Life on a Bike interview by Indefinite Leave - Indefinite Leave
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Adventurers Diary

Life on a Bike interview by Indefinite Leave

Is a traveling life on a bike for you? Would you pack all your worldly possessions into a bag and hop on a Motorbike and go circumnavigate the world?

No?

Our friends Ken and Carol have…..twice!!!

bike1

Dakar Rally finish Cairo Africa 2000

Just 2 weeks after I met Adele in 1987 I met her friends Ken and Carol and immediately liked them for their chilled personalities and sense of fun and adventure. Adele and Carol had worked together and were already good friends when I came on the scene.

In 2015, before we set off on our Australian road trip, we were able to catch up with Ken & Carol as they had a flying visit back to Brisbane. Over dinner at our place they shared some incredible stories and adventures we could only dream of.

bike2Kakadu National Park, NT 1985

Recently they were back in Brisbane and we would talk often on Facebook. During one of these conversations it was then when I realised I had to share their story with you too. You can see their blog at https://www.facebook.com/Life-On-A-Bike-291982764336402/

 

IL. How do you live on a Motorbike?

The most difficult thing is being minimalistic especially for ladies. Carol has had practice being a backpacker before we met. We carry most things other folks have in 4 wheeled vehicles just smaller, lighter and less of.

Traveling Life on a Bike 3Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia 2009

IL. How long have you been traveling on your Motorbike?

BC (Before Carol) I had been doing this since the mid seventies. We met in 1983 and left in 01/1985 for our ride around Australia and New Zealand as a precursor to our world travels.

First Around the World was 03/1997 to 06/2001. 4 years two months later we arrived home after promising we’d be back in 18 months or two years at the outside.

Our second commenced 09/2007 and is a ride in progress. Now in year ten, we thought it would be done and dusted in seven.

IL. How many countries have you been to?

We get asked this question a lot, do a count then promptly forget it. I’ll have to check but roughly around 80 odd. Need to keep some sort of record but we tend not to be counters. LOL.

bike4Hand in the Desert, Chile 2010

IL. What model Motorbike do you ride?

1981 BMW R80G/S with a Paris Dakar tank (large). It’s a bit like grandad’s axe. Most bits have been changed, some new, some used. It’s a simple bike and easily fixed. I do most of the maintenance and the range of parts available around the world still amazes me.

IL. What possesses someone to want to travel the world living on a Motorbike? You must be very adventurous and have a good dose of crazy thrown in 😉

As crazy as it may sound you would be amazed how many people are doing this right now and also how many people have done it in the past. When Carol and I first met she was already an international traveler (backpacker). I was the motorcyclist quite happy to plod around in our backyard (Australia). Our passions combined and this is where we ended up.

Crazy is an interesting word. We look at our lives as being quite normal. We feel a lot of envy sometimes because of our life style, but work hard at encouraging folks to have a go. It really isn’t rocket science. We are not particularly brave and tend not to tackle difficult countries. With the internet, research is easy and there are so many people out there willing to assist.

On our ride back to Australia in 2000/2001 we were already planning the 2nd Around The World and how it would work. The variance not factored in is how slow we are traveling, dedicating more time to each country. Plus we are at the time in our lives when we lose family members. Unexpectedly, I lost my brother to leukaemia and Carol’s Dad passed away a short time later. These ‘pauses’ in our journey make us more determined to achieve the dream and ride on. Carol’s father was most enthusiastic in his dying days for us to continue our journey.

Traveling Life on a Bike 5Karakoram Highway, Pakistan 2000

IL. What do you do for shelter, showers, amenities, cooking?

We have a ‘comfort zone’ which is applied as best we can. We rarely free camp as Carol enjoys a toilet and shower as I do. In cheaper countries hard roofed accommodation is cheaper than a tent site (campgrounds) which quite often in these countries, do not exist. Cheap hotels, hostels, pensions, cabanas, motels, hotels, Airbnb’s will work for us. More expensive countries we will camp i.e. Europe/UK. Campground facilities in Western countries work well for us and prices are similar to hard roofed digs in cheaper countries. Weather will often dictate accommodation. We have camped (and ridden) in storms, hail, snow, sleet but hard roofs are the better option.

Life on a Bike 6Natures Window, Murchison Gorge WA 1985

IL. What do you carry with you?

You don’t have enough space for the list.. 😉 😉
Tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, aluminium stools, First Aid Kit, umbrellas, 2 x 6 litre MSR water bladders. Our ‘house’ fits in the 60 litre top box.

We each have a pannier (50 l) for clothes and personnel items. Clothes are minimal as we generally live in our bike gear. Everything is light weight, wash and wear. 3 shirts, 1 long pants, 1 shorts, silk/wool thermals, 3 grundies, 3 socks, pocket size spray jacket. Bike boots, walking shoes + thongs/slip-ons. Electric jacket which doubles as a going out jacket. We need to cover four seasons. Laundry is done frequently usually by hand.

Computers are in Carol’s case and chargers are in mine. This is the nemesis of traveling these days. Crazy number of chargers.

Tank bag is the kitchen. 5 litre folding tub, single burner Coleman petrol stove, two mugs, two pots, one pan, cutlery, Vegemite, honey, coffee, tea, sugar, powdered milk, spices, tuna, pasta, rice, although cous cous when available, is taking over from pasta and rice.

Basic spares and tools are scattered around the bike in plastic tubes (5) and an aluminium box (1). We fix our own punctures (tubes), service and tune the bike. Marvelous the people you meet on the road these days.

Traveling Life on a Bike 7Puncture repair, Brazil 2009

IL. Do you always feel safe?

Yes.. 99.9% of the time. In foreign lands where there is always the unknown we ask our hosts and locals the do’s and don’ts like, ‘is it safe to walk the streets at night’. Different rules apply to tourists and locals.

IL. I remember you telling us the story of riding through Mexico I think from memory and drug barons with weapons demanded you stop. Can you briefly relate that story?

The Drug Cartel story turned out to be different to what we thought. An experienced motorcycle traveler from Texas who travels to Mexico several times a year asked us if we had ever been challenged by the Cartels while riding. Reply was negative but he kindly forewarned us that it could happen but not to worry. Remain calm and answer the questions truthfully. On a highway, apparently little used (GPS’s and maps don’t show this), we were stopped. Three young men with machine guns, pistols and bullet proof vests inquired ‘where from’, ‘where to’, and ‘why’ then, finally, ‘do we enjoy Mexico’? We have flip-up helmets plus we removed our gloves indicating we were going nowhere. No issues, handshakes all around and a “bienviaje”.

Discussions later with our experienced Texas rider, revealed that our new Mexican friends were not Cartel but possibly vigilantes fighting against the drug barons. We do not know, but, although the experience was disturbing we remained very calm and friendly and felt we were in no real danger. Our Spanish is/was very limited but the leader of the trio’s English was excellent thinking he had spent some time in the USA. This experience did not detract from the great times we had in Mexico and cannot express enough how much we love traveling in this country.

Photo8Cuba 2014

IL. How much does it cost you to live each week?

Hahahaha.. This is another question we get asked a lot. We all have different levels of comfort so this is always a hard one. We have friends who are surprised at our costs. They do it way cheaper, especially solo guys who free camp. We have friends whose budget is way more as they don’t camp or cook. It’s all about how you travel.

Currently we are based in the UK and living on around $3,000 per month but that being said we generally have a surplus at the end of the Northern summer which provides enough for a return airfare to Australia. Accommodation and fuel costs affect us but last summer we caught up with a lot of travelers from Europe/UK who had stayed with us in Australia plus met on the road which substantially reduced our accommodation costs. This year we will be paying our way so to speak. Camping will be the norm plus supermarket food and self catering. Bring on the fine weather. In South and Central America things were much cheaper and our budget dropped accordingly. We had the same budget in North America as here but covered way more kilometres. Weather was more conducive to camping also.

Another contributing factor is sight seeing costs. Have no idea what this will come to this time in Europe. Apparently these are quite expensive so will need to choose carefully. There are only so many castles we can see.

Photo9Closed bridge-pedestrian stairs, Nicaragua 2010

IL. What are some of your favourite places you have been to?

You don’t have enough space ..again!!!

There are a dozen places in Sth America we could name. Some are the tourist sites and some are just pleasant places few people visit. We could ride Sth America again, take another three years and 100,000 kms and find more fantastic places. Antarctica was also a huge hit with us. If you were to do a cruise and you don’t like cruises go to Antarctica. This place is special, like another planet.

We have literally thousands of pictures and when reviewing, memories are triggered to all these wonderful places.

Ushuaia, Torres del Paine, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Kuelap, Galapagos, travelling on the Amazon River – Brazil to Peru, Bourda Cricket Ground in Georgetown, Salar de Uyuni, Riding the ‘Che’ route in Bolivia, mountains of Peru, mountain passes between Chile and Argentina, following the Dakar Rally in 2009 and 2010, Gold museum in Bogota.

This is just in Sth America… Mark these spots on your Sth American map, link them up with a line then see what Google has to say about them.. 😁 We follow several travelers and their destinations trigger many memories plus show us places we never even got close to..So much more out there.

We could highlight so many more places around the world… then..there are the people. Unique experiences that are one off’s and never likely to be repeated and others where we have made friends for life. Some we do not speak their language and they don’t speak ours. Hurdles we work around.

Life on a Bike Photo10St Basils, Moscow 2015

IL. Why do you love to travel?

This is a difficult question. We were asked this one (several times) in front of a class room full of Namibian school children in 2000.

Our emphasis on ‘it’s all about meeting the people’ which for us is definitely the most important aspect. Site seeing is the bonus but the people are what it is all about.

This reply however, did not satisfy.

We were with another Australian couple who were doing a similar ride. We both struggled to answer. None of our answers satisfied this teenage student. Replies like, to see the scenery, animals, people, travel the roads, camp, taste the foods etc did not meet his expectations. He even asked were we raising money for a charity. He could not understand why we spent money on travel when everything could be gotten from books, television, internet, movies, zoos. Maybe it was because of the poverty they lived in and to see affluent white folks traveling was a bit of an issue.

My final reply, almost in frustration as he continued to raise his hand and ask the same question… was ‘because it is in my “blood” to travel, to explore, to experience, to meet, to speak, to see for myself.’ This appeared to please him or perhaps he heard the frustration in my voice caused by his persistence.

Photo11Unloading bike, Cuba 2014

IL. How long will you continue for?

My quote when it comes to travel is “The first step is always the most difficult.” The second most difficult thing … is “stopping”.

We have a dream to finish this RTW (Round The World) which will take us perhaps another 2-3 years then it will be a slow ride around Australia back to Brisbane. This is not set in stone however. Flexibility is the key.

Photo12Ghengis Khan, Mongolia 2015

IL. What is your best tip for other travelers?

Traveling like we do is not for everyone. If you have a desire to travel, test your boundaries. Family ties are a huge influence. Children, grandchildren, ageing parents.

Have friends who only do 3 monthly journeys as home sickness is a serious issue. Have seen some of the most hardened travelers succumb to home sickness. Nothing wrong with that.

Be flexible with your plans. We chase the perpetually cool summer with minimal rain. Avoid cold winters although we have been caught out. Summers in some countries are cold. Carol is the weather watcher and navigator. Our route is generally planned around a weather pattern. Amazing how many Northern hemisphere folks forget the seasons are reversed after you cross the equator. If you’re looking for a white winter that’s fine but it doesn’t work for us on the bike.. 😉

The internet is your greatest friend. Information is at your fingertips and there are websites and people out there very willing to help with your plans. Amazing the number of single women of all Nationalities now riding solo around the world on motorcycles.

Travel World on a Motorbike Photo13Road to Exmouth WA 1985

On a final note here is that famous quote from Mark Twain.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Cheers Ken and Carol

Thank you for sharing your story with us Ken and Carol and continued safe traveling Life on a Bike 🙂

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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Where to Find Us

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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

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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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This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through a link on this page we may receive a small commission. It will not cost you any more, in fact we’ve sourced out some great deals for you. Thank you for supporting us.

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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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