Including some lessons we've learned along the way
22.03.2017 - 29.03.2017 28 °C
(Final posting on our “Big Lap” blog – our Sabbatical has ended on 31 March)
After 25 000km on the road, we made it back home!
Camping in Hervey Bay was a strange experience when you’re not living in your own house (rented out). The great advantage was living right on the beach, allowing us a swim every day (when it wasn’t raining). Hervey Bay is really doing well. There is so much happening, with a lot of construction and development having happened in the year since we left. We are so impresses with the work the council is doing on the Esplanade and the parks and general beautification of the town.
How good it was to catch up with friends. This really is the end of our Sabbatical. We spent a lot of our time preparing for life back in our house (things like buying a fridge and TV etc, for when we move back into a house). We ended up having to finish our trip with a rush due to Cyclone Debbie causing significant rain and approaching with lashing winds. Nothing like a bit of excitement to end with.
I thought I’d end with a few (ad hoc) type comments worth penning down.
If you’re planning to do a Big Lap, here are some things we’ve learned that might be of some help:
• Buy the app “Wikicamps.” It will be the best $8 you’ll ever spend on your trip. The planning tools, info on free camps, attractions etc make a huge difference to your trip. We sold our big Camps 8 book halfway through the trip; unused. Another great app is “Fuel App”
(free) showing you the diesel prices as logged by other users of most service stations.
• Never pass a Visitor Centre without popping in. Apart from free book swaps (I’ve read 100 in a year), the maps, info and local knowledge will truly enhance your travel experience.
• Don’t take too much to begin with. There was stuff we took we didn’t need, and you need so much less than you do at home.
• Think twice about what you buy (even food), you don’t need as much as you think! What a liberty it was to walk into shops, knowing “we can’t buy more stuff!”
• We had no need for a second fridge or second deep cycle battery. One solar panel would allow us enough power to watch TV every night and use all the beautiful Led lights for a week in full shade with no problems. It allows for a lot of free camping.
• I doubt whether I would have bought a satellite dish had I known how little we’d be using it. The best use for it was when you’d like to watch your favourite (late night TV) program. All you do is watch it in another state/time zone, allowing you to watch a 9pm show at 6pm.
• Take a Telstra modem with you for WiFi, it is a bit dearer than Optus, but the coverage is just so much better. Also, all the old payphone boxes scattered around this vast country act as free WiFi spots … very useful to save on data usage. On that topic, don’t forget all the free WiFi in shopping malls, fast food outlets and coffee shops (great place to catch up on free newspapers whilst having a cuppa as well).
• Small tips: Bunnings is the cheapest for 9kg gas swap ($19.85 will last you a long time).
• Spend time with fellow campers. You’ll meet amazing people and be enriched more than you can imagine.
I read somewhere that “Gorges are to Australia what Cathedrals are to Europe”. This was a deeply spiritual and enriching experience. If you’re ever able, do this! It was the best!