ear plugs

Tania’s Top 5 Camping Essentials

Hand sanitizer 

My number one (any type of) travel essential, especially with baby/child in toe. 

Face wipes 

Because sometimes you are too tired/drunk/short on water/don’t want to make a mess in the kitchen sink to clean your face at the end of the day to wash your face properly.   

Tinted (minimum) SPF 30+ face moisturiser 

So quick and easy to apply first thing in the morning and I don’t have to worry about remembering to apply sunscreen again until lunchtime.  WIN! 

Happy Ears earplugs  

Ideally you don’t want to have to use these on a trip but they are more of a security measure and mean you can be a lot less picky when choosing a spot to camp for the night.  They are outrageously priced and can only be ordered online but in my extensive ear plug testing experience (I really have tried them all) these have come out as the clear winner. 

https://www.happyears.co 

Long sleeved thin button up style shirt 

Who wants to get sunburned?  I don’t even wear Tshirts in the sun anymore.  A cheap thin button up shirt from Cotton On is my GoTo camping top.  Doesn’t look too bad with jeans when you have to re-join civilization to re-stock on essentials either. 

the blue pool

Top 3 places to visit in South Australia

We’ve researched the best and most interesting places for you to check out on your next jaunt through South Australia. From hidden caves, to bush campsites, through to glamour camping if thats your thing – Let us know what you think, and if you’ve been to any before!

 

Innes National Park.

A stunning area of South Australia, Innes National Park combines the beauty of rugged coastlines, perfect sheltered fishing spots, excellent surfing beaches and some historical landmarks – such as the Ethel Shipwreck. You’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding how to fill your time here, with a great variety of camping ground scattered around the park to chose from. 

It is also known for having an average high of 24 degrees in January, so it’s a great spot to enjoy some cool, pleasant adventuring weather!

There are many walking and hiking tracks, for all abilities, from 30 minutes to 4 hours. 

Tip: Don’t forget to check out the famous Blue Pool rockpool!  

the blue pool

The Blue Pool (image courtesy of Emma Smith), via the government SA website. 

image via southaustralia.com.au
@achtungcamper supplied image

2. Wilpema Pound, Flinders Ranges.

The Wilpema Pound is a natural wonder, an amphitheatre created by millions of years of erosion. 

This area has many unpowered, powered and bush sites and also has a selection of luxury safari tents.

Climbing the ridge to see the sunset or sunrise will be an experience like no other, and exploring the Flinders Range in general will be an incredible experience – from following the Aboriginal Dreamtime Track to taking a flight over for an aerial view.

image via southasutralia.com.au 
@achtungcamper supplied picture.

3. Talia Caves, Eyre Peninsula

For those of us who are fully equipped in our campers and ready to go off the beaten track, the Talia Caves need to be seen to be believed.

The sandstones cliffs have been eroded into caves and caverns, and the beaches are wild and empty. There is no powered sites or toilets, but room for 20 bush camps, and it’s a great place to test your fishing talent to catch dinner. 

image via southaustralia.com.au

camping ground via the talia camping ground page on facebook.  

close by, this is farm beach at the eyre peninsula via southaustralia.com,au

What is there to do at night on the road? 

 Having recently spent 3 months travelling Europe in our 30-year-old Motorhome I have had the pleasure of meeting many of Europe and the UK’s Grey Nomads (with my on-the-road-for-6-months-a year in laws being my closest travel companions).  No different to the Australian type, I often ponder their top two pastimes once the sun goes down and wonder how best I SHOULD be spending this valuable down time on the road.   

Of course, I must first make the distinction between holiday making campervanners and long term campervanners (who make this a way of life a good part of the year) because of course drinking every night (!) is acceptable if you’re only doing it for 2 weeks a year.   

3 months living in a van however, is over the allotted ‘holiday’ timeframe and is clearly ‘way of life’, which means living like you are on annual leave is not an option (for your liver or the bathroom scales!).  What percentage of Grey Nomads do drink every night (or most nights) to be social, to enjoy the scenery, just for something to do…?  The European Grey Nomads clearly be put into 2 clear categories:  Those who sit outside their van on their camping chair after dinner every night and ‘have a few’ or those that go inside and watch TV.   

Being vaguely healthy (or so I like to think) and being a bit anti-TV I felt that there must be more ways to spend your nights than drinking or in front of the box (although I do understand that when you live in your campervan watching TV after dinner is like being at home and there’s nothing wrong with that!). 

For us, having a little one that goes to bed at 7:30pm meant we are campervan-bound of a night-time, and although we do love a beer or wine I tried to limit this to 3-4 nights a week (honest!).  So what else is there to do when you cant leave your van?  Depends on the weather and your energy levels of course! 

If the weathers good… 

Do some sort of exercise such as a yoga class (there are books, apps or you tube classes) or body weight exercises if you are super motivated (again a plethora of resources available for on the road classes and instruction). 

Do exactly what you’d do inside (don’t get too carried away with that suggestion though!) but take it outside on a picnic rug, camp chairs and table etc.   

@achtungcamper supplied image 

If the weather’s bad… 

 

Play a card game or board game.  We recently bought a book on card games as we didn’t know any… 

 

Read a novel or reference book. 

 

Learn a language on Duo Linguo (a wonderful app). 

 

Listen to a Podcast. 

 

Join the website/app previously known as ‘Linda’ now under ‘Linked In Learning’ for online business and self-improvement courses of every topic and duration. 

Have a cup of tea and chat (seriously!) 

 

Research where you are travelling to next and what you will see there, where you will stay, where you’ll go out for a coffee… 

 

And when all else fails, we hope you’ve shelled out the extra $ for our Achtung Camper projector and screen for your outdoor or indoor cinema experience.  Just be sure to tell passers by that it’s not TV thank you very much, it’s NETFLIX! 

All images via Pinterest.

HOT TO GET THE BEST CAMPING SPOT IN A PAID CAMPGROUND

  1. Be friendly, clear and descriptive with the reception staff. Tell them exactly how many days you’ll be staying and what you want out of your camping spot – quiet, close to the bathrooms, private, close to the beach etc.
  2. Ask reception staff to mark any spots that are available for your stay on a park map (and ask them which they think would suit your needs/description above).
  3. Have a good look at the (most likely unreadable and badly photocopied) map and work out:- Where the toilets are (it’s nice to be close but not TOO close or you’ll be woken by people all night).
    • Where the tent area is (these are often groups of ‘younger’ people or backpackers who are likely to be noisier, try to keep away).
    • Where the main roads are (try to avoid parking near main roads or roads that visitors use to enter/exit the park).
    • Where the playground is (some kids get up super early, if you want to sleep in stay away!).

vw campervan for sale

4. If you are staying more an a few nights you might take the time to scope out the park/spots on the map on foot or with your van BEFORE you commit to one at reception when checking in. Most staff will let you take a look around and come back once you’ve decided on a spot that you like.

5. Once you’ve decided on your spot check that your neighbours look good (read: quiet!). We avoid: anyone with a baby, P plater cars or younger groups of people.

Got some tips or anything to add?  Please comment below and we’ll update our blog accordingly!

 

WHAT TO AVOID WHEN LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT CAMPING SPOT 

Here’s our checklist, most relate to free camping.  You can thank us later! 

-Are there any No Camping or No Sleeping in Cars signs?  This is only a deal-breaker if…

  • There are loads of backpackers around + 
  • Does it look like there’ll be police patrolling overnight?  Is there a local police station?
  • The signs say No Parking between 1-5am (this signals a backpacker infested and hjghly patrolled/fined area!).

-Does it look like there’ll be hoons or young people coming there at night (are there empty bottles around/burnouts/broken glass?) 

-Will there be much/any passing traffic overnight? 

-Are there any big bins or a collection of bins that might be picked up very early in the morning and wake you up? 

-Is it a surfing break carpark?  Again this isn’t a deal breaker but keep in mind you’ll have loads of cars arriving early in the morning with people checking the surf.  Again, this may not be a problem if the locals seem nice and you don’t sleep too lightly (or you surf)! 

-Is there a boat ramp nearby? (same as point above). 

-P plate cars or groups of young people together (couples are ok!).  Some might also avoid people with babies and young kids, and for this we don’t blame you! 

 

 What are your tips on finding a good spot to sleep paid or unpaid in a new town?  Please share them with us so we can add them to our list. 

 

 

HOT WATER – DO I NEED IT AND HOW DOES IT WORK? 

Hot water, what a luxury…do you need this in your campervan?  Absolutely not!   

Why would you want it? 

  • Because if you have to wash dishes in your van it’s much easier to do with hot water. 
  • Because if you want to shower comfortably in your van and not just when the weather’s hot outside, you’d want a hot shower!   

How does it work and how much power does it use? 

  • The hot water boiler holds 6 litres of water at 90 degrees.   
  • We had 3 hot showers, one after the other, no problem.  This took 10% of the water tank’s water supply (when full).  It then took 40 minutes for the water to re-heat and this used 7% of the leisure battery (as it automatically re-fills and re-heats as it empties).   
  • When washing and rinsing dinner dishes for 3 people we used 15% of the water tank’s capacity when full) and this used 10% of the leisure battery. (Also note I love rinsing dishes BEFORE AND AFTER washing them, not the best habit for camping but old habits die hard). 
  • When refilling your van completely with cold water and wanting to heat the water from scratch it takes about 22 minutes when plugged into 240 volt power, or about 2 hours if it’s heats from your leisure battery.  The water stays hot in the tank for at least a day so the best thing to do is heat it up while driving then leave it on. 

How much does it cost? 

  • $2000 

If you are only planning on staying in Caravan Parks then you definitely do not need this as you would use the park’s facilities to shower and wash your dishes. 

LOVE THY (CAMPING) NEIGHBOUR 

What’s the first thing you should do when you park your van for the night in your new camping location?   

Open your pop top roof. 

Check out your surroundings. 

Crack open a beer. 

WRONG! 

The correct answer is…go over and introduce yourself to your closest camping neighbours, here’s why: 

  1. Feedback 

Check wiki camp for up to date comments?  Read guidebooks?  Look up camping blogs?  You can’t get a more ‘real time’ review on your just-about-to-be camping spot than asking those who’ve been there the night before.  Introduce yourself, ask them if they had a quiet night’s sleep, how the spot is…people love to talk (ok maybe it’s just me!) and if there are any noise or security issues you’ll know about them pretty quickly.  Even better they’ll likely tell you of any great beaches/walking tracks/short cuts into town that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.  Worst case scenario you find out the 18 year old’s nearby start a party every night that goes until dawn.  Better to know now than at 1am!   

 

  1. Security 

Google campervan security or safety and you’ll read one thing over and over again.  Make friends with your neighbours.  They’ll look out for your van when you are swimming down the beach, drinking wine on the cliff at sunset, doing that 6 hour hike (oh yes you will!).   You’ll also feel a whole lot safer at night knowing who your neighbours are and that you can approach them if the need arises. 

 

  1. Convenience 

Although this point doesn’t apply to Achtung Camper owners as they are of course all super organised and have read every single one of our other blogs on what to pack and what not to forget BUT for everyone else out there…when it starts getting cold and you’ve forgotten the fire lighters, when it’s wine o’clock and you don’t have a bottle opener (aren’t they all twist top now anyway?!) you’ll be thankful later if you are already on friendly terms with the campers next door. 

 

  1. Socialise! 

And as always, we leave the best to last.  Yes travelling is about the journey and about the destination.  It’s about freedom and nature.  But it’s just as importantly about the people you meet along the way. Lifelong friends were made in front of campfires and hey, you already know you have the most important values and interests in common (you’re both here aren’t you!).  After all, a bottle of wine shared is much better than a bottle of wine drunk alone (especially for you the next morning!) 

campervan for sale

Caravan Salon!

Air Trip! Achtung Camper has been lucky enough to again visit the biggest campervan and caravan exhibition in the world Caravan Salon this year in Dusseldorf, Germany.  We’ll be taking over our Facebook page and bringing you the highlights over the next few weeks.

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 1: A Checking out the new VW T6.1 before it hits Australia in 2020.  Check out our video and pics for a sneak peak!

vw campervan for sale

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 2: And the best stand award goes to…Dometic!  Waitresses serving your choice of ginormous ice cream Sunday.  How much better can it get?  Achtung Camper, you have some serious thinking to do before Melbourne Leisurefest…

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 3: Metallics are all the rage judging by the vans on show, our fav – this awesome aqua VW.  LOVE!

vw campervan

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 4: Loving this 100% Green toilet liquid and HOPING it comes to Australia super soon so we can start stocking it.  A wonderful product. Solbio.

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 5: Checking out our favourite German Campervan companies that are forever pushing boundaries and creating cutting edge world class campervans Space Camper and Campania.

campervan for sale

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 6: Forging a relationship with innovative company XXXXX so we can bring Slide Out campervanning to Australia.  Watch this Space!

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 7: Checking out the new IKamper rooftop tents.  Did you know Achtung Camper are now an IKamper supplier?  Check out their awesome range here.

Caravan Salon (Dusseldorf exhibition) highlight 8:  New Achtung Camper feature alert: Brennstoffzelle – English translation: small generator/power box/cell that knows when your leisure battery starts dropping charge and automatically turns on to re-charge your leisure battery by burning methanol.  Safe with no fumes it’s the way of the future.  Coming soon to an Achtung Camper near you!

vw campervan

IKamper Roof Tents!

Need more room on the road?  Is your VW T6 not cutting it anymore?  Check out these amazing roof tents from IKamper – the best in the business!

 

Roof Tent: SKYCAMP 2X

The Skycamp 2x is handy if you need an extra bed for visitors or if you need to get away from someone snoring next to you… It’s really light and can easily be attached to the roof of your campervan.

vw campervan

Features

  • Sleeps two adults and one child.
  • Takes one minute to set up! All you have to do is open the tent on your roof and secure the roles and poles.
  • Made of lightweight aerodynamic materials, has double layered hard shell with air insulation and is soundproof resistant.
  • The material is breathable as it’s made from poly-cotton canvas fabrics.
  • The material is also waterproof so you’ll always be safe in wet weather.
  • The closing straps have locks on the outside to keep it safe and secure.
  • There’re three colour options as shown below.

vw campervan

 

To take a better look at the 2x and 4x features visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw3QNUmcGs8

Price

From $4,595.

vw campervan

Specifications

  • Size (Closed): 218x138x32cm.
  • Size (Open): 218x138x110cm.
  • Mattress: 193x130x5cm Super High-Density Memory Foam.
  • Average weight: 55kg.
  • Tent weight limit: 408kg.
  • Ladder: 230cm.
  • Materials: aluminium honeycomb panel floor, double-layered FRP (Fibre-Reinforced Plastic) shell, poly-cotton canvas tent.

 

 

Roof Tent: SKYCAMP 4X

This roof tent is bigger than the 2x and can comfortably sleep four.

 

vw campervan

 

Features

  • Sleeps four on a king size mattress.
  • Aerodynamic and lightweight design.
  • Like the 2x this also comes in three colour options.
  • Like the 2x this is also made from poly-cotton canvas tent fabric so is very breathable.
  • Has locking straps on the outside for security.
  • Can be set up in just one minute.
  • Has a detachable tent which can be purchased for hot weather.

vw campervan

Price

From $5,195.00.

Specifications

  • Size (Closed): 218 x 138 x 32cm.
  • Size (Open): 218 x 210 x 110cm.
  • Mattress: 190 x 210 x 5cm Super High-Density Memory Foam.
  • Average weight: 70kg.
  • Tent wright limit 408kg.
  • Ladder: 230cm.
  • Materials: aluminium honeycomb panel floor, double-layered FRP (Fibre-Reinforced Plastic) shell, poly-cotton canvas tent.

To see how the 4x is set up and for a quick product review visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyrcupwm0SU

 

 

These roof tents are high quality and different from other roof tents as they have TWO layers of canvas for extra insulation and strength. They are super easy to set up, incredibility spacious and comfy to sleep in.

 

For further information on these products visit the official IKamper website: http://ikamperau.com.au/index.asp

 

WHO DO I CALL WHEN…  

Let’s be honest, #*+! Happens!  And on the road, it’s better to be prepared than stuck in the middle of nowhere with no idea who to contact when an issue arises.  Here’s our list of who to call… 

 

When you have an issue with your Volkswagen and it’s less than 1 year old: 

 Call Volkswagen Assist: 1800 607 822  

 You get one year complimentary roadside assist when you get your van and it’s available 24 hours a day. This can help you with roadside issues, emergency accommodation, car rental and towing as well as property assistance. 

 For more information about what roadside assist includes visit: https://www.volkswagen.com.au/en/owners/roadside-assist.html 

  

When you have an issue with your Volkswagen older than 1 year: 

 Call Volkswagen on 1800 607 822  

 Your vehicle comes with a New Vehicle Warranty, a Paint Warranty, and a Corrosion Warranty in relation to the main structure of the vehicle. Volkswagen genuine parts and accessories also come with separate warranties. 

 All warranty issues must be reported to an authorised Volkswagen Dealer as soon as possible and within a suitable timeframe. 

 You can google Volkswagen to find your closest Volkswagen Dealership: 

https://www.vw.com/find-a-dealer/. 

 For more information on general warranty terms and conditions visit: https://www.volkswagen.com.au/en/owners/warranty.html 

 

When you have an issue with your VW and it’s not under warranty anymore 

 Call the closest mechanic (with good reviews!) 

 If your van is out of warranty, Google mechanics in the area/close by and look at the reviews online to find a trustworthy mechanic.  As a rule, we only go with a mechanic with 4out of 5 ratings.  

 

 A campervan feature doesn’t work 

 Call us (Achtung Camper!) on 03 52009185. 

 But only call us if it’s during business hours (weekdays 9am-4pm).   

 If it’s out of business hours just send us and email at info@achtungcamper.com.au as there’s a good chance we are checking them anyway! 

 

Your campervan is stolen or damaged in a fire/storm/hail:  

 Call your insurance company  

 If you are with CIL call 1800 112 481. 

 If you’re with another insurance company, just Google search their vehicle insurance phone number.  

 

When you have an accident:  

 Call your insurance company 

 

 

A FINAL TIP… 

Get the Volkswagen Car-Net App 

 It’s allows you to connect directly with your VW vehicle! 

 It has security and service options and lets you call for help in an emergency, set speed and boundary alerts and remotely check the status of your Volkswagen. 

 

 

We hope these phone numbers and tips help you out in an emergency or when an issue arises! Let us know if you have any other important contacts and we’ll add them to our list.