Meet The Couple Who Walked Across Australia With Their Camels
Every day is hump day for Rob and Bernadette Sutton.
They’ve been trekking across the country, with their camels in tow, for the past two years.
“We’ve walked across Australia, and we’re on our way back. We’ve got about another three months to go until we get home,” Rob said.
It’s the ultimate grey nomad trip, just with a caravan of a different kind.
Also, a group of camels is often referred to as a caravan. So we’ve all learnt something now.
The couple has done a number of long treks with their herd, but this is the first time they’ve gone trans-continental.
They packed up and left from their front yard near Gympie in Queensland, and arrived in Gladstone Bay, Western Australia, around Christmas time last year.
“One day I woke up and it felt like I was on the other side of the world, wondering how I got there… The most amazing feeling in my life was seeing Gladstone Bay, WA,” said Bernadette.
Rob’s take on that moment was a little more relaxed.
“We didn’t even know they had a Gladstone in WA. Did you know they have a Gladstone in WA? They have.”
When we caught up with the Suttons, they were reclining at their campsite at Thargomindah.
It’s a town of about 270 people, and a twelve hour drive west of Brisbane.
School kids squealed with amazement as the Suttons marched their camels through the town.
They love meeting people in the towns they pass through, but there’s always business to attend to as well.
“There’s a lot of pressure when we get to a town to make sure you’ve calculated out the next leg of the trip, and make sure you’ve got enough water and food for the next leg.” Bernadette said.
They’ll stock up enough to last themselves for a month or so at a time, and make sure the camels are well-fed before they set off again too.
The camels are led by Black Jack, who also doubles as an occasional ride for Bernadette.
Things didn’t go well when Rob tried to hitch a lift.
“The normal thing now is I’m walking in front. You can’t walk thirty thousand kilometres in front of a camel then expect to ride him. It’s just not the way things are done. So although he doesn’t throw anyone else off, he threw me off last time.”
While the Suttons have seen some breathtaking sights, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
There have been floods, fires and storms along the way too.
They’ve had to meticulously time the trip as well, to try to avoid being in the middle of the desert during summer heat.
“I was scared when there was fires around. I went to bed crying, thinking I wouldn’t see my new little granddaughter. That was pretty scary.” Bernadette said.
All going according to plan though, Bernadette will meet her new granddaughter -- it turns out the world kept moving while the Suttons have been away -- around Christmas time.
There’ll no doubt be another walk in the works before long, but we couldn’t let Rob go without asking what on earth possessed them to do this one.
“I always wanted to see if I could walk across Australia and back," he replied.
That’s that settled then.