Yesterday's flight from Ottawa to Lima, Peru.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Lima, Peru.

Where are they going next? Huaraz, Peru on Friday!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reflecting on our Australia RV trip

Well, it's already been almost a month since we left Australia! And while it's still fairly fresh in our minds, we wanted to go over the trip with you and tell you what we might have done different if we were to do it again.

So here's the good and the bad... but mostly good!

And it was a good trip. Not great though, and there are several reasons for that... but overall it was good.

The RV that we chose had a lot of positives. As any RV owner knows, there is no perfect RV. Everything is give and take, and a lot of what makes a good RV simply depends on your situation and how you are going to use it.

Ready to hit the road!

We chose a 4 wheel drive high clearance utility truck (they simply call them a "ute" in Australia) with a small camper on the back.

We loved having the four wheel drive. Australia has a lot of free camping areas and many of them are located in State Forest Land. Some of the tracks to get to these places are in rough shape. We only actually used the four wheel drive a handful of times, but it was good to have the confidence of knowing it was there if we needed it.

Glad we had 4 wheel drive here!

And, we enjoyed the fact that our rig was small enough to park in a regular sized parking spot.

The major drawback with this rig was weather related! Which is not really the fault of the rig... it was a planning error on our part.

We knew that we were going to be in Australia during their winter. And we didn't have a problem with that. Daytime temperatures were great for hiking and exploring. And we still believe that this is far better than being there during their summer when temperatures regularly hit 40C (104F).

What became an issue was when the sun went down...which happened between 5:00pm and 
6;00pm and things cooled off. At a different time of year we could have spent our evenings outside. But with it getting dark so early, and then cooling off quickly to between 7C to 10C (40F to 50F), we were forced inside during the evenings. And it's a fairly small, cramped space to be spending that much time. This also led to condensation issues. None of which would have been a problem if it would have been warm enough to be able to keep some windows open, but it wasn't.

Hiking in Grampians National Park.

What did we enjoy most about Australia?

Well, there are quite a few positives! 

There is a lot of spectacular scenery. Along the coastline there is a new beach every corner you turn. Most of them are deserted, even during the busy season. 

And, we loved the fact that most of the country if very RV friendly. They even have a program that supports towns that advertise themselves as RV friendly. There is a lot of free and cheap overnight parking for those who don't need hookups, and that suited us just fine!

We didn't end up free camping here, but we could have.

The people are friendly and helpful, but in all honesty we find that in every country we visit.

What didn't we like about Australia?

Well, they get a lot of things right. But not everything.

We found that they drive far too fast and the speed limits are set far too high. That's great for the fact that you would hardly ever get a speeding ticket, and there sure didn't seem to be many police around to begin with. Which is fine if there is no need for them, and there didn't seem to be. But it didn't make for enjoyable driving on the busier roads, most of which are only one lane in each direction. Everybody thought they were driving a sports car. Or maybe it just seemed that way to us because we most certainly were not.

Either way, it was not enjoyable having someone right on your tail almost all the time.

We also didn't enjoy the fact that Australia is too much like a combination of Canada and the United States. We like to visit countries that are culturally different, and Australia is not. In some ways, Australia is like Canada... universal health care, and expensive booze. And in other ways it is too much like United States... lots of lawyers and litigation.

And too many rules!

Yes, it is dangerous to be out hiking!

And, Australia (like Canada) is a very new country. And although there are indigenous people, they didn't build things that last. Just like in Canada. So there isn't a lot of old stuff around, and we typically like to visit old things. 

Strangely, the prices and cost of things didn't bother us too much. We found them to be about the same as Canada on an overall basis and it was about what we expected going into it even though people had told us that Australia was really pricey.

If we were to do it again at that same time of year, we would have been better off starting in Sydney and going north. But I think if and when we return, we would come back and do Tasmania. From talking to people, we think we would enjoy Tasmania more than any other part of Australia and we could easily spend two months just doing Tasmania alone.

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And in Canada...




14 comments:

  1. Thanks for those comparisons. We've also preferred old architecture and different cultural experiences. We've thought visiting Australia was not as much fun as going north and visiting Canada. But we enjoyed your trip - and thanks for your posts.

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    1. We have enjoyed both experiences, Canada's north and Australia and both have fantastic scenery but because not as many people venture up north it made our trip more exciting than our trip to Australia. Don't get us wrong though, we definitely enjoyed our trip in Australia, it just didn't have the challenges that we like in other "foreign" countries.

      We are glad that you enjoyed our posts of our adventures in Australia. :-)

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  2. I've not had a huge urge to go to Australia except for the animals. I too enjoy the history of a place and a big cultural difference. At this point it's not really on my list (unless of course I won a trip there lol)

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    1. I wouldn't say don't go to Australia if you get the chance, it is a beautiful country and the birdlife is amazing and it really has some interesting places to visit. We are glad that we went and I know that we will go back again another time but to a different area and at a different time of year. It is true, that like Canada, it doesn't have the history or the culture quite that same as Mexico or most parts of Europe but it is worth a visit for so many other things.

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  3. When driving our 28' RV, I tend to drive at my own pace (slow) on secondary roads, worry about staying in my lane, and let everyone else deal with my presence. It always amazes me that faster cars just don't know how to pass or even seem to try. I do pull over if possible and there's no passing opportunities, especially for trucks. And I have a bumper sticker that says "I'm Retired. Go Around Me"

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    1. Kevin is the same way but it is hard when you are in an area where there is constant traffic. We did pull over as much as possible but it would only take minutes before someone was on your bumper again. Luckily many of the roads we were on didn't have a ton of traffic on them. :-)

      I love your bumper sticker, I think I have see pictures of one similar on facebook before. :-)

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  4. In Mexico we always find a place to pull out. I put on the flashers, slow down and pull out. I go nuts when people are right on top of me. I also don't like to keep people from getting to where they want to go, but I understand completely.

    I still would like to drive through the outback.

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    1. We do much the same thing when we are traveling in our motorhome in Mexico, Canada or the USA. We sometimes even did it in our little blue car.

      Kevin wasn't all that interested in traveling to the Outback, I would have loved to have seen some of it, maybe another time, he might be surprised and like it more than he thinks. :-)

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  5. Not surprised at all by this assessment Kevin. I kinda expected it even though I’ve never been to Australia. I think that Tasmania will be more adventurous and fun. Thanks again for the wonderful pictures of Australia. They were splendid!

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    1. Don't get us wrong, we did enjoy our trip, the scenery, animal life and bird life were amazing as well as the friendly people. I think really our biggest issue was that we really missed that cultural challenge that when we go to countries with different languages and culture/religion. I am sure we will be back to see more of Australia, but in a few years time.

      You are welcome for all the pictures and posts from our trip, we are glad that you liked them. :-)

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    2. No, I didn’t get you wrong; I meant I wasn’t Surprised that Australia was similar to Canada and the USA..but of course, the scenery and bird life was all worth it..

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    3. Yep, the scenery and wild/bird life sure were fantastic! :-)

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  6. When we travelled to Australia we also went to New Zealand which is just beautiful. Maybe the next time you are Down Under try a visit to New Zealand I dont think you would regret it.

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    1. We definitely want to go to New Zealand but we wanted it to be a trip all by itself. Again, we would want to send at least three months there. I know that we would love it.

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