My two rural retreats in Australia

Hello, and thankyou for accepting me into your online community.

This post is just to introduce myself and give some background about myself and my prepping journey. I’m mid 50’s, married with two adult children and one grandchild. I followed my elder brother into prepping in the early 1980’s, buying my first rural retreat as a 21y/o, then lost some interest as I started a family.  Later on in life I returned to prepping, and now own two rural retreats, one close to the coast, and one in the mountains. They are about 50 miles apart in a direct line, but further via road. I live in my house in a coastal city several hours drive from my retreats.

My primary focus has always been on financial security, even when I wasn’t actively prepping. I earn an average income, but live a frugal lifestyle and have been lucky enough to have always made sound financial decisions. I’m a self made man, determined and very mission focused. And I’m a good networker, which has saved me many thousands of dollars over the years. I consider my 3 main preps to be: debt free, a solid network of useful friends, and a big bank of paid leave from my employer, which I can take to alleviate extended periods of sickness or unemployment.

My prepping plan is to enjoy the good life in my home on the coast, but have two fully stocked rural retreats to withdraw to if required. My primary retreat is mostly complete, it has a 3 bedroom cabin, and two 20ft shipping containers that serve as a bunkhouse, workshop, storeroom and bathroom. Water is provided by direct river frontage (clean water from the mountains with no farms using chemical fertilizers upstream) and 4 water tanks collecting rainwater. Power is from 600w of solar panel (enough for our modest needs) and an 80w panel serving the shipping containers. Cooking is lpg camp stove, gas bbq or open fire. This retreat has rice, pasta, tinned  food to last my group of 8 for a month, and non perishable items to last 12 months. The bulk of my 12 month food store I keep at home. The retreat is private, at the end of a secluded track, surrounded by much larger properties raising beef and lamb. My cabin is situated in a position that would allow us to escape into the surrounding hills if required.





My secondary retreat is 3 acres, a couple of miles from the coast, in a rural area approx 15 minutes drive from town. It has underground grid power, but off grid for water and septic. I am still developing this retreat, having only built a 55m2 metal shed and installed a 15,000l water tank. This shed will become a workshop/toolshed when I build the main house in 4 years. I will use a combination of grid and solar lower here, and the plan is to grow a lot of my own fruit and vegetables, and perhaps eggs and chicken as well.





My main prepping focus currently is to finish the fitout of the cabin on this retreat, plant an orchard, and to develop some medical skills.

Looking forward to learning from all the experience on this forum.


  • Comments (13)

    • 11

      Glad you are enjoying the site so far, there sure is a lot of information and knowledge here to learn. You are a good inspiration for me that a modest salary, frugal living, and hard work can pay off in the form of not one but two rural retreats. I especially like your storage containers with the overhang roof between them.

      A question I have for you, what is your plan on how to get to your locations? Have you planned a backup if you had car troubles or your usual route was clogged with traffic?

      • 6

        My son and I both own late model 4wd vehicles, well maintained, and we both store diesel fuel for them. We both have breakdown kits and a little mechanical know-how. (I once swapped out the engine on  a car in a field, using a few hand tools, a chain, and a tractor and my son once reattached a wheel  on a trailer using a grinding disk as a temporary bearing). We would travel in convoy and most of the way is multi lane freeway through farmland, bypassing all but one town.  No guarantee that we wouldn’t be caught in gridlock though, so as always the key is to go early. A normal trip uses just under half a tank of fuel. 

        That roof area over the containers is multi purpose. It collects water, protects the containers from the sun and rain (and rare snowfall), and the central part provides a sheltered meeting area.

      • 7

        That is incredibly impressive that you have done so many repairs and modifications in the field with just a few tools. From the looks of things, I’m sure you will be just fine if anything were to ever happen.

        Hope you don’t mind, but I changed the title of this post to “My two rural retreats in Australia” to be a bit more descriptive and help people to know what the post is going to be about.

      • 7

        This is me, changing the wheel bearing on my trailer on the side of the road. Tools, a little knowledge and the willingness to take control of the problem goes a long way.


    • 8

      Are you on the East or West coast of Australia? What are the most likely disasters in your area that would cause you to bug out to one of your retreats?

      That sure is an impressive water storage container! Puts my 5 gallon jugs to shame

      • 8

        I’m on the east coast  The west coast is predominately a very harsh, dry environment, and their gun laws are very strict. The main cause for me to bugout would be a strict lockdown (We only had a temporary covid lockdown in my area with plenty of scope to still move around), serious civil unrest, or a breakdown in the system (water, power, food supply) that was expected to last several months. 

        That water tank is my initial storage. Once the house is built a 110,000l tank will be installed. Growing food needs lots of water, and we generally don’t use wells here, unless you’re in the outback. 

      • 9

        Do you get enough rain to fill those? That seems like a lot of rain

        What kind of filter do you have for your house drinking water so you aren’t drinking bird poop from the roof that got into your water?

        Sorry last question! Are there really big spiders and dangerous insects like I see in the Australian movies?

      • 7

        Hi Liz,  filling those tanks depends on your roof size and how frugal you are with your water. My nearest neighbour has a 140,000 litre tank which is full. The tank on the coastal retreat has a filter to protect the pump, and all openings (intake and overflow) have steel mesh to keep insects, leaves etc out of the tank.  The tanks at the mountain retreat don’t have a filter, just the mesh screens. Any dust or bird poop settles to the bottom of the tank, and the outlet sits a couple of inches above the bottom. They have been in use for years and the water is clear. During our big bushfires early in 2020 enkugh ash settled to turn the water brown, but a couple of months later it had settled to the bottom of the tank and the water returned to being completely clear.

        We do have spiders, only 2 of which can kill you, and another which can rot your flesh. The main danger is the deadly snakes. They are common and if bitten you will die without substantial medical care. 

        This one came to visit me last trip:


      • 8

        What are gun laws like in Australia? I thought they were all banned. I remember seeing pictures of truck loads of guns being destroyed in Australia around the late 1990’s. Gun Destruction

      • 6
        1. Hi JB, in 1996 firearms laws were changed to introduce registration, implement a system where you need to prove a genuine reason to own a firearm, and to limit ownership of semi auto rifles and pump shotguns. Most of the newly restricted guns were hidden, not handed in. Getting a gun licence isn’t difficult, I have one and own 6 pistols and 7 longarms. A friend has a full auto licence, which was a lengthy process but not really difficult. What I like about our gun laws is they are just difficult enough to own to ensure I am better armed than most people I meet. 
      • 7

        Thank you for the reply. That sure is interesting and a better response straight from someone living there and experiencing it than I could have learned from Wikipedia. 

    • 5

      A warm welcome, DownUnder.

      The pictures are beautiful.   “Only” ?! built a shed and have a 15 K L water tank ?!  Many Emergency Operations Centers here aren’t this well set up.

      Consider adding to major preps a current immunization program.  

      The medical skills are valuable.  Do consider adding dental emergencies.  

      Transmitting from Lord Fairfax’s former proprietary colony that’s now Virginia.


      • 7

        Thanks Bob, I’ve done a tactical casualty care course this year, which was very hands on (all participants apart from me were doctors or paramedics) but further courses were stopped by all the covid restrictions. I’m gaining some valuable insights from this website already, such as including imodium and caffeine to my Ifak. Already looking at tooth extraction tools as a direct result of this site. All my years of experience as a prepper and still learning.