Some say we haven’t made it very far others say we are moving too fast, but WE have set the pace and we’ll do it in our own time. We are Max and Faye from Power Shala, and we have been touring Australia full-time since March 2018. The seasons have taken us on somewhat of an unorthodox route in an effort to chase the sun, which hasn’t always worked out in our favour. We have worn our snow jackets more times than we’d care to admit on this endless summer dream.
We call her Goldilocks. There were two types of cars we had our eyes set on for this trip, a Cruiser or a Patrol. Goldilocks popped up on Gumtree and we jumped on the first flight to Rockhampton QLD to get her. She’s a 4.2L Diesel Patrol born in 2003, and the previous owner had built the jack-off canopy himself. There really wasn’t too much more we needed to do to her in order to prepare for full-time touring. We did add a 4.2m tinny to the towball though.
On one side we have our kitchen and a 55L fridge, and on the other is our clothes, toys, tools and recovery gear. We have one battery that only really has to charge the fridge and then occasionally phones, cameras and laptops. And we manage to get enough power from one 250W solar panel mounted on the roof of our rooftop tent (RTT). Now, our RTT is pretty flash. We started the journey with a soft fold out version, but ended up splashing some cash on a Bundutop about six months in. And our pack up time has gone from 20 minutes to 18 seconds, which is pretty nice when you’re waking up at 4.30am for sunrise photography shoots.
We left our home, a caravan on a 12 acre block of family land, in Kingscliff NSW on March 15th. Our aim was to hit the Old Telegraph Track before the crowds and that’s about as much planning as we had done. We were slowed by a late wet season and a cyclone or two as we got in to tropical north Queensland, but this only made for more incredible waterfalls and lusher rainforests. We made it to the The Tip by mid May and it seriously paid off to be up there early even though some of the creek crossings were still high. We had tracks, camps, fishing spots and swimming holes all to ourselves and the corrugations weren’t even an issue.
From Cape York we cut across the gulf along Savannah Way, stopping as often as we could to get the boat in and catch a few Barramundi. We cut inland to visit Boodjamulla National Park, an oasis in the desert, a wonderful surprise and something completely different from what we had been travelling through for the last month. Moving on in to the Northen Territory the tracks got worse and that’s when things started to go wrong.
Some people just seem to have a dream run. Maybe it’s just social media that makes you believe it and people are afraid to share their lowlights. But let me tell you, bad stuff happens, and once it starts it feels a though it might never stop. We have never really had any issues with the car, it’s the boat trailer that has been the source of all our dramas. For a good few weeks there we were repairing something every couple of hundred kilometres. Then everything was holding up until two months later, driving on the busiest highway we had seen in seven months, the trailer decided to throw a tyre and hit the deck. So all I’m trying to say is, be prepared, mentally and financially.
Once in the Northern Territory we realised we didn’t have enough time to see everything we wanted in the Top End before the next wet season began. So we made it as far north as Kakadu before we decided to turn around and head through the Red Centre and on to Adelaide. From Adelaide we followed the Murray River to the SA/NSW/VIC border, then headed south to the sea and have hugged the coastline all the way round to here: Coral Bay, WA. Once again we are waiting on the seasons before we can move further north.
Max and I don’t have kids or own a home. There was nothing really holding us back and everything indicated that this was the right time for us. We both had jobs we really enjoyed so it felt a little strange resigning, but let’s face it, that really wasn’t very hard. The hardest part was saying good bye to our family and friends but even that felt different, cause we weren’t even leaving the country and for a couple of weeks we were only going to be a few hundred kilometres away.
We saved enough money to last us eighteen months on the road with a budget of $800/week. And again everyone has their opinions on whether this is too much or too little. That $800 includes everything: food, fuel, campsites, insurance, repairs, maintenance and entertainment. We don’t free camp every night, but we do eat our fair share of two-minute noodles. Max doesn’t mind spending a bit of money on fishing gear, but most entertainment is free of charge when you enjoy the outdoors. So I’d say we are the average camper 50% budget 50% luxury.
I am a registered nurse and Max is an electrician, and we hear it again and again, “that is the perfect combination for a couple of travellers”. But I think it’s important to note that if you are willing to work there is work available, no matter what professional or employment background you have. So far we have only done three weeks of work, each in our respective professions but we are always on the lookout for a new opportunity. We have also supplemented a little income here and there writing for other’s websites and selling photos along the way.
Where to From Here?
We may have saved enough for eighteen months on the road but we thought we’d be home in twelve. Somewhere along the way we decided to just let things unfold as they did. We decided to slow it down and move in the most appropriate direction at the time. Being open to work anywhere has also enabled this full-time long term travel agenda. So from here we’ll move north, there’s a lot to explore in the Top End before the next wet season chases us out, or maybe we try our luck at riding out the storms and sweating it out in Darwin for a while.
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