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Lightweight Cub Camper in tow Jenny & Geoff take long-way home via Western Australia

May 26, 2008
Lightweight Cub Camper in tow Jenny & Geoff take long-way home via Western Australia

By Jenny and Geoff Tait from the recently promoted to four star Tocumwal Tourist Park

What do caravan parkies do when they find time for a holiday?

They go camping. Jenny and Geoff Tait. Took the long way home and went west with their new Cub Outback camper behind their Land Rover Discovery. The Cub Spacevan with a Trans Continental Pak and few extras was $26,000 plus $1002 rego in NSW.

Although spacious to live in the Spacevan weighs only 715kg (unladen)with a ball weight of 35kgwhich makes it ideal to tow behind smaller to medium cars. (Editor's Note: always check the tow vehicle specifications) The Land Rover a diesel TDI is about 10 years old.

Jenny Geoff report for GoSee on their land voyage to Western Australia:

On a a beautiful sunny morning in Ceduna you can smell the ocean on the light breeze. It was a long haul after a 560km day, but there are amazing contrasts in scenery; from the desolate starkness of the mining township of Iron Knob, to the sparkling waters of Streaky Bay and Smoky Bay.

The mine at Iron Knob closed down 12 years ago, and now the township is a sad reminder of the hopes that went with it - housing lots laid out but never to be built upon, the swimming club abandoned and falling apart, the footy ground overgrown with saltbush.

But the pub looks healthy, and the lady who stopped to chat with us said she loved living there. Her husband worked in the mine for 40 years, and she has no intention of leaving until she needs better medical facilities.

Kimba, like many of the towns in this part of the country, is very pretty and neat, with many buildings built with the gorgeous cut limestone. It's claim-to-fame is that it is half-way across Australia. It is also the home of the Big Galah - sheesh.

I just loved Streaky Bay - big wide bay, sparkling waters, neat and tidy (it has a community-owned pub!) and a fantastic Family Parks caravan park that was chokkers and right on the beach.

Just about 60kms down the road is Smoky Bay, a smaller version of Streaky Bay, but with a big oyster farming industry. The caravan park looked pretty unimpressive, but we bought a dozen unshucked oysters there for $8.50.

They were only an hour out of the ocean.

The Family Parks caravan park is impressive, with every facility, and a short walk over the sand dune to the beach, where we ate fresh oysters, drank wine/beer, and watched the sunset. Ahhh, the serenity!

Iron Knob footy ground is a place for iron men
Iron Knob footy ground is a place for iron men

Bloody hell, the Nullarbor is a long way! 600km-700km each day and not a lot to see. Most places are just roadhouses/motels/camping areas with over-priced bad food and outrageously-priced fuel.

Fortunately, we were given some tips before we left Ceduna and avoided the worst fuel prices (dearest fuel was $2.07).

The Head of the Bight was closed (very disappointing) for indigenous cultural reasons, but there were plenty of other places to stop off and admire the spectacular cliffs and surprisingly calm ocean.

Apparently the whales are moving early this year, and we missed seeing one by about 10 minutes. Bryce Courtenay's Tandia on CD's helped pass the time.

At the WA border (Border Village) they take ALL your fruit and vegetables, honey and cardboard boxes.

There is nowhere to buy anything until Norseman (not impressed), a brief overnight stay was more than enough of Norseman. It is very unkempt and uncared for.

The best thing going for it is that it is only about two hours from Esperance. A lot of the people working in the mine at Norseman have homes in Esperance.

Geoff meets Ceduna oysters
Geoff meets Ceduna oysters

Esperance is just stunning, and has THE BEST coastal scenery I have ever ever seen. Makes the Great Ocean Road look pathetic, actually.

My digital camera practically ran out of film, I took so many gorgeous photos, but unfortunately none of them do justice to the turquoise ocean, white sands and breathtaking panoramas of bays dotted with softly-mounded islands.

Lucky Bay alone is worth the trip across, and the Great Ocean Drive (about 20km of coastline) is truly a religious experience (How Great Thou Art). Sigh.

The weather was pleasantly mild and our caravan park had a fantastic outlook. One morning we watched a large pod of dolphins moving along as we ate breakfast.

Esperance has a lot to offer and a really nice feel about it. We were happy to share this part of our trip with good friends from Ballarat, Weed Rhonda, who also happen to be on a trip- Esperance was the ideal catch-up place.

We spent four wonderful days in Esperance - Sunday markets, port tour, Mermaid Leather (where beautiful leather is made from fish skins), Bandy Creek Port (where you can buy fresh fish) and lots of scenic drives.

WA water colours challenge the Great Ocean Road
WA water colours challenge the Great Ocean Road

The weather was lovely - t-shirts by day, cool nights for sleeping.

It was our intention to move on to Bremer Bay next, but the weather turned bad so we opted for Albany instead. It was cold and rainy and we had one rest day where I actually had an afternoon nap!

Most unusual for me. Then I slept in until 8.20am. Even more unusual.

We spent all day at Whaleworld - excellent place and well worth the $20 entrance fee. Maybe it was the weather, but Albany just didn't impress us much - very spread out in a series of villages, and we didn't get a feel of character about the town - city, actually, about 30,000 people.

Anyway, we moved on to Denmark, which reminds me a bit of maybe Daylesford or Byron Bay.

Our Cub Spacevanhas a Trans Continental Pak and a few extras such as toolbox, awning and full annexe. We just love the internal kitchen, bunker lights, water tank andtwo taps, internal 12v and 240v outlets, and plenty of floorspace for those rainy, windy days and cold nights.

Yahtzee and two-handed 500 sure beat watching the TV any day. The innerspring mattress isn't very thick but is surprisingly comfortable.
The bed easily lifts up on gas struts and there is tons of storage area underneath, so we have loaded it up with everything
(including a miniature hills hoist!), except the kitchen sink, which we don't need.

We intend to call in to the Perth outlet, as we are having a few problems with leaks from zippers and seams (not especially happy with the canvas quality) and also having trouble with the door zipper.

It is strange that there is not a flywire door as well, so we had to adapt some flystrips from Bunnings to keep the evil critters out. The Spacevan is simple and quick to set up and pack up, which is what we wanted for the one-night stays, and Geoff is happy with the towing.

The Land Rover is a diesel TDI and is about 10 years old now. We looked at buying a new car when we bought the Cub Spacevan Camper, but couldn't find anything as good as the Land Rover (that was under $50,000) so thought, bugger it, we'll keep it.

Yes, diesel fuel is more expensive, but we are getting really good mileage (about 13lt/100km), better than any of
the petrols and Nissans we have spoken to, plus the servicing on the diesel is much cheaper - the big, comprehensive service we got just before we left, with spare filters and belts and so on was only about $750.

One guy with a diesel Nissan Patrol was only getting 20lt/100km, so he was not very happy when he spoke to us.

Editor's Note:

Cub Campers told GoSee today that fuel prices going through the roof can be balanced with lighter recreational vehicles.

Cub says the the deeper sides of the Spacevan allow for a larger fridge, cupboards and household bench height. Although spacious to live in it weighs only 715kg with a ball weight of 35kg making it ideal to tow behind small to medium cars.

Whereas most equivalent campers are 7ft (2.1m) wide the Spacevan is only 6'4 (1.93) wide allowing it to be towed safety without having to fix clip on mirrors. The ultra-modern kitchen is made of stainless steel with a specially designed bench extension for that much needed working space.

A Sydney company Cub Campers specialise in spacious lightweight camping trailers (folding caravans) which Cub sayscan be towed with cars as small as the Toyota Echo.

Cub Campers have a low profile for low wind resistance and with a light ball weight making them capable of towing behind small cars.

Streaky Bay
Streaky Bay

Modern small cars and in particular the new diesels are fuel efficient yet are quite capable of towing lightweight trailers.

Cubs Managing Director Roger Fagen says that a typical camper with fridge stove and queen size bed and can be towed by cars as small as 1200cc.

Editor's Note: Vehicle manufacturer towing specifications should always be followed.

These campers are compact, low profile for touring yet in 30 seconds open to spacious living and sleeping area by just simply winding the handle.

So discovering this vast country towing with smaller cars is possible without breaking the bank with fuel costs.

A particular feature of Cub Campers is their low profile and aerodynamic design to minimise wind resistance particularly in crossing the Nullabor westwards.

Cub Campers is a family owned business based at Pendle Hill and has been manufacturing campers for 40 years.

Editor's Note: Also see-

Cub and Rover enjoy beach camping
Cub and Rover enjoy beach camping