Not your average bike ride: family’s educational experience

After riding their tandem bikes just over 2,500kms from Tasmania to Cobar, the ‘Swag Family’, Andrew and Nicola Hughes with their young children Hope and Wilfy, still had enough energy to ride up to the Fort Bourke Lookout to take in the marvellous views on Monday. They then took a well deserved two day break in town before travelling onto Bourke.

It’s not often you see a family of four riding two tandem bikes in the middle of the day on a lonely highway in the outback.

Adventure Educator Andrew Hughes (who was the 2013 Tasmanian of the Year) along with his wife Nicola and their two children, Hope, 5 and Wilfy, 3 are doing exactly

The young family left their home in Flowerpot Tasmania on January 7 this year to start their big around Australia adventure.

Having ridden up through Victoria, along the Hay plains, and onto Hillston in hot conditions, the family of four arrived in Cobar just after midday on Monday.

Andrew said the aim of the ride is to explore the diverse landscapes of every state and territory in Australia.

They also want to seek out and speak to remarkable Australians along the way and share their stories with primary school children.

“We are documenting and sharing this adventure through a dedicated student-centred learning website,” Andrew said.

The ‘Swag Family Project’ for Australian schools is designed specifically for primary school classrooms.

Andrew previously developed an innovative teaching program Expedition Class, where primary students followed him into the wilderness by satellite link and interacted live as he tackled challenging landscapes and situations.

He has also developed a similar high school expedition program.

On this ride around Australia the Hughes don’t have support crew— the family transports everything they need, including tents, cooking equipment, water and school work on their bikes which are equipped with front and rear carriers and a there’s also a single wheel trailer on Andrew’s bike.

Nicola said they travel up to 60kms per day and have seen lots of wildlife since entering the outback including emus, kangaroos and plenty of goats.

“The kids are loving the adventure and are learning a lot along the way.

“They’re looking forward to having a swim at the Cobar pool,” she said.

After spending two nights in Cobar, the family will head off to Bourke today and then they plan to head up to North Queensland and later across to Western Australia.

The Hughes expect to be back at their home in Tasmania by the end of the year.