Sunday

Happy Campers on Australian Farms

Australian Farmers Open Their Gates to Travelers.

Perhaps born out of necessity, Australian farmers are opening their farm gates to the caravanning and camping public who are looking for a truly unique experience with good old fashioned fun high on the agenda for both children and adults alike.


Camping on rural farming land in Australia began it's life with the YouCamp website which was established in 2013 by James Woodford and Prue Bartlett. YouCamp facilitates communication between farmers and those wanting to camp or bring their caravans to a working farm in rural areas. Farmers can list their farms free of charge.

Their are major benefits to be had by both farmers and travelers. Farmers get to reap an extra income which helps to support the potentially low income level from the land, and travelers get an amazingly authentic experience of what it's like living on a working farm and enjoy the great outdoors.


Most farmers offer an opportunity to interact with the farming process, such as feeding the lambs, collecting eggs from the chickens, and petting the goats or other livestock. It can be a wonderful experience for both children and adults alike, with children especially loving the animals, fresh country air, and room to run and play.

It's an experience enjoyed more and more by school groups too, with a number of farms around Brisbane able to accommodate school groups who love the paddock to plate concept and enjoy various activities such as tasting farm fresh produce, learning bush skills, and even archery.

As with any other camping or caravanning enterprise, farmers must abide by Council regulations and provide at least basic ameneties such as toilets and showers for their guests, depending on the regulations in their local government area.

Saturday

How to Avoid Crashing Your Caravan

Why caravan weight distribution is so important.

Safety is such an important factor while towing your caravan and Australian road conditions can vary dramatically around the country. Keeping alert is not always enough as accidents can happen in an instant and leave us wondering what went wrong.

I think it's fair to say that few of us give much of a thought to loading or packing our caravans correctly, or perhaps we just don't know how to do it safely.  It can literally mean the difference between life and death on the road and far too many holidays that involve towing a caravan can end in disaster.

In the following video we look at how packing your caravan can change how it behaves while towing. The effects of moving weight within the caravan or adding jerry cans for example, to the outside of the caravan can drastically alter how it follows behind your car.


With thanks to CaravansPlus.com.au

Thursday

2018 Caravan and Camping Shows


2018 Caravan and Camping Shows

VICTORIA

Mildura Great Outdoor Expo

June 29-July 1 2018 to be held at the Mildura Racecourse, Cowra Ave, Mildura
For more information, go to the Website: 
greatoutdoorexpos.com.au

Border RV & Camping Expo

TBA (Sometime in August) to be held at the Wodonga Racecourse, Wodonga
For more information, go to the Website: 
borderexpo.com.au

National 4x4 & Outdoors Show

August 17-19, 2018 to be held at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale
For more information, go to the Website: 
4x4show.com.au

Melbourne Leisurefest

TBA (Sometime in October) to be held at the Sandown Racecourse, Sandown
For more information, go to the Website: 
melbourneleisurefest.com.au

Bendigo Leisurefest

TBA (Sometime in November) to be held at the Bendigo Racecourse, Bendigo
For more information, go to the Website: 
leisurefest.com.au

Gippsland Great Outdoor Expo

November 16-18, 2018 to be held at the Sale Racecourse, Maffra Rd, Sale
For more information, go to the Website: 
greatoutdoorexpos.com.au

NEW SOUTH WALES

Hunter Valley Caravan Camping 4WD & Fish Show

May 25-27, 2018 to be held at the Maitland Showground, Blomfield St, Maitland
For more information, go to the Website: 
ruralscene.com.au

Coffs Coast 4WD, Caravan & Camping Show

TBA (Sometime in June) to be held at the Coffs Harbour Racing Club
For more information, go to the Website: 
grimmopromotions.com.au

Lismore Outdoor Leisure Show

July 13-15 2018 to be held at the Lismore Showground
For more information, go to the Website: 
outdoorleisureshow.com.au/

Mid North Coast Caravan, Camping, 4WD, Fish & Boat Show

August 10-12, 2018 to be held at the Wauchope Showground, Beechwood Rd, Wauchope
For more information, go to the Website: 
ruralscene.com.au

Orana Caravan Camping 4WD & Fish Show

Sept 14-16, 2018 to be held at the Dubbo Showgrounds, Cnr Fitzroy & Wingewarra St, Dubbo
For more information, go to the Website: 
ruralscene.com.au

Central Coast 4WD, Caravan & Camping Show

TBA (Sometime in September) to be held at the Mingara Recreation Club, Tumbi Umbi
For more information, go to the Website: 
grimmopromotions.com.au

Sydney 4WD & Adventure Show

TBA (Sometime in October) to be held at the Western Sydney International Dragway, Eastern Creek
For more information, go to the Website: 
sydney.4wdshow.com.au

Sydney Caravan, Camping & RV Expo

TBA (Sometime in November) to be held at the Sydney Showground, Olympic Park, Homebush, Sydney
For more information, go to the Website: 
caravan-camping.com.au

ACT

Canberra Home and Leisure  Show

TBA (Sometime in October) to be held at the Exhibition Park, Canberra
For more information, go to the Website: 
canberrahomeshow.com.au

QUEENSLAND

Gold Coast Caravan & Camping Expo

July 27-29, 2018 to be held at the Aquis Park, Gold Coast Turf Club, Bundall
For more information, go to the Website: 
caravanqld.com.au

Queensland Caravan Camping & Touring Holiday Show

TBA (Sometime in June) to be held at the RNA Showgrounds, Bowen Hills, Brisbane
For more information, go to the Website: 
caravanqld.com.au

Fraser Coast Expo

August 17-19, 2018 to be held at the Maryborough Showgrounds, Maryborough
For more information, go to the Website: 
frasercoastexpo.com.au/

Brisbane Pre-Xmas Caravan & Camping Sale

TBA (Sometime in October) to be held at the RNA Showgrounds, Bowen Hills, Brisbane
For more information, go to the Website: 
caravanqld.com.au

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Let's Go Caravan and Camping Supersale

TBA (Sometime in July) to be held at the Wayville Showgrounds, Adelaide
For more information, go to the Website: 
caravanandcampingsa.com.au

South Australia 4WD & Adventure Show

October 26-28, 2018 to be held at the Adelaide Showground
For more information, go to the Website: 
4WDshow.com.au

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Perth Caravan and Camping Show

March 21-25, 2018 to be held at the Claremont Showground, Claremont, WA
For more information, go to the Website: 
caravanandcampingshow.com.au

Perth 4WD & Adventure Show

November 9-11, 2018 to be held at McCallum Park, Victoria Park, Perth
For more information, go to the Website: 
4WDshow.com.au

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Darwin 4WD, Caravan & Outback Camping Expo 

June 23-24, 2018 to be held at the Darwin Showgrounds, Stuart Hwy, Winnellie, NT
For more information, go to the Website: 
darwin4wdcampingexpo.com.au

TASMANIA

Tasmania Outdoor, Boat & Caravan Show

TBA (Sometime in September) to be held at the Launceston Silverdome
For more information, go to the Website: 
tasoutdoorshow.org.au

Monday

Tips For Caravanning On A Budget


Everyone’s costs will of course be different but there are some variables you need to consider when preparing your budget.


Will you be buying a caravan and tow vehicle, or will you want to Hire A Motorhome

What will be the length of your trip?

Planning a caravan trip around Australia that will take you 2 years to complete, will be a totally different cost to one that will allow you to be on the road for a much lesser time. So knowing how long you will be away will be a key factor in determining how much it will cost to caravan around Australia.

Australia is a truly vast country. We met a couple on the road who had been travelling for 8 years and were on their 4 circuit around the country. They commented that they felt that there was so much more to see, so try not to rush it.

Fuel Costs

How many klms will you want to travel per week? It is handy to know the average klms/per litre that your tow vehicle will use while towing your caravan. That way you can work out roughly how much you will spend on fuel. If you are planning on travelling to remote areas, factor in higher fuel prices.

Accommodation and attractions.

Will you be staying at caravan parks or free camping? Here's where you can save a lot of money. Australia has a great network of free camps but of course they don't offer the same facilities as caravan parks, although most have toilets, some have outdoor showers. 

The best way to find these free camps is to download the 'WikiCamps Australia' app. There is also a publication called 'Camps Australia' which is very good.

Some attractions are free such as museums. However most come with an entry fee. So again, it depends on how many attractions you want to see. This can really add up quickly and can have a major impact on your budget. 

It is good practice to research attractions and prices on the Internet. Trip Advisor will give you a good idea of the most popular ones in your area, together with the prices for each, so you can plan ahead.

Planning your meals

Here's another way that you can save significantly on your costs. Buy local produce and prepare your own meals.

Clearly home made meals are going to be cheaper than eating out at restaurants or takeaway food outlets. Aldi supermarkets continue to be Australia's most competitive supermarket, however Aldi does not have as many supermarkets throughout Australia as their competitors.

Budget for the unexpected

Always have a repairs and maintenance budget which will cover things like flat tyres, wheel bearing replacement on your caravan, servicing and repairs to your tow vehicle and caravan etc. This will depend largely on the age of your caravan and vehicle you are using to tow it. As vehicle get older they usually require higher costs to maintain as components wear out.

It goes without saying that both your tow vehicle and your caravan should be insured, so this expense should also be factored into the cost to caravan around Australia.

Sunday

How To Keep Ants Out of Caravans

Ants in caravans can be a big problem. Once they have entered, it almost seems impossible to eradicate them. They can be very annoying, not to mention spoiling food and messing with electronics. So how do we keep ants out of caravans?
  • When you're parking your caravan try to avoid overhanging trees. Even though it's tempting for
    shade, if there are ants in the trees they will drop onto the roof of your van. We had this happen to us in Cairns where we were invaded by green ants. They were so bad we asked to move to another site.
  • When you are out on the road, use food containers with a sealed lid, or zip lock plastic bags. If you eat it, they will too.
  • An old fashioned remedy which my grandmother used to have on hand is a mix of Borax and honey. If the Borax isn't available at the supermarket, try a hardware store. Some of the old methods are often the best, and this one has certainly worked well in the past. Just mix it up (small amount of honey) and place on a piece of cardboard in a couple of your caravan cupboards.
  • Talcum powder is probably the most popular way (and cheap) to deter ants. Simply sprinkle it around any entry points to your caravan. Around tyres, jockey wheel, stabilising legs, and any other point of contact with the ground. Ants don't like crossing this dry material, but it has it's limitations in damp or wet conditions.
  • Ants also detest cinnamon. Crushed up sticks of cinnamon sprinkled in the back of your caravan cupboards will not only deter them but also release a pleasant aroma.
  • Surface spray used around the underside of your caravan will provide a barrier which will kill most insects. Use the domestic spray can which is readily available in supermarkets, or you can use a 'professional' insect sprayer which is also available in supermarkets in a 2 litre container with hose and spray nozzle. This one treats ants, cockroaches and spiders for 3 months. These are both chemicals, so use with care and according to directions.
  • There is a commercial brand of ant poison called 'Ant Rid' and there are probably other similar brands on the market. This can be a handy little bottle to carry with you. This product also comes in a bait type plastic container which only ants can enter, which is better to have around children and pets. You can also place it around your caravan when you get back home to help prevent ants entering whilst your van is in storage.
  • Don't forget to remove all food from your caravan pantry cupboards and fridge whilst you are not using it. Food that's left behind is very attractive to ants.
We also had an infestation of little black ants while caravanning in Queensland a couple of years ago, which decided to make a home in our laptop. Of course we couldn't open the computer to sweep them out, so resorted to laying baits around, hoping they would come out on their own.

They didn't, and months later they were still crawling on our hands when we were using the keyboard. If we had known some of these handy hints back then, it might have been a different story.
Please leave your hint in the comment box below. Thanks.

Friday

Solar Panels for Caravans

Recreational Solar is a term used to describe the use of 12 volt solar panels for caravans, and outdoor leisure and recreation use. This typically covers caravanning, camping, four wheel driving and marine leisure activities.

RV Solar Supplies (RVSS) is a Brisbane based company that was established in 2012 by owner Spencer Smith. Spencer has a background in engineering and a passion for ‘powering freedom’ using solar energy.

Spencer says “solar energy provides outdoor enthusiasts with freedom, independence and peace of mind when in the great outdoors, allowing them to go wherever they want, whenever they want.”

Recreational solar panels for caravans, fall into three main categories – folding, fixed and flexible solar panels and typically range from 80W through to 180W in size.

Anyone considering investing in a solar system for their RV should first decide whether they want a portable solar panel or a permanently mounted fixed solar panel on the caravan roof. There are pros and cons of each.

A portable folding solar panel gives the user the flexibility to park their RV in the shade and put the solar panel out to work in the sun. Drawbacks include storage and potential theft if left unattended.
A solar panel that is permanently fixed to the roof of an RV will keep the battery charged whilst travelling around but means parking in the sun when pulling up at the camp site which leads to a hot caravan!

RVSS portable folding solar panels are packed full of useful features and are higher quality than most on the market. Spencer advises to compare apples with applies when looking for a folding solar panel as there is a wide range available. RVSS 120W folding kit retails for $480 and their 160W kit $599 and comes with solar panel, controller, 8m cable, carry case – everything you need for a walk away portable kit.

A permanent solar system can include either fixed or flexible solar panels mounted to the RV roof. Flexible solar panels are becoming more popular due to their light weight advantage (less than 2kg) when compared to normal solar panels. A solar panel(s), cable, plus a good quality charge controller can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 to purchase depending on how much solar power is required. Most people tend to install their own panels and wiring but factor in the cost of labour if using an installer to do it for you.

RV Solar Supplies is the only recreational solar company that has been endorsed by the CEO of the Australian Solar Council, John Grimes.

“The Australian Solar Council recognizes recreational solar as an emerging and valuable contributor to the Australian Solar Industry. We support the contribution that RV Solar Supplies continues to make in its mission to help outdoor enthusiasts understand the true value that solar energy plays in powering their recreational freedom.” John Grimes, CEO

RVSS has a special offer for readers on their 120W Folding Solar Panel kit which uses BOSCH solar cells amongst many other great features. They are offering a 20% discount off their normal retail price, down from $480 to $380 and is valid until 30th June 2015.


Contact spencer@rvsolarsupplies.com or call 07 3390 3700 and quote “Caravanning around Australia” to take up this great offer on solar panels for caravans. You can check out their website for further information at www.rvsolarsupplies.com