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Our Family Road Trip

Updated on April 19, 2015

Fantastic Scenery

Amazing red Gorges
Amazing red Gorges

Time for Reflection

We have been back from our amazing trip for almost 18 months now. This has given me plenty of time to reflect on what it is that made our trip so memorable.

Firstly and most obviously the scenery was fantastic.

Another fantastic sunset

Travelling along the west coast meant plenty of glorious sunsets.
Travelling along the west coast meant plenty of glorious sunsets.

So many gorgeous, deserted beaches

Everyday a new pristine beach
Everyday a new pristine beach

Fellow Travellers

We met some wonderful people. Some were travellers like us with young children who had decided to that a 3, 6 or even 12 month road trip was something they valued doing with their families.

The majority were older couples enjoying their retirement years, many of whom spent some months every year travelling around Australia.

We had some sticky situations on our trip like a broken trailer axle on a remote sandy track just as dark was approaching, We were very relieved when we finally made it into camp that night at 10pm. The other challenging situation was a broken drive shaft on the Landrover Discovery that smashed the floor and the transmission. We were 100km north of Katherine and once again dark was approaching, It's funny how these things always seem to happen at the end of the day.

It's great to have a variety of things for children to do on long road trips. Check out the site below for some excellent suggestions.

http://www.travellingaustraliawithkids.com/keep-kids-entertained-on-road-trips.html

The Breakdown

Sometimes things don't go to plan, breakdown Nth of Katherine
Sometimes things don't go to plan, breakdown Nth of Katherine

How we spent those 90 days

We walked, we fished, we swam, we drove and drove and drove, 24,000km in total. We set up camp and packed up camp. Everyday we made multiple decisions about where we would go what we would experience. We soon learnt that no matter what we ended decided to do we always had an interesting time. We also decided early on that we couldn't see or do everything. It suited us to spend more time in certain locations that we loved rather than rushing to another spot just to tick it off some imaginary list.

Even though we were conscious of not trying to see everything the days were still long (Australia is a big country) and we often arrived to set up camp the dark. By then end of our trip we were actually more efficient in setting up camp in the dark than in the daylight. It could have had something to with receiving less help from the kids when setting up in the dark!!

We went to bed early and rose early, we took thousands of photos, collected hundreds of shells, saw inspiring indigenous rock paintings.


Fishing

Fishing - we got a lot of practice and an occasional meal
Fishing - we got a lot of practice and an occasional meal

A typical campsite

Camping spot - nestled in the sand dunes, surrounded by nature.
Camping spot - nestled in the sand dunes, surrounded by nature.

School work or not?

Some people were horrified that our children were not doing any formal school work whilst we were travelling. We had made the conscious decision not do formal study whilst on our trip. We felt that our children would learn more from their experiences than anything they would have learnt at school over that same time period. We were lucky that our children were at a school that fully supported our decision and there was no pressure form them to conduct formal education.

The children learnt so many varied things. They became bush tucker enthusiasts after an afternoon spent finding bush tucker with an aboriginal elder.

Much of the trip was spent being amateur geologists.Collecting rock specimens and studying the different layers of rock in the many gorges we explored.

Some interesting information on the educational benefits for children from extended travelling experiences can be found by clicking the link below.

http://matadornetwork.com/abroad/the-educational-value-of-long-term-travel-with-kids/

Exploring the landscape of the Nullarbor

Hands on geology on the Nullarbor.
Hands on geology on the Nullarbor.

Canoeing on Dimond Gorge

A day trip canoeing through  this stunning gorge.
A day trip canoeing through this stunning gorge.

Learning by doing

We learnt about stromatolites the earliest form of life on earth, the clear nights skies were perfect for astronomy, the variety of wildlife from birds to kangaroos, dolphins to termites was inspiring. The beaches were unbelievable so peaceful with their soft white sand and clear turquoise waters.

The meteorite craters provided another learning environment, we even used our metal detector to try to find some fragments of the the meteor, no luck though.

The children took turns at being in charge of the maps when we went walking and become very adept at making sure we got to our destination. The breakdown of the trailer even enabled our oldest to learn some bush mechanic skills, certainly something he would not have experienced back in the classroom.

This link gives details about the different opportunities and experiences an extended road trip provides for children.

http://www.familyroadtripaustralia.com.au/2015/03/road-tripping-provides-opportunities.html

Termite Mound in the Pilbara

Termites mounds we discovered come in many varying sizes and colours.
Termites mounds we discovered come in many varying sizes and colours.

Sitting inside Wolfe Creek Meteor Crater

Sitting inside a crater made by a meteorite 300.000 years ago.
Sitting inside a crater made by a meteorite 300.000 years ago.

Learning about ancient indigenous artwork

 Some of the aboriginal artwork we saw was over 20,000 years old.
Some of the aboriginal artwork we saw was over 20,000 years old.

Experiences that will stay with them

So whilst our children did not receive any 'formal' education whilst we during our trip, they learnt through doing, experiencing things first hand. These lessons will stay with them forever. Our family adventure has played a significant role in our children's growth and development. It has reinforced their innate curiosity and desire to learn about everything they experience. It has given them the confidence to have a go and try new, sometimes scary things.

I loved the travelling and all the new experiences, but what I really enjoyed most was the time we had together as a family of five. It was wonderful being free from all the constant demands of today's busy lifestyle. The work deadlines, the school schedules, after school activities, friends parties, extended family obligations, even emails and phone calls (we were out of range for large portions of the trip).

This was us just prior to leaving on our trip.
This was us just prior to leaving on our trip.

Set a Date and GO

If you have ever thought you might like to take the family on an extended adventure, I say just pack your things and go. Don't wait until it's the 'right time'. The right' time may never come. Make the decision to go and put in your diary and make it happen. Whatever the location the experience will be amazing, you and your children will get so much out it. It will enrich all aspects of your life.

Good luck and safe travels!!

The link below is a great place to researching your trip. Why not check it out right now!

http://www.familyroadtripaustralia.com.au/p/family-road-trip-australia.html

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