Friday Feature #14 – Max & Ivy


Like always, we start with the lowdown, so, tell us a bit about yourselves and your van lifestyle.

Well, we are a family of four with two kids aged 2 and 3 and we are based in Sydney but I travel solo a lot of the time with the kids. If we head off for a long stint then Geoff flies in to wherever we are and meets us for a bit. Then he flies home, we drive slowly in the same direction and we all reconvene in Sydney. It’s my weird take on staying sane while raising young kids, because doing it in suburbia full time was doing me in!

Why did you guys choose a VW Transporter over any other option? Most families would opt for a caravan or camping trailer for the extra room!

As far as going small, there were a couple of reasons…
I had to sell my car to justify the purchase so it had to be small enough to fit into a normal car space. It turns into the shopping carter, preschool bus, family taxi when we aren’t on the road. I also wanted something small enough so that I felt like I could go anywhere when I’m solo. I didn’t want to find myself lost in peak hour traffic in some random city freaking out about getting stuck somewhere I didn’t fit. There wasn’t really much choosing to be done. I had been searching high and low for a van of any kind that had or could have legal anchor points for two child seats and could also sleep four. Apparently they are like hens teeth and when we came across this one on Gumtree and it was ready to go we grabbed it!

Has Max & Ivy adapted to living the #vanlife? What is the most challenging having them on board?

Yeah, that’s the beauty of kids, they are super resilient. I keep the routine and timings the same, they sleep in the same bed every night and eat breakfast in the same chairs every morning. It just so happens that the bed and the chairs and the house is generally in a different spot every day and they are pretty cool with that. The toughest thing at the moment probably has to be being switched on all the time, being the safety officer for every waking moment. If we are at home they can head off into the back yard and do their own thing without me for an hour or so. Not being able to do that is tiring for me and pretty annoying for them at times.

We think that 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?

Oh, that’s easy. I’m a mum. Coffee for sure!

Where has been the absolute best kid-friendly camping you have come across so far?

Mmmmmmm, that’s a hard one! I can’t pick a favourite but I can tell you about a few goodies… I would have to say one of the beachside sites at Coledale Campground near Austinmer. You are right on the edge of the sand so the kids can play in it while you potter around and make lunch. Another would be Merry Beach Caravan Park in Kioloa. It’s another one right on the beachfront and there are heaps of kangaroos cruising around all the time (I want to say hundreds but that might be overkill, lol. Between the roos, the ducks, the friendly lorikeets and the beach the kids were thoroughly entertained.

Max & Ivy are definitely the youngest binge-explorers we know! What is their favourite kind of exploring?

Anything that involves water is a hit at the moment.

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

Wow, yeah, I have one or two of those! Recently I decided to drive to Adelaide from Sydney, along the coast, solo, with the two kids and the dog in the middle of a major weather event warning. We were looking at getting a month’s worth of rain in five days. I risked it, you know, cos the weather guys get it wrong a bit. We got the rain. I made it to Phillip Island, soggy but still in pretty good humour, when the little motors that make the pop top roof go up totally carked it and the whole roof was frozen in the down position. The fallout of this was the kids bed vanished, along with all of their bedding which was stuck in the roof and I couldn’t stand up in the kitchen anymore so had to cook while folded into a right angle. No one in Melbourne could fix it so we had to drive the van back to Sydney to get it sorted. A bit of a bummer really. Needless to say, I got the bloody motors taken out and it’s now a manual lift so there’s no chance of a repeat.

Finally, what are your 3 hot tips / words of advice for parents considering exploring this amazing country in a camper with their kids in tow?!

Just do it!

Honestly, it’s easier then waking up every day in the same spot and trying to think of ways to tire the little critters out. Seriously. Take familiar things from home. I have their bedding, pj’s, books and their usual food so they feel comfortable and secure. I also make sure bedtime stays the same, with the same routine every day. Don’t worry about what you need to know before you go. You’ll be surprised how quickly you work it out. Audiobooks, snacks and a porta loo of some kind will be your friend.

I’ve got a whole blog full of tips to help you remain sane while confined to a small space with wee humans, so jump on there and have a dig around before you head off 😉





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