DAVID GILCHRIST — 8 November 2013

The soft patter of endless waves lolled onto a sub-tropical beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast as Brian and Pam Carter relaxed with their friends Leanne and Scott Jackson. Laughter roared across Dicky Beach and floated away on a sighing breeze.

Brian, Pam, Leanne and Scott are not ordinary friends, even though they’re all Victorians. Instead, their friendship formed on the open road, miles from home. This is a friendship of adventurers that forms among caravanners.

The couples had first met two months ago at the beach named after the iron steamboat SS Dicky, which ran aground in heavy seas in 1893. They quickly became friends when they met in a caravan park in tropical north Queensland’s beautiful Port Douglas.

Leanne explained: “Pam and Brian pulled in next to us and we met when I asked Brian to move his car because the coconuts were going to fall on it.”

Their meeting was remarkable considering Leanne and Scott were consummate advocates of caravan parks while Brian and Pam prefer the free and easy nature of free camping.

“We don’t camp in caravan parks when we’re travelling,” Brian said. “We’ll camp in a gravel pit if we have to.”

“We’ll do that,” Pam interrupted, “because we come from Victoria where it’s cold and wet and miserable. We just do one-night stops and we rush up to the warmer weather.”

According to Brian, their overnight roadside stops were ideal because they didn’t bother unhooking. It’s only when they arrive at a destination north of the tropic of Capricorn that they settle into a park with a great location and clean basic facilities that they settle in and relax.

Scott smiled, acknowledging that Brian and Pam had convinced her and Scott to try free camping.

“The reason we are going to free-camp is because we are heading back to Victoria and I’d rather take three or four nights to get there, free-camp along the way and then we can afford to spend weeks in one spot,” Scott said.

Leanne smiled at her friends and summed up their caravanning experience, saying it has been about making friends because “we all keep in touch.” She adds: “You’re not in each other’s faces. This is why we enjoy catching up for two weeks because we haven’t seen each other for two months while we’ve been on the road.”

And with that, Brian and Pam then suggested they move to their van as it was closer to the beach.

Such are the small sacrifices when it comes to caravanning on Queensland’s sunshine coast – that is, sometimes you have to look for happy hour with your caravanning mates closer to the beach.

YOUR SAY: Tell us about your caravanning friends. How did you meet? How often do you see each other?

Photo, left to right: Pam and Brian Carter share a good yarn with their friends Scott and Leanne Jackson.


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