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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Canberra – 21 to 24 May 2010

The trip to Canberra had been planned for a couple of months and was to coincide with a wool event that was to be held on the Sunday at the Old Bus Depot Markets in the Canberra suburb of Kingston.  Blue Snoopy would provide accommodation for “He” and “She”, our Son, Daughter-in-Law (the Kids) and Grandson (the Little Guy) for both Saturday and Sunday nights.  The trip would also provide an insight into the possibility of using the motor home for an extended trip to Tasmania that is being considered for all the entire family during the later part of 2011.

The wool event was scheduled for the Sunday so we decided to travel to Canberra on Saturday and spend the afternoon at Cockington Green Gardens where “the Little Guy” could experience several steam train rides and the joys of viewing the miniature village.

We planned to depart Sydney at 7:00am and departed just before 8:00am.  In reality, “He” would have lost a bet that he was prepared to make with any taker and that was that “there was no way in the world we would leave before 8:00am”.

Traffic was very light and after a quick stop by “the kids” to pump up tyres and obtain an early morning snack (from the “golden arches” place), we were soon on the M5 heading south.  The traffic was light and we stopped for a break at the complex at Sutton Forest before continuing the journey south and arrival at Gold Creek just after midday. 

Fuel consumption on the way down became a major concern for “He” when consumption started to head towards 17 litres per 100k’s when travelling in the 95 to 100 kph bracket.  We slowed to around 90 and fortunately watched the consumption slowly reduce to an average of 15.80 litres per 100k’s.  We have travelled at this speed before and cannot ever recall seeing the consumption that high.  The only thing that we can put it down to is that we were travelling directly into a subtle head wind that was in no way obvious.

We decided to have lunch before venturing into Cockington Green Gardens and we took the liberty of setting up our table and chairs on a nice grass verge on the road near the Gold Creek Golf Course.  “She” prepared sandwiches for all and shortly thereafter we were looking for a spot to park “Blue Snoopy”.  Much to our surprise, we located a parking spot close to the entrance to Cockington Green Gardens and minutes later we were watching the look on “the Little Guy’s” face as he headed towards the entrance.

Once inside, first stop was at the miniature railway where “the Little Guy” had a couple of rides that he loved.  The train is actually a steam train with the boiler fired by LPG.  Apparently it is the only one of its kind in the world.  The track length seems to be somewhere between 100 and 200 metres in length and provides a good look at the gardens and many of the exhibitions.  Each ride consists of two full circuits.

After disembarking the ride, we spent the next part of the afternoon wandering through the gardens viewing the miniature exhibits.  “The Little Guy” located several other train exhibits where he was able to control the trains and once again, he had an absolute ball.

Before departing the gardens, “The Little Guy” had two further train rides.  He was enjoying being on holidays.

Next stop was at a local tea house (Adore Tea) where we all enjoyed tasting several varieties of tea.  Both “He” and “She” started to enjoy tea over recent years after experiencing true billy tea at a couple of outback events.

We left the tea house well after 4:00pm when “He” and our son took Blue Snoopy to the site of our overnight stay to ensure that the motor home was setup well before dark. 

The venue for our overnight stay was the Canberra Motor Village, a place that we have stayed before and unfortunately a place that we have always had a challenge to get the motor home level.   When we first stayed at this place several years ago, we rated it as one of the worst sites ever with “our” rating based on cleanliness and the fact that virtually every site in the caravan area sloped in two directions.  There is also no grass whatsoever in the caravan section.  Since our original stay, we have stayed there on one other occasion and that was simply because there was nowhere else to stay.  We had however noted (and blogged) on our previous visit that the issues with the amenities had been resolved and we had decided we would stay again.  We now observed from notices that the managers arrange for cleaning of the amenities twice a day and this has improved our opinion of the place. 

Nevertheless, there is still a challenge on several of the sites to level the vehicle but we were well prepared this time bringing sufficient levelling ramps to make the job easy.

It did not take long to get the vehicle level to our satisfaction (we always have the slope set to away from where the slide out meets the side wall) and a short time after we had the diesel heater running to take the chill off the air.

We then headed to the nearby suburb of Jamison and a Coles supermarket where we purchased chicken and salad for tea.  We also took the opportunity to purchase a couple of beverages that would provide a relaxant after a relatively long day.

With five inside the motor home, it was cramped but we managed to survive the evening meal after which we decided that an early night would do us all good. 

We awoke on Sunday morning to fairly heavy dew and due to not leaving any vents open, the inside of the motor home was dripping in several spots from condensation. “He” commented that the cold night had resulted in his best ever sleep since we began motor homing.  Unfortunately this joy was not shared by all as whilst the Luton peak was comfortable, the third bed that is made up in the dinette is relatively small in size.

We had a quick breakfast and “the Kids” and “the Little Guy” were soon on their way to Kingston and the site of the Sunday Markets.  “He” and “She” took their time and prepared Blue Snoopy to depart.  We arrive at the site of the markets and fortunately found a reasonable sized parking spot before the car park was fully occupied.

Whilst “the Kids” and “the Little Guy” were at the markets, “He” and “She” had made arrangements to meet some friends for coffee.  This took place and a couple of hours were spent enjoying the company of our Canberra friends. 

Whilst at the markets, “the Little Guy” had the opportunity to get very close to an alpaca that had been bought there to support the wool event.  Although the alpaca appeared to be distressed from all the attention it was receiving, “the Little Guy” did manage to touch and pat the alpaca and he really enjoyed the experience.

“The Kids” and “the Little Guy” left the markets shortly after lunch and headed back to the Canberra Exhibition Centre where more wool related activities were taking place.

Later that afternoon we all met at Gold Creek at Adore Tea (we had visited on the previous day) and once again, we enjoyed some new varieties of tea.  “He” and “She” headed back to the caravan park early to ensure that the motor home was level and finally, we were able to work out what we need to bring in the future (for levelling) should we stay in this caravan park again.

Just after 5:00pm we all headed to the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain and the observation deck.  Unfortunately due to cloud cover on the horizon we were not able to watch the sun set but we were able to watch the lights of Canberra slowly come on. We did have a splendid view of the moon in close proximity to Venue.

We also spent several minutes watching the flood lights change colour on the tower.  “The Little Guy” was very impressed with the light show.

Rather than having to crowd into the motor home for the evening meal, we decided to purchase a family meal from McDonalds and have the meal there.  We returned to the motor home well after 7:00pm to organise for another night.

Sunday night highlighted the lack of space when “the Little Guy” wanted to sleep with his mother on the bed in the dinette.  Unfortunately there was insufficient space for both of them to sleep and “the Little Guy’s” mother had an uncomfortable night’s sleep as a result.

We awoke to overcast Monday morning and fortunately no dew.  We had decided to visit the Australian War Memorial where a new exhibit aimed at children had recently opened.

“The Kids” departed early to ensure that a spot large enough for the motor home was reserved in the car park.  After visiting the War Memorial, it was our intention to leave the motor home in the car park and travel in “the Kids” car back into Canberra.

Our plan to reserve a spot worked and we were able to safely park the motor home before heading into the war Memorial.  “The Little Guy” had a wonderful time looking at the aircraft collection and he asked numerous questions about the displays.  We visited the children’s section where he was able to sit in the pilot’s seat of a helicopter and also look at a mock-up of the inside of a submarine. 

We then visited the Roll of Honour and the location of a very special name.  “His” mother lost her first husband when the HMAS Perth was sunk during WW2.  If was very fitting that father, son and grandson were able to stand together and reflect on the sacrifice that had been made that allowed for the three of them to be standing in that location.  It was indeed a very special moment in time.  When “the Little Guy” gets older, we will show him the video that was taken and explain the significance of the Roll of Honour.

We used the motor home as a base for lunch and then headed into Canberra to visit their major shopping centre.

We left Canberra just after 4:00pm after refuelling both vehicles.  On the way out of Canberra we stopped at the Show Grounds and surveyed the camp sites there.  We will endeavour to stay at the Show Ground when next visiting Canberra.

Our trip home was a non event but gave us the opportunity of driving the motor home during the night.  This was actually the first real night drive and we ended up satisfied with the quality of the lights.  We do need to look at the location of the rear view camera as the lights of vehicles approaching from the rear were near blinding in the screen.  A future solution will be to turn the camera off at night and rely on the rear facing window.

Much to our surprise, our return trip was very fuel efficient.  Average speed on the return journey was in the 90 – 100 kph bracket but the fuel consumption averaged at near 13.10 litres per 100k’s.  How did this happen, we have no idea other than assuming that there must have been a tail wind and the engine temperature contributed to the excellent economy?

What did we learn from the weekend?

– Five persons in the motor home is cramped.
– We need to minimise the amount of extra clothing and gear brought into the motor home if we have any extra persons (during the weekend clothing etc in the car was transferring into the motor home.  We now know that this was a mistake as only the required items should have been moved in).
– We (“He” and “She”) should have removed decorative pillows and a couple of spare pillows as they also took up additional space – what we should have done was to have place them into the car in the space occupied by the clothing items that were transferred into the motor home).
– An annexe could be a good investment if we want to do this again
– Summertime is the best time for 5 persons to use the motor home as it is easier to eat outside than to cramp into the dinette.
– Next time consider taking a small tent as it could be useful.
– Travel at night, fuel consumption seems to be better than day time.

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