Inland at the Sunshine Coast

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Monday, 9 Sep 2013

Hayman Reese smoothes Ranger wrinkles on 19,000km New Age towing tour

Ford PX Ranger with New Age caravan
Ford PX Ranger with New Age

John and Hazel Crewdson towed 3100 kgs of laden 24ft New Age caravan with a PX Ford Ranger diesel auto 19,077 kms at about 25c a kilometre. The average price paid for fuel was $1.61.76c across four states and the Northern Territory.

"We monitored our distance to the next stops and filled or topped up in the larger towns and our savings were quite substantial", John said.

John fitted a Hayman Reese Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) and a Electronic Stability Control to the 24ft New Age Big Red special build with independent suspension from Melbourne and European RV in Frankston. He did this before setting off after discussions with Scotty Webster  of  Melbourne and European RV, GSA, Hayman Reese and Ford.

Melbourne and European RV is a leader in the extended support  it gives its RV customers. Extra time  and effort is put into ensuring that new owners fully understand how to use and get the  best from their RV. This goes far  beyond one briefing.

John Crewdson uses the Hayman Reese Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) with the heavy duty Ford towbar.

"The entire rig (with WDH fitted) behaved itself very well even in some quite severe crosswinds",  John Crewdson said.

The tow vehicle is a June 2012 build PX King cab 4x4 Ford Ranger with 3350kgs maximum tow rating.

"I still cannot see what Ford's (policy) problem was with fitting the WDH as without it the steering was extremely light and twitchy, but with the Hayman Reese WDH it was a completely different vehicle and a pleasure to drive", John Crewdson said.

Amazing Bungle Bungle view from the air courtesy Tourism WA
Amazing Bungle Bungle view from the air courtesy Tourism WA

Editors note: Ford launched the PX Ranger with a no WDH required policy.

"Over 19,070 kms the Ford Ranger didn't miss a beat towing our new 24ft New Age van 3100kgs fully loaded with 230 kgs on the towball",  John said.

Editor's note: In response to a GSA question in early September Ford Australia says today 10.10.2013 -
"We can advise of an upgrade to the Ford PX Ranger maximum braked towing capacity on all 4x2 Hi-Rider and all 4x4 models to 3,500kg from 01/11/2012 production".
"Please see below for the changes to the Ford Ranger 4x2 Hi-Rider and all Ranger 4x4 models:
"The maximum braked towing capacity increased from 3,350kg to 3,500kg.
"The maximum Gross Combination Mass (GCM) increased by 50kg from 5,950kg to 6,000kg.
"The maximum allowable towball download increased from 335kg to 350kg.
"Ford Australia do not recommend the use of the Weight Distribution Hitch, although the towing capacity has increased", Fords said.
The recommended weight to be applied on the towball is a minimum six percent of the gross trailer weight (up to maximum of 10 percent). Max permissible axle loads must not be exceeded", Ford said.

Average economy for the trip was 15.54 ltrs per 100km on cruise control set at 95 km/h

The trip started in early April from John and Hazel's home at Phillip Island, Victoria via Yarrawonga and Ouyen for two bowls carnivals then, Mildura, Broken Hill, NSW, Flinders Ranges, SA, with a flight over Wilpena Pound, then Port Augusta, and up the middle of Australia to Darwin, NT, with a number of stops.

"After using Darwin as a base for a couple weeks and a history lesson we headed to Litchfield National Park, NT, staying at Batchelor and Katherine for a few days then off west and down the coast to Perth, Western Australia taking about nine weeks with some good free camps or low cost sites enjoyed", John said.

Kalgoorlie Super Pit is  jaw droppingly huge
Kalgoorlie Super Pit is jaw droppingly huge

"Then a couple of weeks to come home free camping across the Nullabour after we left the great city of Kalgoolie / Boulder ( What an amazing hole in the ground.)"

They arrived back at their Phillip island home on September 2 with no caravan or car troubles to report.

"Amazingly my wife Hazel and I are still talking!!!", John said.

"Our fuel numbers are as follows keeping in mind that the vehicle holds 80 litres and we carried an extra 60 litres giving us a total capacity of 140 ltrs.

"By monitoring our distance to next stops and filling or topping up in the larger towns our savings were quite substantial.

"The lowest price we paid was around $1.38 a litre in Perth and the most paid was $1.94 a litre at Mundrabilla which I thought was OK and it was cheapest by a long shot across the Nullabour.

"We saw it as dear as $2.16.7", John said.

Editors note: Mundrabilla is a small roadhouse community  on the Eyre Highway, Western Australia on the Nullarbor Plain. Fragments of a meteorite spread over about 60km  make it one of the biggest meteorite sites in the world.

Total klms 19,077 klms

Total ltrs used 2,965 litres

Average use for trip 15.54 litres per 100kms

Total fuel cost $4,796.27

Average fuel cost $1.61.76 litre.

"This was achieved by driving at 95 kms/hr and setting the cruise control for all of the highway work. Towing 3100 kgs of laden caravan", John said.

"Our overall accommodation costs were $4,210.45 including a number of one and two night free camps as well as a couple of four night ones", he said.

John and Hazel spent two weeks in Darwins' Free Spirit park at $48 a night (it is a large well laid out park with three pools ).

Sunset and camels Cable Beach Broome courtesy Tourism WA
Sunset and camels Cable Beach Broome courtesy Tourism WA

"We paid $52 a night at Cable Beach, a park that has some 490+ sites, I thought was a bit rich particularly when quoted $46 for a powered site. When I queried the bill I was told - no that's $46 for a powered site $6 a day for power", John said.

"I vented my displeasure and said I believe that if you pay for a powered site the power should also be include in the price they quote. But the office girl response was that's the way it is", he said.

"The park was OK but we had stayed in remote parks with equal or even better facilities for nearly half the price", he said.

"Other than that issue we were very happy with all our stops paid and free and of course there are all the great characters you meet along the way.

"We also spent $3207 on sight-seeing and park fees etc.

"This included flights over Wilpena Pound and the Bungle Bungles, a fishing charter and a Horizonal Falls trip from Derby as well as a number of other walks and tours.

"There was also a 30,000 km car service in Perth $580.

"Giving us a total spend of about $12,800 for 20 week. A pretty inexpensive holiday for two people to do see what we did, if you ask me. We have spent seven times that on a 13 week overseas holiday in the past.( It was fantastic as well though)", John said.

"This does not include supermarket shopping dining out a couple of nights a week as we would be doing this at home anyway", he said. "So all we need to do now is start planning for next year".

P.S: GoSeers will note from John's pictures of the rig that Clearview towing mirrors are fitted.

Dinosaur footprint Gantheaume Pt Broome courtesy Tourism WA
Dinosaur footprint Gantheaume Pt Broome courtesy Tourism WA

GoSeeAustralia uses Clearview towing mirrors. We regard them as the leading Australian design.

GoSee comments on John’s figures:

19,077 kms average $0.25.14c/km.

Average 954 kms/week or 136kms / day.

Fuel average consumption correct @15.54lts/100kms.

John and Hazel used about 21 litres per day or 148 litres / week $240/week.

Caravan Park fees + a bit of free camping averages $30/night estimated peak travelling period for northern Aust parks = $210 per week.

GoSee notes the average price paid for fuel was $1.61.76 c / litre (GSA paid $1.69.9 on Sept 8 at Bordertown South Australia).

Tours/attractions/national parks fees $3,207 = $160/week.

Food & dining costs were extra.

Motor vehicle service $580 ($30/week).

So there we have motor vehicle expenses totalling $270 / week.

Accommodation, tours, attractions and sightseeing $370 / week.

Total cost per week $640.

When GoSeeAustralia team members first did this trip back in 1987 car expenses were close enough to 1/3 of the total cost.

Caravan parks, tours and attractions and that sort of stuff was another 1/3

Food, drinks and personal items represented about another 1/3

About 18,000 kms were covered, three new tyres purchased, the vehicle was serviced, and the Bungle Bungles and a bit of other touring stuff was included for about $7k.

Horizontal Falls
Horizontal Falls

Horizontal Falls is an expensive outing, when two GoSeeAustralia team members did it from Broome after a 2009 Canning Stock Route trip it cost about $1,000 each for the day

GSA applauds John and Hazel who did what they wanted to when they had the opportunity. They didn’t skimp and save – the main thing they enjoyed themselves, had a good time and can’t wait to do it all over again next year.

Editors note: Kalgoorlie Super Pit is a whole lot of hole

With a reputation for producing a decent slice of Australia’s gold bullion, it is not surprising that Kalgoorlie is home to one of the biggest open cut mines in the world.

This massive operation, known as the Super Pit forms part of the 'Golden Mile', reputed to be the richest square mile of gold bearing earth in the world.

Getting up close to the Super Pit, is a dwarfing experience.

At 320m deep, about 3km long and 1.4km wide this massive man made hole in the ground makes an awesome sight.

While it’s not possible to enter the pit, which operates 24 hours a day, visitors can still get a feel for its enormity from the nearby lookout platform which is just off the Goldfields Highway.

The view is amazing – giant mining trucks with tyres taller than the average person look more like Tonka toys as they make their way to the deep base of the mine.

The Super Pit Lookout is open every day from 8am until 9.30pm. Night time viewing is just as spectacular thanks to the massive lighting infrastructure.

Visitors can drive to the Lookout. Stop in at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Visitor Centre (ph 08 9021 1966) for the times of daily Super Pit blasts which are visible from the Lookout.

Editors Note:

GoSeeAustralia thanks the Western Australian Tourist Commission for their assistance with information on the Super Pit.

 For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory

Darwins Skycity Casino pool shines at night
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New  Age Image
New Age Image

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Perth view from the Swan Bells tower, WA

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