Golden Gap Year Duo Strikes Grey Nomad Gold

Dean And Debra Watchorn At CDC’s Berrimah Depot In Darwin
Dean and Debra Watchorn at CDC’s Berrimah depot in Darwin

It was a chance encounter on the way to the V8 Supercars that inspired Dean Watchorn to give bus driving a go.

He and his wife Debra were travelling around Australia on their “golden gap year” and had found themselves in Darwin after exploring the east coast.

They were on a CDC bus providing transport to the June Supercars event when Dean – impressed by what he saw – got chatting to Alan, the company’s bus safety supervisor on the day.

During the conversation, he simply asked, “Are you busy, do you need drivers?” and a day later, the couple were in the Berrimah office, applying for positions.

While the visit was about casual driving work for Dean, both ended up putting in their resumes, with Debra snapping up an administrator role and Dean one as a school bus driver.

Debra started in June, not long after their visit to the depot, and Dean started shifts in July after completing his driver training.

The couple previously owned a news agency in rural Leongatha, southeast of Melbourne.

After 25 years of running the business, they decided it was time to do something different and the grey nomad life appealed to them.

After reaching Rockhampton, they went inland to Blackwater and worked as federal election officials for the AEC.

“That was the only work we’ve done whilst travelling before we found CDC in Darwin,” Debra said.

“We love Darwin and now will stay here for at least six months,” she said. 

While they found a company that supported their current lifestyle, Debra said it was like they found another family.

“Even though CDC Northern Territory is part of a global company (ComfortDelGro), the management and operations feel like a big family, and were really welcoming. The company do a lot of work in the community at a local level, which I really admire,” she said.

“The other great thing is because CDC have operations all around Australia, when it is time for us to resume travel again, we will have the opportunity of employment at other locations.”

As for the actual job, Dean said he enjoyed the supported training environment and driving the comfortable, modern vehicles – the Scania was a particular favourite.

Debra said the couple both enjoyed the flexibility of part-time driving and full-time contract work with CDC at the main depot in Darwin, and the opportunity to work elsewhere in the future was a bonus.

But for the moment, the couple are happy to stay where they are.

“We’re really enjoying the Darwin hospitality, lifestyle and climate, so will stay here for six months and see how we feel after that time,” Debra said.

Inspired by Dean and Debra? Why not consider CDC’s work while you travel campaign. With fuel incentives to drive from town to town that won’t impact your pension, it’s an offer too good not to explore.* 

To find out more, visit

*T&Cs apply.