Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 17:06 UK

Car odyssey family go Down Under

The Naismith family
They plan to drive an average of 59 miles (95km) every day

A London family is making final preparations for a nine-month car journey to Australia.

Graham and Eirene Naismith of Croydon, south London, have packed up their life and will leave the country with their three young children on 1 May.

They plan to drive 16,000 miles through Europe, Russia and China - where they will watch the Olympic Games - on to Malaysia and reaching Cairns by May.

All money raised from the trip will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

In preparation for the 25,744km trip, Mr Naismith, 37, has given up his job as a consultant, while his wife is a qualified teacher and full-time mother.

Educational experience

They have learned to speak Russian, taken first aid courses and have tickets to watch the men's volleyball at the Olympics in Beijing along the way.

Abigail is not yet two, but six-year-old Hannah and Emily, aged four, will be missing school.

Mr Naismith said; "I think the experience will be an education in itself."

He explained that they came up with the idea over a glass of wine: "The timing was perfect," he said, adding that the couple had recently sold their house in Purley.

"We decided to grab the opportunity. One of my daughter's is about to turn two and I'm looking forward to being there when she starts talking."

Driving an average of 59 miles (95km) every day their journey will take them through Europe into the Ukraine, south-west Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and on to Australia.

For the final leg they will follow a 5,000 mile (8,000km) route along Australia's south coast before heading up the east coast to Brisbane and Cairns.

The family will then fly home.




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