Goldstream RV Blog

Grey Nomads On A Shoestring

 

If you’re on a budget, particularly a pension, you may wonder whether the life of a Grey Nomad is an affordable one.

There are definitely steps you can take to reduce costs, and with a practical approach to finances and planning, along with the flexibility to take on roles that will help your money last, these tips can help you decide whether it’s the right approach for you.

Budget, Budget, Budget

This sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, but you’d be surprised how travelling can have hidden costs if you’re not used to it. The cost of fuel, unforeseen detours, the cost of food in remote and regional areas, ill health and subsequent changes of plans, can all have an impact, even when you’ve planned for them.

Once you’ve worked out how much you think a trip or a certain period of time on the road will cost you, triple it. Ensure you have a back-up plan if disaster strikes, e.g. if you hit a kangaroo and your vehicle needs repairs.

Plan Your Meals

If you’re travelling on a limited budget, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to eat out that often. Collect catalogues from the supermarkets in larger towns to see what’s on special and plan your meals around that. Purchase food that’s in season to keep the cost down and if you feel like something special, check out specials night at the local pub or club – or have your main meal at lunchtime when many places offer lunch at far cheaper prices.

Be Open To Opportunities

As you travel around, be open to opportunities that may result in short term paid work so that you can plump up your savings. It might be a house-sitting opportunity which means you save on accommodation and utility fees. It could be the opportunity to do some voluntary work with an organization like Blaze-Aid who provide you with a site, hot showers and toilets and food in exchange for time spent helping others.

Regardless of your financial circumstances, if you’re going to travel, you’ll need a good vehicle behind you. Your wheels are the most important investment you can make when on the road so it pays to buy the very best you can. Contact us at Goldstream RV to discuss the right caravan for you.

 

Caravan World Magazine Review of Goldstream 1760 Bunk Pop Top

 

Goldstream 1760 Bunk Pop Top Review 

The robust little Goldstream 1760 Bunk pop- top achieves what not many other vans can.

At the 2016 NSW Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow, held in April, there was a surprising number of family caravans on display. I say surprising because family caravans can be a bit of a challenge for manufacturers. If they build them too big and, therefore, too expensive, they don’t sell. Build them too small and they don’t sell either, because families need a bit of space. So manufacturers need to find that elusive middle ground. When I saw the Goldstream 1760 Bunk on display at the Parravans Caravan World dealer stand at the show, it caught my eye as I thought it managed just that, and it ticked many of the boxes that family vanners have. For starters, it’s a pop-top caravan, which is an attractive proposition for anyone who prefers a lower towing height or has storage height restrictions at home. It weighs in with a Tare weight of 1890kg and an ATM of 2500kg, so it has a generous and family-friendly load capacity of 610kg, yet it fits under the so-called ‘Prado towing limit’ of many popular tow vehicles. Although, I think reaching the full 610kg loading capacity of the van would be a challenge, given the storage restrictions in a mid-sized pop-top van such as this. It behaved very well on the road and even off it. When I took it down some rough roads, it was certainly an easy tow due, in large part, to its size and towing profile.  

READY FOR ADVENTURE  

Our review van was fitted with the Goldstream ‘Adventure Pack’ which, in short, means the van is fitted out for rough road, but not full offroad, use. The first clue to the van’s rough- road intentions is the side skirt and front panel of polished alloy checkerplate. Its traditional checkerplate finish is something I prefer to the more trendy satin black, because it makes the dirt and dust less obvious. Aluminium is also the material of choice for the van’s composite body panels and the pop-top roof, and there’s a meranti timber frame underneath those panels. Given the size and shape of the van, it’s not surprising that there’s only a tunnel boot for external storage. But it’s a reasonable size for a family that doesn’t travel with too much baggage. The gas cylinders are on the drawbar, and the spare wheel is mounted on the rear bumper bar. A look under the 1760 Bunk reveals the 100x50mm (4x2in) DuraGal chassis, fitted with single-axle leaf spring suspension, shock absorbers and 15in alloy wheels. The chassis has been lifted about 50mm (2in) to give better ground clearance, and all the vulnerable pieces have been strapped up well out of the way. The 80L water tanks, which are protected with alloy checkerplate, are fitted either side of the axle to create balance, and there are quick-drop corner stabilisers to aid setting up. 

THE ART OF COMPROMISE 

So how do you get a family layout, including a shower and a toilet, into a van that is only 5.38m (17ft 8in) long? With a lot of ingenuity and a little bit of compromise, that’s how! The double bed sits across the front of the van, forward of the entry door, which creates space for the kitchen bench and the bunk beds on the offside wall, leaving room on the nearside for an L-shaped lounge and a rear corner combo bathroom. I’ve been in quite a few larger family vans where I’ve felt distinctly cramped, usually because of the cabinetry. But that feeling, real or otherwise, is negated here by the pop-top design, which creates plenty of air space and has no overhead lockers above the top of the solid wall. That does, of course, mean less storage space, but it also means you can leave more at home and travel lighter.

Setting up the pop-top is quite simple – you just release the four roof clips on the outside and then lift the roof from inside at either end. But don’t forget to set the awning to the ‘open’ position first – it makes lifting the roof so much easier. There is also a small foot stool supplied, so the vertically-challenged among us can reach the roof clips. One of the compromises you’ll find with this layout is the size of the front bed. At 1.8x1.3m (5ft 11in x 4ft 3in), it’s not particularly large. You could option a longer bed, but that would mean losing the front nearside corner cupboard, as you can’t have both. But the larger bed would create more under-bed storage space, which might help negate the impact of losing the corner cupboard. As it is, the under-bed space is fairly small and largely taken up by the Truma Saphir air-conditioner and the Truma water heater. The rear bunks are marginally longer at 1.83x0.63m (6x2ft), so there is always the option of letting the junior family members use the front bed and mum and dad getting a bunk each in the rear! Whoever scores the bunks also gets the huge cabinet with lots of hanging space and drawers underneath.

There’s no doubt that an L-shaped dinette works best with this layout, as it’s pretty easy to get in and out of, and also allows for an extra (folding) chair to be added on the other side of the table. There was a time when bathrooms in pop-top caravans weren’t even considered, but with a bit of ingenuity and some vinyl curtains, hey presto, we can now have an onboard bathroom. It’s certainly not big, in this case, but there’s enough room for a Thetford cassette toilet with a moulded wash basin behind, and a variable height, flexible hose shower. However, the maximum height of the shower is restricted by the solid wall height. But to fit the bathroom in, something had to give, and that something is the kitchen. It has all the necessary items – four-burner cooktop with grill, stainless steel sink, a large family- sized fridge and a microwave under the grill – but there’s not much overhead locker space. One of the two lockers houses the electrical panel, but there are four large drawers and a shelved cupboard. There also isn’t any benchtop working space, but using the table is a reasonable compromise. Given the proximity of the bed to the cooktop and the lack of any side splash panel, I think a protective plastic sheet or something similar wouldn’t go astray. Or, alternatively, you could use the external gas bayonet to hook up a barbecue and cook outside.

 

Writer: Malcolm Street

This Article was originally published on Caravan World Magazine

 

Surfs Up In May 2016

 

Crescent Head is located towards the southern end of the magnificent Macleay Valley Coast, mid-way between Sydney and Brisbane. It’s famous Killick Beach will play host in May 2016 to the Annual Crescent Head Malibu Classic, so grab your longboard and wetsuit and make tracks to the mid North Coast. If surfing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other things to keep you occupied while you’re there as well.

 

The Malibu Classic

 

In it’s 27th year in 2016, this event is hosted by the Crescent Head Malibu Club and not only attracts surfers to the beach with it’s famous breaks, but also their families and other spectators. It will be held from 26th to 28th May 2016 and entry to the competition opens in February. It draws a pretty big crowd, so if you’re planning on going it’s a good idea to get a head start on your accommodation booking at any of the numerous holiday parks in the area. Remember to ask for a pensioner discount if you’re eligible!

 

Tourist Drives

 

If surfing isn’t your thing or the surf’s flat, you can explore the countryside on any of the three bitumen tourist drives through the region or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, investigate one of the many 4WD self-guided tours around. If you’re into country music, you can even wheel along to your favourite singer on Slim Dusty Way Drive.

 

Shop Till You Drop

 

There are plenty of regional markets on offer if you’d prefer to spend your time browsing for that special gift to send home to family members or friends to let them know you’re thinking of them (and that you’re having a wonderful time!). Of course, there are plenty of shops around too, if you’d prefer to combine your retail therapy with refreshments of either the liquid or solid variety.

The Crescent Head Malibu Classic is always a popular event for locals and tourists alike in this part of New South Wales and not just because of the waves and the surfing. It’s a great reason to get together and celebrate Australian culture at its best in one of the scenic regions of New South Wales.

With your trusty Goldstream RV to do your bidding, you can venture anywhere your heart desires to take full advantage of your location, regardless of what the surf’s like.

 

How To Avoid Costly Caravan Repairs

 

Regular maintenance of caravans can help avoid time-consuming and costly repairs. While basic maintenance checks of tyres, brakes and lights should be carried out at least monthly, there are some thorough maintenance inspections that should be undertaken every six months or so. These checks include:

 

Checking the chassis for cracks.

 

This involves you very carefully and systematically inspecting the chassis rails, as the cracks may not be apparent to a casual observer. One sign of potential chassis problems is if the van appears to sag in one corner. If you suspect chassis cracking, you should avoid towing the caravan until you have sought expert advice and assistance.

 

Check the suspension.

 

There are several types of suspension systems used on vans – leaf springs, coil, and, in some cases, air springs. Of these leaf springs are more liable to break. If they do the van will sag in the corner of the broken spring. Coil springs will usually only break when subjected to extreme use such as hitting bumps at high speeds or overloading. In either case, expert help will be required to fix the problem.

 

Wheel bearings are subject to wear and tear and should be checked.

 

There is only one reliable way to do this – jack the wheel up off the ground and move it around to determine if there is any play. If there is, there is likely to be some wear in the wheel bearing.

  • The spare tyre mount should also be checked for damage or cracking.

  • A thorough inspection of the van exterior can identify any potential water leaks. Look for obvious signs of a cracked sealer around J mounts and also looked for lifting silastic and discolouration underneath the silastic – a sure sign of water penetration. Be sure to inspect the roof for any damage and roof ventilation hatches are still sealed properly.

  • If your van has a water hand pump at the sink, it is possible that the seals can harden over time. If your hand pump is not drawing much water this will be the reason. Fixing this is relatively simple – you can either purchase a seal kit or a whole new pump for fairly little expense.

Getting into the habit of regularly inspecting your van for these problems will help you to prolong its life and hopefully identify small problems before they become large ones.

 

The Spectacular Snowies A Seasonal Guide Of Things To Do

 

The Snowy Mountains are part of Australia’s Great Dividing Range and home to Mt Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia. While it’s a popular destination for snow enthusiasts in Winter, it offers many activities that make it a worthwhile place to visit in other seasons as well. From physical activities and competitions to music festivals and food trails, there’s something for everyone on a Snowy Mountains holiday.

 

Things to do in Warmer Weather

 

There is a huge variety of tracks suited to walking or mountain biking. They range from short and easy for the inexperienced to long and far more difficult for those who like a challenge. The bonus is the spectacular scenery everywhere, not to mention the carpets of wildflowers that spring up at their best in December and January.

Yarangobilly Caves is a series of five caves, where you can take yourself on a self-guided tour through South Glory or be guided by others through the others. Afterwards you can refresh yourself in the thermal pool, which is only a short walk away and is naturally heated all year round to a comfortable 27 degrees.

With 16 lakes and multiple rivers and streams, the Snowies are the perfect place to get in a bit of fly fishing for trout or salmon.

Other options include exploring historic buildings and lookouts and picnicking in one of the many areas available. If you own a 4WD there are plenty of tracks to explore and there are plenty of options to go horse riding and canoeing as well.

 

In Colder Weather

 

Of course in Winter, the Mountains are renowned for all things snow-related. You can choose form skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and snow shoeing at a huge variety of resorts offering activities for all levels of experience or if you prefer to stay cosy and warm, visit one of the many eateries and pubs that offer warmth and comfort food throughout the region.

 

Places to Stay

 

There are 16 caravan parks and campgrounds scattered throughout the Snowy Mountains. One of them is sure to meet your requirements.

Regardless of how varied the interests of your family are, there’s something to suit everyone when you choose to explore the spectacular Snowies.

If you’re looking for a vehicle that’s able to accommodate fishing rods, mountain bikes and snow gear as well as the rest of the stuff a family needs to take along on holiday, you can’t go past a Goldstream RV caravan. Take a look at our range to find the right model for you.

 

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