New caravan for family trip

Submitted: Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 15:35
ThreadID: 100704 Views:2904 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Hello everyone

We are looking at getting a new Jayco pop top with triple bunks for our 3-4 month trip around Australia. Can get it for about $30k with solar, 150L fridge, roof air and awning - sound like a reasonable deal? We are new to caravanning. Towing with a kluger.
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Reply By: mountainman - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 16:39

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 16:39
might pay to hire one first.
as a weekend trip away, and see if your happy with it..
the 300 or maybe less on hiring, is cheaper than loosing 3grand trying to sell it and needing a bigger size.
sister recently bought a 2nd hand one, flamingo, had a electric heater installed, same as a house one, and wondered what the hell..
left it in, and we used it over at port stevens in sept trip, a heater is a great idea..
the jayco flamingo is the minimum ideal size for a young family of 4people .... 2kids age 5.
and i sat inside for company, dinner, chats.. slept in my swag outside..

great vans!!
AnswerID: 505326

Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 19:48

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 19:48
Hi Tracey,

Weve just got(ordered) a Jayco 17.55.5sh but its the outback version. It has only 2 bunks and I dont think there is a Jayco pop top thats got three bunks. Some the other Jayco varieties prob do.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 505338

Reply By: sam h6 - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 21:28

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 21:28
Hi Tracy,
We have had a jayco flamingo for our last trip to cape york. Great van but we got tired of setting it up and packing it away when it was damp. We also only had one child then. Despite some people's opinion I believe the jayco's are just as good as all the other mass produced vans on the market.
Fuel economy will be a little harsh in a kluger with a full size van but its worth it not having a heap to set up each time you move camp.
We have just taken delivery of our new supreme with twin bunks and love it. No more setting up just find a camp ground level it up and it's all done. We have solar, compressor fridge ect so hope to free camp as much as we can.
We start our round trip in may and can't wait.
Just remember that all the advice from these site can not make up for just getting in a van and seeing how it feels. It needs to feel right for what you intend to do with it. With kids storage space is a big issue. Also consider a full bathroom. We looked at heaps of combined shower/toilet vans but they just felt to cramped. Cost a little more to get seperate but it's so much easier with the kids.
Good luck with your decision with so many choices and styles available it's never easy.
AnswerID: 505344

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 17:04

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 17:04
Check the weights for the Kluger VERY carefully. Don't forget ball weight and the load allowed in the vehicle when towing. By the time you load up a van with gear for five people and a few comforts like Aircon you may be too close to the limits for comfortable or safe travelling. The capacity of your tug will impose the limits of the type and size of van you can consider. travelling.
Caravanning with kids can be a wonderful experience for all concerned or a misery! Life improves greatly if each kid has some space for their own gear/toys so plan storage carefully. Scooters or bikes can give them an opportunity to let off steam and meet other kids when you stop. An annex can be a pain to erect at each stop but gives valuable extra living and play space, especially in poor weather and you will meet some of that.
A bathroom is wonderful but is unlikely to fit your weight and storage requirements.If you can't have a bathroom make provision for a porta potti for those night time dashes which are no fun in rain and dark!
When planning your trip don't be too ambitious. The aim should be to have a great time and come home with a happy family looking forward to the next trip. The places you miss this trip will be there for another time. Distances and travel times look much shorter on a map when you are comfortably at home! We found a good rule was to work out a possible route then either double the time or halve the distance. Too many long days in the car with three kids will take a toll! Take it easy and have fun! Enjoy your planning! Lynne
AnswerID: 505392

Reply By: Aussie_Al - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 14:03

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 14:03
Hi Tracey,

I realise this is over your budget and people will slam anythign that is not Aussie due to parts etc etc...but you could also take a look at a Bailey. They have $4M worth of spares in Australia apparently.

I have just purchased an Ancona (2012) and very happy with it. It has 3 bunks, full & separate toilet & shower. You can leave the front bed set up if you want (which is what we'll do as I also HATED setting up the beds all the time!). It is only 13000 - 1400 kgs so can be easily towed by your Kluger I believe.

Anyway, just some food for thought for you! :-)

Here's one for sale:


AnswerID: 505445

Follow Up By: TraceyM - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 11:09

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 11:09
Thanks everyone for your comments and advice. We are planning most days to not drive more than 3-4 hours so hopefully that will go well.

Those other vans you mention look great but price and weight restrict us! Also wondering about finding an old triple bunk van and doing it up a bit?

We are just not sure now whether to even get a van as all up it is no cheaper than staying in cabins etc when you consider the cost of the van. And considering this would be our first big trip apart from maybe one or two weekend practice runs, perhaps it is a bit ambitious? Neither hubby or myself are handy on the tools or have any experience with vans or towing.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks again.
FollowupID: 782428

Follow Up By: Aussie_Al - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 11:22

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 11:22

Yes, if you weigh up all the costs and extra effort, on paper you certainly could go and stay in cabins etc. but you would really be missing out on a whole lot of fun too!

Have you maybe thought about a camper trailer (or even a trailer and good tent like an Oztent) and doing a bit of both cabin stays and camping?

Easy to tow, especially if you have no experience, easier to stow/park if/when staying at cabins, room for your gear (clothes etc.), flexible if you want to camp somewhere, cheap enough to ship it back from the other side of the country if you decide you have had enough (or sell it on the road!), will be useful after your trip has finished for weekends away and they don't lose too much value if looked after well.

Have a blast whatever you decide to do :-)

Good luck.

FollowupID: 782430

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 21:51

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 21:51
If the caravan seems too expensive and difficult the suggestion of a camper trailer is well worth considering. This is where most of us started. Towing is not a real issue and you can carry a decent amount of gear. Also, when set up you can have more room than a van and kids can enjoy helping set up. The camping experience would be a great part of the trip. A trailer is easily parked if you want to take a break in a cabin.

Although travelling by car and using cabins all the time sounds cheaper than buying a van there are traps with this plan. A van that is reasonably well cared for can be sold after the trip if you like and you will get about two thirds of your money back (maybe more) or it can be kept for future holidays. However the biggest cost for five people travelling will be food. In a trailer you could carry a stove and equipment to prepare at least some meals. You could fit a portable fridge in the car if other gear is in the trailer. Unless you can prepare and carry you own meals, snacks and drinks you have to buy these as you go. This will cost much more than cabin hire.
In many places you will be at the mercy of dubious service station cafes and take aways - not a healthy or pleasant option for several months travel!

You have a lot to think about so take your time and do all sums carefully! Enjoy the process! Lynne
AnswerID: 505563

Follow Up By: TraceyM - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 22:16

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 22:16
Thanks Lynne. Our problem with a camper trailer is that we are heading north at the wrong time of year, into the build up and are worried it will be too hot to stay in a tent/trailer much - that is how we started thinking about a van with air con!

Our other issue that you alluded to is the cooking - which I need to do all of anyway as several of us in the family are on special diets. So there's no servo meals for us! So all our cabin accom (or nearly all of it) needs to be self catering which does bump up the cost again.

There is so much to consider, it is good fun but sometimes all the options seem overwhelming!

Thanks again.
FollowupID: 782494

Follow Up By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:35

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 17:35
Tracey you do have some issues and options to sort! Good luck with it all. Remember there is no rule saying where you must go! If the far north is too hot for camping without aircon when you are planning to travel it will likely also be too wet! There is a whole continent to choose from.

If it all seems too hard perhaps try the old trick of going back to the drawing board and rethinking your aims and plans. If you must travel over summer remember school holidays will make life very expensive and difficult along the east coast of NSW and Qld (if you aren't flooded!). Why not try going South? Tassie and Victoria, the Flinders and Eyre bleep ula etc? There are so many wonderful places to see you can't see all of them in the time you have anyway! Maybe you could be less hard on yourselves and leave some places for the next trip! Good luck! Lynne
FollowupID: 782555

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