Caravan Correspondent

Freelance travel writing and caravanning in Australia.

Party at Normanville Beach!


Normanville foreshoreOne of my all-time favourite places to park the van for a while is at Normanville on the western side of the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia. The Jetty Caravan Park is situated as close to the beach as you can get, with it being only a short stroll to the jetty, foreshore, boat ramp and beach.

I love this beach in off peak times for the freedom of letting your dog have a good run on the long stretch of sand. There are always shells and interesting finds along the beach too. I have picked up quite a few heart shaped rocks on this beach so keep your eyes peeled.

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Hot pie for cold caravanning.

IMG_1456What a better way to end the day of touring in winter than to whip up an Aussie meat pie.  This  hearty beef, pepper and mushroom pie is a quick and easy one for the winter months and all you need is a large saucepan, a pie dish and the caravan oven or camp kitchen oven. It would probably work just as well in a hooded BBQ too.

To start with: preheat oven to 190 degrees.  Then cook 400 gr chopped button mushrooms in a little olive oil, until browned.  Transfer them to a bowl then cook 1 finely chopped onion in the oil until softened, add 500gr lean beef mince and cook until browned. Break up the mince with a wooden spoon as you go.  In a jug or bowl stir 2 tablespoons of cornflour into  1/4  cup of beef stock until smooth then add another cup of beef stock and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  Add this along with the mushrooms and lots of freshly ground black pepper to the mince mixture, bring to the boil, then simmer until thickened. Continue reading

The Hills are Alive.

Forest in fog

There is so much to see and do in the Adelaide Hills at this time of year. Start your trip early and you may encounter a foggy morning, spectacular in its eeriness. From Adelaide take the South Eastern Freeway and exit at the Hahndorf turnoff, turning left to meet up with the Onkaparinga Valley Road. The road will take you through the towns of Verdun, Balhannah, Oakbank and Woodside. Here you can stop at one of the many bakeries or cafes in the region for a fine coffee and a savoury or sweet treat.

My top tips of what to see are: Living by design in Balhannah, an iconic shop for locals looking for classic and sumptuous furniture, beautiful decorating pieces, kitchenware and stylish clothing. Then continue on a little further and you will find the The Olde Apple Shed where you can stock up on a variety of apples, juice, big hearty apple pies and more. In Oakbank there are wide open spaces and green farms that lend themselves to great photos.

Oakbank SA

Stop in at the old Johnston Brewery and pick up some old fashioned cordials (good old sarsaparilla) and enjoy some wine tasting. Continue reading

It’s Winter! Head for the beach.

Winter BeachA caravanning holiday in winter has a lot going for it, especially to beachside (or river) areas! The first plus is that you can often score the caravan site of your choosing and because it is out of peak time they can be cheaper too. We always try to get a beachfront site where you can see and hear the waves and watch storms as they come in. There are many great waterfront caravan parks in SA within an hour or two of Adelaide and they would all welcome visitors in the quieter months. Free camps can also be easier to get.

Travelling off peak and out of the most popular seasons is also great for the local businesses with shopping and dining out less crowded and the locals have more time for a friendly chat to pass on some local knowledge. You can find out the best places to see and things to do according to the locals not necessarily the brochures. Continue reading

Packing Lists and Recipe Tips.

Holiday recipes

I can’t help myself, I’m a list person. Over the years I’ve found that it takes the stress out of planning a holiday if you have a ready list of things to pack. Then it’s as easy as printing it from the computer and crossing items off as they are put in the van, camper trailer or car. The lists have expanded to include different holiday types or locations over the years but they are all filed away on the computer for when they are needed.

In the camper trailer days there were roller crates to wheel in and out of storage from the trailer. There was the gas gear crate, the pantry crate for all the food, another for tarps, ropes and pegs etc… Some things were always packed and ready to go but I had a list of what to pack in the pantry crate to print off and check.   There were staples like long life milk, flour, tinned food such as tomatoes and all types of beans (great for adding to one pot campfire casseroles) and assorted pasta. I’d put in stock powders, dried herbs and spices, instant gravies and tinned fish. Then last but not least I would pack in the “Holiday Cookbook”. Basically this was a folder of plastic sleeves I made, which was filled with a variety of quick and easy meals for when you’re camping and have limited cooking equipment and ingredients. In the early days it was anything that could be cooked either on a BBQ or in a pot or pan on a small gas cooker. Everything from breakfasts through to happy hour snacks and evening meals and even desserts were taken care of in one handy book. Continue reading

Knights Beach Pro Port Elliot

Knights Beach Port Elliot

On Friday 27, Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 May 2016, the best body boarders will take to the surf at Port Elliot for the Knights Beach Pro. Starting from 8am each day and free for spectators this event is one to put in the diary to watch the fearless bodyboarders compete for ranking on the National Body Boarding Circuit.

This is the third event on the Australian Bodyboarding Association calendar for 2016 and it will be worth the journey down to this part of the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula. The action should be very eventful with the predicted weather, and the spectacular location will no doubt provide great photo opportunities.

A favourite destination of mine, the ocean never disappoints in offering great chances for photos.   With waves constantly crashing onto the rocks and pods of dolphins often cruising through the area there is never a dull moment.  The clifftop walk is spectacular and there is plenty of seating along the path to take in the views.

Knights Beach Port Elliot

Whale Sighting Season is almost here.

Whale time

Any day now we can expect whale sightings in the waters of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. These majestic creatures use the sheltered and warm (for them) waters to raise their calves during the winter months. Many of the calves are born at the Head of the Bight on South Australia’s far west coast and then stay for months for their calves to feed and grow in these safe waters.

Southern Right whales and Humpback whales can be spotted along the coast, sometimes easily mistaken for an outcrop of rock in the water, but if you are lucky enough you may just witness them breaching, tail or fin slapping, blowing and body rolling. Continue reading