Ian and Doreen Gunn take a break at Marlborough as they travel down the Bruce Highway, fortunate to still be travelling after a hair-raising experience four years ago.
Ian and Doreen Gunn take a break at Marlborough as they travel down the Bruce Highway, fortunate to still be travelling after a hair-raising experience four years ago. Chris Ison

Grey nomads on track

WHEN their caravan was swaying from side to side on the highway, Melbourne's Doreen and Ian Gunn thought they would end up in trouble.

Luckily Ian managed to pull over as far to the side of the road as possible to avoid being hit.

It happened about four years ago while they were travelling on the highway towards Banana in Central Queensland and a spring on their van broke.

“We were very lucky,” Doreen said on a quick service station lunch break just south of Marlborough recently.

When The Morning Bulletin caught up with the couple, they were headed south along the stretch of Bruce Highway between Mackay and Gladstone, which is the focus of the Fix the Bruce campaign being run in the region.

Last Saturday, during the campaign launch, Bully editor Frazer Pearce said the Federal Government must back up its promise to support regional Australia and commit funding to the hopelessly under-funded stretch of bitumen.

Doreen said while they never suffered from fatigue on their way up to Mackay, she was too worried to overtake a car with a tired driver drifting on and off the road.

“The driver was a bit too erratic to overtake,” she said.

Ian said overtaking wasn't an issue for them, and while many consider the Rockhampton to Mackay highway stretch of road a boring drive, Ian and Doreen have driven much worse.

“We have been on long central Australian roads that go for miles and miles and you don't see a single soul,” Ian said.

In the 11 years the pair has been travelling the open roads of Queensland, they have only once been put in a dangerous situation.

It's because the couple aren't willing to take risks when they hit the highway once a year to escape Melbourne's cold weather.

“We want to stay alive.”

It is the regular breaks, swapping driving duties and taking their trip steady, that have helped keep Doreen and Ian Gunn on the safe side of the highway.

The pair left for their journey mid-June and are expected home by the end of this month.



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