At the end of every year, we head South to a quiet little coastal town called Red Rock, 30 minutes from Coffs Harbour, for some quality family time. When we first visited, our holiday home was a humble Coleman 10 man tent which was fantastic! However, a consistent pattern we’ve noticed in this region since is the heavy rain that persists for at least 2 days during our stay each year. As I’m sure any camper can attest to, in a downpour, even the best tent can put a dampener on a family holiday when the water and sludge eventually finds its way inside.
So for comfort (and our sanity’s) sake, we vowed to sleep in something more structurally sound for our most recent family holiday. The thought of buying a caravan had crossed my mind, but for one trip per year it really didn’t seem like a sound investment. That’s when we heard about Camplify, a marketplace for renting vans from everyday Ausssies. Problem solved!
We’d already heard great things about this Aussie startup, with several of our mates having booked camper trailers and caravans through Camplify. The process itself is simple, and is much like booking hotel accommodation online:
- Enter your desintation and desired date of stay
- Peruse the results (you can filter for caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes and vans)
- Select your preferred option
- Wait for approval from the renter
- Pay your deposit (with final payment debited closer to your stay)
And voila – you have yourself a home on wheels! It’s so simple and convenient you’ll wish you hadn’t discovered it sooner.
Given our personal vehicle has a limited towing capacity, we opted to rent a motorhome rather than a caravan from Camplify as we’d had a great experience with this mode of travel during our recent trip to Tasmania. We chose one based in Yamba, which was perfect as it gave us an excuse to stop in to our beloved surf town for a few days on our journey South.
Our van was a 6-berth 2007 model Jayco fondly named The Breeze, owned by a friendly chap named Paul. Upon pickup, Paul took me through all of the essentials; how to lock and unlock the van, operating the awning, how to switch the electricity to the backup battery, operating the gas stove, filling and emptying the water tanks, setting up the TV, and of course that job that no one wants, emptying the toilet cassette.
But this is also what’s fantastic about a motorhome – it literally has everything onboard that you would find in a house! There’s not better feeling that having a vehicle that has everything you need right behind you, so you can pull up anywhere and simply enjoy your new backyard with virtually zero setup required.
If you’ve never hired a motorhome before, I’ll admit it takes a little getting used to. Being almost 7m long and 3m tall, the driver must be aware of their surroundings and other road users, as well as hazards such as overhanging trees. But like us, you’ll be cruising on the highway in no time in the ultimate freedom chasing machine.
From Yamba we headed to another quaint little surf community known as Crescent Head, 250km south of Yamba for a couple of days with friends before our stint at Red Rock. The 7-speed manual handled the commute like a dream, and was surprisingly efficient on diesel fuel economy.
Crescent Head Caravan Park, one of the most ideallyic locations on the planet nestled between the headland and the picturesque salt water creek, was our first official setup of the motorhome. When setting up the motorhome, you’ll notice one major difference between caravans and campervans, that being the placement of the wheels. Whilst a caravan allows you to alter the levels of the front and rear using hydraulic levellers due to the central axel, with a motorhome you are largely at the mercy of the camber of your campsite. Thankfully our site at Crescent was quite flat, meaning the interior of our van wasn’t sloping uphill which can be an issue when sleeping.
Setup was a dream, taking only 15 minutes, meaning that we were ready to hit the crystal clear waters almost immediately upon arrival. How good is that!
After a couple of days in Crescent Head, we ventured back up to Red Rock. Pack down was equally simple, the only advice being to double check that everything is tightened (including the gas bottle tap) before hitting the road.
For us, entering Red Rock feels like putting on a comfy old tshirt. There’s no flashy houses, and the township consists of a bowls club and a local shop. Entranced by a long stretch coastal bushland, you are greeted by views across the expansive tidal creek which draws locals and visitors alike.
Red Rock is also home to a protected cove, headland followed by an open beach which extends as far as the eye can see. It’s a raw, beautiful and largely untouched specifimen of Eastern coastal Australia.
Here, setting up the van was virtually second nature after our practice run at Crescent. The only difference at Red Rock was the slope of the campsite; even with the wheel levellers included with our motorhome rental chocked under the front wheels the van still sloped slightly downwards. There’s not a whole lot more we could do about that so we just went with the flow.
Once established, we enjoyed the next 10 days in our new home thoroughly. The motorhome’s awning provided ample protection for our fridge and preparation area, even during the heavy downpours that eventually delivered upon their annual tradition. And my, was it nice during the rain to be curled up inside on a bed without the slightest hint of moisture finding its way inside, the pitter patter on the van roof a much more calming sound than the shroud water darts we’d experienced in years gone by in our tent.
At meal time, we predominantly cooked on the gas stove inside however ate outside under a marquee, simply because we believe camping is about the outdoors. Whilst the motorhome’s indoor fridge is certainly ample, we also hire a household fridge every year to store Christmas essentials such as the ham, salads and additional celebratory beverages. Rather than use the van’s facilities, we opted to use the campground’s shower block as it is more spacious (and is cleaned by the park staff daily – we were on holidays after all!)
The only aspect we’ll need to consider for future rentals, is the bedding configuration. The main bed at the back of the van and double bunk above the driver’s cabin were completely workable, however as the kids start to grow older no doubt they’ll want to sleep in their own seperate beds.
Camplify Damage Cover
Something you’ll need to consider when renting from Camplify is damage cover, particularly if you are travelling any distance with the van (delivery to your campsite is also an option too). The last thing you want on your holiday, is a hefty bill from a mishap on the road or in the park. Camplify offers three options:
- Base level – included with your hire, however with a higher excess
- Mid level – excess is decreased, but still signficant
- Comprehensive – excess is much lower
It’s important to note this will be an additional cost on top of the nightly rate, so keep this in mind when budgeting for your next trip.
Tip: If you have existing travel insurance I’d suggest checking your hire car coverage first as this may actually cover some scenarios associated with your Camplify rental .
The entire family loved the motorhome and it was perfect for our multi-stop holiday from Yamba to Crescent Head to our final destination at Red Rock. For our next annual Red Rock holiday we’re heading straight to Red Rock however, so have decided that having a hiring a caravan and having it delivered will offer us with the ideal holiday home for that journey. A caravan will provide us with some extra space, offering private sleeping quarters with bunk beds for the kids and a more spacious central living area too. This will be our first caravan experience, we can’t wait to try it out and share our story with you.