Saturday, January 3, 2015

This is Australia - As a Grey Nomad: Part 1


So for anyone who isn't aware we sold our house and began to build a new one, however there was 6 months in between, where we thought "what do we do with ourselves in that time?". So we decided to do something we have never done before - Go Camping and travel around Australia, after all it was the beginning of June so while cold here, not so much in  top end places, but regardless it gave us a new adventure to look forward to while we packed up all our belongings, and it stopped us from getting cranky with builders.

So this will be a long story, which may take some time to publish, as there is a lot to tell, say and share.  Why didn't I do it along the way?  Well to be honest access to technology wasn't always available, and outside of Facebook we really didn't want to be bothered with chores to be done.  Sometimes it nice to come home, think about everything, gather all the photos into one place and then write the story, rather than doing it on the way (which to be honest would have been difficult, with little or no access to internet in 90% of the places we went to).  Its nice to reflect!

Here is our story, hope you enjoy.

Getting Started:

Night 1 Roma - Happy Campers
Having never been camping before, and never really doing extensive road travel, we were for the first time in a long time a bit unsure of what it would be like, what we would need, and how we would travel and even if we would like it.

So given our settlement was 90 days, we took advantage of that time to begin the journey of looking at all the various options available - caravans, pop tops, camper trailers etc and weighing up the costs, the luxuries and the pros and cons of each.

We finally elected on a camper trailer - primarily because it wasn't a huge investment less than $9,000 including the tow bars, electric breaks, fridge etc , rego and insurance was pretty inexpensive as well and it allowed us the ability to move at the normal road speed rates and was easier to manoeuver, plus it gave us the luxury to be able to do cabins along the way when we really wanted a bit more luxury.  I did blog earlier on buying the camper and our pre-travel setup etc so won't go into that again.  Kylie and Troy from In2Campers where fantastic in our pre-setoff assistance, including helping us with how to setup, if you live on the Gold Coast, want great service then would highly recommend In2Campers.

Aboriginal Art Canarvon Gorge

So with camper trailer hooked up, packed up and the house settlement on the 30th May, we headed off into the wild blue yonder at 5am on Tuesday 2nd June - ready for adventure and what ever the road might present to us - excitement and a little trepidation was in the air, but overall we were ready for the great unknown.

This is one of the many benefits to being retired - no work commitments, no needing to be back for anything specific - time on your hands, and time to enjoy the moment.

Day 1: 2nd June 2014 

Gold Coast to Roma

Don't worry folks, I am not going to comment on every day - but every story has to have a beginning and Day 1 is usually it.

We headed off early so we wouldn't get caught up in peak hour traffic, where were we heading to, we had no idea - we thought Dalby might be nice - but we drove past there at about 9am and felt that really was a little too early to stop.  The day had been drizzly when we left, and it was definitely cold and we were to be honest just a tad scared and nervous, so we were not rushing  we stopped for our thermos coffee at Miles and Chinchilla both lovely towns, and it was good to get out and have a break and take in the area - ones we had never been to before.  Being the first day we were keen to go for a walk around the towns as well, so a leisurely morning and now feeling a little more relaxed with a few hundred kilometers under our belts.

Roma was our next stop and it was now past midday, so we decided this is where we pull up - off to the tourist info center to get the low down on whats on in and around Roma and where the caravan parks are - we had decided not to pre-book anywhere just arrive, take our chances and sus out the place first.  The tourist info in Roma is excellent and we established there was a fair bit to do within a few hundred k's so we decided to setup shop for 3 nights.  We choose an ensuited camp site (I loved these because for an extra $5/night you at least had your own loo, shower and basin right on site).  Being only the 2nd time we had put up the camper, we were once again a bit racked with nerves, but after about an hour, we had it all setup including the annex, and we were sitting down having a cuppa made at our own site and using all our camp gear - so we were feeling pretty cuffed with ourselves.

We didn't do much that afternoon, as we knew we had a few days, and by now we were feeling the effects of the early start, 560k's of driving and of course using muscles putting up the camper that haven't been used in years,and probably feeling relieved that we had finally made it to somewhere and we had got the tent up as well.  We had promised each other until we worked out the tent and erection of the camper we would not get cranky with each other and we would take our time and enjoy doing it even if we had to do it again.  Ended the day with an early BBQ dinner, chatted with others in the camp grounds, had a wine or 3 and hit the hay early (remember its cold out this way at the beginning of June) and will say slept like babies.  It was well after 6am when we woke up and given we were in bed by 7.30 this was a miracle - but we will say, this ended up being pretty typical, we had 12 hours sleep most nights the camper was so comfy, snuggly, and this coupled with being pretty exhausted most days from walks, driving etc made for the best night sleeps over such a long period of time that we have ever had.  

Canarvon George is about 200kms from Roma but there is quite a bit of dirt road, given we don't mind driving, we had decided that we would not take the trailer on dirt roads given we only have a 2wd, and that we would do day trips (we don't mind a big driving day).  So day 2 saw us head off to Canarvon George - what a pretty drive (we probably could have taken the trailer and stayed at the camp grounds here in hindsight, but better to be safe than sorry).  What a beautiful place this is, even if it is along way from anywhere, this was our first look at Aboriginal art work in caves, and we did a few of the lovely walks available, obviously not the 8 hour ones to the main gorges, caves etc given we had to be back in Roma by nightfall (another little thing we promised each other NO night driving).  If you were a big bush walker you would defiantly need to stay a few nights, but we feel we say enough of the beauty, the cultural/spiritual and the historical here for us anyway. Once again we were exhausted after another 500k day so it certainly didn't take too much rocking. 

Day 3 at Roma saw us taking in the town, nice stroll through the town - always interesting to see what these smaller towns have, doing the Boab tree walk or as it is called The Walk of Heros - a Boab or Bottle Tree was planted for each man from Roma who went to WWI and out of respect for them we did walk to each one, read their story (as we all should),  All of these young men from Roma headed off to parts of the world like Turkey and France to fight in WWI , from here in the middle of no where (sorry Roma citizens), to the far reaches of the world to fight for freedom is a remarkable thing, and this little walk makes you feel humble, but proud of our men.  I hope it gets a bit of a mention in the 100 year celebrations, and if you are ever in Roma it is well worth a few hours of your time to honor these men, read their stories and silently say thanks.

Stay tuned for more adventures of This is Australia - As a Grey Nomand.

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