Travelling Australia by caravan is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a little daunting if you’re not sure what to bring or how to prepare. All you know is that you want to have happy memories of your travels with your partner or family, not return with tales of woe! That said, here are some caravan tips to consider when planning your journey to make sure everyone enjoys an amazing trip.
Handy Tips For Aussie Caravan Travel
1. Get your tow vehicle and caravan serviced before you leave
Caravanners will often need to drive for long distances between towns, which may have scarce amenities apart from a pub and a small corner store. To reduce the risk of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, or in a town without a mechanic, it’s vital to ensure that your tow vehicle and caravan are in optimal condition before you head out.
2. Take a tool kit and spares
Keep checking oil, water and tyre pressure along the way. In the morning is best when the engine and tyres are cool. Always take a basic tool kit with you and know how to troubleshoot if you do breakdown. Having some basic mechanic skills, such as changing a tyre or fan belt, or reconnecting a loose spark plug, could mean you’re back on the road in no time.
3. Get a satellite phone that always works
If you run into trouble and need help, whether it’s for a vehicle breakdown, accident or a health issue, then don’t rely on your mobile phone. Mobile phone coverage only goes so far in Australia, and there are lots of remote places that won’t have coverage. A satellite phone that always gives you a connection is your best bet as this outback traveller suggests.
Be aware that emergency services might take a while to reach you if you’re somewhere really remote. Always take a basic first-aid kit and know how to give emergency first-aid so you can get by until help arrives.
4. Take just the right amount of gear
Travelling by caravan has certain benefits, namely that you automatically have a place to sleep, wash, cook and eat. But loading up on too much gear is often a common mistake. Pack your towing vehicle and caravan carefully with just the essentials and know what weight is optimal for your towing vehicle. Find out more about towing weights.
5. Break up the journey
Drivers fatigue is a real concern when driving long distances in Australia, and accidents are more likely to happen when you’re tired or haven’t had a break.
Experienced caravanners recommend driving no more than 200km a day, and stopping every two hours to get out and stretch your legs and have a snack. Splitting the driving responsibilities with a partner or a friend is also a really good strategy to beat driver fatigue. Having more than one capable driver is ideal anyway in case there’s an emergency. Remember that towing a caravan requires driving for different conditions. If you’re new to towing, brush up on caravan towing tips to keep safe and pay attention to towing weights and not overloading your van.
6. Watch out for wildlife
Planning to stop each day in the early-mid afternoon is a good plan, as it means less chance of encountering wildlife that is on the move at dusk, especially kangaroos.
Take note of any wildlife signage when you see it, slow down and be alert! Signs mean that there is a high risk of animals gathering or crossing the road in that area. Kangaroos, for example, are a constant threat to drivers because they’re unpredictable and travel in groups. Colliding with one can cause a lot of damage, not only to your vehicle but to you and your passengers.
7. Be wise with water
Water is the most important commodity you’ll need to take with you, especially for off-road caravanning. Running out is life threatening and you can’t rely on accessing a fresh supply along the way, as some caravan parks don’t allow you to fill your tanks.
How much water do I need?
A good starting point is 2 litres per person per day, increasing to 5 litres if it’s hot weather. That’s just for drinking. Water for a shower is another 20 litres, with five litres for washing and two litres for cooking.
Some caravanners say that using wet wipes and getting a little grubby is better than using up precious water on personal ablutions. However, if this doesn’t appeal, you can save water by wetting yourself down, turning off the tap, soaping up and rinsing off.
It gets very hot travelling in summer. You may want to consider upgrading your cooling with a new caravan air conditioning system. There are also other things you can do to help keep cool over summer.
8. Keep junior family members occupied
If you’re travelling as a family, then long distance travel can make tempers wear a bit thin if boredom sets in. The key to avoiding sibling scraps is to have entertainment on board, and plan frequent stops to break up the monotony (and the backseat fights!).
Here are some caravan tips for keeping junior members occupied:
• iPods or MP3 players for listening to music or talking books
• iPads or Android tablets for movies
• Involve kids in route checking and planning
• Playing classic car games – here are some ideas.
9. Plan your itinerary but be flexible
Last but not least, do your research beforehand so you have a general idea of the route you’ll drive, the places you’ll park for the night and what you’ll see along the way. Be flexible to take weather conditions into account. For example, if heavy rain is forecast you might plan to stay where you are for an extra night to let it pass.
Chatting with locals can give you useful information on road conditions and local attractions that you might be unaware of. Being open to a plan B might make for an unexpected diversion but a more memorable route that everyone will talk about for years to come.
At Emu Caravan Repairs we want you to have a safe and enjoyable caravan trip. We’re experts in getting caravans ready for road trips, whether you need caravan servicing, caravan repairs or some friendly advice. Contact our Melbourne caravan repair centre today if you’re planning a trip over summer!