Caravanning and camping is an all-season way to travel, especially in Australia where we are gifted with a variety of winter weather destinations. It’s a beautiful season all over the country and with a bit of preparation you’ll be perfectly cozy – whether you chase the snow or the sun. In fact, there are plenty of benefits to caravanning and camping in the cooler months, writes Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s Rachael Morris.
THE BEST BITS ABOUT WINTER:
- Travelling in winter means there’ll usually be less traffic on the tourist routes than in the peak summer season.
- Site fees in most locations will be cheaper due to it being outside of peak season.
- The caravan parks are generally less populated, so you’ll have less competition for the best sites and there’ll be fewer people using the amenities.
- Insects are less active and fewer in number in colder climates.
- Your refrigerator will run like a dream! You may even be able to save power and turn it off overnight if the outside temperature is cold enough.
- You’ll get to experience your favourite summer destinations with their winter landscapes. This usually brings a whole new set of seasonal activities to try.
You don’t need to put off by the colder weather if you are well prepared. If you’ve got an adventurer’s heart, you’ll be keen to experience all kinds landscapes with various climates. The following tips will get you off to a great start.
TOP TIPS FOR WINTER TRIPS
The biggest thing when it comes to planning a great winter getaway is comfort, so keeping warm is a top priority.
PACK YOUR WINTER WOOLIES
It almost goes without saying that you’ll need a toasty weather resistant jacket, gloves, a scarf and a beanie. To be super prepared, pack your thermals and wet-weather gear as well. Gumboots can be a lifesaver! Extra blankets and fleecy pajamas will go a long way in winter, but to be extra snuggly at night perhaps consider an electric blanket too. If you are camping, avoid air mattresses as you’ll lose all your heat into the ground. Instead, use a foam mattress and add a thermal layer underneath.
BE A STEP AHEAD OF THE WEATHER
Be prepared for colder winds and wetter weather than in other seasons. Before you leave, check that your van or tent is watertight and draught proof. Replace any seals that look dodgy and pack an extra tarp if you’re expecting rain. Try to think about ways to make things you normally do outside more comfortable.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE TIME
The days are shorter in winter so you’ll need to make sure you arrive at your site earlier than normal to avoid having to set up in the dark. Then when it’s time to leave, plan to get off to a slightly earlier start if you have to deal with frosted windows before driving.
MAKE ROAD SAFETY A PRIORITY
Always be aware that extremely cold weather can change road conditions drastically. Black ice is hard to see and wet, icy roads can be challenging. Make sure your tyre tread and air pressure are appropriate for the conditions. And if you’re planning on driving in snow, pack snow chains. Most importantly, drive safely according to the road conditions.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE GROUND
Remember that winter ground can get muddy and soft very quickly, so choose a site with good drainage where you won’t get heavy water run off. If you are setting up for a while in your van, make sure you are parked on bitumen or otherwise check your wheels morning and night for any sinking.
USE YOUR HEATER WISELY
An unheated van can get cold overnight. You’ll probably want to make sure you’re connected to power so you can use electric heating and you may want to try leaving your heating on low even when you’re not in your van. That way you won’t come back to igloo like conditions after a day out and the heater won’t take very long to heat right up again. Campers will want a good gas heater for outdoors and maybe even a little fan heater that can be safely used inside.
REMEMBER THAT WATER FREEZES
In really cold areas, taps and pipes on site can freeze over so always carry a supply of fresh water with you. The containers and piping in your van can freeze too. Wrapping containers in insulating material can prevent this as well as keeping the heating on low all the time.
TRY OUT A COSY CABIN
If you really want to get out and about without having to think to much about what you’ll need to pack to make your camp comfortable, why not take the opportunity to try out a cabin? Most caravan parks have gorgeous cabins in prime locations, so you can still access the great outdoors, but with an indoor base!
With these tips in mind, there’ll be nothing stopping you from getting out in the winter months and enjoying a variety of destinations – even the really cold ones! However, winter is different all over Australia so let’s look at some great winter getaways all over then country.
WHERE THE SNOW FALLS
If you’re up for embracing the cold and snow, then the south-eastern states will put on the best wintery conditions. Winter does different things all over so why not do something different this winter and chase the snow!
Cradle Mountain is an impressive sight any time of the year, but when the weather turns cold and snow begins to fall, its snow-capped peaks are more beautiful than ever. Tassie is set up for the colder weather so you’ll find plenty to do all over.
Discovery Holiday Parks – Cradle Mountain Web www.discoveryholidayparks.com.au Phone 1800 068 574
Get right among Victoria’s three premier ski resorts by basing at Bright. You’ll be close enough to hit the slopes if that’s your thing and it’s warmer than up on the mountains. Bright is a bustling winter town with plenty of open fires and wintery scenery.
Bright Holiday Park
Phone 1800 706 685
Bright Riverside Holiday Park
Phone 03 5755 1118
Winter does different things all over so why not do something different this winter and chase the snow!