Returned Home Safely After an Eventful Four Months of Traveling in Australia in our Caravan

 

This map shows where we spent our time traveling in Australia
This map shows where we spent our time traveling in Australia

We love traveling and always on the look out to find new places to explore.  We have done the loop a couple of times so this time we decided to go to Adelaide to see the Santos Down under Cycle race.  Alas, we never make plans as they always go astray.  This trip was no different. Watching it on TV was the closest we got to seeing it again.

Paying out good money for poor workmanship

We had a grey water tank installed before we left. We should have done it our self  as we soon found it did not work.  All the water when let down the sink came back up through the shower. Therefore when we  got to Haslam South Australia my husband had to buy extra hoses and a drill and do the job himself.

At Port Julia the winds really started blowing and our awning was damaged. The wind was so strong it even pulled the star pickets holding it down out of the ground.  We spent 3 weeks waiting for the company to open after Christmas before we could have it repaired.

Meeting wonderful people

We enjoyed many hours while waiting for repairs  at many free camps. which sure helped the travel costs. We met several wonderful people while camped at Port Parham.  Which I am sure we will keep in contact for many years to come sharing our travel experiences.

 

Camped at several places along the Murray River, which is so relaxing. Watching the beautiful paddle boats and houseboats as they cruised by, wishing and dreaming of one day enjoying a trip on one of them.

I loved to hear the sound of the paddleboats
I loved to hear the sound of the paddleboats

Two storey Paddle boat

Unexpected

We were crossing the bridge on the way to Mildura in Victoria when suddenly a young girl threw herself down on the road in front of us.  We could not believe it at first, although my husband ended up yelling get off the b….y road and she must have had second thoughts and disappeared onto the walkway through the middle of the bridge.  We still do not understand why she did it, but when towing a caravan it is not as easy to stop in a hurry.  So she was lucky we did not hit her.

We decided we had had enough after staying with friends in Mildura and headed homewards. At one stage my husband noticed that the temp had risen on the gauges.  We slowed and kept and eye on it. From Port Germain to Port Augusta we added about 12 litres of water.  Thinking the worst we thought we had done a head and of course we started to think of ways of fixing our problem.  As it turned out, luckily my husband changed the new radiator cap for the old one.  Then decided to risk the 2200 k’s (approximate) home.  Thinking if the worst happened we would have to put everything on a truck home.  Luckily we made it home with everything okay.

This trip was shall we say more eventful than our usual trips away.  Although on the whole we still enjoyed it and of course were still glad to return home safe and sound again.

Free Camping at Port Parham Foreshore in South Australia

This is another great place to stay where you can relax and enjoy walking along the beach picking up seashells. Although it is not your regular type of beach.  The water is very shallow and disappears each day.  One good thing is that if you love crabs and walking then this is a great place to camp and catch them.

Long way to tow boat out to find the water

This is what they call a jinker that is used to either tow boats out or catch crabs or fish from without getting feet wet. This also gives you an idea of how far out the water is.

So many variations of these.

This is another example of jinker. They drive these by sitting up the top.

How to catch crabs

The downside is that to catch the crabs you need a rake or a pole with a hook on the end. Oh and do not forget to drag a cooler or something similar behind you to put your catch in.  Then all you need is some solid shoes and start walking way out to where the water begins which can be a couple of kilometers or more.  Great to get you in shape after all that Christmas indulging. It is very shallow usually up to about your knees, where you can catch the crabs.

Many of the locals have what they call jinkers, like in the picture above, which they either tow their boats out to go fishing. Some use these to fish from or catch crabs.  The beauty of them is that you do not get your feet wet like the ones using a rake to catch crabs.

fishing and crabbing

Here you can see people fishing on the left and also a couple of other jinkers in the water

Facilities Available at Port Parham

  • Flushing Toilets
  • Free Barbecue, tables and undercover
  • Sporting Club which provide great meals
  • Fresh running tap water

Barbecue area with free barbecueUse of free barbecue facilities

Seafood basket at Pot Parham Sport Centre

Great meals at the Sports centre

Budget camping at Port Julia in South Australia

Port Julia South Australia

Budget camping at Port Julia

Port Julia is on the East side of the Yorke Peninsular with a great budget priced camp spot.  Fees of $7 p/night or $40 per week apply.  They have flushing toilet with fresh drinkable water plus a dump point and a nice barbecue area.


Port julia Barbecue area

Barbecue Area

The added bonus is there is a good jetty where if you are lucky and the weather is permissible you can try your luck at catching a feed of fish or squid.

The towns people are friendly and helpful. We met a couple that even shared some of their fresh home grown vegetables with us.

Anyone can stop for up to two weeks at any time, in a tent, caravan or RV motorhome.  There is a complete fire ban during the summer months.

The nearest shopping center is at Port Vincent which is fifteen kilometers away. The cafe on the beach has the best fish and chips that I have tasted for years.

Free Camping spots at Kimba in South Australia

 

Entrance to Recreation grounds and Camp spot
Entrance to Recreation grounds and Camp spot

I can highly recommend staying here in Kimba as it is a great place to stop for a few nights to check out the local tourist attractions. Traveling can be expensive what with the costs of fuel, caravan parks that charge too much and of course we all need to eat.  Therefore most travelers look for places that help make their travel less expensive by supplying free overnight stop overs for them.

If that is what you need then Kimba is a very smart town.  They have 3 overnight spots for the tired travelers to camp overnight.  This is great because most people will return the favor by buying their fuel and groceries in towns that help their budget.

Kimba is halfway across Australia, so no matter which way you go this is the place where you know you have traveled a long way and still have a long way to go to get to the other side. It is also the gateway to the Gawler Ranges. It is a beautiful area to explore and has approximately 1050 residents that have decided to make their home here.

Free Camp Sites

Lions Apex Central Park– This is situated next to the swimming pool on Park Terrace.

Facilities– It offers flushing toilets, barbecue and picnic area, playground for the toddlers. Fee- Donation to help with the upkeep.

Recreation Reserve-  This is a great complex that the town should be proud of. Comprising of tennis courts, netball, cricket, basketball and football facilities to suit.

Facilities for camping -Clean Flushing toilets, shower – cost $1 for 3 minutes. Camping fee -Donation

Kids enjoying train ride
Kids enjoying train ride

This is a great place to stop as you can also watch the different sports taking place on different days.

The Gums Rest Area – This is handy to the local supermarket and walking distance to the town.  Close to the railway line and more noisy with passing traffic.

Facilities- toilets  Fee Free

Travelers, remember to look after the towns that look after you.

Free Camping at Kyancutta in South Australia

There are some great people that help the travelers by providing either free, donation or cheap stopovers for people wanting to camp at places overnight.

Here is another one at Kyancutta.  This is another town in the wheat belt area which is situated on the Eyre and Todd highways of the Eyre Peninsular.  This town relies on the traveling tourists and the local agricultural people to survive.

Polkdinney Free camp at Kyancutta

In 1928 Kyancutta was the first town to have a fully automated weather station,  which is monitored every three hours and is still operational today.   It is situated behind the local store.

Kyancutta Free camp store

The free camp area is also behind the store, and its memorial park which represents the pioneers of its agricultural settlement. If looking for somewhere to rest your weary head then give this a try.  The store owners are very friendly and will tell you more about the town if you ask.

 scrub Roller with old wagon in background

scrub Roller with old wagon in background

Please support these types of places that supply these conveniences for the budget traveler which helps to keep us all traveling.

 

Burrecoppin Free Camping Spot in WA

The town of Burracoppin is situated on the Great eastern Highway, 283 km east of Perth near Merredin.  The prospector railway stops at this small wheat belt town.  It is also known as the first site to have a Rabbit Proof fence, which was started in 1901.  Co-ordinates 31.397°S 118.477°E

Why not enjoy a stopover at their Free Campsite. It has  flushing toilets, barbecue and shelter. No power.

As it is free then you may like to spend a while at the pub which is within walking distance, and meet some of the friendly locals.

 

 

Setting Caravan/RV up for Free Camping in Australia

Are you thinking of travelling around Australia and not sure what you will need?  We have done two trips around Australia and like everyone we are still learning new tricks all the time.  So I thought I would let you know some of the my tips, so you will not make the same mistakes that we did.

If you are reading this then you have either already bought your caravan/RV, Motor Home or off-road trailer. All of these are great fun to explore Australia in. The only difference is the big price difference for each one. If you have not already bought something then this article may help you choose the right caravan before you outlay money that you cannot afford.

 

back-home-again.jpg

This is a map of one of the many trips we have done over the years

Australia is a big country with miles of open territory. If you have never traveled through the outback then you will be amazed just how spread out the towns are. Make sure you carry enough water, food and fuel as in some places you will not have stores to top up at for three hundred kilometers. So be prepared.

 

beautiful-reflection-at-dam.jpg

This free camp is Niagra Dam which is between Menzies and Leonora in Western Australia

Free Camping

Personally we love free camping anywhere and everywhere in Australia, where it is possible. some people prefer staying in Caravan parks for security. It is so relaxing when you stop in free camps, without being stuck on other people’s doorstop. If you would like to free camp there are a few things you will need to organize first.

The chimneys  Queensland

We had a great free camp here at the Chimneys, stayed for four days and saw two big Lace Monitors. They were pretty tame just wondered around between the campers

You will need:

  • your own power source
  • Gas for cooking and fridge
  • Lighting
  • Battery back up
  • Fresh water
  • Food

Power source

You have two main choices when travelling:

  • Solar Power
  • Generator

To give you an example, we have solar panels on the roof of our car and caravan. The  160 w  solar panel on the car roof, runs our fridge/freezer through an inverter in the car. Plus we have an extra battery in the car to store the solar charge. With reduced sunshine your solar will still charge although not as much.

We have another inverter in the caravan with 3 solar panels on the roof (total of 320 w). We also have 2 batteries to hold this charge. This runs all our lighting, TV, Laptop, phone recharging, and our Access satellite TV.  Our fridge and hot water system runs on gas. We never use our air conditioner so that is no problem.

Inverter

You will also need an inverter to plug things into -This is for charging up your Laptop, phone and torches, and other low powered electrical equipment.

Generator Power

These are heavy, and smelly, and you need to carry petrol in a container.  We used one on our first trip and dumped it. Although this is our personal choice.

If you require the use of a microwave, air conditioner or boiling the kettle then a generator is a necessity. Beware never place a generator under an open window because the carbon-oxide fumes. (the same effect as placing a hose on your exhaust with the other end in the car).

Tip: Please be considerate when using a generator, because they are noisy, turn them off early. Also because of their noise many people have long leads and put the generator miles away, they cannot hear them but, is it now next to another camper? They might want to sleep to, so be considerate of other travelers.

Gas for cooking and fridge

When camping out, you will normally use this for your stove to cook and to keep your fridge cold.  Make sure you have enough gas, fill up in bigger towns as it can be expensive in the smaller ones.

Tip– ask the price first-if too expensive and you still have enough gas then leave it until next town.

Lighting

If you have a caravan, I suggest that you change all the globes to LED’s. This will save you a lot on power usage.

Solar lights are brilliant to take when free camping.  Put them out during the day to charge, and use instead of your 12v at night.

Battery’s for back-up charge

I know we all need to watch the weight we put into our caravans so we are not overloaded, but at least one battery is important for storing your power from your solar panels or power generated from your car.

Fresh Water

It is very important to have enough water for your stay. Do your research and see if your free camp has access to fresh water. If near the ocean, you can use that to wash your dishes. If camped by a river boil the water, and use for drinking or dishes, if you are short.

Food

Think about the weight you are loading in to your caravan/RV when loading the food.  Tinned food weighs heavy, packet foods like noodles and powdered milk is lighter.

Last but not least – Overloading the Caravan/RV

When you buy your caravan you will be told about the amount of weight you can carry. PLEASE try to stick to that weight.  When traveling in the Eastern States they are stopping vehicles and weighing them.  If your caravan if overweight they can make you unload things onto the side of the road. Plus if you have an accident, you will not be covered by insurance either.

Okay that is it. Now, once you have all that organised, you had better start packing and enjoying your free camping or staying in caravan parks. Remember to do your research before deciding where to spend your holidays.

List of  Free Campsites from Perth to Bendigo if you are looking for somewhere to camp for the crossing