CARAVANNING WITH KIDS? ARE YOU CRAZY?
Of course you're not! Caravanning with kids can be one of life's great adventures. You just have to prepare yourself with the right caravan for your needs, the right destination and be aware of all the little challenges (and opportunities to grow as a person and a parent!) that will present themselves along the way. Here is a quick guide to help you plan your dream family trip.
Choose the right caravan
If you choose to buy a new caravan and you're caravanning with kids, you can pretty much design the interior to meet your specific needs. If you buy second hand, remember to do your homework and check everything thoroughly to make sure you're getting a good van - it's a big investment so protect yourself as best you can. Now to decide on the best caravan for your family:
ON ROAD STANDARD
These guys come in a variety of sizes (idea for 2-6 people) and can include things like a kitchen, dining table, lounge, bathroom & toilet, beds for 2-6 people, storage, TV, gas cooking, lighting, heating & cooling, water storage, and more. They are versatile, generally easy to tow, quick to set up, and offer a good level of comfort for short and long-distance travel. They can also be easily customised to suit personal tastes and travel requirements, such as off-road travel.
These are small, compact caravans with low ceilings and a lifting ‘pop-top’ roof to allow for standing room. Probably not ideal for a family due to the size.
These are similar to the on-road standards, however are sturdier and built for travelling on unsealed dirt roads for extended periods of time. If you're planning on deviating from the bitumen and standard caravan parks with your kids, this is for you. Remember you often need to bring your own back up power, water and storage for off-road caravanning.
As the name suggests, folding caravans can be unfolded from a lower trailer to a full height caravan equipped with all your essentials. They are compact, lightweight and easy to tow, however with more confined space and reduced storage, they may not ideal for travel with kids.
Where do we go?
Holidays With Kids suggest the following spots are your top choices for caravanning with kids in Melbourne:
1. BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park - Within walking distance to Sovereign Hill, an outdoor museum that brings the gold rush to life. Also Ballarat Wildlife Park and Kryal Castle, easily accessible from the park that suits both small and large families. Accommodation sleeps from four to seven, ranging from the beautifully designed Miners Cottages to Standard Cabins. A solar-heated swimming pool, jumping pillow, giant checquers set, go karts, adventure playground and kids’ club means a good time to be had by littlies and parents alike.
2. Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park - Full beach and river frontage, and a range of onsite activities to suit the kids including mini-golf, a giant jumping pillow, heated swimming pool, an indoor toddler playroom and kids’ games room. Pet friendly.
3. BIG4 Beacon Resort, Queenscliff - Close to local wineries, marine parks and bike trails. The camping and caravanning sites are surrounded by landscaped gardens. For parents the resort offers the Mud Day Spa, weekly yoga and an entertaining area in addition to the park basics. For kids, there’s an indoor pool, giant jumping pillow, tennis, basketball court and outdoor playground.
4. RACV Cobram Resort, Cobram - The caravan park here is 4.5 stars, and there is a heated pool, BMX track, giant jumping pillow, putting green and Recreation Room for the kids. Close to local attractions like the beautiful Murray River and top-rated golf courses.
5. Great Ocean Road Tourist Park, Peterborough - Features a variety of cabins as well as powered and unpowered sites. Guests can make use of free Wi-Fi, the fully-enclosed camp kitchen, laundry, boat ramp and movie hire. For kids there is a jumping pillow, basketball ring and children’s playground. Nearby, see the 12 Apostles, Flagstaff Hill or experience scenic flights and the Great Ocean Walk.
Remember to be safe
Caravanning with kids means kids in confined spaces - this can be a challenge, to say the least. As caravans often come with bunk beds for the kids, ensure these are only used for sleeping, and not playing. Ensure the kids are well clear of food preparation areas (it's a great time to play outside!) as hot liquids can easily spill if the chef is bumped. Watch out for dogs you don't know and the wildlife, and ensure the kids are aware of trip hazards like ropes, which will always be lying around a caravan site!
So now you should have some idea about the type of caravan you should be looking at, and the sort of places that would be perfect for your family. Caravanning is a unique experience and can create wonderful memories for you and your kids, so embrace the adventure!
Tempted to get on the road but just need the right caravan? Download our free guide to buying the ultimate caravan for your family!