The couple, from Hepworth, West Yorkshire, had already travelled around Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.
Australia was to be the final leg of their round the world trip.
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But their parents were worried about it. The Land Down Under had been making headlines for all the wrong reasons; recent news of serial killer Ivan Milat’s backpacker victims, the Port Arthur killings and the Childers Palace Backpackers hostel fire had made them anxious.
Despite this, Peter, 28, and Joanne, 27, were excited, promising their parents they would be careful.
Like hundreds of thousands of young travellers before them, they decided to settle in Sydney for a few months while they worked and saved money, before embarking on an epic road trip from Sydney to Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Brisbane.
Peter found work installing office furniture while Joanne got a job in the Dymocks book store on George Street, in the CBD.
By the end of June, they decided they’d saved enough cash. The couple purchased a 30-year-old, orange VW Kombi van for $1800 and set off.