Can you do a Big Lap without the commitment?
Watch this video as Leah and Jordarn, currently, part-time travellers, share their experiences, plans and how they prepare to do the Big Lap soon. Listen to their travelling stories as they plan for their Big Lap in the future.
If you’ve seen our previous episodes of Aussie travel stories, how does weekend/part-time travelling compare to full-time Big Lap adventure? Would you go full-time or part-time travel too? How does your lifestyle or work affect plans for the big lap?
Welcome to Aussie Travel Stories, the series where we ask Aussie travellers questions to help inspire and educate the Big Lap community to enjoy the greatest road trip of their lives.
What’s Your Travel Story?
Leah: I’m Leah. And this is Jordarn and we’re the @sandy.travellers
Unfortunately, we don’t travel full-time at the moment. So we are only weekend/part fun travellers. We’ve done a few trips with a big group of friends, and right now we are currently travelling for the night.
Why did you decide to do a Big Lap?
Leah: So we’re not on a big lap. We just got back from a trip about a month and a bit ago from the Eyre peninsula. We were there for two weeks travelling with a group of five of us. So probably the next one hopefully is a bit longer, maybe two weeks again later this year.
Jordarn: Hopefully that’s Northern territory.
Where are you currently, the route you’re taking?
Leah: But right now I am currently working part-time and I’m studying full-time. So I’m studying teaching and Jordarn is working in hospitality as a venue manager.
Jordarn: Hotel manager at a pub in Adelaide, so yeah, it’s hard to get away, but we try our best to do as much as we can.
Leah: So we are at the River Murray, just out of, Mannum probably 30 Ks, 40 Ks out of Mannum at what’s it called?
Jordan: It’s a place called *Wongulla. So near Walker Flat. It’s a nice part of the river. Pretty secluded, not many people come here on a Sunday night when we are travelling because we get odd days off.
Leah: Yeah. And because Jordarn has Sunday, Mondays off and I have Sunday, Mondays off. It’s the only time we can sort of getaway. And we try to get away whenever we can, basically, even if it’s just for a night.
What is your setup?
Jordarn: So we’ve got a Land Cruiser, a ’79 series dual cab. Just standard really. It’s got a two-inch lift, got a Bush company rooftop tent and just a standard canopy fit-out. My first trip away was down the road with it last year when we got it in September and we fell in love with it after that. We had a Prado before. But our plans are the future to do a full lap or at least a half a lap. Depending on what happens at work.
Where do you stay – caravan parks? Free camps? Both?
Jordarn: I think free camps are better for us. We don’t need caravan parks. We’re pretty self-sufficient. We’ve got a pretty good power set up in the cruiser.
Leah: Yeah. Sometimes like we are away in Eyre peninsula in January and there were times we needed a Caravan park it’s because we needed the facilities, like the laundry and the showers because we don’t have a shower or anything as of yet. So that came in handy when we had pretty average weather. We got to just set up camp at a caravan park, wash our clothes and just be refreshed for a night or two.
Jordarn: It’s always good to break up a free camp trip with a caravan park somewhere in the middle and get away from the wind. Very windy over here in SA. It never stops, it follows us at the moment, unfortunately, but it is what it is.
Leah: But like over SA, there are so many free camps, you can find them anywhere basically. And some of them are actually really nice.
Jordarn: Yeah. There are some really good ones. We’ve got a pretty good background here minus the wind, but we’re having a little fire tonight, cooking a bit of damper.
What is the best camping spot you’ve stayed at?
Leah: Perhaps last year, maybe Memory Cove on Eyre peninsula. We haven’t been too many, like too many camping spots together. So yeah. I think Memory Cove just out of port Lincoln was pretty amazing.
Jordarn: Yeah. I’d agree with that. Memory Cove is definitely one of those tracks that it’s quite rough getting into. But once you’re there, it’s all worth it. Funny story about that. We did actually, you need a key to get into, Memory Cove, which is like a conservation park and we had booked it months in advance because you have to and we had forgotten the key, rocked up at about 4 o’clock and the information centre in Fort Lincoln closed at 5. And so we made it, it was about the two-hour drive through some very Sandy tracks, but we found a quicker way out that we just got in time to get the key and go back and end up staying two nights. And we only thought we were going to stay one and we were pretty bummed out for a bit there, but yeah.
Leah: It was an interesting drive, but we did make it back there.
Jordarn: Yeah. It was definitely a very rough ride, let’s put it that way.
photo via WikiCamps
Leah: But yeah, I think that’s a good one. And also Coffin Bay, like the spring campground in Coffin Bay, was beautiful.
Jordarn: Coffin Bay National Park. You get your own little private beach.
Leah: The water is crystal clear.
Jordan: There are mussels in the water. Lots of sea life.
photo via WikiCamps
Where is the best place you’ve ever been?
Jordarn: I personally think Eyre peninsula will always go back to, but I think the best place I’ve been would be Arkaroola up in the Flinders. We are always drawn there. We’ve been there, I think three times now or two times maybe, but every time we always find something more to do or we might do the same thing, But it’s just as good as it was the first time like the landscape is so diverse. The last time we took the Arkaroola scenic flight, that was amazing. Looking over all the gorges and hearing all the stories about the land.
Leah: So much history. It was beautiful. Yeah. Definitely. Arkaroola in Flinders is one place that we’ll always go back to.
Jordarn: That’s our main go-to four day-five day trip out of Adelaide.
Leah: It’s amazing. Yeah.
Where can’t you wait to go?
Jordarn: WA, we can’t wait to get up to Exmouth. And even further up the route, Kimberly we wanna go to the Pilbara region. NT is on our list to do this year. Hopefully, end of August.
Leah: Cockatoo bay, is very beautiful.
Jordarn: End of August. The start of September would be ideal for this year.
Leah: Not that far up, but probably.
Jordarn: Just up to Alice and go to Uluru and do the Oodnadatta track. We tried to do that last year, but work got in the way, unfortunately.
Leah: I would also personally love to go to Tasmania. That’s like a massive thing, so beautiful over there and we don’t see many people going over there. I think it’s only sort of coming up to be a big thing, but there are so many little places over there that you hear are just beautiful.
Do you travel with a pet, does it restrict you?
Leah: No, we do not travel with a pet. Not yet.
Jordarn: We’d love to have a little border collie with us, but we know there are a lot of challenges that come with pets.
Any scary or funny moments on the road?
Jordarn: Scary, we were down at the Coorong down here in SA and if anyone knows the 42-mile crossing, it’s quite a soft sandy beach. We’ve then gone into the tea tree crossing to go camp there.
Leah: Also this was one of my first times camping with you and 4-wheel driving. This was a big deal for me.
Jordarn: So, yeah. And Leah hadn’t been camping heap before or full driving. So as a first experience, I’m surprised it didn’t scare her off. We had tried to get up a sand dune and in my old Prado I had blown the diff(diffuser) pretty much and sheared off seven teeth off the crown wheel. And limping that back along the beach at almost high tide was probably the scariest point. I was very shaky after that drive. And we had probably 20 Ks to go down the beach and 20 to 30 Ks to go down the beach. And yeah, it was quite scary. I was just lucky. I was with a couple of mates that had another Land Cruiser in it. It was one of the scariest. The funniest one was when we woke up on the Eyre Peninsula at Point Brown.
Leah: Just out of Smokey bay.
Jordarn: And it had rained most of the night.
Leah: But we expecting it. So we went to bed at about maybe 10 o’clock at night, I think. All our mates went to bed in swags and we were expecting rain at about 9 that night, but it didn’t.
Jordarn: And then at around about 12, it started bucketing down. We didn’t really hear too much in the rooftop tent. I got up to go to the loo at about 5 and the awnings were bowing a little bit with a bit of water on there. So I sort of shifted them around. And then at about 6:30, one of our friends that were in a swag started saying “help” and then called out my name. And I looked out the window of the rooftop tent and all I could see was basically a pool of water they had woken up in. So it ended up being about knee-high.
Leah: All of our stuff was still out.
Jordarn: Yeah. All our stuff was still at the tables, chairs, awnings, and awning walls. The whole way our camp was all set up, but it was basically knee-high water. I woke up one of my other mates and they were in their swag, didn’t even know they were floating. And the only time they got wet is when they opened the swag up and all the water rushed into their swag.
Leah: That was pretty funny. It wasn’t funny at the time but at the same time, no one was really stressing out too much.
Jordarn: It was almost like, yeah, it was good. It was a good experience, but we’re not going to sleep further down the river again. Let’s put it that way.
Leah: Yeah. We did pack up pretty quickly though, and go and seek refuge at a cafe in Streaky Bay. So that was nice. Sort of dried off a bit, which was good, but it did take us a while to dry all the swags.
Jordarn: Yeah. Swags took probably I’d say four to five days.
Leah: They’re probably still not dry to this moment.
Jordarn: Yeah. And we sort of moved our trip around a little bit. We didn’t stay in as many free camps. We ended up staying in Coffin bay caravan park for I think it was two to three nights.
Leah: Yeah about that.
Jordarn: Drying out the mattress of the other guys. Credit where credits are due for the Bush company, the rooftop tent that held up really well. Did not get a drop of water on the inside. So yeah.
Tell us about the item you can’t live without
Jordarn: Well, my coffee machine.
Leah: So extra, like he’s actually got a full-on blown coffee machine in there with a grinder and everything. We use air roasted coffee beans, which are absolutely amazing. From Paul Lincoln, highly recommend it. And yeah, it makes pretty good coffee.
Read Our Ultimate List Here: 15 Coffee Solutions For Travelling Australia (Camping & Caravan Coffee)
Jordarn: What about you? Do you have one?
Leah: Well now, my Yeti stubby holder, maybe.
Jordarn: They are really good.
Leah: They’re pretty good. Don’t know what I would do without them before, stand old stubby holders.
Tell us how you fund your Big Lap and budget – did you save before you left? Do you work on the road?
Leah: We obviously haven’t done a big lap. We’re not on a big lap, but we plan to save for a lap.
Jordarn: Yeah. We plan to save quite a bit, we haven’t sat down and looked at budgets yet, but from what most people say, you know, about 20 each is about right. To go for a full lap around Australia for a year. Obviously, depending on the lifestyle, you live as well.
Leah: Depending on if you work, I don’t know if it’ll work or not.
Jordarn: It probably won’t work really. We’ve both worked. We both travelled overseas before. I didn’t go to Uni. I haven’t gone to Uni. I probably, will not go to Uni, so it’s really just been working. So it just needs sort of a holiday and just needs to stop.
Leah: Yeah, and I mean, once we do our first lap as well, even if it’s not a full up, then we can get a grasp for the future. And if we do a full lap of Australia and if we do want to work at that point, so yeah. It’d be a good time to get a feel for things, I think.
Jordarn: And being a teacher, Leah graduates and being in hospitality, managing a hotel. It’ll be pretty easy to get work. I’m sure in Australia.
Leah: I mean, I’ll be happy to work in hospitality anyway.
How much do you spend and what is your biggest expense?
Jordarn: Probably our trip away. When we do go, I would say pretty obvious probably diesel, probably our biggest expense. Especially when you’re covering a lot of Ks throughout the day, trying to get three miles. Next would probably be, the food’s a pretty big one as well.
Leah: Especially when you’re making like four meals every night.
Jordarn: We don’t skimp on meals. We like to eat a good dinner and a good lunch.
Leah: As well as our friends as well when we travel with them.
Jordarn: We like to eat healthily and we like to eat well pretty much.
Leah: Definitely. And I guess, everyone likes to drink as well.
Jordarn: Yeah. And alcohol is probably the third one as well. We’ll have a couple of beers when we get to camp at night or we’ll have a glass of wine or whatever it would be so everything adds up.
What’s something you know now but didn’t before you left?
Jordarn: I think we’re always learning new things. Every now and then we pick up little ideas here and there from the way we can change our setup to.
Leah: What we could leave behind as well.
Jordarn: Yeah. What we could leave behind and how minimalistic we could be. I think a lot of people get cluttered in going to your main camping stores and just being sold at everything and just buying everything you can when really all you need is a table, a couple of chairs. And like if you’ve got Weber Q like we use our Weber Q for everything. If we’re not having a fire like we are tonight.
Leah: I guess, yeah, the fire comes in handy in the cooler season. Obviously, in summer you can’t have one. So the fire in winter and the colder seasons makes it easier to cook things on. So less cladding in the canopy.
What is your favourite thing about travelling?
Jordarn: Seeing new things, just being on the road, just that feeling of freedom, I think.
Leah: Yeah. I think also meeting new people as well. Just like there are so many, especially travelling in Australia on the road, there are so many like-minded people and everyone is so friendly. It’s crazy. Like when we went away in January, there were so many people that came up to us and started talking. I just couldn’t believe it. So I think that’s a great thing about travelling to Australia.
Jordarn: I think there are a lot more like-minded people now than probably have been in the past. Obviously with all COVID lockdowns, and COVID restrictions, it’s changed the way people think, the way they travel. Obviously, no one’s going overseas as much anymore. Obviously, that’s going to pick up soon, but at the same time, I definitely think it’s the freedom of travelling and meeting new people.
What has been your biggest splurge? Was it worth it?
Jordarn: That. A very expensive piece of machinery do? I think the biggest splurge is we have, is when we go out for dinner like when we come to a town, we’ll go out for a nice dinner and a couple of drinks and we like to enjoy ourselves when we go out for dinner.
Leah: Or maybe going to like a beachside town or somewhere, obviously in like the Flinders or something. And there’s like a gift store or a surf shop. It’s always nice to buy something from the town you go to, just to have something to remember it by. I think it’s like the same if you go this overseas and you buy souvenirs there, it’s basically the same thing and it’s all worth it. I mean, we went to, when we went to Flinders, we out for dinner at the Woolshed in Rawnsley Park and that food was absolutely amazing.
Jordarn: Yeah. That was amazing.
Leah: Like the best money we’ve ever spent.
Jordarn: Expensive three-course meal, but.
Leah: We don’t do it very often.
Jordarn: You don’t do it every day and you know what? You may as well do it while you’re there.
Leah: Exactly. Right.
Is there anything you bought but don’t use as much as you thought or it wasn’t worth the money?
Leah: We used everything.
Jordarn: We pretty much use everything. Yeah. There’s nothing we’ve bought lately because, well, I’ve camped quite a lot over the last, probably seven years since I been out of school and there’s a lot of stuff you don’t need and I’ve sort of gotten rid of that and just kept the stuff we do need.
Leah: We use everything. And we don’t have that much.
How were you affected by the lockdown?
Leah: Honestly, it wasn’t too bad for us.
Jordarn: It didn’t affect us too much.
Leah: Compared to other people.
Jordarn: Yeah. Like if you were in obviously New South Wales or if you were in Victoria, it’s a bit different. Like they obviously got locked down for a lot longer than we did. We only got locked down for, I don’t know, a couple of months, but even then I was still working full time. So it didn’t really feel like out of the ordinary for me, I just went home at night and then went to work.
Leah: I also had a job to go back to.
Jordarn: Leah had Uni to do and a job to go back to. And we still, when we were slowly coming out of lockdown, we were able to travel. So we got away and used, sort of like we’re doing tonight. We did a couple of day trips here and there. Because sometimes we have reduced work hours or so on.
What is your biggest tip to other big lappers?
Jordarn: I think just getting out there and exploring something you haven’t done before. So let it be going to a new campsite. We’d normally start to walk flat. We stayed at another campsite, just down the road. And it’s just the same.
Leah: Take a chance. I mean, don’t overthink things and just do it. You may as well. What else are you going to be doing? Sitting at home.
Jordarn: And like we’ve said before as well, I come up three times now, but just take a chair, a swag or a tent and just go enjoy yourself.
Leah: Yeah a quick barbecue, you don’t need much, a couple of drinks.
Jordarn: Yeah. And just look at the weather.
Leah: Make sure you look at the weather, don’t go when it’s like rain forecast and 50 kilometres an hour wind. Don’t do that.
Well, thank you.