A grey nomad couple explains how they set off in search of a paradise to call home … and found it on the open road
While Harry and Andrea Q were both born overseas, they freely admit that it is in the Australian Outback where they now feel most at home.
Having migrated from the northern hemisphere separately in 1970 and 1973, the couple met in the Western Australian mining town of Newman before marrying in 1977 and building a life and raising a family in Perth. However, when they retired from paid work in April 2010, Harry and Andrea decided that they no longer wanted to contend with the fierce summer heat in the WA capital.
“I stated my needs; lots of greenery, rolling hills, plenty of trees and a cooler climate, preferably one with rain all year round,” said Andrea. “And hubby, being a very sensible man and knowing full well that a happy wife equals a happy life, asked where I would like to live.”
The couple then sold their house in Perth and bought one on the south coast of New South Wales before realising it was too close to the coast to satisfy Andrea’s ‘country’ desires. And that was the start of their serious grey nomad adventures.
The couple bought a caravan, a Maltese/Shih Tsu cross called Mitzi, and started to look around the eastern side of Australia.
“Over three years we travelled as far north as Cooktown, as far west as Mt Isa and as far south as the whole length of the Great Ocean Road to the end at Portland,” said Andrea.
By the end of 2014, they had sold their house on the South Coast and upgraded to a fifth wheeler, towed by a Mazda BT50 Space cab.
“The fifth wheeler is American made but to Australian compliance and was therefore quite a lot cheaper than Australian brands,” said Andrea. “It has a 4-metre slideout and separate bedroom so is very roomy and comfortable.”
Having crossed the Nullarbor to visit their children in Perth and continued their search for paradise, Harry and Andrea have done just over 21,000 kilometres in the fifth wheeler. And then, earlier this year, their search was over.
“We looked at so many country towns … some liveable, some not so but we found the ideal spot in the snowy mountains area,” said Andrea. “All the boxes! Green as you could wish for, hills everywhere, trees, spectacular scenery in every direction and within a couple of hours of Canberra where our youngest daughter lives.”
Harry and Andrea declare their new property in Tumut to be their ‘forever home’, and say they couldn’t be happier. They have once again become part-time nomads, relishing their road trips but also relishing their return home and domesticity for a few weeks.
“Harry loved being a full-time traveller but I needed my own place every now and again and now we have the best of both worlds,” says Andrea. “A lovely home and the freedom to roam this beautiful country … when he gets tired of gardening and housework then off we’ll go, especially in the winter months when we will head for Queensland.”