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Most of us can relate to the fun we had canoeing at summer camp when we were young. But that was nothing compared to the experience of whitewater kayaking that came next for me. I have always loved canoeing, though it always seemed difficult to participate. It has only been in the last decade that the development of inflatable canoes has made a big difference. You can more easily access rivers, you can store a canoe in your car, you can even take them on a plane. They are very light, very cheap, with little loss of functionality. Perfect for weekends away or campervan holidays. Social networking was the other big change. You can now use Facebook, etc to join canoeing adventures in your local region or abroad.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

The economics of campervanning

I have yet to go campervanning in NZ but the plans are coming together. Its a toss up whether I go from Perth to Sydney, or alot of shorter trips around NZ. If I'm going to NZ then I definitely want an inflatable canoe with me so I can so some canoeing. See I think for that reason alone I would like to have family with me. One of the great aspects of campervanning is the capacity to take a group with you, with no incremental extra cost other than food, personal expenses. It thus makes a great holiday for less well-endowed Asians or Australians wanting a new experience. Of course you still have to get family to the point of origination and back to your point of entering the country. Fortunately discounr airlines are making that a little easier, and you might get lucky and be able to organise a cheap backhaul with a campervan. Its probably even worthwhile paying for a full rental just and doing a quick trip rather than flying 2-4 people back to home base. Maybe a car rental will be a better option for the backhaul. Everything depends on the distance. You can do Sydney-Brisbane or Sydney-Melbourne in a (long) day, so you dont need a sleeper, but even so the cost of travelling by rental is likely to be cheaper than flying, and alot more interesting if you cover new territory.
There is no reason why you can't do a partial backhaul. For instance, you might be able to get a camper returm from Darwin-Sydney. Since they need more campers in Sydney, you are unlikely to get a Backhaul from Sydney-Darwin. What is possible however is a Brisbane-Darwin, but likely in a dfferent vehicle class. I prefer the smaller vehicles, but if I am in the Outback of Australia, or even NZ, I would not care, as you have plenty of space and no competing traffic to worry about. You have insurance, but I worry about those disclaimers. I'd hate the idea of not being covered if something goes wrong. These campers are worth anything from $A20-80,000 new.

If you are doing a backhaul of a campervan the trip cost is likely to be around $50/day for extra petrol plus $25/day for meals. Of course you can skimp on meals, eat bread and water to get this lower. If you are doing a full rental, the daily rental rate will depend on the seasonal demand, but it can easily triple your costs because you are not getting the fuel subsidy ($30-50/day) and of course you are paying $80-120/day for the vehicle rental as opposed to $1-5/day doing a backhal. When I crossed Australia I was going to supermarkets every opportunity to buy foods to keep costs down, as I want to sell the idea to people who dont have the financial resources to travel. So the foods to eat - I like:
1. Tetrapak juices - though tap water would be adequate if you dont mind it not cold. You can always wind the window down for air conditioning.
2. Bread & spreads: I like those tuna spreads, Nutella, peanut butter. It gets a little hot in the car so you want spreads that will keep.
3. Fruit & vege: I would happily eat a carrot and bananas, but its a waste buying more than what you can eat because they will deteriorate in the sun. So its best if you can do you shopping in the morning.

I would typically go to a pub at nights for a social outlet, a beer and they usually have cheap meals as well. The old 'club' used to be good value for meals as well, but thats only in the smaller towns. In the larger towns they are well supported by gambling.

In outback Australia there are not so many full service supermarkets like Woolworths or Coles. The exceptions are the large cities. For that reason you are relying on the smaller outlets like IGA and Farmers Best. I was surprised to find out that prices by these buisinesses have fallen a great deal. I ca remember always paying too much at these 'independents'. They are very reasonably priced now despite high fuel costs.


marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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suriya said...

Im so deeply in love with your blog and your love for campers. I dont own one Hope you will come visit me over on my blog too!

Camper Van Australia

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