For the second year in a row we’re lucky enough to be heading west, on an outback loop that will take use through far western NSW, looping around SA and heading into the NT before cutting across the Simpson Desert back into Queensland at Birdsville.
In the same way as we customise our tow vehicles to suit individual requirements, customising a camper trailer is undertaken by many to minimise the compromises found in these miniature mobile homes. As an electrical engineer and born tinkerer I can’t help but to tweak and modify and the TVAN has not escaped, in fact I find that modifying the trailer brings an additional level of enjoyment from ownership given we can’t be out in it as often as desired.
After weeks of wet and windy weather we were keen to get out of the house, so as soon as the sun broke through we escaped for an overnight camp. We chose to check out Tiz Tam Fam, a private nature reserve that we found on Hipcamp, tucked in behind the D’Aguilar National Park in the Brisbane River Valley.
There’s been a bit of press lately about the importance of vehicle and trailer weights, with authorities starting to enforce this important aspect of vehicle road worthiness.
While the TVAN is comparatively light compared to a caravan it has a relatively high hitch weight and with some big trips planned it was time to get the rig weighed.
Taking a bicycle when overland touring adds another level of adventure, allowing you to explore new towns or have cross country mountain bike trail rides. So fitting the rig with a carrier to transport my mountain bike should add to the fun on some of our trips.
We’ve been trying to get back to Suzzanne’s home state of Tasmania for a few years now and something always got in the way, but at last we could lock in a travel window and headed south. I’ll break the trip into a few separate blogs so it doesn’t get too long winded, here’s the first leg.
After a fantastic couple of weeks touring outback NSW, the Great Ocean Road and Victoria’s alpine national park we thought that the quick run home would be an anti-climax, the boring part of the trip. That was until we learned of the “rain bomb” about to explode over the Australian east coast!
The Victorian High Country sits near the top of most Australian off roaders list of places to visit. Few places in Australia offer such a substantial area of 4WD tracks, gorgeous camp sites and scenic outlooks as the Victorian section of the Australian alps.
Knowing that the area was so vast we elected to get a local to show us around, and few locals are better qualified to guide you through the high country than Ron and Trent Moon, so we joined a TVAN only Moon Tours tag along trip for a week that cherry picked the best of this superb area.
Our road trip to the Victorian High Country continues, with next leg of the odyssey covering the spectacular Great Ocean Road (GOR) where waves of the Southern Ocean pound into towering cliffs along Victoria’s coastline.
For a while now we’ve been planning a trip to the Victorian High Country, Australia’s alpine area steeped in modern legends of wild brumbies and mountain cattlemen. To get there we chose a a loop to pick up a few places on our to-do list, heading south west into the depths of outback NSW and finishing at Mungo National Park where some of the oldest remains of homo sapiens in Australia and the workd have been found.
After months of COVID lockdowns and outbreaks, and the drudgery of ongoing cancer treatment, I was desperate to get out of town for some fresh air and green space.
We’ve also got a 3-week long trip planned soon, through outback NSW and eventually into the Victorian High Country, so we planned a mini shake-down to test a few of the tweaks we made to the Cruiser and TVAN fit out and packing.
With hot sticky weather forecast in South East Queensland we opted for an escape with a bit of altitude, and headed inland and up to Bunya Mountains National Park in the southern Burnett area of Queensland.
Since posting the TVAN Tweaks and Tips blog and a couple of YouTube videos showing the Weber BBQ installed in the TVAN I’ve had a few enquiries about how to make the Weber support brackets, to carry and use it in the right hand front storage box of the TVAN. This blog gives information on the material and dimensions of the fabrications.
I was particularly keen to visit Thrushton after stumbling across excerpts from a book “Under the mulga” written by Jim Gasteen, whose parents founded the original property and who grew up on the place until it was no longer viable. Its a fascinating read that describes pioneer life in a tough and unforgiving part of the country, and the brilliant detail set out by the author had me wanting to see it for myself to add life to his tales.
Vanity is a terrible thing, but wanting to be unique is a virtue… whatever the reason I wanted to customise the TVAN so it better matched the Landcruiser and looked less like a big white esky being towed through the outback.
Like all drone pilots I’ve crashed a few times but usually the drone has saved itself and got back into the air or the landing has been somewhere soft. The other day however luck caught up with me and the drone ended up stuck atop a pretty tall tree in grazing country out behind Stanthorpe.
After tweaking and modifying the TVAN with some custom touches it was time to get it out for a trip to get acquainted with it’s many features and to test its capabilities before heading out on remote trips. Choosing a destination to test the TVAN was restricted by the latest wave of COVID19 lockdowns and need to stay reasonably close to home… Sundown National Park offered a great destination to really stretch its legs.
A few months ago we decided to sell the Patriot Campers X3 and upgrade to a Track TVAN – this left us without a camper trailer for a while which saw us camping win swags for a while. Traditional camping was a great change and helped us to simplify our camping kit, but we still looked forward to arrival of the new trailer and the benefit of some mod cons to make camping more sustainable.
After spending a couple of days exploring the Northern Peninsular Area it was time to point our rigs southward and head for home. Our plan was to take the coastal run back to Brisbane and spend nights with friends and family along the way.