Get the F###ing Fire Extinguisher!! - Indefinite Leave
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Get the F###ing Fire Extinguisher!!

There’s a major story that we have never told, but a lot of time has gone by and I feel the time is now right. Our Motorhome Air Conditioner caught on fire.

You know, flames from the roof, bellowing smoke, fire brigade, campground jam packed with hundreds of people all around us.  All of this with Adele inside the Motorhome while the roof was alight with flames and smoke!!

Extinguishing the fire from the air conditioner

After I put out the fire

Motorhome Air Conditioner caught fire!

It was Easter Friday 2017. Earlier to this, we had been to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. We arrived back on the mainland a few days prior and went straight to Rapid Bay Campground. Our YouTube channel has a video of the campground when we arrived and another the day of the fire. We were told there were 900 people camping there over Easter.

It was as simple as I plugged in the Generator and started it. Whenever we plug into electricity the Air Conditioner unit the standby light comes on. It’s our way of knowing the power is connected. On this occasion however Adele was inside and heard a fizzing sound and there was no light. She came out to tell me what she heard so I went inside myself to see why the light hadn’t turned on. I checked the unit and tried manually turning it on but nothing. Then I tried the remote control, still nothing.

Putting out the Fire!

Next minute absolute mayhem as someone came running over yelling to us we were on fire. Get the F###ing Fire Extinguisher!!

motorhome air conditioner caught fire

As you can imagine, it was immediate panic and the following few minutes are a blurr. Immediately I raced to the back of the Motorhome and climbed the ladder to see flames coming from the air conditioner unit. Someone had already unplugged the Generator and raced away from the Motorhome with it to take that risk out of the equation. I quickly asked for my 20L container of water to put out the fire when someone yelled out not to put water onto an electrical fire.

I’m glad someone was thinking with common sense!!

Adele grabbed our fire extinguisher and it was thrown up to me. I’d never used one before but very quickly worked it out and began giving the Motorhome a foam bath. It worked fast but this stuff went everywhere.

On the roof of the Motorhome there was powder residue all over it but the gift kept giving. When we got back inside, it was all over our bed and all throughout the Winnebago.

Fire damage - motorhome air conditionerNo other damage, just the air conditioner

It was obvious the fire was contained to just the air conditioner unit for which we were thankful. Fortunately there was no damage at all to the Motorhome or the roof. 18 months later now and the air conditioner has been replaced, twice actually, but I’ll discuss that in a minute.

Matt was out fishing with our mate Mick in his boat so we had Mick’s wife call him to get the message through to Matt to come back.

The Fire Brigade was called to check everything and gave it the thumbs up. They looked right over everything and told me they believed the compressor had shorted and that did make sense.

Fire Brigade callout

Fortunately we were at Rapid Bay Campground

So here we were, Easter Friday, nowhere to go, no-one to speak to about repairing it until Tuesday when shops opened again. Foam was everywhere, inside the Motorhome as well as outside.

We were the talking point of the Campground and for all the wrong reasons and photos began being posted on Instagram of our Motorhome on fire. The people there though were fantastic and very helpful.

Why the air conditioner decided that moment for the compressor to short out we don’t know.  We were thankful it did do it then, when there were so many other people about to notice it. This also meant there were others to help us to put it out properly, rather than just days before when we were free camping in isolated locations around Kangaroo Island.

 

Here’s what I do know though!!

End of the drama you’re thinking? No No No, it was only just beginning.

Replacing the Motorhome Air Conditioner while we flew home

The air conditioner that had been in our Motorhome was wayyyyyy too small and therefore was working too hard when it was used. It only barely cooled the Motorhome down when it was on and it was a hot day.

We bought our Motorhome second hand and it came with a Dometic B2200. It looked to be the original air conditioner unit but there’s no way for me to know for sure. What I do know is that the B2200 Dometic Air conditioner unit is designed for a 5m vehicle.  This unit was too small in capacity for our Motorhome.

I didn’t know about all this until afterwards when I did some research.

Fortunately, we did manage to get on to our insurer CIL straight away the next day, they were awesome even though it was Easter Saturday. We decided to go see CaraRest in Adelaide and arrange for them to do the insurance work of replacing the air conditioner. Soon after Easter we were due to fly back home to Brisbane as I was the MC for my niece’s wedding. This meant we could leave it with them for the 10 days while we were away and they would have plenty of time to see to the repairs.

When we dropped off the Motorhome, the owner of CaraRest said to me he would be installing a Dometic Harrier Air Conditioner, the model suited to our Motorhome.

Fantastic, no problem.

 

You may also enjoy reading:

How much does it cost to travel to Kangaroo Island
Our 18 months Expenses to Travel Australia
Ante Chamber Bay campground, Kangaroo Island
Our fun stay at Discovery Parks Tanunda, Barossa Valley SA

External rooftop view of Motorhome Air Conditioner

Our flight back to Brisbane

It was 10am and our flight was 4pm, thankfully we had plenty of time because 40 minutes into our taxi ride, when we were almost to the airport, I realised I left my wallet back in the Motorhome. Without my license I had no identification to show at the airport, so we had to turn around and go back. When I arrived the owner’s daughter served me and took me out to the workshop to our Motorhome. They were already working on it so I jumped in through the open side door to the back of the Motorhome. I reached through into the front cabin, grabbed my wallet and we were back on our way.

During the week I followed up with a phone call to the Owner to check on progress, yes everything will be ready by Friday, the day before we were due back to pick it up. Again on Friday, I rang to check on progress and was assured it was almost complete, it would be ready when we got there on Saturday. Ohhh and by the way he said, we couldn’t fit that Air Conditioner, the solar panels on the roof were in the way so we put in a B2200 Freshjet. I figured he knew what he was doing so ok, see you Saturday.

Back to collect our Motorhome

When we arrived the Motorhome was brought around to us. It was 11.30am and they closed at midday. The owner stood there with his pad and biro watching us while we all had our suitcases and luggage in our hands, over our shoulders and basically our hands were more full than a centipede’s sock drawer.

Motorhome Air Conditioner

Given he showed no signs of opening the door, even if it was for a lady with her hands full, Adele decided to open the door to the back of the Motorhome and when she did the handle just fell off in her hands. We all stood there wondering what was happening before asking what the deal was. The Owner immediately responded that Adele had applied too much pressure and broke it.

You’re kidding right!!

A few minutes back and forth, I just wanted to get into the Motorhome and put down the bags. We knew what we were being told wasn’t adding up because one thing he said was they never used the back door. That seemed so odd, that they would lug their tools and an air conditioner unit over the front seats, squeeze their way between the two front seats, over our Waeco 40L fridge/freezer which at that time sat between our seats to access the rear of the Motorhome when there was a perfectly good side door. Besides, I had to come back to get my wallet remember and guess which door they had open!!

The new Motorhome Air Conditioner Unit

I went inside and looked at the new air conditioner unit and straight away it looked odd. It was clearly much smaller in size to the previous one and that one hardly worked as it was. Quickly I googled it and found out it is made for a space of 25m3 (we are 49.5m3) and a vehicle of maximum length of 5m (we are 8m). Our Motorhome is W2780 x L8000 x H2230 internally giving a total approx area of 49.5m3. I asked him about it and he just said the one he wanted to put on wouldn’t fit and he put a like for like in it. He insisted that was all he had to do.

Check specifications here

Check more specifications here

At no time were we angry or swear etc, we simply asked questions and believe we made valid points such as why didn’t he call me to discuss options before deciding not to install the one he said he would. It was at this point he decided to yell at us to leave and walked off, slamming the door to the premises and locking it.

Did that reaction suggest he was feeling guilty about something, I guess only he could answer that!!

Here we were with a broken door handle plus an air conditioner totally unsuitable to our Motorhome. It was a Saturday and again the Monday was a Public holiday so we had to wait 3 days before we could get answers to the issues. We were ready to leave for Uluru but had to spend more unknown amount of time in Adelaide.

Our Dealings with CIL were magnificent

Before leaving, we rang CIL and told them what we knew and asked do we take possession of the Motorhome to which they said yes. So back to Rapid Bay we went for 3 more days.

Lets just say, we will never darken the doors of Cara Rest in Kilburn in Adelaide ever again and I highly recommend you don’t either.

Throughout our entire ordeal, CIL were magnificent. It’s why we were so disappointed when we had to change companies, you can read all about that here –https://indefiniteleave.com.au/caravan-motorhome-insurance/

By this time we wanted to leave Adelaide, we were pretty shattered and were looking for some positive experiences. It was also by this point we had run out of funds, nothing left, zip, zilch, zero. The stress was starting to tell. We spoke to CIL on the Tuesday and they said obviously we didn’t want to go back for them to fix the repairs and we confirmed we didn’t want them anywhere near us or our Motorhome. We said there was no point testing the air con in Adelaide in 22c cool weather, it will always seem cold.

So they agreed we should leave Adelaide and arrange repairs further up the road, maybe in Coober Pedy or Alice Springs. The door handle worked from the inside, just not the outside.

Shredded tyre

More drama

As we drove out of Adelaide just an hour or two…. Boom!! One of the tyres disintegrated and blew out. It was one of the rear dual wheels. So we limped into the nearest town just nearby, a place you’ve probably never heard of called…..Snowtown!!

Ohhh shit……!!

Needless to say, we weren’t thinking an overnight stay here was something we were looking forward to. If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, just google Snowtown. Our headspace was already very ordinary, this felt like another blow. I kept telling myself, this is a test, the universe is asking me how much do you really want this life?

Tyre Blowout Snowtown

My business for reasons I couldn’t understand just wasn’t happening. I was doing a lot of work as we were traveling but contracts kept crashing and I was left without being paid anything for all my time and costs. Instead of the normal 1 in 5 contracts not proceeding on finance or other issues I had lost 8 out of 9 contracts while traveling. Each one that crashed was a dagger in my back and totally unexpected. Financially, we were now having to go into debt to continue.

This was when we became super awesome at traveling on a budget.

Only very few people know about this dark time we went through, that is our great friends we had met and traveled with and were keen to catch up with again. Jason, Denise and little Millie from the Facebook and Instagram page West Aussie Nomads and Mick, his wife L and their 2 boys all of whom we now proudly call great lifelong friends. We didn’t discuss details with any family or friends back home, we didn’t want to worry them when they were so far away.

Luckily we had been doing this long enough now to know there were going to be great times again, we just had to get through it.

Motorhome Air Conditioner repairs at Mobile Caravan Repairs Darwin

Repairs finalized in Darwin

We got ourselves to Darwin and went to see Paul who does Mobile Caravan repairs there and he was sensational. He showed us a caravan he was renovating and it was probably half the size of our Motorhome and he was putting a bigger air con in it, the B3200. Also he said he hoped the Insurers wouldn’t want him to keep the one installed in ours as it was so small he’d never use it.

Once he spoke to the Insurers and provided other really damning evidence and opinion, CIL backed us up entirely, organising the Harrier air conditioner to be installed plus replacement of the door handle, we were told the cost of it was sent back to the original repairer. Whether that is what happened I’m not privy to but it’s what we were told. Needless to say, CIL’s representative told us they were very disappointed with the original repairer.

There’s a comment made by two people within the industry that reflects so poorly on the original repairer that I’d love to share but it’s opinion and not fact, so that one you’ll have to ask me about if we meet one day.

We had the motorhome air conditioner replaced in Darwin in a day, yes the solar panels had to be re-positioned but it was obviously easily done and could have been done originally, and a new door handle was installed. That was a huge relief but the Travel Gods decided we needed one more devastating blow, the time to make a call on our beautiful Golden Retriever MACKS. It was time to say goodbye.

Farewelling MACKS

Now we were truly shattered, our souls were basically destroyed.

Macks on her last days in Darwin

Let me tell you, this is so hard to write, tears are beginning to flow as I go back in time to share with you about this horrific two month period of our life on the road. They were cruel times.

The repairs were completed and we’ve had no issues with them since. We went heavily into debt and had to spend some time back in Brisbane getting control of our finances again. Therefore we headed home for Christmas and spent 4 months focused solely on getting back on track. Just when we got back in front we had to replace the rubber membrane of our roof in the Motorhome and that blew $8000 and left us with no surplus cash once again.

It had been fun times…. not!!

Honouring MACKS

We honoured MACKS our beautiful Golden Retriever in every way we could think and today the Motorhome is called Darwinny, in remembrance of her and her resting place. She will always be part of Indefinite Leave and her collar, mat and lead stay with us.

We thank our great friends we mentioned for getting us through. More importantly, we have remained mates and catch up often and they feature in our e-book now available called Travel Chat with Indefinite Leave.

Motorhome Air Conditioner - Repairs in Darwin

Thank you to Pauls Mobile Caravan Repairs

We can’t thank Paul from Pauls Mobile Caravan Repairs enough, he really knew his stuff and couldn’t have been better to deal with. Contact Paul on 0438 120 571 if you are in Darwin and need any help.

Also we remain very thankful to CIL for what they did for us even though we are now with a different insurer.

To everyone who followed our journey on our pages and offered us a friendly comment, chatted to us, messaged us and inspired us to keep going, and there were so many, thank you, you really don’t how much you helped us through that journey of our adventure but we sure do.

Our Blog became our place where we could go, put on a brave face and share positive thoughts and get back more in return.

Now go check your Fire Extinguisher, check it is accessible, in good working condition, isn’t out of date and all of you know how to use it, it may save your vehicle or even your life.

Safe travels

Kev& Adele
Indefinite Leave

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Photography and Socials

Our camera equipment we use for all our photos and videos are:

Canon 800d – https://amzn.to/2vGuQUt – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.
Canon 50mm lens – https://amzn.to/2Llh4BD. This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAtF9b. This is my all round, every day use, zoom lens. Amazing quality, great price.
Canon 70-300mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAuxKZ. I use this one a lot for long range shots.
Sigma 10-20mm lens – https://amzn.to/2JcLDqn. My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

The new Go Pro 7 – https://amzn.to/2vyuP4X –  is an awesome piece of equipment. I use this for all underwater, action video and some general use. Buy here brand new and great value.
Mavic Pro Platinum Drone – https://amzn.to/2URtUXG. This is an absolute ripper of a drone. The Fly More Combo will provide you with everything you will need. I use this for all my aerial footage and this price is well below other retail stores. _______________________________________________________________________

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Adventurers Diary

Tent Camping on Fraser and Moreton Island

What was it like camping in a tent for the best part of 4 of our last 5 weeks?

 

We loved it!!

 

Of course, the magnificent locations of Fraser Island and Moreton Island sure helped. But we really did love it.

Mostly we liked the simplicity.

 

Camping on Fraser Island

 

Camping in a Tent – Back to Basics

It brought us back to the basics of life and a greater feeling of closeness with nature.

 

We liked being so close to everything. Waking up and looking out the front opening of the tent straight out at the ocean. Watching as the sun took it’s first glimpse above the horizon as a new dawn began each day from our pillow was incredible.

 

Taking one step outside the tent and feeling the sand under our feet. The coolness of the sand and the unequivocal Australianism of sand between your toes first thing every day is amazing.

 

I loved being bare foot all day every day.

 

Putting up the tent for the first time on Fraser Island

 

Daily Routine

Our daily shower was an early morning swim in the ocean. We would wake around 5am, admire the sunrise, enjoy a wonderful breakfast before putting on some board shorts and Adele in her bikinis and enjoy the most liberating and amazing swim to start the day.

It is crazy just how amazing it would make you feel. Man I felt alive!!

 

Tent Camping and waking up to a magnificent sunrise on Fraser Island

 

In the afternoons we would rinse off under our solar shower and it was amazing how hot the water was after a day baking in the sun.

The tent held up really well to the rainy night we had on Fraser and a very windy night on Moreton.

We were in bed most nights at 7.30 and awake at Sunrise and we loved that.

Our new double burner stove was perfect and allowed us to cook a big variety of meals. Adele made the most amazing Pizza’s on the burner, they were super delicious!

 

Sleeping in the tent was so much cooler. Outside with the ocean breezes and an air bed that actually becomes cold through the night. We had to create a thick liner between the bed and us to keep ourselves warm during the night from the coolness of the air bed.

Being in a tent forces you outside. There’s not a lot to do inside the tent so you sleep in there and not much else. The rest of the day you are outside, experiencing adventure, interacting with nature and enjoying the beauty of the great Australian outdoors.

 

Stunning sunset on Moreton Island
Tent Camping on Fraser Island

 

Our Camping Equipment:

We borrowed a mate’s Coleman Riverview 8 Tent. We wanted to keep the size to a minimum to save on space and weight and it was perfect for us for these camping trips.

There was plenty of room inside and the simplicity of it was awesome for packing and unpacking, especially as we setup 3 times as we moved around on Fraser Island.

My mate also lent us his PRIMUS 60L dual zone fridge/freezer plus his 200amp AGM battery to run it. This was a lifesaver and was so perfect for us. It drew little power and worked ridiculously well.

We had our Waeco 35L fridge which we ran from our 120amp Lithium battery. We ended up turning this one off after a few days and didn’t even take it to Moreton Island.

 

Tent Camping and waking up to the magnificent sunrises on Fraser Island

 

The portable toilet was a Kings model you can buy from the 4wd Supacentre. We paid just $79, heaps less than other ones we looked at. It was excellent and worked perfectly.

Our portable 2 burner cooktop is a Campmaster we bought on special from Big W for just $35. We really loved it and didn’t bother taking our Weber Baby Q with us and now don’t think we will need it. The Portable burner did everything we wanted and it’s so much more compact and easy to use.

 

Adele fishing on Moreton Island

 

For lighting we had our Ryobi 18v area light plus my awesome aircraft grade aluminum 1000 lumen torch. If needed we also had lighting from the canopy of the 4wd.

Our Solar shower was less than $10 from 4wd Supacentre and it also worked perfectly. Afternoon showers were fabulous and after the day in the sun the water was genuinely hot.

I did put a hole into our first one when on Fraser, it was my fault as I put it up on a branch with a broken branch behind it that punctured a hole, but at $9.95 it was no issue to replace it again.

 

Dingo checking out our campsite on Fraser Island

 

Camping Royalty

The Royal Chair that Queen Adele would sit and wave to passing 4wd’s was so good but sadly it too succumbed to a Dingo attack on Fraser Island and it had to go to Royal heaven. We got it on special at Big W for just $15 but it was the last one and now we can’t get another.

It was so comfy and we had to fill the base with water which gave it weight and kept it stable, unless of course you sit in it on top of a dune and it does backflips and rolls over and breaks your rib. Poor Adele, was so bloody funny though lol

 

Adele sitting in the Royal Chair waving to passing 4wds

 

It had been about 25 years since we last went camping in a tent and back then it was with an old tucker box with Dry Ice and we had to dig holes to go to the toilet. For cooking we had to lug around a gas bottle and stove and also a gas light. Camping is way easier today with the more modern and sophisticated tools at our disposal.

 

If you haven’t been camping in a tent recently, consider the opportunity to go back to basics and embrace life in it’s most simple form.

 

My Tip for Tent Camping: Check weather forecast first, it’s a lot less fun if it is raining and or there are gusting winds.

 

Safe Travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

 

Also check out our videos Moreton Island Everything you Need to Know

and Exploring Fraser Island Beaches, Tracks, Creeks and Rocks by 4wd

 

You may also enjoy reading our 21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane

and What it REALLY costs to Road Trip Australia

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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/indefiniteleave/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

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Adventurers Diary

Our Best Travel Tips

It’s 1398 days on a road trip of a lifetime for us at Indefinite Leave and we have loved every single moment, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything that comes with it, so we have had plenty of time to identify our our best travel tips for you.

4 years ago we came to a point where we knew we wanted more. Work was killing us, we had become lost in city life, our morals had become corrupted. Our lives felt mundane, every day was like Groundhog day and the stress and pressure of work, a mortgage, more bills, housework and everything else we all deal with was taking a toll. Our desire to travel and explore was off the Richter scale.

We needed more, we wanted to see magnificent sunsets, be amazed by an outback night sky, interact with animals in the wild and experience places we had never been.

 

Our Best Travel Tips - Moreton Island

 

The Changes in our 4 years

A lot has changed since we left, we started out as 4 and now we are 2. Our eldest son Matt was with us for the first 2 years and when he finished up just before Christmas 2017 he was a new man. He found happiness, he found joy, he had so many great new friends, he had new skills and he was more confident. We miss having Matt with us but his time had come to create his own new life.

We also started with our beautiful Golden Retriever named MACKS. Wow, she had a ball traveling the country with us for her last 16 months. Devastatingly we had to let her go in June 2017 as arthritis had crippled her.

Kev was a complete frog when we left and really felt the cold. Now the cold doesn’t bother him so much and he swims in much cooler waters than ever before. His fishing hasn’t improved though haha

Adele is really enjoying life without work. Much less stress, far more sleep. Not so many nights laying in bed with her mind racing thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow at work. This lifestyle really suits us both.

 

Climbing Mt Kosciuszko - Sitting on Top of Australia

Our Best Travel Tips For You

For the last 1398 days this has been our experience, so here’s our best travel tips for you:

– Embrace everything about life on the road. There will be bad days and very bad days. But they will be outweighed and outnumbered by the good days.

– Say Hello to everyone you meet. A simple question like how long are you staying or where are you from can open the door to amazing new friendships. Strangers are friends you haven’t met yet.

– Australian Wildlife and Marinelife is amazing.

– Say yes. Don’t overthink things, bad weather, rough track, a bit unsure, just do it!!

– Found a nice secluded spot to yourselves? Crank some great music up a bit, spread out, have a glass or 3, dance and live the moment.

 

Lake Birrabeen on Fraser Island

 

– It’s all about Freedom. Open space with nowhere to be.

– There’s nothing better than a great fire beside a river or on the beach, a few beers/rums and wine, new mates and a view to die for.

– See Australia, don’t just exist out there. Climb that Gorge, walk that trail, take that scenic flight, visit those caves, do the Gaol tour, go on the fishing charter, see that island. Because it’s about experiences.

– The human mind and body can do a lot more than you think it can.

– Live life on your own terms. Make your own daily choices and live irresponsibly.

– You can make more money at home but you may only have one chance to really explore Australia. Do it while you can.

– Don’t rush, see everything you possibly can. Uluru, Karijini, Kakadu, The Cape are all a long way. You will probably never get there again so take your time and enjoy the moments for as long as you can.

– It’s an adventure, not a holiday.

– No stress allowed!! So be sure to leave it at home.

– Fall in love with your partner all over again.

 

Best Travel Tips - Fall in love with your partner all over again

– It’s all about the journey.

– Get a Samsung phone. Their cameras are amazing.

– Get lost. Literally, go get lost and enjoy the experience.

– Step out of your comfort zone and do what scares you.

– Leave behind life as you know it and build a newer, better, more adventurous you.

– Don’t turn on TV, it’s just junk and because it can be depressing.

– Telstra or Boost, because that’s your only options.

 

Best Travel Tips - A 4wd does get you places others can't

 

Wikicamps is your Bible but the best places are found by chatting to other people.

– A 4wd does get you places others can’t. So will being self contained.

– Free camp. You will meet more people, friendlier people, have more space and privacy and love the experience more.

– You will see more and it will cost a lot less without your pet.

– When you’ve decided the absolute minimum ‘must take’ essentials for your trip, then reduce it again.

– Back up your photos often because it’s beyond tragic if you lose all of those memories.

 

What are your best travel tips? Share them in the comments below 🙂

 

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

If you enjoyed this blog, you may also enjoy reading:

What it REALLY costs to travel Australia

Our 22 Best Free Camps in Australia

Our 29 Best Campgrounds in Australia

Motorhomes vs Caravans

Magnificent Honeymoon Bay NSW

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Where to Find Us

Follow us, Subscribe, Like, Share, and Comment on our website and social media here:-

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Website: https://indefiniteleave.com.au/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/indefiniteleave/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

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Adventurers Diary

Motorhomes vs Caravans – the facts

Motorhomes vs Caravans! This is a discussion we hear so often, so what’s better, Caravans or Motorhomes?

This question is messaged to us a lot. We read about it online all the time and it’s a constant in discussions around the campfire and at Happy Hour all across the country. I even went and watched my mates in my old cricket team play yesterday and one of them brought up the subject.

 

Motorhomes V Caravans - the facts

 

Which is fine except it rarely involves the Facts!!

In most cases those who own Caravans argue why they are better while Motorhome owners inherently argue why theirs is better.

Neither Motorhomes or Caravans are perfect

The truth is, neither is better than the other.

Each one has benefits the other one doesn’t have.

Now of course there’s numerous other options too including Fifth Wheelers, Campervans (whizz bangers), Camper Trailers, Slide Ons, Tents, Swags and more. But most people travel in Caravans or Motorhomes and these are the two that are almost always discussed in comparisons so I’ll stick with just talking about them today.

It’s at this point I’ll stick up my hand and say I’ve never owned a Caravan. I’ve towed trailers and boats and all sorts of things but never a Caravan. Personally I’d be happy if I never did but the reality is it’s probably inevitable that one day we will.

Our choice of weapon for our almost 4 years so far around Australia is a Motorhome. We met, traveled with and spent so much time with others who tow Caravans. We saw their processes, watched them as we followed up the highways and of course discussed their caravans in length over many dampers and a Rum or three around a fire at night. I think I’ve got something of a grasp on towing a Caravan however admittedly not the experience.

 

Free Camping in our Motorhome

Our decision not to tow

We decided from the beginning not to tow. We thought if we needed a vehicle we would use a Taxi or hire a car. On a couple of occasions, we did use Taxi’s but never ended up hiring a vehicle. We’ve heard others say the same thing, we’ll just hire a car, but that didn’t happen for us and it really isn’t a solution either.

We chose not to tow because we thought the size of our 8m Motorhome was already big enough to deal with and we didn’t want the extra cost of maintaining another vehicle.

But let’s be honest, most travelers traverse the country by Caravan which has to suggest for most people it is the preferred method.

 

Motorhomes v Caravans - the facts

 

If we were starting over again and I knew then what I know now, I’d have still chosen a Motorhome but I would have taken a trailer and a decent 4wd. But we were complete rookies and we are very happy with the decisions we made, they were the right choices for us at that time.

Read all about our decision for buying our Motorhome here

The Motorhomes vs Caravans Debate

Let’s look at the argument, Caravans vs Motorhomes.

The 2 favourite lines by Caravan owners are:

With a Caravan you can unhook and use your car!!

This is true and it is the greatest benefit of Caravans vs Motorhomes. It can be counter claimed by Motorhome owners that they too can tow a vehicle. This is a fair argument however it does have limitations. Towed vehicles are almost always a Suzuki which are the most suitable to be flat towed. Some travelers will tow a trailer but weight limits usually see this method also limit the Motorhome to towing a smaller car such as the Suzuki or similar.

 

Motorhomes and Caravans on display at the Brisbane Caravan and Camping Show

 

The benefit here of the Caravan is the tow vehicle is normally a larger 4wd. With this option you can take a Swag, small tent or similar and leave the Caravan behind for days to go off track and see more places. Realistically it simply opens more doors to see more places.

 

There’s also beach camping such as 80 Mile Beach and Warroora Station in WA, some amazing places along the beaches at the bottom of WA, Gibb River Rd, Carmila Beach in Qld, Cape York, Tomato Island and Roper Bar, Gunlom Falls in the NT and no doubt the list goes on and on of great places a 4wd and Caravan can go that a Motorhome can’t or shouldn’t.

This is without doubt the greatest benefit of a Caravan over a Motorhome.

Check out our video of how we almost got bogged in the motorhome!

 

Sunset reflecting on our motorhome at 1770

Motorhomes vs Caravans – the facts

So lets look at the Facts:

Common statement: In a Motorhome you have to pack up everything to go to the shops to buy Bread or Milk!!

Despite what too many people proclaim, you never have to “pack everything up” to go down the shop to get milk and bread. NEVER HAPPENS!!

Never, Ever, Ever!!

When you arrive in town in a Motorhome if you need groceries you go get them. If not, you are either towing a vehicle or, if like us you only have the Motorhome, then you are going out most days anyway.

We don’t set up like you do in a Caravan. We don’t put out an annexe, actually we often didn’t even put out the awning. No awning mats, no ropes, no permanent structure. It takes little more than 5 mins to put a few bits of cutlery away, bring in the slide-out, take down our curtain, unplug the power if on a powered site and be driving away.

 

Aerial view of freecamping with our motorhome at McGaurans Beach

 

It’s simple and easy and not once did we ever have to do that because we needed to go around to the shop for milk. Lets debunk that myth now forever.

 

Shops are often walking distance anyway but again, it was never an issue and I don’t remember ever needing to walk to the shops to buy something we needed.

 

Motorhome Benefits

Motorhomes don’t roll over.

Ok sure, it’s possible, but it’s so rare it’s reasonable to say it never happens. Stories of Caravans rolling over however seem to be a daily occurrence. It’s so common there’s enormous debate about whether Caravan owners should have a special license and we are now seeing weigh stations popping up around the country to police it.

This was a major factor for us deciding to choose a Motorhome.

 

Motorhome V Caravans - the facts

 

In a Motorhome we can stay places you can’t in a Caravan

We stealth camp!!

There I’ve said it. We keep it a secret because we know there’s always going to be those that want to tell everyone else how they should live their life and how there’s rules against it blah blah. The very politicians who make our rules break rules themselves every day of the week. Much much bigger rules that have far greater impact than us pulling up somewhere for the night.

Anyway, I digress 🙂

We can park places you couldn’t get away with in a Caravan. Hotel carparks, Shopping Centre carparks, Sportsgrounds, general parks and boat ramps. We’ve stayed in them all and more and whilst some Caravan owners might too, it’s much easier to do in a Motorhome and get away with it.

(I just know I’m going to regret disclosing this… )

 

It’s cheaper in a Motorhome

With our Kitchen with us everywhere we went, we never ate out. Our food, drinks and cooking equipment were always on hand saving us heaps.

We also liked never needing to find public toilets let alone having to use one. Our bathroom was always with us.

If we pulled up somewhere and thought let’s go for a swim or get out the fishing rods, our gear was always there.

We also never found ourselves annoyed because we left the camera behind.

Our Motorhome has 6 tyres, 2 less than many 4wd and caravan setups.

1 vehicle to maintain unless you choose to tow.

No hitching and unhitching. As you get older for many it becomes a chore.

Motorhomes rarely get stolen. Caravans are a definite target for lowlife thieves.

 

Willow RV Caravan on display at the Caravan & Camping Show

 

Caravan Benefits

You can go more places. As discussed previously, the 4wd opens up so many more places a Motorhome just doesn’t often allow you.

More space. The 4wd gives you the whole tray and with a rooftop rack you can get a lot more up there too. We looked at Caravans recently at the Brisbane Camping Show and they don’t seem to have the external storage we do with our Motorhome though.

Having your base. It’s great that you can park the Caravan and know you have that base to come back to in the afternoon that’s all set up and you can just walk in and relax. It only takes us 10 minutes in the Motorhome but sometimes after a long day it would be great to just turn off the ignition and reach for the esky for a cold beverage.

The 4wd is perfect for carrying firewood. We didn’t have anywhere external for that and the one time we decided to get some firewood and we put it inside the Motorhome, we ended up with white ants inside. Never again!!

Lots of people do have external setups in their Motorhome for firewood but it’s so much simpler and easier with a 4wd.

Securing your Campsite

Knowing your Campsite is secure when you leave for the day. In our almost 4 years we never once came back to find someone had taken our spot. We always left our table and chairs out and all was fine when we returned. We did often comment, I wonder if our stuff is still there or wonder if someone has taken our spot. It never happened but it was something that would briefly be on your mind as we drove back. Not such an issue with a Caravan, you just hope the Van is still there I guess lol

 

The fuel economy from my experiences reading and talking to both Caravan and Motorhome owners is they are pretty similar. As mentioned though, we weren’t towing a vehicle. Smaller Motorhomes than ours and those without the overhead cabin that we have would achieve better fuel economy and probably be more fuel efficient than most 4wd and Caravan setups.

 

We now do own a 4wd, having bought a Triton recently. So far we have used the 4wd for trips to Fraser Island and Moreton Island so no major trips where we have had to decide how we incorporate both vehicles but that time will come very soon.

 

There it is, my thoughts on the real differences between a Caravans vs Motorhomes. Sure, there are other factors but I think these are the major differences.

What are your thoughts regarding Motorhomes vs Caravans?

 

If you’re considering which way to go for your Big Lap of Oz, hopefully we’ve given you some valid points to consider. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it and enjoy the adventure 🙂

 

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

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