some questions re: going around our back yard

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 10, 2010 at 08:12
ThreadID: 79966 Views:3617 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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we are in the early stages of planing our trip around oz and have a few questions from those that have already done the trip. We will be doing it a bit different from most. we are looking at going in about 12 - 18 months and planing on being on the road for about 12 months. We are 2 adults and 2 kids aged (when we leave) 8 and 5years.
Ok we will be travelling in our d/c 130 defender with a camping back (still in the design stage) that we will be able to leave free standing. we will also have in tow a 20 foot boat.
a bit about us. we are very experienced campers our kids both starting their camping within the first few months of being born. we are at the moment very self sufficient and by the time we leave will have a few more creature comforts. at the moment dependent on fuel we can last about a month solo.
we have never used a caravan park so may need some help there.
so to the questions.
obviously when doing the inland parts of our trip we wont be needing the boat.
I was wondering how easy people think it would be to find a caravan park that would let us leave the boat parked up? and what they would charge?
We have been caught in one instance picking a town to stop in for the night only to be told by the bloke in the servo that we would be better to drive further down the road to be safer and get a better nights sleep.
So are there any towns that people would say to stay clear of?

cant think of anything else at the moment but am sure we will. all input welcome.
Thanks in advanced
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Jul 10, 2010 at 08:51

Saturday, Jul 10, 2010 at 08:51
It would probably be advisable to ask again closer to the time as things in the van park industry are changing with council laws and hungry developers moving in in some places.

As to costs and space availability. Who knows, you would have to have an itinerey and dates. Only the selected park owner could really answer that.

Most in the season have the parks stuffed full at a premium price per site.
If you are going from one coast to the other you will need at some time to take your boat across the country anyway

Towns also vary over timeHalls Creek used to be infamous but has cleaned up a lot. Seems to be more dangerous in the big cities at the moment. Without some idea of where you are going it is a bit hard to help you.

We found, use your intuition, if it looks dodgy move on. Never stop overnight on your own in exposed places near towns.
Lots of free camps have people in them in the season and so are Ok.

AnswerID: 423547

Reply By: Joe n Mel - Saturday, Jul 10, 2010 at 15:39

Saturday, Jul 10, 2010 at 15:39
Hey there :tas130"..............
I am curious as we have 3 kids, do a bit of camping but not classing ourselvs as the "very experianced" ......
You do ask a bit about stopping at towns but seem to be very well set up for camping bush ???? if we are set up we do anything to avoid the towns, there use is for fuel and supplies and if you plan well you will get a good nights sleep in your camp and what we do is plan for a stay at a really good motel or resort simply for the sake of things like pools for kids, showers and "room" and a good checkover of the car...... most good motels are pretty secure but do check first .....
With your boat, i would tow it everyware, make certain it has a very good trailer and running gear and split some weight from the car to the boat, things like water containers, tarps n tents, chairs ect can be in the boat and it gets the weight down on the car, also with all of your gear with you you have the option to change plans at any time you wish and that is very handy, i say that as we left a camper trailer and had a few delays (relations MUST be seen stuff) and added 500klms on to the trip just to go and pick it up, never do it again ...
12 months of pure camping seems a bit keen to me, get a job at some remote place and make it last but in comfort, we have done that for the last 9 years, just kinda happened that way.... get a van or a bus :-)
AnswerID: 423577

Follow Up By: tas130 - Sunday, Jul 11, 2010 at 06:46

Sunday, Jul 11, 2010 at 06:46
Hi Joe n Mel.
Thanks for the reply
The reason we are asking about towns is the exact reason you have pointed out. we are well set up for long stays in the bush and are happy that we know what we are doing when it comes to that. what we are not experianced with is towing a large load through major centres that we may want to check out. after all 12months is a long time but not so long when you think about how big our country is. There will be things in some towns that we will want to see and have the kids experiance. we do intend to be in remote areas more often than not. we are hoping that the caravaners amongst you all might either put our minds at rest that parking around the more major centres (mel,syd etc.) is'nt to bad or might at least have some pointers.
As for towing the boat everywhere that would be great but unfortunatly I dont think even the mighty defender would have an easy time draging a 21foot boat over the top of Big Red or into some of the or dense bush.
For the van or bus we dont think there is a need. we did look at that option but we have everything we need in our 4wd. we run a rooftop tent, several hundred liters of water and fuel, shower, slide out kitchen with a 110l weco and all the tools, tarps, chairs etc. that you need.

once again thanks for taking the time to reply
FollowupID: 694092

Follow Up By: Joe n Mel - Sunday, Jul 11, 2010 at 21:05

Sunday, Jul 11, 2010 at 21:05
with the boat you can look at citys that have cheap "back-loading" on trucks, Darwin for instance has expensive freight going to it but cheap freight going back, Cairns and Townsville the same.....
If you for instance are going to Darwin and then down through the desert to say Sydney or Melbourne you can get it freighted down and held at the yard until you are ready to pick it up, they do charge "holding" fees but it mostly is secure and you can pick it up when you arrive...... doo all of your city stuff then pick up the boat on the way out ....
You could do it like this...... go from Perth up the coast and do all of the fishing/camping spots all the way to and incluiding Darwin, send the boat to Sydney and go back down the middle up the Tanimni, Alice, accross to Sydney via where you wish and pick up the boat and head back up the coast doing fishing/camping right up to the Cape and then send it back down to the next point of pick up......
You would have to also take into account the seasons as you dont want to be stuck out in the middle of aussie in the wet, do it all in the dry and fish up the coasts in the wet........ plus the build up and wet are good times to be out on the water as is the end of the wet ...... bit cooler on the coast as well ..
All boils down to how much money you want to part with to get the most out of your time and the timings of the season/s .......
Good luck and cheers, Joe
FollowupID: 694161

Reply By: Member - Alex K (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 11, 2010 at 18:55

Sunday, Jul 11, 2010 at 18:55
Parking the boat - you can park it on any road/street as long as you want, free as long as: no parking restrictions (inc special events), not too big (check gov traffic reg in state), doesn't obstruct traffic (like parking anything), registered trailer. You might have to check out in more detail to see if there are any other rules.

I'm not sure about small towns but in Syd there are many streets which are very boat trailer friendly. Typically they're wide street along council parks or reserves (i.e. residents wouldn't appreciate you parking your boat out front of their house), although may not not be much they can do except damage it.

I wouldn't think caravan parks are geared up for you to leave a boat (cost effectively). Everyone i've been in are very cramped with every available spot a camp spot. You could try researching storage companies (kennards, etc), but maybe difficult outside cities. Or, public car parks.

If you know which towns (based on your itinerary) you may want to leave it at, tell the forum, some kind fella might let you park it out front of his place or know of the perfect spot for you.

As for getting around large cities like Sydney with a boat. As long as you have a GPS and a good set of eyes you'll be fine. Avoid U turns and getting lost and it's stress free. Again, if you're planning on spending a few days/weeks in Syd don't tow the boat everywhere, research ahead and park it. Try National Parks with popular boat ramps. They always have plenty of parking.

Good luck.
AnswerID: 423676

Reply By: Road to Discovery - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 22:09

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 22:09
Our experience with caravan parks.....the ones that cater for kids (a quick check of their website gives great clues) are great fun! Giant jumping pillows, swimming pools with beach entries and water park features, playgrounds, camp kitchens, games rooms (for raining days), pancake breakfasts, outdoor movies on the big screen, craft or kids clubs etc etc. Plus other kids!! Your kids will make friends in 2 seconds flat. Many are a destination in their own right. A $40 membership (2 years) to Big 4 is usually recouped in 1st two visits, plus 10% off local tours/tourist attractions. (Last year we saved $120 in discounts in 8 days). In caravan parks you will also meet many many like minded travellers, so very social environment. Caravan Parks also have a habit of occupying prime real estate(ie beach front, river front)

Safety.....some towns are reknown for lacking in security - Dubbo has signs posted everywhere (and this forum also suggests same) saying dont leave anything in your cars overnight, coz the windows get smashed in. Many caravan parks have boom gate entry/exit therefore offer additional security - particularly in cities and large towns.

Free Camping.... others on this forum suggest choosing a spot at least 5-10kms from nearest town to avoid the 'hoons' doing donuts/ too far for drunks to walk etc, and 'safety in numbers' - always choose a spot others are already in.

Boat Storage....some caravan parks offer 'storage' for when you do side tours - ie to Cape York, Fraser Island etc etc. Some are free (if you choose to stay at least 1 night with them at usual price) and some have token price to put van/car/boat onto paddock. Ie, Cairns caravan parks charge about $5 per day to 'store' your van/car/boat in their adjoining paddocks. Also, you could check out the commercial storage sheds (available in every town) ie Storage King, which may cost $25 per week?? Or check local classifieds if any resident is willing to offer storage for couple bucks. If leaving on the side of the road, then invest in a trailer coupling lock or wheel clamp.

Surely your boat would get lots of use inland, there are so many rivers, lakes, weirs etc. You could even add wheels and join the "Todd River Race"!!

Happy planning and happy travels!
We're on the Road To Discovery
AnswerID: 423964

Follow Up By: tas130 - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 06:42

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 06:42
Thanks for the reply.
We will certainly look at getting a big 4 card. Do you just get that online or a tourist info place or park?
Great to hear that there are places like Cairns canavan park that offer storage at a resonable price. as for places like storage king i looked into that as an option awhile ago and was more like $25 a day.
When i say inland i was thinking more in the centre. The boat will mainly be for exploring the rarely seen coast line of our great country. We are also toying with the idea of taking a smaller zodiac that we could use the aux motor off the bigger boat to check out the smaller river systems (that dont have crocs).
FollowupID: 694431

Follow Up By: Road to Discovery - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 18:33

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 18:33
I'm pretty sure membership with Big 4 Parks can be purchased on-line, otherwise you can just join over the counter at the 1st Big 4 Caravan Park you choose to stay at. Top Tourist Parks also have similar membership, but I have found these parks market better to the grey nomads than the young nomads/families (ie very few have playgrounds/jumping pillows etc - instead do devonshire teas and craft sessions).

A road-side service provider membership (ie RACV, RACQ, NRMA) also provides discounts at many tourist spots - we saved 10% at Dubbo Zoo for example - but you would definately join these for the security of road-side service, not tour discounts.

My brother & family did 1 year around Oz - took a camper trailer with small tinnie on top. I think they got great use out of the boat, so no doubt you will too with your proposed options. Have fun!

FollowupID: 694466

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