As most caravanners will attest, one of the best and most enjoyable parts of the vanning lifestyle is the people you meet along the way. Sure, that breathtaking view over the Great Australian Bight may remain etched in your memory for a while, but it’s the characters you come across that can really make a road trip memorable.
Country pubs, outback hotels, caravan parks, bush camps, the corner store – they’re all places you’re likely to come across an interesting character or two on your travels. But the middle of the Nullarbor? Literally, and geographically, almost halfway across Australia? I can’t say I expected to meet anyone out here during a long day of driving.
But then CW photographer Steve and videographer Matt, standing on the side of the road shooting our Avida Birdsville motorhome, caught the attention of two country cops cruising past. And after (jokingly) trying to scare the pants off the guys, the two policemen pulled up for a chat.
It turned out they were from the nearby community of Yalata – one was a long-termer and one had only been in the region for only a couple of weeks. It was fascinating hearing about the area from these guys, and they enjoyed hearing all about our cross-country road trip from Melbourne to Perth. It was a welcome break from long days on the road for all of us!
On the same trip, we kept crossing paths with a fellow on a trike motorcycle. Everytime we stopped for photos (or to talk to policemen), he would overtake us; then the next time he stopped for a pie or a coke, we would overtake him. We finally pulled up next to him for obligatory photos at one of the iconic Nullarbor road signs and learned he was travelling around the country, or as much of it as he could in a few months, carrying all his camping gear on the back of his trike. The day we met him, he was planning to have a night of ‘luxury’ in a real bed at the Balladonia Roadhouse, en-route to Perth where his wife was flying in to meet him.
The next quirky character had a fascinating story to share after travelling most of the way around the world. Adrienne, a marine biologist from the Netherlands, somehow found her way to the western edge of the Nullarbor Plain and is now the manager of the Fraser Range Caravan Park.
While that trip was fantastic for many reasons, the people we met along the way really made it memorable for me (you can find more on our Cross-Country Epic trip in CW June and July issues - #564 & #565).
This editorial appears in Caravan World #563. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!