Way back in 1996, John, my husband and I hired a motorhome and set off on a nine-week trip across Canada and America. We came home with the decision that we would buy a motorhome after John retired.
We bought our first of four motorhomes in 2007, a few months after we learnt some of our newly retired friends had planned a big trip. We decided to join them, and our first motorhome was a secondhand Sherwood by Suncamper.
Since then, John and I have embraced the camping lifestyle with a passion. It was good to open a map book or to research online where our next holiday would be spent, and it became one of the most enjoyable parts of retirement. We have enjoyed extended trips in the winter and one or two shorter ones in warmer weather.
Our first big trip in 2007 was up to the Red Centre, the Kimberleys and Darwin. We loved the lifestyle, driving along outback roads, seeing new places. Pulling into caravan parks at the end of a day’s drive and the friendliness of the fellow travellers over happy hours and on bus day tours added to the enjoyment of being on the road.
It snowballed from there. Over the next 11 years we covered a big part of the country and as our needs changed as the years passed, we bought another three motorhomes. The second one was a secondhand, medium-sized Winnebago. We always included a shower and toilet in the mix.
The best motorhome was probably our first new one, a 24-foot Suncamper Sydney with an island bed and lots of room. We loved it and went around Australia in it, but after three years we decided to trade it in on an off-road 19-foot Sherwood by Suncamper, which we have had for nearly four years. It took us on our favourite off-road trip this year, the Oodnadatta Track, something we are so pleased to have experienced.
John and I have been back to Darwin and the Top End since our first trip in 2007; Far North Queensland and Cooktown; the Gulf; Flinders Ranges and the Kimberleys. Three times we drove around Australia. This year we returned to the Red Centre with our friends Elaine and Bob. We have been to all states and territories, covering a lot of each region.
We spent a holiday in Tasmania before retirement. Travelling with Elaine and Bob the past few years has been enjoyable. In 2015 we all went around Australia. We have done shorter trips to the south coast and up to the north coast with them, as well asthe Flinders Ranges. At times we have gone our separate ways and met up later on the road to share experiences.
Three of our grandchildren live in Queensland, so John and I have also driven up to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts to spend time with family. In between we catch up at home with friends and family. Thanks to technology we kept in touch with home and social media. We have really appreciated technology this year, seeing our new grandson Jordan live on FaceTime during our six weeks away. Even at times when, due to unforeseen circumstances such as ill health or surgeries, knowing we would be on the road soon again was the incentive to get better.
During these past 11 years, in between road trips, we have been to Hawaii and Norfolk Island, and have been on three cruises. I have been to Europe with my sister and daughter. For my other daughter’s 40th us girls went down to Melbourne for a weekend to celebrate.
We sold the holiday house at Tea Gardens when we got into the motorhome lifestyle. It was sad to see it go after years of great holidays when the grandchildren were young and John was still working.
The time has come now to sell the motorhome and continue our travels by car instead, staying in cabins when we want to see other new areas – such as Kangaroo Island in South Australia, one of the places we haven’t been to yet. We have seen a lot of national parks around the country, lots of memories to see us through as long-distant trips are now behind us. We both realise it’s time to sell before age and health issues impact on our life. We look forward to new adventures.