We are enjoying an entire month in a “Caravan” in Australia. Commonly referred to as a Motorhome or caravan, not a trailer or RV like we call it in the USA. Or a Tiki Tour as we referred to it in New Zealand. It’s a caravan/motorhome and we have completed two weeks of our four week itinerary. So let me tell you about the first two weeks, enjoying Caravan Travel Australia.
Small But Mobile
This is the fourth time we have done an extended time in a van or caravan. I’ve mentioned many times I am not one who needs a lot of fancy in my accommodations. Small is fine and I find it a fun challenge to live in a small space. Cooking in a small space, organizing a small space and generally making life comfy in a small space is a challenge I enjoy.
Seven years ago we spent six weeks in tiny “Betty”, our vintage pink trailer. Then we lived in a ten foot van in New Zealand for five weeks in 2017. Next we did a ten day tour in Iceland in a similar van. None of the above had a bathroom, so our current living arrangement, a 20 foot Jayco with toilet and shower, seems luxurious!
The best part for each of these caravan adventures is being able to be on the go, and tuck into unique and beautiful parks and natural areas while we move about the country. So here is our story Caravan Travel Australia – Our Little Aussie Nest Part One.
Before taking you on a tour of our first two weeks of Caravan Travel Australia, let’s talk about the numbers. Many followers have been asking me about what this kind of travel costs. It’s not always less expensive, when you calculate everything together, so each person needs to consider what is most important. The below numbers are in USD. This video give you a little tour of the nest.
Daily rental rate for this 20 foot caravan is $125 – in comparison a moderate hotel in Melbourne runs $130 and an Airbnb around $100
Nightly camping rates have run us between$20-$50. The low end was for sites without hookups.
Diesel fuel is costing about $4.50 per gallon. We traveled 900 miles the first two weeks and spent $200 on fuel.
With the kitchen in the rig we cook the majority of our meals. Over the first two weeks we have spent $400 on groceries and $200 on dining out.
You can of course make this less expensive or more expensive depending on your choices. But this is how it has figured for us on our first two weeks of Caravan Travel Australia.
Our Little Aussie Nest Part One
Dubbed the Aussie Nest, we have now been traveling in her for two of the four weeks. It’s time to report! Check out the graphic of the first two weeks. Here is a rundown of all the things we have enjoyed, places we have been and unique experiences we have had during the first half of our Caravan Travel Australia – Aussie Nest Adventure;
We picked up the Caravan just outside of Brisbane at a rental agency called Let’s Go Motorhomes. The staff at Let’s Go was great and spent an hour with us going over every detail of the vehicle. And then off we went (staying left!). On this first day we headed North first to the tiny little town of Noosa. Immediately we learned that parking the rig in a small town was going to be a challenge. Eventually we found a spot and spent a delightful afternoon hiking Noosa Heads National Park. Australia is overflowing with National Parks, most are free, and we are enjoying them very much.
Next we headed to a small RV Park called Ingenia Holidays Landsborough, only about an hour from Brisbane. We chose this spot because it was close to the Australia Zoo where we planned to spend the next day. So we booked just one night here. I liked this tiny spot with a pond and lots of trees but the snake warning reminded me I’m in Australia. We paid $29 per night with hook up.
We spent a wonderful day at the World Famous Australia Zoo (see it here), and then we headed south.
Nobby Beach is lovely little town right next to the famous Gold Beach. Although there were people swimming and surfing, we chose to do a couple of walks and hikes around the town and into the small Burleigh Head National Park. Having picked up plenty of groceries at the local Coles Grocery (our favorite Aussie market) we used our Caravan kitchen and enjoyed dining al fresco. We did take a walk to Lost Palms microbrewery and enjoyed a couple of beers with the locals.
Nobby Beach Holiday Village is where we spent these two days, about four blocks from the beach. It included a nice laundry and swimming pool. Price per night with hook up was $51 .
We booked three nights at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park in Coffs Harbour for $31 a night with hook ups. This was a very large park with lots of rental cabins as well as lots of RV spots. Aussies seem to really enjoy the park model homes or cabins and most of the parks we have stayed in had a variety of options beyond camping. We had a couple days of serious rain in Coffs Harbour, so we took some time to do laundry and work on the laptop. But between rain storms we also enjoyed our morning run on the Coffs Harbour paths along the beach and we took a great hike out to Mutton Bird Island, a wildlife reserve. It was here in Coffs Harbour that we really began to discover so many wonderful Australia birds that were new to us.
Despite the rain, on our last day we unhooked the caravan and made our way to the Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens. We have encountered Botanic Gardens in nearly every town we have visited, and this one was particularly nice for both the flora and the number of beautiful birds. We enjoyed more than an hour of rain free walking through the gardens.
I thought this part of the Pacific Coast of Australia was truly lovely. It reminded me a bit of our home back in Gig Harbor, Washington. We spent three nights at the small but perfectly located Halifax Holiday Park. About 300 yards to the beach. Cost was $39 per night. We had lovely weather the day we arrived and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the beach.
After a week in the Aussie Nest Caravan we decided it was time to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. So we showered and changed and walked to a highly rated beach side restaurant called Little Beach Boathouse. Such a nice treat enjoying fresh caught local cod and barramundi as well as a delicious burrata and tomato salad. Perfect.
The next day I took a wonderful long run into the town of Nelson Bay on a splendid pathway providing beautiful water and flora views. Back at the caravan a quick shower before we headed out for brunch. The host at the camp ground had recommended we visit the Inner Light Tea Room – a lovely small restaurant in the old light keepers home. Well, that sounded good, so off we went to enjoy the food and the spectacular views. We spent the rest of the day at the lovely golden sand Little Beach. A perfect day.
Next day was not as sunny, but was perfect weather for a little hike. We unhooked the Aussie Nest and drove to Shoals Bay, about five miles. Here we hiked up to the top of Tomaree Mountain. Not a very long hike but pretty steep – it was worth it at the top for the spectacular views. We saw a lot of interesting birds and kept our eye out for koala but didn’t see any – I’m sure they were there but they are camouflaged into the eucalyptus. Back down at the bottom we took a look at the beautiful Zenith Beach right as it started to rain. Perfect timing, as we headed back to our campsite.
While eating our dinner at the caravan that evening we were alerted of severe weather approaching. So we buckled up the caravan and watched the most amazing storm as it approached from the west. Really fascinating. Watch it below. It brought some rain but fortunately not the high winds predicted. Just enough to rock us to sleep. Next morning, we packed up and headed south again.
Although we don’t drink much wine anymore, we wanted to try some of the award winning Australian wines found in this region of New South Wales. So as we headed south towards Booderee National Park, we decided to cut the long drive in half with a couple of days just outside of Sydney. We stopped at two wonderful wineries in the Hunter Valley, did a tasting and purchased a bottle at each, and met some really lovely locals who are very passionate about Australia and its wines. The area with its mountains and forests and vineyards looked so much like Central California, a part of the United States we are very fond of.
At the end of a long day of driving we arrived just outside of the town of Vineyard and Ingenia Holidays Avina Camp Park. Since it was a weekend the park was pretty full with lots of kids and families. We paid $32 for a spot with hookups. We tucked in for the night after a long day. Next morning I did a run in a very thick fog, which burnt off about 10am and turned into the hottest day we have seen since leaving the USA two months ago…a hot 96 Fahrenheit. Day two we decided to just enjoy the warm weather, read and relax. Luckily the little Aussie Nest has aircon so we slept like babes, got up early and headed out to finish the drive to Booderee.
In the tiny Jervis Bay Territory we arrived at Booderee National Park, Green Patch Campsite the most rustic of our choices for this itinerary. Booderee National Park offered us a large space with water but no electricity or place to dump. We paid $33 per night and booked three days in advance as it is very difficult to get a spot in this popular National Park. We didn’t mind roughing it for a few days to enjoy this amazing park.
Each day we explored a different area of the 6400 hectare National Park. We hiked and walked and saw so much bird and wildlife it was absolutely astonishing. Every day we saw wallaby in our campsite and kangaroo all around the park. We also nearly stepped on a giant and venomous Red Bellied Black Snake and I got bit by a Red Bull Ant – that bite took weeks to heal.
We truly enjoyed the dozens of new-to-us birds we discovered, the ocean views, and local history. The park is pretty remote, with services like grocery not really available, but we had planned ahead, and had enough to make all our meals in the Aussie Nest.
After two weeks we now continue south where we plan to spend a week at the tiny town of Eden in Australia’s southeast coast, before turning the Aussie Nest back northward. Northbound we will stop in Australia’s capital city of Canberra, and then we will wander back to Brisbane staying inland. We are looking forward to more amazing Australia adventures in our little Aussie Nest as we continue our Caravan Travel in Australia. I’ll share part two of the story next week.
Thanks for following along Caravan Travel Australia – Our Little Aussie Nest Part One. It might not be for everyone, but for us, it’s a great way to cover a lot of territory and experience nature in this amazing country. I hope you will come back again next week for part two.
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