A family trio that embarked on a trip of a life time in 2020

We are Rhys, Hayley and Bodhi Eales. And we somehow circumnavigated Australia in the midst of a pandemic.

With our MQ Triton equipped with all the gear, and our camper trailer in tow. On the 1st of March 2020, we left our Kilcunda home not realizing what is about to come

Up the coast we go, Jervis Bay to Hervey Bay and on the boat to k’gari. We spend 10 nights living off the grid and filling our water from Fraser Islands freshwater lakes and streams.

Two weeks into our year long adventure, on Friday the 13th – COVID 19 hits hard! And there is talk of border closure. With Fraser Island closing off to all but its residents we make the decision to head to the mainland and trek the 1100 kms to Townsville with an overnight pit stop in the beef capital, Rockhampton.

We spend the next 8 weeks in lockdown at Hayley’s Dads house in South Townsville. Spending many days coming to the realization that our trip of a lifetime is done and dusted.

One night, probably after a few too many brews, we decide to bid on an ex miners Troop Carrier – because that will solve all our problems, won’t it? Of course, we won the bid because who else is bidding on an ex mine vehicle at the start of a nationwide lockdown due to a worldwide pandemic.

It turns out this v8 Troopy was in great nic’ !! We fixed her up and turned a pretty dollar.

 

 

” The freedom was genuinely life changing “

With some extra cash up our sleeve and the distraction of the pandemic by fixing up the Troopy, we had a new vision for our trip. Lets just wing it. Lets scrap the budget, the itinerary, and all the plans. Who says we have to travel this giant island by doing the “Big Lap” in twelve months.

Lockdown lifts and we decide backtrack down to Airlie Beach to cover some missed ground. On the way meeting up with some beautiful people we met through our social media page. The first of many lifelong friends we made on this trip. Dingo Beach, Airlie Beach, Hideaway Bay, Magnetic Island, then back north we go, all the way to Cairns where we settle in for a few weeks.

As soon as we heard Cape York is opening again we prep the vehicle and trailer start the very long trek north. No idea if we will make it past the Jardine River before it closes again due to COVID-19, we couldn’t not give it a crack. And boy did we make it, and boy was it incredible!

We spent a short 28 days in Cape York – and trust me it’s a whole lot bigger than you think! Actually, Australia is a whole lot bigger than we thought! Looking at a map, it just doesn’t do it justice.

We are beginning to seriously enjoy our new and revised trip. Taking each day as it comes, staying longer if we love the location or moving on because its not for us. The freedom was genuinely life changing.

20 km west of Bamaga, we were camped up at Mutee Head. Here we met another travelling family, the Lingards. Similar to us they had embraced the freedom of travelling Australia at a much slower pace, instead of racing to finish the lap.

We decided to head south back to Cairns with them and prepare for our trek west on the Savannah Way. From Georgetown to Karumba, Nomanton and decide on a little detour south to Gregory. This is where we ran into our first “hiccup”.

As we were on the road to Lawn Hill our convoy had three tyre blowouts and a smashed rear window. With now no spare tyres for our travelling friends we had to make the decision to turn back, head south and jump onto the Barkly Hwy to head for Katherine to pick up some spares and fix our canopy window.

We spent the next month enjoying all that Darwin had to offer. We decided to splurge and booked a caravan park for a few weeks so the kids could enjoy the pool and playground.

Whilst in Darwin we upgraded our 12v system in the camper trailer and Matt from Darwin ARB flagship store was more than happy to help us out.

Darwin ARB

It was looking like Western Australia has closed their borders for good and there was definitely no chance of us crossing the border anytime soon. With the wet season fast approaching we decided to head back to Queensland to enjoy a bit more fishing and take the Lingards over to Fraser Island before making the trek into South Australia via Cobar and through Broken Hill.

South Australia! It’s beautiful, but windy and cold. We enjoyed the Fleurieu Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and finally the Eyre Peninsula before finally after 10 months on the road, ending our trip. Once again COVID had caught up with us. With a another outbreak and talk of all the state and territory borders closing again we decided to b-line to Mildura and finally return to Victoria.

Well, what an adventure we had! 35,000kms later and we are home.

 

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