When you head to one of Australia's free caravan sites, the last thing you want to discover is that you’re missing something crucial and have to head back into town to pick it up. You’ll waste time driving instead of unwinding, plus you may end up spending more money than you budgeted for.
Aiming for self-sufficiency when you're travelling with a caravan can be a grea thing. It will mean you can drive to your spot, set up and then stay for as long as you’ve planned. No driving to and fro, just the simplicity of you, your caravan and staying put in the wonder that is Australia that surrounds you.
To help you achieve this, here are some handy tips:
Bring all your water and food
Bringing your own water and food is a must when staying at free camping sites. Many sites will be situated in state and national parks with basic amenities and a fair drive away from towns and shops.
Some sites may have water taps, however, most don’t, and you'll have to top up your caravan's water tanks for all your drinking, washing and cleaning needs.
In terms of how much extra food to bring, it depends on how many people you're travelling with and how often you'll want to be going to town to stock up or eat out.
If you plan to stay on site, then it’s important you bring enough supplies to last the time you’re there. To help with this you want to calculate:
- the energy needs of your caravan, which can differ from small to luxury to family caravans
- the number of days you’ll be staying
- the number of people you’ll be catering for
- the number of occasions you’ll be eating out
- the daily water requirements to run your caravan
- any physical activities that may require more water.
This will help you calculate your daily water and food needs per day.
Bring a mix of power sources
A mix of power sources is a great idea when staying in free camping sites, which are mostly unpowered.
Your daily energy needs for your a caravan will be for things like:
- LEDs and lighting
- fridges and freezers
- stoves and kitchen appliances
- heating and cooling
- washing machines & dryers
- TVs and electronic devices
As you can see, in a caravan there could be a number of important requirements for energy, which is why having several sources to draw from is key.
The main energy sources to consider bringing include:
- Solar panels: quiet, eco friendly and cheap (after instalment), they make a perfect energy alternative when in full sunlight.
- Rechargeable batteries: a good backup for when other energy alternatives run out, they do however require recharging every few days.
- Diesel generators: easy and cheap to run, they are ideal for running appliances such as dryers, heaters, air-cons and refrigerators. They can, however, be noisy, heavy and can emit fumes.
- Vehicle batteries: consider including an extra deep-cycle battery for backup when towing; a battery management system to monitor your vehicle’s main battery and ensure it doesn’t go flat; and a battery stabilising unit, to help start a battery from the caravan’s battery if it has run low.
- Extra petrol & gas bottles: to run your generator and for things like gas cooking, hot water and other activities.
Also consider investing in low-energy appliances and white goods that won't chew up all your energy quickly. This will allow you to stay self-sufficient for longer.
Pack for every kind of weather
If you’re out in the wilderness, also bring the right kind of clothes and equipment so you can revel in being outdoors and stay self-sufficient for longer. Weather conditions may change rapidly and you'll want to be prepared for a range of conditions.
While you might be snug in your caravan, you don’t want cold weather to stop you from getting outside and exploring what the sights have to offer. Or in the summer, wouldn't be nice to think you packed that beach umbrella so you can get to the beach and know you can relax.
Bring a well-stocked emergency kit
Being self-sufficient means you’re prepared for the unexpected. If any kind of accident strikes you in the wild, you want to know you can get onto it proactively and fix it – or manage it until help arrives.
Minor sprains, cuts, burns, rashes, mosquitos bites are the kinds of that can be easily treated yourself, if you have the right supplies on hand, including things like:
- band aids
- rash & burn creams
- mosquito repellent
- pain relievers
- asthma puffers
- ice packs
- extra supplies of any regular medication you may require
Doing a CPR course is also recommended so you have the right skills for any kind of situation. As well as this it's highly recommended to take along a satellite phone and a GPS tracking device or emergency beacon to allow you to make contact in remote locations.
Enjoy free caravan sites like never before
With all of this organised and packed into your caravan, you’ll be ready to go, feeling relaxed and excited about exploring the best free caravan sites Australia has to offer.
Ready to start planning for your best trip yet?