“A sage traveling all day is never far from the supplies in his cart,
and however spectacular the views, he remains calm and composed.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
The dry season is upon us. A caterpillar convoy of grey nomads in gleaming white caravans migrates north with staggering volume and stuttering speed. Like the sign of geese pointing true north, it is a signal to pull the dust covers off our trusty steeds, check the long-parked tyres for flat spots and get ready to saddle up again for the open road.
All who wander are not lost…but proper preparation is the difference between the lost wanderer and the adventurer. Here are some tips to help make the transition from sitting still to travelling a bit easier.
Before you leave
A month or so before you leave you should:
- Get your mail/ newspapers held or forwarded
- Clean out your fridge/ freezer and cupboards
- Make sure the rubbish is out, or get a neighbour to help
- Get your car and Kimberley serviced
- Fill up gas bottles, check all quick-connect gas lines on your Kimberley
- Book any tours/ accommodation/ experiences (sometimes you’ll need to do this a year out for busy spots up north like the Kimberley and Kakadu)
- Plot your course on a map so you’ll always know where you’ll be and when
Less than a week out you should:
- Buy your food, vac-pack meat and pack your Kimberley
- Ensure all batteries are fully topped up
- Turn on your fridge/ freezer and make sure it’s fully cooled before packing your groceries for the road
- Move your indoor plants outside and give them a good drink
- Fill up your water tanks and fuel
- Pre-cook the first few days’ meals and freeze them. Happy hour is so much happier if you don’t have to cook!
- Make the bed in your Kimberley so it’s perfect for day one
- Shut off power/ gas/ water to your house and lock all doors and windows
- Share a drink with all your mates before you leave home!
As you pull out of your driveway you should:
- Honk maniacally and wave to all of your neighbours who are stuck here while you’re going on an adventure.
- After you’ve embarrassed yourself, ask one of your neighbours to check your brake and signal lights on the Kimberley
What’s in a Kimberley service?
It’s worth getting your Kimberley serviced before every big trip or annually. Besides what you can do yourself like keeping extra fuses, LPG quick connect hoses, trailer/ Anderson plugs and a set of pre-packed bearings, you want a qualified technician to go through your home on wheels to check:
- Door and window seals and functions
- Wheels and brakes
- Suspension system
- Chassis condition
- Wiring inside and out, including hot water service, air conditioner, etc
- LPG system
- All over check for water or animal damage, particularly on roof
- Tyre condition, especially if you’ve had your van stored for a long period
- Keeping your Karavan or Kamper healthy before anything goes wrong is cheaper in the long run, will get you better resale down the line and will keep you safe and healthy yourself. It’s a no-brainer.
Where art thou, oh paradise?
“Goin’ where the climate suits my clothes…” – Grateful Dead
As the weather cools and the sun moves north, its acolytes, the earth’s most dedicated heliotropes, follow it steadfastly. Upon their collective imaginations and battle-worn GPS units are stamped names like Kakadu, Lawn Hill, Broome and Atherton.
These are the promised lands north of the 20th parallel, a tenuous paradise shared with crocodiles and barramundi, with waterfalls and rainforest shade, and between the months of May and September, gleaming blue skies marred only by burnt bushfire sunsets.
Our Top Five Winter Escapes, in no particular order:
If Australia was a religion, this would be its Mecca. The journey to Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a pilgrimage that should be a requirement for every red-blooded Australian. It is the beating heart of our island nation and at the centre of every Big Lap. You can visit year-round, but July-August are the most pleasant months.
Click here to explore Uluru
Perennially lush, verdant, alive and expensive. This is how many travellers describe Kakadu, every single one vehemently adamant that they would return in a heartbeat.
It really is ridiculously beautiful here. The fishing is legendary, the sunsets ineffable. There is no better place to get up close and personal with Crocodylus porosus, the saltwater crocodile.
Epic gorges like Jim Jim and Gunlom Falls are straight out of a Disney movie, and the park is easy to get around, with lots of choices for camping and accommodation.
Click here to explore Kakadu
The Coral Coast
Extending from Cervantes in the south, home to the Pinnacles, all the way up to Exmouth on the Northwest Cape, Australia’s Coral Coast is a ruggedly beautiful coastal playground.
As early as April every year, whale sharks begin their annual migration along the coast, where you can go out and swim with them from Exmouth. The coral reefs just off the beach in places like Ningaloo and Coral Bay are breathtaking. Choose your adventure, or have a holiday, it’s all possible on the best coast.
Click here to explore The Coral Coast
The Kimberley is a desolately striking landscape defined by water: rivers, waterfalls, gorges and swimming holes are hidden behind red dirt, ancient stone and wan gums.
It is Australia at her most angular, a diametric beauty in two hues: red and blue.
The Gibb River Road is still one of the greatest journeys in the country, and is exactly what every Kimberley Karavan and Kamper was built to withstand, to enjoy best.
Click here to explore The Kimberley
Tropical North Queensland
From the high cool rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands to the lush waterfalls and endless beaches of Queensland’s tropical coast, this place packs a massive green punch. Of course, it is also the launching point for the Great Barrier Reef, the only living thing on the planet visible from space. There are enough places here to explore to take a lifetime, and as busy as it can get in the peak of the dry season, you can still find your own space.
Click here to explore Tropical North Queensland