Where the experts holiday: Vic Quayle, travel author

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions



Vic Quayle – author of Waltzing Matilda Around Australia: Adventure before Dementia – shares his travel highs and lows with Just About About Travel readers

What do you like to do on holiday?
I love desert landscapes, so a priority is somewhere that is arid and remote. I have been fortunate to travel extensively in Patagonia/Atacama in South America, Namibia in southern Africa and more recently I had an extended trip into the Australian Outback. The South America trip was the subject of one book, A High in the Andes, while the Australian trip is covered in detail in another book, Waltzing Matilda Around Australia published in September 2015.

Where did you last go?
Australia was the last major trip and my wife and I spent 10 months travelling around in a 4×6 motorhome, Matilda, which we bought in Sydney. We did three trips out from Sydney and covered 20,000 miles all together, including the Big Lap (going right around the continent). My favourite area was the remote Outback and we drove both the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Desert Tracks and part of the Gibb River Road, all favourites with 4×4 enthusiasts. We avoided the main cities and preferred to spend time in the small rural communities where we were made very welcome, met some amazing characters, and had some great experiences.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
Other than a short trip to France for some R&R we are going back to Australia in 2016 for (hopefully) three months. I hope to hire a 4×4 motorhome for a couple of months and head out into the remote north west of New South Wales – Cameron Corner, Innamincka – and then north through rural Queensland to who knows where, before heading back to Sydney?

Of all the places you’ve been to, what was your favourite and why?
The Bungle Bungles National Park, now more properly known by its Aboriginal name, Purnululu National Park, in the very north east of Western Australia close to the border with the Northern Territories which is now more properly know by their Aboriginal name, Purnululu National Park. These beehive shaped rock domes only became known to the outside world about 30 years ago when a film crew overflew the area and spotted their photogenic potential.
The area consists of hundreds of low rock domes formed from strata of red and dark grey rock worn away over aeons. One can walk amongst them, visit still rock pools and venture down deep clefts in the rock, and although the area is becoming very popular with tourists, one can escape the crowds and be thrilled by nature.


Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Morocco. More desert landscapes, a lot of them easily accessible by 4×4, or even a rugged motorhome, with great driving experiences between small villages and among mountain ranges.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
Although I live in England I am actually Manx – I was born in the Isle of Man (not in the UK) which is home to the famous TT motorcycle races over a 37 mile closed public road course. Racing takes place over a week with the previous week given over to practising. The racing is amazing and the scenery of the island is spectacular with views to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland from the top of Snaefell the highest point on the island, accessible by an electric railway. The island has many quirky attractions – a Fairy Bridge, another electric railway, a Victorian steam railway that still runs every day and is regularly used by commuters, and horse drawn trams.

How do you plan your holiday? (Guidebooks/website/agent/recommendations etc)
I start with the usual guide books – Lonely Planet, Bradt etc – then order some maps from Stanfords Map Shop in London after which I use the internet to find local information on blogs, small town visitor sites, and websites set up by local experts. I haven’t used a travel agent in many years and make most of the bookings online.


How often do you go away?
The big trips like South America and Australia have to be spread out, so it’s every four or five years, but usually we can do some short trips by motorhome or car more often.

Who do you travel with?
My wife, Pam. Whilst I do most of the planning for our trips and do most of the driving Pam ensures I don’t try anything too ambitious and writes our diaries and takes some of the photographs.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Having published my book Waltzing Matilda Around Australia and now writing a second book which will focus on how to undertake a trip such as we did, I firmly believe that Australian tourism is ripe to explode in the coming years, especially with the more adventurous traveller. With so much political trouble in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and elsewhere Australia offers a ‘safe’ environment in which to indulge whatever holiday you want, whether its laying on a beach or bush walking into remote areas. 

Thanks Vic!


Vic’s latest book Waltzing Matilda Around Australia: Adventure before Dementia (Filament Publishing) is out now. Vic is also the author of A High in the Andes, which tells of how he and his wife Pam, tackled the Inca Trail Rally in South America ‐ 25,000 km in 55 days in six countries ‐ in a modified Toyota Colorado, and came home with a gold medal!


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