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On the Road – Bilby the Bus

Melbourne business graduates Liam and Ali have three key things in common: a degree in commerce, an unwavering wanderlust for Australia and their beloved Bilby – a 1990 Toyota Coaster (a school bus in a previous life). Their travels take them, Bilby and their custom Mercury 250 up and down the East Coast. And while the South and West Coast are on their radar, the plan for the next journey is to not plan it at all.

How did you end up on this journey? What are your backgrounds and what brought you to this point?

We are Liam and Ali, both 25 year olds from Melbourne, with commerce degrees. We had an epic dream of travelling around Australia in a converted school bus. We both had just finished uni and didn’t want to jump straight into corporate jobs. We also both wanted to travel for a long time without spending huge amounts of money. We knew Europe and America would mean expensive quick holidays so we decided we’d do something different, so we bought a bus, made it into our dream adventure vehicle, whacked a motorbike on the back and took off to explore the great coastlines that Australia has to offer.

Tell us about Billy. What sort of van is it and how did you end up with it?

Bilby is a 1990 Toyota Coaster, ex-school bus that we ripped the seats out of and converted ourselves out of scrap wood and recycled materials. We have a bed, kitchen, couch/spare bed, along with a full solar powered electrical set up that runs our TV, fridge and devices. We bought him from a school in Shepparton, VIC and have had him for nearly 2 years now. We live full time in the bus now and have been on the road for a whole year and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

What are some of the favorite places you’ve visited?

So far we have travelled from Melbourne up the East Coast of Australia twice and we have always struggled to narrow down our favourite spot. We wrote a blog post on our website (bilbythebus.com) about our favourite spots and could only narrow it down to 15 of our favourite locations. These included places like Wilsons Prom, Crescent Head, Noosa North Shore and the Whitsundays. We absolutely love the beach and haven’t ventured too far off the coast just yet. Most of our days are spent parked up at a beach somewhere and enjoying the sunshine.

How do you plan your itinerary?

We have absolutely no plans in advance ever. Everyday is a new day and we take it as it comes. If we are sick of a place then we move on and we find somewhere new to explore. A lot of the coolest places we have found have come from getting lost on the way to somewhere else.

How does your Mercury 250 fit into the adventure?

Liam has always been a massive café racer fan and wanted a motorcycle desperately before we left. We had no idea how it was going to fit into our trip that we were planning when he went to have a look at one on a whim and came home saying he had put a deposit down. It wasn’t until a week before we left that we found someone to build us a rack on the back of the bus to put the motorbike on so we could take it with us. From the very first day we purchased the Mercury we knew what we wanted it to look like. We actually painted the bike before we did the bus and we loved the colour so much we thought why not have them matching. It is incredible how many questions we get every day about the motorcycle and comments about how vintage it looks.

Where’s next for you guys?

At some point soon we’d like to head over to the West Coast of Australia via South Australia and explore the other side of the country, but for now we are happy cruising up and down the East Coast catching up with friends we have made along the way and surfing the winter swells.


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