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A couple of years ago, we started thinking about travelling OZ in retirement.  We started doing some serious research and talking to people who were already doing it.  Making a choice of what type of “home” we would have took many discussions as we had never even towed a trailer, never mind a caravan the size we considered we would need. 

A friend of ours was having a 5th wheeler built in Melbourne and we watched this with interest as supposedly they are easy to tow.  Eventually almost a year later he finally took delivery of it and we then knew we would be looking for a local supplier. 

We spent weeks going from Gympie to Gold Coast and everywhere in between, checking out the numerous suppliers. We had a couple of ”must haves” in our head such as an Island Bed, shower and toilet, good sized fridge and be able to free camp, thus the right type and fit out of solar and water.  Finally we settled on Southern Cross and set about designing our very own “Highway Hilton”.  We spent a day with Matt Atkins. What a guy, he even ordered Subway for us and gave us a break for about 20 minutes to let our heads clear.  Seriously, Matt knows his stuff and we were so pleased with what we achieved that day.

Deposit paid, production began and it was great to be able to go and look at it being built and of course Matt would send us about 50 odd photos every week.  Some 12 weeks later (on time) we took delivery of our 28 foot Expedition 5th wheeler  just in time to throw some things in and head off to the Christmas in July muster at Kenilworth.  This was the start of a sharp learning curve and a new way of life, free from all the clutter that stops one really enjoying life.  We did learn that our roof line is higher than some house’s guttering!!!!  and  trees in streets need careful evaluation as they really scratch the sides of the van and windows when you get too close to them.  Sometimes you just need to take the long way round.

Our first port of call after leaving Brisbane was the Carnarvon Gorge where we spent one week. We then took about 8 weeks to go out as far as Longreach via the Warrego and Landsborough highways, turning around and heading across the Capricorn Highway to the coast. We kept one step in front of the floods until we hit Mackay where we sat out two cyclones and endless wet weather in North Qld. We started heading back to Brisbane, taking our time and discovering lots of small coastal towns such as Woodgate and Poona, Turkey Beach and many more. We stayed overnight in Kenilworth as we came into Brisbane, back to where we started, and have covered 10,000kls in 6 months.

In July we are putting our rig in storage and hiring a camper trailer to go right to the tip of Cape York during winter.  If we can beat the wet season, we will get right across the Savannah Way into Northern Territory, onto Darwin by Christmas (maybe). Our plans are only made so we can change them, so we may in fact still be looking around Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas, Cairns and the tablelands area at Christmas.

Touch wood, we have not had any real problems with our 5th wheeler but we are thinking of naming it  “The ARK” as 80% of our travelling has been wet. We do know it doesn’t leak!

Our choice of the Toyota Landcruiser V8 as a tow vehicle has been the right decision as we have been in places where we shouldn’t have been and it has come through with flying colours. We have done a large majority of free camping as well and the solar is absolutely spot on, even though it has rained a lot, we have had enough power.

Hoping to meet up with other  Southern Cross owners on our adventure.

For more details of our adventures go to our Blog site:  www.bnsdoinoz.com or email us at bnsdoinoz@hotmail.com

Regards, Bruce and Sharon Webster .