A trip around Australia wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the extremes of the country’s ever-changing climate.
This element has had the biggest impact on us during our travels, especially in Western Australia.
To protect ourselves (and our belongings), we delayed our visit to the Coral Coast when a cyclone was forecast. In the end, the storm dissipated out at sea, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
In high winds, we camped in spots with ample shelter, and used extra ropes and pegs to secure the annex In more-extreme weather, we kept the annex stowed.
On Western Australia’s south coast, we battened down the hatches at Quagi Beach, where it rained on and off for three days. We closed the windows and vents, secured the annexe ropes and waited for clearer skies.
Driving into Perth on the highway, we copped a very heavy downpour. Many drivers pulled over to wait for the weather to pass, but, in our opinion, this is the worst thing you can do – this move can startle other drivers and cause accidents. We stuck to a safe speed, kept our lights on and travelled a safe distance from the car ahead.
Air conditioning has been our saviour on the road, especially driving around the Top End.
Regular checks under the hood are essential. Drew recently noticed that one of the air conditioner coolant pipes was rubbing against another piece of metal, slowly wearing it through. Luckily, he was able to reposition the pipe to prevent any more wear – and a potentially serious situation.
To minimise the chance of a stinking-hot caravan, we use our compass to determine where the sun will rise and set. This way, we can position the van to make the most of the shade.
In areas where people practise controlled burning, such as the Northern Territory, we learned to be careful about where to unhitch and leave the caravan so that it’s still in one piece when we return.
In Kakadu National Park, a fire began to surround our campsite, so we had to promptly move our caravan out of there.
By staying level-headed and using common sense, we’ve been able to keep ourselves safe (and sane!) as we travel around the country – whether the forecast is rain, hail or shine.
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for the next 10 months. They’re writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.
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