Brisbane to Adelaide
The distance from Brisbane to Adelaide is about 1,600km. Sans-kids Wally knocks the trip off in about 2 days. With kids and the requisite 25 wee stops, 15 stops to break up fist fights, 8 stops to shout at someone for repeatedly kicking the back of the seat, the odd side of the road vomit or stretch of the legs, breaks for morning tea, afternoon tea, lunch, snacks, just-because, a spot of scenery admiring, the odd can’t be missed ‘big thing’ or tourist encounter, a tinker here and there with errant wheels or trailer parts, checking ropes, roof racks and under the bonnet. Even with all that it only takes about 4 days. Stretching it out to a month was always going to be a challenge!
We spent our first weekend as ‘people of no fixed abode’ in Byron Bay with our dear friends Katie and Matt. We arrived late, already looking dirty and disheveled – which may or may not be a good omen for the coming six months. But after eating pizza and drinking wine, walking the beach, reading and chatting we felt ready to face the road in front of us. Which I sincerely hope IS a good omen for the next six months.
From Byron we headed South West to Grafton to stay with Wally’s Dad and step-mum who are in the process of building a house on a gorgeous bush block about 20km out of town. Not one to rest on his laurels Wally wanted to spend some of his ‘retirement’ with his Dad helping to sheet the walls and ceiling of his house.
A day after arriving and settling the girls into their far from luxurious camping accommodation on Grandpas block of land, I took an unexpectedly quick trip to Adelaide to be with my sister, who had bought my new nephew Noah into the world about three weeks early, in rather dramatic fashion. The irony that we were elongating our trip awaiting his anticipated ‘end of July’ due date, yet he had arrived as we were leaving Brisbane, wasn’t lost on any of us!
When I arrived back in Grafton my tribe seemed to have settled superbly into what could only be described as the simple life. I expected to feel a fairly seismic shift in luxury levels when we started living in our caravan in Europe but we hit the ground running. Far from struggle the girls seemed to thrive on having less. I struggled a bit more than they did with the trestle table kitchen and bucket loo, but Grafton was certainly a lesson in living with less. It was also a lovely opportunity for the girls to spend time with their grandparents and Wally with his dad.
At the end of July we headed South to Canberra. After spending a morning at the Grafton library doing a research project on the tourist attractions of Canberra, the girls unanimously decided they wanted to go to the National War Memorial whilst we were there. Despite visiting the Nations Capital numerous times I’d never been either so it was a solemn adventure for all of us. We had such a great weekend in the company of one of my favourite people in the world and reconnecting with her beautiful kids, who have grown just a bit since we last spent time together as two families in 2009!
After a weekend of playing tourists we set off for Adelaide, where we stayed with our very generous friends Sean and Tania and their girls in the Adelaide Hills. This meant we could be close to my sister, feel our way around our new ‘hood and enroll the girls in school. Over the weekend we decamped to my mum and dads so we could finish packing and sorting out all the last minute bits and pieces – both of which felt never ending!
And there went a month. In the blink of an eye. Before we knew it we were on the plane and England bound having already chalked up a month of being Nomads!