Stuart & Helen

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Kayaks travel with grey nomads
Looking through the door the kayaks are strapped in ready for travelling.

Victorians Stuart H, 68, and wife Helen, 65, love their kayaks so much, they keep them in their van!

What rig do you have?
A 2007 Toyota Prado towing a custom-built 17’ 2011 Encoun­ter pop top van with rear door and off-road chassis. No toilet or shower … but we have a Portapotti!

Why does it suit you?
From the photos, you can see that we transport our two kayaks inside the van. Next to the queen sized island bed is a black case which holds Stu’s carbon fibre road bicycle. In the Prado are two more tour­ing bicycles. We value these items so we don’t transport them on racks outside where they are subject to adverse weather and road filth. This also restricts the chance of theft.

Is the van crowded?
With our ‘toys’ with us always we are jam packed. We can’t go ‘home’ and change what we need for each adventure. How many grey nomads travel with a bike trailer in the caravan boot?

So, you are adventurous?
We love exploring whether it is by car, foot, bicycle or kayak. We can do our own thing without pressure and we mix our activities. We have ridden our bicycles from Syd­ney to Adelaide – took eight weeks, and this year intend riding from Sydney north to Brisbane and maybe further. Stu pulls a bike trailer with our stuff. We have kayaked down the River Murray from Yarrawonga to the mouth at Goolwa SA – took three months camping in a small tent along the way. We have left the rig etc with friends and 4WD to the Kimberley, and another trip across the Simpson Desert.

How long on the road?
We have been travelling for just over seven years, and we still haven’t done the Big Lap! Our bucket list of things to explore keeps getting longer. We also do house-sits and prefer non-city ones, so that we can join the community and not be ‘just tourists’.

Where do you camp?
We try to avoid caravan parks, particularly those that have jumping pillows, and rec­reation rooms because they are too expensive. We find national parks are also too dear for what you get but they do provide a good environ­ment to chill out, go for walks and also for kayaking. We enjoy free camping but we get upset by the rubbish left behind by inconsiderate campers. We wish there were more free camping sites. We spend money in the nearest town. It adds ‘new’ money to the town. If the caravan park is too expensive we move on and the town misses out on our patronage.

Favourite place to camp?
There are so many lovely places in Australia. We’ve just spent five months in Tasma­nia – and still haven’t seen it all. But we really loved Levin Canyon, south of Ulverstone, for a free campsite.

Tips for other nomads?
Then packing up to move on we have a checklist, in a plastic sleeve, kept in the glove-box. So often when you pack up, people chat to you and things are easily forgotten like washing on the clothes­line, tap fittings left behind, or aerials still up. When we think we’re ready and checked the lights, and chocks we audit the entire list.


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