Campervan – Thursday 15th March 2012

I love the YHA! Not that the rooms were sound proofed- which they were not- but a clean bed, inexpensive, right in the centre of Perth, with an ensuite, near all transport…and breakfast! Coffee, raisin toast and orange juice for two costs $14.

I also love Australia for its connected sense of public transport.plane, shuttle us, free bus circuit round town for sightseeing, underground just around the corner connecting with a bus service just over the road in Rockingham. All pretty impressive and easy.

By 11 o’clock we are at the camper van hire depot to pick up our Ford Transit. It takes nearly two hours to complete the paperwork, briefing and packing. The Welsh lady who owns Go Camper likes to explain things, mostly how well she is doing and how brilliant her business is and, of course her vans. Woe betide us if we have any problems with the van. I can tell, it will be deemed our fault!

We decide to leave our suitcases at the depot, so unpack (and re-pack) in the yard. There is very little room, of course. Dinky little cupboards, lift up storage under the seat/bed, a minuscule wardrobe, a safe (!): all get crammed with our things.

We had chosen a top of range, because I cannot see us being happy if we are too cramped or too uncomfortable. We have a shower, toilet, sink, cooker, tv with satellite dish, air conditioning and microwave which will only work if we are plugged into the mains. Then of course we have the solar powered battery and fridge.

We set off, very nervy with the odd judder of unknown clutch, to the supermarket to stock up. We cram the remaining space with food and drink.

It feels like such a massive, heavy vehicle, but John seems confident and parks in the car park like a pro, maneuvering it round bends and between parking bay lines, although I am aware it is slow to respond.

We drive to the nearest caravan park but recoil in horror! It’s more like a small city than the rural idle we had in mind. We retrace our path and park on the esplanade, making coffee and delighting in the experience of our new mobile lifestyle. But where to spend the night?

Out of town we head South, still trying to get the feel of our monster.

Our map feels inadequate and sketchy, but we take a right to a National Reserve. At first the road is straddled with houses but on the boundary of the National Park we get the feel we have been searching: rural, isolation, forest. Within a few km the road becomes dirt and very quickly after that sand, fit on,y for 4WD. John makes a three point turn and tries a different road, only to find the same!
In just an hour it will be dark. Best quit while we are ahead. On the other side of the main road is another campsite. Shady, better spaced pitches, quite friendly and for $30 we have power in a reasonably isolated spot. By the time we are settled it is dark. We have dinner, enjoy a beer and learn to set up the bed. It is large and reasonably comfy, it’s warm and we sleep well.



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