Inflatable Canoeing Adventures - Buy this eBook!

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.

Inflatable Canoeing Adventures eBook - download the table of contents here for this eBook - available for just $US7.95. See my Inflatable Canoeing blog.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Auckland - New Plymouth - Wanganui

This is a trip description for my recent arrival from Sydney. Arriving in Auckland. It was very difficult to find the Tourist Info, as its tucked away in the corner where you would expect the toilets to be. Found accommodation in Manukau City, a satellite city south of Auckland CBD with a shopping city. I had already arranged to inspect/buy a Holden Combo found on the internet, however I stayed in the Manukau Budget Motel ($60/night) for the first 2 nights.
After checking out the car, the dealer took me to the registration authority and I was on my way. I drove south to Hamilton, then headed towards New Plymouth via Taumarunui and Stratford, then I followed the coast down to Wanganui. It was really green, beautiful countryside. The highlights were from Te Kuiti to Stratford, and from New Plymouth to Wanganui. It was either green mountains or green rolling hills along the coast. I tried sleeping in the back of my vehicle. It was a little tight but ok. I'd had a few beers so that probably didn't help my sleep.
A cautionary note that the road around Te Wera was not sealed for about 20km. It was a bit wrong for a campervan. I spent the night at Stratford - can't remember the name of the pub, but I just stayed in the carpark for the pub.
This map shows the approximate route I took - the only difference is that I went through Hamilton City (5th largest city of NZ), and I don't see a need to do that.
See Google Maps.

Andrew Sheldon

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Alternatives to campervans

You don't have to buy a campervan to get some practical camper-type vehicle. I've been in NZ for the last 2 weeks trying to find a property to buy. The first task was to buy a vehicle. I was motivated by the VW Caddy Life which I used as a campervan return (SYD-BRIS) last year. The VW is not available in NZ, and its a little pricey anyway. I did however find a Holden Combo 2001 model for $5,000. It had just 120,000kms, and it was in good condition. The attractions were that it had a big enought van compartment to carry a lot of stuff, including inflatable canoes, mountain bikes, as well as being able to sleep two people. More easily one, but then I'm marrying a 5 foot Filipino, so I'm sure we'll find a corner for her to fit in, as I will be sleeping diagonally. :)
The other attraction of this vehicle is that its just 1.4 litre, so great fuel economy. The bad points are that it was a manual, so my GF will have to learn to use a stick :( The view of the blind spots is not great either, so not really a city vehicle.
I used the following spreadsheet to make my purchase decision. I went online and obtained the price, kms, age of the vehicle, as well as other issues like tranmission and location, and I came up with the following choices. I think I got the best of them. Time will tell.
Andrew Sheldon

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stand by cars - low season specials

This week Standbycars is able to offer campers at prices that even we can't believe.

Travel in New Zealand between now and 31 August and you can pick up a Hitop Camper for just NZ$35 per day! These campers are under 2 years old and have the added bonus of the incredibly reduced insurance liability of just NZ$1500, down from NZ$7,500! Upgrade to a 2 Berth Camper with Shower and Toilet for just NZ$4 extra per day or for those travelling in a bigger group we have 4 Berths for NZ$71 per day or 6 Berths for NZ$80 per day. All vehicles are fully equipped with all your camping and cooking needs and a bonus welcome pack. Pick ups are available from Auckland and Christchurch.

In Australia you can also snap up a bargain if you travel before 30 June. Hitop campers are on offer for AU$40 per day. These campers are under 2 years old and come with all your camping and cooking equipment. Pick ups are available from all major cities.
Our relocation pick this week is from Cairns to Melbourne and comes with an amazing AU$500 fuel allowance! Travel 5 days for AU$1 per day in a Hitop camper between now and 17 May. If you want to take a little longer you can buy up to 3 extra days for $75 per day.

If you are looking for a relocation deal check out our Hot Deals. We update the deals each morning with new trips. If there is a particular trip you are after and can't see it phone our reservations consultants and they'll add you to their waiting list. To make a booking, please call our reservations team on 1300 789 059 (toll free from within Australia) or 0800 789 059 (toll free from within New Zealand).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Campervanning Routes on Google Maps

Now you can view my suggested campervanning routes on Google Maps. Click on the following map to go to Google Maps. I have marked the routes I have done with a campervan, as well as suggested routes based on my driving around Australia (30-odd trips) and New Zealand (3 fly & drive trips). I have marked campervan hire places in green, overnight or scenic places in red and the lines represent the routes. This is a work in progress. You can relate the routes to the individual blog postings I continue to make.

View Larger Map
Andrew Sheldon

Friday, April 18, 2008

Campervanning – Sydney to Melbourne (summer mountain & sea route)

One of the best campervanning trips you can do in Australia is the Sydney to Melbourne route or visa versa. These are one-way trips that offer you the prospect of getting a great discount off the standard travel price. Looking at the Standby Cars website its apparent that vehicles in Sydney are picked up or delivered to Mascot, whilst vehicles in Melbourne need to be picked up or delivered to Melbourne City or Braybrook. See Google Maps for location details. The trip I consulted offered $110 petrol allowance, 3 days and a 1142km travel allowance for this trip. You will need to pay $5/day plus extra for kilometres over the allowance. The appeal is the variety of scenery that you will come across, as well as the accessibility to nice places to go out. There are also a great many routes to choose from. I have seen a great deal of NSW so I will outline what I think is the best way to go:

1. Departing Sydney: You are likely to be picking up a campervan at Mascot near Sydney Airport, so travel south on the tollway towards Wollongong. I recommend having a stop at Kiama for a bite to eat, maybe seafood. This will likely be around lunch time.Then driving on to Gerroa for a walk along the beach. Don’t spend too much time here you have alot of kilometres to drive. I recommend spending a bit of time exploring the coast around Ulladulla as its a very beautiful area. Depending how you are doing for time I recommend staying the night in Narooma or Moruya.

2.Departing Moruya: I suggest starting out early to avoid the afternoon sun. Continue south towards Bega, passing through Bermagui. Before Bega there is a turn-off to Cooma. Take this road, as it will take you through up the mountain ranges. This section will be boring, so speed through here. From Cooma take the Berridale turn-off to Jindabyne. I would think about having a snack in Berridale, with the intent of stopping in Jindabyne to buy any groceries to eat in the national park. The intent is to have a late lunch in Thedbo Ski Village. You should be able to leave their by 4PM, with the intent of staying in the park at a river flats that will become immediately apparent when you get there. But really you could happily find a great number of places to stay. Just take care driving at night or day because this is a narrow mountain road. Check whether the route is possible.

3. Departing Snowy Mountains National Park: The Alpine Way turns north Khancoban, which sees you exist the park, and then continue on to Corryong, Tallangatta, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Melbourne. The speed with which you complete this section will depend ultimately on when you have to have the vehicle back.

My concern with this route is that it will be too long. I have structured it as the scenic route. Unfortunately a number of these areas are very remote. I would suggest this route would likely require 1500km because of the amount of travel on secondary roads. For this reason you would want unlimited kilometres, and it would be far more pleasant to have 4 days. You have sleeping accommodation with you, so perhaps it makes sense to travel longer on the evening of the first night. This will mean you have a picnic llunch in the Snowy Mountains National Park at Tom Groggin, where I was actually suggesting camping.

Andrew Sheldon

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Campervanning in New Zealand

There is probably no better time of year to go campervanning in NZ than the tail-end of summer. Standby Cars have some great deals for campervanning in NZ - check out their website - I just received a notification after using their service to travel from Darwin to Sydney and Sydney to Brisbane.
Looking at the deals available you have 4 to 5 days to travel from Auckland to Christchurch. You pay just $1-5/day to return the vehicle, plus free ferry crossing. I note that you don't get any fuel allowance, but then its a good deal regardless. My preferred route would be from Auckland to the Corimandel Peninsula, then down the east coast to Wellington, then crossing the ferry to the South Island of New Zealand, landing in Nelson, I would be inclined to head direct to Christchurch. I dont know if you need a booking to cross the strait. I've done it before, but I actually picked up a new hire car on the other side.
The other alternative is a 'fly & drive' strategy, whether you stay in hotels or backpackers. I prefer the campervan route myself. I have yet to campervan in NZ, but having been there I understand the Pacific Islanders (Fujians or Samoans) cause some problems. Haven't been hit by a Pacific Islander in NZ, but I was in Sydney, but it probably feels the same. I dont know there propensity to throw thinks or vandalise campervans. Hopefully it doesn't become a sport. I did however spend time in a NZ pub on a Volcanic Geology uni field trip, and hanging out in a pub in Auckland (the wrong pub as tourists are prone to do) they were pretty intimidating people. Actually I was winning successive games, but basically an Islander came up to me and said he wanted to play. Experience told me not to argue the point.
For that reason I suggest avoiding the major cities - particularly Auckland. Maybe there are similar problems around Rotorua. The great aspect of NZ is the nature, so that is where I would suggest you spend your time.
After spending a day or two in Christchurch I would rent a car and drive to Queenstown, see Milford Sound and the Frans Joseph (?) Glacier, and back to Queenstown. If possible I would then get a campervan back to Christchurch. This will allow you to go a different way, and or maybe find a few nice overnight camp stops. The south island is great for campervanning as there are few people there.
Andrew Sheldon

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Fitting out a campervan

Having established what I want to do, what I want to carry in a campervan, the next step is to design the vehicle. Based on my 'cut down' features I am really not interested in the factory-made campers that are offered by the various manufacturers. They are going after the bulk market and I'm particular. Ideally I would love to squeeze everything I want to carry into a Volkswagen Caddy Life. Its small, 1400cc engine for fuel economy, great design inside. One of the great features of the Caddy is the sliding doors on both sides. Nice, but not required.
The design parameters I have established are:
1. Side access: I want a van that opens to the curb-side because I want to place a mountain bike or two on the back. Its ok if there is a backdoor, but it will be incidental. I intend to place a permanent brace on the back to secure the mountain bikes with a lock.
2. Sleeping/seating area: I want a sleeping area in a bubble or at normal height. I want the sleeping space to fit 1.5-2 people. I want to achieve this by having a long, side seat with storage inside it for say the batteries and canoe, plus a table that swings around, but otherwise lowers to support the extension of the bed. I envisage a orthopedic foam mattress than doubles over to make the seat.
3. Refrigerator: Most compact campers have a very small 35-45-litre fridge. I want a more useful 60-litre fridge, and I want to dispense with all the washing basin and taps, and I dont need the gas stove, since I intend to use electricity for everything.
4. Storage: I will need storage for the deep cycle batteries (say 3-4 of them), the canoe, a wardrobe for my clothes, a place for the portable toilet, water tank, planks of wood to support the bed. I will need storage space for my food.
5. Headroom: I will need adequate headroom since intend to work in this campervan, and adequate natural lighting for visbility and working. I would envisage having skirting curtains all around the periphery, with select fly screens. I would prefer not to have a bubble to preserve the appearance of a normal vehicle, so it is more discrete. I dont want people thinking I have my worldly possessions in it.
6. Table: The table will need to be large enough for a laptop and a mouse pad, say 0.5m x 0.5m, though larger is ok if it can be accommodated. I will use the same table for cooking and washing, if not outside.
7. Shower: I would intend to fix to the outer surface of the vehicle an extendable, flexible pole after threading a shower curtain around it. I would draw the water off from the top of the vehicle, so I need a flat roof.
Am I forgetting anyting?
Andrew Sheldon

Campervan Lifestyle

I love the idea of living with the bare necessities. I think the appeal for this lifestyle is a throwback from my early years camping. When I was young I bought alot of camping equipment with the intent of going on trips. The range was not so great then and I didnt have any 'bushy type' friends, but it nevertheless instilled the idea in my mind. That same travel philosophy has been reinforced living in Japan and travelling around Asia for months.
As I get older though I have opted for a few luxuries. I no longer like tents, though I probably still have the sleeping bag-style tent I bought years ago. So campervans have alot of appeal, but they too have their limitations, so I need a mountain bike and canoe as well. So what would my life on the road be like?

Typical Daily schedule
Well if you are on the road then you need to travel somewhere new. But why hurry and waste petrol besides when there are so many places close rather than far. There is a restriction if you are sleeping in a campervan. You cant stay in the one place more than a night. People will complain and accuse you of squatting. No problem - Australia is a big country. It starts to feel a bit tight in Japan because someone owns every corner of land and they are very suspicious. But there are hidden, discrete places in every country.
I would of course start my day with breakfast. In Australia there are few better places to have breakfast than at the beach or on some mountain pass. But anywhere will do on the road. In low sun I am inclined to write on my computer. When the sun gets to high I would drive to a public library and work there until lunch. After lunch I dare say I would return to the library.
If I wanted a day off I would go mountain biking or hiking on some trail or canoeing on some river.
In the evenings I would go to the local pub for a beer or stay working the library until dinner. I could eat out or in the camper. Usually in an open area so I can wash my utensils, then I would work there until late. I never sleep where I work, and never in a remote place like a beach. As much as I like the idea of sleeping by the surf, experience has told me that alot of weirdos and trouble makers hang out on beaches at night. Local surfies aside, and I'm not one of them.
Andrew Sheldon

My Campervan Shopping List

Having established what my list of campervan items are, I will now identify the consumables which I would be planning to take on my trips:
1. Juices: TetraPak
2. Bread: Wholegrain to avoid constipation
3. Fruit: Usually nectarines, bananas and apples
4. Bread spreads: Tuna spread, nutella, vegemite
5. Vegetables: Carrots, broccoli, cucumber, beans, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes
6. Can food: Corn, tuna
7. Frozen food: Fish fillets in sauce (if have refrigerator)
8. Fruit & nut bars: As a snack.
9. Yoghurt: Passionfruit & banana (if have refrigerator)
10. Dairy: Cheese, long life soy or cow milk (if have refrigerator)
11. Meat: Beef, chicken and lamb pieces (if have refrigerator)

Normally I would want to shop in the evening after the heat of the day. I would have have toast and yoghurt for breakfast, salad & spread sandwiches for lunch, vegetables and at meat serving for dinner. If I dont have the refrigerator I would tend to eat out at night time, and likely have a beer as well.
Andrew Sheldon

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Campervan travel kit list

We each have our personal preferences. The items that I would be looking to take on a campervanning trip would be the following. Starting with a short duration trip:

Short Duration Trips (2-3 days)
1. GPS: A Garmin Etrex Vista CX - because its colour, has high capacity memory card, is rugged and does everything I could possibly want, aside from being more waterproof, and having better reception.
2. Laptop: Its really hard to find a laptop that does everything I want it to do. I used to love my old Toshiba Libereto with a 5inch screen. Travelled all over Asia with it, but its a dinosaur now. I await a similar designed & size unit with a battery power of 5-7 hours. The Sony VGN-TX850P which I am currently using has that battery life, but I dont like the flat keys and the poor screen. I also want a solid-state HDD is I can take it over rough terrain, whether in a campervan or MTB. A laptop can also function as a radio, TV, DVD player, MP3 player. Really not happy with Sony computers in the last 5 years. Alot of crap. Its importantly access to the internet and maps, info on canoeing and MTB trails. Plus a carry bag, mouse & mouse pad.
3. Waterproof Digital Camera: The next big feature in digital cameras I guess is durability. Olympus seems to be the leader in stand-alone waterproof digital cameras, as opposed to those ones that require some encasement in some bubble. I have a habit of getting the latest, which was the Olympus 720SW about a year ago. I note that they have since shrunk the size by a third of mine, which is cool. There are features about this camera I dont like, so I might migrate back to Sony's in future, but I need waterproof, so until then - its an Olympus. The features I dont like are the difficulty selecting settings and the slow shutter speed. Sony was more intuitive.
4. Sevylor Tahiti Inflatable Canoe & 3-section oar: Having an easily stored 2-man canoe is a useful item in the back of a car or campervan. If you are cruising around a country and come across a river its great if you can pull out a canoe.
5. Mountain bike & helmet: Another useful piece of equipment is a MTB. I love getting off the road to go places you cant go in a vehicle. I am not particular about the brand, though I refer just front suspension, hand brakes and aluminium frame for light weight.
6. Backup HDD: You need to backup your work when you are travelling, so if I cant do this online, then I want a portable HDD. If I am not dealing with alot of files I will just use a USB flash card - say 1-2Gb, though they are capacity is growing all the time.
7. Steamer: I want a well designed steamer in which I can stream meat, vegetables, rice. I dont like that alot of camper's come equipped with a burner. I guess its great if you can store fuel in your car and book with gas, but I prefer to stay electric for everything, and a diesel genset if power supplies run low.
8. Small Fan: Air conditioning is not practical to cool a camper so I like having a small fan for the back of the vehicle. It tends not to be a requirement in Australia. It makes more sense to park in the shade or open a window. Its not humid enough in the south, so its a necessity for the north.
9. Toaster: A toaster is not the most energy-efficient device but it does its job well, and you only use it for 3minutes a day.
10. Nokia E61i cell phone: This is the best phone on the market in terms of value. It has great MP3 player, though I find it hard to hear people, and the camera has wifi. I like having the big size keyboard for typing notes and the wifi, though I have always found it hard to get a free connection in Australia. All wireless connections are locked and cafes more often than not dont have them.
11. Deep cycle batteries: I want enough deep cycle batteries to last me around 3 days so I dont have to recharge them from the diesel genset so often.
12. Refrigerator: I require a 60-litre refrigerator to store fresh fruit & vegetable, as well as drinks.
13. Bedding: I just use a sleeping bad though a blanket will surfice. A pillow or just a rolled up jacket is enough for me.
14. Clothing: I would normally take 10 pairs of undewear, 5 pairs of socks, 5 T-shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, one pare of nice jeans, nice dress jeans, basic dirt shoe, dress shoe, 3 hats for all occasions, a jacket fit for the snow, light nylon pants for canoeing (sun protection) or skiing (snow), 3 dress shirts, prescription sunglasses.
15. Cutlery & utensils: Just need 2 knives/forks/tea & tablespoons and a can & bottle opener. Two plates and bowls, and an open washing basin, containers to store cut fruit & vegetables.
16. Personal items: Shaver, tooth brush, mouth wash, soap, shampoo

Long Duration Needs (>5 days)
The changes I would make to this set up if I was spending more time on the road, or playing to do alot of trips in excess of 3 days would be to get the following:
17. Coleman Diesel Genset: The intent being so I dont have to pay $30/night going to a caravan/RV park, and can just stay on the road instead.
18. Water tank: A 50-litre water tank for drinking and washing purposes. For shorter trips I would use public swimming pool and club facilities.
19. Portable toilet: Basic model only since I would be inclined to be using public facilities as a matter of preference, particularly for shorter trips.
Andrew Sheldon

Monday, January 21, 2008

The type of people you meet when you RV

Most of the RV trips I have been doing to date have been deep into the outback of Australia. As a result I'm only seeing fellow RV'ers on the road, passing at 120kmph. Most of the time I am actually more inclined to talk to locals in the towns I stay. I suggest the reason is that to mix with other RV'ers, you need to stay in a RV park. That to me defeats the purpose of having an RV - parking almost anywhere you please....within certain safety boundaries.
Travelling from Darwin to Sydney, I stayed in car parks, residential areas by the side of the road, and tourist locations. The safest place was in the residential areas - short of the option of paying $20-30/night for a RV park. But this gives you no option of mixing with fellow RV'ers. Anyway, I will have to try. Not sure I would have anything in common with them. Has to be tried though. If I were to get an idea of their values I guess they would be:
1. Nature lovers - though they might question that idea given all the roadkill they will contribute to, and/or
2. Freedom lovers - trying to get away from governments and oppressive employers, and/or
3. Poor - trying to avoid the high cost of over-regulated land (zoning) in Australia
4. Cheap - always lamenting the rising cost of food, rent, etc
5. Simpletons - looking for an easy and inexpensive way to live out thei life before they become roadkill

Ok, when I look at those possibilities, there is room for possibilities. I love nature, hate government and unnecessary regulation, love avoiding taxes, not the wealthiest person around, I'm as tight as a newborn lamb....hhmmm.....that last one might be a problem. I'm not opting out of live, I just like to be doing the things I like to do on the road. Maybe I have more opportunity to meet the aspirational type of people I welcome on the road when internet coverage improves. No one has open networks, not even coffee shops in the country. The only option is the expensive Telstra network. Well we are all waiting for Wimax. See my posting at to better appreciate the role of Wimax.
Andrew Sheldon

Photos from all my campervanning trips

For all those interested I have placed a lot of the photos from my campervanning trips on the internet. See my photo albums at I will put up photos from my Sydney-Brisbane trip as well.
Andrew Sheldon

RV in the USA

Campervanning or in the American vernacular 'RV'ing (recreational vehicles) is big business in the USA. There is a great deal more infrastructure established for travellers, and there are even well-established migratory routes which retirees and other enthusiasts follow to warm places like Florida or ski places like Colorado.

So if you are planning a trip to the USA, you might wonder just where you should go for more information. Well let me do the work for you. I spent some hours generating the following list of online resources.

There are great resources for getting travel ideas and asking questions from veterans. The best ones are:
1. RV USA: See This is a very commercial site so you will get referred to paid advertisers.
2. RV Info: See - this non commercial site has alot of useful links.
3. RV Net: See This is another commercial site with a forum, its mostly for info on RV types and maintenance.
4. USA-RV Forum: See This is a good site for ideas on RV'ing in different parts of the USA.
5. Free Campgrounds: See The name saids it all, but they also have a forum.
6. RV Parks Review: See This site provides customer feeback for RV parks in every state of the USA and Canada. They also have a forum -
7. RV Net Linx: See They offer good info resources for RV'ing in the USA.
8. More RV Links: See
9. Backhauls USA: If you want to get work backhauling a campervan in the USA, go to this site

There are also alot of other RV forums attached to 'activity groups' in the USA, but these links will give you a start.
Andrew Sheldon

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Campers - Life on the Road

Perhaps the biggest issue for prospective campervanners is - What would it be like 'living on the road' so to speak? I think the answer to that depends very much on how you approach the task. You really need to plan your campervanning experience to suit you, and even then it might just not be the activity for you.

These are some of the issues that I think a campervanner needs to confront:
1. Stability: Do you mind being unsettled, potentially moving every night to new free sites, or otherwise paying the high cost ($20-30/night for a paid site with electricity. In the countryside, off the main roads, you are more likely to find places you can stay for an extended period of time.
2. Subsistance living: Do you mind spending time accessing local services, whether you need to stop for an hour to recharge your batteries from your diesel generators, empty your own septic tank, fill up the water tanks, maintain your batteries. The good news is that cleaning a van is so much easier than a house. The difficult part might be finding a place to have a shower, go to the toilet, or fill your water tank, particularly if there is no public water supply, or that supply has restricted access because of drought.
3. Space: A lot of people will dislike the tight camper spaces after a time - assuming your budget or lifestyle constraints force you to buy a smaller camper. But there are other ways to cope. You dont need to spend all your time in the camper. Towns have public swimming pools where you can swim, libraries where you can read a newspaper or book, public parks where you can work, read or walk. There are also private facilities like coffee shops and clubs and pubs where you can hang out.
4. Lack of social life: Unless you take your social life with you, you might find life on the road a little boring or lovely. How are you going to spend your evenings? I found country people really hard to interact with, so its best to take your own companion. Even when I meet country people, on some occasions I would have a great time with them, but I couldn't see it happening again. It was nice because it was an unfamiliar experience. There really is a deep divide between country and city - loving the country is not the point of difference - its your whole value system. I was surprised that even staying in coastal NSW was like that. Anyway you are moving on. Unless some of you are inclined to have people invite you to park on their lot of land. Its a new one for me. Having said that some farmers do allow you to stay for longer periods of time cheaply or for free.
5. Storage space: Its easy enough to move out of home, place all your worldly goods in a commercial storage facility and live in a campervan. But you need storage space on the road. I want 4-5 deep cycle batteries to retain alot of electricity backup, and a 60litre fridge for several days food supply.
6. Security: Roaming in a campervan means you are exposing yourself to new worlds. You are unlikely to know the risks to your personal security when you reach new places. The best thing you can do is ask a person when you initialy arrive in town. The best person to ask is a shopkeeper (say at the grocery store). They will have a first-hand knowledge based on their experience of having their store robbed or vandalised. You can trust the advice because you have bought goods from their store too. You will quickly learn where the threats lie. I avoid the bad parts of towns, as well as around clubs and pubs, as people tend to recognise that campervan users are tourists and that you might be sleeping in side. I know a person who had a brick thrown at their vehicle. So it pays to be discrete. There is of course the possibility of theft from your van so you want to avoid remote, dark parking locations if you are leaving the van, but these types of locations are fine if you are sleeping in it. Avoid parking where teenagers might drink such as beaches or public parks.
7. Inconvenience: Perhaps the biggest loss of convenience I found travelling in Australia by campervan was the lack of internet. Australia does not have an open network. No matter where I went - I found connections - but most of them were locked to the public. Not surprising for a security-conscious country. But sometimes it was restrictive. Many businesses locked their networks, others such as libraries had restricted access or no wireless, very high charges for computer access or time limits (say 30-60mins). In the cities I found all private networks locked. Fortunately we are seeing an improvement in services. The pre-paid cards already popular in Japan are spreading to other countries. In Australia, no doubt Telstra will charge monopoly fees for this access.

One of the big questions is whether you have reasonable expectations about what is possible. eg. You might think you can simply stick a few solar panels on the roof and that will accommodate your needs. Sorry, but alot of research is required.
Andrew Sheldon

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