A family of five who have traveled 25,000 kilometers across Australia shares what life is like on the road
Husband and wife Sam and Melissa Griffiths left in August 2019 to travel across Australia with their three young children on a bus for seven months.
The adventurous couple, 29 and 30, from New South Wales have always wanted to live on the road and drive across the country to experience a different way of life.
“We didn’t really decide to live on a bus, it only came about as our lives progressed,” Sam told FEMAIL.
‘We both told each other on one of our very first dates in 2008 that we would love to travel through Australia in a van one day and decided to make it a goal for the next few years.’
Sam, a carpenter, and Melissa, an elementary school teacher and yoga instructor, shade with them their three children under five, the youngest of whom is only 12 months old.
For seven months, the family lived on the road full-time, traveling over 15,000 miles across the country – visiting some of the most remarkable sites Australia has to offer.
Sam and Melissa Griffiths traveled with their three young children across Australia on a bus between August 2019 and March 2020
Sam (left) is a carpenter and Melissa (right) is an elementary school teacher and yoga instructor, and the children are all under five years old and the youngest is only 12 months old
While on the road, the family of five lived ‘the dream’ in a 1992 Toyota Coaster, which they converted into a tiny house on wheels the year before.
Prior to the Coaster, the couple had bought smaller vans, but as the family grew, Melissa insisted they buy something bigger for more space.
In winter 2019 they embarked on their journey from New South Wales to Daintree in far north Queensland, then west through the outback to the Northern Territory.
In winter 2019, the family embarked on their journey, driving from New South Wales to Daintree in far north Queensland, then across the outback to the Northern Territory.
“Favorite places include everywhere we can collect fresh coconuts, tropical Queensland, Uluru, Tasmania’s wild west coast,” Sam said.
As the north was too hot with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius, the couple drove south along the Stuart Highway, stopping at popular ‘must-see’ Australian landmarks including Uluru, the Devils Marbles in the Northern Territory and the Finke River in South Australia.
PLACES WHERE THE FAMILY HAS BEEN
Tasmania’s west coast
Devils Marbles in the Northern Territory
Finke River in South Australia
“Favorite spots include everywhere we can get fresh coconuts, tropical Queensland, Uluru and Tasmania’s wild west coast,” Sam said.
But while the sights were beautiful, traveling and living on a small bus with two toddlers and a baby turned out to be difficult at times.
‘Living in a minivan on the road was crazy! We moved out with a 12 week old child, so mom was just starting to feel herself again and the other two toddlers are always hard at work, ‘said Sam.
But the hard work paid off, as the family could always enjoy good quality time together.
“ I remember at the start of our trip my eldest often said, ‘can we go home now’ and that would break my heart – but about ten days later the van was home and everyone started in a strange but perfect routine, ‘ he said.
‘The older girls loved it! That Mom and Dad were there all day and slept only a few meters apart was quite special for them.
“They often say since we got home” Daddy, can we sleep in the desert tonight “or” When are we sleeping on our bus again? “,” Sam said.
As the north was too hot with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius, the pair drove south along the Stuart Highway, stopping at popular ‘must-see’ Australian landmarks, including Uluru (pictured)
“Favorite spots include everywhere we can collect fresh coconuts, tropical Queensland, Uluru and Tasmania’s wild west coast,” Sam said.
But while the sights were beautiful, traveling and living on a small bus with two toddlers and a baby was difficult at times
The bus named Lola had a queen bed with a TV, fully functioning kitchen to the side, working shower and toilet in the bathroom, wardrobes, refrigerator, single bed, seating and storage.
On the roof were solar panels to help with power and more storage space for surfboards, bicycles, tools, strollers, a clothesline and other large items.
But just two weeks ago, the family decided to sell the bus and purchase a 12.5-meter-long Hino school bus to convert into their new home on wheels.
“When we finish converting our new bus around Easter next year, we will disappear to Western Australia for five years if all goes well; the new bus will be like home to us and home is where we park it, ”said Sam.
When asked what advice they would give to others considering bus life, the couple recommended ‘just go for it’
Just two weeks ago, the family decided to sell the bus and purchase a 12.5 meter long Hino school bus to convert it into their new home on wheels.
When asked what advice they would give to others considering bus life, the couple recommended ‘just go for it’.
“The search for a bus was so overwhelming that we just bought the first one we looked at,” said Sam.
“We really jumped forward and didn’t know anything, but over time everything changed and it became one of the biggest learning curves of our lives!”
The young family is currently living with relatives in New South Wales until the new bus is completely converted into their new home on wheels.
TIPS FOR LIVING ON THE ROAD
Think about whether a bus or caravan is better for you than a camper
When you take time off from work, think about how long you want to be away and where you want to go
Budget by researching the best and most convenient RV parks or campgrounds – campgrounds tend to be cheaper, but have fewer facilities
Think about how you can access water and electricity
Only carry a limited supply of what you need: clothing, appliances, bedding, etc.
Enjoy meeting other people who are also on the go
Only buy groceries when you need to – no more than two weeks worth of supplies to save space indoors