If you think that a recreational vehicle (RV) is only for those long trips across Australia, think again. Michelle Hogan of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) explains how an RV offers the perfect opportunity for a last-minute short break.
For those who own a recreational vehicle (RV), or are considering the purchase of one, it can be very easy to get caught up in the idea of the ‘ultimate’ trip around Australia; unchartered stopovers, unfamiliar towns, and exploring the great unknown. It certainly sounds appealing to some … but for others, owning an RV simply means having access to a convenient way of escaping for the weekend.
Whether you choose to travel permanently, part-time or casually, take one long trip, or several shorter adventures, RV enthusiasts are a diverse and ever growing community who come from all walks of life and travel in all types of vehicles. But they do have one thing in common – RV travellers enjoy the freedom to stop and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding countryside, travelling where the wind takes them!
The duration of your adventure does not have to reflect any ‘ideal’ other than your own. Self-contained RVs, whether towed or self-propelled, have their own toilet, shower, water tank, fridge, solar panels and/or generator, allowing RV travellers to ‘disappear’ for up to a week. When visiting a new region, the only extra services self-contained RV travellers require is a dump point, a water tap, somewhere to dispose of rubbish, and somewhere to stop for supplies and fuel.
While many people enjoy travelling full-time, or doing ‘the big lap of Australia’, there are equally as many people who prefer shorter and less frequent trips. The beauty of a self-contained RV is that you have the choice to simply enjoy being somewhere different for just a few days, or a few weeks.
Many owners of RVs are also members of the CMCA and are only too happy to share their experiences. As with many other members, Richard and Sonja both still work full-time, but enjoy heading off to an unknown destination, not too far away, for breakfast. Of their experiences they say “It amazes me that we have such a fantastic country and that many people just don’t make the time to break that ‘routine’ and see it. Well we have and we’re loving it. Within a 10 kilometre distance we have now had breakfast in six to seven different locations.”
The great thing about owning an RV is that you can easily explore your own backyard. There are so many amazing places worth visiting in Australia, so why skip past your own state? Short trips are ideal for many, and even if you are planning ‘the big lap of Australia,’ why not iron out any possible kinks on some short trips first?
Graham Sims, another CMCA member, said it perfectly, “There are beautiful places not necessarily far from home; freedom and enjoyment are personal concepts that sometimes need to be adapted to circumstances. As with life, it’s the journey, not the distance travelled, that matters.”
There are numerous misconceptions surrounding the RV lifestyle and it is important that these fallacies do not deter interested individuals.
In 1995 a phrase was coined to depict baby boomers who travel in an RV; the affectionate phrase ‘grey nomad’ became a popular expression within society until the media began using this term and created a false representation of baby boomers ‘trailing their RV across Australia, lazing on deck chairs, burning up their children’s inheritance’. The negative connotations that soon surrounded this phrase not only affected the RV tourism market, but created a stereotype based on a few, to represent many.
The Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia (RVMAA) is the Australian manufacturers’ union and offers industry statistics on RV production and demand. Each year a figure is released to represent the demand within the RV tourism market, and the lowest ever recorded number was, coincidentally, in 1995. It is impossible to theorise the cause behind the low figure, however one could easily speculate that the detrimental effects of the term ‘grey nomad’ on the RV industry contributed significantly to the large drop in consumerism.
Organisations such as the CMCA are ensuring that the former stigma surrounding the term ‘grey nomad’ is replaced by a more positive and real representation of a growing and vibrant community.
Before you venture out on the open road, near or far, visit CMCA.net.au for more information.
Written by Michelle Hogan, CMCA