To celebrate the closing gap to our lap we decided to stop a few days in Merimbula on the far South Coast of NSW to take in the enormity of our journey and relax and renew before we catch up with our family and friends over the Christmas season. What better way than to relax and enjoy some time away from the kids than to visit an NRMA holiday park! Our time here was made even better as we celebrated with our good friends the Wandering Woodies.
We highly recommend this park for great value and fun for the whole family!
If there’s one sure-fire way to ruin a good day whilst holidaying this summer it’s getting caught up in the scrum at the laundry! It’s bad enough that you need to wash whilst on holidays but courtesy from your fellow holidaymakers can help ease the annoyance of this necessary evil. Similar grumbles can be heard echoing from within laundry tubs from one side of the country to the other but none more so than during the Christmas holiday peak when parks are at their busiest.
Granted that there are varying ideas on this issue mainly centred on whether “to remove or not remove” (ie. another’s laundry from a washing machine or dryer) however common courtesy can help you navigate the awkwardness of having to handle someone else’s smalls or someone handling yours!
After decades of frequenting holiday parks during January we’ve compiled these top tips to keep you smiling all summer long despite the chores!
1. Be present or risk having someone man handle your smalls.
If you don’t want someone touching your clean washing after your load is done, set the timer on your phone as a reminder to return on time or wait at the laundry until your load finishes. The machines and dryers in parks are there to share. It’s completely unfair to your fellow holiday makers to expect them to hold up their holiday until you’re ready to return- after all they too are on holidays and want to get the chores done and get on with fun in the sun. Guaranteed they also didn’t want to be put in the situation to have to make the awkward choice to remove your washing or not, nor did they want to handle your washing, so do the right thing and be there if you can. Most machines will tell you how long a load takes or there will be a sign. Set your timer approximately 8 mins prior to the load ending... this will give you time to finish your morning cuppa and walk back to the laundry in time- some machines are quicker than what they say too so it’s a good idea to be a few minutes early.
2. Leave a basket or bag.
We all know that at times the best laid plans to get back to the laundry before the loads finishes can go pear shaped. Very few people would want to dump your clean load on the floor but I have seen this happen when there is no owner to be found, no basket or bag left and no side table or ironing board on which to place the clean load. Leaving a basket or bag on top of or in front of the machine or dryer where your load is can avoid such situations. It says to your fellow holidaymakers... if I’m not here and you need the machine please put my things in here and not on the floor. If you are tight for space and can’t fit a basket in your luggage then throw in a striped bag that you can pick up from a dollar shop for a few bucks or buy yourself a pop up basket from a camping store.
3. If you need to remove someone else’s washing, respect it.
If you arrive at the laundry only to find it deserted of people but all bases loaded with machines that have gone full cycle then it’s only fair that you continue to wash as you’d planned. This leaves you with the dilemma of what to do next. As you’ve probably already gathered, in this instance I’m a “remover” but a respectful one. Hopefully there’s a basket or bag to place the washing in or there may be a sorting table where you could leave it. If there’s nowhere clean to leave it then put it into a garbage bag so it stays clean. There could be a good reason that they didn’t come back to get their washing on time so a little consideration here goes a long way.
4. Clean up after your load!
Most caravanners and campers would agree that sandy bedsheets are pretty annoying... especially when you’ve just washed them! Summer is best when it’s sandy but not when holiday park washing machines are full of it; so if you’ve had fun at the beach try to shake as much sand out of your clothing before washing it. Take a packet of wipes or some wet paper towel with you to the laundry and when your load is done and removed, give the machine a quick wipe out so it’s clean and sand free for the next user. Similarly clean the lint filter in the dryers after use... having to empty it after someone else has used it isn’t much fun... Eeek!
5. Share the lines.
The only line we should be holding this summer is a fishing line, not a washing line. If you are holidaying in a park where there are limited clothes lines please consider removing your washing from the line as soon as it’s dry. Once again you risk someone man handling your washing in the fight for facilities if there are no other available washing lines free and yours is the driest load. The “but I got up and got in early” argument doesn’t always stand to reason here as many travellers are in transit and part of their reason for stopping at a holiday park is often to wash. These travellers will often pull in later and leave early. They too have paid to use the facilities and it’s only fair to share them.
A trip to the laundry doesn’t have to become World War III, by following these simple tips, you are on your way to a harmonious holiday. Enjoy your washing-war-free summer break!
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We had a relaxing arvo cruising the waterways of the Lakes thanks to the guys at Blue Riviera Boat Hire. We were lucky to see a beautiful pod of Burrunan dolphins... Lakes Entrance is one of only two areas in the world where these dolphins are found! 🐬😎🐬😎
If you’re taking a visit to the Lakes area and are after a #lowcost camp be sure to check out Lakes Recreational Reserve which is right on the water and just $25 per night including power and water. Kids over 5yrs are $5. Great value and top spot right in the town!
Today’s adventures at #wilsonsprom included checking out some of the beautiful beaches. It’s no surprise that the beaches around #tidalriver are listed in the #top101beachesinaus. 🏖🇦🇺
Check out how clear that water is! 💦
Our visit to this beautiful place has been a long time coming and we’re already in the midst of planning our return!
The beauty of The Prom as it’s affectionately known rivals that of some of the most beautiful places we’ve seen around Aus!
And so the sun has set on our last westward facing sunset... for a while at least... 🌅 Tomorrow it’s time to turn left again!... not long until we close the gap on our lap!
WOW! Who knew this place had so much to offer?! We had no idea but we are so glad that we decided to continue along the #limestonecoast to this beautiful city! So clean and so much to see and do... a photographer’s dream!
Here are some pics of our favourite spots... Umpherston Sinkhole (so unique and just one of several sinkholes in the area that has been put to good use), Blue Lake (Mt Gambier’s water supply that changes colour... hot day = spectacular blue!! Lucky us 🍀💙), Port MacDonnell (beautiful coastline).
Also not to be missed... Little Blue Lake (local swimming hole), Valley Lake (boating and skiing spot as well as an amazing kids park) and Lady Nelson Visitors Centre (we love a visitors centre with a #free museum!)
#mountgambier #mtgambier #umpherstonsinkhole #bluelake #portmacdonnell
Having a healthy towball is one of the keys to staying safe. Afterall it’s what connects your tug and trailer so it’s important that you check and change it regularly.
We’ve compiled a few tips to help you maintain optimal ball health...
✔️ Replace your towball annually or more frequently after heavy use. Towballs can and do break and at around $20 for a genuine part it’s a small price to pay to ensure a safer hitch
✔️ Grease attracts dust which gets into the coupling and grinds away at the towball. For this reason we don’t grease our towball. To grease or not is a hot topic of debate but let’s just say we’ve compared the difference and have seen the wear happen faster when the coupling is greased.
✔️ Check the towball tension regularly. If you notice that it is loosening then replace the ball immediately as it could be a sign of wear and weakening
✔️ Alwas ensure that your towball is stamped with the correct rating for your tow weight
✔️ Carry a spare towball and suitable shifter at all times when towing. Hopefully you don’t need it but you just might.
Changing a towball is quick, inexpensive and easy to do, so if it’s been a while then it’s time for a change!
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*This is not official advice but what we do to ensure our car and caravan hitch is in good condition. We highly recommend completion of a Tow-Ed course to hear best practice from the experts, even if like us you have been caravanning for some time.*
Prior to ordering our caravan we muddled with the dilemma of whether to have a washing machine installed in the van or not and even after we had ordered it and set off around Australia, we wondered if we had made the right decision. We can now say after 5 months that we are happy with our decision not to have a washing machine installed.
We were quoted $1,400 for a 5kg front load washer to be installed during the build of our Condor caravan. The space needed to fit the washer would have meant we lost 4 drawers, 3 of which our children use to store their socks and undies and the 4th drawer used to store pegs, washing powder and a few other essential odds and ends. This was a considerable amount of space to lose for our family of 5, who would make our caravan home for at least a year.
Convinced that we would need some kind of washer, we purchased a small, portable 4kg washing machine prior to departure which we carried in the car for the first part of the trip. After 3 months and using it no more than 5 times, we decided to ditch it. We found that the time and effort to wash was more than the $4 we would have saved. The machine didn’t have an automatic cycle and whilst it was a good 4kg washer it was only a 1kg spinner, so a small load of washing took a long amount of time!
And so our washing has largely been done during stays in caravan parks. In 5 months we have spent an average of $12.50 per week to wash everything including bedding, towels, floor mats and of course clothing. We wash once every 7-10 days and do 2-4 loads of washing depending on what needs laundering.
The vast majority of caravan parks we have stayed at charge $4 per load and we have found very few (probably only 1 or 2 places) where the machines are unfavourably clean. On a couple of occasions where the load has been $5 or $6 the machines have been larger and newer so this has saved us money in the long run. When free camping we look at WikiCamps to find the nearest laundromats and there are surprisingly plenty more around than we ever realised!
We estimate that based on our current weekly average we will spend $650 on laundry in 12 months of vanlife which may sound a lot but in reality its a saving of $750! We would need to be on the road for well over 2 years fulltime for the quoted 5kg washer to pay for itself based on our current washing habits. So what about a 3kg top loader which are a cheaper option at around $500 to install during a van build you ask? These are great little automatic machines for singles, couples and small families but again size and space are major factors here for us.
Here are some considerations for those wondering whether to get a washing machine for their rig:
❓💰Will the cost of the machine installation be less than the cost of your washing on the road? If not, will it pay itself over time?
❓🔋🚰Will you be able to run your machine when free camping (ie. do you have a suitable solar/battery set up with inverter or a generator and do you have provisions to carry additional water?)
❓⏰Are you travelling fast? Will you have time and do you want to be washing more than once a week as you will most likely need to, especially if you have kids on board.
❓👚👕Will the size of the machine be adequate to suit your needs? The key here is to check both the wash and spin cycles as they may have different capacities.... the smaller the wash and/or spin, the more time spent washing
❓⏲Does the machine have an automatic cycle? If not then you will spend time washing, emptying, rinsing, emptying and spinning every load. Again, time is of the essence here.
❓🌡⛽️Will the space you lose have you sacrificing additional necessary items on the road? (Ie. extra blankets, warm layers of clothing, jerry cans of fuel/water)
We recommend getting a washing machine if you are on the road full time for extended periods or take regular trips for weeks at a time AND consider some of the following variables:
✔️You have few people to wash for... 1-4 people or 1-5 if you have young children who generally have smaller items of clothing
✔️You have plenty of space in your rig to fit it and can afford the space
✔️You have the necessary free camping power set up
✔️You have the capacity to carry additional water
✔️You have time to wash more than once per week
If you’re a quick traveller and your time means more to you than your money then rest assured, getting a washing machine is not a necessity. Laundry will be a small portion of your overall trip expenditure. Our washing fees equate to just 0.72% of EVERY SINGLE CENT we have spent since departure... that’s less than 1%! It has been a small price to pay for our valuable time together on the road!
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We’ve been humming ‘Bound for South Australia’ since meeting our travel buddies Extract Black Coffee Roasting Co. in Darwin. Well this one goes out to you guys!!
Since we were really headed for #southaustralia as we crossed the Nullarbor, we filled in time by actually learning the words and singing along. Pretty sure we lost the plot somewhere along that road... even had a Tuesday morning disco on top of the Great Australian Bight dancing to Elton John’s ‘I’m still standing!’ #makingmemories #roadtrip #vanlife #familyfun #crazies #funnyvideos #familytravel #nullarbor #boundforsouthaustralia #carkaraoke
(And the winner for the worst haircut on this trip goes to... Sharon 🤦♀️ #worsthairever #deadsetshocker)
What’s our absolute favourite thing about living in a caravan? It has to be that home is literally wherever we park it! We have had some pretty awesome backyards on our travels! 🏠🚗
@condor_caravans @gomakesomememories @streakybay @streakybaytourism @eyrepeninsula @djiglobal
#homeiswhereweparkit #vanlife #caravan #houseonwheels #tinyhouse #caravanningaus #dji #mavicpro #drone #droneoftheday #seeaustralia #streakybay #eyrepeninsula #speedspoint #freecamp