Caravanning Conversations is the brand-new blog series from Caravanning Australia, where we get to know more about the people road tripping around our beautiful country!
We recently interviewed Carly from @letsgetouttahere_ on Instagram, who travels with her partner Kurt and daughter Tully. Make sure to follow the family on Instagram for amazing travel pics, inspo, and all things caravanning!
Caravanning Australia (CA): Firstly, what drove you to get into caravanning?
Carly (C): Kurt and I had always been into camping. With Kurt doing Scouts when he grew up, we would always go camping on the weekends in our tent! We remember vividly sitting at our camp on Maroon Dam, watching this family set up their brand-new van for the first time, and saying to each other, ‘We will have a caravan one day.’ Sure enough, two years later, we bought our first second-hand caravan!
CA: What advice would you give to other families considering caravanning and exploring Australia together?
C: Make sure you you do a few shakedown trips before you go to know what you could leave at home, what you need to pack, and how things work! A few years back, you could just wing your trip, but from the second half of our lap to now, and after speaking with friends on the road, you need to plan and book unfortunately, which takes the free spirit of travelling out of it. But the country is so busy with caravanners now, so you must book or you miss out!
CA: Can you describe your favourite caravanning destination/trip and tell us why that is?
C: Oh, this one is hard! For both of us, South Australia really surprised us with how beautiful its coastline and the wine country was! The Fleurieu Peninsula was my favourite, whereas the Eyre Peninsula was Kurt’s! The free camps are amazing, the beaches are pristine, the fishing was great – we just overall had this amazing feeling about it, and we are already planning our trip back!
CA: What are the most challenging aspects you’ve found when caravanning in Australia, and how have you overcome them?
C: I would say as of now it would be the availability of a camp site or even free camp. If you don’t arrive by 10 am, you miss out on a free camp spot! We were pretty lucky with weather on our lap, and now when we book a trip we watch the weather carefully and can always change the dates if we need to.
CA: Are there any hidden gems or lesser-known destinations that you’ve uncovered on your travels?
C: I can’t think of any that haven’t been shared on social media or know of, but our best secret to a more secluded or peaceful camp would be to Hipcamp! We have been staying mostly at Hipcamps since returning from our trip, and some of the hidden gems we have come across have blown our minds! It’s a great way to see our country just from someone sharing their beautiful property with us (not sponsored, we just love them!).
CA: Could you share your most memorable encounter/interaction with fellow caravanners, locals, or unique wildlife over the course of your travels?
C: Oh, a highlight for us would be our seal interaction in Jurien Bay, Western Australia! It was by far the best experience, along with a camel sunrise ride in Uluṟu and the Adelaide River croc tour was a massive highlight that we highly recommend.
CA: How do you typically go about planning your itineraries for long and short travels?
C: We have a long bucket list of places, so we book when we have a chance or become available! If they are further than our usual weekend trips, we will always book when we have a spare week or long weekend to be able to do the drive. I always research the area too, so we make sure we really make the most of what’s to offer in the area!
CA: Have you ever encountered any unexpected issues or emergencies in your journeys and, if so, how did you tackle them?
C: We haven’t had too many issues, thank goodness! We did get into a sticky situation in Far North Queensland in Gregory, when we tried getting to a free camp and the van got a little stuck! The good thing about travelling Australia is that there will always be someone around at some point who is more than willing to help, and for us, we had some legend come along and help us get out, and persisted we get to the free camp because it’s amazing. He was right, it was well worth the two-hour ordeal in 46-degree heat!
CA: Have you found any cultural or educational opportunities during your travels that you and your family found insightful?
C: One of the most amazing experiences we had was at Josephine’s Kangaroo Orphanage in Coober Pedy! We booked a private tour and got to hold joeys that had been rescued, and learnt the back story on how they run the program, so I highly recommend! Every dollar you pay goes to helping the injured and lost animals.
CA: How do balance being spontaneous with being organised when on the road?
C: For us, we like to book where we are staying so that’s our organised side, and the spontaneous side is not knowing what we will do each day we are in that area! Each day we wake up and decide what we are going to do, and go from there.
CA: What are your go-to dinners when cooking for the whole family?
C: Nachos in the Weber, salads galore with barbecue meats, camp oven dinners like curries and roasts, burgers, pancakes every Sunday, and pizzas.
CA: Are there any financial or budgeting tips you’ve found particularly useful while caravanning and being on the road in Australia?
C: Set a monthly budget and note down the big ticket items as you spend! Spreadsheets work the best! I found that trying to do the budget every day was tiring, so we sat down at the end of the week to note receipts, ect.
CA: With technology playing a huge role in travelling, could you share some of your favourite gadgets/tools you’ve used while on the road?
C: We love our induction cooker for when we do day trips in the car! It’s perfect for making lunch on the road! Also, I can’t live without our coffee machine, and it also helps save money on the road when you make your own coffee! We have also just installed a smart TV in our caravan, which helps with not having to get the laptop out to watch YouTube and Netflix.
CA: How do you stay connected with family and friends while you’re on the road for extended periods of time?
C: FaceTime and phone calls, but majority of our family just follow our travels on our instagram and Facebook, which helps them stay up to date with what we are doing!
CA: What does the future of travelling look like for you?
C: We are predominantly weekend wanderers now, which we love as we have a home base, too! But we plan two trips a month and also two large camping trips a year ,so you can always count on the fact that we are doing something somewhere!
We have only had our new van for a year now, but the future might hold another upgrade depending on whether the family extends, and maybe a new car!
We have South Australia and Tasmania on our radar for 2024, so keep a watch to see if we can get away to relive some of our lap as a family
Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to our amazing travels and adventures!