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Jono & Laura: Champion the wonder

We are Jono, Laura and Neddy: two humanoids and one creature of the dog variety. In February 2015 we embarked on an open-ended trip around Australia with a fifty-year-old caravan in tow. Australia is amazing and we think that we’re quite possibly having the best time anyone has ever had, anywhere. The three of us are dancing to our own spontaneous tune and we’re so grateful to wake up each day and know that the hours stretched out are ours to treasure.

So far our highlights have been discovering the pristine beauty of Wilsons Promontory, marvelling at the iconic coastlines of the Great Ocean Road, roaming the bush-filled Grampians Mountains (Victoria) and experiencing outback life in the Flinders Ranges (South Australia). We’re currently exploring the South Australian Peninsulas (Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre) before tackling the Nullarbor and beyond.

We’re lucky that our caravan is one awesome vehicle. Despite its age and a leaking window unit (right next to our bed, of course) it’s in great shape. Just before leaving we did some interior paintwork and put down new flooring, so it feels really fresh and clean. We couldn’t be happier with our unique little home on wheels and we love that we have the freedom to unhitch and enjoy 4WD-access-only adventures, too.

When packing to leave we were shocked at just how many belongings we’d managed to accumulate, despite the fact that neither of us are big shoppers. We left eight boxes with our parents, which seemed reasonable at the time, but is now kind of funny because we couldn’t tell you what’s in them. Oddly, it gives us a vague feeling of comfort to know our “stuff” is there so we still have some work to do in that regard.

These days every item has a purpose-or-five and it’s our instinct to do things from scratch, rather than “scratch” being something we need to make time for. We even have a hand-cranked washing machine, which adds its own special something to the lifestyle. Though - we’re not going to lie - we do sometimes miss the convenience of an electric washing machine! We’d love to have our own “van chicken” but we don’t think she’d appreciate life on the road, or Neddy, in quite the same way we do.

There’s people who totally “get” our journey and want to do it themselves. Others find the idea interesting but slot such an undertaking into the “I’ll probably never have the time or the money” category. And then there’s those who are utterly perplexed by us. “But why would you want to drive across the Nullabor? You know you can catch a plane and get there on the same day. You should do that instead”, a shop assistant suggested recently.

To anyone reading this who does “get” our adventure: believe us when we say that if we can do it, anyone can. We’re the type of people who have to go back to the house three times for forgotten items, arrive at our destination to find that we didn’t bring what we actually needed and then lose something while we’re there. On top of that we knew less than nothing about caravanning when we set out.

In recent weeks we’ve broken our navigator, suffered a mouse invasion, lost Jono’s wallet, dropped our caravan while driving, discovered a mould problem, had our water pump and caravan brake/indicator lights malfunction and our entire 12 volt system die an unexpected death. It’s scary when things go wrong because we have invested everything in this trip. However, we don’t for a second wish we were still in Sydney with our money safe in the bank.

Like so many others we’d been squirrelling funds away with the idea that one day we’d buy a house. Perhaps we will do that in the future. But for now we’re investing in ourselves and who we want to become. The fluidity of our life on the road means there’s no longer a sharp relief between our work and play. All day, every day, we’re immersing ourselves in the things we’re passionate about. We’re living small but experiencing big, eating well, taking photographs, surfing, writing, revelling in nature. And we’re learning more than ever before.

With luck, this trip might just help us figure out how to fund a life on passion. We want to better ourselves and better our world. It’s a sweeping statement, but that’s the dream. Either way, we’ve discovered how wonderful it is to Champion the Wonder and we plan to do it just as long as we can.

Website: championthewonder.com
Instagram: @championthewonder 

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Jelena & Siu On: The Travelleurs

It happened one night after my partner Siu On and I, Jelena, had been watching a rock climbing movie about the history of climbing in Yosemite Valley. As the end credits finished rolling, Jack Kerouac’s poignant words flash on the screen and sealed our fate; we looked at each other with not a word passing between us, and we knew it was time to stop talking about the things we were dreaming about doing, and actually do them.

 At the time Siu On and I had just returned from a six month holiday traveling around the world, and I had returned to my job as a Government Procurement Policy Officer, writing mundane newsletter articles and Procurement Manuals five days a week, and secretly planning dream holiday adventures in my head. Siu On had finished up two years of a Masters Degree and was now in Australia on a working holiday visa, mowing lawns whilst we were trying to figure out how we could escape falling into the trap of career-marriage-mortgage thats so prevalent in our society. Apart from the usual four week once a year vacation leave, or the times where I would panic like a trapped animal and quit my job to figure myself outwith traveling, only to return to the 9-5 prison when the money ran out, did I ever really live a life I felt was truly fulfilling.

 We were one of the so-called weekend warriors, whose tribe members would leave the constraints of the city and working week behind to pursue outdoor adventures in their chosen sport. For Siu On and I this was rock climbing, and wed make the six hour round trip after work every Friday down to our favorite area, Margaret River, to hit the wall hard and climb until our hands couldnt form fists. We loved those weekends where we lived dirty and simply, and all we did was climb with a group of like minded people. Siu On and I would spend our week nights waxing lyrical on how we could live this lifestyle full time without the need to do jobs we hate, or have our family and friends worry about our strange life choices. However, Kerouacs words that night, cut deep, really deep. We were at a crossroads in our lives where we only had two choices; to follow the herd or to go against it. That night we choose to go against it and plot our escape.

 Unlike what you see in the movies, our escape wasnt an immediate pack up our things and hit the road type of scenario; instead it was meticulously planned with an emphasis on biding our time, minimizing possessions and being frugal with our spending. No matter how you put it, penny pinching isnt sexy, but for us it was necessary. With our plan in hand, we ticked off the to doitems including handing our resignations at our respective jobs and selling off countless possessions. Fast forward four months from the day that we said our final goodbyes and reversed out of the driveway of my parentshome, and we have covered almost the entire southern part of mainland Australia, including West and South Australia, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and now New South Wales. Our great Australian road trip has allowed us to see more of Australia than most Australians have in their life time, with highlights including remote camping on the limestone cliffs of South Australia, seeing snow for the first time in a long time in New South Wales, and rock climbing as much as we like and when we like.

 Although its not all sunshine and roses as weve had our fair share of money woes, loneliness and car troubles; however, its the lure of the unknown, the endless possibilities and new experiences that is keeping us going. We have been blessed with the kindness of strangers offering us housing, food and advice; and have met amazing people ranging from the wise grey nomads to outlandish European backpackers. All of the experiences we have been having has also helped shape our dreams for our future, with Siu Ons adventure photography business (Auyeung Photography) and my first steps into a serious writing and photography career. However, I know that I couldnt be happier living this life right now than any other, and everyday we revel in that one question that brings us so much joy and excitement: What will we do today?

 “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

— Jack Kerouac

 Links

Website: http://www.thetravelleur.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thetravelleur

Instagram: @thetravelleur

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Stephanie: The Pirate Adventures

ROAR: Hey Steph! We came across your awesome lifestyle through you photography on The Pirate Adventures. How did this idea come to life?

Stephanie: I was in the Army for five years working as a Marine specialist where my job allowed me to spend long stretches at sea. I've always had a deep love for the ocean so felt like a bit of a pirate exploring. It seemed fitting to take a little of my old life and combine with all the new adventures to be had in the future.

ROAR: We love your husky! What's it's name and how did you become companions for life?

Stephanie: Ah she's the most beautiful girl in my world. Her name's Ava and she's 5. I got her and her sister Kodah from pups when I lived in Townsville. They were inseparable together and are by far the best things to ever happen to me. The last 6 months has been the toughest of my life though. Ava was hospitalized for a week and shouldn't of survived, but she's my little fighter and pulled through.

Unfortunately a few weeks later Kodah was hit by a car and didn't survive. We both lost our best friend that day, and I will always have a big hole in my heart. Ava then needed  further shoulder surgery a few months later. It's been a heart breaking road, but also fueled this big adventure I've undertaken with her. I wanted to see Ava happy again as well as a healing space for the muscle rehabilitation she requires. I thought a trip around Australia would be a pretty good place to start! Kodahs ashes are traveling with us, and will be spread in the most beautiful spots we find around the country.  

ROAR: Your photography of wild places and settings get us so excited to go exploring. How did you get into photography and do you work as you explore?

Stephanie: Thanks so much! I've always had a passion for photography but never pursued it until this year. I actually bought my first camera a year ago but it sat collecting dust for a little while until I stumbled across my favourite photographer Dean Raphael on Instagram. He taught me so much, and I became inspired and motivated to make a start capturing the things and places I love. 

I actually work as a personal trainer, but have taken a year or so off to just travel and take photos. I would love to one day turn my hobby into a career so that's the dream! 

ROAR: What have been some highlights so far of living your adventurous lifestyle?

Stephanie: I've only been on the road for about three weeks now! So everything is still really new to me. At the moment I'm loving being with my wolf all day everyday and growing an even deeper connection together. I started the trip off with some mechanical problems so my adventure has only  really begun this last week. Highlight so far has been camping out at Tiparra rocks in South Australia. I'm reversed onto the edge of a cliff with the ocean behind me and not a soul in sight!

ROAR: Thanks for your awesome adventure story and we can't wait to share your photography through the ROAR Network when your website is complete. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

Follow The Pirate Adventures: @thepirateadventures instagram link

ROAR:  What are you most excited about in 2015?

Stephanie: Oh so many things! All the incredible places I'm sure I'll see with Ava. I've got no real plans and that's what excites me! Just the two of us in our new tiny home creating the most awesome memories together. The goal is to explore as far around Oz as we can and find places to sleep at night that make my heart explode.

I'm also really excited for this adventure to be a catalyst in growth and change. To see where I started out a few weeks ago and where I end up in a years time. It's an experience I'll probably never be able to do again on such a big scale, so I'll be making the most of every second. 

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Mike & Soph McCarthy: So Much Sea

SO MUCH SEA // mike & soph mccarthy

Ever since I met the Mulvilles I’ve been on a mission to marry a great woman and travel Australia with her.

The Mulvilles, Cam and Kate, live in Yeppoon QLD and I visited them once when I played at a wedding nearby. They had a classic old Toyota Troopy they were trying to sell and I wanted it so badly (it was out of my price range by a long shot). They had recently travelled Australia in they Troopy and I was in awe of their adventures.

Skip forward a dozen or so years and here I am on the North Coast NSW with my amazing wife, Sophie, and a troopy with most of our earthly possessions inside.

We have been travelling around and through Australia for the last six months playing music, surfing, fishing and camping under the stars. I am a blessed man.

Our home is Avoca Beach NSW, an area known as the Central Coast of New South Wales. It’s Darkinjung country and is a stunning area nestled between Sydney and Newcastle. Sophie and I were swimming at Avoca when we both realised it was time to start planning a trip around Oz. So we worked hard and planned our trip for the next 18 months. I am a musician and songwriter and Sophie is a music teacher and also plays melodica, piano and sings with me.

We left Avoca Beach and travelled south to Crookhaven heads where we found great south coast waves, flathead and bream in the rivers and friendly locals. Our first house concert was in Werri Beach and we played on a pontoon to a beautiful group of people. We cruised our way down to Eden, stopping at many of the fun surf spots and national parks on the way

We made tracks out into the Victorian High Country, notably Bright and Mount Hotham where we really tested out the Troopy though some stunning and rough terrain. It was here that we coined the name ‘Dusty Slim’ for our beast of a vehicle.

Our travels then led down to Melbourne, Torquay and Geelong where we played and met up with some old friends. We fell in love with Melbourne all over again and could have stayed if it wasn’t so early on in our journey. There is so much happening in that city and creatively we felt right at home. Even though many times on our trip we have thought ‘geez we could live here’, there is something amazing about momentum.

And so with that momentum we found ourselves on the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’, the car and passenger ferry leaving from the port of Melbourne down through Bass Straight and into Devenport Tasmania. Wow, Tasmania, what a magnificent place. We had five incredible weeks in Tassie, hiking (The Overland Track and Freycinet peninsula), surfing, fishing, four-wheel driving adventures and playing music in the pubs down there.  We also had a chance to have an Easter break with Soph’s family who flew down to have a week’s holiday with us at Four Mile Creek on the east coast.

The next stop for us was Bendigo, Victoria. We had a date with The Old Church on The Hill. I decided to pull out our recording gear for this show. One studio microphone into a pro tools rig was all we used for the recording and it worked a treat. The church sounded magnificent and the atmosphere was incredibly warm.  I spent the next few months preparing to release this as a ‘live’ album and it came out on Bandcamp early July 2015 (check it out at http://music.mikemccarthy.com.au and read the review by Rebel on a Rainbow)

From Bendigo we meandered our way past The Grampians and back down to the coast and camped out near Portland for a few weeks. Portland is a big shipping town with timber seemingly being the biggest export. It is a rugged stretch of coastline and we enjoyed exploring although it was possibly the coldest we’ve been on this trip. One day whilst fishing in Port Fairy a local fisherman gave us a couple of fresh yellow fin tuna steaks, he had three fish well over 15kg and they were really impressive. When we returned to our camp a couple of French guys came over and gave us a few bottles of local wines as they had been working on the winery and must’ve been payed in bottles as their car boot was full of boxes of the stuff. So we ate and drank like royalty around the fire that night.

Old Slim Dusty had his biggest test when we entered South Australia and decided to camp behind the sand dunes. We had read about this camping spot up a beach and over the back of the dunes. It sounded rad. The weather was horrendous and the surf was huge and wild and perhaps in retrospect I shouldn’t have been so ‘gung ho’. We hit the beach and within twenty metres were bogged pretty deep. The sand was so soft and the beach on a difficult angle…we were so stuck. To cut a long story short, Soph and I dug for two hours, dropped the tyre pressure to 7 psi (extremely low) said a few prayers and safely backed the troopy out of trouble just in the nick of time. Waves had just started to hit the tyres as I backed out of the bog. We had averted a mini catastrophe and felt pretty pumped actually. We decided to camp on dry soil that night.

We didn’t end up spending much time in South Australia as the weather was pretty ordinary and work opportunities just weren’t opening up for us. We decided to head through the middle of the country and have a desert experience. I had been offered some music work in Alice Springs and Jabiru in the Northern Territory. So, all of a sudden with our plans changed, we were pointed north and on our way to Alice. The desert was unlike anything we had experienced. A barren landscape in many ways yet then all these little surprises like huge salt lakes and strange rock formations that appear out of nowhere. There’s nothing quite like driving for eight hours, pulling over on the side of the road, collecting some wood, cooking your meal and camping out under a canopy of stars, what an experience. We visited Uluru (or Ayers Rock) and it really was a special experience. We understood, on an even deeper level, the strong connection to country that the Indigenous people have. All through our travels we learnt more about the fragile and precious land we have been blessed to live on.

We played some great gigs in Alice Springs and then up in Darwin too, notably the Darwin Ski Club on sunset. I don’t know who would go water skiing up there but there is a club for it. I was always on edge about crocodiles in the NT. We saw quite a few too. Fishing the billabongs in Kakadu for Barramundi the kids would constantly see ‘Gingas’ and often I was the last to spot them. We had an awesome time in Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. It was so beautiful and we met some great people up that way.

We decided to drive across the gulf country along the Savannah Way from Katherine in the Northern Territory to Cairns in Far North QLD. What a trip. Five days of corrugated roads, creek crossings, flies and livestock. By this stage we had the troopy firing towards the Coral Sea, we were so keen to swim in the saltwater again.

After washing off for a few days at Binalong Bay, QLD we headed south to Yeppoon but the weather was pretty awful so we charged on to Noosa where we caught up with our old friends The Wegeners. Tom Wegener is a master craftsman in surfboard building. He is well known for his adventurous builds of old style longboards and Alaia’s. We finally got some waves at Noosa and I felt a flood of relief being back in the ocean.

We had some more gigs booked in around Byron Bay and spent a little over a month in the area, surfing, fishing, playing gigs and visiting old friends. This area never ceases to amaze me and there are so many spots to explore.

Now we are on the journey home via the beautiful North Coast NSW through fairly familiar territory. I guess it will be weird being home, yet we are excited to see our friends and family. I guess it’s good to note, as one wise traveller we met in Tasmania told us, “Even when you’re not ‘travelling’… you’re always travelling.”

If you would like to read more and see pics from our trip please go to http://tumblr.somuchsea.com

Cheers,

Mike and Soph

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Daniel: Vanlife Adventures

I've been slowly working on my freedom machine; Elena, a 1985 Nissan Urvan, so she's ready to tackle whatever adventures lay ahead! There's still a lot of things to complete before she's all ready, yet being impatient we've already set off on a couple of adventures and been treated to some of nature's magic along the way! Life's definitely beautiful when on the road and soaking it all up with El! Home is where we roam :) 

Happy vanning! 

Thanks!

Danny!

FOLLOW: @danielspencer_ instagram

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Karina & Jason: Tinshack Adventures

ROAR: From what we can see the two of you have headed to Far North Queensland and are setting up a simplified life with tin sheds, vans, veggie gardens and chickens! Tell us about the two of you and how you ended up where you are?

K&J: Jason and I met just over three years ago, at the time I was living in what I jokingly called the Ghetto in a Queenslander cottage with some friends in Cairns; I also rented a room out to backpackers that worked as dive instructors/white water rafting guides.  Jason was already living in the little tin shack in Gordonvale, which is 20 minutes south of Cairns. It is renowned for being a sugar cane farming town. 

When I moved into the tin shack with Jason, it was very much a bachelor pad, though with a homely touch we converted it into a nice little home. The shack is on a 10 acre property, which used to be the old Cairns Gun Club, our land lord and friend lived in the house on the block and allowed us to live in the shack. When I moved in, it already had the toilet/shower block which doubled as the laundry and the other side was converted into a studio. Added onto that was the shack which had a tin roof, shade cloth walls and a caravan. This space is our kitchen/lounge area. Once I moved in, we converted the car port into a bedroom, we laid treated pallets down covered them in lino. We built a breakfast bar at the end and hung up three large curtains which doubled as our fourth wall. Jason grew up in the 70’s and his mum was a bit on the wild side, I have always been attracted to the alternative lifestyle and we both enjoy living a simplified life we found a similar energy and lifestyle in one another and have joined together for this journey!

ROAR: Changing up your lifestyle and focusing on what you really want to do with your life can have challenges and you have to make sacrifices for sure. Tell us about some of these that you guys have had to make?

K&J: Our lifestyle choices are most certainly challenging, but we wouldn’t call it a sacrifice. Challenges we faced which we have found a fun challenge, is living in the tropics in a home which is quite open living. The monsoonal season made everything wet and humid, our house mates are quite often pythons and mosquitos, and of course frogs. When we had really heavy down pours the frogs sing the song of their people loudly. Our kitchen sink is outside, we cook on a single burner gas cooker and the slow cooker and microwave are our favourite kitchen accessories.   The thunderstorms left us feeling extremely vulnerable, but excited at the same time. We don’t own a dryer, so the laundry fills up quickly with clothes hanging everywhere and fans blowing up a storm to dry them!  Our living arrangements by no means are perfect, it changes day to day and we often need to think ‘outside the box’.  Tropical winters by southern standards aren’t that chilly, but we definitely needed to put on an extra jumper during winter, as we have no ‘solid’ walls or heating (or air con!). Jason has set up a good solar system which allows us to run 90% of a power through that. Living this lifestyle is exciting; it gives us a freedom to focus on what is really important to us and what we want to do!

ROAR: People are always interested in how people living alternative lifestyles survive financial? How do you survive financially and what are your tips?

We both still work part time, in a chosen fields; Jason does electrical/solar installations and I work as a veterinary nurse. We both enjoy a chosen careers, no job is perfect. Though we still work, we do a lot of revamping old to new again. Our bedroom floor is made out of pallets! We have free range chooks, we feed them vegetable scraps and chook food, we have a little veggie and herb garden, we shop at local markets for produce and we ride our bikes down to the local shops inside of driving if we need to grab some milk and bread! All these little things count! But we limit what we buy brand new, if we can. There is a lot of wastage in this world and revamping seconds can be great projects!

ROAR: What have been some highlights and funny stories along the way?

K&J: Our biggest highlight to date has been the purchase of our Toyota coaster bus which we are slowly converting into a motorhome, it’s been a challenge but also a dream of ours! We picked up in Brisbane and drove back up the coast to Gordonvale, neither of us have made such a big purchase before and extremely excited about this adventure going ahead in 2016, when we hit the road.

Living in the rainforest has been wonderful, we have a few large green tree frogs that live with us, and quite often they would be on our big elephant ear plants or in the laundry, toilet and shower.  When we had heavy rainfall the tiniest greenest little frogs used to appear and there would be hundreds of them everywhere, especially where we had a light on catching insects.

As we had free range chooks, this attracted a python or a few looking for a meal and Jason has sprung out bed to rescue them by wrestling the python. We would always release them in a safe location, but always far away from a chooks!

Until a kookaburra ate it, we had a giant Golden Orb spider that had built a beautiful web in our garden. We would catch beetles for it and feed it, she was stunning.

Our funny stories relate mainly to our foster dogs, we foster through an amazing organisation called North Queensland Animal Rescue Inc. they take in dogs from the pound or private surrenders and place them into foster care with families (like us). We foster the dogs until they get adopted; all our fosters have had the best personalities! We had one foster accidently hit power window button with his paw, this caused the window to go down and because he was leaning out to sniff the breeze he just rolled out the window and fell out of the car; luckily we were only going 40kms. Chase was fine, not even a scratch just the look on his face of ‘what the hell just happened’? Since then we always put the child lock on for all the windows just in case. A kelpie called Timmy, was the sweetest dog, but had an obsessive compulsive disorder with swimming. He had habit of jumping into any pool of water and happily swims in circles for hours. He just loved water, his love for water happened by accident when he fell into a pool.

ROAR: What are you excited about in the near future?

K&J: We are excited about hitting the road in our motorhome for full time travel in 2016 for an undetermined amount of time! This year we are converting the bus and hope to have it ready for the next adventure for us!

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Share Your Adventure: The Blonde Nomads

As a young adventurous family of three …and soon to be four with baby blondie due in July, we love to get out and see as much of our amazing country as we can. So in September last year we hit the road for a family adventure and with the help of our sponsors New Age Caravans we were traveling in style in a 20ft Luxury Caravan with all the mod cons you could ask for!

Heading up the East Coast of Oz we hit some of our favourite spots - Seal Rocks, Crescent Head, Hat Head National Park, South West Rocks and the Tweed Valley to mention a few! We embraced each day with new excitement and wonder, exploring as much of each location as we could. 

Taking photos and capturing memories along the way is something we love to do. Tracy is a professional photographer by trade and Rob is an avid GoPro user, especially underwater, so our cameras are never far from our side. The photographic opportunities were endless on this trip with an abundance of wildlife, sunsets/sunrises and of course underwater action as we snorkelled tidal creeks and the tropical waters of Heron Island.  

South West Rocks and Hat Head National Park proved to be an amazing haven for camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing, snorkelling and surfing! The beach which you can drive on with a permit, has awesome waves and endless ‘treasure’ to find dotted along the waters edge and the tidal creek on one side of our camp was perfect for our little girl to explore and swim. Depending on the wind and time of day we could take our pick for the best sheltered areas to explore. We were also excited each night to be able to light a campfire and look up at the stars.

Traveling with a toddler is very different to traveling alone or as a couple. We used to squeeze as much as we could out of each day, often driving to explore a new location, finding a beach and jumping in for a surf, snorkel or fish! This would follow with a quick lunch stop then we were off until sunset doing something else adventurous and exciting!! …But now we have to slow it down a little and stop and smell the roses, pick them… and maybe even make a fairy garden with them! Having our little girl with us has shown us that exploring and traveling is not just about all the fun activities you can do in a new place but also having the time to appreciate the small things around us each day - a spider spinning its web, soldier crabs digging their holes and making sandcastles at the beach. 

By slowing down we had the opportunity to really chat and meet our fellow travellers we crossed paths with. There is a real sense of community within the Nomads of Australia and we have met some really amazing people along our journey. Another great camp spot was just outside of Childers called Iron Ridge. After checking in via CB radio and meeting friendly hosts Mark and Jane we had a real sense of being in the outback. With cattle and dams on the property you were free to explore the area and in the heat of the day you could cool off at Woodgate Beach which was only a short 25 minute drive away. At night we could enjoy a fire under the stars which were AMAZING!!! Our little girl Marli loved feeding the cows, collecting firewood with dad and the simple things like lining up as many rocks as she could find in a row… who needs toys when you have nature!! 

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As we continued up the coast we headed to Tin Can Bay to hand feed the Dolphins, Hervey Bay which is famous for whale watching and Gladstone. Off the coast from Gladstone Harbour you can catch a ferry over to tropical paradise, Heron Island. So for a change of pace we left our ‘home on wheels’ with some friends and spent four amazing days on Heron Island. As part of the Great Barrier Reef the island is so picturesque it looks like you are living in a screen saver!!! You can snorkel right off the beach and swim with tropical fish, giant sting rays, reef sharks and sea turtles!! We had an amazing four days of adventure and took way too many photos but it’s so hard not too when you are surrounded by warm tropical turquoise water, white sand and pandanus palms.

Once we waved goodbye to our island paradise it was back on the open road to find some new places to explore. We like to stay somewhere for a week, or at least a minimum of four days, that way we can have a real good look around and explore as much of an area as we can. We love to go on walking adventures and just pop Marli into our backpack and off we go! On one hiking adventure around a seaside headland we were stuck in a mini downpour of rain and had to take cover under a water tank roof (a lucky find out in the middle of nowhere) Marli thought it was great and enjoyed sitting half soaked watching 3 whales breaching off shore and a few kangaroos hopping by escaping the rain. As we headed off to explore each day we loved finding hidden deserted beaches, one of our favourites was just off Broken Head in NSW. We climbed over the headland away from the main beach to find an empty secluded bay. It was the perfect spot for a picnic and a quick swim. There is something magical about finding a beach with no footprints, the coastline looked so untouched it reminded us of Jurassic Park and we expected a Velociraptor or Terradactal to do a fly-by! 

As we travel we post the images we take of our adventures on our Instagram and Facebook pages (The Blonde Nomads) and by doing this we have connected with some amazing people. These connections have lead to some wonderful opportunities and friendships that we will always treasure. Making new friends and meeting like-minded people is something you should always be open to and by doing so on this adventure we had the opportunity to go jet skiing, stand up paddle boarding, fishing on an amazing mother ship and even stay with fellow travellers in their home! Sharing a love for adventure and the outdoors is an easy way to connect with people. Once you get chatting to new friends you also find out so much more about the area you are visiting. There is nothing like a little bit of local knowledge to help you get the most out of exploring a new area. As keen fishermen we managed some great catches from gaining this knowledge… which also meant fresh fish in our bellies for dinner!

Back down the coast at Crescent Head we met more great people and discovered ‘the magic spot’ for collecting pippies! At the end of a fun hour digging in the sand we had buckets and buckets of pippies!!! Most ended up back in the sand but we did keep a few as our new friends offered to cook us up some ‘Pippi fritters’ for tea!! What a way to end the day - enjoying a cool drink under the stars and eating your ‘catch of the day’ with new friends. 

We love Australia and its amazing different natural, untouched environment. From the dry, dusty, red dirt in the outback, to the pristine aqua waters and white sands on our beaches to the luscious green rainforests and never ending bushlands and National parks. We can't wait to get back out there as a family of four to explore the West Coast of Oz and beyond! We aim to teach our children to appreciate the simple things in life, only take what you need and to respect mother nature's gifts. We also want to inspire others to break away from the ‘normal’ rules society places on us which often involves working long days, having fancy material things, a large mortgage and little to no holidays. Stop dreaming about that big trip you plan for retirement… make your dreams reality - grab the kids, pack up and do it now!!!  

The Blonde Nomads – Rob and Tracy Morris

Website: www.theblondenomads.com.au  |  Email: theblondenomads@outlook.com.au

Instagram: @theblondenomads  |  Facebook: www.facebook.com/theblondenomads

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