Wanderlust keeps couple on the road
COFFS Harbour couple Peter and Pam Fraser take their home with them when they travel.
Their trusty campervan, and more recently their motor home, have taken them to all the states of Australia, including Tasmania and even to offshore destinations like Kangaroo Island.
That vehicle has now clocked up nearly half a million kilometres.
Certified accountant Peter, who is retired from his full time job with the NSW Forestry Commission.
What makes a retired couple leave the comfort of their home and leafy garden and join the flock of grey nomads seeking out the red dirt of the outback, the winding bush tracks, gravel roads and small towns?
Pam says it is simply curiosity about this vast and varied country - and the people they meet.
"There's so much we don't know - we've only scratched the surface," Pam said.
"We don't like highways and caravan parks, we like the bush and this is the best way to see Australia."
"It's unique" said certified accountant Peter, who retired many years ago from his full time job with the NSW Forestry Commission.
He recalls sights like thousands of corellas taking off over the Burke and Wills dig tree and billy goats racing at Lightning Ridge.
"It broadens your mind and stretches your horizons."
They also like to support smaller rural communities by camping there; buying food and petrol and meeting friendly locals.
Pam caught the travel bug on earlier trips to England, Europe and New Zealand and now entices Peter away from his beloved garden on a regular basis.
In fact both have recently been re-elected to the local executive of a national recreational vehicle organisation.
This group organises small-scale weekend trips around the North Coast every month as well as longer itineraries.
"I love to travel in a group for that security, Pam said. "It's fantastic for singles.
"We've travelled around Australia and if anything happens to any of us, the others will wait.
Connected by their trusty CB radios, they have tackled Camerons Corner, the Birdsville Track, Strzelecki Track and other far flung routes without disaster
They had one experience where a brand new motor home driven by a member of their group failed to start in a remote national park. The fine print in his warranty said it did not apply in remote areas and he had to return it to the showroom for a fix.
Other members of the travelling group managed to diagnose and resolve the problem, which turned out to be a computer malfunction.
Peter has also been impressed by the capabilities of the National Roads and Motoring Organisation (NRMA) whose patrol man cheerfully turned up within 30 minutes of his call out to Mataranka after a battery failure, which turned out to be simply a disconnected lead, rather than the mechanic's initial diagnosis of: "the guts have dropped out of the bottom of your second battery."
RVs have a reputation for being expensive and the couple do meet $400,000 RVs on the road, but Peter and Pam bought and rigged their motor home for just $20,000.
After they found the bus at Barcaldine and drove it home, Peter did the fit-out himself, using a lot of recycled materials.
"We're daggy campers," Peter said.
They acquired the bus when their first vehicle had become "the crampervan, rather than a campervan."
"As you get older, you like a bit of comfort," Peter said.