When embarking on a four-month trip around Australia in a camper van, you have a few expectations. Lazing around at the beach in the sunshine with a radiant tan. Exploring rainforest and red terrain. Meeting new friends and embracing a free-spirited ‘take life as it comes’ attitude. A new lease on Australia, and maybe even life?
The reality of this trip was, lazing around Adelaide in an apartment with a broken down van. Exploring ways to get back on the road and planning routes. Trying not to let the intense planning of completing a lap around Australia (one of the most remote countries on Earth) in a somewhat dodgy van, get you down. A lot of client deadlines and challenges with working on the road. Lots of sausage rolls, and definitely a fresh and informed perspective on Australia.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I do realise there is a reason not everyone is off travelling this great country. It’s quite a mass of land and comes with it’s challenges. This 4-month trip was filled with moments of pure indulgent bliss, and rock-bottom desperation. That’s the beauty of travelling, you can’t separate the challenges from the thrills and maybe those hard moments are somehow important for the soul?
The beginning started against a dreamy coastal backdrop on the East Coast. The excitement of a real adventure, in our Mitsubishi, with a reconditioned motor running like a dream. We had nothing but positivity and good vibes.
The hospitality we received from friends and family along the way kept us going. Exploring the major cities and the coastal stretches in between. Life was simpler. It took about an hour to cook dinner followed by a 2 hour 'washing your dishes' episode. Everything was a little more inconvenient and slow, but we didn't mind.
It was all going so well until Adelaide. Our timing belt broke and essentially wrecked our engine. This is the part where RACQ towed us to the closest mechanic in Port Wakefield. We were at the mercy of a country mechanic with little to no grasp on the concept of ‘deadlines’ and the fact we were homeless. We were stuck there for 3 weeks. I have to be honest and say this was a low moment! We didn’t have much cash to splash around, and the diagnosis was getting increasingly worst each time he checked the engine. We weren't surrendering without a fight, so we got some cash together and continued on our way. Making it through the Nullarbor and across to Perth.
Six weeks and many Kms later, we were a few short hours from our next destination: Broome. Everything was going pretty well until we had to push start the van in the morning. We had made it to Tom Price (the middle of nowhere) where the second mechanic came back to us with the news ‘You need a new engine.’
After some tough phone calls, a second look at the car and many emergency plans later. We managed to sell most of our belongings and had to end our trip 2 weeks early because of our mechanical hiccups. Bye Max! A few car rides, buses, and flights later, we arrive back home. I love you, Brisbane!
We have now seen so much of Australia, and I am proud of the sweet tracks we have made across this country. One thing that has dawned on me, even whilst reflecting back over the trip is the overwhelming kindness we received when at the mercy of strangers. Australia is beautiful, with its breathtaking landscapes, but maybe something equally striking is the generosity of Aussies. At every turn, a helping hand and uplifting conversation.