We have been on the road for just over a month now and have learnt a lot about this lifestyle. Here are 7 things we have learnt after being on the road for one month.
1. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
The free camps and National Parks tend to fill up quite quickly, so to get there in time to pick a decent spot or even get a spot, you need to get moving early in the morning. Especially when it is a popular free camp / National Park like the Devils Marbles. We were at the Devils Marbles for two nights. We arrived just after 10:30am on our first day. By 3pm that afternoon, the place was bursting at its seams. People were still coming in right up until dark and having to turn around and move on, as there was no room left. The same thing happened the next day too!
We had heard that internet reception was not good, though with Telstra, you should be okay. We are with Telstra and the number of days we have gone without any internet or photo service is unbelievable. In Outback QLD and NT so far, we have found that you only have service when you are in a town. We are so thankful that we have a satellite phone.
We have a drinking water tank and 2 ‘other’ water tanks on our van as well as a grey water tank. When free camping, you have to be very careful of how much water you actually use, especially when having showers and washing up. We have found a lot of fuel stations allow you to fill up your water tanks when you buy fuel. We just ask if they have a water tap with drinkable water that we can use to fill up our tanks on the caravan when paying for fuel. They are normally quite helpful.
4. Paper Dishes
This brings me to my next lesson we have learnt. When I know we are going to be free camping, I stock up on paper plates/cups/bowls. We use these instead of our Corelle Set to save on washing up and then use them in the camp fire at night. They are cheap, light and I get a few days off washing up, (especially now we don’t have a dishwasher)!
5. Hand Held Vac
When we purchased our van and talked about what we would need to clean it, this was on our list, but we weren’t sure if it would be used that much, so we didn’t purchase one straight up. We have one now! It has been great to pick up the little pebbles that tend to get caught in the grip of our hiking boots/sand shoes and is great for cleaning up the car. The boys love using it, so they help by vacuuming the floor of the van too which is great for me!
6. WikiCamps App
We have the Camps 6 book and didn’t upgrade when we headed off. Instead we purchased the WikiCamps app on the iPad. For under $8, this is just the best value!! We have not used the Camps 6 book at all. There are so many filters on this app, we have always been able to find what we needed. Once downloading the app (we did this at the local library using their wi-fi), you can use it offline anytime! It is great to read others reviews on each location and know what is available there before you turn up. Another great thing is the longitude/latitude of each place on the WikiCamps App. Now we pick our spot and put the coordinates in our GPS and off we go.
When we packed, we put in the van a pair of thongs, sand shoes and hiking boots for everyone. (Golf boots for the 2 that play golf as well). We wear them nearly all the time, even in showers in caravan parks, so they do get a lot of use.
Hubby is still on his first pair of thongs. Good quality ones that he received for the Christmas before we left. B and I are on our 3rd pair and R is on his 4th pair and I have quite a few pairs as backups put away. I have been only purchasing cheap ones from Kmart, as we are struggling to find shops that sell them at this time of year (winter boots are everywhere). I will keep looking for some good quality thongs though!