Friday Feature #13 – Dais & Regs


There’s nothing like a game of Cards Against Humanity to break the ice 😉 So fill in the blanks with the first words that come to mind:

Hold my BEER and watch me TACKLE THAT DROP BEAR

Nothing feels better than CLEANING YOUR TEETH on A BOAT WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH

Mereenie Loop, Northern Territory

MEET DAIS & REGS. THEY HAVE DONE THE LAP AND HAVE NOW “SETTLED” BACK IN TO “NORMAL” LIFE BUT STILL KEEP THE ADVENTURE SPIRITS HIGH AND ADVENTURE WHENEVER THEY GET THE CHANCE!

You are both back in Adelaide now adjusting to the daily grind! How long were you exploring Australia for before you decided to head home for a bit?

In January 2014 we bought the van, that March I graduated from Uni and by September we were on the road. It was only meant to be a “gap” year, a year-long road trip “round the block.” But we found out pretty quickly that Australia is BIG, and because we weren’t going to cut corners (in terms of sightseeing and food and beers), it wasn’t going to be a cheap exercise.

So, whenever the money started to run low, wherever we were, we would go on Gumtree and find a job! We lived on a dairy farm in Margaret River in southern WA, worked on an island 22km off the coast of Onslow in WA, we survived a wet season in Darwin NT and lived on the beach in Kingscliff, northern NSW. We never let money, our car or the caravan limit what we could do. This meant we were able to take our time to see everything we wanted to see and as a result, it wasn’t until two years nine months later that we finally arrived home, completing the lap.

Facing reality and routine must be damn tough?! What are you REALLY missing about the mobile lifestyle? 

It’s been six months now since we arrived back in Adelaide and it has been a huge adjustment returning home. We didn’t wean ourselves off the van or the lifestyle either. Instead of gently easing ourselves back into routine, Regs had a full-time job a week after we returned, while I grappled with the confronting reality of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and how I was going to get there. It’s true, everyone who found out our story would shake their heads at us in grave bewilderment and ask: “but how on earth are you going to cope when you get back to the real life?” And yes, I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard!

Mostly because we are really (really) missing the daily sense of adventure and sense of freedom that stems from shared experience and discovery. I’m struggling to think of how exactly to describe the feeling of waking up every day not knowing what you’re about to find. Or how to explain the surreal feeling of waking up and knowing exactly what you’re about to find, and then actually seeing it in real life (Uluru is the perfect example, that “big red rock” will change your life). My favourite part of the day though, was when we would come home late afternoon after a day of hiking or swimming often exhausted and starving, sit outside, crack a beer, watch the sunset and let the feeling of pure contentment wash over us as we reminisced over the day (the grey nomads have coined the term perfectly, happy hour).

We have had some amazing (and not so amazing) encounters with the Australian WILDlife. From swimming with seals, seeing turtles hatch and having possums break into the van and eat our dashboard succulents. Enlighten us with what has been you most bizarre encounter and of course what has been the most memorable?  

Those damn possums! We kept a Desert Rose we were gifted in Katherine NT alive for a year only for it to be gnawed to death by a possum in Avalon, NSW! Still devastated about that. One hilarious moment though, was when we were walking to Twin Falls in Cape York and a snake suddenly appeared out from the bushes right in front of me. All I had time for was to stammer and point as it slithered right underneath Regan’s feet as he hopped to and fro over it with his arms in the air, while making these weird, stunted yelping sounds! It was the funniest thing I have ever seen, and he still hasn’t forgiven me for not “warning” him better.

We have garnered a few memorable moments with wildlife that are all equally breath-taking. The first was when we went shark cage diving in Port Lincoln, then swimming with sea lions in Baird Bay on the Eyre Peninsula SA– that was an unreal experience; to witness first-hand the speed and agility of both fish and mammal underwater. I’ll also never forget watching the world’s largest fish, a 6m long Whaleshark appear out of the deep blue and glide straight past me as I snorkelled in 60m deep water off the Ningaloo Reef in WA. We were also lucky enough to witness platypuses in the wild at Eungella NP NSW, spot two rare Palm Cockatoo’s that are endemic to Cape York, QLD  and we also had a 2m long Perentie lizard cross the road in front of us on the Mereenie Loop, NT

We could not help but notice that in some photos your caravan is MIA!? Where would you leave it when you explored the 4WD tracks?

 Yes! There were a few places we left the van behind. The first was when we did the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region of WA. We left the van at the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park in Derby – drove 700km along the Gibb came out at Kununnarra, then drove another 900kms down the Great Northern Highway back to Derby (via Purnululu NP), where we hitched up the van and drove back up to Lake Argyle (phew that was a big effort, but so worth it)!

The next time we left the van was at a mate’s house in Katherine, NT while we drove 800km along the most remote stretch of unsealed road we’d come across to Nuluhnbuy, Arnhem Land. When we did Cape York, we left it at Mount Carbine Caravan (Kui) Park about 70km west of Port Douglas. Robert and Jennifer the lovely owners at the time, would allow you to leave your van there for as long as you wanted at no cost! This meant that we were able to take three weeks exploring Cape York and the OTT making it to the very tip of mainland Australia. In Hervey Bay QLD, the Lazy Acres Caravan Park let us leave the van safe and sound on site for free while we caught the ferry across to Fraser Island, which was super handy.

Eliot Falls, Cape York, Queensland

The ultimate road trip pit stop is for ice-cream (and mayyybee fuel too). So, as Craig David would say, what’s your flava, tell us what’s your flava?

Maxibon or any weis bar for me. Regs goes for the magnums although he’s really not much of a sweet tooth – he’s more of a chicken wing ding in the bay-marie kinda guy haha.

Speaking of fuel, what has been the most expensive C per litre you have come across? 

 Ohhh I started off with a fuel log but that only lasted three months! I think Mount Barnett station on the Gibb where diesel was $2.30?? But most weeks we could easily spend over $200 on diesel, especially in remote areas towing the van which was basically the first two years of the trip until we hit the east coast (our next vehicle will definitely have long range fuel tanks and be more fuel efficient).

The question we have all been waiting for, your favourite place in Australia?  

 The Kimberley. That’s the first thing that pops into our head. We talk about it non-stop and it’s the place that we just have to get back to before anywhere else. But contemplating that question always sets off a chain reaction and then we argue: but where in the Kimberley? El Questro, Broome, Lake Argyle, Cape Leveque. And then we think: but what about all the others? Ningaloo Reef, Karijini NP, Uluru, Cape York, Jervis Bay and it’s basically impossible because every place has its own special thing. However, the Kimberley gets under your skin for sure- it’s like you can never shake off the red dirt entirely.

Lake Argyle, Western Australia

We all have that one travel story is always shared around the campfire, what is yours?

 Haha well there was that time I was meant to be navigating our way to Uluru (from Katherine)…and we found ourselves 20kms from the South Australian border before we (and by we, I mean Regan) realized we were going in the wrong direction (whoops)…or that time we got bogged and completely bottomed out with no recovery gear in a sandy creek bed trying to find a secret waterhole the middle of nowhere in 40 degree heat on a Tuesday. Love a good campfire.

What future adventures can we look forward to following?!

Since we returned to Adelaide, we spent two weeks over Christmas in Tassie. We took the caravan to Robe for the Australia day long weekend which was amazing, so good to get back in the van. We’re planning on heading to Bells at Easter and hopefully back to the Kimberley in July, but we’ll see. One thing we promised each other was to not let time pass us by and get caught up in the monotonous 9-5 work life, or let it stop us from making the most of weekends. Because that’s what it’s all about, not losing sight of what really matters right?

Mt Amos, Tasmania

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