Motorhome holidays are one of the biggest trends of 2020, and it isn’t hard to see why…
I’m no stranger to a road trip holiday. As kids, we’d bundle into the car every July school holidays and drive the 13 hours from Bunbury to the pristine beaches of Coral Bay. Every other weekend we’d be camping down in Prevelly.
Up until my adult years, our road trip holidays were strictly tent or motel affairs. The first time I’d ever set foot in a motorhome was on a Tasmanian holiday with my driver dad, step mum, and brother in 2018 (this is a cracker of a story for another time). The second was a girls-only road trip from Perth to Denham on the Coral Coast earlier this year.
Picture this: 5ft little me and my friend, journeying 825km journey north to escape the winter in an 8m long motorhome from Let’s Go Motorhomes, affectionately named ‘Big Bertha’. It was a sight that seemingly everyone found novel. Police officers laughed at the sight of me behind the wheel, and grey nomads stared in bewilderment as we pulled up beside their aging caravan in our shiny beast. We certainly didn’t look the typical motor-homing type. Though to us, it didn’t matter whether we did or not. We were proud to be embracing the emerging holiday trend of 2020.
Motorhome holidays are a trend that can suit everyone and, after just one night in one, I was sold. Here’s what had me hooked on having a motorhome holiday, what didn’t bode well, and perhaps a little encouragement to explore this novel mode of travel yourself.
Big Bertha was surprisingly easy to drive, even for a C-class, auto-only license holder like me. In the space of 30 minutes, I’d mastered the semi-auto gearing on the four-wheeled beast, successfully knocked it out of the first gear I’d embarrassingly driven in for the first kilometre, and pulled it into our townhouse’s poky and awkwardly laid out parking lot. For someone who was initially petrified of the responsibility of driving such a big and expensive van, I very quickly became accustomed to our oversized ride. All it took was an understanding that I needed to give Bertha a little time and space: time to speed up and slow down, and space to take those corners nice and wide.
I may have been nervous about driving the motorhome, but the prospect of staying in one gave me butterflies of another kind. The novelty and excitement of lumbering around the West Australian countryside with everything you need right there behind your driver’s seat never gets old. It’s the combination of convenience, comfort, and (undoubtedly) the fact the vehicle sits at the luxury end of the ‘DIY drive holiday’ scale. I’ve honestly never been so excited to wake up in a comfortable queen bed just 30cm from the toilet door, with the view of the stovetop on one side and the ocean on the other. Anywhere else it would be absurd, but not in a spacious and well-appointed motorhome.
Upon settling into our free campsite just out of Dongara on our first night in the home, the convenience of having our accommodation right there with us became ever apparent. Not to mention, the ease of having everything we needed already inside. Arriving at last light, jumping out to set up camp in the windy weather was the most unappealing of thoughts. Of course, being in a motorhome meant that that wasn’t necessary. We simply pulled up, battled the weather for two minutes to go and open the on-board gas bottle, switched on the inside lights, and had a cosy little pasta cooking and wine drinking session to some tunes.
The not so good
Before we hit the road out of Perth, my friend and I made a solemn pact never to use the onboard toilet. While it’s a blessing to have a toilet and shower on board with you, there’s nothing glamorous about standing at a dump point and emptying the contents of your toilet tank. We’re good friends, but dealing with each others’ waste was another level of friendship that we weren’t quite willing to reach. Roadhouses are few and far between on the route from Perth to Denham, but the thought of an emergency roadside pitstop was still more appealing than that of emptying a container full of business.
‘With great size comes great fuel consumption’ – an adage we learned on our 1650km round trip in Bertha. If like me, you’re used to driving an adult Matchbox car around the city, you’re in for a rude shock in a six-berth diesel motorhome. There’s a lot of grunt needed to get 4.5 ton worth of car and home from point A to point B. By the time we’d made it the 415km to our second stop in Geraldton, we’d already come close to running the 120L tank dry.
While having our transport and accommodation all in one was great in theory, it did have some limitations. Like that time we had set up camp for the night in Kalbarri but then made the late decision to head to microbrewery Finlay’s for some Shark Bay clams and a few pints. There was no uncoupling of the caravan and taking off in the 4WD, not in our motorhome. We had to take the whole shebang with us for the ride. Every time we wanted to go somewhere we had to pack everything away, unplug ourselves from the mains and greywater, drive the whole beast to our destination, and find the furthest, emptiest car park to pull her up in.
With a fair amount of warning and the right prep, these minor drawbacks to driving a motorhome are easily overcome. I mean, who would let a bit in extra fuel costs or having to find an external toilet to avoid emptying the onboard one get in the way of experiencing one of the most novel ways to travel? And most liberating too? You’d be crazy if you did…
Hiring your own motorhome
Motorhome hire starts from approximately $100/night for a 2-berth including unlimited kms, all bedding, gas, and cooking gear. Let’s Go Motorhomes also offer 24-hour phone and roadside assistance.
Monique was a guest of Let’s Go Motorhomes and all thoughts and opinions are of her own.
Feature image: Monique Ceccato
See more: Australian travel