Is the Grey Nomad going to disappear

Submitted: Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:12
ThreadID: 57991 Views:3861 Replies:24 FollowUps:13
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Just been pondering on prices of fuel.

For ten years now I have had this dream of seeing OZ as a Grey Nomad.

I have been working towards this goal. I have got myself a 4wd and a camper trailer (which I may upgrade - not sure)

Now that I am there in age (but still working) I am starting to wander if I can really afford this type of life with the prices of fuel.

If it goes to $2.50 a litre you want be able to go far without busting the budget.

It annoys me when the petrol people and polies say we have cheap fuel in OZ. If so be the case - how many people in England travel 800km in a day. I did that a few weeks ago and just got back from a near 500km drive.

May be I should buy a horse and cart :) . I am sure if I did that then there would be a special road tax for poo removal or something else.

Just wandering what other people think of the future.

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Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:17

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:17
Nahhh , when wages etc go up, interest rates go up , groceries go up it'll be just like normal, don't worry about it you'll be right mate , the sky hasn't fell down yet, your alive , enjoy life , you only get one.

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Follow Up By: richard - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:25

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:25
Doug - valid points :)

I sure don't want to sit around watching TV when I retire. Just may have to take longer and spread the travel out more but is disheartening that every time go by the petrol station the price has gone up.

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Reply By: richard - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:22

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:22
Just read thread below which is on a similar issue - sorry - must be the weather.

"Travelling to remote areas? Who's there for you when things go wrong?"
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Follow Up By: richard - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:28

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:28
The shock of fuel prices is getting to me I meant the following thread

Don't let fuel prices bleep ter your dream to caravan around Oz!

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Reply By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:32

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:32
I've got a strange feeling that there may well be a glut of Caravans on the market when Diesel goes over the $2.00 mark! Someone said to me the other day that if you have a Four wheel Drive, take a photo of it and frame it because they won't exist in the not too distant future.

I for one am having to review what I want to do with retirement as I had intended to be a not-so-grey nomad. My two month trip this year has had the fuel calculations done at $2.00 per litre. Cost was $3,400. That's a lot of money for one person. In actual fact I reckon I'll be closer to paying $2.40 average. I had hoped to pull the pin in 4 years but with the way the economy looks, I may not be able to afford it.

Best you travel now while we can JUST afford it.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Stephen M (NSW) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:49

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:49
"Someone said to me the other day that if you have a Four wheel Drive, take a photo of it and frame it because they won't exist in the not too distant future".

I reckon your not far wrong, I have been thinking about selling the prado and down sizing but to what ?? Then have to drag a trailer around with me to cary all the stuff if I went say to a new suzuki vitara diesel, except bullbar, there is stuff all accesories available for them then I have the issue of ground clearance (again). Think Ill just keep it till the wheels fall off it cause I doubt at the moment there is no hope in hell of any one wanting to buy one $200 + to fill. Would cost $318.00 to be exact from dead empty to full !!! both tanks if the price hits $2.00 a litre which it will. Regards Steve M
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Reply By: Member - Kevin J (QLD) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:43

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:43
Move slower and take more time to smell the roses.

Take a job here and there. Not only will you get the benefit of the income but you will be helping to keep the 'back country ' alive.

Kevin J
AnswerID: 305827

Reply By: richard - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:49

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:49
I can retire now (age wise) money wise a bit differnet.

Unfortunately I leased a car for 3 years and am only 1 year into it and it costs a bundle to buy it out.

Mind you if I can arrange to travel while on the lease I will pay less for fuel

AnswerID: 305831

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:50

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:50

I've been watching the fuel price rise like many others, and wonder what it will be when (if) we retire next July.

However, it would be a bugger to forego a trip, or two, because of fuel prices, and then cark it with "heaps' in the bank. Better to wear out, than rust out!

Agree with Doug, go for it. "Seize the Day". Can't remember the latin quote.

We have given away the idea of a 'van, or camper trailer, and plan to get a aluminium canopy built of back of Landcruiser ute. Should be somewhat more economical, but still have a comfortable bed, and room for all our luxuries.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:14

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:14
Quote>Agree with Doug, go for it. "Seize the Day". Can't remember the latin quote.<End Quote

"Carpe diem" is the Latin quote.

FollowupID: 571914

Follow Up By: Member - Lionel A (WA) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:08

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:08
Or "Bugga offum while u canum"......LOL.

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Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 22:48

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 22:48
"Non bastardo carborundum" = Don't let the bastards wear you down!

Having said that, I'm thinking my days of "leisure driving" are basically over..from now on, its just drive to work/shops/schools.. weekends of low range 4wding/camping? Pfffft....
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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:48

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:48
Non illegitimi carborundum :))
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Reply By: Eric Experience - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:04

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:04
!5 years ago I purchased an international Acco 4x4 and started building a motor home. After about a years work the price of petrol hit about 50cents so I parked the inter and got a Hino 4x4 about half the consumption. Then the price of fuel got to about 70cents so I parked the Hino and got a Mercedes 4x4 half the fuel again, drove that on many happy trips about 10/100, now I have parked the first Merc and got a second later one about 8/100, I am not sure what the next move will be. It sure as hell will not be any form of trailer. Eric.
AnswerID: 305834

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 11:18

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 11:18
You parked the Acco for a HINO, you parked the Hino for a Merc and now your not sure....Why are you worried about fuel prices???? Doesnt sound like money is an issue!
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Reply By: Member - Pomoriganie (QLD) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:22

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:22
I agee with Richard, you have to take more time. Budget your fuel for the week and stop and rest for the remainder of the week.

When we started travelling I was budgeting for $150.00 a week on fuel and stopping for the rest of the week. I now work on $180.00 a week. We travell between 200 to 300km in a day and then stay for 2days minimum. I like to stop around 12 or 1pm at the latest.
AnswerID: 305838

Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 07:09

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 07:09
You back Mike? you are probably thinking of heading north, got down to 3 at our place this morning brzzzzz. Pop up for a coffee some time.

Cheers Bruce
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Follow Up By: Member - Pomoriganie (QLD) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 21:28

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 21:28
Hi Bruce, not back yet, in the Alice at the moment, heading for the Rock. May travel then to Darwin. Also hope to head to Normanton and accross to the coast from there. Expect to be away until the end of June at least. Will give you a call when we do get back home, our plans change quite frequently.

all the best Mike.
FollowupID: 572053

Reply By: richard - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:35

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:35
I guess you have to give the whole thing more thought.

In the past fuel was something a bit in the background. Now it is a major budgeting factor.

A point above re a lot of caravans on the market could come about.

I have a SWB and so tow a camper - SWMBO will not come at tenting.

We went up to Maitland over the weekend as interested in upgrading our camper to something more comfortable which means more expensive.

I will need to give thought to whether it is worth spending lots more dollars on a new one or just stay with what I have (which is still good but lacks a few things we would like), just in case I can't afford to what I have.

I have sort of given up the idea of getting one of those bigger caravans even though they are a much more comfortable option.

Lots of thinking ahead for everyone I reckon - it is not just touring but 4wd and many other motor sports that are effected.


AnswerID: 305844

Reply By: Member - Roger B (VIC) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:54

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:54
I believe that the Grey Nomads ( and if I had enough hair it would be grey !!) will adjust to the circumstances. We'll travel slower, find more free camp sites, take less tours etc., eat out less, maybe not go quite as far. That will help to offset fuel prices, but all those businesses will lose out as a result. All those Nomads, myself included spent most of their working lives dreaming of being able to spend a few months every year on the road. I don't reckon they'll give in too easily.My wife and live a fairly simple life for more than half the year. We'd both sooner do that and have those extra dollars for touring. We also get to spend those dollars in some of the greatest parts of Australia. Take Care all.
Roger B........
AnswerID: 305847

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:51

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:51
That is it Roger. No need to be absolutely gloomy as others are want. Talking to folks today with big frontal area caravans and they said that may have to change. There will be still some big three and a half tonners about, but fewer of them. People will try to keep slower, not such a surge up hills and at lights, smaller, lighter caravans. I like to feel I anticipated change with my selection, but there will be other solutions with more pop up vans or staying in cabins
FollowupID: 571937

Reply By: Member - David P (VIC) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:11

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:11
I am just hoping to be able to lug a swag around ....:))....((:
AnswerID: 305850

Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:14

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:14

I am almost there.

I want to be one.

Keep the fuel prices low.

Life's great and it just keeps getting better

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Reply By: stefan P (Penrith NSW) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:16

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:16
just look for ways of saving money when not traveling....

For example I would avg 1 trip a month in the patrol at $200 for fuel. Plus drive the beast to work for $100 per week. So around $600 per month.

Now ride a motor bike to work for around $20 a week. Plus the trip at now $240. So now around $320 a month.

Just look for different ways to offset the cost and life is still good.

Cheers Stefan

AnswerID: 305855

Reply By: Mike - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:23

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:23
Don't worry over fuel prices!, just remember that "you are a long time dead" and you don't get a second chance at life.
AnswerID: 305861

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:29

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:29
"Is the Grey Nomad going to disappear?

If you were listening to Macca on the ABC this morning you would have heard the new term:

SAD - See Australia and Die.

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Reply By: Splits - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 23:48

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 23:48
I think fuel prices may lead to an increase in Grey Nomads travelling permanently. My wife and I have been retired for eight years and the only thing keeping us at home is my 93 year old father. I want him to live forever but realisticly I know I won't have him for much longer. After that the 4b will be replaced with a little motor home, our house will be rented and we will go on the road for as long as our health permits.

When we start it could be a ten year or even longer trip and we will definitely not be driving hundreds of ks each day. I read a story in the Wanderer magazine a couple of years ago about a couple who left Sydney for an indefinite trip and after five years they were still in NSW! We have already been on a few extended trips and a tank of fuel can last us a over a month. No matter how high fuel prices go, they should not be a problem while travelling like that.

As it stands at the moment I think 4bs are still a very economical proposition when compared to other forms of entertainment/relaxation etc. I can go out on a three day club trip and spend about $130 on fuel. For that the two of us get some challenging driving, a couple of nights camped in a beautiful secluded place, the company of some good friends, a campfire to sit around and talk plus plenty of pictures to help us remember. We could spend more than that on two theatre tickets for a three hour show or just one night in a Blue Mountains guest house.

People with young families could easily spend more than that on a day in a theme park.

You don't go to theatres etc each week and most people don't go on 4b trips each weekend either. When spread out a month or two apart, a 4b trip is still hard to beat for value for money. They can look expensive though when you go for a long trip in a short time but when you compare that to a week or two on a coach tour or holiday resort, the 4b is still in front.

I don't think future fuel prices are going to cause as much trouble as we seem to be currently thinking. Oil companies want to keep selling fuel and car manufacturers would like to stay in buisness. If fuel becomes too expensive both could suffer, public transport could be in chaos trying to cope and who knows what else will be disrupted.

I think everything will eventually settle down and reach a balance where life can go on and still be affordable.

AnswerID: 305869

Reply By: Dave B (NSW) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 00:10

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 00:10
I am a bit surprised that nobody has suggested studying the weather for the next few days before you move around.
A head wind isn't going to help your bank balance.
Do you really have to move on if your likely to have a head wind?
It can easily add 10% - 20% to your fuel consumption.

'Wouldn't be dead for quids'

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Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 07:30

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 07:30
Very correct Dave, was travelling from Winton to Cloncurry a few years ago (just the MU) wandering why the fuel gauge was dropping quicker than usual until we stopped to make a cupper and nearly got blown away, head wind must have been 30 plus knots (60kph) fuel was down 25%.

Cheers Bruce
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Reply By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 08:08

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 08:08
Hi Richard,

I think there will be Grey Nomads on the road for many years yet despite higher fuel costs. The next generation to retire will have significantly more superannuation than the current one. Australia also has probably the most generous Super system of any Western country – income from a taxed fund is tax FREE when you turn 60. So there will be lot of people retiring even over the next decade who are drawing a good income tax free.
Australia is in general an affluent country. I read in weekend papers that GMH can’t keep up with demand for the new 6.2 litres V8 HSV commodores – 3 month waiting period for some models. So even with petrol at $1.50 a litre some folks are still queuing to buy V8s. For many apparently fuel costs are not an issue of concern.
There will probably be a shift to more efficient towing vehicles and vans with less wind drag – pop tops and camper trailers etc etc. But I think for many years yet there will be an increasing number of Nomads on the road.
But I also believe in the longer time frame things may be different. Planet Earth has been provided with probably about 200 years supply of fossil fuels and we are about half way through that period or will be in the next few years (when production starts to decrease). Hence the term peak oil. I can’t comprehend numbers in the trillions so think of a smaller time scale – eg 1 second. The world’s consumption on average is 200,000 litres per second 24/7 of crude oil. (consumption is seasonal so this is an average). So its not rocket science to understand that the planet will eventually deplete its supplies of readily accessible fossil fuels. There will be alternatives (oil sands, shale oil, oil from coal, bio fuels etc etc) but these will come at a high financial and environmental cost. (remember the Gladstone shale oil project in Queensland failed a few years ago basically for environmental reasons after hundreds of million of $s were spent).
What the future holds is any ones guess – but more and more knowledgeable people are warning of the future oil shocks. I believe this is not a “hic cup” like the 1970s oil supply problems – this is the real thing. Post peak oil (and I believe peak oil will occur within the next decade) the price will rise sharply as demand exceeds supply. In April Roger Corbett (ex CEO of Woolworths and now member of Reserve bank Board) stated that higher energy costs are the single biggest threat to business world wide. He suggests a 10 fold increase within 10 years is quite possible- if that occurs diesel could be $15 per litre by 2018.
In the short term (rest of 2008) I believe fuel prices will peak in July/August (possible get to $150 per barrel) and then moderate a little thereafter. China is stockpiling diesel for the Olympics which is currently exacerbating a worldwide shortage of diesel due to refining constraints and the northern hemispheres summer driving period which increases demand for diesel etc.
But there is no point in being pessimistic – but we do need to change our priorities and our driving habits to match the economic circumstances.

AnswerID: 305879

Follow Up By: The Landy - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 09:08

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 09:08
Hi Glen

I think you are right on the short-term price, higher and than a pullback into the next couple of months and that fits the chart we were discussing.

I think the price is more likley to change the traveliing habits of the short-term travellerrather than the grey-nomad. The quick dash across the Simpson in the school holidays might see less, but longer term travellers with time on their hands to spend in different loations may not be as heavily influenced. I was encouraged by some of the comments in this thread in this regard.

I am convcerned that the currnt rice, if it stays at these levels for extended periods may see a reduction in outback services over time.

Godd luck..

FollowupID: 571960

Reply By: V64Runner - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 08:37

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 08:37
When I was a kid I used to go with my Father to by the Sunday papers around 8.30 on the Saturday evening. The paper cost a whole Shillling( 10 cents ) Petrol was 20 cents or 2 shillings a gallon ( five litres ) tyres for the family car with white side wall were $10 each ( they were cross ply on 15 inch rims - 6.40x15 if my memory serves me right. Then I came to Australia in 1983 and petrol was 48 cents a litre. My monthly salary was about $400 a month. Now I`m retired and petrol is what it is. I am greatful for one of the few good decisions I made last year to get my 4x4 converted to Direct Injection LPG. Total cost was $4120 and I got the $3000 rebate back within two weeks. My LPG consumption on a recent ten day trip around the South West over 2390 Km worked out at 11.3 L/100 Km - Have all the receipts to prove it and double checked the mileage and the amount of LPG uploaded. I have kept my fuel tank full all the time and run approximately 100 Km a month on Petrol just to prevent residue build up in the injectors and fuel pump. Best $1200 I have ever spent on any vehicle I have owned in my lifetime. I estimate that $2500 will get me around this vast country just on LPG alone
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Reply By: Member - DOZER- Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:21

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:21
When i travelled around oz, i met two types of nomads...those who travelled town to town on pension day, and those who were self funded...the first group i can see selling their vans and travelling to Bali for 3 months, as they wont be able to afford to drag a van around. Either that, or they will travel north and plant themselves for 3 months...the idea is to escape the aches and pains for quality of life, isnt it??
AnswerID: 305902

Reply By: Mainey (wa) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:45

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:45
I believe the "Grey Nomads" will continue go north and stay for 3 months, just to get away from the cold winters down south.

It costs them almost nothing to live on some of the beach's up there when compared to the costs associated in staying at caravan parks in a city or town.

When you factor in the cost of driving up there, spread over the 3 months, it's still affordable when compared to staying at home in the cold & wet winter weather - come on winter :-)

Mainey . . .
AnswerID: 305906

Reply By: Therifleman - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 19:43

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 19:43
Good day all.Cant agree with the gloom & doom merchants that 4wd,s will only be a memory.Took my caravan from Pottsville to Coffs Harbour & back today for a repair,towing with my 2006 Patrol used 14 l per 100 km.. Normal running around the place it returns 9.5 to 10.5 L/100 km.Last tank was 9.6 L/100 or 29.2 mpg.
Tyres have about 10000 km.left in them ,this will give me 82000 km from the set.
To me this seems fairly reasonable motoring costs with or without my caravan(17ft6ins poptop showervan.I cant see my self selling my 4wd as i dont think its any more expensive to run than some smaller vehicles.JUST REMEMBER YOU ARE A LONG TIME DEAD.
AnswerID: 305981

Reply By: Col_and_Jan - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 20:08

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 20:08
I am amazed when I look at the getaway or holiday programs on TV which advertise hot deals at only half price: only $180 per person per night, and you get a discount on massage etc (not that type of massage)

I am used to paying $20-$35 per night for a powered site, and am looking to freecamp more often. I will be staying longer and taking in the surroundings.

In the past 25 years of caravanning, I have tended to do long distances over a short time, but I am looking forward to taking my time in the future.

I was looking forward to the lap around the paddock, and will still do that, but probably slower than first planned. In my job, I can get contract or part time work easily, so will use that to supplement the income. But you can forget the getaway specials..Im too tight to throw that type of money away.

AnswerID: 305990

Reply By: Member - BIGDOG G (WA) - Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 15:13

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 15:13
Yeah well, buggard if I know.....seams to be a lot of doom and gloom.
We are "Grey Nomads", Drive a intercooled turbo deisel V8 and tow a full size 22ft offroad van. We are rigged for bush water (lasts us 3 weeks), 4 x 120 solars on van, 2 x 85's on 4by.
We spend our time in some of the most beautifull and Isolated places........for zilch, and if we need to get more water we go to nearest in the 4by and fill our water bladders and take it back to the van.
I am writing this laying on the bed in the van and am 29ks from the nearest town, been here for a week, fresh fish every night. and no neighbours.
We will be leaving here tomorrow and cruising the coast for another "little Gem" we have heard of.
All I can say is this is really living, beats work'n anyday.
Dont worry about fuell........Dont worry about anything.....Get out there and do it.

Cheers to all, Chookie and BIGDOG
AnswerID: 306115

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