Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

Western Australia at the start of our journey

17-Sep-2004

Woke to another beautiful day with clear blue sky. Went to the beach today and swum in the Indian Ocean for the first time.

We have decided to have a house warming party tomorrow evening so you are all welcome to pop in any time after 6:30. If you can't make it for some reason, we have taken some photos inside our new home to show you what its like. It's a 16ft pop-top caravan made by Avan. Pop-top means just what it says on the can - the top pops up when not on the road to give a bit more headroom. While being towed, the lower profile causes less drag so uses less fuel to tow it than a normal caravan.

Bedroom
The bedroom is situated in the rear end of the van with two single beds separated by a wardrobe. An air conditioning unit is fitted above the wardrobe, which can provide hot or cool air. Under the bed is a deep cycle battery that powers the lights and water pump if we are on an un-powered site and Ali's loo is stored there as well.

Lounge
The lounge has a two-seat settee and just opposite is the dining room.

Dining room


Kitchen

In the kitchen we have a gas cooker, sink, microwave and fridge. The fridge runs of mains, gas or 12v and is quite efficient. It's silent too.

All the windows and the door have fly screens fitted - very useful here!

Outside, there is a rollout awning, which runs the full length of the van and is very easy to set-up.

To pull it along, we have a Toyota Landcruiser. It's called 'Thomas' as in Thomas the tank engine. Its fours years old and had done about 70,000kms when we bought it. It was previously owned by the police and seems to have been looked after well. It's got a 6 cyl 4.5ltr diesel engine, two fuel tanks, two batteries, two spare wheels and a snorkel (in case it goes swimming). The caravan is coupled using a Reece Hitch and we have a four bar stabiliser system that works very well. When towing, you hardly notice the van on the back even when the road trains pass. On the main fuel tank, we can drive about 450km with the van on the back. The brakes on the vans here in Oz are mostly electric as opposed to the mechanical overrun brakes in the UK. They work really well and you can adjust the breaking power whilst driving if necessary.

We had some free entertainment in the campsite tonight from a Bush Poet. Now just stop it!! I can hear your minds working - 'There was a young lady called Annie who had an incredibly hairy . . .' No, that's enough. Well, we weren't sure what to expect either but it turns out that this chap is quite well known here. His name is Bob Monger and he is an Ozzie version of Pam Eyres. A very funny and talented performer who kept us all amused for an hour or so.