We found that two years into retirement and after a trip overseas and some of the easier jobs at home had been done, the spirit of Wanderlust arose and took over. We did not know where to start. Not. A. Clue. Weeks and weeks followed trawling the internet, buying a truck load of camping/caravan magazines, and then talking to friends made us even more confused.
Bearing in mind we’re first time campers and a little bit older we went back to basics and said to ourselves it had to be light because we have a max 1200 kg tow capacity, had to be easy to put up and take down, needed a big bed and ability to cook inside if weather inclement, off-road capability was preferred and it had to be comfy and easily manageable. And if it all went pear shaped it had to be easily re-saleable. So it came down to an Ultimate and a TVan. Not difficult to reject the latter because of weight and internal space.
There were a few Ultimate off-road camper trailers on Gumtree and other sites but not many. We were very nervous about buying privately. We found that Ultimate Campers offers a first class facility of selling second hand campers which they detail and service fully before sale with replacement of any unserviceable parts. The journey to Moruya and introduction to Ultimate Campers’ Sales Manager, Steve Smith, resulted in our buying #703 the same day and we were thrilled to bits. Adding a shower and water heater, internal shelf, external shelf and mains power input would make us completely self-contained. The delivery day followed and Ultimate Campers’ handover expert, Andrew, spent a whole day with us patiently walking us through the operation of every aspect of the camper. He also showed us around Ultimate Campers’ manufacturing facility only to leave with a bottle of Petersens! Now that’s service.
A few weeks have passed and we have now enjoyed four weekends of wild camping – I think it’s called free camping in the books and we cannot have enough. It is so peaceful. We hear the kookaburras first thing, watch aerial dogfights between eagles and crows, watch the wrens flitter between the undergrowth, marvel at the night sky, listen to the river surging over the rocks and actually talk to each other before gathering wood for the evening fire and then cooking tea. And the other wonderful thing is no reception – no phone, no IPad, no TV. We indulge ourselves with CDs in the wireless/player. My ever amazing and patient wife was really apprehensive about the whole adventure but has taken to it like a seagull to a chip and is planning our next trip already. We have so much fun. It is like a whole voyage of rediscovery and recreation. Four degrees outside and we are so snug and warm in bed. Wish we’d listened to Andrew a bit more carefully about a couple of things, such as the outrigger legs, levelling, and “billowing” the canvas but we’re getting there!
If you’re thinking about something like this, are a little nervous and not quite sure what to do, talk to Ultimate Campers. A privately-owned family company interested in making the experience for us valuable and worthwhile and they hit the mark in every respect. And now we are living the dream. Should have done this years ago…