I finally bit the bullet and booked my ticket to Tassie. The delay for getting a passage was almost as surprising as the price, the soonest I could get a fare across was 7 weeks from booking and the return ticket for my car and van was going to cost $2000. So a little bit of a rethink, I decided that I’d go with just the car leaving the van back here on the mainland, a one way ticket for the car was only $250. Yeah one way, I may be taking a gamble as the bookings need to be so far ahead generally, but I really have no idea how long I’ll need to “do” Tassie and if I get stuck there for a little longer who cares.
Now here’s where I should have taken a “before” photo of the car. After travelling continuously for about 12 months the car has seen better days. Dust, dust, dust, the dust was thick through the back of the car. The very back section had been used as a storage area for all my fossicking gear, I’d been throwing buddy buckets, sieves, spades and tubs into the back for many months, it was an absolute pigsty. The back seat was in a similar state, I’d throw muddy gumboots and my pick onto the floor, there was always stuff sitting on the actual seat, a bag of spare clothes, some snacks, hats, all sorts of stuff.
I was planning on sleeping and living in the car for 2 or 3 months, this wasn’t going to be easy, I needed to do a lot of cleaning and a lot of planning and preparing so I’m camped up at a park in Learmonth just out of Ballarat while I prepare.
Now I have to be careful not to go too far, I keep reminding myself about how the backpackers do it in their little vans with almost no luxuries. Decisions had to be made, I’d considered a roof top tent to sleep in but then I checked the weather for the months I’d be in Tassie and there’s still a fair bit of rain around as well as cool night time temperatures. It seemed like a better idea to sleep in the car, which means I’d need to store stuff on the roof, all my fossicking and fishing gear. The initial plan was to get a roof top basket where I could tie all the gear, but looking at the price of the baskets, then trying to work out how I’d tie on all the individual items it was getting hard. Plus I had visions of all the muddy gear in the rain dribbling mud all over the roof of the car.
You’ll have to excuse the photos and the text within this post, I’m already 5 days into Tassie and still haven’t made this post so I’m rushing it taking a few terrible shots to try and get it done and posted up.
Eventually I decided on a roof top box, it was a fair investment to make but I figure a wise move in the long term to get all the fossicking gear out of the car, plus I can get all my fishing gear in there along with gumboots, other foot ware, camp chair and any other light items. These items can stay here indefinitely into the future as I travel further making the car a more pleasant environment. Downsides? Added height to the vehicle, but it’s not to bad.
Food, clothes and other incidentals? I have my two drawers in the back which are filled with tools and fishing gear. I will be able to cut back the tools to bare essentials for this trip, in fact I think I’d be able to cut back on my tools permanently, looking under the bonnet of my car I realize that there’s nothing I could fix under there if something did go wrong. All the fishing gear and other light but bulky items are going up to the roof box. I’ve probably packed too much food, but I like to be prepared. There’s no taking any fruit or vegetables over to Tassie so I’ll have to get them over there. Many people consider a fridge essential but I figure that I’ll shop frequently for perishable items, a fridge is a very large item to buy and store indefinitely when I travel on later and once again I’ve seen many backpackers travelling around in cars and vans without any fridge. The right drawer holds the stove, plates and cups, laptop and other assorted bits and pieces.
Water? I want to keep the water storage out of the way, can’t put it on the roof, there’s too much there already, don’t have anywhere on the rear of the vehicle for a jerry can but I don’t really want large storage in the main living area of the car. I found the answer in the form of a 40L water bladder which can sit in the floor well of the back seat where the seats are folded down. I’ve also bought a small 10L jerry can with a tap, I figure that this will be my day to day water supply which can be filled from the bladder as needed. So 40L in the bladder, 10L in the jerry, and another 14L of water in the solar shower and drinking water bottles, I should be comfortable for 5 or 6 days including showers without a problem. Also notice the window sock I have over both rear windows, a simple form of fly screens, I can leave the windows open at night without issues.
Shelter? Tassie averages about 10 or more rainy days each month over the summer months so I wanted shelter of some sort. An awning seemed the obvious choice and after many hours researching all things awning online I decided to go for a 270 degree awning rather than a simple roll out. I wanted shelter around the back of the car as this is where the drawers are, this will be a main living area, but I also need to get into the rear passenger seat. I went for the Drifta awning, I’d had my Drifta drawers in the car for about 18 months now and I’ve been impressed by their build quality and the way they do business. Their awnings are made in Australia even down to many of the small plastic and aluminium components of the awning. They cost 20% more than the fully imported “foxwing” brand but for that extra money you get a stronger build quality, better canvas and better features. The roof is starting to look a bit crowded with the awning, rod holder, storage box and shovel up there.
Sleeping.. I had my swag which I’ve carried half way around Australia and never used, but Tassie doesn’t seem like a great place for swagging it and being the type of swag which has a canvas dome on the top side you can’t really roll it out, open it up and sleep on it so I needed a mattress. After visiting a couple of bed stores I decided to get a real innerspring mattress rather than just foam. Sleep is important and it would be awkward enough sleeping in the car I needed it to be comfortable.
Cooking… The small gas canister stoves seemed like the obvious choice here, they are small and simple and there’s no mucking around with large gas bottles. For cooking implements I wanted to keep things simple and I figure a fry pan and a pot will do.
Well this is my camper, my home for 2 to 3 months touring around Tasmania. While I’m over there with some luck I’ll also get over to Flinders island, though I’ll wait and see about that as it would be another $700 to take the car over to there on a ferry.