When I was six, my parents took long service leave, packed up a pop-up caravan and took us on a three-month trip up the east coast of Australia. My sister, who was eight at the time, says she remembers little of the journey from South Australia to Cairns, but for me it was the start of a lifelong love of travel.
And here I am 30 years later, camper trailer hitched behind and my own kids, aged six and eight, in the back seat, on an old-fashioned family road trip. It’s a month rather than three but the rest is pretty much the same: a car full of activity books, heads poring over the road atlas and lots of discussions about where we’re going and what we’ve seen.
We’re coming to the end of a 6000-kilometre journey, having travelled in a loop as far north as Noosa, as far south as the Great Ocean Road, as far west as Adelaide and as far east as the lighthouse at Byron Bay.
It’s been a big trip in some ways but, really, a simple one. We’ve had lots of family walks, joined forces over crosswords, played board games, had singalongs in the car, played cricket and gotten plenty of sand and dirt on the soles of our feet. We’ve spent hours watching dolphins play off the coastline, sat among grazing kangaroos and counted emus on saltbush plains. We’ve spent further hours blissfully reading in the sun while the kids have ridden their bikes along dirt tracks and, gleefully, through muddy puddles.
One of the best stops has been… (click here to keep reading this article by Jane E. Fraser)