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RV in Australia

By: Tony Stockill
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RVs have been a long established means of touring or vacationing in Australia. The size of the country, plus the comparitively small population, has made it a requirement to plan well for an extended trip.

Many visitors from North America or Europe are surprised by the scale of the country, roughly equivalent to each of these continents.

I have driven by car many times between Sydney and Perth, from the East (Pacific Ocean) coast to the West (Indian Ocean) coast. This is a distance of 4000 kilometers or 2500 miles, driving 10-14 hours a day takes 4 days. (The Indian-Pacific train trip takes 2 1/2 days, by air it's 4 hours.)

Now consider that one third of the area of the country is the state of Western Australia. WA has a population of 1.5 million, of whom 1.3 million live in Perth. This compares with the total Australian population of 20 million. So there is not much in the rest of the State. Crossing the Nullabor plain there is a gap between service stations and motels, for fuel and rest, of 100 miles or 160 km.

The dream of many an Aussie on retirement, is to travel around the country in some form of RV. So there is a growing, and continually refreshing market for all types. Motor homes, class A, B, or C, conventional trailers, or caravans, fifth wheelers, and camper vans. Along with conversions, professional or home grown, these vehicles are increasingly seen on the highways throughout the country.

Another factor affecting the design requirements of an RV for use in Australia, is the climate variances. The Northern areas are tropical, the Southern areas are temperate, and get snow in the high country.

Throughout the country, but especially in the centre and on the West coast, there is a high proportion of sunshine, and ultra-violet exposure of people and materials can be a problem. Temperatures can range from 40-45 C in summer, to -10-15 C in the winter. Of course this is the "wrong way round", and you can escape a freezing Europe or North America for a Hot Christmas vacation.

RV rentals are readily available in all areas of the country, and you can pick up and drop off at different points. You can find your own beach, with no one around, or visit a camel farm, or gold, or diamond mine.

If you would like to be a little more adventurous, you can rent a 4x4 RV and experience the outback. There are also guided tours in 4x4s so you can go and see the bush, and the wildlife - crocodiles, anyone?

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