Stickers maketh the holiday.

When I was little, I often got a sticker book to start off the holiday. I recall a book of the Battle of Waterloo with beautifully attired French, British and Prussian cavalrymen as stickers. I arranged then in a hopelessly tangled melee. I think my brother got a sticker book of an airport with jet aircraft. These he arranged so as to loose the bowels of even the most hardened air traffic controller. The stuff of holidays.

20150512_104414This holiday actually needed stickers on the van – as part of the Tow-ed course. This little beauty requires me to be over 7.5 metres  in length. The  caravan is 6.5 metres on its own, so I am a shoe-in! With it, I can turn left from the right hand lane, which I joyfully did on leaving Sydney.

The next cool stickers went on the front of the van. lf you look carefully, you will see a Firefox on either end of the van and two penguins in between. (You may need to tap on the image to get a close up. )

20150512_104458When you are reversing the van, you turn to full lock the wrong way and reverse slowly until you see the SECOND penguin. Then stop and turn full lock the right way. Then reverse slowly keeping that second penguin in view. If you see the second Firefox, stop and go forwards as you are about to jack knife.

20150512_104517This last sticker means Gnu is not Unix. Once you get started with stickers, it is hard to stop!


Tips from a veteran camper

One of Carmel’s work colleague sent these. They look very good:

  • Make sure you buy good stuff at the show – you get what you pay for and you don’t want something to fail at precisely the wrong moment.
  • A lead light that you can plug into the car and also 240v power is a good investment.
  • Make sure the chairs are comfortable as you will be using them lots.  If it gets really cold you can sit on a newspaper which will give you some insulation.
  • Take a beanie – nothing worse than a cold head.
  • If you are planning on doing lots of walking in gorges etc look at buying some sort of shoes heavier than runners and a good hat or two.
  • Make sure you take a set of extra belts etc for the 4WD as they sometimes get damaged and again you don’t want to get stuck.
  • Make sure you take clothes that are easily washable and not  too good (ie you don’t want someone pilfering off the line doesn’t happen often but does happen depending on clientele) and lots of $2 coins for the washing machine
  • Take more pegs than you think you will need.  You can use them for lots of things.
  • Have a stash of tinned vegies and never travel with no food (and more importantly no wine)
  • If you have a good size freezer it might be worthwhile cooking up a few meals (you can freeze in glad bags flat for space and ease of defrosting) so you have something up your sleeve in case you arrive tired with a case of can’t be bothered.
  • If you forget to take something out to defrost the car bonnet is good to defrost with when you stop with the heat from the engine.  Many a time I’ve taken something out of the freezer and sat it on the bonnet!
  • You might have to resort to buying wine in casks (eek yes I know) but you will get used to it.  Bottles tend to break on rough roads.  Beer bottles don’t tend to break as much but just in case better to buy in cans – you don’t want stale beer through the car.
  • When we were in Broome there was a push to stop selling cask wine over a certain latitude so we had a few well washed milk bottles to decant wine into if we went somewhere rough.  We bought up their whole stock at that point just in case.
  • Some aboriginal communities are grog free so make enquiries as you go along and some need permits.
  • Some of the borders you can’t take vegetables across and WA you can’t take honey into – I think you can look up a website.
  • If you come across campgrounds with Wicked Campervans in them lock up everything – that was our experience anyway.  They are full of English tourists who smell generally and take over the camp kitchens etc and leave them like our kitchen sometimes.
  • There is a book you can buy called Camps plus a number which lists free camp sites along the road.  Some are quite good others not so, usually have grey nomads in the them saving money.  We used them a lot as they are sometimes in beautiful spots and the people are friendly.
  • Use campground BBQs etc – very little washing up – always a plus.  Generally really good in QLD and NT/WA.

Part One of the Journey

The first part of the journey sees us cover NSW and Victoria, but given the distance we are attempting over the full journey, “cherry picking” might be a better word.

Messing Around in BoatsWe start of by passing though Canberra to say hello to Carmel’s dad. Then we are away, heading first towards the Murray River. The river is of course significant as being one of the bigger river systems in Australia, near many historic town, and a border between New South Wales and Victoria. Also, it has lots of water, and we have two canoes, and “there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

We will practice a bit of free camping on that part of the trip, so that we know how to do it and while biggish towns with forgotten requirements are near at hand.

BendigoBut after a week of this it is time to get serious and visit a historic town – Bendigo. We will also benefit from a proper caravan park to get a proper shower and a bit of comfort. My mother is afraid we will catch our death in Victoria in late autumn. We will see how the Air Conditioner reverse cycles.

close-up-picking-corvina2After some touristy things, it will be time for some work experience. It will be grape picking time in Mildura. I am hoping we can pick up a job picking grapes, which are the fruit of the season. I plan to have a grape eating contest with Ash to see who can eat the most bunches of grapes!

the-palace-hotel-broken-hill-9419893Finally, for NSW, Broken Hill. We will be staying near the set of Mad Max, Mission Impossible 2 and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. But also we will have to look at the mines and, of course, the Palace Hotel.