A Via Goes to Australia

Similarities and differences including switching the driver's wheel!

Craig Spence  |  11.21.2016

Allow me to introduce myself, I am Craig and I am fortunate to be retired, single and loving every day exploring Australia in my Winnebago Via 25Q RV. I commenced my adventure the first day after retirement.

craig-via-25q-right-hand-drive-2My Via was imported from the USA and converted to meet Australian compliance requirements including a major change to right-hand drive, converting the hook-up electrical system from 110 volts to 240 volts and undertook numerous other system conversions to meet the local standards. In Australia, weights are measured in kilograms, distance is measured in kilometers, speed in kilometers per hour,  fuel (diesel) is measured in liters, fuel consumption is measured in liters per 100 kilometers and temperature measured on the Celsius scale rather than Fahrenheit. All of these factors and several more had to be taken into account when undertaking the conversion. Also, Australia does not have propane gas, we have liquid petroleum gas (LPG) which was another required conversion.

craigs-via-free-campingFor additional storage, I had a small trailer custom built which provides plenty of room for outdoor furniture, BBQ, bicycle, step ladder and luggage.

The Via’s inbuilt GPS system uses the Rand McNally data which is wonderful for the USA and Canada but not Australia so I had to purchase an additional GPS with a local database.

It took me several weeks to master all the motorhome systems and I was fortunate to meet many friendly people that offered me valuable advice and assistance. One person suggested that as a highway wanderer the most important thing I needed to remember was that every night is a Friday night and every day is a Saturday!

My Via is unique in Australia and a real head turner. Everywhere I travel I receive amazing compliments from fellow travelers wanting to know all about the vehicle. This interaction has been a wonderful way to meet people from other countries and all over Australia, with many inviting me to join them for “happy hour” in the early evening and in some instances to share an evening meal with them. Given the ongoing interest in my vehicle, I keep in Via in constant showroom condition one if the first things I do in setting up in a new location is to wash the vehicle and keep the interior looking good.

RV ownership in Australia is steadily increasing with around 600,000 caravans (travel trailers), campervans and motorhomes, however, only 10% are motorhomes and caravans are the most popular. Australia is approximately the same size and Continental United States but Austrailia only has a population of 25 million. Most of Australia’s geography is desert and about 85% of the population lives within 50 km (approximately 30 miles) of the coast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACotton Tree Beach on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland

There are well-equipped RV parks all over Australia to accommodate the RV traveler with the most popular being close to Australia’s beautiful beaches, where I spend most of my time. I enjoy getting to know an area so I usually spend at least a week in any one location.

I am an early riser and enjoy a walk before breakfast, exploring a location on my bicycle, swimming and enjoying the wide variety of cuisine offered by cafes, restaurants and clubs. Australia has Returned Servicemen’s Clubs (RSL), Bowls Clubs (that is outdoor lawn bowls, not indoor 10 pin) and community clubs all of which offer excellent amenities and reasonably priced dining. While I enjoy dining out, I prepare the majority of my meals either in the Via or outside on the barbecue (BBQ). I had a port installed to the Via to allow me to plug the BBQ into the onboard LPG system.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Pacific sunset facing. . .east.

Although I travel alone, I do enjoy eating well. For example, last night I prepared a watercress, rocket, and sugar snap salad with a tangy wasabi dressing; a tomato, basil, and bocconcini salad; and a barbecued fillet steak served with small boiled potatoes with melted butter and finely chopped parsley.  In recent days, I have prepared Nasi Goering (spicy Indonesian dish), frittata, and risotto.

I am more than willing to provide travel advice to anyone considering traveling to Australia for an RV vacation.

Safe Travels to you all,

Craig

craig@craigspence.com.au


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1 Comment

  1. kathy Posted on 11.29.2016

    Hi Craig,

    We are interested in shipping an RV to Australia for a 6-12 month visit (from the USA). I was wondering how you shipped the Via and approximately how much it cost. How long did it take to ship? Thanks for being the pioneer on this one!

    Kathy