Caravans are an ideal way to enjoy a classic road trip in Australia. This is especially true for seniors, who want the freedom to travel, on their own terms. In fact, campervan or caravan holidays are quite popular both among Australians and overseas visitors who wish to enjoy Australia’s many beautiful locales. If you want to absorb the splendour of the landscape on the road, you do need to be somewhat self-sufficient, but it allows you to pace your own holiday and leave the stress behind. Here are some tips to make your caravan holiday cost-effective, fun and interesting.
Plan your Itinerary and Route
Before you head out, it is best to have a detailed plan of what you want to see. Remember Australia is a huge country with varying road and climatic conditions. There are certain stretches, like the Outback, where you might struggle to find traces of civilisation – no petrol station, mobile phone reception, water, food, or other essentials. There are some caravan rental companies that prohibit travellers from circumnavigating these routes. If you are adamant that you want to enjoy Australia’s magnificent solitude, you should be well-prepared. Always carry a physical map and plan every single phase of your route and the time it will take you to reach from Point A to Point B.
Limit your Daily Kilometres
Driving a caravan can be exhausting. Remember most accidents happen when the driver is fatigued and distracted. Limit the number of kilometres you cover on a daily basis. Try not to exceed 200 kilometres a day. In case you are driving along the Nullarbor, towns are far apart. If you do manage to get to a remote town, you may just get a motel with very basic amenities. Or, you may have to halt at a roadhouse, which primarily is a fuel stop but offers extremely basic accommodation. Plan to start your road trip early morning and pace yourself in such a way that you reach your destination by early or mid-afternoon.
Drive with the Wind
One of the most popular caravan routes skirts the edge of the country, covering around 13,800 kilometres. If you opt for diversions, such as going to Tasmania, the kilometres can easily double. The best option is to start your caravan holiday from the South, from Sydney or Melbourne, and drive north. If you decide to go west from Cairns, the trade winds blowing from east to west will be behind you. In a caravan, this can make a huge difference. If you drive into the wind (and normal wind speeds can reach 60 km/h), it can increase the caravan’s fuel consumption substantially.
Plan your Caravan Holidays During off-peak Season
During Christmas and Easter schools are closed and many families head to the Coast. So finding a quiet and secluded spot or accommodation will be difficult. Nonetheless, the Coast has many inland roads that run parallel to the coast. You can use these routes to take in the beautiful landscape. However, a better option is to find out the school term dates for each state you want to visit and plan your caravan holiday around those dates. Furthermore, every state has its own music festivals, car shows and agricultural shows which tend to attract crowds. You may want to find out the dates of these events to avoid them during your campervan holiday. Make it a point to book your caravan park accommodation well in advance, so that you have a place to park and recoup after a long day of driving.
Equip Yourself With Ample Drinking Water and Food If your route takes you to our hot and dry desert climate, then carry ample water. You should ration out anywhere from 4 to 5 litres per person per day. Opt for the 12 to 15-litre plastic water containers. Although most remote towns and roadhouses will have basic food and water, you should stock up on food as well. Especially in remote areas, water quality is variable.
Going on a caravan holiday is fun and stimulating. Here are some final things to add to your list:
• Get a mechanical check-up and service of your vehicle before you leave
• Be prepared for some ‘turbulence’ due to the side winds created by oncoming trucks and other heavy vehicles.
• Always carry a first aid box with you.
• Make sure you have a good supply of your prescription medications.
• Keep emergency numbers and contact details handy for any eventuality.
• Adjust your driving according to prevailing road conditions.
Caravans are a great way to travel across Australia. It is a unique opportunity to explore off the beaten track destinations and enjoy a holiday without the rigours or pressures of a conventional holiday.