WE SAY: Ten days stranded holds lessons for all
OUR VIEW: WHETHER it was blind luck or divine intervention, it is a timely reminder how unforgiving Australia can be - and how important it is to prepare adequately for driving holidays.
There is no doubt that a decision by Steven Van Lonkhuyzen - for him and his sons Ethan, 7, and Timothy, 5, to stay with their bogged vehicle on a national park bush track - saved their lives.
The trio, from Lota in Brisbane, had been on a holiday drive to Cairns and was due there on December 15.
The detour to entertain the boys, became a life-threatening error.
Missing for 10 days, a farmer found them with their four-wheel drive and trailer in Expedition National Park about 350km northwest of the Sunshine Coast.
They had run out of food and water. The unnamed cattle farmer remembered seeing a vehicle heading into the park and spent Sunday on his motorcycle searching.
The incident underlines that we can never be too cautious on a driving holiday, whether we are on highways or off. We should always remember, too, that mobile phone coverage can vanish.
The RACQ advises that if you drive off-road, you should drive with one other vehicle. At the very least, someone should be told where you intend to go.
That said, it is wonderful that a young family will see Christmas with renewed hope and joy.