As my sisters and some of my friends know I didn’t want to travel around Australia in a caravan, nor did I think it would take us two years. I thought Steve was crazy and I had hoped he would flag this dream of his.
Upon reflection I enjoyed the trip and I am pleased we did it. We saw much more of Australia traveling this way rather than a “fly in and out” sort of holiday as I suggested. We had time to stay longer at places we enjoyed because we had no timetable, apart from weather constrictions and pesky school holidays filling the camping grounds. We saw some amazing places.
Two years travelling was not really enough time to see all of Australia, so many places we didn’t visit. I understand now why we meet people who had been on the road for 7 years or more and were still travelling, and now I no longer think Steve was crazy. It took me about a year to really adjust to this life style, it wasn’t until we got to the Northern Territory that I got more comfortable with the life style. There a a lot of grey nomads in Australia, it is a way of life for many.
The places I enjoyed the most.
Cable Beach in Broom, top of Western Australia. No beach view at this camping ground but it was a short walk to the beach to watch the sunset and the camels and all the people and cars on the beach. A very popular place, so many people. This is where the large numbers of Grey Nomads migrate to over winter.
80 Mile Beach, Western Australia. Nothing there apart from an endless beach covered in shells, a camping ground, fishermen. Can really chill out here as now where else to go. No beach view from the camping ground but a short stroll over the sand dune to the beach.
Coral Bay, Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. If you like snorkelling off the beach straight over soft coral this is the place to go. No view from the caravan park we stayed at, but a short walk over the road to the pristine stunning beach. If you want to pay prime dollar for a site with sea view views there is another camping ground down the road. Fresh drinking water in limited supply in this township so make sure you take plenty of fresh water. And the place is very popular so have to book in the high season. If you like snorkelling then the Ningaloo Reef is a must visit. There were some great looking National Parks camping grounds near Exmouth that were on the doorstep of the reef.
Cotton Tree Camping ground in Maroochydore, Queensland. If you pay prime dollar you can get a water view site in this mega camping ground. Very popular as a weekend spot for the locals, be prepared for the camping ground being over run with kids in the weekends. I liked it here because of the proximity to the water, the weather was hot so I swam every day. A water toy playground. I also liked it because it was walking distance to a shopping centre and cafes.
South West Rocks, New South Wales. Most sites in this rather basic camping ground had water views, either of the beach, or the river. Too cold for me to swim while we were there, but stunning views. Close to a shopping centre, cafes, pubs.
Kakadu, near Darwin, Northern Territory. The highlight of this place was the Ubirr, the aboriginal rock art and the stunning views from the top of the rocks. The camping ground itself was also good with a resort style pool that I swam in during the hot afternoons.
The Pinnacles near Cervantes, North of Perth, Western Australia. A must visit National Park, surreal landscape.
There were many more places that were great, but the ones I mentioned were foremost in my memory. And the more I re-read this the more places i want to add to my list.
We should have spent more time exploring Victoria and New South Wales, but at the time we were travelling through them when the weather was cold and we wanted to get up to Queensland for the warmer weather.
We didn’t spend much time up in the rural places or the tablelands as we stuck to the coast where ever possible. I do like the sea rather than the bush.
We didn’t do any free camping. We didn’t really see any that looked very interesting in Queensland, but there a lot more interesting free camping spots in Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. I liked the luxury of the flush loos, power and water in caravan parks too much to want to rough it, but there were a few free camping places that we saw that would have been amazing to wake up in.
Some of you may have noticed that the state of the camping ground amenities were important to me. In general the amenities were ok in most places and stunning in a few. The guests more often than not were the problem rather than the cleaning standards of the caravan park. But in some places the actual caravan site, town, location or the views made any substandard amenities irrelevant. For example Coral Bay, it didn’t matter that we could not hook up to fresh water, or that we showered in salty water every day, or even that we didn’t have a view from our caravan site, the location was stunning.
What I disliked the most
The whole idea of towing a caravan, the travelling, and directing Steve onto a caravan site.
Steve did all the driving, we only drove for a couple of hours on most trips, apart from a few longer trips. After a year of Steve driving we both agreed that if I drove it would be way too stressful and unsafe for both of us.
I hated directing Steve onto a site, it took both of us over a year to get better at this team work. It played havoc with my gut for the first year or so. A great way to loose weight.
Steve’s backing skills improved tenfold and I was able to give better instructions by the end of our two year trip. It was funny, in some tight spots that took a bit of manoeuvring to get into that people came over to tell us what a great job we did. Still stressful. Everyone watches the new arrivals in Caravan parks, the afternoon entertainment. When someone does a bad job I feel a bit better about our skills and I applaud those who ace it first time. I am not looking forward to directing Steve when it is time for us to move the caravan onto our driveway as it is narrow, more narrow than a caravan site, and Steve won’t have visual sight of the driveway as it is on an incline.. No wiggle room.
I disliked having to visit a doctor every month to get my blood tested, I wish now I had changed to a different blood thinner that didn’t need a blood test every month. It was much easier in the more remote towns as the doctors had the finger prick test which meant I got an instant result and I didn’t need to go to a lab.
NZ, and a house,
We are now back in NZ, we are still waiting on our household stuff to arrive from Australia. It is taking much longer than the caravan and the ute. The caravan is now in a storage place while we sort out the overhanging trees beside our driveway. We are busy cleaning up our house and property after having tenants in it for 8 years. The garden needs a lot of work to get it back to the state we left it in. Most the house is ok, apart from the dusty lampshades, the dog hair everywhere, the curtains that have never been cleaned or even vacuumed. But the worse of it as I discovered yesterday was the rangehood, so full of fat and very difficult to clean. Steve pulled off the wall yesterday to make it easier to clean. Still hard work.
We have yet to buy a lawn mower and the lawns grow longer every day, but anyway enough of this. What I am trying to say is that I had forgotten how much work there is in owning a house with a large garden. Our mini herb garden in the caravan was much easier, and the housework was much easier and quicker in a caravan. And it is cold in Auckland at the moment and our house is cold, like 3C inside our house at 10am yesterday, oh to be back in warmer places.
I am looking forward to our own laundry, and our large vege garden once we get it restablished.