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Caravanning Conversations: Tedy from @ouradventerousdays

Caravanning Conversations: Tedy from @ouradventerousdays

Caravanning Conversations is the brand-new blog series from Caravanning Australia, where we get to know more about the people road tripping around our beautiful country!

We recently interviewed Tedy from @ouradventerousdays on Instagram, who travels with her husband Justin and their young family. Make sure to follow the family on Instagram for amazing travel pics, inspo, and all things caravanning!

Caravanning Australia (CA): Firstly, what drove you to get into caravanning?

Tedy (T): I think we both have itchy feet. We love to travel here and there, near and far. Whenever we did a small road trip, I always wished to keep on driving without returning, and without a destination. I loved sitting in the passenger seat and watching the scenery pass by. It gives me different sense of freedom and excitement. It never crossed our mind about travelling Australia in a caravan. I did not know if it possible for a family with young children – until COVID-19 hit us all. I was bored and started to watch YouTube videos about road trips around New South Wales, and I came across a YouTube channel (I think it was Trip In A Van). I watched them travel around Australia in a caravan, and their children were as little as mine. I said to my husband, ‘Why not take time off work to recharge and let’s do road trip around Australia? We can live in a caravan. There are families who are currently travelling around Australia. If they can do it, we can too.’ And just like that, we decided without overthinking and putting so much thought into it. 

CA: What advice would you give to other families considering caravanning and exploring Australia together? 

T: If your finances allows you, do it especially when your children are still young. It will be less stressful with young children, as there is no need to worry about homeschooling. Travel short or long-term – however you like. Don’t overthink too much, stuff always happens on the road regardless, so just travel and deal with whatever it may happen – good or bad. 

CA: Can you describe your favourite caravanning destination/trip and tell us why that is?

T: My favourite would be Western Australia. Western Australia is so big, and there are so many outdoor activities and attractions to explore. My favourite would be Karijini National Park, because the hiking was easy and short. At the end of the hike, there were gorges for us to swim in. On top of that, there are many free camping spots with beautiful views of the mountains.

CA: What are the most challenging aspects you’ve found when caravanning in Australia, and how have you overcome them?

T: It was our first time caravanning and our first time driving a car with four-wheel drive capabilities, so we took driving courses for both. It showed us how to handle both and, most importantly, how to handle them safely. We also had to learn to account for long vehicle lengths and heights, especially in major cities. Finding optimal parking areas and optimal roads, and avoiding low overhead heights, etc., required research and planning. 

At first, we did not budget to have any upgrades to the caravan because we thought we didn’t need it; however, after a month of travelling, we realised we loved free camping and bondocking. We realised that we needed to be self-sufficient, therefore we needed more solar and batteries. So, we upgraded to lithium batteries and having an inverter, so that we can use electricity whenever we needed.

CA: Are there any hidden gems or lesser-known destinations that you’ve uncovered on your travels? 

T:  I am not sure if this place lesser-known, but majority of the time, I heard people rave about James Price Point. Nobody usually mentioned Manari Beach, located at the end of Manari Road (the same road to James Price Point). I personally loved Manari Beach – this was a hidden gem for me. The free camping spots and views are similar to James Price Point; however, on top of that, you get to drive on the beach. A couple of kilometres from the free camping spots are rockholes, which only accessible during low tide. There are so many big rockholes to dip ourselves in and enjoy without the crowd!

CA: Could you share your most memorable encounter/interaction with fellow caravanners, locals, or unique wildlife over the course of your travels? 

T: When we were in Coober Pedy, we met an elderly couple who were nice and friendly. We met them a couple times again at different locations, and we became friends and still keep in touch until now. We met Steve and Vicki in Darwin, and they taught me how to make midge repellent the natural way (and it works!). We also became friends with a few families, and we stayed in some place and hung out together. One of my unforgettable moments was when we were driving to Darwin from Arnhem Land. This couple pulled us over because they noticed our caravan tyre was flat. They stopped and helped us without asking. They checked our tyres and made sure we had everything we need to get us back safely to Darwin before they drove off. I think they went above and beyond for us. I regretted for not asking them for their contact to keep in touch. 

CA: How do you typically go about planning your itineraries for long and short travels?

T: We don’t plan too much and too far ahead. We knew there will be changes to be make when unexpected things happen. So, we only plan one or two weeks ahead. We only need to check where is the next town that has free water and a dumping point is because having portable water is essential. For the rest we can just wing it. 

CA: Have you ever encountered any unexpected issues or emergencies in your journeys, and, if so, how did you tackle them? 

T: We are lucky that we have not encountered any emergencies yet; however, we did get bogged twice. The first time, we managed to dig ourselves out without help. But the second time, we were unable to do it because the sand just too soft. I went to search for help and asked a few people who were not willing to help. Eventually, some nice people who drove past helped pull us out.

CA: Have you found any cultural or educational opportunities during your travels that you and your family found insightful? 

T: As we had one school-aged kid, most places we visited ended up being educational. Ones that stood out included geographical landmarks like Steep Point, the westernmost point of Australia, etc. Points of interest usually had some historical significance, like Port Arthur in Tasmania, aboriginal rock art, and the rich culture around Uluru. 

CA: How do balance being spontaneous with being organised when on the road? 

T: Seeing unique things at different places, which we might only see once. We love spotting any wild animal on the side of the road, and travelling along new roads to places we have never been and might not come back to. We travelled at our own pace and when we get tired, we can just pull over and sleep in the middle of nowhere. I loved waking up every morning with the sunrise at our doorstep. I loved how our days ended with a beautiful sunset and sky. Home is where you park it, and nothing can compare to the excitement I get when we parked our caravan in a new camp spot. The views we get to see from the window of our home on wheels are amazing. We tried to extend our stay an extra day so we can enjoy the place we like.

CA: What are your go-to dinners when cooking for the whole family?

T: It would be pasta soup (I name it ‘wonder pot’). It’s very easy to make and you can buy the ingredients from any supermarket. Ingredients are small pasta shells, bacon, onion, carrots, potatoes and cauliflower (ginger is optional). Dice the bacon and stir-fry with the onion until golden brown; add water, chopped carrots, potatoes and cauliflower; simmer it down, and cook until soft or it melts in your mouth; add salt and chicken salt to taste. Add cracked pepper when eating, and we highly recommend coriander (it will bring out the flavour to the next level). Cook the pasta shells, pour the soup over the pasta and eat. This will taste exceptionally good on a cold night, and the kids will love it because it easy to eat! A full spoon will have all the ingredients on it.

We also love pork ribs marinated with salt and chilli. Either fry it in an air fryer or grill it on a Weber and eat with rice, salad or steam veggies. It tastes very good with rice!

CA: Are there any financial or budgeting tips you’ve found particularly useful while caravanning and being on the road in Australia?

T: There’s always something unexpected happening on the road that will make you spend, so never think that you won’t go over the budget! Before we started our trip, we estimated that we would spend around $700 per week for a family of five, but we were wrong. We actually spent closer to $1000 per week because of fuel and food costs.

There’s also a lot of work on the road. If you need to top up, you can stop somewhere, get a job and work for a while until you’re comfortable, and then start travelling again. My husband actually works part-time while we are travelling, so that helps. Only buy what you need, try to free camp as much as possible and choose the paid activities wisely. Sometimes we just have to compromise, so that we don’t overspend. 

CA: With technology playing a huge role in travelling, could you share some of your favourite gadgets/tools you’ve used while on the road? 

T:  Our caravan already had a built-in shower. We don’t have any cool stuff, but what I used the most are an air fryer and a $20 rice cooker from Kmart, which we also use to steam. We have an induction cooktop that we bought after a year of travelling, but I can only used it when we are in a caravan. Sometimes, we grill our meat from a Weber and a portable camp fire. My tip would be: don’t buy whatever your fellow friends or caravanners have. It might look cool and work for them, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you. The big question to ask yourself is: Do you really need it? Do you have enough space to store it? Make do of what you have!

CA: How do you stay connected with family and friends while you’re on the road for extended periods of time? 

T: There’s no strategy really. We video call them whenever we miss them, and in an area with full reception. I post our videos and photos on our Facebook, so they can see what we do and where have we been to. 

CA: What does the future of travelling look like for you?

T: There are some countries we would love to visit, such as in Europe. I would like to stay in one of those castle accommodations in Europe!

We will be travelling to Japan this December for five weeks, so we will be spending Christmas and New Years in Japan. It’s will be winter in Japan, so that’ll be our white Christmas – a tick off from my bucket list! We are also thinking of visiting New Zealand again after Japan. We are saving up to get an off-road caravan and something smaller, perhaps 16 feet. We are still debating what our next set-up will be!

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