The Cairns family has been living life on the road for the past six years and last week made a pit stop in Emerald.
The Cairns family has been living life on the road for the past six years and last week made a pit stop in Emerald.

Family of 11 hits the road

SOME might think travelling long distances with a couple of kids in the back of the car is a recipe for disaster but Peter and Allison Cairns have a different opinion.

The couple has been living life on the road for the past six years in their 12m coach, but they are certainly not alone, with their nine children, who range in age from one-year-old to 15years, coming along for the ride.

Peter said life in the coach with the kids was definitely an adventure he never wanted to end.

“There’s not a lot of room, but we manage,” Peter said with a laugh.

And the kids aren’t missing out on schooling, as Peter and Allison are home-schooling them.

The family of 11 has travelled almost the perimeter of Australia, excluding the Sydney to Adelaide stretch, and has travelled many of the inland routes.

Last week they spent time in Emerald, but couldn’t take advantage of the free camping under the Vince Lester Bridge due to the size of their vehicle.

“Out on the road we developed a crack in our freshwater drinking tank,” Peter said. “So we pulled into the showgrounds and the caretaker was nice enough to let us stay and make repairs.”

Peter said the family was trying to promote domestic family travel in Australia.

“A lot of people see us on Facebook and think it’s amazing. We’re just trying to inspire a few people,” he said. “We will definitely be promoting Emerald but it would be better if the showgrounds could be opened to the odd camper.”

Peter, who works in the electrical business, said he picked up jobs at different towns whenever the family was running low on funds.

“I had my own business at Tweed Heads before we set off, but I saw myself going down the same path as my father and decided to change that,” he said.

Peter said the couple had no plans to quit life on the road anytime soon and said he still loved it as much as the day they took off.

“What I love most about it is seeing the kids’ faces when we go to a new place,” he said.


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