Dedicated tenters are often quite happy with a shovel, a solar water bladder and a splash under their arms every few days, but once you get off the ground into an RV your standards usually rise accordingly. To do it in comfort means you need the right equipment. Fortunately, the Australian caravanning industry has just what you need.
We discovered Jayco’s Expanda 14.44-3 HL (Hard Lid) model at the 2008 Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow, and immediately knew it was the next step up for us. At 4.53m (14ft 10in), it was the shortest ensuite caravan we could find, but it was still roomy inside, with plenty of storage space thanks to the fold-out queen-size rear bed (with hard cover).
We decided to spend New Year’s Eve in isolated surroundings, loading our fridge with oysters, prawns and whiting from one of the local seafood suppliers and driving just 20km south on the bitumen to the Port Lincoln National Park, half-expecting it to be crowded with like-minded travellers.
After a further 20km of well-formed gravel roads, we drove pleasantly amazed into Surfleet Cove to find our choice of two large and perfectly graded sites right on a low headland overlooking a pristine beach with views across the water to Port Lincoln. The camping cost was very modest, with a vehicle entry fee of $7.50 and an overnight fee of $3 per person. For that, visitors get basic facilities including a clean ‘drop’ toilet and a supply of water for basic washing and cooking. Our van’s deep-cycle battery gave us all the power that our water pump needed, and our iPod HiFi sound system ran off an inverter and cigarette lighter socket well after midnight into the new year.
The pleasure of washing down freshly-shucked local oysters with a chilled Clare white, followed by local whiting grilled right outside our door, and of overlooking the waters in which the whiting had once swum, was simply unbeatable.
Read Michael Browning's full story Unplugged Vanning in Caravan World issue #465, out April 14 2009.