Holiday Hindhaugh!

How many times have you heard someone talking about packing the kids up, jumping in a 4WD and heading off around Australia? Well one KPS family has actually done it; they’re doing it right now, in fact. Emma and Tom Hindhaugh and their three boys, Ben, Sam and Patrick set off at the beginning of Term 2 on a three month around Australia adventure.H19

They’ve been on the road for 42 days now and, as you and I are shivering in the playground, they’re taking camel rides on Cable Beach! This week I checked in with them for the KPS blog.H3

What was your overall plan for this trip?
The plan is to travel for Term 2 and the school holidays – all up, 14-15 weeks. We are doing a clockwise loop mainly of WA and Northern Territory, starting by going across the Nullarbor and then across to just north of Perth. We follow the coast to Broome, across the Gibb River Rd through the Kimberley, up to Darwin and then down the guts through Central Australia and back home to Melbourne. Not sure how much of SA we will see – depends on time.H7

We are travelling by 4WD named Yoda (a Toyota) and towing an off-road camper trailer. It is pretty compact but folds out to sleep us all. We have since inherited (from a fellow traveller) a small tent that two of the boys sometimes sleep in. The camper trailer has lots of storage, a slide out two-burner stove, a fridge, a big water tank and, most important, a queen size inner sprung mattress for Tom and me.

The boys are either on camp stretchers or themorest mattresses. With another fridge in the car we are fully self-sufficient. We are doing a combination of staying in caravan parks, camping in national parks and even a little bit of free camping.H9

Is this something you have always wanted to do? Was it a recent decision?
Tom and I had travelled a lot in Europe and Africa when we first met and then bits and pieces through Asia. Neither of us had seen much of WA and none of NT. We had always said we could do it in bits with the kids. We realised the best parts are pretty remote so then dreamed of the big trip. Last year I said to Tom if we want it to happen then we have to make it happen so we did.H6

How long did you prepare for the trip? Did you do a lot of research?
On and off for a year. I mainly did the planning and it was done in bursts and then nothing for a while. Research, yes a fair bit. Reading travel books, internet, and speaking to other people who had done the trip.

We have a basic idea of where we are going but this changes and so do timelines. In fact a significant change happened recently after talking to another traveller – scrap one place and go to another.H1

What have the highlights and lowlights been so far?
Highlights: Swimming with whale sharks, gorges at Karinjini National Park {everyone’s}
Lowlights: two blown tyres and a smashed side window, all done within about four days of going in and out of Karinjini NP.
And for the kids:
Sam: smashing the window
Ben: the northern goldfields, just north of Kalgoorli – hot, too many flies and he stepped in a massive, very nasty lot of prickles. Also, some of the long drives.
Patrick: walking too much.H14

What’s the biggest challenge?
No time away from each other.

What do you and Tom miss most about being away from home?
I miss cold water to drink now that it is hot all the time (mid to high 30s) and I don’t like the smell of bore water. Oh and the dishwasher! I also miss catching up with friends and other family. Tom misses friends and family too, an indoor kitchen and a longer bed!H18

What do the kids miss?
Friends, not school!!! And their beds sometimes. Ben misses the footy but we are getting updates. (Tom and I miss this a bit too.)

How are you all coping with limited access to WiFi/electronics?
The boys have had virtually no screen time. Initially they asked, but now they don’t because they know the answer, or they don’t even think about it. For me, it’s sometimes annoying because I’m trying to get the blog done. But I’m loving the time it frees up and loving my kindle!!H4

How are you all coping with living in a very confined space and spending all that time together?
It depends on the day and even sometimes the hour or the minute. Just like at home we can all get along fabulously and then someone is out-of-sorts and everything goes pear shaped. The boys miss their friends and having time away from each other.H10

The weather is brilliant though so we spend most of the time outdoors; loads of swimming which they all love and quite a few long walks which they have, as a rule, been fantastic about. On the long drives the boys have been surprisingly good. They have been doing lots of drawing and writing, making up the most amazing stories. We have also listened to quite a few talking books which keep everyone quiet and enthralled.

Thanks, Emma, Tom, Ben, Sam and Patrick. Sounds like an awesome trip and something your family will always remember.

You can follow the Hindhaughs on their trip at: http://hindhaugh.net. They’ve got some great stories and the photos are fantastic!

Jacqui Tomlins

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