Passenger profile: On the road with Pam Cole

John and Pam Cable Beach, Broome WA
John and Pam Cable Beach, Broome, WA

With five younger siblings, Pam’s love of travel started with family holidays on the south coast of Australia. She’s since travelled the world, from Venice to North America and Southern China, and is currently touring around Australia with her husband, John, in their motorhome. Pam is loving life on the road, showing us you can do it, too. 

Name: Pam Cole
Age: 72
Country/Suburb: Hornsby, NSW.

Pam in the Snowy Mountains, NSW
Pam in the Snowy Mountains, NSW

Tell me a little about yourself and how your love of travel began?

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I was the eldest of six and we didn’t have a lot of money. Every summer holidays Dad was loaned a bush cabin on the south coast of New South Wales, where we spent many happy times. The lake was a short drive away. My father even took the washing machine to make it easy for Mum. I remember one year when the trailer the washing machine was in – with all the stuff a family of eight needed – came off the car and ended up in a ditch beside the highway.

What are some of your favourite places to travel to?

Alaska, North America, Paris, Rome, Venice. In retirement we mostly travel in Australia.

John and Pam with friends Elaine and Bob at the Canberra War Memorial
John and Pam with friends Elaine and Bob at the Canberra War Memorial

What advice do you have for travellers over 60 who are thinking about travelling but are nervous about taking the leap?

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Don’t leave it too long and don’t stay home because of birthdays and so on, as you will never get away. Health issues can be a worry but we would never go if we lived in fear. Hubby has a low immune system but we go armed with medications and I keep an eye out for towns with medical centres. My advice is, just go!

Read more: It’s never been more important to travel this part of Australia

John and Pam at Castle Hill lookout Townsville
John and Pam at Castle Hill lookout, Townsville

What have you learned about yourself through travelling?

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To appreciate how lucky I am to be able to travel in my 70s.

What countries or cities were you concerned about visiting but ended up exceeded your expectations?

I visited Southern China in the ’80s just when it was opening up to tourism. We visited a commune in the country and even though much of the visit was primitive, it opened my eyes to other cultures.

South Mission Beach, QLD
South Mission Beach, QLD

How often do you travel?

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John and I have a motorhome and we try to get away a few months in the winter and short trips in between. We are into our second week of travelling around Australia. We love travelling around Australia just because we can, it’s so accessible. The roads right around the country are sealed. The people we meet are usually people like us. It doesn’t matter if you have the biggest and best caravan or the smallest, everyone is on the road to see our beautiful country and most are very friendly. We also like cruising and have two planned.

Read more: Fraser Island camping and 4WD experiences

A bustard spotted in the Old World
A bustard spotted on Pam’s travels

What’s your favourite mode of transport? 

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Our motorhome. John and I love the motorhome for the freedom it gives us. It’s easy to drive and park. It’s a 19 foot Suncamper Sherwood 4×4. I drive it also. It was our only choice for a travel vehicle upon retirement. 

Meeting other Suncamper owners north of Monto Queensland
Meeting other Suncamper owners north of Monto Queensland

What’s the best food you’ve ever tried on a trip?

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Fresh King George whiting in Streaky Bay, South Australia.

What country or city can you not help but keep returning to?

The Kimberley. We have been to the Kimberley twice before and are on our way there again. We’re in North Queensland now on the second week of our trip. One of our favourite places is Wyndham, Western Australia, where there is a remote Billabong we want to see again. Kununurra, WA is another favourite – the Ord River system is something to see. The cruises are highly recommended. 

Karijini National Park, WA
Karijini National Park, WA

Do you plan your holidays, or do you travel on a whim?

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Usually planned if we travel with friends. We are on our own this trip with no set plan.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Sydney, New South Wales, where I live now. There is no harbour like it in the world.

Boabs in Wyndam, WA
Boabs in Wyndam, WA

What is the best travel experience you’ve ever had?

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I think I have to say the whale nursery at Head of Bight on the Nullarbor. Hoping to experience it again this year.

What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t put it off!

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