Our rig currently for caravanning around Australia is a Toyota Prado and a Vogue Series Pop Top Caravan.
Let us introduce you to our set up and tell you about the changes, updates and major maintenance undertaken since we started travelling Australia in our van in more detail below.
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Our Tow Vehicles
Walter was our first tow vehicle from 2017-2019. He was a 2002 3.5L V6 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed, completely stock standard with no aftermarket modifications. We said a Sad Farewell to Walter when his transmission could no longer handle towing. I still miss Walter, he was old, a little cranky sometimes and used more than his fair share of fuel but he also had character, he loved adventure and had spunk.
Stanley is a comfortable car suitable for our needs. He is what we need for towing our caravan, for general day to day driving and for some adventurous off-road and beach driving.
He is much more introvert than Walter was but Stanley uses less fuel and is also totally up for adventure.
Our home on wheels is our caravan, Josephine. Josephine is an 18 ft, 1994 Viscount Vogue Series pop top caravan. She has decorative aqua green, red and grey decals which are the colours we use in our logo and other branding for our website and blog.
Josephine’s internal lay out is has a kitchen area at the front, tables and chairs in the mid area, an island bed at the far end and no ensuite. There is additional storage under the bed and in a front boot. She also has two fridges (second one put in by previous owner) which we use as a very handy food pantry cupboard. She is also set up for off grid power with a 200w solar panel on the roof, AGM deep cell battery and a 600w inverter.
Buying Our (Used) Caravan To Tour Australia was a journey that took a number of months of researching online and visiting caravan sale yards before we decided to buy Josephine through a private seller. She is the first caravan we have ever owned, she isn’t perfect and just about everyday there is a maintenance task that needs to be done to keep her water tight, road safe and comfortable but we have become rather attached to our little home on wheels. Our plan is to keep travelling Australia with her for the next few years when we plan on selling our entire set up and taking our travels overseas.
Since we have been on the road full time we have made some changes and updates. She has also needed repairs. The most significant of these have been:
- Original foam mattress replaced with a high density memory foam mattress which we cut to size
- 40w solar panel, completely insufficient to our needs replaced with a 200w panel.
- Shelves in cupboard used for cleaning items and other items such as bug spray replaced with slide out shelving.
- Manual kitchen tap upgraded to an electric tap. Hands down this is my favourite upgrade. Can’t tell you how much I love having running water just by flicking on a switch.
- Old carpet (who has carpet in caravan?) and vinyl flooring all replaced with floating floor board panels we were able to get cheap as they were the leftovers of a larger job. Floors are now much easier to clean.
- Twin gas bottle holder has been added to our caravan draw bar. Previously we had to carry the second bottle in our car which wasn’t safe or practical.
- Replaced the tired worn old curtains with roller blinds we bought from a hardware store and install ourselves. The blinds look sleeker and tidier than the curtains.
- Added shelves and removed the handing rod inside our cupboards we each use for storing our clothes. Shelves provide much more space and it easier to keep everything folded and put away neatly.
- Josephine’s pop top roof developed a leak. Daryl repaired and rebuild the roof.
- Old pop top sleeve was replaced with a new one, going from grey to white and from 4 to 6 mesh windows. Along with the new white ceiling when the roof was rebuilt, the inside of Josephine is much lighter and brighter.
- Awning canvas damaged (ripped) in a storm replaced with a new one.
The Quad Kayak
It was Christmas Day 2017 in Boat Harbour, Tasmania when another full time travelling couple allowed us to borrow their kayak and we went for a paddle. Being out on the calm crystal clear waters on a sunny day was brilliant and within minutes we knew we had to have our own kayak.
Our needs for buying our kayak was that it had to be second hand to be affordable, it had to be ocean worthy and it had to fit all three of us. It took a number of weeks before we found a used ocean kayak for sale online that ticked all our boxes.
Our kayak is long, bright yellow, orange and red (impossible to miss) and we love getting out on the water with her as often a we can. We keep thinking she needs a name too but what? We have never been able to decide.
Our Rig | Costs
Set Up Costs
- Caravan (Josephine) $9500
- First Tow Vehicle (Walter) $4000
- Second and current Tow Vehicle (Stanley) $14500
- Kayak $300
Upgrade and Maintenance Costs
- Roof repairs including new pop top skirt $1000
- Replacement awning canvas $397
- Caravan axle welding repair and new chains $350
- Roof racks $250
- Extendable towing mirrors $200
- Kayak gear (life jackets and seats) $200
- Caravan tail lights $150
- Window blinds $120
- Twin gas bottle holder $100 (made by a friend at cost)
- New flooring $90
- Towing hitch $70 (bought second hand)
- Slide Out Shelves for Cupboard $60
- Clothing cupboard shelving $20
- Mattress Upgrade $Free (used memory foam mattress we already had)
There are also routine servicing and care of both the two vehicle and caravan which includes things like oil changes, replacing filters, brakes, bearings, tyres, wheel alignments. Where possible Daryl does the work himself which saves us significant amounts of money, we still budget for about $2500 each year to cover this expense.
Fuel Costs | Stanley
We use the FuelMap App to keep a track of our fuel usage and costs. So far the figures are:
Our Rig | Weights
These are the weights we know and have on hand. Caravan was weighed with close to full fuel tanks and about 60 litres of water on board.
- Caravan ATM 1340kg
- Caravan loaded 1800kg
- Car loaded 2760kg
- Towball Weight 200kg
- Van Tare 2000kg
- Gross Weight (Car and Van) 4560kg
Caravan Additions for a Dog
Very few additions or changes to our set up have needed to be made to cater for Chika while we travel. The main two are:
- A Dog Run attached to underneath the caravan which allows her to move fairly freely up and down the length of the caravan while tethered.
- A Dog Back Seat Hammock which is just a cover for the back seat with four high sides and helps greatly with keeping the seat and interior of the car clean. Our is waterproof and cost less than $15 online.
Overall our set up is basic, based around having a limited budget however it meets our needs and we have become rather attached to home on wheels. Something that is obvious very quickly when you travel is how no two set ups are the same, each has their pros and cons and budgets. What is most important is that your rig for travelling Australia meets your needs, is safe and within your budget.