Four girls, a motorhome and a road trip to self-styled liberation.
Words & images Mandy Farabegoli
You know how every year you try to escape for a few nights with the girls without hubby and/or kids? Well this year, somehow, I managed to convince my girlfriends that instead of the standard weekend in Bali, shopping in Melbourne or a spa retreat in the Swan Valley or Margaret River, this year’s trip should be a road trip up the WA coast. I wanted to go camping. Now I just had to convince them that they wanted to as well.
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As we only had three nights away, it needed to be easy – something with a little set-up and a bit of luxury. They were not really camping types, so I knew our six-man tent would not make the cut. I thought about our caravan. It’s a six-berth and it worked perfectly for us when I travelled Australia with my family; but I just couldn’t see the girls squeezing into the bunks. Then it dawned on me. A luxury motorhome – maybe this would be the clincher.
I invited them over for a few drinks and of course called it Happy Hour. Subliminal messages in the invitation. After a while, I spoke of our little escape and how we should do something different. I now needed to really cast the line. I started talking about comedian Billy Connolly’s travels through different countries and of course his trip to WA and his infamous ‘nudie dance’ through the Pinnacles (Google it).
One of them grabbed the line and said, “We should do that.” “Yes!” I practically screamed, probably a bit too eagerly. How about a mini road trip up the WA Coast?” “Yes!” Pretty much all of them shouted at once. Hooked. It was time to reel them in, and pour us all another drink.
In no time, they were reminiscing about camping trips of their youth and how much fun they’d had. I mentioned we could hire a luxury motorhome; we could just enjoy the WA coast. We could stop for the evening, enjoy the freedom and watch the sunsets. Not forgetting the Pinnacles and our own nudie dance? They were in! And we were now planning, laughing and excited.
The nudie run idea seemed really great after a few drinks but in the cold light of day, maybe not. Still, at this point, they wanted to do the trip and that was good enough for me. So we hired a vehicle from Let’s Go Motorhomes in Perth. It was easier to drive than our Nissan Patrol. I thought I would struggle to drive such a big vehicle and even teed up one of the other girls to share the driving as I’d never driven anything like this before. But fear not girls… this was one easy ride.
The driver’s seat was the most comfortable I’d ever sat in and the vehicle was a joy to drive and I loved it. In fact, I preferred driving it to not driving it. You know the best thing we found about our road trip? We could do what we wanted. There were no kids to consider – and don’t get me wrong, I love travelling with mine. With just the four of us, we could just stop where we wanted and do what we wanted. And we did.
In fact, we were only two hours out of Perth for our first stop. The great joy of having the motorhome was that we just pulled up and we were ready to have lunch. With the motorhome, you just drive in. No negotiating corners with a tow vehicle, no worries of ‘can you fit in or reverse out’, just pull up and park.
SHOW US YA PINNACLES
Next stop: The Pinnacles in Cervantes.
You remember the happy hour talk regarding Billy Connolly’s ‘dance’ through here? It all seemed like fun when we had a couple of champagnes inside us. Now in the cold light of day at two o’clock in the afternoon, could we do this? The Pinnacles were awesome and… quite the experience (in more ways than one) but we needed to move on, as I will, for now.
We wanted to sample three different nights on our trip (see what I did there – nice little change of subject). But as the girls were just getting the hang of things, I thought we’d play it safe and stop in a caravan park for the first night – not too far out of Perth, in Jurien Bay.
We pulled up and within moments we had the chairs and table out and happy hour had started. We didn’t need to bring much. With Let’s Go Motorhomes everything is provided (except food and drink, of course).
Within minutes we were relaxing and recounting our day. There was no, “Mum can we go to the pool?” or “Love, I’m quickly going fishing, can you finish setting up and then shower and feed all the kids?” Nope, just, “Who’d like a vino?” Ah.
The ease of going with the girls is something that I am still amazed at. I’m not sure how dinner was made – no, not because of the wine – but because we all just mucked in. We knew what needed doing and we just did it. No asking, cajoling or begging someone to help; we just all got on with the task.
Something else, that also amazed me, was how roomy the motorhome actually was. We were all busy in there, getting different things ready – someone organising the bedding, someone on the food and someone else (probably me) just entertaining – but we did not get into each other’s way. I did think that it might be a bit cramped, but not at all. We had a ball on our first night of our trip and there was even a bit of dancing (this time the wine could have had an influence). It was just fun and for me, a joy to be back on the road and loving the simplicity again.
Jurien Bay is beautiful. We got up nice and early. We took our time, enjoyed a cooked breakfast, had a coffee and thought about our partners frantically trying to get the kids ready for school. After a walk out on the jetty we set off for Kalbarri.
We’d all been there before, so this time we didn’t go out to the national parks or do any sightseeing… this trip was not really about that. Let’s face it, the only reason we set off into the Nambung National Park to the Pinnacles was for ‘the dance’ and to prove that we were still young at heart (although not in body).
We lunched at Ellendale Pool without any heated discussions on timing (what was there for the kids to do, or how long before we got there). A suggestion was made and we all agreed. This was something else. It was easy. One of the girls mentioned a ranch in Kalbarri where you could still have a campfire and that was enough for us. Before you could say, ‘who’s got a match’ we were sitting around the fire singing country songs with a bunch of twenty-something German backpackers. Not worrying about who it was singing around the campfire making a din, whilst I was trying to get the kids to sleep. I was on the ‘other side’ and it was fun.
On the way back to Perth we found a little free camp spot right on the edge of the ocean. I needed to test these girls. We pulled into the most amazing site with only two other caravans there. There was a drop toilet and no power. It was time to see what the girls were made of. I needn’t have worried; they took it all in their stride and did not care about the lack of showers or facilities. They were enjoying the simplicity, not just of the area, but simplicity of life without the needs of others. It was liberating, it was invigorating and it was all too brief.
A few flicks of a switch, turns of a lever and we had power and gas. A few pops of a cork, clicks of lids… and drinks and nibbles were served. We all sat there enjoying the serenity and friendship. Laughing about our experiences and locking a few things in ‘the vault’. We knew that it was the last night of our little bit of freedom and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Heading home the next day, we stopped a few times and promised that this would be the first of many road trips. We’d all had a ball and would not have swapped it for the luxury of a hotel for a minute.
This is something that you need to do with your mates. The men would love it too; maybe theirs would be more fishing and golf and less dancing, but who knows. Of course, you could do it with your family…, but maybe not ‘the dance’.
If you are still wondering did we do it? Of course we did. We took the towels from the motorhome and had them ready for coverage at the end of the dance. We found an area with some big Pinnacles and had a quick look around. When we thought the coast was clear, it was off with our clothes, a few deep breaths, a few screams and a dashing dance towards the towels. We dissolved into hysterical laughter in a desperate struggle to cover up as we could see a couple of carloads of young lads heading our way and we needed to quickly put away our Pinnacles.