Queenslanders Paul (66) & Pam (62) enjoy the camaraderie of the road and exploring the back of beyond

What do you travel in?
We bought our 17’ Jayco Out­back poptop new in 2014 and we tow it with a 2013 Nissan Navara Crew cab 4×4 diesel. This is our third Jayco but our first with an ensuite. It also has a 120w roof-mounted solar panel and we back that up with a portable folding solar panel. This allows us to park the van in the shade and still charge the batteries. The Nav­ara tows the van well, but the advantage of diesel over petrol is now disappearing with the cost of diesel in the bush still quite dear, compared to petrol.

Where do you camp?
We deliberately purchased a caravan designed to be self-sufficient and we take full advantage of that by seeking out free camps wherever we can. We find that free and low cost camping is the preference of many like-minded people and, because of this, it is com­mon to meet people similar to ourselves. There is a lot of camaraderie between grey nomads and what better place to hear of that ‘special’ loca­tion. This type of camping is so much different to the rule-bound and often over crowded caravan parks, not to mention the cost. We also look for low cost campgrounds such as showgrounds and recreation grounds. Many sensible rural authorities now realise that people such as us will use low cost camping facilities and we will also buy fuel and groceries.

Do you keep a journal?
Since we retired in 2009 we have kept a record of every place we have stopped at. We have a handwritten book, as well as maintaining an Access database.

What wouldn’t you be without?
Our Lemair washing machine which is light enough to hap­pily sit on the back seat, and our portable freezer which also sits on the back seat.

Scariest nomad experience?
Not ensuring the drawbar hitch was fully seated … we were in a caravan park and the kerb made it difficult to posi­tion the tow ball directly un­der the hitch and drop home. As we drove out of the park we went over a speed bump and the van parted company with the car…of course everyone was watching too! No damage however and a lesson learnt.

Tips for fellow nomads?
If you are staying in a show grounds, especially during a weekend, camp as far as you can from any buildings, they will often be used by various groups. We camped right in the middle of a religious con­vention once!


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