Jill's notes from the road - Encounter

By: Jill Malcolm

Settled in for an evening aperitif outside their Jayco Conquest FA, 25-1 on the expansive lawn of the Coffs Harbour Rugby League Club, Carron and Geoff Stevenson look very much at home.

They weren’t of course. They are Kiwis and among the many RVers who have crossed the big blue wobbly thing for a travelling lifestyle among the kangaroos and koalas.

The Stevensons are not RV rookies. They have been travelling New Zealand on and off for 20 years. In 2014, they became permanent nomads, travelling their native land in a converted Hino Rainbow bus. The odyssey to Australia, with no return date in mind, was driven by curiosity and by the sunburnt land’s dry air and clear skies.

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And so it was that February this year saw them hitting the Victoria Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow in Melbourne.

"We were stunned by its size," Carron says. "And to narrow down the search, we had to quickly become specific about our must-haves—an island bed for instance, and a bathroom across the back with a separate shower and toilet. The Jayco fitted those requirements,
with the added bonus of the bed in a slide-out. We bought it as a show special."

The couple returned home, packed up, and returned to the Lucky Country to begin their great adventure. Even though the Jayco wasn’t ready, there was no dent in their travel plans as they had negotiated to borrow a motorhome in that event as part of the deal.

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"The people at Prestige Jayco in Geelong couldn’t have been more helpful," Carron says. "In the vehicle they lent us, we did a large mileage, travelling the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide and surrounds. The GOR is very commercialised. Imagine a huge supermarket carpark full of buses with the paths to the viewing platforms as crowded as leaving a rugby match, but everywhere else we have been so far has been a wonderful adventure."

Victorian vehicle registration is considerably cheaper than in the other states and was easier with a Victoria driver licence. They also needed a Certificate of Particulars from NZTA, a New Zealand driver licence, and an Australian address (they just stayed in
a campground for two nights).

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"So far, we have seldom booked campsites," Carron says. "We use Camps 9 (book and app), Wiki Camps, Geo Wiki (CMCA site), Youcamp.com, and Free Camping Australia on Facebook. It was the Wiki Camps site that alerted us to the Coffs Harbour League Club, which has been one of the best camping sites so far."

In the time that stretches ahead of them, I’m sure there will be plenty more.

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