A change......or just an increase?

Submitted: Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 16:58
ThreadID: 102404 Views:2436 Replies:3 FollowUps:5
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With the tourist season in full swing, I've noticed a change in the travellers' mode of transport.

While there's heaps of caravans(how many different makes are produced in Australia?), campers and motorhomes, and of course all the fishermen with their boats, there seems to be another traveller this year.

To me, and I do a lot of clicks along the Landsborough and Barkly Highways each week, there appears to be an increasing number of the single vehicle traveller. Like other tourists, these SVT's are using every brand, and type of vehicle available. Even saw a little black sedan, about the size of Barina, with a roof top tent on top. Looked like a travelling toad stool, and probably should have had "oversize" signs, front and rear.

While roof top tents are popular, the "de rigeur" accessory would have to be Maxtrax. There's orange boards everywhere. The Telstra style canopy/camper are very popular(we've even got one), with many grey nomads having one on their ute, as well as pulling a 'van.

No doubt there's a number of reasons for using just one's vehicle. Better fuel economy, travelling light, with just a tent, and couples checking out the Outback first, to see if they "like" it, and then heading home to get a 'van/camper.

What are other's thoughts?

Bob.

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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Member - VickiW - Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 17:50

Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 17:50
Hi Bob,

I've always travelled with just a (4x4) vehicle & have never wished to change to a camper or caravan. Just like the flexibility & ease (to me anyway).

When we first started travelling it seemed most were single vehicles with hardly any caravans & almost no camper trailers & over the years have seen these increase to the point where there are very few single vehicles. I'm about to go on a trip in a few weeks time so will be in interesting to see if I notice a difference.

I would have liked to see the Barina - sounds interesting.

Whatever way people get out to see this beautiful country good on them (as long as they prepare that is).

Cheers,
Vicki
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 18:26

Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 18:26
Yeah, to each his own, Vicki, eh.

We lived in a van for 6 years, moving around stations, and they have plenty of pluses, but the "compactness" of a single vehicle is hard to beat too. No extra wheel bearings, tyres or brakes to worry about.

Safe travelling on your forthcoming trip, vicki,

Bob.

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Follow Up By: Member - Tony N (WA) - Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 21:18

Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 21:18
Saw a few of these Barina /Pulsar cars on the road on recent trip to Exmouth with the roof top tents. Turns out they are a new way of seeing our grand country compliments of the Wicked group
Cheers Tony N
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Reply By: allein m - Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 18:25

Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 18:25
we also get a varied assortment of travelers her in Broken Hill mostly vans of all sizes and shapes it is good to see so many people touring there own country we also get many from overseas as well funny thing the amazing race was here last year I have just seen the episode where there run down the street dressed as kangaroos

the town needs the tourist $ they have been depending on the mines far too long and are starting to realize they need to make a change

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 18:31

Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 18:31
Allein,

Vans will always be "top of the tree" for travellers, but as long as everyone gets out there and spends a dollar or two, it's good for the local economy.

Bob.

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 08:54

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 08:54
Hi Bob,

From our experience there always have been a fair few "single vehicle travellers". We were one ourselves for many years, and still are except that we tow a small trailer full of "stuff" these days. So I guess we do notice other SVTs. There must be some reason why two of the most visited blogs on this site deal with setting up a single vehicle for extended trips - between them they cover both ends of the investment spectrum.

I do agree that there are increasing numbers of caravans on the road, but the vast majority of them seem to stick either to the bitumen or the better maintained gravel roads. Once you get onto rougher, more out-of-the-way tracks there are more SVTs and camper trailers.

I suspect that many people, on retirement, decide that a trip around the block (or some variant of that theme) is the thing to do. But from talking to travellers and reading this forum now for many years I have come to the conclusion that many set out with little idea or knowledge of what to expect, how to go about it, what to see or watch out for - even how to find their way around, and so on. Despite that, hopefully they have an enjoyable experience, but it would seem that some at least simply swap suburban living for a similar experience on wheels. The number of caravans for sale suggests that for many the big trip is a one-off experience.

We have occasionally mulled over the pros and cons of a caravan and so far have not been seriously tempted. For us (despite having clocked up about 7 decades ourselves) the increase in comfort is still outweighed by the versatility and go-anywhere capabilities of our venerable Troopy. Experience has taught us that many of the best places are off the beaten track and not readily accessible towing a big van. Maybe through forums like this one that message is getting traction.

It could be too that economic circumstances are having some impact and before spending top $$ on a big new van and suitable tow vehicle some people are testing the water first. Could be too that younger people, (now that employment is no longer a lifetime commitment to one or two employers) are getting out and about in a way that many of our generation never could.

Cheers,

Val

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Follow Up By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Monday, May 27, 2013 at 17:44

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 17:44
Here at Kilcowera we have noticed over the last few years more and more single vehicle travellers and a lot more younger people too. So you may have a point Val. We used to have more people come in for accommodation but now its camping. Cheers Toni
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, May 31, 2013 at 13:46

Friday, May 31, 2013 at 13:46
Thanks Val,

Good to hear your thoughts, and wouldn't disagree on any of your points.

Have always been amused by travellers leaving suburbia, to "get away from it all", and end up in a 'van park, or a roadside parking bay, in a rural suburb of their own making. Went past Fountain Springs(on Isa/Cloncurry road) the other day and there must have been about 20 'vans, all squeezed into an area of 100M x 30M.

Yes, economics must play a big part in the equation too. Bit hard to buy a 'van, or even a camper, with kids at school, and maybe a rather large mortgage hanging over their heads. Doing the SVT thing gets them out there, at a minimal cost, so they are able to go further, see more and probably still enjoy themselves, without the luxury, and expense, of a 'van.

As Toni has said, more people appear to be camping, and with the multitude of camping items available these days, they're not really "roughing it" anymore,

Bob.

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