We have a new home!
We came to a point in our travels where the “Pack and Unpack” lifestyle was beginning to frustrate us.
We absolutely loved living in the 1971 Viscount Caravan. The ritual of unpacking and setting up each time we stopped was something we could very easily live with if we were on the road temporarily and we knew that we would be returning home soon, however to live permanently on the road was an entirely different matter.
Moving on to new territory and the associated tearing down and setting up had to be part of everyday living rather than a frustrating ritual of rummaging through “stuff” in the ute and pulling out gear stored on the floor of the van.
Even to stop on the road for a coffee or lunch entailed climbing over stuff or pulling things out of the van. Once we were set up life was good but the ritual to get that point was tiring.
We had to decide once and for all if we were going to stay on the road long term or move back to a house and land lifestyle. If we were going to settle down again in the near future we could easily cope with life in the Viscount for a few more months. However if we were saying on the road we would need to divert resources into an upgrade of our mobile home.
After a lot of deliberation and “tooing and froing” we came to the decision that we did not want to end this lifestyle anytime soon.
So, what to upgrade to?
We had spoken to many people on the road and from our own experience we knew what we wanted. We wanted:
- Queen sized, comfortable bed
- Full oven and stove
- Separate shower and toilet ensuite
- Washing machine (doing laundry in caravan parks and
laundry matts is expensive and impossible free camping without a washing
- A larger 3 way fridge with a freezer – not too big.
- Solar panels and an inverter for running the
- Plenty of easy access storage
- Not more than 20 foot
- Full, screened annexe
- Air conditioner
- 12 volt tv/dvd
- Power points and USB cables wired for ease of work
- Towable by the Nissan
These were the basic requirements and anything else was a bonus.
We were in Melbourne, the home of caravan manufacturers so we could look at the market closely.
We looked at so many vans but particularly at the companies and the construction rather than the layouts. We scoured the internet forums for bad and good press.
There are so many choices and almost all caravan manufactures had a mixture of good and bad comments, some were horrific.
We came upon Aussie Wide Caravans purely by accident.
We were lost deep in the industrial suburb of Campbellfield when we happened past a small factory with a caravan outside that looked great at first glance. What did we have to lose? We pulled over and had a look. The van had everything that we wanted and was obviously built very well and there were no pesky salesman pouncing the moment we stopped.
We eventually talked to Mark Perkins one of the directors of Aussie Wide and he showed us a van that was nearing completion in the factory that was identical to what we wanted. He told us to go look at other vans but showed us a number of construction features to pay attention to.
We took his advice and every other van we looked at in the comparable price range after that we applied these construction tests to. We couldn’t find one that stood up to these tests like the Aussie Wide.
We searched the forums and found very few negative comments.
Mark gave us a price deal that we were happy with and he threw in a number of extras. One great addition for us was the extended 5 year warranty at no extra cost.
It took just 8 weeks to build our van and at the time of writing this we’ve been living in it full time for nearly 6 months.
We had an opportunity to test the company’s after sales service when we discovered a leak during a rain storm in Brisbane. On contacting Mark at Aussie Wide the next day he arranged for a repair to be carried out within 10 minutes of our phone call.
Another opportunity arose to further test the company’s commitment to their product when an annoying squeak appeared in the floor near the door, the Jockey wheel bracket gave way and the ensuite door
dropped. We also found it impossible to fill the tanks more than half full of water.
Mark again arranged for an instant repair with no questions asked and the Aussie Wide is now perfectly set up and we are incredibly happy with it.
The only regret we have has nothing to do with the company. We should have separated the two 95 litre water tanks with separate fillers and used one to feed the drinking water and the other the shower, sink and toilet. This has proved to be a big mistake on our part as when we stop where there is no good water supply we cannot fill the tank with any thing other than drinking water.
We hope to be in Melbourne in the next 2 months and we’ll investigate the possibility of changing this.