Advice Please

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 05:22
ThreadID: 21895 Views:3844 Replies:18 FollowUps:16
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We're coming from Wales in the UK and plan to tour Oz we have 2 young children aged 4 and 6 and plan to take a year out travelling around and seeing all the sites including the ones slightly off the beaten track.

As Australia is such a vast place can anyone recommend the type of caravan and vehicle that would be best suited for us. We don't want to see just the tourist spots but the hidden treasures of Australia we would also prefer to be as self sufficient as possible as we won't want to spend all our time going from one caravan park to another.

Any advice or pointers would be appreciated.


PS great site :o)
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Reply By: Member - David 0- Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:30

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:30
Caravanning is definitely not my area of expertise, but to see some of the sites I'd recommend a tough vehicle, preferably a 4WD without a caravan on the back. Have you considered a 4WD and camper trailer?
AnswerID: 105827

Reply By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:50

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:50
Hi David thansk for the reply.

As we would be using it as our home we didn't fancy having to unpack everything everytime we wanted to camp the night.

I do paragliding and I know from in the UK the best sites aren't always the easiest to get to so this is one of the other reasons we would want something that could handle going off road. At least then the family would have the caravan to lounge about whilst I was off paragliding.

AnswerID: 105828

Follow Up By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:29

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:29
When you get here let me know. I dont paraglide but my good friend has one including a big engine he wears.

We are in Melbourne, Victoria.

I dont 4by. But would be happy to spend some time together on The Great Ocean Road. It is touristy, but a worthwhile look.

Keep in touch.

Do you have email adress?
When are you coming?
FollowupID: 362942

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:45

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:45
We're flying out on the 29th of this month so should be there on the 1st May. We're heading to SA first to catch up with some friends but we plan to go to Victoria at some point to catch up with some family in Geelong.

I did actually look into the paramotoring side of things to start off with. I have been told that in Australia you may be better off going down the microlite route so that might be another option later on.

Are you travelling around Oz now?

FollowupID: 362943

Follow Up By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 08:12

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 08:12
>Are you travelling around Oz now?

I wish.

I am living in Melbourne with my wife. We are city people. We get around a bit, camping. Nothing off the beaten track. Yet.

You've found the right site here for info and advice. The people here are terrific. I've only been here a few months and I'm real glad I joined.

People will meet with you and are ALL over the Country. We have a Beautiful Country.

I havn't seen most of it. But some blokes here (and woman) know it like the back of their hand.

Safe travels.

FollowupID: 362945

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 18:33

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 18:33

I've sent you a quick email. When we get out there then we will certainly join up as members on here as it does seem a brilliant site for information plus full of friendly people.

Speak to you soon

FollowupID: 362994

Follow Up By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 18:55

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 18:55
Will you be bring your own canopy? or will you be hiring eqpt?

If bringing own gear, what do you have? How much experience?

Do you need anything?

FollowupID: 362998

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 21:01

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 21:01
I have a Gin Bolero glider at the moment and have literally been flying since October 2003. I have passed the elimentary pilot course in the UK and have about an hours flying to pass the novice pilot or club pilot course....hopefully this will happen tomorrow as it is looking promising!

The problem we have here is the weather is pretty awful for flying and there is even a website dedicated to what we call parawaiting as I've certainly sat on a few hills waiting the best part of a day for the conditions to be right. Hopefully though this will change when we get out there.

I will be bringing my gear with me but I would be interested to know where your friend buys his gear out in Oz.


FollowupID: 363007

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:50

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:50
Think seriously about a tough capable 4WD & camper trailer set up. Without stirring the debate on who makes the better vehicles, Nissan or Toyota seem to be the most reliable in the "large" 4wd area. A good quality off road camper trailer will tow behind it nicely, preferably one with a 14 foot tent. We purchased ours recently, a Cavalier with the 14 foot tent, there is enough room inside for us, our two boys and the table and chairs.... so for an "overnighter" we don't need to set the awning up just to have a bit of "elbow" room. (And the 14 footer is no longer in set up time than the smaller ones!) Also they are quick and easy to set up... we can open ours and in theory be in bed about 10 minutes later... tents, particularly big family tents, are considerably longer, which after a days driving can be very frustrating! Have a long look at whats available on the market.

Secondly, when you have purchased your 4WD, take the time to sign up for a good quality 4WD training course, and make sure Mrs Homeboy completes it with you. (what if you get sick/injured/drunk in the outback and can't drive?)
Australia has many varied driving enviroments, and the training will at least set you in the right direction. Most (but not all) 4WD clubs have driver programs, or there are many commercial ones.

Lastly, Keep us posted here of your progress...... most of the people on this forum LOVE to hear of others travels, ( I know I do!)... and have a great trip!!!!!!!

AnswerID: 105829

Reply By: Member - Jack - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:53

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:53
Hi Homeboy:

Check out the "Vehicle Requirements" section of this website. It will serve as a very useful guide that you can tailor to your own requirements. Depending on where you plan to travel, you will experience everything from extreme cold to extreme heat. Be prepared, especially if you are going into the desert areas. It is fascinating country but very unforgiving if you get it wrong.

Have fun.

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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AnswerID: 105830

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:56

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 06:56
Roy your 4wd possibly a toyota or a nissan or even a troop carrier .
With the van you could get a bigger type I dont know brands then you can leave it in a van park and do your harder stuff them come back to it.
If you know what I mean.
Or as the above post get a good quality camper off road one. Ie kimberly or simmilar stlye.

All the best
AnswerID: 105831

Reply By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:07

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:07
Thanks Eric, Brian and Jack for your replies.

We have been looking at the Toyota Landcruiser as a vehicle and have found that most people recommend the 80 series compared to the 100 series for towing although if you have any views on this I would love to hear them. Also we would prefer an automatic and a diesel.

I don't think we would want to go on serious 4x4 off roading just yet but we would want something that could cope with say the dirt tracks as well as bitumen roads.

On the caravan side of things we have been looking into the Bushtracker cavavans and we do like the way they are built - if they get knocked down at least they wouldn't be crushed to bits unlike some other makes. Other makes we have looked at that seem a bit more robust are kedron and Boroma is there anythign else out there that you could recommend? It is more a case of something that is built to last and could handle more tougher conditions than just the campsite, bitumen road caravans.

It is hard to judge what conditions we would be facing until we get out there and finally go for it but we will certainly keep you up to date on our travels.

AnswerID: 105832

Follow Up By: BLUEBAG53 - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 08:00

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 08:00
Gooday Mr, Mrs and little Homeboys, in response to your enquiry, Jayco have recently releasedupgraded models of their Dove, Swan and Hawk models. The earlier models had a timber frame however this has been replaced by a welded aluminium frame. Early days as far as negative feedback but no news is good news as they say, and they appear to be popular here in Queensland with the off road fraternity.

Jayco put out standard/conventional model as well as an off road version.

Another suggested consideration is the resale factor at the completion of your Trek.

Enjoy Oz!
FollowupID: 362944

Follow Up By: marcus - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 11:06

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 11:06
G'day Homeboy,
You are on the right track with a diesel as towing a large heavy van with a petrol vehicle will send the economy figures through the roof wheras diesel will not be as big a difference.Just make sure it is a turbo diesel as turbo's are the best things ever invented for a diesel engine.
The bushtracker is an excellent van for what you want to do and is built for the terrain of the outback only downside is quite heavy(around 2 ton) before loaded depending on model and over $50,000 new.They are a great van though and are self sufficient with shower,toilet,solar panels etc.You can't beat the convenience of a van though when you can pull up for a quick overnighter as against a camper which needs that 15 minutes set up and dismantle time or even stop for lunch at the side of the road,open the door and you are inside out of the weather.The bushtracker will do the job if the budget allows.For more info
cheers Mark
FollowupID: 362961

Reply By: Toy_Hilux - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:57

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 07:57
There are some very good brands of offroad caravans with a swag of different models and a host of optional extras. The prices do vary so shop around. With towing a van, you will have to go for a decent 4by, preferably a Toyota as it has one of the best towing load capacities. Have fun touring around and if in North Queensland look us up.
AnswerID: 105836

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 18:34

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 18:34
Thanks Darryl I certainly will do when we head up that way.

FollowupID: 362995

Reply By: Pezza - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 08:16

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 08:16
G'day Homeboy,

You have obviously done quite some research already, if the finance minister approves, a turbo 80 series would be an excelent choice, they don't come much better for a tough caravaning towing combination, other than a GU turbo nissan, both the 4.2 varieties.
In the caravan dept, if you are looking at the likes of bushtracker then might I suggest a good long look at the supreme, IMHO it is probably the toughest caravan built for this great country of ours, I have spoken to quite a few supreme owners who were extremely happy with the many years of trouble free service their van has given them whilst towing it to many of our harshest destinations, including cape york return.
Remember, these are only my opinions, others will more than likely differ in theirs, but that is what makes this world such an interesting place.
I wish you an enjoyable and trouble free venture, but please keep in mind, that being as beautiful as this country is, it will bite you (sometimes fataly) if you don't respect it, or become blasé with safety.

AnswerID: 105837

Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 09:21

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 09:21
Hi Homeboy and family,
This will be a great adventure for you all,
I dont think 12months will be long enough !! lol
The 6cyl diesel 80 series will be great, I dont think nissan have an auto in there 4.2 gu, but roachie will correct me im sure,
I would buy a van and a full set of camping gear and travel with the van and when you get to somewhere you need to take a deeper look, park van in c/van pk and go camping to the spots you want to see.
If you are starting in Adelaide give us a call, and myself and some other EO people from SA will be able to help you out, perhaps start with a BBQ somewhere and help you with plenty of infomation and some contacts to help get you started.
We are a frendly bunch, and then when you go to Victoria we will be able to direct you to some good EO people over there. This site will be your best friend as you travel with EO people from all over this great country.
My Mobile number is behind my rig pic.

Cheers pesty
AnswerID: 105844

Reply By: Trev88 - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 10:53

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 10:53
Hi Home boy

Stronly recommend joining in on some tag along tours before tackling some of the bigger trips on your own.

They carry all recovery gear ect all you need is some beer food beer fridge beer tent beer and of course some water for the kids.

The tagalongs will teach you how to prepare for the out back (no supper hwys out ther) one lane bothways with speeds dropping in the difficult places to 5 to 10 ks per hour.

depending on your budget you could pick up a well equiped 2nd hand 4WD in the $30k or less and spend some dollars bringing it up to touring standard.

A camper trailer (top range you will have to buy new or check out the hire places) but some of the bigger ones (Trakshak in adelaide) take literly minutes (10) to get to bed and depending on how you pack only anbout 1 hour to set up for a longer stay. The trakshak also folds out to two queen beds both of the ground and has a 3x3 mtr room plus awning it massive. all this under 20k.

send us an email as you get to adealide and I might just be looking at some loocal stuff (Robe beach, Yorke Pen, or even the murray lands) some good 4 to 7 day trips.

Enjoy oz when you get here it's a big place and you will only get to see half of it in 12 months


AnswerID: 105862

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 21:14

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 21:14
Thanks Trevor

I would certainly like to meet up and pick your brains on some of the equipment that we would require so a few days out and about SA sounds very appealing. I didn't spend an emormous about of time in SA on my travels so this time round we do plan to have a good look.

Where abouts are you in SA? We'll be heading to Adelaide to start off with.

FollowupID: 363010

Follow Up By: Trev88 - Monday, Apr 11, 2005 at 09:59

Monday, Apr 11, 2005 at 09:59
Were own in the southern suburbs

But everything in Adelaide is within 20 min of the city

Mobile 0414 969 417

Look forward to seeing you


FollowupID: 363173

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Monday, Apr 11, 2005 at 16:24

Monday, Apr 11, 2005 at 16:24
Thanks Trevor we will certainly contact you when we get there. We'll be stayign with friends at first in Flagstaff Hill for a while so we won't be that far away from you.

Roy and Sasha
FollowupID: 363213

Reply By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 11:07

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 11:07

Here's my two bob's worth.

I have a camper trailer and love it for the use we give it. However for a 12 month trip with two kids I would go for a caravan. Stopping every night or two and setting up a camper would drive me mad. Stopping, unfolding, setting up beds for the kids, etc etc takes time. Although many camper manufacturers say their unit is up in 5 minutes, its the other 25 minutes of getting out chairs, setting up the kitchen, kid's beds, unpacking linen, etc is the slow part. Then you have to repack the next day which always takes longer than unpacking.

With a caravan, simply stop and open the door, and maybe pop up the roof. There are some awesome vans available with toilet/shower and airconditioning (this is something I STRONGLY recommend for a year in Aust). Not cheap though, at least $40,000 for a good sized one, but the good news is they hold their value pretty well and you'll be able to sell it before you leave.

Good Luck,

AnswerID: 105867

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 11:48

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 11:48
my advice would be to buy ny campervan as shown in my rig pic 8,000 to you 80 litres of water 170l of fuel double bed running water,sink, oven,fridge stove duel batteries etc etc etc
cumru am byth
AnswerID: 105872

Reply By: Member - Motley - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 17:21

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 17:21

If you are serious about see the "back blocks" of Australia, I can recommend a Bushtracker Caravan. We have travelled thousands of Kms without a problem. Upside? Self sufficiency - water, solar. Downside - a heavy van which needs a powerful towing vehicle. But we've passed a lot of broken down vans on roads where we didn't have a problem.

Have a look at Bushtracker Owners Group

and Bushtracker Caravans

AnswerID: 105897

Reply By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 17:47

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 17:47
Wow thanks for all your comments really appreciated.

My wife had already been on the BT forum and after looking at one of the vans on sale on that site we have been struggling to find any other van that comes close, but we're still looking! I've also tried to speak to the BT company but it seems there is a huge show on in Sydney at the moment and most of them are down there until Monday.

The only problem we have found is that it is hard to find a 2nd hand BT with bunks for the kids for sale so the other option is having one built from new which wouldn't be ready until October. This isn't very ideal with the kids as they would then have to be settled down until October and my wife isn't keen to drag them out of school once they had settled down.....dilema!

I did check out the camper trailers last night that some of you have suggested and they do look amazing although for a long tour I think it would drive me insane pulling everything out each time we wanted to set up camp. I do like the idea of taking along a load of camping gear to use instead of towing the caravan to certain areas and I'll certainly check out the new Jayco models.

We would certainly love to meet up with some of you on our travels and I certainy like the sound of going out on a few trips around SA to start off with to get the feel for things before a long trip.

Thanks again everyone really appreciated.

AnswerID: 105900

Reply By: Member - Frank - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 19:56

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 19:56
If you are going to spend a year I sugest you look at the trip planning part of this site it does noit have to be shedualed gust where to go and what to see and when this can be a dangerous country if taken for granted

AnswerID: 105922

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 21:05

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 21:05
Thanks Frank

I know exactly where you are coming from as I did the travelling around Oz thing 16 odd years ago when I was a single man, I did manage to get around in a VW van but I certainly wouldn't want to take so many risks with my family in tow so planning would have to be a major factor this time round.

FollowupID: 363009

Reply By: John - Qld - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 22:48

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 22:48
Hi Roy

An auto diesel 80 series may be very difficult to find, much sought after. Manual easier. Auto seems to be better for towing. Troopy are great but manual.

Camper trailer would be a pain due to setting up annexes etc etc each stop to house everybody.

You may want to look at the Jurgens expedition type vans which have entered the market here, as they seem to be a good compromise between camper trailers and a large van and are built very tough for off road - South African. jurgens - then again may be a bit small.

For a full van setup the Kedrons are probably the best value and will fit the skids in bunks. Weigh less, tough, have all the tricks, solar bla bla.

Bushtracker - big heavy suckers and top $ - check suspension - tricky if you plan to go to some tight places as there is something about the catching their suspension due to some of the setup not trailing but pointing fwd or something like that.... maybe codswhollop?

Have seen some vans like the Goldstream and Windsor Rapid - both have offroad versions - which have double beds at each end - easy & quick to setup - so great for families. Found the Jaycos low bench height was a killer.
goldstream. The Rapid doesn't require winding up but still compact espec with the fold out beds at each end. rapid

Learnt just about everthing I know off this site.

All the best wiht your travels.


AnswerID: 105950

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 00:53

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 00:53
Thanks John I'll check out the links you have put up. Much appreciated.

FollowupID: 363027

Reply By: Member - John - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 03:20

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 03:20
Homeboy, I think you may have left your run a bit late! You arrive here soon and it may take you a month or two to buy what you need. I would have started the process a couple of months ago and had the rellies looking at the relevant set up for you. If possible, have an experienced person with you when you go to look at vans or 4x4's etc, will save you getting ripped off etc. I hope that you can find what you need shortly after arriving and can then spend the rest of the time enjoying this great country. Good luck and an early welcome.
John and Jan

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 105962

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 08:24

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 08:24
Hi John thanks for the reply.

I'm starting to think you are right after reading some replies on here. Our plans changed only recently and it would of been so much easier if we had thought of doing this when we started out on the migration process.

We may have to reconsider things - personally I blame her in doors as I have only just been able to persuade her this is the way to go.

FollowupID: 363034

Reply By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 08:33

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 08:33
Hi Roy

Where abouts in Wales are you from? We have friends in Pontypool. If you'd like to email us we'd be happy to have a chat about things, we have 2 children aged 3 & 5 and last year travelled from melb to darwin towing a caravan which was great fun, on our return we decided to sell the van and buy a camper trailer and now have actually done more trips with the trailer than we did with the van. I have a current copy of the Caravan Trader Mag with me and there are a few off road vans for sale in there including a couple of Bushtrakers, one being a 4 berth one, the advertised price being 72K AUD, happy to email you contact details on it, if you're interested, if you click on my rig pic you;ll get my email addy etc, we'd be happy to meet up with you when you're in Vic, as I'm sure others here would too.

AnswerID: 105965

Follow Up By: Homeboy - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 18:06

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 18:06
Thanks Lyn that would be a fantastic help. We live in Bridgend which is between Cardiff and Swansea hopefully not for long though. We have some friends up Pontypool way as well as it's only about half an hour away from us.

We'll send you an email as we would love to hear how you got on with your children and travelling around.

Roy, Sasha, Mia and Xara
FollowupID: 363084

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