Caravaning around Oz with two kids...any advice?

Submitted: Friday, Jul 02, 2010 at 22:35
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We have decided to get serious and do a 12 month trip around this big old country of ours, but have never owned a 4wd let alone tow a 23 foot caravan right round Oz!!!
We would like input from those who have gone before us into what some believe is shear madness. Looking for tips on what to pack, where to go etc..
Thank you for your input in advance.
J&V.
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Reply By: Joe n Mel - Friday, Jul 02, 2010 at 22:53

Friday, Jul 02, 2010 at 22:53
Are you in trouble with the law and doing a runner :-) or just plain mad or ????
We now have 3 kids, travelled/worked from north of Broome, Maningrida Arnhem Land, Bickerton Island, Darwin, Kakadu, Vic river nat park, 500klms west of Alice and now in Doomadgee Nt Qld......
had only 1 when we left, now 3....
How old are the kids ???
it is not madness as most will tell you but will be the best thing you have and will ever do.
Good luck
AnswerID: 422838

Follow Up By: Joe n Mel - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 13:57

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 13:57
some advice before you go into it to deep .........
Do some "test runs", go away for overnighters at a caravan park, dont need to travel far as the driving part is simple, even if you know someone with a block of land, go and stay on it for a few nights and you will quickly find out what you need and dont need, every person is different and how and what they pack so go with a VERY open mind, in the caravan parks you will meet people that are doing it and talk to them face to face, look at there set-ups and even take piccys, you will see some really neat ideas and some dumb ones as well ....
It is worth it as once you are on the road it is VERY hard to change things...
Cheers
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FollowupID: 693284

Follow Up By: travel bug - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 07:52

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 07:52
Hi Joe and Mel

Wow am I ready your post right, you have had 2 kids on the road??? How long have you been? We are looking at 2 years or more, depending on work, have you found it easy to find work?

Karen
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Follow Up By: Joe n Mel - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 19:24

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 19:24
We have 3..... THREE kids ...... when we say we travel we we basically left Tom Price 9 years ago with no set plans of where we were going and still have no set plans other than now to see QLD.................
We have mostly lived in compant provided accom but some has been a van just no wheels .....
As far as work goes if you cant get work out in the "bush" it will only be because you dont want to work, simply meaning there is heaps ............. but be WARNED, you must be flexable as to what you do, dont go in with tickets, degrees and so on as they mean nothing out here, experiance and more so willingness to learn quickly is what counts, there are of course some positions that will need a ticket simply because you will need it for insurance cover for the employer, that is a fact of life these days, a mechanic for instance needs the "ticket" but i worked on a Pearl Farm and was expected to do everything from Ali welding, boat driving, digging holes for plumbing, plumbing work ect.....
You also need to be able to make freinds quickly and be able to "get over" the ones you have left behind, you simply CAN NOT pop around and see old freinds when they are 2000klms away, stick to e-mails and dont get hooked on phone calls and be stubborn about it........
If you concentrate on what is around you and what you can see and do, you will soon forget about the "life" you left behind, some people will also NOT be happy with you but s#$t happnens so to speak ......
Another thing about work ...... dont rock up to the "popular" towns n citys and expect work, EVERYONE ELSE is doing that so you will get squat .... the real bush is just that, the bush .....
I am on "facebook" under "Joe Grace" or "Melissa Grace" so do a search and i am fairly certain certain you can see my photos, that is the way we live and love it...... at time it is HARD but well worth it ......
And finally....... if you have any doubts, just try it and if you dont like it DONT kid yourself, get out as soon as you can as you can get hurt out here and it can affect the kids more than you realise, do it for them not yourself, always remember that....... keep in contact, work wise i can most likely help
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FollowupID: 693535

Follow Up By: travel bug - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 07:51

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 07:51
Hi thanks for the advice. I won't miss where we live now or the people we know, that sounds harsh, but over the years we have worked out who our true friends are!!....when you say "Bush" how far in are you? we aren't looking at spending time in major towns, but don't want to be too far "in" as my son has a severe allergy and although we carry medication once it has been adminisered he has to be taken to hospital so don't want to go too remote! We don't care what we do, hubby is a tradie so used to getting his hands dirty and can turn his hand to most things, we done fruit picking etc., when we were younger and would be fine doing that again....Our main aim of selling up is to find ourselves, enjoy the kids and to experience different ways of life, we would love to work on a cattle farm for instance......

Would I be able to have your email address, if you don't want to post it on here then you can email me, mine is above.

Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Friday, Jul 02, 2010 at 23:35

Friday, Jul 02, 2010 at 23:35
Lots of duct tape.......


AnswerID: 422842

Follow Up By: Ray - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 08:29

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 08:29
You forgot the piece across its mouth
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FollowupID: 693247

Follow Up By: tam16 - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 11:13

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 11:13
Hahaha!!! we would never have travelled with our three kids, they were terrible in the car and we would have ended up divorced I think..nope..we do our travelling now they have all grown up...so quiet!
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 09:02

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 09:02
Hi J&V,

This is a question that comes up quite regularly so I just did a Google search of Exploroz and found that there are literally pages of forum posts about travelling with kids - too many to put the links up here. But if you put "travelling with children kids site:explorOz.com" (without the inverted commas) into Google you will find a mass of info.

Judging by the young families that we have seen and talked to on our travels you will not regret doing such a trip, it will be the adventure of a lifetime.

Cheers

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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AnswerID: 422858

Reply By: Searay - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 11:05

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 11:05
Hi there,
We are travelling full time with one 4 year old in a 23ft van and have been on the road since Feb. ITS THE BEST thing we have done. For toys take small board games they dont take much room and are good for rain days. Pencils and paper to draw on also.

We packed everything and then layed it out on the lawn at home before going then took half of that again. If you miss something you can always buy it on the road. The kids find other things to play with most of the time and our son has not missed any of his toys from home.

We had planned on 12 month trip but are going to make it 2 years or so now, due to makeing a big step in buying the caravan may as well use it. with a small amount of work in between, we have had no problems getting our son enrolled into pre school and school for next year, but they learn so much on the road.

Curently in Darwin with 31 deg days , 20 deg at night.

You will have a blast, make no plans just go where YOU want.

Cheers Troy
AnswerID: 422872

Reply By: Member - Matt & Caz H (QLD) - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 11:34

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 11:34
Hi John & Victoria

We have recently completed an 18mth trip around Oz with a 4WD and a 23ft van, we originally started with just our two daughters who where 6 and 8 when we began the journey (my 14yr old son decided to stay in BNE with his dad), we had a BLAST its the best thing we ever did, we had to stop (reluctantly because things didn't work out for my son and his dad, he flew into Kununurra WA (where we were at the time) but just couldn't settle into life with little sisters, no mates and living in a van!!!).

We have a website: http://www.travelingoz.webs.com check out the pics and all the blogs (starts at the most recent posting).

We have NO regrets and highly recommend it, we would still be on the road however we are a family of five and five of us has to enjoy the lifestyle.

As for what to pack - 5 changes of summer clothes - the same for winter, we used corelle dinner set as they take a lot to break (although we did manage it!!!) we told the kids they could have a 45l container each for toys (it sat on the end of their beds during the day), we purchased a small wash machine and it paid for its self pretty quick, it fitted under the dining table during travel.

Not sure what else to tell - just ENJOY and Tassie is a Must!!! all the free camping over there makes up for the $$$$ travelling over with the van oh and make sure you buy camps5.

If you have any other Q's please feel free to email me carolinehys@yahoo.com.au

Cheers
Caz
AnswerID: 422876

Follow Up By: travel bug - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 17:41

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 17:41
Hi Caz

I've tried to email you but the address just bounces back! I was wondering how hard it was for you to find work? Hubby is a tradie, but willing to do anything.

thanks

Karen
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FollowupID: 693411

Reply By: D200Dug- Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 11:36

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 11:36
CHeck their pockets for white stones and breadcrumbs before taking them for walks in the forrest and you will have a great trip ;-)
AnswerID: 422877

Reply By: clear skies - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 12:38

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 12:38
Its definately not madness guys , you will have a ball ! We took off with a 2 & 3 yr old boys and travelled for 10mths and only got half way around.
The best thing we done was ban the bloody t.v . It totally changed the boys when made to use there imagination. Opportunities are endless for those who wish to work. We scored a 5mth job on cattle station in kimberleys over the wet with our own nanny to look after the kids while still both making good income. Absolutely Gods Country !!!
People might think its madness and you kids wont remember, but thats all bull bleep , its the foundation and experience that will stay with you and your kids forever, knowing that a childs character and beliefs are made from years 0-7 which they then take through the rest of there lives.!
Go and do It and have a BALL!
Cheers , looking to do again next year !!
AnswerID: 422879

Reply By: luckymum - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 15:21

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 15:21
In 3 weeks time we are heading off for 5 months. Im really nervous and excited!
We have 3 kids and a caravan and have been planning for quite some time. We dont have accommodation booked but just researching where we want to go and what we want to see. Ive talked to many other people who have given us great tips and hints.
I totally agree to do a couple of trial runs in caravan parks. It takes some time to learn how to reverse a 4WD with caravan attached!
When are you heading off?
AnswerID: 422892

Follow Up By: becsam - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 12:27

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 12:27
We are heading off from Tassie in 2 weeks hopefully going for 3 months.
We are travelling with our 2 year old son.Car DVD player is a fantastic investment for the long travel sections.
Looking forward to meeting travelling families along the way.
Hope to find some warm weather soon!
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FollowupID: 693369

Follow Up By: Jacsprat - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 16:45

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 16:45
Hi guys
We travelled around Oz for 17 months and then New Zealand for 3 months with our son who was 6 when we left.
We are so keen about inspiring other families to go that I have a website and blog to help parents plan their trip and get excited! I also interviewed every family we met while we were travelling and did loads of research which is now an ebook called Discover Australia Kids 'n' All.

Check it out at one of the sites below
http://www.familyroadtripaustralia.com.au
http://www.oztravelbug.blogspot.com

I know you will have a brilliant time and I wish we were about to head off again!
Contact me anytime for more info.
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FollowupID: 693664

Reply By: Member - Matt & Caz H (QLD) - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 08:37

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 08:37
Hi Caz

I've tried to email you but the address just bounces back! I was wondering how hard it was for you to find work? Hubby is a tradie, but willing to do anything.

thanks

Karen

Hi Karen,

Finding work is fairly easy, my hubby is a mechanic he worked as a mechanic and also did fruit picking, I am a massage therapist but also did work at a caravan park - in reception and cleaning there is work out there if you want it. There is also a website called something like "workabout Australia" just google that it will come up with the website

Cheers
AnswerID: 423054

Reply By: CLBL068 - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 14:45

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 14:45
Hi J&V
Only just signed up to ExploreOz and already geting excited.Read your post and just wondered which direction your heading ie; chasing the warm wheather or just going with the flow,
My wife and I are just about to set off on 12 months+ trip after plenty of debating we`ve sold our home and bought 25` van and 4wd our kids are 12 and 10 and we can`t wait.
We were originally going to head west from Melbourne although some have suggested to go up the centre then down west as we don`t particularly want to do east coast 1st as we`ve done it numerous times but as yet haven`t seen central ,west and top-end.
My wife still has slight resevations although speaking to others and reading on sites like this only adds to the buildup as it`s been quite a huge buildup ie;(selling family home,quitting jobs etc)
Anyway yours and others advice would be appreciated
Craig and Lexi
AnswerID: 423086

Reply By: roff76 - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 08:14

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 08:14
We are thinking about doing the same thing. Selling the house and travelling with no time frame. We have a 8 month boy and i think it would be good for the three of us. Iam finding it hard to make the move I have a good job and a nice house. We are looking for the same input.
Thanks BRETT,TASH & XAVIER.......
AnswerID: 423210

Reply By: CLBL068 - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:17

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:17
Hi roff76
Sounds like your at where we were 18 some months ago (undecided)
Although the nice pay packet that only pays for that nice house is by no way
in comparison to adventure and memories before us.
We have little or no itinery, all our belongings are stored in a container we bought and will have it transported to wherever we end up whenever.
Take a deep breath and jump in!
Cheers
Craig and Lexi and boys.
AnswerID: 423219

Follow Up By: roff76 - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:34

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:34
I've taken plenty of deep breaths but just cant bring myself to do it, What if it's the wrong choice for not only me but my family, The Australian economy is up and down all over the place and not quiet sure about finding decent work.
How did you guys go in the last 18 months they would have been the hardest, and what made you decide to go in the end.
What are you guys towing and using as a vehicle? We are looking at a retreat daydreamer 23 foot seperate toilet shower with double bunks? We have a new hilux tho will have to upgrade to tow the retreat.
Any do's and don't?
It's great to talk to someone that has experienced what we are going through.

Cheers

Brett, Tash & Xavier
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FollowupID: 693607

Follow Up By: travel bug - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 13:36

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 13:36
Hi Brett Tash and Xavier

We are waiting for our house to sell, which is killing me!, but then we are off, we will have enough money for a couple of months, but hopefully hubby will find work, it's the old saying if you don't try you will never know and you will always live by if buts and maybes.

We left the UK 7 years ago with just our suitcases and our son who had just turned 4, we have no family here, had no job, enough money for a few weeks rent, but took the leap, we have had our ups and downs, but my point is you never know what is around the corner, sometimes you have to leave your safety net to live your life, you only have one. Its not going to be a ball, and you will wonder why you did it, but then you will have days when you think you should have done it sooner.

Hope this helps a bit

Karen
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FollowupID: 693635

Reply By: roff76 - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:39

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:39
Another quick question for all, Is anyone driving a Nissan Navara as a tow vehicle, If so how are they and any problems? Feedback would be appreciated

Cheers

Brett
AnswerID: 423226

Reply By: Mark Howlett - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 12:30

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 12:30
Hi John & Victoria,

We did 6 months with our kids in a camper trailer. We have recently put up a website of everything about our trip here
Feel free to contact us for any information. You simply won't regret it!

Mark.
AnswerID: 423238

Reply By: Jacsprat - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 16:58

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 16:58
Hi guys

We travelled around Oz for 17 months and then New Zealand for 3 months with our son who was 6 when we left.
We are so keen about inspiring other families to go that I have a website and blog to help parents plan their trip and get excited! I also interviewed every family we met while we were travelling and did loads of research which is now an ebook called Discover Australia Kids 'n' All.

Check it out at one of the sites below
http://www.familyroadtripaustralia.com.au
http://www.oztravelbug.blogspot.com

I know you will have a brilliant time and I wish we were about to head off again! We have another son now who is 15 months. I'm just waiting until he is a couple of years older and then we want to do Tassie to Cape York.

Feel free to contact me for any more info through my website.
Cheers
Jacqui

AnswerID: 423267

Follow Up By: travel bug - Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 15:49

Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 15:49
Hi Jacqui

Fantastic site, I will be buying your book once the bloody house has sold.......Thanks for sharing!

Karen
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FollowupID: 693775

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