Not a drop of petrol on 8000km trip

FAR TREK: Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman with their two sons Zephyr (12) and Woody (2) with their pet dog and chief rabbit catcher Zero have spent a year riding their bicycles across Australia and have stopped for a rest in Huskisson before riding back to their home in Victoria.

FAR TREK: Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman with their two sons Zephyr (12) and Woody (2) with their pet dog and chief rabbit catcher Zero have spent a year riding their bicycles across Australia and have stopped for a rest in Huskisson before riding back to their home in Victoria.

A VICTORIAN family that has travelled over 8000 kilometres on bicycles has stopped for some rest and recuperation in Huskisson before heading home.

It’s been a year since the family of four – Patrick Jones, his wife Meg Ulman, their two sons Zephyr (12) and Woody (2) and their dog Zero left the comforts of their home for an adventure-filled family holiday of a lifetime.

Mr Jones said there were a few reasons he and his family decided to do the trip.

“We are writing a book about living without petroleum and living mainly off the land,” he said.

“We are primarily foragers, hunters and fishers and Zero is our chief rabbit catcher, but we’re not just living off the land.

“We are careful with what we do buy however.”

He said they wanted to learn how to travel around Australia without using any fuel and pass the knowledge on to others.

“We also wanted to teach our children resilience and respect for the land and not to be frightened of the bush,” Mr Jones said.

“Woody has spent exactly half of his life on the road and his favourite thing to do is flick through our bush-tucker book and tell us about what he can and can’t eat,” Mrs Ulman said.

It wasn’t just a spur of the moment decision for this family to live their lives in a sustainable way.

At home Mrs Ulman said the family hadn’t shopped at a supermarket for over seven years.

“We have community gardens and have learnt to trade,” she said.

Mr Jones said the family’s most rewarding experience was spending time with an Aboriginal community in Cape York.

“This area is by far one of the most beautiful we have been to so far though,” he said.

“We’re on the home stretch now – looking forward to going home, but also dreading it.

“We do miss our family and friends a lot.”

To survive the Jones’ had to learn to be organised.

“There was one point when we were in Queensland when we nearly ran out of water,” Mrs Ulman said.

“The generosity of people we have experienced has been overwhelming.”

Mrs Ulman said some places, including a home in Kiama, offered to put the family up for the night.

“At times we weren’t able to eat lovely fresh food straight from the land and the sea because there was nothing around,” Mr Jones said.

“We were forced to buy things like pies and it was incredible to notice how quickly we would burn the energy off and how terrible we would feel afterwards.

“Our bodies are our machines. Particularly when we need the pedal power and the foods we put into our bodies fuel us – this is what we are also writing about in our book.”

The family has documented their experiences in a blog at www.theartistasfamily.blogspot.com.au.