12+ On Monday, 11 December 2023, my twenty-one-year-old son and I set off in his van on a 10-day, 4600-kilometre dad-and-son road trip from Sydney to Margaret River. We had planned the trip for over six months to spend Xmas/New Year with our WA family and attend my brother's/his uncle's 50th.
And yet, I only had a vague idea of our route.
My son bought the ex-tradesman's 2007 Toyota HiAce van in March 2023. I drew on my woodworking skills to help him line the floor, walls and ceiling and kit it out with a bed, cupboard and sink, and my long-ago days as an electrician to fit the electrics, including an auxiliary battery, solar panel, and lighting and power sockets.
The van was my son's conception — his home while travelling for leisure and work in outdoor education — and woe betide me if I didn't follow his instructions.
Similarly, I'd left the route planning to him for our road trip. His generation is more adept at Google Maps and other mapping and campsite booking phone apps than sixties me, and there were places my son wanted to go bouldering and climbing. I was happy to share the driving, belay him, and document our road trip:
- Day 1: Sydney to Bendigo
- Day 2: Horsham and Arapiles
- Day 3: Horsham to Adelaide
- Day 4: Adelaide to Streaky Bay
- Day 5: The Nullarbor Plain
- Day 6: Great Australian Bight to WA
- Day 7: Balladonia to Esperance
- Day 8: Esperance to Albany
- Day 9: South Coast Highway to Manjimup
- Day 10: End of the Road Trip
Spoiler alert: As our trip and my travel journal reminded me, you've got to be flexible with your plans!