Our fourth and current caravan is a 2007 built, Jayco Sterling, 24 foot long and with an ensuite. As you can see it was a massive leap out of the 70s to our current van but there was good reason for it.
With more and longer caravanning trips planned we weren’t extremely confident of the old van’s capabilities of handling thousands of kilometres on the road with all types of road and weather conditions being thrown at it. So it was time to drag ourselves into the current century and buy something modern.
As with the progression with all of our vans, layout and comfort was the number 1 factor, followed very closely by a price range, it was always going to be second hand, I find it hard to justify paying the price of brand new when it comes to caravans and cars. We live in South Australia and turning to our usual online searches for a caravan, we looked for months and went to see a few from both private advertisers and dealers. With a big trip planned we gave ourselves a couple of years to find the van we would want to do it in. It’s good to get an idea of caravan layouts that you like from caravan and camping shows and of course from caravanning magazines. These are a great source for independent reviews and of course great holiday destination ideas! 😉
Soon we had the make and model in mind of what we would be happy with and started searching in earnest. We couldn’t find a huge range to suit our needs in South Australia so started searching further afield. The east coast of Australia being more heavily populated had a bigger range of used caravans for sale too so factoring in the possibility of travelling further to pick up the one we wanted, we spread our search.
Eventually the right van appeared and after lots of phone calls, emails, photographs etc…a deal was struck to hold the van while a drive to the Gold Coast area of Queensland was undertaken to pick it up. We managed to get the perfect van for us and even including the (2,000 kilometre) drive each way, paid less than we could have bought the same van for in South Australia.
Needless to say we were very happy with our purchase and couldn’t wait to put it to the test. It first was given a very thorough mechanical check over, making sure brakes, tyres, suspension etc… were fit to go and then we tried a few ‘shake down’ trips not far from home.
It’s important to have some practice runs before planning long range trips, just to make sure you’re comfortable with towing, parking, working together as a team, your cooking setups, putting up the awning or annexe and just getting a general feel for living in a van and what you’ll need.
Since buying this van in 2015 it and us have seen the sunrise on the eastern most point on mainland Australia (Byron Bay), travelled a fair bit of the east coast and all of the west coast of Australia (Western Australia from bottom to top), been to the Northern Territory and back down through the centre of Australia.
We’ve camped on the edge of southern Australia, on the Bunda Cliffs of the Nullarbor and everywhere from forests to the central Australian red dirt. In free camps and pretty luxurious caravan parks.
All of this and we know we have only scratched the surface. What a lifestyle and what adventures await! See you out there, somewhere under the stars.