My wife had a long term dream that upon retirement we would buy a caravan and travel about Australia. It wasn’t necessarily my dream, but since I had nothing else planned, it seemed like a worthwhile alternative. So, we retired (or semi-retired as we are both going to do some work, but not as much as previously), bought a caravan and headed off on our first tour around the lovely State of Victoria (Australia).
It was a steep learning curve for both of us. I had never driven a vehicle towing anything as large and heavy as a caravan (2.5 tonnes) and we had to learn to set it up, operate the various bits and pieces and pack it up before moving to another destination. As it has turned out, it’s pretty straightforward and a degree of common sense goes a long way. After eight weeks of being on the road, we are now “experienced” grey nomads and have survived without any major mishaps. Thank goodness. We still have eight days to go before we get home.
In all the caravan parks where we stayed, there are those who are permanent residents living in a wide variety of caravans and small “houses” which were once available for overnight rental, but eventually became permanent, and those of us who are passing through. Many of the people we saw in RVs (recreational vehicles) are overseas visitors who have hired their RV and are doing a tour of some or all of Australia; others are locals like us but who obviously prefer an RV to a caravan. Each to her own.
Facilities in most have been excellent with modern, clean and functional ablutions blocks, dump points, swimming pools, family rooms and more. Of the 10 or more places we have stayed, there is probably only one we wouldn’t return to … it was a tad run down although it had the advantage of being central to the town it is in and only $28 per night, among the cheapest.
The best part of our touring around has been to meet and chat with people from a variety of different places and backgrounds, but the weather in Victoria hasn’t been terribly nice. We’ve had one or two really pleasant days with no rain, little or no wind, and a bright, sunny sky. All the other days it’s been overcast with cold winds and occasional rain.
Given that we had a long, cold winter where we live, travelling in Victoria has extended our winter. When we get home it will be good to feel the sun again and not to have to wear a jacket or pullover. We’ve always been better equipped at dealing with the heat than with the cold, although aging has made each a tad more challenging.
While we have stayed up until 11-12 pm most nights watching television, many of our peers are in bed by 8-9 pm so the caravan parks have been as quiet as a mouse most of the time. By 10 pm, it’s been unusual to hear or see another human being. I don’t know that I will ever be able to go to bed so early. If I did, I’d be awake at 2 pm all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready and rearing to go. I have been able to lie in for longer each morning rather than getting up at 0545 h to get ready for work. It’s not all bad!
We will take quite a lengthy break before our next trip to Western Australia. Time to do some work, spend Christmas with our children, grandson and friends. There are one or two things I want to do with the caravan too before we head off in 2013.
If you are a grey nomad tripping about in your caravan, one day our paths might cross.