Caravan virgins travelling from ACT

Submitted: Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 19:21
ThreadID: 75238 Views:3125 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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Hi! We are new to caravanning, and are travelling from Canberra to Adelaide, probably via Ballarat possibly with a detour through Lakes Entrance. Just wondering if any of you experienced caravanners have any tips for us? We won't be doing anything off road, and have young children with us. We'll be in a coromal magnum 440 poptop. Reviews of this van that we have found look good, but any tips most welcome!
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Reply By: Brian Purdue - Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 19:39

Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 19:39
My only suggestion is do not drive too fast. Start late and stop early. Spend more time looking than driving but most of all HAVE FUN.
AnswerID: 399622

Reply By: Max - Sydney - Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 20:17

Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 20:17

Caravanning is a great experience, but if this is your first time, expect a big learning curve.

Just a few random thoughts

1. Try to get away for a weekend (or a long weekend) not far from home, to find out what you need and what routines to follow.

2. Don't take too much stuff - you will spend all your time scrabbling through the restricted cupboards looking for things.

3. Have a plastic bag (you can buy zipper ones but any will do) for each person's clothes. Preferably each a different colour or marked for easy identification.

4. Have a pair of thongs for everyone to wear into the amenities block for hygiene and to prevent getting tinea in the shower.

5. Have a "stable table" in the car for each child , and a big bag of books, toys, colouring in things etc to keep them amused on the road. Some Mums produce something new when they are getting bored. Have drinks etc ready to hand to them.

6. As the previous poster said, don't expect to go a long way. Every hour or so, find the playground in towns you go through. You can enthuse fidgety kids by saying "lets look for the playground" for ten minutes before, and they can run off energy at the playground when you get there. If you are real lucky they will doze off once you are back in the car and on the road again.

7. Don't expect to sit up and read or watch a movie once the kids go to bed. Much easier if you pack up too so they don't stay awake watching you in the confined space of the van. After all they will wake you up at daybreak anyway!!

Most of all, have a wonderful trip. Expect a few things to go wrong and change plans as you see how the day, and the trip, are going.

Al the best
AnswerID: 399625

Follow Up By: Mum of Two - Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 20:57

Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 20:57
Thanks for all that good advice! Im sure there willl be a VERY steep learning curve, which is why I was keen to hear from more experienced travellers. GREAT idea about the thongs, I would never have thought of that.!
FollowupID: 668590

Reply By: True Blue - Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 22:13

Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 22:13
Hi Mum of Two. Probably not the type of tip your looking for but here it is anyway.

I'm sure you will get many worthwhile tips from exploroz forumites but my first and foremost piece of advice that I can give you, especially as you are new to 'vanning is to gain as much experience in towing the van as possible before you leave on your trip.

Spend sometime away from the road, perhaps a quiet park/car park. Practice turns, parking, backing up using your side mirrors. Place a couple of witches hats or something similar and practice reversing through them. Go on short drives, stopping and starting, turning, etc. Get a feel for the van and how it changes the dynamics of the tow car. Consider carefully how everything changes when overtaking with a van. Towing a van will make you consider much more closely certain aspects of driving that you may have taken for granted. it is a steep learning curve but is well worth it.

You may have already done this but the more confidence and skill you have in towing the van the safer and enjoyable this and subsequent trips will be.

Get used to giving the car and the van a quick visual once over at stops.

It's a wonderful way to see this country and your trips will vary from fantastic to just so so, but your safety and the safety of others is your first and foremost consideration and my most important tip I can give you.

Happy travels.

True Blue (father of 3)
AnswerID: 399645

Follow Up By: Mum of Two - Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 13:16

Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 13:16
Very sensible advice that we will follow, thanks!
FollowupID: 668684

Reply By: kend88 - Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 09:17

Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 09:17
No real tips but the trip you have planned is much the same as part of one of our trip a few years ago. From Sydney, (after leaving from Brisbane) we spent a few nights at Cooma and explored that area. We have a 535 Coromal pop top and just a $20 fan heater was enough to keep us warm overnight in May in Cooma. Down to Lakes Entrance for two days, up to melbourne for a week with our daughter, then to Daylesford and Ballarat, both for a few days, on to Swan Hill, Mildura, Renmark, Burra. Missed Adelaide and spent a week on Cape Yorke before heading north to Darwin. it was a very pleasant easy drive. Our Coromal is a tandem axle but I understand the single axle tows really well too.
It was two years old when we we bought it, but touch wood, it has been faultless for the 4 years and 40,000km we have towed it.
Have a great trip.

AnswerID: 399691

Follow Up By: Mum of Two - Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 13:15

Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 13:15
Thanks for the info, was Cooma worth staying at and would you recommend anywhere?
FollowupID: 668682

Reply By: kend88 - Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 18:02

Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 18:02
Quite enjoyed Cooma, nice little town, stayed at the CP there, can't remember it's name but I think it was the only one. Day trip up to Jindabyne was good too. for some reason which I can't remember now, Cooma and Daylesford in Central Vic seemed similar.
AnswerID: 399757

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