have almost forgotten what life was like prior.

Further tips for future TAWKer’s:-

  • Download the wikicamps app;
  • Take along journals for your kids to recount their experiences & memories in (if of age). (We sell great ones here - TAWK)
  • If you come up against challenges, remind yourself of the challenges at home too (this may just be life’s way of testing you to see how bad you want it!)
  • Always follow your heart and gut instinct.
  • Make it happen, get out there, start living it and ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY! 

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