You could say Mike Koch was ‘driven’ to write Australia Free. Here, he explains why…
I always had a passion for 4WDriving, travelling and exploring Australia. I have owned a variety of tour businesses over the years ranging from Private Charters, Tagalong Tours, Backpacker Tours, Travelling Classroom Tours and Overseas Children’s Study/adventure Tours. These businesses both satiated and fuelled my passion — the love of showing off our country to others.
I’m a keen camper and my previous claim to fame is the invention of the well-known 4WD product, the ‘Foxwing Awning’ (produced by Oztent).
When in Cairns on a camping trip, people at the local caravan park heard of my knowledge of travelling Australia and up to four groups of people a daycame to me for advice on what to see and do during their travels.
I kept hearing the same story: ‘It’s expensive to travel so what is there to see and do that is free’. Thus I saw the need for this book, Australia Free, a book written so that people can have a great holiday and not break the bank.
Australia has a vast coastline and it is littered with 1000s of beaches — try and visit them all. They are all free, of course, but this book is not big enough to include them all. Instead, I have included beaches that are my personal favourites or that I consider a ‘must-see’. Similarly, just about every town has a town walk or a cemetery to visit that, again, is free. These are far too numerous to list so if this interests you call into the local tourist information centre as they usually have a free map for you to follow.
Australia is a vast land and sometimes there is a lot of driving to do and not a lot to see. In some parts I was struggling to find things to see and do — whether paid tourism or for free. On the other hand, this emptiness is a unique aspect of Australia and can be enjoyed on its own: there are not too many countries in which you can drive for hours and not see another car or person. I travelled over 120,000 kilometres in the 2 years that it took me to gather the relevant information for the first edition of this book. That’s on the road every day, exploring, photographing and meeting great people.
Author: Mike Koch