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Grey nomad characters hit the open road
Ken is equipped to stay in free camps

Solo traveller Ken (Big Gorilla), 73, splits his time between travelling in the Philippines and Australia … and loves both

How much do you travel?
Having lived in the Philippines for 17 years, I returned to Australia in 2004, and settled in Tasmania. I currently spend three months a year at my home in Cebu City, Philip­pines, and nine months in Australia – about four of those months on the road.

Why solo?
My wife stays home as she has a small business to run, and it’s difficult to tear her away from three grandchildren we have in this state. She does accompany me when we do short trips in Tassie and loves the lifestyle.

Where do you go?
I usually sail on the Spirit of Tasmania to Melbourne in March and travel sometimes up as far as Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. I have toured around South Australia, Vic­toria and New South Wales, and have had one trip across the Nullarbor to visit my son in Esperance. I average about 8500km annually.

Do you travel elsewhere?
I’ve seen a lot of the Philip­pines but there are no caravan parks there. In fact, I’ve never seen a caravan or motorhome. It would be too dangerous to even consider camping out there. We are leaving on Sep­tember 16 for Cebu, and will return before Christmas. This time I hope to stay away from the typhoons!

What is your rig?
In 2010, I purchased an Iveco Daily van and had it profes­sionally fitted out. It is Medium Wheel Base (6 metres) and is well fitted out with shower, toilet, microwave, fridge, air-con, radio/CD player, TV/ DVD player, gas hotplates and hot water, east west bed with a large storage area under the bed accessible from rear doors and an internal door. It has 235 watts of solar and 2 x 6 volt batteries, each 225 amp/hours.

Where do you camp?
Two of my favourite locations are Greens Lake and Aysons Reserve. When on the road, I’ll camp anywhere I don’t ap­pear too conspicuous! Shop­ping centre car parks, subur­ban streets, sports grounds … but these are stopovers for one night only. Camping near a beach or lake is ideal, but beachside camp spots are hard to find. One exception is Para­dise Beach out of Sale, Victo­ria. There are many kilometres of free beachfront camping between Golden Beach and the small town of Seaspray. I usually go into a caravan park every 7-10 days. This is mainly for washing.

Likes of the lifestyle?
I’m a devoted free camper. Free camping gives a feeling of independence and enjoyment, especially in bush settings, and a great feeling of camaraderie when meeting up with others who share a similar lifestyle. I like to explore small towns and take in the history of buildings and surrounding areas.


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