31 Jul 2017
Good things come in small packages. According to these Australian travel bugs, bigger isn’t always better. Queensland retirees Barry and Hanna Hardy spend eight months of every year in their motorhome and simply can’t get enough of the wide, open road.
“We’ve been part of the Motorhome Club for over 20 years. This is the tenth motorhome we’ve had. We change every two years,” Barry says.
Their current vehicle (a Suncamper Sherwood Motorhome) is their pick of the bunch.
“We’ve had bigger but bigger is not better.”
The 4WD diesel beast is a compact 5.6 metres.
“It’s not too long,” Hanna says.
“It’s the same size as a big Toyota 4WD. It’s self-contained with a shower and toilet.”
Barry and Hanna take turns behind the wheel.
“It’s really good to reverse,” Barry says.
“See those big mirrors I put up? It’s got reversing cameras and beepers.”
The vehicle is solar powered and the couple make sure they limit their water usage. Hanna’s little twin-tub washing machine comes along for the ride.
“It runs off the solar panels. If we’re in the middle of nowhere we pick up water, pull up somewhere and I’ll do some washing. When you wash, wash in wool mix. That way you don’t have to rinse your clothes. Wash, spin and hang out to dry. They’re nice and soft that way, too. Wool mix is a tip I learnt years ago.”
They’ve had plenty of time to clock up miles and experience. This wanderlust-chasing duo has been on the road for as long as they can remember. They travelled with their sons when they were little.
“We just love it,” Hanna says.
“I see beauty in everything. People say the Nullarbor is boring. It’s not boring. It’s a beautiful drive up there. We just love the lifestyle. We have been doing it for a long time.” She smiles.
“It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, just go do it. We’ve had tents, 30-foot caravans, camper trailers… we don’t care. So long as we have something to sleep in, we go. We like that life.”
Prior to retirement, Barry worked at Mount Isa mines and Hanna for Lifeline.
“I never did like work.” He chuckles.
The Motorhome Club has been a great source of motivation, friendship and advice.
“There are over 120 chapters throughout Australia. It’s a big club and they carry their own insurance and things like that.”
Of all the Discovery Holiday Parks across Australia, Darwin is their favourite.
“It’s in a great position and we really like Darwin,” Barry says.
“It’s a good place. Easy going and laid back. You can’t get stressed in this heat. Stay calm, find a cool spot under a tree and relax.”
When they’re in town, they always make sure they head to the wharf.
“We take the motorhome out on the wharf at about 3pm and back it up until it protrudes out over the actual wharf. We’ve got a corner lounge and three windows so it feels like sitting on a boat. Then we go and have seafood at one of the restaurants.”
They first visited Darwin with family back in 1976.
“For the women, it was a bit nerve-wracking because we didn’t know where we were going and wondered if the car was going to make it. Our car did break down at Adelaide River. You never stop learning and keep getting hints from people all the time. It’s half the fun.”
Above all, they’ve learnt to keep things simple.
“The simpler you make something, the easier it works. The more gadgets you have, the more things break. Make it as simple as possible and you won’t have any trouble.”
“Then we have a 10-day cruise up to Vanuatu with the Sun Princess. That’s a first!”
Believe it or not, they do enjoy returning to their home in Queensland.
“I love going home because I think ‘ooh… this big shower, reclining chair and television’,” Hanna says.
“But it only lasts for two weeks. Then we’re itching to get away again. Our home is more like our holiday home. It’s nice to wake up every day and have breakfast somewhere new.”
“It’s nice to wake up every day and have breakfast somewhere new.”
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This travel feature was published in G’DAY Magazine.