About Blue Snoopy

Blue Snoopy is a 2012 Nova Vita Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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Travelling in an “RV” called “Blue Snoopy”

Introduction

Those who have visited this site before may notice a change in the title name from “Travelling in a motorhome called “Blue Snoopy”” to “Travelling in an RV called Blue Snoopy”.  If you don’t want to read any further, the reason for the change in name is that we have now purchased a caravan.

We have a passion for travel in Australia and the means in which a person undertakes that travel is really irrelevant.

We know that there is a perceived difference between the Campervan / Motorhome society and those travelling in caravans but at the end of the day, does it really matter as we are all out there doing the same thing?   We are all travelling in RV’s and that is what matters.

We believe that in Australia a recreational vehicle (RV) is any vehicle, whether towed or driven that has a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area. Recreational vehicles include motorhomes (class A, B, and C), fifth wheelers, campervans, caravans and slide-on campers.

Not long ago, the Australian Caravan Club changed its constitution to allow for all types of RV owners to become full members with equal standing.  Maybe the CMCA (representing motorhomes & campervans) should consider its position and also change its constitution to give equal rights to caravan owners.  That change could result in a very large body working for all Rvers.

So why a caravan for us?

Whilst there were some minor economic reasons for making the change, there have been parts of Australia that we have not seen due to the inability of being able to take the Winnebago or the Sunliner over difficult road surfaces.  In saying this we are not at all suggesting that the Winnebago or Sunliner were not capable of travelling on dirt or gravel roads, that is very far from the truth.  We took the Winnebago down the Darling River run from Bourke to Wilcannia and the Winnebago RV Club conducts a safari every couple of years to Birdsville. Both of these destinations require extensive travel away from the “black stuff”.  Winnebago motorhomes stand up to these trips without any issues. The Sunliner spent time on the dirt roads to the east of Coober Pedy without any apparent problems.

Some examples of areas that we have not been able to get to are the Painted Desert in SA, areas of the Flinders Ranges where 4×4 (with reasonable height clearance) is required and several destinations around Alice Springs.  We now have the capability to get to these places.

We will miss the flexibility associated with a motor home (it is great being able to get up from the front and walk into the back without getting wet) and we know that it will take longer to establish a camp site due to the additional setup that the caravan requires.

About this Site

This site is about the travels of an RV called “Blue Snoopy”, currently a 2012 built Nova Vita caravan towed by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST D40 4×4 utility.  We purchased new the Nissan / Nova combination from our friends at Sydney RV at Penrith NSW on 31st August 2012.

Previously we have travelled in a motorhome,  a Winnebago Leisure Seeker 2334SL Motorhome on an Iveco 50c18 truck body and chassis. The vehicle was constructed in March 2008 by Winnebago Industries in the outer Sydney (NSW Australia) suburb of Emu Plains and purchased new by us from The Sydney RV Centre at Narrabeen NSW in August 2008.  For those who do not know, Winnebago IS an Australian company with its roots dating back to 1965 when Bruce Binns and his wife Ruth introduced the first slide on camper to Australia.

That motor home was the second motorhome we owned with the first also carrying the “Blue Snoopy” name. Our first motorhome was a Sunliner Odyssey on an Iveco 50c17 truck body and chassis.

The Sydney RV Centre is Sydney’s only Nova Caravan dealership and operates from dealerships at Narrabeen on the Northern Beaches and from Penrith in the west.  We have to thank Phil Rorke for looking after us on this occasion (the Nissan and the caravan) and a special thanks to Glen for his expertise during the handover process.

This site also contains selected photographs from our trips in “Blue Snoopy” (within Australia) and from other trips where we travel in alternative (ouch!) transport.

Given time, we will continue to endeavour to provide information via our blog for other travellers as the only way we have learned is by firsthand knowledge or by word of mouth. When we consider it appropriate, we will continue to post comments relating to caravan parks, roadhouses or camp sites that we stay at. We have found this sort of information from other travellers invaluable in the past. Let’s face it, there is a lot of content on the internet that provides misleading information about accommodation.

Since we have commenced our travels in an RV within Australia, the Internet has provided us with an enormous amount of information and now we intend to share our experiences in the hope that others may benefit from our experiences and mistakes.

We have also gained considerable information and knowledge from the members in the forums on the CMCA web site (www.cmca.net.au) but unfortunately some time ago , the CMCA closed that excellent information resource.

We also believe and recommend that all travellers using any type of RV become members of the Australian Caravan Club.

We have found it very difficult to locate a single source of information for new RV travellers and hopefully we can do something towards assisting in this area.  It is amazing how much information is available on this (RV) subject but how difficult it is to find the answer to a question. We are still learning something different every trip we have.

Australia is an amazing place and beckons one to closely study its wonderful features and the places you hear about both in songs or recall from geography classes at school. Slim Dusty sang about “The School of Arts Hotel”, John Williamson sings about “the Diamantina River”,  “Cootamundra Wattle” and not to forget “The Rock (Uluru)” and you see Paul Hogan on the silver screen at the “Walkabout Creek Hotel”. These are all real places that we have visited!

And then there is Coober Pedy, a dusty town in the centre of South Australia that we fell in love with! Each time we return there, the magic still remains.

Broken Hill is also a very special place we have visited several times.

Our First Motorhome

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The first Blue Snoopy

Until June 2006, we had no real idea what a motor home was other than what was shown in American television programs. After looking at a motorhome at a travel show, the question was presented to “She” about the possibility of camping in this manner. “She”, who had never been camping before said “yes“ and reasoned that the motor home had a door that could be locked, a reasonable size bed and most importantly, a toilet. Then the biggest surprise of the day came with the price of the vehicle and the cost to insure.

We certainly could do this!

The first motorhome carrying the name of “Blue Snoopy” was delivered to us in early November 2006 and from that point in time onwards, our lives changed.

We have to thank Ron Warden, Anthony McCosker and Bert Van Leeuwarden, who are all from Australian Motor Homes at Bennett Green, Newcastle, for helping us to travel in the direction that we have taken.  We also have to say thanks to a work colleague who gave us tickets for the luxury holiday show where we saw the motorhome.  Actually, the main reason we attended the show was that parking was included with the tickets.

Our Second Motorhome

On 08/08/08, our Sunliner Odyssey “Blue Snoopy” was traded for a new Winnebago Leisure Seeker 2334 SL. The new motorhome also bears the “Blue Snoopy” name and the travels of this new machine will continue to be documented through this site.

You ask “why get rid of the Sunliner Odyssey”?

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Our “second” Blue Snoopy.

When we acquired the Sunliner, we were embarking into unknown territory as “She” had never been camping before and the Sunliner provided both a toilet and a locked door. At the time, the price was right for our budget and the design more than suited our perceived requirements. After almost 2 years, 2 major trips into the centre of Australia and close to 26,000 kilometres on the speedo, it became VERY apparent that the Sunliner was not providing the amount of room we needed for a lengthy trip in a country where the weather conditions are so diverse and sometimes, unpredictable. This was highlighted in June 2008 in the Flinders Ranges when, due to rain and then mud, we spent a fair amount of time inside the motorhome and the lack of space became very evident. Also, we both decided it would be nice to have a separate shower and toilet rather than the combined shower / toilet unit in the Sunliner.

We always believed that the Sunliner Odyssey would only be a short term proposition but neither of us anticipated an exchange of vehicles within 2 years. Yes, we have fallen in love with the lifestyle and the new “Blue Snoopy” will allow us to enjoy it “to the Max” for many years to come.

The Caravan

On 31/08/12, our Winnebago Leisure Seeker “Blue Snoopy” was traded for a new 2012 built Nova Vita caravan and 2012 Nissan Narava ST Dual Cab 4×4 utility tow vehicle. The new caravan also bears the “Blue Snoopy” name and the travels of this new machine will continue to be documented through this site.

Over the months prior to August 2012, we had looked at several caravans with the intention of swapping both the motorhome and our car for a new tow vehicle and caravan.

We decided that we must have a caravan with tandem wheels and that put us into the 19 foot caravan bracket. “She” also wanted a caravan with a washing machine and whilst we knew we would be going to an RV that only sleeps two persons, we accepted that limitation. A separate shower / toilet was also a mandatory requirement.

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The “third” and current Blue Snoopy.

Without naming brands, we looked at caravans offered for sale through Central Coast and Newcastle dealerships before heading off to Sydney RV at Penrith.

Initially we did not fall in love with the Nova (when we first visited then we actually didn’t look at the one we ultimately purchased) and left Sydney RV after asking Phil Rorke to see how they could cater for what we were after.  Several days later  Phil called us with an offer that saw us heading back to Penrith on the following weekend.  The rest is now history, the caravan that was suggested to us ticked all of the boxes and “She” was more than happy with the colour combinations. Additionally, the suggested Nissan Navara appeared to be more than a suitable vehicle for the task ahead.  We signed up on the spot.

The base package included the towbar, an anderson plug (to power the caravan whilst mobile) and an electronic brake controller.

We have added the following items to the base package;

– Full alloy bull bar
– Canopy to the rear of the Narava (Auburn Canopies, awesome people!)
– Boot liner (again Auburn Canopies)
– A three (3) camera (Polaris) rear view system (one above the number plate on the Nissan, one looking backwards from the caravan, the other looking down)   ****  We have since replaced the screen on the dash with a full in-dash unit giving us the choice between selecting any of the three rear view cameras, radio, CD and DVD player, bluetooth telephone and GPS)   ****
– Hayman Reese height adjustable hitch with sway bars
– Side mirror extensions (not sure if we really need these as the rear visibility is excellent with the existing mirrors and the rear facing camera, but the laws now requires us to do so)
– 80 channel CB radio
– External / internal connector for our satellite dish

An AL-KO ESC stability control system has also been added to the caravan since the initial purchase. 

We have had a few teething problems with the caravan that have now been resolved and the attention given to us by Norman Roe (Sydney RV Centre Penrith), Robert Cataldo (the owner of Nova Caravans) and Paul Golding (Nova Caravans) has been second to none.  We are full of admiration for these people and early indicators are that we have a beaut caravan that will hopefully afford us a lot of pleasure over the coming years. We have no hesitation in recommending Sydney RV Centre if you want to purchase a Nova caravan.  We also recommend that you look at the Nova product if you are in the market for a new caravan.  You might like what you see!

History of the name “Blue Snoopy”

Back in the early 1970’s, “He” purchased his first car, a blue mini that had “done time” before being retired from “The (Police) Force”. At the same time, Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” was the flavour of the month and a toy of one of the characters, Snoopy, found its way into the mini and rested on the rear parcel shelf. The combination of the two items resulted in the mini being called “Blue Snoopy”. Unfortunately the first Blue Snoopy came to grief on the road into Wombeyan Caves when it was retired following an accident on a blind corner.

When we purchased our first motorhome and decided that it needed a name it took very little time to decide to carry the “Blue Snoopy” name forward. It rested on the Sunliner Odyssey for almost 2 years until “He” and “She” decided that the Odyssey was a fraction small for their future needs and the requirement of having additional space and a separate toilet and shower resulted in the acquisition of a larger motorhome. “Blue Snoopy” then spent almost another 4 years as the name given to our Winnebago Leisure Seeker.

“Blue Snoopy” now travels onwards on a Nova Vita 19 foot 6 inch caravan pulled by a dual cab Nissan Narava utility!

“He” & “She” (a couple of young 63 + “Grey Nomads” now travelling after retirement)

Last update 24/06/2016