Motor Homes & Caravans
Adventurous Women Share Stories of
Australian Outback Motorhome Travels
The best way to see the wide-open spaces of Australia is to hit the road in a motorhome. There’s nothing quite like the experience of driving along with a great song on the radio and the long, straight roads stretching out before you.
Kathryn Smith, Adelaide
Solo motorhome travel is becoming a popular choice for Australian women travellers to explore their own country. Touring Australia in a motorhome offers convenience, freedom, flexibility and endless adventure. You can venture anywhere in this vast and diverse country and no matter where you go, you’ll have your bed and everything you need right there with you. There really are no limits on what you can do and see, particularly in a 4WD Explorer Motorhome.
At Explorer Motorhomes 22% of owners are solo women and we asked some of these women owners to write about their experiences. Their stories were all inspiring, amazing, heartwarming and funny.
These intrepid adventurers have driven their motorhomes all over Australia and have so many fascinating tales to tell.
Kathryn from Adelaide named her Explorer Motorhome “Dirty Dora” and here she recounts her first big trip.
‘I decided that the first big trip would be to drive up to the Explorers Motorhomes Annual Get-Together in Queensland, to get some tips and meet the others, very excited. Had made no plans other than I would take 10 days off work to do Adelaide to Nambour return.
As luck would have it, my brother and nephew were driving up to the Birdsville Races with a group and invited me along. Yes, I could follow their plans! So, after lessons on how to let tyres up and down, Mum’s corned beef and sultana cake to keep us sustained, we left Adelaide one morning to get to Maree that night. Long 8 hour drive for my first day but it was great to get out of town, drive through the Flinders Ranges and get onto the dirt! It felt so good! By the end of the day, me & Dora were mates – we understood each other! Onto Mungarannie the next day.
Shorter trip, rougher road, lots of corrugation, lots of animals. Next lesson, how to operate the two-way & it was very handy, sending warnings of animals on the road, vehicles coming in opposite direction.
I met some fabulous people
including solo travellers
who gave me such good advice
Mungarannie is a great spot to camp, alongside a creek, cold beers at the pub, excellent showers and an eclectic mix of other
campers on their way to Birdsville. Some I don’t think actually made it to the races! Birdsville Races – what an experience!
I had never been before and it was astounding, the amount of people and variety of camping setups. The Explorer Motorhome got lots of admiring looks as she handled the deep ruts in the ground left from last year’s mud as well as the big butch 4WDs towing camper trailers. As they spent hours it seemed, scratching their heads setting up poles and such, I parked and put out the table and chair, poured a G&T and watched! Nothing more for me to do in Dora! It was a great few days of camping, campfires and sausages.
From Birdsville, I was on my own towards Nambour, while the others headed back to Adelaide. The dirt road from Birdsville to Windorah was rough and long, about 8 hours. I was passed by idiots ripping along at stupid speeds only to come across them later on the side of the road with blown or flat tyres. The trip across to Nambour took me 3 long driving days, there I joined the 40 Explorer motorhomes gathered for the three day rally. I met some fabulous people including solo travellers who gave me such good advice, made me envious of their trips, and shared many laughs. Was the best – what a club to belong to! Out of that, I am planning a couple of big trips together with other solos over the next year.
So, by the time Dirty Dora got back to Adelaide, I had driven 5,000 Kms over gibber and dust, through some big storms, overflowed the toilet twice, met some real characters, never once felt any fear, only exhilaration that I can go travelling on my own and enjoy it all!
Another solo owner, Hilary, still works as a doctor in Perth but often takes her motorhome “Hils Spirit” on solo adventures all over the country. She explains her experiences as a solo traveller.
I am a GP who came to Australia from the Old South Wales in 1988 in my late twenties on a working holiday. I fell in love with the outback camping experience with my own “Crocodile Dundee” in a twice rolled Mitsubishi Sigma Wagon, swag and a box of camp gear. We settled in Perth, Western Australia. Many wonderful family camping adventures followed, kids grew up and left home.
I was looking for a new challenge and I needed to find the right vehicle for my future years of adventures (had to be 4WD and comfortable). In August 2017 after a bit of research and a lot of soul searching, I proudly drove my brand new gorgeous Explorer “Spirit” from her factory birthing unit in Brisbane to Perth .
I had an open map, wikki camps downloaded on my phone and I followed any road in the approximate right direction which led to a National Park. That also included the Australian Alpine Parks via the snow fields to pamper my other passion, skiing. I proudly carried my skis hanging safely and silently where the “boys in the factory” had custom made a rack in my shower recess.
Perfect .I was nervous at first. Big vehicle compared to my other car, strange mirrors and so many manuals to read . The learning curve was exhilarating, the scenery and wildlife sublime and I just enjoy the travelling, always something new around the corner.
Time frame was my own in every aspect of the travels. I was never lonely, and I felt very free. It’s hard to know what the highlight of this maiden voyage was; probably the strange natural rock formations in the middle of nowhere. I renewed my appreciation of the vastness of this country and its weather patterns and the birdsong in the morning after the best sleeps ever.
This is the advantage of traveling on your own via motorhome, compared to going on a group tour. You will be able to have complete control over your schedule and you can choose the bucket-list experiences throughout Australia that you want to have.
Making Connections with Other Travelers
Another one of the most powerful aspects of motorhome travel is the connections you make with other travelers while on the road. At the end of a long day of exploring, there’s nothing better than sitting around a campfire with the new friends you have made, sharing food and
Kathryn fondly remembers the wonderful people she met on the road while travelling in “Dirty Dora.” She says, “I met some fabulous people including solo travellers who gave me such great advice, made me envious of their trips and shared many laughs.
Also, she unwittingly provided some entertainment herself on one occasion...……’after travelling the 8 hours from Birdsville to Windorah, I was hot, tired, thirsty and hungry. Pulled into a caravan park, a couple were parked in front sitting outside having a drink as the sun set.
I got in the back, put the lights on and stripped to have a shower. Then remembered it was a straight through view from the front cab to the back because I hadn’t dropped the curtain! Those poor people would have been looking straight at me, hope it didn’t put them off their cheese & bikkies!
Kathryn plans to make a couple of big trips with some of the other travellers she met while on her motorhome adventure.
Driving a Motorhome
One of the concerning aspects of this form of travel can be managing the motorhome itself, especially for someone who doesn’t have any experience of motorhomes and off-road driving. However, an Explorer Motorhome is designed to be as easy to set up and take down as possible and is built to handle the toughest of roads in comfort. (Plus, they can hold a lot of travel luxurious - Kathryn travels with a bar equipped with gin, vodka, champagne, wine and more plus a variety of cheeses, dips and olives.)
Driving around Australia
in a motorhome means
that you have complete
The Explorer Motorhome Vision and Spirit models will fit into a normal car park space, which means that they are versatile and easy to park. Kathryn tells the tale of when she confided to the receptionists at Kingston Park Caravan Park that it would be her first time parking the motorhome. They watched her from the window and gave her a standing ovation when she smoothly maneuvered into the parking space.
Travel Brings Freedom and Joy
Driving around Australia in a motorhome means that you have complete freedom - you are the one who gets to create your itinerary and plan your trip. All it takes to fall in love with this style of travel is a little sense of adventure and a willingness to hit the road and see whathappens. When Kathryn returned from her trip, after having driven 5,000 kms over the vast, dusty terrain, she explained that she never once felt any fear, “only exhilaration that I can go travelling on my own and enjoy it all!”
4WD Explorer Motorhomes are built to be easy travellers. Driving the vehicle is like driving a car, the same controls and feel. The reversing cameras give you a complete view of the rear, so no worries about backing into the car park of the supermarket for your supply shopping. Buyers of a motorhome get a two-hour induction handover to explain the operations of the motorhome for water, power and bathroom facilities etc. Nothing daunting about the workings every aspect is simple, and nothing physically requiring a strong arm!
Although Australia must be one of the safest countries to travel through it is still reassuring for our solo women owners to know they have access to the drive cab from the motorhome, so at any time they can drive off without going outside. Also, the 4WD ability of the vehicle ensures you will not get stuck or bogged down if you go off road or in a wet park. Nothing to stop you from making your own ‘Dirty Dora’ holiday home and hitting the highway.
For more nformation, go to www.explorermotorhomes.com.au