Grey Nomads Stay Safe-Avoid Extra Stress by Staying Home During Major Holidays

Last weekend we celebrated a four day break for Easter and I was thinking about all the traffic on our roads trying to find a way to reduce some of the congestion. Sadly we lost more lives on our busy roads over these holidays.

I thought that if all us grey nomads stayed home during these holidays, it could make a big difference. It would not only keep us safer but it would leave the caravan parks and many other camping spots free for the hard working people that cannot travel any other time to enjoy those precious holidays.

How many times have you heard people moaning because there are no vacancies at the most popular holiday spots? We hear it all the time.

I believe that if we all tried to stay home or with friends it would not only help others to stay safe it would lessen traffic and the load on our busy roads. Let’s face it there are thousands of grey nomads travelling around Australia all year round.

Let me know what all you guys think about that idea. Do you think it would help?

Expect the Unexpected In Northern Australia

If you are thinking of exploring Australia then I hope you have several spare months to enjoy its beautiful landscapes and beaches.  Although it is often the unexpected things that can open your eyes to its many dangers too.

Narrow roads, huge machinery, and road trains is a real experience if you normally live in the big cities.  Expect the unexpected on Roads in the North of Australia

In the Northern part of Australia, you will be amazed at the rugged and often desolate countryside.  On some roads, you could often travel 200 k’s and not see another vehicle. Therefore, you need to be prepared and take plenty of water and extra food and fuel.

Deep Ravines and Gorges

Keep an eye open for our beautiful Wedge-tail Eagles.  These may be hovering close to the road or even feeding of the road-kill on the road.  Although, if you are lucky you may see a group of them high up in the trees.  Make sure you have your camera ready when traveling through this beautiful country.3 wedge tailed eagles

Here is part of another family of big birds. Although they had five chicks they were too quick for me to capture them all with my camera.  These birds can also do a lot of damage to your vehicle, just like our Kangaroos if you hit them on the roads.  So drive with caution at all times and return home safely.

Another family of big emus

Modes of Travel: The good old days

I think we are very lucky these days.  There are so many options of different ways of travel, but I have to admit when I see these I still feel a little envious. Never judge your life on how big a house you own or model of car.  Instead, enjoy what you have.  I would be proud to own any of these, although I do not think I could afford them.

I believe that the owner of the vehicles below restored them himself and has traveled all over Australia in them. What a way to go.

 

This is the way to travel
This is the way to travel- I spotted these as I went up town shopping in Northam

 

On a Recent trip around Australia 2016 through Kimba we saw this beetle and caravan.

A step back in time
A step back in time

 

I am sure many of our readers would also love to own one of more of these older style vehicles.  Would you?

Modes of Travel: Cycling Around Australia

You can enjoy traveling around Australia in many different ways. Some require more energy than others, and some offer more protection too.  You might enjoy one of these two ways to experience traveling.

Cycling your way Around Australia, cheaper but takes lots of energy
Cycling your way Around Australia, cheaper but takes lots of energy

We have even seen a guy that rode his push bike all the way from Melbourne and up the Oodnadatta track.  We caught up with him at the pink Roadhouse.

Motorbike travel costs a little more although easier on the body.
Motorbike travel costs a little more although easier on the body.

Owners of these took a rest at Tolga.

Motorbikes

Have you ever had a go at travelling through our wonderful country on one of these.

Setting Caravan/RV up for Free Camping in Australia

Are you thinking of travelling around Australia and not sure what you will need?  We have done two trips around Australia and like everyone we are still learning new tricks all the time.  So I thought I would let you know some of the my tips, so you will not make the same mistakes that we did.

If you are reading this then you have either already bought your caravan/RV, Motor Home or off-road trailer. All of these are great fun to explore Australia in. The only difference is the big price difference for each one. If you have not already bought something then this article may help you choose the right caravan before you outlay money that you cannot afford.

 

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This is a map of one of the many trips we have done over the years

Australia is a big country with miles of open territory. If you have never traveled through the outback then you will be amazed just how spread out the towns are. Make sure you carry enough water, food and fuel as in some places you will not have stores to top up at for three hundred kilometers. So be prepared.

 

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This free camp is Niagra Dam which is between Menzies and Leonora in Western Australia

Free Camping

Personally we love free camping anywhere and everywhere in Australia, where it is possible. some people prefer staying in Caravan parks for security. It is so relaxing when you stop in free camps, without being stuck on other people’s doorstop. If you would like to free camp there are a few things you will need to organize first.

The chimneys  Queensland

We had a great free camp here at the Chimneys, stayed for four days and saw two big Lace Monitors. They were pretty tame just wondered around between the campers

You will need:

  • your own power source
  • Gas for cooking and fridge
  • Lighting
  • Battery back up
  • Fresh water
  • Food

Power source

You have two main choices when travelling:

  • Solar Power
  • Generator

To give you an example, we have solar panels on the roof of our car and caravan. The  160 w  solar panel on the car roof, runs our fridge/freezer through an inverter in the car. Plus we have an extra battery in the car to store the solar charge. With reduced sunshine your solar will still charge although not as much.

We have another inverter in the caravan with 3 solar panels on the roof (total of 320 w). We also have 2 batteries to hold this charge. This runs all our lighting, TV, Laptop, phone recharging, and our Access satellite TV.  Our fridge and hot water system runs on gas. We never use our air conditioner so that is no problem.

Inverter

You will also need an inverter to plug things into -This is for charging up your Laptop, phone and torches, and other low powered electrical equipment.

Generator Power

These are heavy, and smelly, and you need to carry petrol in a container.  We used one on our first trip and dumped it. Although this is our personal choice.

If you require the use of a microwave, air conditioner or boiling the kettle then a generator is a necessity. Beware never place a generator under an open window because the carbon-oxide fumes. (the same effect as placing a hose on your exhaust with the other end in the car).

Tip: Please be considerate when using a generator, because they are noisy, turn them off early. Also because of their noise many people have long leads and put the generator miles away, they cannot hear them but, is it now next to another camper? They might want to sleep to, so be considerate of other travelers.

Gas for cooking and fridge

When camping out, you will normally use this for your stove to cook and to keep your fridge cold.  Make sure you have enough gas, fill up in bigger towns as it can be expensive in the smaller ones.

Tip– ask the price first-if too expensive and you still have enough gas then leave it until next town.

Lighting

If you have a caravan, I suggest that you change all the globes to LED’s. This will save you a lot on power usage.

Solar lights are brilliant to take when free camping.  Put them out during the day to charge, and use instead of your 12v at night.

Battery’s for back-up charge

I know we all need to watch the weight we put into our caravans so we are not overloaded, but at least one battery is important for storing your power from your solar panels or power generated from your car.

Fresh Water

It is very important to have enough water for your stay. Do your research and see if your free camp has access to fresh water. If near the ocean, you can use that to wash your dishes. If camped by a river boil the water, and use for drinking or dishes, if you are short.

Food

Think about the weight you are loading in to your caravan/RV when loading the food.  Tinned food weighs heavy, packet foods like noodles and powdered milk is lighter.

Last but not least – Overloading the Caravan/RV

When you buy your caravan you will be told about the amount of weight you can carry. PLEASE try to stick to that weight.  When traveling in the Eastern States they are stopping vehicles and weighing them.  If your caravan if overweight they can make you unload things onto the side of the road. Plus if you have an accident, you will not be covered by insurance either.

Okay that is it. Now, once you have all that organised, you had better start packing and enjoying your free camping or staying in caravan parks. Remember to do your research before deciding where to spend your holidays.

List of  Free Campsites from Perth to Bendigo if you are looking for somewhere to camp for the crossing

 

Research your Destination-then Prepare for Your Trip

Where do you want to go?

The first thing when planning any trip is making the decision on what type of trip you choose. Whether you camp in a popular spot in the bush, camp by a river, or tow a van to a new town and stay in a Caravan Park.

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Whichever type of trip you decide on, do your research for that area.

  • Is there toilets and showers or will you have to pack your own.
  • Are there shops to stock up on groceries and top up the gas bottles
  • Is there a service station near by
  • How much will it cost to stay overnight- powered  or unpowered sites
  • Do you have to book ahead – Always book in school holidays

Be prepared for your trip

We used to manage a caravan park in Norseman and one day a lady came in and said, “Oh I am so glad we are nearly there”.  I asked her, “Where are you going?”

When she told me that she was going to Sydney, I was shocked. She had left Perth that morning and thought she was nearly there.  She had clearly not done any research or preparation for that trip. She still had 4-5 days more of traveling, depending on how many drivers and how long they drove each day. You need to be well prepared for your trip, no matter where you go. Some places you visit require different things.

Blankets

Many people think because it is summer they can leave the blankets home.  That is a misconception. While crossing the Nullabor the daytime temperature maybe in the 40’s although the nights are very cold, so pack a blanket and warm shoes and socks.

Water

Make sure you have enough water.  Many of the outback towns rely on their water tanks and these are filled by rain only. Never expect these places to supply you with fresh water free. You need to carry sufficient to water to survive driving through these towns.

Fuel

When driving long distances, always check where the next fuel stop is and whether you need to carry extra fuel to make that distance.  There have been times when travelling that it says the next fuel stop is 150 k’s, check if you are looking at a recent map.  Like anything businesses close and go out of business.  Make sure you have recent maps and directions.

Wood and Fires

If you are like us you will love to cook over an open fire. Again do your research, ask if fires are permitted, especially in the summer.  You may need to take your own as some places have a ban on collecting wood in their area.

Now that you have all that under control its time to start packing. I will leave that for another day.

Above all have a great holiday and drive safely.

Think about having fun travelling in your retirement

 

Capturing Photos of Beautiful Birds while Travelling

It is amazing the amount of different types of birds we see on our travels in Australia.  The hardest part is we always want a better camera to capture them with.  Especially the little birds they are so tiny. Just when you think you will get a great shot they flit off to another place and you miss out.

This little Kingfisher fell out of his nest in Berri South Australia. My husband caught it in his hat and put it in a hole in tree as the Minor birds were attacking it.  Eventually his mother showed up although we left before we saw her with it.

This little Kingfisher fell out of his nest
This little Kingfisher fell out of his nest

Injured Magpie

We felt sorry for this Magpie as he has injured his foot, and the others kept beating it to the food.

Whenever travelling always make sure you have your camera handy as you never know what you can see to capture memories to last you a lifetime.

Beautiful White Swans

These beautiful white swans were swanning about cleaning themselves after foraging in the undergrowth for food.

Lorrikeet feeding from flowers at Bluewater creek

We stayed for a couple of nights at the Bluewater Creek overnight stop in Queensland.  While there we saw many varieties of birds like the Lorrikeet above and Honeyeaters, Kookaburras and numerous other smaller birds.  Can highly recommend stopping there for a few days.

Talking Pelican at Cammoweal

If your looking for a great camping spot in Queensland then Camooweal is a great choice.  There is plenty of space where you can camp beside the river. An added bonus is the beautiful water birds that visit the area.  Plus it will not cost you a cent to stay for a few nights either, so this helps with travelling costs.

Quenching their thirst

These little guys below were looking for a drink at a water tank at one of the rest areas before Kiama.

Spotted this eagle with two others this trip 2015 near Baladonia
Spotted this eagle with two others this trip 2015 near Baladonia

The Wedge-tailed Eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey.  Their wingspan is close to 3 meters wide and over 1 meter long. At the same time these are not the heaviest birds of prey.

This goshawk was feeling the heat in Berri SAustralia
This goshawk was feeling the heat in Berri South Australia

Like us the heat effects our beautiful birds too.  This Goshawk can be seen with mouth open gasping for air.

 

If you are a bird watcher then here are more photos of other birds we have seen on our travels in Australia