Our Big Lap In One Year

We left the Whitsundays in Queensland in December 2016 and one year on we are passing the point where we started.

Like most full timers there were no plan’s as to how long we would take to do a lap, only that we would be on the road indefinitely.

As there was no real plan, we went with the flow. The flow took us like a river, rapidly through some spots and gently meandering through others.

Meandering merrily

With so much to see we chose to not drive further then 200 km a day (unless we had to). Some days it was a case of leaving one free camp to drive to another less then 20 minute’s away.

Finding camps you can stay at for a week or two is fantastic if you have the right set up. Luckily our set up allowed us to stay at these places.

Caravan parks also played a part in our journey. Mostly when heading in to the top of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The prices are high but air-con was needed.

Free camps and 24 hr rest areas played a major roll and we love showgrounds. Pubs that allow camping are also a favorite as they help us and them. 

Why we went so rapidly at times

The reason for going quickly through some areas and not stopping was to get to farm sits. Over the course of the year we had the pleasure of minding three farms and their animals. There are some beautiful locations with houses and farms sits around the country .

Preferring farms and longer sits we looked after horses, chickens, dogs and cats.

Doing house/Farm sits gives you a free and safe place to keep your van. You also have the opportunity to check out the surrounding areas as much as you like.

Joining a house sitting site is something we highly recommend!

Sunset at our farm sit

Another reason for getting to a destination quickly was for work. When you need to top up the funds you go to where the work is. If that happens to be in another state then that’s what you do.

Learning along the way

Our first six months on the road was an eye opener and a learning curve, not knowing what to expect in all aspects.

Googling before you hit the road only gives you so much information. It’s not until you’re out there, that you see how easily you can live with so little. I’m not just talking about belongings and down sizing. You can make your money go so much further than you think. 

Having no idea how to hook up a van or how to empty the toilet, I had to get in there and give it a go. I mainly do the inside of the van when we are packing up and Larry the outside. When I finish I will go and help Larry out. We both do the toilet equally and so it should be!

Dongara - Western Australia dump point

Learning about dump points

No check list at our place but I do now have a routine when we pack up to go. Thankfully only a couple of things have been forgotten. Leaving the TV aerial up – as we were pulling out of our first ever caravan site. Also the fridge had been closed but not so the catch was on. Food was on the floor but nothing broken.

Leaving your van at free camps while you go exploring can be a worry. You can never know if it’s a safe place but you do start to get a feeling once at places. Good or bad this is something only you will know and decide for yourself once you’re there. Jerry’s Plains in NSW was a great place to un-hook and check out the local wineries. 

We have left our van at numerous locations. I am a bit of a safety nut which can I’m sure be exhausting for Larry. So far we have made the right choices and the van has been safe.

Lap of Luxury

We calculated we had savings for three months without having to work. It turned out with farm sitting and free camps we had 6. Check out our first 6 months stats here 😀 

Many people live way more frugally then we do, spending much less for more people.

These are some of our facts:

  • 3 farm sits

  • Driven through all states and territories except Tassie. Technically we still have the apple isle to go 😉

  • Diesel $5,073

  • Paid sites $3,850 (most were in the NT and top end of WA for air-con)

  • Groceries $5,651

  • Alcohol $2,186

  • Km traveled 27,372

  • Our top 3 destination so far  – The Bungle Bungle, The Nullarbor and The Whitsundays

  • Work – Larry worked for 3 months on a cattle station in Western Australia.

  • We have been using “Boost” for our phone and internet.

  • What we are glad we have: Espresso coffee machine (run by our inverter when free camping), Club lounge, on-suite, lots of solar, Grey and fresh water tanks, inverter and compressor fridge.

This first lap showed us so much yet we have seen so little. The best thing we ever did was to choose to travel full time and enjoy life now.

The video below is a fraction of our trip so far.

Feel free to ask any question in the comments below.

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    • Ray
    • December 17, 2017

    Stunning video. Simply stunning. I have so enjoyed following your travels Sue and Larry. Can’t believe it has only been 12 months though.
    I start my fulltime travels in 2 and a bit years so in the mean time you are living my dream for me. You have given me so many tips, ideas, hints and practical pointers and for that I sincerely thank you both. Hope to catch you on the road somewhere.

      • SueSue
      • December 19, 2017

      Thank’s for that Ray,
      It was great to look back on so many memory’s and places we have been. The year has go so quickly! It’s easy to see how people can spend so many years on the road.
      I love that you have your plan for 2 years and are not just dreaming about it, but doing it!
      Thanks so much for your positive feedback Ray. Happy planing 😀

    • Peter and Michelle
    • December 20, 2017

    Thanks for the great info and pics. Cant wait to get out there and do it too (departing on 30th January 2018 – after the youngest grandson starts school). Turned 54 and 51 this year and reckon its time to cut the ties and explore what’s out there. We aim to be back by November, but greatly doubt that will be enough time. Leaving from Newcastle and going clockwise. Your info is helpful and inspiring. There appears to be simply endless things to see and do right around Aus. We might have to stretch it out over another year or five.

      • SueSue
      • December 23, 2017

      Hi Peter and Michelle,
      So good to hear you will be on the road early next year. Your right you have endless things to see and do as you travel around.
      Go with the 5 year plan!
      If you do visit any of the places we have written about fell free to add a comment to that post. Let us and others know what you thought of the place.
      Happy wondering to you both 😀

    • Maurice
    • December 22, 2017

    Hi, very interesting travels. We are thinking of something similar next year and have always wondered about leaving your van at a free camp to explore. What type of security did you have on the van, and did you pick up any ideas on security while travelling?

      • SueSue
      • December 23, 2017

      Good question Maurice, I am thinking of writing a post on this.
      The number one thing is how you feel about the place when you arrive. And the people around you if any.
      This is what we do.
      * Tow ball lock
      * leave your slide-out, out. Harder for them to just hook up and drive off. They will hopefully go for an easier option.
      * leave your awning out if weather permits. As above more hassle for them.
      * Put padlocks on your awning arms when it is out. This stops them putting the awning down and again makes it harder.
      Others have mentioned wheel clamps. A GPS tracker is also a good idea if all else fails. See what others do and say about areas you visit.
      We were on the road for a couple of months before we were happy to leave the van.
      Hope some of these help. Please don’t leave your van unless your happy!
      Enjoy your 2018 travels 😀

    • Kaye Bindokas
    • June 7, 2018

    Hi Sue and Larry, Kaye and Pete here. We met you in Timber Creek and saw you again in Katherine and Mataranka where we had a lovely time going down the river at Bitter Springs. We’ve enjoyed your blog. We are in Tasmania, have been for three and a half months, having a cruisey time in a very cruisey and beautiful state. We’ve done so much in that time, but we could’ve stayed even longer. Home to stay next week, and after four years of wonderful wandering all around our unique and beautiful country, we will have to learn to be home bodies again. It won’t be easy! We’ll keep watching your blog, especially when we get wanderlust. All the best.

      • SueSue
      • June 8, 2018

      Hi Kaye,
      So good to hear from you! We loved meeting you guys and have some great memories. I wrote about meeting you and have your photo in our Bitter Springs post. I also added one of your security tips to our “Caravan security tips when free camping”. The one for putting a padlock on the awning.
      A bit sad that you are stopping although i’m sure you will be doing short trips 😉
      We are also thinking of doing three months in Tasmania, Many people are saying you need plenty of time.
      Again, great to hear from you 🙂 Hopefully we will see you again.

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