The GoSee plan was for five days in a luxury resort in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales all off peak, no crowds, cheap prices, easy. So drive straight up there, spend a couple of nights in a cabin around Port Macquarie on the way.
Then the New South Wales bushfires put an end to Port Macquarie idea, so we stayed further south before going to the Blue Mountains. Our booking in Blue Mountains had to be forfeited because of the bushfire situation there and all roads were closed.
So, Hunter Valley look out here we come. Two days there had us moving again because of new bushfires, so back down the coast to Ulladulla where more fires started up and again we had smoke haze, hayfever, sore eyes, water bombing helicopters and all that stress. Average cost for cabin accommodation over nine nights was $154 a double per night. Total $1386.
Solar powers GSA caravan and office equipment
If we had taken the GSA Blue Sky caravan and stayed at each caravan park venue we visited on a powered site, average site costs would have been $42.66 per night
Towing the Blue Sky caravan, our fuel useage generally increases to around 17 lt /100 kms, so we would have used an extra $303 in fuel at the prices available. Add this to powered site costs of $384, our accommodation would have been $687 which is a about 50 percent of what it cost to run the vehicle and stay in cabins.
GSA believes caravan park powered site prices are cheap in comparison to park charges for cabins.
The quality of cabin accommodation we saw in the lower price range (up to $130 a double a night) is poor. The cabin inventory is often old and tired.
By direct comparison a modern, properly fitted out self-contained caravan is more comfortable and certainly more appealing.
With a solar power system caravan travellers can use unpowered sites in parks (if they wish to use parks) and save further dollars. Those not wanting to use caravan parks are well catered for with responsible freedom camping options and dump points available in most areas.
Vehicle info – Holden says Colorado average fuel consumption is 9.0 lt /100 kms.
This trip 2,993 kms was covered with the airconditioner on and off, cruise control 110 kph, loaded with fridge, box of food stuff, two suitcases, picnic set and a bit of other stuff.
Fuel consumption averaged 9.4 lt /100 kms, the best recorded by the Colorado for years.
GoSeeAustralia Colorado tow tug with Clearview mirrors and Rola pack bars
Editors Note: Clearview towing mirrors and roof racks were removed. These items increase fuel consumption by .5 each At least GSA travelled in a period of low fuel prices. 282 litres was used at an average cost of $1.53 per litre.
The NSW Rural Fire Services (RFS) 'Fires near Me' app was useful for info wherever we travelled and it was used several times a day. The bushfires seemed to be everywhere but we never saw the flames, just the smoke haze and helicopters.
But the NSW bushfires meant funding extra accommodation for the nine nights we were away so it was decided to do a Cabin v Powered Sites exercise staying in Deluxe cabin accommodation. The citeria was at least a queen bed at a lower budget than Superior cabins. It was unfortunate that our trip included two weekends – that is right, cabin prices rise from $124 per night to $230 per night with two nights minimum booking IF you can get one.
We couldn’t get in at Shellharbour, we were told that they are booked out till some time in early December, so on to Easts Big4 Beach Holiday Park ,Kiama for two nights at $147 a night in their cheapest cabin. It was a vintage ’88 Jayco with no reno’s and a tired double bed mattress, no verandah, and basic ensuite.
Bridge across the Hawkesbury
Next stop Poplar Tourist Park, Elderslie had a good ensuite cabin at $125. A powered site is $30 and an unpowered site $25.
Tents pitch in a unique bush style area or caravans park on one of the large grassed or concrete slab sites in this unique area of Camden.
Next, to offset our Blue Mountains bushfires disappointment we enjoyed some Resort/Hotel luxury in a two bedroom two-storey resort unit in the Hunter Valley at $250 a night.
Then we returned to caravan park accommodation at Beach Haven Holiday Resort at Ulladulla in another cabin from an old inventory at $124 for a Thursday night stay. The cabin price rose to $290 a double per night for Saturday and Sunday. That is outside our budget.
Next day we went to Holiday Haven’s Ulladulla Headland Tourist Park just up the road. It was the best caravan park cabin accommodation of those we experienced on our trip, perched right on top of the beachfront and it included spa, sea views and built in barbecue at (Standard) $122 a double per night with no weekend surcharge.
It is the kind of value GoSee expects from caravan parks as we move around Australia.
Our last night was at Gundagai Cabins and Tourist Park in a Superior ensuite cabin at $99 a double per night.
It was a good clean and comfortable cabin.
The Gundagai Cabins and Tourist Park is exceptional among Australia caravan parks because of its $45 per night under-cover drive-through powered ensuite sites with TV access for people towing caravans. Each site has its own sullage disposal. Powered sites are $35. Unpowered sites for two people are $26 and in a thoughtful response to real world travel needs $20 for a single person.
Beach access at Ulladulla
Changes to the Hume Highway have made for less gear changing from trucks and there is little noise audible in the Gundagai Cabins and Tourist Park. Gundagai is half way between Sydney and Melbourne on the Murrumbidgee River. The Tourist Park is a few minutes walk from the town centre.
The council swimming pool is next door. The park is pet friendly and disabled facilities are available.
The Snake Gully Cup Festival is on November 15 and 16 and leads up to the Dog on the Tuckerbox's birthday.
The famous dog of song and tale has an 81st birthday celebration on Saturday November 30.
Some stats and GSA rating of the accommodation used:
Average cost for cabin accommodation nine nights $154.
Best accommodation in order:
1 Hunter Valley Resort (Resort/Hotel)
2 Holiday Haven’s Ulladulla Headland Tourist Park.
3 Poplar Tourist Park, Elderslie, (Camden).
4 Gundagai Cabins and Tourist Park.
5 Easts Big4 Beach Holiday Park, Kiama.
6 Beach Haven Tourist Park, Ulladulla.
Beachfront camping at Shellharbour Beachside Tourist Park
Buick and Franklin caravan.
Fire Fighting helicopter with water bag
Surfing at Ulladulla