For many years I had dreamed of owning a camper or motor home with the goal of doing a lap (around Australia). I had considered a caravan or camper trailer, but I have never towed anything, and did not relish the thought of reversing a large object.
While at the day dreaming stage, my aspirations steered towards quite large vehicles with extending walls and shower and toilet.
There were some problems with that dream, however.
You need to keep these things somewhere.
During March to July 2020 while we were in COVID-19 lock down I spent a lot of time walking the streets of my suburb, and saw motor homes parked on streets or in driveways. This did not appeal. Other options included leaving your vehicle in another location which involved more funding and dislocation.
In late 2016 I decided that the best approach would be to get a four wheel drive and a tent. I needed a new car so purchased a Suzuki Grand Vitara Sport which met the primary requirement of fitting inside my garage. I think it is a great vehicle but had two main deficiencies. The main one was that storage was compromised by the poor design of the folding rear seats. There really was not enough room for the gear I was contemplating for a lap. The second issue was poor fuel economy with its 4 speed auto.
I finally decided against purchasing another vehicle just for travelling and instead to choose one that would be a camper and daily driver. The answer for me was going to be a campervan.
There were a few options to choose from including building one on a Toyota HiAce or VW Transporter platform or buying a ready made item such as Mercedes Marco Polo or VW California.
There are a number of Australian builders that will convert these vehicles such as Achtung Camper, Dove Camper Conversions, Trakka, Frontline Campers, Jacana, Wanderlust Campers , Red Dog Campers, Xcentrix, Campino, Skyline.
In the end it looks like leaning towards a Transporter with the next challenge finding one. They are hard to find new or used with low kms.
I placed an order for a base model new Transporter 6.1 in July 2020 after a prolonged period of searching for a decent used one and always arriving too late – they are just that popular.
Not long after I placed my order I spoke with a conversion company in Ballina, NSW and realised that there are some important features that were not included in my order that should be reconsidered.