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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Useful Trip Information (this is only part of it)

As a result of the trip (and also from some talks that  have conducted about photography “on the road”) we have come up with the following list of items that we consider to be important in some way or another.

  • Make sure you carry copies of all registration papers and copies of any insurance policies for the RV, the car or the caravan (I didn’t and after one of our group had a minor accident, I realised that we didn’t have the information and had to arrange for the information to be sent to us via a shared mail box on the internet.  And yes, you guessed it, we actually needed the insurance information for both the car and the caravan during the trip!))
  • A good first aid kit goes without saying. If appropriate, make sure that the first aid kit is not left in the caravan if you head off for a day’s adventure, make sure you take it with you.  Alternatively, you could carry a second first aid kit in the tow vehicle.
  • Whilst not necessarily age dependant, consider getting a defribrillator and leave it in the tow vehicle.  When travelling in remote Australia, it can take the Royal Flying Doctor a considerable time to attend a medical problem.
  • Carry some additional water (in the tow vehicle if you pull a caravan) for remote area travel.  It’s easy to get a hole in the water tank(s) of the RV or caravan.
  • Whilst we did carry additional fuel after leaving Port Augusta, there was no need for us to do so.  The only time that we were aware of no fuel being available was the Shell Service Station close to the Big4 in Port Augusta.  It had run out but there were several other options to purchase fuel.  We refuelled at almost all of the roadhouses whilst crossing from Norseman to Ceduna.  We did this in case there was a shortage at a roadhouse and also to cover additional use if driving into a headwind.  We did the same in the north of Western Australia.
  • We had been told that in winter you cross the Nullarbor from Perth to Sydney due to westerly winds.  Not the case for us as most of the wind came from the North or the North East.  We were probably unlucky but very lucky that the wind was generally light and not directly at us.
  • We all know that the maximum speed when towing is 100kph and that law is across all States and Territories in Australia.  In the Northern Territory where there were places with a speed limit of 130kph or even NO speed limit (that will change shortly), you are a bit of a target when travelling around 90kph.  Even the Northern Territory Police told me that 90kph is a little slow on their roads.
  • Walk around your vehicle (car & caravan or the RV) every day before you leave camp.  Make sure you check every tyre.  Also have a check list for the RV and if appropriate, have a check list for the tow vehicle.  As an example, it is easy to forget to put the towing mirrors on.  We also know of a very expensive mistake by a couple (ACC members) we met whilst travelling.  They left the caravan brake on and then towed the caravan until they noticed smoke coming from the wheels.  They could have lost the van and the repair was expensive.
  • Carry patches to place over stone chips on the vehicle windscreen.  Check your insurance cover and see if the policy includes a replacement windscreen without an excess or impact on a no claim bonus.
  • Carry an emergency tyre repair kit just in case you have another puncture after using your spare tyre(s).  Also consider carrying an air pump that you know will quickly inflate both the car and/ or caravan or RV tyres.
  • Consider carrying a set of wheel bearings for your caravan or trailer  It is also handy if you know how to replace them!
  • Watch out for wildlife.  We have whistles on the front of the Nissan Navara and also on the sides of the caravan.  We still had kangaroos and wallabies jump in front of the car.  Birds can also be a hazard.  An eagle full of roadkill can be very slow taking off.
  • If you start to see roadkill, slow down.  You don’t want to add to the carnage.
  • Water (potable) is difficult to get between Norseman and Ceduna.
  • Obtain a copy of the Australian Quarantine Guide.  Don’t try to carry banned items across state borders as the inspectors at the checkpoints will find them.
  • If your life depends on email and other computer applications and tools, you can easily move your life (email and data files etc) between a home computer and a laptop.  We did this and the process was seamless.  The laptop also allowed us to do our banking whilst travelling.  It also provided use a resource to copy and view our pictures on.
  • Obtain the app “Wikicamps” for your smart phone or tablet.  Use the app to find camping spots and make sure you read the comments.  If you are a fan of Camps Australiawide, consider using their app as well.  Also, if you are a CMCA member, they have an app called Geowiki.  All of these either individually or combined are good for locating places to stay.  We decided not to carry the relevant camping books, they are far too heavy.
  • If you are using GPS references to find a camp site, only enter the degrees, hours and minutes.  Don’t enter any additional numbers.  Make use that your GPS is set correctly for the GPS reference.
  • By using a Spot Navigator, family can be made aware of where you are and you also have the opportunity to let them know that you have arrived at your daily destination.  The device also doubles as an EPIRB with a built in “Emergency” button.
  • Telstra is the only mobile carrier that provides limited coverage in outback Australia.  Forget the rest.
  • If you plan on free camping in winter, you may have to compete with those who migrate from the south to get away from a cold winter.  We found most of the northern free camps to be full by the middle of the day and we are aware of people staying for weeks in the one free camps.
  • Use only SanDisk memory cards (we are NOT sponsored by Sandisk) and obtain a copy of the SanDisk Recovery Program.  This will allow you to recover deleted photographs from SanDisk cards.  We were able to retrieve deleted pictures for one of our friends during the trip and we have been able to recover another 2000 pictures for a neighbour who was also travelling at the same time as us and had a major problem when transferring pictures from a camera to a computer.
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of memory cards (Sandisk).  Don’t be about to take a “once in a lifetime” picture and see “card full” in the viewfinder. That has actually happened to me whilst climbing Uluru and I should know better!
  • Don’t recycle memory cards until after you finish the trip and have made backups of all pictures.  Cards are cheap and can provide long term storage for valuable pictures.
  • If you have more than one camera, set the identical date and time (to the second) on every one.  Check the time at least weekly.  When you combine all the pictures taken with the cameras on a computer or tablet, they can then be sorted into time order.  If you have a smart phone that updates the time from the phone network, use the smart phone as the source of the correct time.  Remember to change the time on cameras when crossing time zones.
  • Have more than one camera battery and try to have all batteries charged at all times.
  • Copy pictures from your camera to another device (computer/tablet/external drive) every day.
  • Backup your computer whilst travelling and keep the backup hard drive in a secure position and in a safe if possible.  We use a Mac and the Time Machine program.
  • Keep trip notes.  A blog, notes in a book, notes on a computer or tablet will be an invaluable reference when looking back at the trip.  If your camera has a GPS function, enable it as it will tag photographs you take with the location.
  • You don’t need to take a complete wardrobe with you especially if you have a washing machine available.  Wash when water is available.
  • Make sure that you double check that all car doors and the caravan/ RV door arte locked when camping.  There are people out there who DO want your possessions.
  • Know what your service cycle is on the tow vehicle, caravan or RV.  If you need to have a service performed during the trip, book it well in advance if you know when you will be near a service agent.
  • Australia is a big country and the inland is definitely not flat.

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