Travel Australia With Pets + Finding Work On The Road

Travel Australia With Pets + Finding Work On The Road (Aussie Traveller Stories)

by Chrissie Caballero

Are you keen to travel Australia With Pets? How about finding work on the road?

Newly-engaged couple Chris and Holly from @knot2shore_adventures, full-time travellers, share their Big Lap experiences in travelling with their pets, two dogs named Tora & Aria, and finding work on the road to fund their Aussie Big Lap adventures + a quick tour on their set-up.

Tune in to gain ideas on the changes in a traveller’s itinerary that may or may not be affected by their pets. A question you may need to ask yourselves before taking your fur babies with you on the road is:

“How much are you willing to compromise and prepare for travelling?”

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?

We are full-time travellers, we started in April last year. We currently travel with the two of us and two dogs,

Torah and Aria.

Yup, they’re pretty crazy.

One’s ah, oh God.

One’s a husky, and the other’s a blue Hiller… she’s a puppy. She’s probably our most handful…

A full-time job that one.

Why did you decide to do a Big Lap?

We always dreamed about doing a big lap around Australia. It’s currently one of those things that we always said we will do when we retired, but when Covid hit, we couldn’t go on holiday. We were saving money so we just decided that we would…

Instead of buying a house, we’d do this.

Yeah. So we just hit the road, and haven’t looked back. I don’t think we’ll stop anytime soon.

Definitely not. 

It’s definitely a good time.

Where are you currently?

Holly: We’re currently in Perth, spending time with our family, ’cause we’ve been on the road for 10 months, so we came back to see them. We are heading up north…

Chris: To Carnarvon, where we’ve got a job. Got to work for a while, and save up the bank account again. 

Holly: And then hopefully head over to Queensland from there. Which we’re very excited about. Probably our favourite place. 

Chris: Definitely most excited about that.

RELATED: Buy Your Big Lap Bible Here

What is your setup as you travel Australia with Pets?

Chris: We have a 1995 Evernew caravan, which we are in right now, which we’ve renovated. 

Holly: Yup. It was in very good condition, but we ended up just renovating it so it’d look more modern. But we love it, we wouldn’t change it for the world. We’re also in a ‘79 cruiser, with a dog box in the back, and we also have a rooftop tinnie which we recently just bought because we started off with a boat. We loved having a boat, we love fishing, but we decided to sell that for a caravan. Now we got a rooftop tinnie. 

Where do you generally stay?

I think we probably do both…

Yeah, 50-50

Yeah, we find it quite hard to find some free camps or if you do find a free camp. Or if you do find free camps,

Chris: Nice free camps anyway, not just on the side of the roads, sort of things, 

Holly: We tend to hit both, and whatever has really good reviews, we tend to go to.

It’s quite hard to decide on which is best, only because when you’re free camping you’ll love being isolated, and 

Yeah, doing your own thing. But you then start to miss people that you talk to.


I mean other travellers, but then when you’re in a caravan park, you start to hate the whole being around too many people, being crammed in small spaces…and paying for, obviously caravan parks are too expensive…

I think it’s 50-50, we like free camps but when we’re in free camps, we miss the other side of caravan parks.

What is the best camping spot you’ve stayed at?

Chris: Shark Bay, just cause when we were there the weather was just perfect, no wind, flat ass it was awesome, ride on the beach, nice free camp spot, and 

Holly: Literally, the water was dead flat, it was actually making us sick sometimes, we went out of the boat because we wouldn’t move. Either that or Barn Hill, Barn Hill was probably the other 2nd option that was our favourite. We met some really good friends there. You’re on the beach but you’re still above so you can look over the beach, they do live music, pizza nights, and long balls. It’s a very socialized sort of environment. Yeah, that was really good too.

Where is the best place you’ve ever been?

Holly: We both agree on Arnhem land. So that was pretty amazing. You have to get a permit to go out to Arnhem land and then there are a thousand kilometres of dirt to get there. 

Chris: It’s not overly bad the dirt road in, just long.

Holly: Yeah but once you get out there, it’s amazing. 

Chris: Untouched, sort of paradise, fishing, and exploring and whatnot

Holly: You’ll see so much wildlife, everywhere we saw stingrays jumping out and flying, and we saw lots of fish, kangaroos,  sharks, 

Travel Australia With Pets - pet-friendly spotsChris: Dolphins, heaps of fish, Crocodiles, lots of crocodiles which is pretty cool.

Holly: We have the beachside, which is quite like pristine, really pretty and very blue water, and then they also have like the inland, where it’s like waterfalls, lots of exploring, gorgeous, and so awesome. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. And also you can go to the islands as well which is pretty amazing. Island hopping, camp out there, so it’s pretty amazing.

Travel Australia With Pets - petfriendly spots

Related: Get 100s of Discounts for your Big Lap with Our Livin’ Barry platform

Where can’t you wait to go?

Chris: Queensland, cannot wait. 100%, we wanted to do Cape York, Fraser Island. We have a lot of places, the whole of Queensland. Very excited about it.

Holly: Yeah, we can’t wait.

Do you travel Australia with pets, does it restrict you?

Chris: Two dogs, it’s restricting but when you commit to travelling with them and then, you just got to be prepared on missing out on things or paying the extra price for dog sitters. We do have a good setup on the back of the UTE, the dog box, it’s nice and cool within there for them, there’s plenty of room, water, toys, food everything so when we go out for walks and what not and they can’t come with us, they might just spend an hour or two in there.

Holly: We started with one dog and we already knew we will be restricted in National Parks, but when we were on the road, we kind of gained another one. But I would say like, if you’re not going to not travel with a dog, I wouldn’t say get a dog on the road because then it does limit you. But if you do have a dog, and you’re willing to sacrifice or make sacrifices with money with the fact you’d have to pay for someone to look after your dogs.

Chris: National Park is the biggest one, we’ve come through. Most caravan parks these days are pretty good so if your dogs are well-controlled, caravan parks don’t really mind. National Parks are the biggest one, Some National Parks in Australia will let you take your dogs in, and some won’t. Yeah, South Australia is the biggest one we’ve been to, they allow you to walk your dog on the lead but everywhere else has so far been strict that you can’t have a dog in at all.

Any scary or funny moments on the road?

Chris: Yeah probably the scariest time was when we were leaving Arnhem land, so like we said it’s a thousand kilometres of dirt road, and about halfway through we dropped the wheel bearing on our boat trailer, luckily we were carrying spares, but for a moment there, we felt very isolated and very alone.

Holly: And yeah, someone drove past us, they didn’t stop. It was a bit stressful knowing how to change a bearing in the scorching heat in the middle of the day, and then probably halfway between the petrol station, in the middle of the road, and back in Nhulunbuy,  so yeah that was a scary moment.

Tell us about the item you can’t live without

I’d probably say the 12-volt system and the solar panel.

The 12-volt system in the back of the UTE runs our fridges, and a 12-volt system in the caravan as well, highly recommend one with some good solar panels, fit as many as you can in your roof and carry a couple of portable ones, then you’ll be alright then.

Yeah, I think it was a big shock at first, we weren’t really sure how much our stuff would draw from our battery, but we’ve now got the hang of it.  Yeah, you definitely need a lot more solar panels, and a lot more voltage, to cover the fact that you have so much drawing. At first, we weren’t carrying a generator, but now we got the caravan, we carry a generator but if you don’t want to go through the hassle of having a generator, definitely spend the money on a decent 12-volt system.

Make sure you have solar panels as you Travel Australia With Pets

Shop for solar panels and 12-volt systems here: Caravan Power and Electrical System

Tell us how you fund your Big Lap and budget – did you save before you left? Do you work on the road?

Chris: When we first left, we saved up what we think would be enough to last a year, but we were having too much fun, spending way too much money, then we bought a caravan

Holly: Yeah well we were just enjoying ourselves but I think we were stressing at the start to try and make sure we stay on our budget but then we were not really enjoying ourselves as much 

Chris: We also realised that we wanted to do this longer than a year so we committed ourselves to start working about six months into it anyway.

Holly: Yeah, so we decided to work and travel as much as possible so now we just pick up work where we can, for as long as we can or as long as we want and then we’ll hit the road again, and keep going like that hopefully.

How much do you spend and what is your biggest expense?

Holly: I don’t know how much we spend.

Chris: In total, we wouldn’t have a clue, but we know how much fuel we spend in eight or nine months of travelling. We do about 25 thousand kilometres and we spend $7135 on fuel.

Holly: So fuel is probably our biggest expense because our car chews through so much, and we’re towing so that’s probably the biggest expense, which I probably would say is the biggest expense for everyone. If not, accommodation is quite expensive sometimes. But yeah, fuel is probably our biggest expense especially when you’re travelling long distances and we tend to like to explore a lot more, so we don’t sit in one place.

Chris: We do a lot of kilometres in our own state. In 3 months we did 10 thousand kilometres. We didn’t even explore most of it really.

Holly: We tend to not sit still so if we’re sat in a caravan park we’ll try to find something that’s close and we’ll go explore that area and then the next day we’ll do the same and keep finding different areas to explore until we’re finished exploring and then we’ll go to another spot. We tend to go through a lot of fuel which means we spend a lot of money on fuel.

What’s something you know now but didn’t do before you left?

Holly: How easy it is, how easy it is to achieve something like this. If you want to travel, do it, just don’t be scared to do it, you won’t regret it, and you definitely won’t. At first, it was very scary to us, we obviously thought “Oh my gosh how are we going to travel and afford our lifestyle and see everything we want to see.”

You quickly adapt to your new life, I’d say the hardest thing is slowing down at first, getting used to relaxing and enjoying a day and having a day off, and spending multiple days doing nothing sometimes, because you’re just enjoying yourself and enjoying the pure fact that you do have absolute 100% freedom

Yeah definitely…

What is your favourite thing about travelling?

So I reckon freedom.

Yeah definitely the freedom

Being able to go where you want, see what you want

Do what you want, under your own time, we never really planned anything either, we didn’t like booking stuff in advance and having a plan, we just sort of did what we wanted to do in that area and then move on to the next, never booked a caravan park, never booked anything, if they didn’t have spots then we’d just go find somewhere else to camp or another caravan park. It’s just easier that way, it’s less stressful not having to be somewhere at a certain time, so we just pretty much lived like that for 6, 7 months and it was awesome.

I kind of planned little things like where I wanted to see them, but it was never really like “We have to go to this place on this date and we must see this at this time”. It was more like, “Oh I really want to see this, do you want to see it? Let’s go see it together”, obviously, and work around if we had to do anything with the dogs or not, whether it was in the national park. But just having that freedom to go where we want, stay in a caravan park if we want, stay by the beach if we want, just do what we want and not stress about it is quite nice.

What has been your biggest splurge? Was it worth it?

The caravan definitely, buying this, it’s totally worth it

It almost left us broke but luckily we were working at the time so we quickly saved up the money that we spent, but well worth it especially when you’re travelling like we are now, for the long term and working and whatnot, it’s easier to have a proper base and somewhere to live

As soon as we left, it’s lovely being out in the outdoors but after a while, it does get a bit much being outdoors all the time obviously being with mozzies (mosquitos), cold, or sometimes if it’s really hot. Sometimes it’s just nice to have somewhere to hide in. Just like when you’re on the road and you’re just driving somewhere for a long distance and you stop for some lunch, it’s nice to just be able to jump in the caravan and make that lunch or sit and relax before we get back the road again whereas before, we were making it out the side of the car.

That wasn’t an issue either, it more came down to when we started working and whatnot, and in and out of cold and wet weather, the caravan really came into its own element.

Is there anything you bought but don’t use as much as you thought or it wasn’t worth the money?

No, everything we take with us we’ve used and if we haven’t used it we’ve thrown it out because we don’t like carrying unnecessary things

Probably the only thing I’d say actually is we bought two bikes in Darwin just because we thought, if we’re working we could ride them to work and then ride home and it would make life easier but it turned out when we got to Adelaide, we were in the hills and you could not ride to work and I couldn’t ride to work, it was just insane that we were so unfit as well. I think that was probably the only thing that we probably spent, it wasn’t all that expensive 

And we only got rid of them as well because we didn’t have the room when we left Adelaide, we had nowhere to put them, so we had to get rid of them.

Our boat was our holder of all our stuff so once we got to the caravan, we didn’t have anywhere else to store them. That’s probably the only thing I’d say that we bought and didn’t use, but everything else we’ve actually used. I think we’re pretty smart with that sort of stuff.

I definitely recommend not overpacking or taking too many unnecessary things because they just end up getting in the way.

We were worried about weight restriction, we didn’t want to be overweight so that kind of helped us narrow down what we wanted and what we should keep and what we should not keep.

How were you affected by the lockdown?

The whole time we were travelling we were not really affected that much, we got stuck in, well we weren’t stuck we could still travel and whatnot, we just couldn’t go to Darwin or Katherine but we could still explore so it wasn’t too bad

We were stuck in Pine Creek right in the middle so luckily we got to do Kakadu National Park 

So that wasn’t a huge issue 

And the bottom end of Litchfield there were also a lot of gorges around Pine Creek 

It was only four days so it wasn’t a huge issue, and the next real big issue was trying to get back into WA 

Adelaide was fine, they obviously opened borders but it was completely fine, no lockdowns there

Just a few restrictions here and there but nothing major

The only other thing is getting back to WA to see our family. We had to apply for all the relevant passes and

Had to prove a lot, and it was very difficult

I mean at least we’re done, we’re here, we made it

What is your biggest tip to other big lappers?

Our biggest tip is to pick up work wherever you get offered or wherever you see signs for people needing work. We got offered a lot of work in a lot of places.

The whole time we were travelling, especially right at the beginning, and we were just being lazy because we just started our holidays, so we were more excited about travelling and doing our own thing that we didn’t actually take up on the work so we ended up running, not running out of money but we ended up chewing through our money quicker than we thought.

Whereas if we took the option it would’ve covered our stay or at least bumped up our money a little bit more instead of it running low. So that’s probably our biggest tip. Also, I just want to say have fun, don’t stress too much about money, you can always pick up work or you can always do something to make sure that it covers something like your accommodation, so just stop stressing. It’s easy to do, everyone can do it and just have fun. We’ve had so much dun and I don’t think we’d ever turn back now. 

Yeah we wouldn’t change anything

It’s amazing, thank you.


So this is our car and our rooftop tinnie. Here is the dog box that they sleep in and get moved around in. This is our shower, we also have a shower tent by Kick-Ass. We also have our fridge in here and our 12-volt system, please ignore the mess. And then this is our caravan. We are currently updating a few things on our caravan with new suspension, and new wheels. But let’s look inside.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by | (@knot2shore_adventures)


Want to share your Big Lap travel story?

Connect with us through InstagramFacebook, and TikTok 

Get your own The Big Lap Bible – the ultimate guide, planner, tracker and discount book for the biggest road trip of your life here!

You may also like

Leave a Comment