Lured by his thirst for adventure, Zeb Cremers made the switch from the city streets of the Netherlands to the outback roads of WA.
For some, the thought of steering a road train loaded up with cattle through the middle of nowhere might seem daunting, but for Dutch truckie Zeb Cremers, there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.
Originally from a small village in the south of the Netherlands, close to the German border, Cremers moved down under in October 2019, settling in Perth. He went from the busy city streets of Europe to the deserted Aussie outback roads; from automatic European cabovers to a gutsy 2007 Kenworth T904 with a Roadranger gearbox; from general freight to live cattle and sheep – and all this on top of starting a new life in a country so far from home. So what was the attraction?
“Well, Australia is a beautiful country to start with. When I was a child I always knew I wanted to go somewhere away from home. I thought I’d go to Canada but never did and then in 2017 my mum bought me a ticket to Australia for a holiday. Once I came here, I knew I wanted to come back and drive a road train,” Cremers said.
“It’s the trucks, the dirt roads, the real adventure. Driving a truck in Europe, it’s all Mickey Mouse and easy going. If you break down, you just give the company a ring. Here, if you break down in the middle of nowhere, you need to try and sort things out yourself first, so I guess it’s more back to basics. And the truck I drive now is bigger, older and has a lot more grunt.”
Once Cremers hit his teenage years, he already knew he was destined to become a truckie. He got his truck licence as soon as he turned 18 and has pretty much been driving them ever since.
When he first arrived in Australia, he did his obligatory farm work stint for a few months, choosing to work at a cattle station to help further his knowledge and set him in good stead for the career he hoped to pursue. He then flew to Queensland and obtained his MC licence, before returning to WA and working on a crop farm, which also involved tipper work.
Before long he approached Road Trains of Australia and scored the sort of job he had hoped for – driving road trains loaded with cattle and sheep. Based in Perth, his usual runs are between southern Western Australia, Carnarvon and South Australia, sometimes even going further north into Broome.
When Cremers spoke with Big Rigs, he was actually in the truck, bound for Kalgoorlie. “This is why I came to Australia, to drive the dirt roads,” he said.
Sometimes a round trip can be up to 4500 kilometres, but every day can be different. I asked Cremers if it was all just as he had expected. “I knew Australia was big and wide, but it’s freaking huge. You drive sometimes for hours without seeing anybody. It’s not exactly what I first expected, but after a while I realised I could definitely get used to this.
“I love being free, being away and being on the road. I already loved the trucks but being here I love it even more. Back home, the roads were quite crowded and full and there were heaps of traffic jams. You couldn’t really overtake the other trucks so just drove in a convoy, which was a bit of a challenge. Here, you have these empty, wide roads – it’s just so free, so relaxed. I can enjoy my own company and somehow it never gets lonely.”