Travel Australia With Kids? Doing The Big Lap With Small Children

Travel Australia With Kids? Doing The Big Lap With Small Children (Aussie Travel Stories)

by Chrissie Caballero

Travel Australia With Kids – Doable or Impossible?

Currently on maternity leave, and working as a brand partner to Young Living, Em with her husband Travis and their kids decided to do a big lap after having their international trip got cancelled due to lockdowns.

Now full-time travellers, they first looked into travelling somewhere locally. As they watched and learned from travellers on YouTube and Instagram, they decided to try and do the big lap. Will you be the next to get the travel bug and go forth for an adventure of a lifetime?

“Don’t be afraid to adapt and pivot and do what’s best for you and your family”

If you are a family with small kids and you love travelling, you will relate to or gain an idea of how an Aussie family with small kids travels and make decisions and adjustments to reset and regroup and keep having fun on their next travel across Australia.

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?

Emma: Yeah. Hey, big lap Bible. My name is Emma

Travis: I’m Travis,

Emma: And we are Adderley Adventures on Instagram. 

Travis: We are full-time travellers. We’ve been on the road for about seven months now. We’ve got two young kids, Tobias and Nola, they’re asleep at the moment. So nice and quiet. Yeah.

Why did you decide to do a Big Lap?

Emma: It really came from lockdown.

Travis: Two.

Emma: Lockdown number two in 2020. We had a Bali holiday that was cancelled. And so we started looking around at places that we could go within Australia and then we started going, oh, that place is nice. And that place is nice. And so how can we see it all kind of thing. And then we really got sick of just feeling like, we just weren’t living our lives. And so we decided. And that’s when really push come to shove and we decided to have a crack at living on the road full time.

Travis: We’d been watching a lot of families on YouTube and Instagram and started to get the bug. And then we just went too far down the rabbit hole and we were like, we have to give it a crack. So sold everything. Got a little bit of stuff at the mother-in-law back in Vic, but sold everything. We’re going to move around for the rest of this year and then settle down somewhere at the end of the year and set up for another lap in a couple of years I reckon.

Where are you currently?

Emma: So we are currently in Adelaide at west beach, which is incredible, an incredible park if you’re coming through Adelaide.

Travis: Awesome. If you’ve got kids. Yeah, like incredible. 

Emma: The facilities are amazing. Yeah. As far as the route we’re taking, this has changed a million times, which I’m sure it has for a lot of people travelling. The intent this year was to set off from Vic, come into South Australia for about six weeks and then continue into WA. But when the borders were delayed closing, we had to sort of reevaluate what we were doing. And then we made the decision. Well, we were originally toying with the idea of going up the middle and then into WA but when we talked about it a bit more, neither of us was keen to drag to little east, Tobias is three Nola is one, Nola has just started walking she’s into everything Tobias can be a little bit challenging as well. And so, yeah, we just decided that neither of us was keen to do that.

And so now we are needing a little bit of a break actually. And so I am going to fly with the kids to Brisbane and Travis is going to drive across the country so the kids and I get a bit of a break from the car and the van. Travis gets a bit of a break from the kids and yeah, we can just like reset, regroup, and then we’re going to do probably five or six months in Queensland. So yeah, I would say like, just, don’t be afraid to adapt and pivot and do what is best for you and your family and not like necessarily what should be done or what you think should be done because we think it’s actually a bit of a blessing in disguise that WA was delayed for us and we will do it now when the kids are a bit older and able to not have to worry about day naps and no longer in the car and do full days out and about and all of that sort of thing. So, yeah, that is our plan. 

Travis: Hopefully in a couple of years we can set out and do WA instead of doing six months, we might have eight or 10 months because we’ve seen South Australia and new south Wales and we’ll do Queensland this year. So we’ll have a lot of time for Northern Territory and WA later on.

Emma: Yeah, definitely.

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What is your setup as you travel Australia with kids?

Use Caravan when you Travel Australia With Kids


Travis: Alright. We have a 2017 wild track Ford and a 2021, Urban Tungsten Tuff Caravan. It’s a semi-off-road fully off-grid, self-contained Caravan 21 foot, six-inch. It’s awesome. We did a few upgrades like lithium batteries and a few handy things. So it’s been pretty good. The UTE is completely decked out. We did complete levels upgrade GVM and GCM. We got an awesome draw set, fridge, air compressor, and the works, it’s a pretty awesome setup. Had it tuned and bigger breaks. It’s been awesome. We’ve been off-road a bit and the rocks and the sand and it hasn’t let us down. 

Emma: No, hasn’t skipped a beat.

Travis: We were on Perlubie a couple of weeks ago, and everyone’s like, you’re going to have to get pulled out. The sand was soft but dug a few tracks, put a few max tracks down and just pinned it, and we got out their first shot. It was awesome.

Emma: Yeah, it was good. It was very satisfying actually.

Where do you generally stay as you travel Australia with kids?

Travis: Definitely a big mixture.

Emma: Yeah. We stay at both and love it all. I think when we’ve had enough of the free camping, we love to come back to a caravan park and run some water and be in like civilization. I suppose if you like.

Travis: When we get sick of going around parks, we go free camping off-grid.

Emma: We love good showgrounds. We find showgrounds so good because they usually are really reasonable price, really well maintained. 

Travis: Even the leagues club up through Northern new south Wales. There was beautiful last year.

Emma: Yeah. So last year we did all of the mid-north coasts of new south Wales and yeah, you usually get a water hookup, so yeah, but we do, we enjoy a mix

Travis: For sure.

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

Emma: What is the best camping spot you’ve stayed at? That’s really hard because they’re good for different reasons.

Travis: Sure. I think I pronounce this correctly. It’s Wauraltee on the Yorke peninsula. That was our first taste of beach camping. Took the van down on the beach with a crew of people that we’d met on the road. And yeah, that was an awesome couple of days.

Emma: It was, it was really good. And I think Wauraltee on the Yorke Peninsula is a bit less well known than Perlubie on the air peninsula of SA. But I think we preferred Wauraltee. So if you’re looking to do a beach camp, definitely consider that one. I’m just trying to think if there was another one,

Travis: Greenly.

Greenly Campground - Travel Australia With KidsEmma: Yes Greenly Campground for camping and rock pools and that sort of thing was amazing. And I think La Wilin bar showgrounds on the mid-north coast of new south Wales, that was really cool. It was so green the grass. Oh my gosh. If you know, you know okay. And grass, the grass is incredible. And they were really lovely and the town was great. Yeah, I think they’re probably the top three.

Travis: Yeah, For sure.

Emma: I will add Streaky Bay was great, but I think that’s because we found the Eyre peninsula so unexpectedly remote. When we hit a town again, we were like, oh, like it was so great. And it is really beautiful. They have beautiful cafes and shops and things like that. So streaky caravan park is just like a quick walk or ride into town. We ate at the pub, like, yeah, that was really good. Just because it’s like such a taste of civilisation after so little of it.

Where is the best place you’ve ever been?

Emma: I feel like we kind of answered that in the best camping spot

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Where can’t you wait to go?

Travis: Yeah. I’ll keep it pretty short and sweet, like Emma said, if you know, you know, I won’t be going back to Port Augusta any time soon.

Emma: Yeah, no, that was, yep. That was pretty rough. I would say that one of the best places I’ve ever been to was honestly Byron Bay. 

Travis: Yeah. It was pretty good. 

Emma: That just lived up to all of my expectations. It was a big bucket list for me. And I know people say, oh, Byron, like it’s too commercialized and whatever, whatever that means. I thought it was great. The food, the people, like the whole little culture around it. I thought Byron Bay was really cool.

Travis: Even Lennox head was.

Emma: Yeah. Lennox Head and Brunswick Head, which are north and south of Byron are all really great spots. 

Travis: I can’t wait to get up Port Douglas, early beach this year. Now that we plan on going up there. I’ve been up to Port Douglas and Cairns when I was a young kid, early teens, you know, 12, 13. So not that long ago, but yeah, I’m looking forward to getting back up there. I’ve got a good fond memory of it and I want to take the family and the kids and get up there and enjoy the last half of this year and yeah, go from there.

Emma: Yeah. I’ve never really spent much time in Queensland at all. So I’m very excited. I can’t wait to eventually do the coral coast of WA, it just looks amazing. But again, when the time is better for kids, Queensland will be cool. I’m really excited. 

Do you travel with a pet, does it restrict you?

Emma: No, we don’t.

Any scary or funny moments on the road?

Travis: Yeah, I got nearly got cleaned up completely twice now. Once was, we went out to the bun clips just about half an hour past to the Roadhouse and yeah, I was just cruising 90, 95 and I’ll take a little bit of responsibility. I’ve probably floated a little bit into the middle, but the truck comes in my way, he was a long way out of his lane. So that was pretty airy for me. And then just on our way here, a couple of days ago, the jewel lanes where you can overtake, you’re not meant to overtake when this car is in both lanes. And I come out around this truck and this car was on the wrong side road. It was just a coincidence that we didn’t hit.

Emma: That was just a matter of timing. Like people are just in such a hurry. It’s crazy. But any particular funny time? Plenty of funny moments, and the kids make us laugh, but nothing that super stands out and also just like meeting up with other travellers and having a good laugh with other people. And it’s just like you and your family all the time and you can meet some like-minded people along the way and just have a really good laugh. That’s the best, I really enjoy that. 

Travis: And there are so many families and people out there travelling at the moment. It’s awesome.

Emma: Yeah. It’s a cool community.

Tell us about the item you can’t live without

Emma: I love our mat under the caravan, the A247. The CGear. Yeah. From A247. The CGear mat. That’s unreal. I love our mat. I don’t know, selling all of your stuff out of your house and donating and giving away all of your stuff really makes you realize that you can live pretty much without anything, which is really cool. That was one of the parts of this exercise, is just living with less. Yeah. And yeah, it just really makes you realize how little you need. 

Travis: I’ll probably go as far as saying the fridge, that’s where I keep my bears, the wine and whatever we need on the road when we’re out.

Emma: Yeah. It’s pretty essential.

Travis: It’s good. Yeah.

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CGear Mat when you Travel Australia With KidsTell us how you fund your Big Lap and budget – did you save before you left? Do you work on the road?

Emma: All of the above. So we sold our house so that obviously went a really long way to funding, like our setup. We saved as well. We saved before we left and then I work on the road as well. So I am a brand partner with young living and I can do that from the road. So it’s a really incredible gig that just enables us a little bit of extra freedom while we’re travelling. And yeah. Travis will go back to work at the end of this year. And I’m still also on maternity leave from my corporate role.

Travis: Hopefully you don’t have to go back to that.

Emma: We’ll see what happens. So yeah, that’s how we fund it.

As A Family Travelling Australia With Kids – How much do you spend and what is your biggest expense?

Emma: We budget about a thousand dollars a week. Our biggest expense is probably a little bit more food. Like our one-year-old eats more than our three-year-old since she has hit the solids. She nudges our food budget. But yeah, it’s food. We try not to do too many coffees out but also like it’s a bit nice. So we do that a bit.

Travis: We don’t eat out a lot.

Emma: No, we don’t eat a lot of meals out, but yeah, like food in is our biggest expense.

Travis: We’ve got an inverter and a good battery system we use. So we normally take lunch out and cook or have wraps or something. So yeah, food is huge actually.

Emma: I’d say that’s half like we budget a thousand bucks a week, food, booze, coffees like that’s half of it

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

Travis: There’s a lot.

Emma: There’s a lot. Yeah. I think we underestimated travelling with our kids so young. Like we won’t sugarcoat that. I think some too kids adapt really well to life on the road and perhaps others struggle a little bit more. Our three-year-old is one of the ones that are just struggling a little bit more. And so I think we perhaps underestimated that a little bit. And then also once our daughter started walking, it just changed. It just changed everything where before, they would both kind of sit on the mat under the awning and play, she’s off now. Like she just wants to go. 

We haven’t gone down the road of getting a pen or a playpen or anything like that. We think she’d just be at it like screaming the whole time or climbing it or pushing it over or whatever. But I guess that’s a path that we can go down, but I think that’s something that we probably underestimated. Which is okay. I’m just rereading the question, something, you know now, but you didn’t before you left.

We’re learning on the road all the time. You’re just learning as you go. You’re constantly trying new things that didn’t work out. Try something else. Talking to people, getting tips and tricks off people like, yeah. Like you’re just constantly learning as you go I think.

What is your favourite thing about travelling?

Travis: Probably the people, people in places, moving day, the blood starts pumping, hook a van up. We’re moving where we’re going. It’s not like you’re packing up and got to go home and back to work. It’s going to the next destination moving day. It’s pretty exciting. And the people and places you get to see. 

Emma: Yeah. Definitely. I love moving days. I love that feeling of going to a new place to explore. That’s my favourite thing.

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

Travis: I’d have to say the DJI Mavic Air 2 the drone.

Emma: The drone

Travis: Yeah, that was a splurge, but there’s nothing better than getting somewhere. And you’re trying to take all these photos with the camera, good SLR is it? 

Emma: Yeah. Like a Canon camera. 

Travis: You try to take photos, you look at them, you’re like this just doesn’t do it justice. You throw the drone up in the air and you’re just like, wow, this is sick. 

Emma: It just really gives you a really great perspective of where you are. It just makes you go. Yep. This is cool. It does it justice for sure.

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DJI Mavic Air 2S Drone for travelling AustraliaIs there anything you bought but don’t use as much as you thought or it wasn’t worth the money?

Travis: Probably a lot of my pants and jumpers.

Emma: That’s a good thing.

Travis: I think we were pretty well, everything we bought and we didn’t need, or we didn’t use, we just moved it out. Got rid of it, and donated it. 

Emma: Yeah. There’s nothing that’s been like a waste of money. I don’t think.

Travis: No, I don’t think so. We went through a couple of lockdowns at the start of our travel. So we spent time going through and reassessing after we hit the road because we give ourselves a week after we picked up the van. We picked the van up on Wednesday and we left the following Thursday. So it was pretty quick. Yeah. 

How were you affected by the lockdown?

Travis: Since we hit the road.

Emma: Oh, okay. I was going to say that the lockdown is the reason we are here. Which is fine. It’s been, I wouldn’t say like, yes, we’ve been impacted in the sense that we’ve arrived somewhere intending to stay a night and ended up staying a week because we got locked down. And then when the rules change and whatnot, it makes you go right, oh we’re going to have to pivot or we can’t cross a border when we thought we were going to be able to or whatever. But again, that was all sort of, part of the reason why we wanted to travel as well to be a little bit more flexible. We are quite structured people. We love a plan and a routine. We are certainly not wandering folk. We have learned that about ourselves. We do not like to wander aimlessly. We like to have a and know what we’re doing, where we’re going and all of that sort of thing.

But it’s definitely, I think enabled us to think a little bit more flexibly when plans do change. And then yeah, like now we’re not going to WA but that’s fine. Not because of a lockdown, but because of border closure, but that’s fine because now we think that that’s actually going to be better for us in the long run. So I think there are always silver linings. There is always little reason why and oh everything happens for a reason kind of think so.

Travis: Better to say that. 

Emma: And like, hopefully, there won’t be any more lockdowns and that would be great.

What is your biggest tip to other big lappers especially to families who want to travel Australia with kids?

Travis: I’ll stick to the practical side of it. Do your research on your van, your UTE and your weights and everything like that. There are some rigs out there I’ve seen and the toe ball and the van are on such an angle. One good bump and they’re going to hit the ground. Does your research learn as much as you can and know your weight? Because they creep up real quick. We’ve had weight once and yeah, I was very surprised at our weight situation.

Emma: Yeah. And I might talk to the mum’s side of it or the parent’s side of it and just say like, just, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Remove any and all expectations you have from watching other people of what it might be like or what it should look like for you. Because for the most part, people will just post their highlight reel and the fabulous places they stayed and all of that sort of thing, which is great, but that’s like why we try or we really like to try and keep it real on our Instagram and share about the challenges that we’re having as much as the good times as well because I think we probably did have expectations of how it might look and feel for us. 

And when it fell short of that, it didn’t feel very good. So I just want to say that’s totally okay. And yeah, take the pressure off of yourself even though you’re doing this really amazing, incredible thing. Not everyone is going to be incredibly happy and grateful all of the time. Like you’re still going to have hard times in the van just like you would in a home. And so go easy on yourself and know that you are not alone in that. I think that’s all of our questions. Let me double-check. Yeah. That’s it. So thank you so much for having us.

Travis: Thank you. Big lap Bible.

Emma: Thank you. Bye.

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