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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Driving in Australia

After driving 1,500 kilometers during the first week in Australia I am well used to the left hand traffic. As a matter of fact it really only took 2 days to get used to it, but I do need to stay very alert when we get to intersections and drive through cities. Fortunately the Australian driver is very polite, even more so than the north american driver. I have not encountered any ‘jerks’ on the road, something I rarely can say after driving 1,500 km in north America.

Finding our way around appears to be easy because I let Margriet do it all :-). I do the driving, she has the GPS, the map and her Ipad to find us the best routes and this way we have a perfect division of ‘duties’.

The Australian governments are actively developing a terrific national highway system. Along the section of east coast we have so far traveled there are large sections with a 4 lane divided highway, while at other sections you slow down to a crawl because extensive road construction is being undertaken. They are obviously spending billions of dollars upgrading the main highway up and down the east coast. ‘Good on them’.

The camper we are driving is a Mercedes diesel, known in North America as a Sprinter. It is the long version of that model and I did have to get used to the width more than the length. Years ago we travelled around North America for an entire year with a RV unit that was 55-60’ long, so the 23-24’ long Sprinter is no problem.

Early September is not an especially busy time on the road, although we are seeing numerous ‘snow birds’ heading south, back after having spent the winter up north (don’t forget it is the southern half of the world down here and the seasons are reversed).

Since we are travelling outside the busy holiday season we are not having any problems finding places to camp. We are sticking to ‘caravan parks’, nice, well appointed campgrounds with power hookups, water and sewer at your site. At the end of next week a 2 week school holiday will start and we would have more problems finding a spot on the coast, but that is when we are planning to turn west - inland. We expect that further inland we won’t have problems finding camping sites.
The caravan parks here are providing any and all amenities you would want. Beside well maintained restroom buildings with showers, there are kitchens, with cooking areas, dishwashing facilities, and laundry facilities. Everything is spotless: the kitchen sinks have cloths, the toilets have brushes by them.
The big difference with north american camp sites is that these are close together, providing little or no privacy and there are no places to have a campfire. That might change when we move into the backcountry, but we’ll find out later.

It takes all of 5 minutes to set up the camper when we arrive at a site. An app on the Ipad functions as a level and in no time we know how to park to not roll out of bed at night. Plug in the power cord, open the propane bottle and we are ready to go for a walk on the beach or sit and relax.

The camper has all the modern conveniences we are used to having at home.  Not only a fridge but also a 3 burner stove, sink with hot and cold running water, airco, 240 electical outlets to charge cell phone, ipad, ipod, in Reach (a satelite emergency assist unit the boys gave me for my retirement) the computer, and last but not least a shower/toilet, although it is barely big enough to change your mind in it.
The fridge automatically switches over from 240 to 12 volt when you unplug the shore power. I remember the older fridges in our camper that ran on 110v, 12v or propane, it rarely kept the contents cold. Best of all the dinette set converts into a  KING size bed. (as if we never left home:-))

I am sure we can handle this for a few more months!!!!
This is retirement PLUS.

1 comment:

  1. How exciting to travel along with you here--the Sprinter van sounds WONDERFUL!