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Fitzy’s Guide To The Perfect Family Aussie Road Trip

Ah, the great Aussie road trip. It’s a time-honoured tradition here Down Under.

And for Nova 96.9 Breakfast & National Drive announcer Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald, road tripping seems to be a bit of a rite of passage that’s been passed down through the generations. His dad took the Fitzgerald fam on cross-country adventures; at 18, Fitzy hit the road with mates (he even slept in the tray of a ute all the way from Adelaide to Lorne in Victoria); and now he takes his two boys for driving adventures in his Mitsubishi Outlander. We got chatting to Fitzy about life on the road.

Image Credit: Ken Leanfore

Fun With The Boys

“We love jumping in the Outlander and heading off on road trips,” Fitzy tells 10 daily of getting away with his wife, Belinda Irons, and their two young sons, Hewston and Lennox.

“We do it regularly. I recently took my two sons, who are 10 and six, for a boys’ trip to Western Plains Zoo out at Dubbo. It was a six-hour drive, but it was great! We had some really great conversations, stopped into the Mudgee bakery on the way and had a couple of pies, I had a coffee and we were on our way again… While as well as the zoo, we went to the Old Dubbo Gaol – it was a really great trip.”

Lucky for Fitzy and the boys, there were no dramas on their road trip. Far from joining the old ‘are we there yet?’ choir, Lenny and Hewy were totally entertained watching the world race by through the car windows.

“I brought the screens along for the boys because I thought they might get a bit bored, but they were hardly on them,” shares Fitzy. “They just looked outside on the journey and we had some great conversations.”

Image Credit: Ken Leanfore

A Sentimental Journey

The same can’t be said for a young Fitzy hitting the road as a kiddo, unfortunately. “Growing up, we went on road trips too. I remember one time, Dad piled the whole Fitzgerald family into the old Ford Cortina and drove from Adelaide to the Gold Coast and it took us three days. That’s one road trip that I would never do again. It was way too long!”

Of course, family getaways can so quickly turn to recipes for disaster…

“On day one of the epic trip, our car overheated. So Dad pulled over, got out of the car and popped the bonnet so he could undo the water cap for the radiator. He grabbed an old rag to take the cap off so it wouldn’t burn him, because it’s, you know, really hot -- removing that radiator cap is just about the worst thing you can do when a car overheats – and it blew off.”

(Mental note: don’t ever try to remove a radiator cap while the car’s still hot…)

“Dad was wearing footy shorts and it blew into his, ahem… groin area. So for the next two days he had to drive with burns on the insides of his thighs. To be honest, it was very amusing for us! But not so much for Dad…”

Image Credit: Ken Leanfore

Modern Convenience 

Of course, cars have come a long way since those days -- and the Mitsubishi Outlander offers a much smoother journey when Fitzy and the fam want to get away.

“There’s plenty of room in the Outlander, which is what we love about it, so you can pack as much as you want in there,” he says. “I’ve got the diesel version, which lasts a bit longer, and it’s really comfortable. The boys love it. We’ve got Apple CarPlay in there as well, and it’s voice activated, so everyone has a go at putting their own music on.”

When it comes to picking the road trip playlist, though, Fitzy admits things can get a bit hectic.

“I want AC/DC, Mum wants Kylie Minogue, and little Lenny wants Eiffel 65’s Blue, which is his favourite song. It’s worse than the Crazy Frog song for me, it’s too much!”