Holidaying on the cheap

Caravanning or camping in some of Australia’s best destinations is, for some, a trip of a lifetime.

Story: Peter ‘Spida’ and Sheree Everitt

Most people who play lotto say they’d spend their winnings on a dream holiday. Why wait to win lotto when you can travel now?

Over the past decade we have been on and off the road, with and without our children at various times, all the while loving every moment.

Australia is not an expensive place to travel. Don’t get me wrong — it can be if you’re planning to stay in the luxurious resorts Australia has to offer.  If you are travelling on a budget like thousands of other Australians, the laid-back, bang-for-your-buck option of caravanning or camping has something for everyone.

While on the road, in a caravan park, a National Park or a free stay, everyone is equal. Over the years, we have managed to stay at quite a few caravan parks where the kids can amuse themselves for days or weeks on end. These days, holiday parks range from three to five-star with spas, gyms, kids’ clubs, playgrounds, cafes and bars — they are equipped for everyone’s tastes and needs.

A favourite past-time for me is sitting back in a deck chair watching people arrive and set up — the new traveller has a few attempts to get the van in the correct spot (it can be challenging in some tight spots), while seasoned travellers arrive and have everything set up in 10 minutes’ flat.

Everyone must have a few trial runs close to home. Erect tents in the backyard, park the caravan in the driveway or even drive to a large car park when no one is around and practice the reverse parking.

Many travellers love the thought of jumping in the car and driving wherever they like at the drop of a hat, but a trip around Australia needs research and planning. The country has so much for everyone, so whether you’re planning a weekend away, a week-long holiday or a few months’ on the road, do some research and planning before you head off.

Some of our favourite caravanning and camping spots include Cooktown with its rich history, fishing, a great holiday park and beautiful weather; Fraser Island, the magical sand island full of majestic Australian wilderness to explore; and the Dinosaur Trail, taking in Emerald, Winton, Hughenden and Longreach. Further inland to the mining mecca of Mt Isa, you can see Adels Grove and some of Australia’s best freshwater lakes. If it’s the beach you love, then the Whitsunday Coast is for you. Hiking, fishing, beaches, lakes, shopping — Queensland has it all.

Often it’s not about the places you go, but rather the people you meet and enjoy a 3pm beer with along the way. Many see this as the Grey Nomads sanctuary, but an ever-increasing number of families are joining the fun. Over the years we have met wonderful people and made some great lifelong friends we often run into while on the road. We have met some interesting people too, with life stories straight out of a movie script. It is these people who make travelling Australia by road so memorable.

Travelling in a motorhome, caravan or camping is all about making memories and experiencing family time together, meeting new friends and seeing all that this great country has to offer. And with prices so good, there is no better time than now to get out there and do it.

Travel tips

  • Plan your trip well before you leave. Research the holiday parks and ensure the amenities and facilities suit your family.
  • Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Just get out there and start travelling.

Check out more of Peter ‘Spida’ and Sheree Everitt’s adventures on The Great Australian Doorstep. You can catch them on radio every Sunday year-round from 6 – 7am on the TripleM Network / Southern Cross Austereo Stations or on television, Saturdays at 2.30pm on Channel 7Two.