Central Queensland has so much to offer, from interesting regional towns and attractions to wide, open outback plains and skies. This region should be on the itinerary of every caravanner, four-wheel-driver or camper trailer owner.
But its remoteness calls for reliable equipment and a healthy dose of common sense. So here are our top 10 tips for travelling into this amazing part of Australia.
1. KNOW YOUR TRAILER
In today’s world, there are many affordable caravans and camper trailers. Some are true offroaders and others are more suitable for the blacktop. Understand your trailer by crawling underneath and looking at the suspension, check all the nuts and bolts, replace those tec screws, redo and protect any loose wiring and definitely don’t overload the trailer.
Understand the Tare, GTM and ATM of your rig – the way you load it will affect the towing dynamics. Pack a container of spares like wheel bearings and grease, zip ties, electrical tape and even a cheap tarp to lie on if you need to get under the trailer in the dirt.
2. CAR PREP
It can be a long haul into central Queensland and, considering it’s a remote area, your tow vehicle needs to be well looked after.
Some workshops may offer a specialised service where they will go over your vehicle with a fine-tooth comb, but you need to cover yourself by also double-checking the basics. Even checking simple things, like wheel nuts, fluids and spare parts, can go a long way in terms of reliability.
3. FOOD STORAGE
There’s nothing worse than pulling up at camp after a long day travelling along a dusty, bumpy road and finding your cereal mixed with your eggs because of bad food storage. A good idea is to use snap-lock containers.
They come in a range of configurations, are 100 per cent leak-proof and can be stacked. Avoid glass at all costs. Go so far as to pack a towel into any gaps to stop food bouncing around, and to place your food items around the centre of your trailer as bouncing here is limited.
Protecting your investment should start at the front with a well-designed stone guard. Not only will it prevent the front of your trailer from being struck by stones that are flicked up, it will help to keep it clean when you encounter wet roads and mud. There’s nothing worse than trying to set up a muddy trailer at your next camp spot.
5. SHORT TRIPS
To prepare for a big trip into central Queensland, consider shorter weekends away to make sure everything is in order and you don’t need to replace anything while away. Finding trailer or camping accessories can be nearly impossible in remote areas and, on the off chance that you can, expect to pay premium prices.
Go to a local campground and set everything up. It’s better to find out now that you’re short two ropes than when you’re 1000km into central Queensland.
The army does it, business leaders do it and so should you. Whether it’s planning your first central Queensland adventure or you’re a seasonal tourer, you need to plan, plan, plan. The variables involved in a big trip are almost endless, from breakdowns, changes in the weather and road conditions, illness, or spending more time away than you anticipated. You need to factor in worst case scenarios. This might seem extreme but allow an extra day or two in your itinerary. All going well you can use this extra day at your last campsite.
If you are touring with kids, let them help around the camp. Simple things like letting them cook a meal (under supervision, of course), hammering in tent pegs, collecting firewood or picking the campsite will go a long way in keeping them interested in the trip. Why not buy them a cheap camera to let them click away on the trip? This may lead to them being a budding photographer and you can create a photo book for them as a keepsake. Don’t forget to allow plenty of rest stops, too.
8. FUN ACTIVITIES
Towing a trailer can be long and arduous sometimes, so think outside the box on your trip. By knowing what to expect (remember the planning stage?), you can throw another element into your adventure. Are there any festivals on? Are the local markets open? Stop and play bocce on a remote dirt road or jump off a sand dune. Let your inner child out and enjoy the adventure.
9. RESPECT YOUR RIG
It doesn’t matter if you’re exploring the regions of central Queensland or re-mote Western Australia, respecting your trailer should be a priority. Having a tonne or three following you can be as easy or as hard as you make it. When hitting the dirt, lower the tyre pressures. Knock some speed off, too, which not only lets you enjoy what’s around but limits any stones flicking up towards your setup and towards oncoming traffic. Slowing down will make the trip safer, allowing you to safely brake for animals or washouts. A major breakdown may cost you an arm and leg to get your trailer shipped back home.
10. DESTINATION OR THE JOURNEY
What’s more important, the journey or the destination? Ultimately, it’s up to you. In central Queensland, the stars at night come all the way down to touch the ground – wake up early and see a sunrise as they are nothing short of spectacular in this region.
Watching for satellites at night, looking for tiny footprints in the sand, meeting true outback characters or just gazing at the wide open spaces, it’s these little things that will stay in your mind forever. So what is more important, the final destination or making memories along the way?
Love caravanning in Queensland? Read our three favourite North Queensland caravan parks
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