Adventure Series: How to make the best out of long time travel with Four Hands in a Tin Can


We love following your travels! Could you tell us how the idea to travel Australia came up?

As a family, we were in a rut and not happy. Pete and Annie had retired from the NSW Police with PTSD and Liam had been subjected to severe bullying at the local school. We decided that we needed a change. We were sitting around the dining table one night, talking about where we might move to when the idea of us going around Australia was floated. The kids jumped on board – they were the main instigators really – and basically told us that we could do it with them in tow.  

Tips South Australia

The family’s set up at Yorke Peninsula


We guess that you spent a lot of time to find the perfect caravan for your trip. How did that work?

There had been three years of research – it was something that as a family we wanted to buy and holiday in, as Pete had holidayed this way with his family when he was growing up.
We had three designs that we had drawn up and discussed as a family. We attended a few shows over those years, and eventually went to the Sydney show in 2015 where we spoke to a few van builders.
Elite Caravans were our top pick, and after much discussion, we attended their factory in Melbourne where we worked with their designers, pulled apart our designs, and officially designed our caravan.  


The final set up after a lot of research

You have now been travelling for two years, what is the most rewarding part of travelling with the whole family for so long?

It doesn’t feel like it has been “so long”, but I guess over two years of living in the caravan does sound like a long time. The most rewarding thing is that we have fantastic relationships with our two children. We were told that taking a teenager on this adventure could be disastrous for all involved. While we still have the teenage angst, social media addiction and other teenage issues, we find that without the presence of continuous peer pressure, that the issues resolve themselves a bit quicker. We have also found that Liam is happy to explore his interests – like droning and photography, web design and coding – and is encouraged by many we meet on the road. Liam, at 14, is also our video maker and the driving force behind our Facebook and Instagram pages.


Liam is the creative mind on social media

Do the kids always enjoy travelling and moving around?

Mia is 9 years old. She is social, so can find friends just about everywhere we go. In saying that, she does like the protectiveness of her big brother. We often find she drags him into her games with new kids that she meets. She is also very mothering, so we will often find her taking younger kids under her wing and exploring her surroundings with them in tow. Mia loves moving around, exploring new places and learning about the history of Australia.  Last year she was obsessed with Bush Rangers and this year we have moved onto Aboriginal and early European Settlement.

Liam loves the travelling lifestyle, is sometimes a bit impatient when we travel too slow for him. He is enjoying his new found skills in droning, movie making and is getting a lot of encouragement from many people who follow our page, to improve and make his content better.
The one thing about travelling that both Liam and Mia enjoy is the Distance Education that they take part in.They enjoy their school work, their virtual classrooms with other children enrolled in Distance Education and the freedom to explore their interests in a homeschooling type environment. It is often interesting that the things we are learning while travelling is also being learnt within their school curriculum.

You guys recently travelled Yorke Peninsula and made an amazing video. Do you have any travel tips for people travelling South Australia?

South Australia is not given the credit it should be. It is an amazing state with so many amazing sites and locations. I think we all fell in love with SA when we arrived in Mt Gambier. And it has only increased since.

We made the commitment to travel the three peninsula’s, as the Fleurieu Peninsula, the Yorke Peninsula and the Eyre Peninsula.
We had heard a lot about the Eyre, but not about the other two. So, all we can say is everyone should travel all three. The best advice is to be self-contained. As many of the great camping areas like ‘Rapid Bay’ on the Fleurieu and ‘Port Julia’ on the Yorke do not have caravan parks with power and water. Also, bring crabbing rakes, crab pots and squid jigs  – and the best bait for crabbing is squid heads. Blue swimmer crabs are plentiful in the Summer months and easily caught off all the jetties along the Yorke.

Exploring the Peninsulas from edge to centre and back again will also allow you to see the vast differences. The Fleurieu was much like New Zealand with its green rolling hills and farms. Yet the Yorke and the beginning of the Eyre (We are in Whyalla as I write this) are barren and seem very dry.


Lighthouse and the van on Yorke Peninsula

Your trip is so exciting and inspiring. Do you have any tips for people also want to do some long time travelling?

Don’t ever think that you cannot do it! No-one is ever financially or emotionally ready to leave home and start paying the bills. No-one is ever financially or emotionally ready to have children. And no-one is ever emotionally or financially ready to travel Australia.  
I put emotionally first because the first six weeks of confining yourself to a caravan are confronting. You struggle with holiday mode verse way of life. Then space and privacy, then you realise that you can or cannot live with each other’s quirks full time.  

Make sure that you are gentle with each other during the settling in period. Make sure that as parents you take the time to have time to yourselves. We are lucky, as our two kids can be left at the caravan while we go out for a coffee and a chat. It is also important to allow your children time with each of you, as well as finding time just for you. It may not be every day, but it is important to do it on a regular basis for your own mental health.


Beautiful spot at Narrung camp ground

Thanks a lot, Pete, Annie, Liam and Mia. We wish you all the best on your long time travels and hope you’ll keep inspiring us for a long time! If you want to follow the adventures of Four Hands in a Tin Can follow them on Facebook or Instagram with these links. 

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