Why younger Aussies are now taking up caravanning in droves
Australia’s wide-open roads have long been the domain of grey nomads, but now with overseas travel and cruising off the cards young families and couples are joining them in droves.
And the caravanning industry is reaping the benefits with manufacturers even struggling to keep up with demand.
“There is a whole range of new people who are exploring, and they want to get into the market and that’s created demand which is quite exciting,” Caravan Industry Association of Australia spokesman Keelan Howard told A Current Affair.
“They’ve probably realised during COVID when they’re freedom’s taken away what they’ve possibly taken for advantage is now a benefit that they can enjoy very affordable and on their back door.”
Kate, Ben, Max and Rupert finally made their dream to travel around Australia a reality when they set off with a camper trailer in tow for 11-months.
“It was a really good experience … the one downside was that me and Max had to sleep in the same bed,” Rupert said.
They became what’s dubbed “big lappers” and met many other families along the way.
“There was a real kindred connection between us, you know we’re trying to do the same thing … escape the corporate life for a little and give our kids this experience of this great country,” mum Kate said.
From reefs to rainforests and deserts, they camped in some of the most beautiful places in the world, right here at home.
“The whole of Western Australia we would go back to in a heartbeat, it’s just absolutely gorgeous” Kate said.
More than half of Australian travellers are planning to go on road trips this year.
“From our perspective we’re certainly seeing a boom, absolutely, unprecedented sales across our dealer network at the moment, Avida CEO Ben Binns said.
Avida is a family owned company that’s been manufacturing motorhomes and caravans since 1965.
“We are getting a broad range of sales across our market so it’s not just the entry level products, it’s all our premium products as well,” Mr Binns said.
‘We’re just trying to keep up with production at this point in time due to the nature of our business and the long lead times from our suppliers”.
A record crowd turned out for the The Gold Coast Caravan and Outdoor Expo.
Among the enthusiasts were Larisa and Ben Evans.
With one child and another on the way, the couple are making travel plans.
“Just want to spend time with the kids instead of mowing lawns and cleaning the pool and see Australia,” Mrs Evans said.
The tough decision now, is finding their ideal home on wheels.
We’re really loving this van, we’ve only looked at a few. These crusaders are pretty nice, but we’ve obviously got a few to look at,” Mr Evans said.
Packing up your family and hitting the road doesn’t have to break the budget.
There’s everything from an $18,000 camper trailer to a $50,000 three-person pop top.
But if you can afford to spend more there’s the Rolls Royce of motorhomes which could set you back a quarter of a million dollars.
“Make sure you have the right towing equipment to enjoy the drive … not just the holiday when you get to it,” Gary Gardiner from Total Towing Setups said.
We’ve all seen inexperienced drivers on our roads so with an increasing number of first timers hitting the highways, safety has never been more important.
“It’s understanding that you know cars and caravans do have maximum weight capacities that they’re allowed to be, so making sure you’re underneath those,” Mr Gardiner said.
Jeff Palmer’s driving courses are in big demand.
A Current Affair reporter Jess Nagel jumped in the car with Mr Palmer to get some tips.
“We’re just doing a simple cross over the mound because we’ve got to take it at an angle otherwise the car will belly out,” he explained.
“You’ve always got to pick the angle when you approach any hill like this. And as we go over, you’ll notice a couple of screens in front of you will so what the car and trailer are doing behind us.”
It’s just a taste of the rough terrain you could encounter on your travels, with some of the most breathtaking campsites located off the beaten track.
“Getting people back on the road is best for the industry and it’s good for the economy and it’s good for regional Australia,” Mr Howard said.
“Would we do it again, 100 per cent yeah without a doubt, it’s a definite … it was fantastic,” parents Kate and Ben said.