After our recent campervan visit to Mudgee, we take a moment to reflect on the vanning experience that has now become known as the Spirit of the Van.
Do you have any caravanning or campervanning memories from your youth?
Betty-Rose: I remember a man living in a very nice caravan in the neighbours carport. I never quite understood why the caravan did not go anywhere. I used to think it would be quite good to live in a caravan, especially if it was the Barbie campervan which set the standard for luxury good times. The only other time I have done any vanning was our 2005 Tasmanian campervan road trip with the kids. We had to squash them into the top sleeping compartment. We had fun.
George: We used to own a van in England. It was called a Commer Caravanette. Orange in colour I think. Early ’70s. I mainly recall the ability to flip the back rests of the back seats to the opposite side, so that they faced the table, playing games driving along. Certainly don’t remember any seat belts. Fun in the back but I am guessing driving it would have been interesting as the two front wheels were closer together than the back wheels. Interesting design option.
Is there something in particular that attracts you the whole campervan ideal?
Betty-Rose: That comforting knowledge that there is a doona and a nice cup of tea (with the option of toast) always available. I like to imagine I am inside the watertight Great Pink Sea Snail from the Dr Dolittle film of 1967 starring Rex Harrison as the vegetarian Dr Dolittle.
George: It is mainly about the tea.
What was the motivation for the Mudgee campervan trip?
Betty-Rose: We were on Summer holidays. George’s Dad has a Toyota Hiace campervan that is perfectly kitted out. I was keen to get out on the road and head into the great central west of NSW.
George: Teenage son wanted to test out his new Swag, and I didn’t want to camp.
What were the highlight/s of the Mudgee campervan trip?
Betty-Rose: Some of my highlights included 1) Getting a good spot under a big shady tree by the Cudgegong River at the Mudgee Riverside and Tourist Caravan Park. 2) Walking down to the Mudgee pool to cool off and getting a $1 Icy Pole. 3) Sitting under the awning eating my dinner of tofu, potato and salad prepared by George right out of the campervan kitchen. 4) Washing the dishes in the van.
George: Driving in the slow lane was fun. And changing gears, actually felt like I was really driving. I did like cooking outside under the awning, drinking beer direct from the Mudgee brewery which was 200 metres from the camp site. Funny that.
In conclusion, our Mudgee trip was a bit of a trial run just to remind us what it was all about. And what it’s all about is embracing the Spirit of the Van. We hope any of your own vanning memories or future vanning journeys are equally Van-tastic and Van-tacular.
Best regards, Betty-Rose and George
(Some further reading and inspiration: Vantastic: Retro Caravan Holidays in the Modern World by Kate Ulman)
Here are some photos encapsulating the memories that are the Spirit of the Van.