2 adults and 3 Kids around oz

Submitted: Monday, May 04, 2009 at 17:51
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Hoo Roo,
We are in the planning (saving) stage of a 1 year trip around oz with our 3 kids...currently 8,6 and 3 we plan to leave towards the end of 2010. I have found this site great for information and general experience but would like any thought or advice on selecting a camper trailer to cater for 3 kids. We are currently looking to buy this year so we can spend time in it and getting it into some 4WD trouble whilst still close to home. We are looking at a Complete Campsite Uluru, Trak Shak and Mountain Trail Exodus based on size, ease of setup and long term living so any thoughts/comments welcome.
I am also keen to connect to anyone out there that living the dream now with kids and can share their wisdom....
Thanks
BMJTI
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Reply By: ChrisVal7 - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:04

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:04
Hi BMJTI.
I am sure you will have a wonderful year, and it will be an adventure the children will talk about for years to come.

After spending 4 years travelling around Oz in a caravan (admittedly without children) I have some ideas on what works.

If you are going to travel with such young children in a unit which requires being set up each time you stop, you will need to make sure you stay at each location for a reasonable period of time. A few days at least. Setting up camp and packing up every day soon becomes a real hassle. I would urge you to re-think and perhaps get a caravan or an 'Expanda" type van which needs much less setting up.

Have the flexibility to move on if weather is not kind. Travelling like this is much more enjoyable if you spend time sitting or 'playing' outside, and the children will need play room in the open air. This is hard to do if it is cold, wet or windy outside. We found it could get cold or windy even in summer in the strangest places. Like the time it snowed at Stanthorpe in QLD in November... I was so glad I wasn't under canvas that time!

Make sure you all have some private time. If you are camped in a caravan park, close to other people, it can be tricky to have an argument with each other without others listening in. Bush camping is better for this reason. Trust me, if you are human, you will all have arguments from time to time.

My experience has taught me that for every four or five days spent tripping around, seeing things or just having adventures, you will need one or two down days where you can just relax around camp, and catch up on chores. You will find out what your group's needs are. So four or five active days and two relaxed days is what works for us.

Gosh, I could go on but you would only get bored. Others will have good advice too.
Chris
AnswerID: 363189

Reply By: Member - Cram (Newcastle NSW) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:01

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:01
We have not ventured on a trip such as this, however we have done a few 4 to 5 week excursions and I agree with this comment

"If you are going to travel with such young children in a unit which requires being set up each time you stop, you will need to make sure you stay at each location for a reasonable period of time. A few days at least. Setting up camp and packing up every day soon becomes a real hassle. I would urge you to re-think and perhaps get a caravan or an 'Expanda" type van which needs much less setting up. "

Make sure that things are as easy as possible because this makes your trip enjoyable.

If you think you might stay put for a longer period then something that is off the ground I think has advantages over alot of soft roof campers.
AnswerID: 363210

Reply By: Member - Josh (VIC) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:57

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:57
Hi BMJTI,
Glad to hear you are joining the happy wanderers. It is a wonderful life style and your family will benefit greatly from it. We are on the road with 2 girls aged 5 & 7. They were 3 & 5 when we left. Before we left we set the car up for them for travelling. We don't have dvd players in the car but have it set up with books and school work for them. When we get to camp they have there jobs to do to help set up. When driving allow time to stop for the kids. Let them run around and burn of steam. If we travel for 2-3 days stopping 1 night only we them stop for a few days to catch up. One night stops are hard for the kids.
With the camper have a good look around. Work out what you want to do with it, where you want to take it. If going off road make sure wheel track is the same as car and if possible tyres and rims the same. We have an O'Briens offroad family deluxe and are extremely happy with it. It is very quick to set up and has heaps of room. When fully set up has 3 rooms.
When looking at trailers keep in mind you are not doing this for 2-3 weeks a year it is every week every day. What would be ok for short holidays may become very annoying after 6-8-12 months. We have draws in the back of our trailer so I don't have to climb in to get stuff out. Our stove is always set up(just connect the gas) and it is near the fridge. It has lockers all around the sides instead of open sides so we can lock stuff away.
The girls have learnt to adapt very well. Our eldest was very organised before we left, if we said we were going from A to B to C we had better and go from A to C to B. She now copes with not knowing where we are staying tonight.
Remember if it rains and stuff gets wet it will dry eventually so it doesn't really matter. We parked the wrong way on a hill once and went out for the day. When we got home it had rained and water ran in the door and filled the trailer. It dried and is now a memory of our trip.
Have fun and hope the planning goes well. Just remember all the planning can't plan for the unexpected so ride out the rough patches and the good days seem even better.

Josh, Maree, Julia and Jasmine
AnswerID: 363230

Follow Up By: Member - Wayne David (NSW) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 09:13

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 09:13
Josh (Vic) - One of the things I really enjoy about this forum is reading the comments of people who are genuinely trying to pass on good solid advice. It's wonderfully encouraging.

Of course we all have different needs and therefore sometimes different points of view.

But Josh you have nailed it on the head with your lovely comment
"Just remember all the planning can't plan for the unexpected so ride out the rough patches and the good days seem even better."
Well said indeed.

Another thing I try to keep in mind when things are going pear shaped (as they sometimes do) is that 'this will all seem funny tomorrow'. So if you can never ever lose your sense of humour.

Happy trails.
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FollowupID: 630917

Follow Up By: just goin - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:44

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:44
Josh,

How are you handling your two kids education while you are and have been travelling??? We are extremely interested to know as we will be travelling soon with a 5 yo and have arranged work for 4 months through her school but hubbie is concerned that if we find it to be a great life and want to stay on the road longer than this is going to cause up problems sorting that part out...

Any thoughts and as much info as you can share would be very much appreciated.

JUST GOIN
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Follow Up By: just goin - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:45

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:45
Sorry should be addressed to Wayne David not Josh - my apologies
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Follow Up By: Member - Wayne David (NSW) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:35

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:35
just goin - Me with 2 kids? Education? Travelling with children? Yikes!!!!

Sorry......... but there appears to be some confusion here. I do not, to the best of my knowledge, have children.

When I say "sorry" I don't mean to say that I'm sorry for anyone travelling with children in a confined space. Well..........

........er let me try again. "Sorry" doesn't mean that I'm sorry I don't have children........ in fact I'm not. Oh that's not coming out quite right either.

See what I mean by confusion?
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FollowupID: 630969

Follow Up By: just goin - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:33

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:33
Josh,

How are you handling your two kids education while you are and have been travelling??? We are extremely interested to know as we will be travelling soon with a 5 yo and have arranged work for 4 months through her school but hubbie is concerned that if we find it to be a great life and want to stay on the road longer than this is going to cause up problems sorting that part out...

Any thoughts and as much info as you can share would be very much appreciated.

JUST GOIN
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FollowupID: 631008

Follow Up By: Member - Josh (VIC) - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 19:20

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 19:20
Hi Just Goin,
We are using home schooling to school the girls while travelling. We looked at distance ed but the amount of work you have to send in was to hard to manage. We are using LEM phonics program which seems to be working extremely well. The couple of times we have stopped for any length of time and put the girls in school they were both ahead in in reading, speech and writing. Maths they are learning very well using signpost and working out the change when we go shopping. Any teachers we have met on the road were impressed with their knowledge and ability.
They are both getting an A+++ for geography LOL. Sometimes it is hard to sit down and do school so school might be an excursion to an animal park or to the beach to count shells. A lot of reading is done in the car while driving. The girls can identify a huge number of animals, fish and plants. Socially they are doing ok but do lack with some things ie, team games. There is still time for this to develop at school later.
We often find them chatting to people of all ages telling them what we are doing.They would never have done this before. Not sure how you go being registered in school already then if you wanted to change to home schooling. People do it though. What state you are from will determine what requirements you have.
Hope this helps.

Josh
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FollowupID: 631207

Follow Up By: just goin - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:48

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:48
Hi Josh,
Very helpful - thanks for the info. Always great to hear what options "OTHER FAMILIES ON THE ROAD" are using. We have just been approved for 4-6 months through our daughters school using the school work given to us from her class teacher so we are happy to go with that for the time being and if we get hooked and look at staying on the road indefinitely like you guys then I will look at home schooling.

Totally agree with the distance ed comment though as we looked into it deeply as part of our planning etc about 18 months ago and have tried to steer very clear from it. Takes away from the experience in itself thats for sure and at 5 years old there is nothing better than the experience that travelling can provide that a classroom cant.

Thanks again
JUST GOIN

p.s we sold up as part of our plan to travel so who knows what and where we could end up. Scary but exciting all at the same time.....cant wait to get going though on the 15th June - ye ha
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FollowupID: 631339

Follow Up By: BMJTI - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 13:27

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 13:27
Hi Kidsandall,
Thanks for the advice and will have a look at the Tambo website tonight. It's good to know that the home schooling is working for your girls. We have based our departure date on the kids as much as possible so that our 3.5 year old will be 5 and my oldest, 8 year old will be close to 10. This way at 5 Indy should remember the experience and Jake our oldest will be back in time to reconnect with school and friends before he heads off to high school etc. Thats the plan anyway...
Cheers
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FollowupID: 631353

Reply By: just goin - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:40

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:40
Good Day BMJTI,
We have just gone through the same process as you are currently going through. We just set our departure date this arvo. Come on the 18 June.
We have basically spent the last 18 months looking for a camper and planning our trip.
Being from newcastle we looked at all the manufacturers in the hunter and sydney ie; Jumbuck, Complete Campsite, All Terrain and so on.After that exersize we started to look at the QLD manufacturers.
But every time we would look at the price list and add on the extras required it ended up costing a packet.Tambo Campers kept on popping up around forums we were looking at and no one had a bad word to say about them. When we Got their brochures we were very sup[rised at their prices so much we disregarded them as cheap and nasty.
When finally decided we were sick of looking we made a trip to melbourne to check them out.
WOW they were great. We pick ours up next tuesday.
If you do a search on this forum you will get plenty on tambo.
As for the caravan, we have a 5yr & 2yr old and cant wait for the ups and downs to start. So what prob a bit of extra set up but we are not contained in 4 walls.


Cheers
AnswerID: 363245

Reply By: troopy 2005 - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:55

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:55
We have travelled with our kids since they were very young ,till now in there late teens.
Heres some tips
Dont buy a caravan.We avoid caravan parks as there all the same.bush camping is a more genuine experience.
camps book is useful
Weve always travel with our freedom tent ,rough it for a bit then stay somewhere nice.
Dont give the kids to much sugar when travelling and make sure they drink plenty of water,especialy when hot .
buy good gear we all have the same sleeping bags,if were cold their cold.
organise your gear so you dont have to unpack to get to one little thing.
Its not Like home so dont try and make it like that.
AnswerID: 363259

Follow Up By: troopy 2005 - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:07

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:07
Dont buy a dvd ,look out the window ,sing songs tell stories and laugh.
dont take to much stuff ,they have shops.
These are breif but practical tips ,just get in the car and drive .
Weve travelled to every state in australia and loved every trip, even when things dont quite work out.
We travelled in other countries and Australia is easy.
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FollowupID: 630883

Reply By: dact - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:08

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:08
G'day BMJTI

Like you, we are also in planning for a trek round Oz next year, though, we are limited to 5-6 months, so we leave day 1 of June school hols and not returning til late November. We originally thought about selling up and leaving indefinately in Dec2010, but with a 20yr old at home, a 15 yr old due to start VCE and a 10 yr old starting gr 6 in 2011, it just wasn't pratical, so, thank goodness for long service leave. (Taking 15 & 10 with us, hopefully Mr 20 will look after the house)

Like 'just goin' we have a Tambo, bought it 2003, for a 4 wk trek up the desert tracks into Alice Springs. Since then, its been to the beach in Robe, Flinders Ranges, Nth West NSW, the Murray, numerous trips to Vic High Country, including near snow conditions. We have been very happy with it, the canvas still looks new. We are in the process of servicing it, and making a few slight mods for the trip, and I'm sure it will be up to the task.

Hopefully, we see you on the roads.

Cheers
Amanda & Terry

AnswerID: 363261

Reply By: Johnny boy - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 08:19

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 08:19
Hi BMJTI,
firstly good on you for going for it ,I just wish you were leaving in Jan 2010 that way I might come across you in our travels, we have 2 boys 6&10 and we are leaving late Jan for 9 months and all I can say is if you haven't already done so why don't you hire a few different camper trailers and get a feel of setting up pulling down ,and I mean in all weather conditions as I was away only 2 weeks ago and I was packing up when the wind picked up,I could see 2 family's struggling to beat the wind so I gave them a hand and once packed up they both said that they have had enough of this and that they were going to start looking at vans ,as one had a tent and the other a camper trailer ,so I said well I understand the tent issue but what's wrong with your camper and he said its great for short trips/stays but we are off to another spot now and we have to go through all this again ,well I didn't want to ask but he looked upset ,I don't have any issues with C/T as this was going to be our 1st choice as it was small lighter and easy to tow but we did end up buying what I call a bit of both,we bought a 14.6 Windsor rapid its not really off road but has a stiffer chassis ,bigger wheels,and is a little higher with IND suspension but I would not want to take my family anywhere that remote as to need to climb mountains if you know what I mean ,I also will take a small tent and just lock up the van if we want to check out that sort of stuff for a night or two
well I'm not trying to start a tent vs camper vs van thing I'm just saying that you might want to experiment a little before the big 12 moth trip ?
Good luck and have a ball .

Regards John.
AnswerID: 363292

Reply By: Rossco 09 - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 10:11

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 10:11
Hey, we're going to do it too at the end of next year. We'll be 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 (yet to be made) baby and 2 dogs. Admittedly, we'll be taking the soft option with a converted bus...........
AnswerID: 363305

Reply By: aeiou - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:58

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:58
WOW, it all sounds great, but one thing that comes up again and again is the set up and pack up time.
My thinking is that you are travelling on holiday as opposed to working 8+ hours a day, so a little time spent every few days to set up and pack up should not be too bad when it is all in perspective!!
enjoy!

AnswerID: 363378

Reply By: Bekali - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 00:59

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 00:59
Setting up and packing up: As the general consensus shows keep it simple. We (hubby, me and three kids 6, 4 and 1) Travelled from Melbourne to the sunshine coast over Christmas it took 21 days we spent 9 of those at the sunshine coast, the rest was travelling and spending only 1 night at each stop.

We have a pop top and believe me, by the time we took out the few things that don't have their own storage spot like bikes, fishing rods and camping table, set up your bits and pieces, cook dinner - that is more than enough to do.

The kids were fantastic, having there grandparents following in there own van was a bonus to keep the occupied while we packed and unpacked, but they still did get a little bored.

My point is don't make any extra work for yourself, make it as quick and easy as possible.

As for things going wrong and laughing later how this - 45 degree weather just out of Gilgandra and in the space of 30ks two blow outs on the same van (ours) stuck in the middle of nowhere with two blown tyres and three kids getting dark and our next destination was to be Narrabri. Well long story short, we got to Narrabri at around midnight safe and sound, no dinner just straight to bed - well.... after we set up of course!!

It's all part of the fun, and we do laugh about it now......
AnswerID: 363434

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