Aus Update 1 - Week -2, -1 in NZ, and Week 1 in Aus

Oh my goodness, it's the16th of July already! It was a hectic time from finishing work to getting here, with a small change of plans to start with, but we've now been here just over a week. The small change in plans was our sister-in-law's back operation. We had intended to land with Paula's brother Theo & his wife Katrina for just a couple of weeks to get setup in Aus, but Katrina urgently needed surgery to deal to disc problems in her back, and so we agreed to stay with them a bit longer and look after our 3 year old nephew Zeke (Ezekiel).

Please excuse the unfinished look of the website – there's not been much time for formatting.

23-June – Chris finished work. Peter & Victoria came around for dinner.

24-June – We had Jo & Tony, Peter & Lana, Malinda & Julian, Ivan & Mel around for pizza and movie. The guys very helpfully finished up by shifting all the major furniture items into the garage.

25-June – Peter came and helped Chris build a platform in the storage unit to allow us to fit the Evo and the furniture in there. With the help of his nail gun & circular saw, it took no time at all! (4 hours actually).

26-June – We actually started shifting our gear down to the storage unit!

27 & 28 June – We continued shifting our stuff down to the storage unit and getting out of the house. You can see in this picture on the 28-June, that's our new tenants bed in the hallway, and that's our stuff on the steps. It was hard heavy work. I don't think we've ever done so much physical labour in our lives!

Even after we'd moved out we weren't finished with the house. We needed to store our outdoor furniture etc. and had arranged to put it under the house. This is the “cell” we built entirely underneath the house, and again once it was closed.

As part of this plan we intended to enclose the underside of our house, so it was a fair bit of building....

We spent the next week tidying up our lives and living on Mum & Dad's living room floor – finally getting on our way on the 6th of July.

6-July - We arrived in Melbourne early morning and immediately picked up Katrina's car and took Zeke home while Theo finished off some work that he had to have completed that day. I quickly revised my lego making skills and started playing with Zeke. He really isn't any trouble at all and is very easy to amuse, though of course requiring the many hours of dedicated attention that any 3 year old does. For those of us that have not gradually grown into parenting, we find it pretty hard to do much else. We have not only discovered who Thomas, Percy, Harold the helpicopter, and Gordon etc, are but we can also now build them in lego. A skill that is bound to be useful sometime.

7 & 8-July we drove back into the city to visit Katrina in the hospital. Obviously you have to improvise sometimes, even if you do have a bag load of toys... Our next book will be titled '101 ways to entertain a 3 year old with a rubber glove', it was heaps of fun!

9-July. We started visiting some car yards looking at 4wd's. It was a very frustrating experience. One place we visited in particular was awful. They had a couple of vehicles we were interested in, but wouldn't let us take them for a test drive unless we practically guranteed to buy it if we couldn't find anything wrong with it!

We had another couple of days where we tried to go look at a few cars – more privately now after our experience with the second hand car dealers. Naturally these had to be fitted in around lunches and nap times. Everything just has to be done at a less hurried pace as those of you with children I'm sure understand. Zeke loves the Thomas the Tank Engine web site ( Eventually we graduated to Theo's childhood train set which again, Zeke absolutely loves.

12-July - We decided on a vehicle today. It is a 1991 Ford Maverick. This is actually a Nissan Patrol GQ that was sold for a period in Australia with Ford logos on it too. It seriously is a Nissan though. All the parts have Nissan part numbers and logos on them. For those that are interested, this page offers some background: Some of the links from his site are pretty interesting. These guys have done something similar to us with one of these,, I hope we don't have to do anything like they did on their page “Red Centre 1”.

While I was reading up on the Maverick I ran into this site,, which is what Tony & Julian were talking about with LPG & diesel. When are you guys going to do the conversion?

The Maverick seller had to go and get the RWC (Road Worthy Certificate) done and we agreed to pick it up on Friday.

14-July. Theo doesn't work on Friday's (4 x 10 hour days), so he drove us down to Cannons Creek to pick it up. It truly is a “truck”. Drive's like one, sounds like one and drinks fuel like one, but it has all the essential attributes that we were after (4wd, manual, dual fuel, air conditioning and enough space to sleep). It might be pushed to do 1100 km's with one fueling stop, so we may have to carry additional petrol.

15-July. We went to Lilydale SDA church. The Lilydale Academy choir and band took the service – very nice too.

16-July. Took the back seats out of the car, cleaned the engine bay and started doing some minor servicing (alternator belts). Amazingly that took most of the day, and needless to say, I started writing this update far too late at night! I'll try and spend some time on the formatting etc. before the next update!