Our car is a 2013 Toyota Landcruiser Sahara 4x4. After looking for the perfect car to suit our needs over several years, there was really only one choice in the end. Ultimately we decided that the horse was far more important than the cart and bit the bullet. We knew that this vehicle would comfortably tow any caravan that we would be likely to choose in the future and that we could all comfortably fit inside. Reliability wasn't even a question for us given the reputation of the 200 series cruiser west of the Great Divide. We couldn't be happier with how it performs when towing (and even when it's not) and how well it suits our family's adventurous lifestyle. The biggest surprise was how much Sharon loves to drive it day to day after several years of resisting a vehicle of this size! We are new to four-wheel driving as our previous tug was a Ford Territory Ghia but looking forward to learning about the wider range of the car's off-road capabilities. We are currently having a number of modifications made to the vehicle ahead of our adventure including airbags fitted to the rear suspension, dual battery system to keep our Waeco cold when free camping and external aerial to connect to our GMC 5watt handheld UHF.
Our 4th caravan is a Condor 23ft Ultimate Family Design. After checking out many triple bunk family vans we settled on the Condor sight unseen and placed our order on the very day that we decided to take this life-changing plunge. The Condors have an unrivalled entry price-point with many extras included as standard that other caravan manufacturers offer as optional. In going with our recent 'throwing care to the wind' approach, we ordered this van after only having seen inside a 21ft Condor once -albeit very briefly. The reviews of Condor's quality via the Condor Caravan Owners of Australia Facebook group is excellent and all in all feedback regarding sales and warranty is excellent. We ordered our Condor through Just Caravans in Melbourne and we highly recommend them for their good old fashioned honest way they do business. In the lead up to the pick up of our van we had numerous conversations with Condor owner George and a personal tour of the factory during our trip to Melbourne. We have made a few minor additions to the van including a 2-inch riser, all terrain tyres, grey water tank, external shower, second battery, 12v Sirocco fans and shelving in all cupboards. We have a portable solar panel (blanket) in addition to the ones that come roof mounted as standard. After market we have also added Dexter anti-sway and RV guard inside and out. We were relieved that our van was ready just in time for our adventure, with just 4 weeks to go it was just long enough to add the necessary trimmings. All in all we couldn't be happier with the manufacture, functionality and fit out of the van. Condor offers unrivalled value and quality for the price and Paul at Just Caravans is your man to deliver the goods.
We love to capture our memories through a lens (or two, or three..) and so we have invested in some quality capture equipment. Sharon has a Canon 60D Digital SLR camera which despite trying to learn how best to use it still is no pro. Adam has a GoPro Hero 5 Black. It's durability and water resistance make it a hit with the kids and it has really given us the chance to capture our trips from a different angle. Speaking of new angles, last summer borrowed a DJI Phantom 3 Pro drone to see whether it suits our needs. Despite the increasing rules and regulations around drone flying we decided that the DJI Mavic Pro would be our drone of choice for our adventure. When all else fails there are our trusty iPhones which still take fool proof shots of our adventures which can be shared in an instant. Prior to investing in the Go Pro we have found that a selfie-stick is an absolute travel backpack must-have.
Communication for us is very important. It allows us to keep contact with family, friends and other travellers and road users as well as helps with a little bit of income from Adam's consultancy business. We have a Telstra and Vodafone mobile in order to ensure that we are well covered with mobile covererage. After investigating the possibility of hiring a satellite phone, we decided to purchase one instead and were well looked after by Rob from ClientSAT in Western Australia. Rob helped us to choose the most economical satellite phone for us (we went with a Thuraya) and also helped us choose a suitable and cost effective plan. For internet we use a Nighthawke on a Telstra plan. This takes up a large part of our monthly budget however we saw it as useful and important given the need for schooling for the girls and also potential for Adam to earn some $$$ while we are travelling. We carry a handheld 5 watt UHF which we connect to the car aerial when on the move and usually stay tuned to channel 18.
Here’s a brief run down of some of what we carry to keep us safe while travelling on-road.