Season 1, Episode 14

Guests Ken and Lorraine Martin

Benjamin Starr interviews the cool dancing grandma and grandpa caravan travellers! The Martin family have been visiting Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut for the last nine years. They share their experience of caravanning and holidaying with their grandchildren.

Hosts & Guests

Benjamin Starr

Ken and Lorraine Martin

Read the transcript

Ben:  Well we are inside the wonderful, wonderful Ingenia Holiday Park here in Cairns. And I’ve got the Martin family here, we’ve got the grand kids, Lorraine’s in charge of everything, we have got Ken here as well. How are you guys?

Martin family:  We are really well.

Ben:  Yeah, you great?

Lorraine:  Yeah, we’re all great.

Ben:  Right now, you two are amazing, you do all this every year, you come up and go touring in your caravan.

Ken:  Absolutely yeah. We’ve travelled extensively throughout Australia in our caravan.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ken:  And we’ve stayed at the Cairns Holiday Resort for the last nine years.

Ben:  Wow!

Ken:  Right for three months during June, July and August.

Ben:  What do you like about caravanning?

Ken:  Can I say getting away from the Sydney winter?

All: Ha ha ha ha!

Ben:  Where do you live in Sydney?

Ken:  We live in Lane Cove.

Ben: Oh okay, there is a nice caravan park there. 

Lorraine and Ken:  There is yes.     

Ben:  Did you know that there are people here that live around the corner that come here for a holiday, like one street away!

Ken:  Oh correct.

Lorraine: That doesn’t surprise me because the place is so great.  

Ken:  The grand kids just love all the facilities. I mean the big problem we have with our grandchildren at six o’clock at night you feed them dinner and they are so exhausted they start to go to sleep. 

Ben:  Oh no!  Now who are the kids here, introduce them Ken.

Ken:  Oh this is Hamish and Phillipa.

Ben: Hello.

Hamish and Phillipa:  Hello.

Ben:  So, you guys are up from Sydney as well?

Hamish and Phillipa:  Yes.  

Ben:  You flew up for part of the holidays. So, you are up here with Nan and Pop. Do you call them Nan and Pop or what do you call them?

Hamish and Phillipa:  Grandma and grandpa. 

Ben:  Do you like coming up here?

Hamish and Phillipa:  Yes.

 Ben:  What’s the fun parts?

Hamish:  So many things to do, all ages.

Ben:  Really?

Hamish:  Pool, mini golf, anything you like.

Phillipa:  Basketball.

Ben:   And do you get to go out and see some of the scenery as well? 

Hamish:  Yeah you can go up to Kuranda. There is a butterfly sanctuary, Skyrail. 

Ben:  Oh wow! 

Hamish:  You can go to the Barrier Reef. Like there is lots of things to do here.

Ben:   I haven’t seen the butterfly sanctuary, is it good? 

Hamish and Phillipa:  Yeah, its great!                 

Ben:  Caravanning is an interesting world because a lot of people used to look at caravanning as, oh there is so much hassle, but it’s not like that now is it?

Ken:  It’s very organized, very simple and quite frankly once you’ve done it for a while you  just get to know what to do and away you go and just enjoy your trip.

 Ben:  Now how do you go every year in Sydney they have that caravan camping show.  Gosh you   can’t go to that without going out and spending more money.

 Ken:  Well we’ll tell you a funny story. We went out to buy a step for our caravan and we walked out with this new supreme caravan.

All:  Ha ha ha ha.    

Ben:  Really, so what sold you? So you went in there, what sold you on the new caravan?

Ken:  Well we’d heard some good reports about that particular brand of caravan and when we went out there we actually met the owner of the business. And we explained some particular requirements that we wanted in a caravan, and he said I can do all that for you, and he did.

Ben:   So he built it to your specs? 

Ken:  Yes exactly.

Ben:   And what’s in it that makes it yours? 

Lorraine:  The design is just so good. It’s got a big bathroom in it.

Ken:   It’s got a big bathroom and we designed it so it had plenty of room for in the kitchen area, so as far as seating was concerned and we had plenty of seating, and it does work very well. We have been very happy with it.

Ben:  So where to from here? So the kids are up for a few weeks.

Ken:  Yes.

Ben:  Where are you two wondering off to?

Ken:  Well we enjoy dancing and we found the Cairns area is very very big into dancing. 

Ben:   Oh for ballroom dancing?

Lorraine:  Oh yes, lots of live music, Latin and ballroom dancing.

Ben:   Ken put the rose in his mouth and do the tango, is it the like the movie. I love this term grey nomad. I think it’s a silly term.  But what does it mean to be a grey nomad?

Lorraine:  Would it be seniors and on the road I think.

Ben:  Yeah.I was talking to a guy recently in one of the other parks and he dropped something like $500k on a motor home and it was like a palace on wheels and he said hey, I sold my house, I’m never going to another house and this is my life.And I was amazed at how big it was inside.

Lorraine:  Yes yes, you do meet quite a few people on the road.

Ben:  Yes. 

Lorraine:  Those that are permanently on the road.        

Ben:  Yeah

Ken: Yes. Can I say it’s an interesting community of which we are proud to be a member?

Ben:  There you go. Do you get to hang out, do you see the same people every year when you come back. Do you ring up and say to your mates   “so we’re heading up there are you gonna be there?”

Ken:  Yes yes.  Exactly. It’s a community thing that you develop over a period of time, and the the more you do it the more people you get to know. The more contacts you have. We try to figure out how we ever had time to go to work now that we are retired. 

Ben:  And what did you do for work. What was your work when you were working?

Ken:  I was a Chartered Accountant and my wife was a Pharmacist.

Ben: Right!  This is like borrowing another thousand, caravanning, as an accountant how do you justify that? Now I think it’s  what’s interesting is grandmas and grandpas serve a great great thing  for their  grand kids and you get to spend real quality time with them, on holidays and they’re away from mum and dad, but the great thing is you get to have this amazing relationship with the kids, and these things  lasting memorable moments.  Well not repeatable.

Ken:  We think that your right with what you say but what we try to do is we try to build up a photographic album for the grandkids each time they visit. When they go home, they take home their photo albums.  So, they do have their memories to reflect on. 

Ben:  Oh, that’s lovely, that’s lovely! So, kids where are you sleeping, in the caravan or tent? 

Hamish & Phillipa:  We are sleeping in a tent

Ben:  Oh, geez you’re doing it up-market aren’t you!  So, what do you do at night time, do you hang out with all the kids?  You must make a lot of friends up here.

Phillipa:  Yeah you meet a lot of people, but at night generally I’m so tired I just go to bed.

Ben:  Oh really!  That’s wonderful. So what advice would you have to people that have never done anything like this before and they are thinking “you know what we would like to try this”.  What’s the best way to get into caravanning?

Ken:  Look I think the best way to getting the caravanning is to try it out.  I think you go and hire a caravan and you just take it a short distance, you it  set up,  you stay for a period of time just to just, to figure at how it all works and then you take it back and return the van and say was I happy with that.

Ben:  Yes.

Ken:  The problem you have with the first van is it’s never ever right.  There is always something that you find isn’t right and that’s your second caravan.Then you really hit the strides.

Ken:   You hit your stride. Well what a wonderful experience.  So how long are you up here for now?

Lorraine:  We’re here till the middle of September.

Ben:  Right okay and then you had back to Sydney?

Lorraine:  Yes, yes, so that’s our other life.  

Ben:  Lorraine is back for spring time, gardening in the garden at home.  

Lorraine:  This is a quarter of our existence; we live here.  And the other three quarters of our existence we live a completely different lifestyle in Sydney.

Ben:   Where do you store the van, at home or do you have a special place?

Ken:  We’ve got a big garage. 

Ben:  Oh that’s wonderful.

Ken:  We built a big garage when we did a renovation some years ago, so we just stick it in the garage, leave it until we need to pull it out again.   

Ben:  Hey do you get the same spot every year?

Ken:  Yes.

Ben: Oh, here we go, there’s truth – why?

Ken:  Why?

Ben:  Because you have got you’ve got your favourite nook.

Ken:  Because it’s just it suits the set up as far as we’re concerned.

Ben:  That’s great.      

Ken:  We’ve never found a caravan site quite like this one in Australia. 

Ben:  Well there you go. 

Ken:  We reckon this is unique, and we’re using the word as, not almost unique, not nearly unique. This is unique.

Ben:  Well I think we need to go see these two do ballroom dancing one night. Maybe we could be the judges. 

Hamish:  I would be down.   

Ben:  Maybe we can have a competition here the park.

Phillipa:  Yes

Ben:  Thank you very much for your time today.

Martin family:  Thank you.

Ben:  Yeah good on you and safe travels.

Hamish:  Yeah you too.

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