The restlessness started around 1974-75 when we were still at Uni. Blame it on ” Australia land of things to do ” – issued by the Australian Tourist Commission to encourage young Australians to explore their own country. Happy travelling. Within three weeks, the first edition of 400,000 copies was gone – and so there a second 400,000 run – a revised & enlarged edition, which also disappeared quickly. Ours was the second edition, and much loved.
It inspired dreaming, as we headed off on a wildly optimistic three month trek around Australia in an eight year old 1967 bluish-green Toyota Corona with a little three man A-frame tent. It was the wet season, during our long, end-of-year Uni break.
We left Wollongong just as Gough Whitlam’s Labour government was dismissed on November 11 1975, listening to news of the dismissal, on the car radio, after we collected our holiday pays.
The Corona’s two speed automatic gearbox died at Tennant Creek, outside the swimming pool, a week or two later. After three weeks in our little tent at the Tennant Creek Camping Ground, tired of waiting for a second-hand gearbox, we packed up, freighted our gear and hopped on a series of buses and trains. Tennant Creek-Alice Springs-Adelaide-Melbourne-Wollongong, with Christmas Day spent on the road to Coober Pedy. The old Ghan railway had been washed out with wet season rains from memory. And we missed Tropical Cyclone Vanessa hitting Broome in January 1976 – just when we were originally scheduled to camp there.
We’ve travelled a great deal since then, across most of Australia and overseas (in Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and South Pacific) – but never re-attempted the “big one”. We would put off replacing our second hand furniture from our Uni days, to go travelling instead. That is, until a lounge chair (held up with an old cotton reel) finally collapsed under one of David’s IT mates !
Thirty years, and more, on from that earlier ill fated 1975 trip, we’d upgraded to an 8 person/ 2 room dome tent. However, David was dreaming of camper trailers and grey nomading – as the global financial crisis hit in 2008-09. Iron ore and coal prices zoomed and the Port Kembla Steelworks stumbled for about three years before seeking to offload another eight hundred. In late 2011 Kerrie got what had been previously unimaginable, a golden handshake.
Off to the Canberra & Illawarra Caravan and Camping shows to look at too many camper trailers – although David definitely desired a hard floor model. Poring through camping, 4WD & camper trailer magazines. Kerrie liked the Cub Camper Spacematic Off Road models, but definitely didn’t want one of their Green one’s.
Ten months later in 2012 we returned from Greenwith, Adelaide, with a little-used Cub Camper Spacematic Drover – and it was Green, “The Green Machine” for grown-ups.
We’ve got a few trips planned – Cape York & the Savannah Way. Not sure about the “big one” though. We’d like to see more of the West – although we’ve already done Darwin to Broome along the Gibb River Road via Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) and the Mitchell Plateau in 2004. And Kerrie’s already done the Nullabor by the Indian Pacific Rail in 2011.
Time to keep dreaming, planning and still happy travelling – Kerrie and David Christian.