Planning Your Cape York Adventure: 4 Key Preparations

When contemplating a journey to the iconic Cape York Peninsula, the conversation often turns to the daunting prospect of tackling its harsh off-road conditions, especially the notorious corrugations. In reality, with a strategic approach to these initial concerns, conquering Cape York can become an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

So, how can you prepare for the challenges of Cape York and make your first trip to this unique destination a reality? Here are four recommendations, drawn from our experience, that will empower you to conquer Cape York:

1. Tyre Pressures

Your tire pressures serve as the critical link between the road, your vehicle, and its suspension. Lowering your tire pressure allows your vehicle to better handle the unforgiving corrugations. The tires distribute their coverage more evenly over the corrugations, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable ride. It’s essential to note that when towing a trailer, it’s advisable to reduce tire pressures for both your vehicle and the trailer. The correct tire pressure can significantly influence how your vehicle and anything you are towing navigate these challenging conditions.

2. Smart Packing & Storage Solutions

Maintaining the center of gravity (COG) of your vehicle is pivotal, especially when navigating rugged off-road terrain while towing. Achieving this requires smart packing techniques that prioritize placing heavier items lower and over the axles. This approach fosters a stable and secure towing experience. Although not everything can be stored low, smart packing helps safeguard your belongings from the harsh effects and vibrations of corrugated roads. At ZONE RV, our off-road caravans are thoughtfully designed with this principle in mind, featuring ample storage capacity strategically located throughout the caravan to optimize weight distribution, allowing you to position your items low and near the axles, ultimately contributing to safer towing conditions.

3. Drive to the Conditions

Embarking on a journey to Cape York is an exciting adventure, often constrained by limited holiday time. It’s easy to get caught up in meeting deadlines and pushing your vehicle to the limits on rough off-road terrain. While time constraints may be a factor, it’s essential to drive in line with the conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Embrace the experience and adventure; it will make your arrival at the destination all the more rewarding.

4. Enjoy the Adventure

Cape York is an iconic destination, not only because you can stand at the tip of Australia but also due to the countless iconic locations along the way. From Fruit Bat Falls and Thursday Island to Daintree, Twin Falls, Elliot Falls, and many more, the adventure is as much a part of the journey as the destination itself. Embrace the adventure, savor every moment of the trip, and the memories will be all the more precious.

If you’re considering a trip to Cape York, Paul and Katie from The Feel Good Family have just completed their first Cape trip and have some exciting insights to share. Watch our latest video below and start dreaming about your next off-road adventure!


If you’d like to find out more about our 100% made-in-Australia composite off-road caravans, view our range today and build the caravan perfect for your adventures!

What are the benefits of a gasless off-road caravan?

6 reasons to think about a van with a gas-free interior

With a drive to create new caravans that are safer, more efficient, and easier to use than ever before, leading caravan manufacturers are now producing gasless caravans.

Also known as gas-free caravans, gasless models use their battery banks and rooftop solar system to run the air conditioning, induction cooktop, and other appliances, all without the need for gas bottles.

So what are the benefits of a gas-free interior in a caravan? And why would you choose a gasless caravan over the traditional system? Here are six reasons to think about opting for a gasless caravan for your next off-road adventure.

1. It can be a safer way to enjoy a caravan adventure

When you choose to do without gas inside your caravan, it can be a safer way to experience an off-road, off-grid holiday. There are a few reasons why.

When you have your whole family living inside a 21ft space, you don’t want to think about the (very remote) possibility of gas leaks inside your caravan. It’s highly unlikely ever to occur, but going gasless can take this worry away altogether.

Then there’s the nature of induction cooktops themselves. This relatively new method doesn’t use burners underneath the cooking surface, instead heating pots and pans directly using electromagnetic energy.

It’s a much more efficient way to cook, converting more energy into heat. And, since there’s no open flames, it can be safer around your family too.

2. You can still choose to cook (outside) with gas!

One important point to remember is that going “gasless” with induction cooking doesn’t mean having no gas available at all. Even though induction cooking offers you an instant cooking experience (and even gives you more bench space inside your van), you can still have the option of ‘cooking with gas’ on your caravan adventure.

So if you just can’t bear to say goodbye to those flame-grilled steaks, you don’t have to! You can still cook with gas outside your van on a BBQ, even with a gasless interior. This setup can even give you more flexibility, since you won’t be locked into cooking with just one source of energy.

3. Gasless interiors help your caravan remain dust-free

The latest off-road caravans are designed to be fully dust-free – which you’ll find is a big advantage when you’re travelling around Australia.

But when you cook with gas inside a caravan, you’ll need to open up the van’s vents for safety. That means potentially letting in that road dust you’ve worked so hard to keep out – not to mention the armies of insects that will be drawn to the smell of your dinner!

Instead, a gasless caravan allows you to cook using induction, with no need to open vents for ventilation. You can stay comfy inside, with your caravan’s air con running off the battery system.

4. Your gas bottles will tend to last longer

With a gas-free caravan, your hot water and the internal air heater will be run off the same diesel tank. You won’t be using up gas bottles just to stay comfortable and enjoy your caravanning experience.

And, since you won’t be using gas for your hot water, you’ll notice your BBQ gas bottles will last a lot longer – meaning you can stay off-grid for longer too. And speaking of this point…

5. Gasless interiors can help you stay off-grid for longer

When you cook inside your caravan on the induction cooktop, you won’t be restricted by the available gas. Instead, the cooktop will be powered by the van’s battery bank which will regenerate from the solar panels.

This means that, if you ever run out of gas with your outside BBQ bottles, you won’t have to go hungry or cut short your off-grid adventure! You’ll still be able to comfortably cook inside your van on the induction cooktop.

Oh – and in the case of very cold or hot weather, you can rest easy, since the caravan’s air conditioner runs off the battery bank too!

6. It’s no more expensive than a caravan with gas

At Zone RV, because induction cooktops and heater – and BBQ gas bottles – come as standard in our off-road caravans, it’s no more expensive to choose a gasless interior for your caravan. You can enjoy all of the benefits we’ve talked about, at no additional cost.

MY24 Gas Less Off Road Caravans

Enjoy a detailed walkthrough of our MY24 Gas Less Off Road caravan walk through. Showcasing all the features we have added to give you a safer off road experience.

Start Your Journey

If you’d like to find out more about our 100% made-in-Australia composite off-road caravans, view our range today and build the caravan perfect for your adventures!

Aussie RVs Receive 3D Printing Boost from $1.16M Government Grant

Written by Vanessa Listek – 3D Printers – 3D Printing – Oceania

When air travel took a backseat during the pandemic, road trips in RVs surged in popularity. With international travel plummeting by a staggering 73% in 2020, domestic adventures on four wheels soared. ZoneRV, an Australian game-changer, stepped up, harnessing the power of 3D printing to merge cutting-edge technology with a renewed love for the open road. Buckle up as we journey through their latest innovative strides in the caravan world.

Stationed on the Sunshine Coast, caravan manufacturer Zone RV raised expectations by snagging the title for the largest 3D printer in the Southern Hemisphere. The gigantic system, with a volume of 22m x 5m x 1.6m, showcases Zone RV’s determination to break new ground and strengthens its reputation for off-road caravan production.

 Virtual Smart Factory VSF122 large-area gantry-based machine

Zone RV incorporates technology from the aeronautical and marine industries to build lighter, stronger, safer off-road caravans with all-composite bodies and cabinetry systems. As a result, users can keep the weight below their vehicle’s Gross Combined Mass (GCM). This ensures the caravans can handle Australia’s rough terrains. Zone RV designs these caravans for Australian corrugated roads. They construct them on a custom chassis, complemented by the specially crafted CruiseMaster suspension systems.

Founded in 2016, the company offers a range of Australian-made off-road caravans. Many users have expressed satisfaction with Zone RV’s caravans because they focus on luxury and quality. The attractive starting price of its BASE model, below AUD 100,000 ($64,280), adds to the appeal. Additionally, Zone RV has recently invested in a new $7.5 million, 5,000-square-meter facility in Coolum Eco Industrial Park. This solidifies the company’s standing in the competitive Australian market.

Zone Rv Sojourn & Mode 4×4 Accessoire Composite Canopy


Zone RV chose the Virtual Smart Factory VSF122 large-area gantry-based machine from CNC Design. This behemoth balances both 3D printing and machining in composite materials.

“At Zone RV, we’re always on the prowl for innovative avenues that enhance our product delivery,” said Zone RV Founder and CTO Dave Biggar. “This monumental 3D printer from CNC Design is exactly the leap we envisioned. Beyond the massive productivity enhancements, it propels our flexibility in design and manufacturing. Having the largest 3D printer in the Southern Hemisphere? It’s a bold testament to Zone RV’s drive to redefine innovation in caravanning and Australian manufacturing as a whole.”

Zone RV installed this high-tech system at its manufacturing hub in June 2022. They mainly use it for trimming and polishing molds and printing blanks for mold creation. Moreover, the business will work shoulder-to-shoulder with CNC Design, pioneering new methods to print large molds directly.

Notably, this large area gantry meshes five-axis milling with three-axis printing — all housed in a single machine. Outfitted with the Siemens SINUMERIK ONE, it’s at the cutting edge of CNC systems today. Five-axis milling is conducted with a 10 kW, 20,000 rpm milling spindle from HSD Mechatronics. This is complemented by swarf extraction, the process used to remove, collect, and dispose of waste material. Alongside this, its 3D printing capabilities are enhanced by the CNC Design Model 30 print head, which can print up to 30 kilograms per hour. Add-in features include five-axis orbital sanding and a built-in tool rack and print head calibration unit. It’s clear that no stone was left unturned in its design.

Moreover, this machine is integral to CNC Design’s transformative VSF concept. It’s redefining the production of sizeable components in diverse sectors, from construction to entertainment. This VSF initiative also signifies adaptability, producing parts in various materials ranging from composites and plastics to concrete and wax. CNC Design is carving its niche, catering to the world with some of the greatest additive manufacturing machines, crafting parts up to 30 meters long.

John Croft from CNC Design states, “Zone RV is at the cusp of revolutionizing advanced manufacturing. This new machine doesn’t just give them a leg up; it propels them leagues ahead. We’re beyond thrilled to collaborate, ensuring they milk every ounce of potential from this technological titan.”

Installation Video

State-backed innovation

Thanks to a $1.16 million Made in Queensland (MiQ) grant, Zone RV acquired the 3D printer, expanded production, and created 99 new jobs, fostering local employment and contributing to the state’s economy. After the grant period, the business grew to 231 employees. Through these grants, the Queensland government supports manufacturers and spurs growth in the local industry that currently employs 180,000 Queenslanders.

Building on this momentum over the past five years, the MiQ program has bolstered the region’s economic landscape, generating more than $100 million in private-sector investment. Queensland-based manufacturers who want to replicate Zone RV’s success should apply for MiQ’s Round 6, opening in October 2023.

Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Glenn Butcher and Zone RV Founder David Biggar. Image courtesy of Queensland Government.

Biggar praised the initiative: “This Made in Queensland grant was a great help to the business. We were able to really take the big leaps forward that we wanted to do, thanks to the funding support we received from the Queensland Government. We really enjoy being part of Inside Advanced Manufacturing, also. It’s building connections with our peers and working collaboratively with other manufacturers to help the entire sector thrive. It’s great to be part of something like this.”

Branching out, Biggar also extended the application of this colossal 3D printer to his other ventures, including catamaran manufacturer Cure Marine. Diversifying its use, he mentioned that the brand also used the 3D printer’s capabilities to create the CURE 55 performance cruising catamaran. It was launched in December 2022.

Cure Marine’s Cure 55 catamaran. Image courtesy of Cure Marine.

Zone RV’s incorporation of this significant 3D printer marks a step forward in manufacturing, signaling broader changes across new subsectors. Its diverse applications, from caravan to marine production, highlight the growing role of additive manufacturing. The partnership between Zone RV and CNC Design, bolstered by the Queensland government’s support, represents a collective effort towards a modern, tech-driven Australian manufacturing scene.

5 Reasons to Safeguard Your Zone RV with the Off-Road Protection Pack

One of most sought after optional upgrades in our Sojourn & Peregrine models, the Protection Pack, is designed to shield your caravan from the harshest terrains, ensuring your peace of mind while exploring off-grid locations. Here is six reasons why the protection has is one of the most common upgrades on our off road caravans.

1) Unmatched Protection for Off-Road Travels

The Off-Road Protection Pack is not just an upgrade; it’s added peace of your beloved Zone RV. With a robust rubberized coating applied to the side walls, drawbar, and rear bar, this engineered protection ensures your caravan stays safe from debris, stones, and potential damage encountered during off-road explorations. Give your Zone RV the best chance to endure the challenges of the road with this cutting-edge safeguard.

2) Affordable Peace of Mind

Your Zone RV is a valuable investment, and protecting it should be a priority. The Protection Pack is like affordable insurance for your caravan, offering you the peace of mind that your cherished home on wheels is shielded from potential harm in vulnerable areas.

3) Deflect Debris with Ease

The rubberized coating of the Protection Pack is designed to deflect debris effortlessly. Whether you’re traversing rocky paths, dusty trails, or muddy tracks, rest assured that your caravan’s exterior is equipped to withstand the impact. Safeguarding your Zone RV with this advanced protection means you can concentrate on the joy of exploration, leaving debris concerns behind.

4) Built to Withstand Extreme Conditions

With the Off-Road Protection Pack, your Zone RV can handle even the harshest environments. Capable of tolerating temperatures up to 120°C, this robust coating maintains its integrity and effectiveness under scorching sun or extreme heat. Whatever the weather conditions, your caravan will be well-prepared to face the challenges head-on.

5) Long-Lasting Performance

Investing in the Off-Road Protection Pack means investing in the long-term durability of your Zone RV. Designed to be permanently elastomeric, this coating ensures flexibility and adaptability without compromising its protective properties. Unlike traditional coatings that may flake, peel, or blister, this advanced solution will stand the test of time, providing consistent protection throughout your off-road journeys.

Upgrade Today and Embrace the Journey

Now that you’ve explored the remarkable benefits of the Off-Road Protection Pack, it’s time to take action and safeguard your Zone RV. Contact us today and let our team equip your Zone RV with the ultimate defense for off-road travels, empowering you to explore with confidence and embark on the journey of a lifetime.

A free Upgrade to the ultimate off road adventure experience.

When it comes to off-road adventures, having a reliable off-road caravan with exceptional suspension is vital. At Zone RV, we understand the importance of a smooth and comfortable off-road experience. From May 19th to 30th of June 2023, we are offering you the opportunity to upgrade to Cruisemaster ATX suspension with drum brakes on Sojourn and Peregrine Pioneer models at no extra cost (usually valued at $2,750). If you’re craving even more performance and want to upgrade to the ATX suspension with disc brakes, you can for a mere price of $1,000, usually valued at $3,750. During this limited-time offer, you can upgrade and revolutionize your off-road capabilities. Get ready to elevate your off-road adventure to new heights!

Unleash the Power of the ATX Suspension

The ATX Suspension is designed to take your off-road adventures to the next level. Let’s explore the outstanding features that make this upgrade a game-changer:

  • Enhanced handling: With the ATX Suspension, you’ll experience improved traction and control, allowing you to tackle challenging off-road terrains with confidence.
  • Durable construction: The ATX Suspension is built to last. Its powder-coated exterior protects against the elements, ensuring durability and longevity.
  • Tailored for off-road travel: This is specifically designed to handle the demands of off-road exploration, providing reliability and performance when you need it most.

Elevate Your Off-Road Adventure

By taking advantage of this exclusive free upgrade, you’ll enjoy a range of benefits that enhance your off-road adventures:

  • Comfort and stability: The ATX Suspension absorbs shocks and vibrations, providing a smoother and more comfortable journey.
  • Superior performance: Whether you’re navigating rocky terrains or uneven trails, the ATX Suspension delivers enhanced handling and stability, allowing you to conquer any obstacle with ease.
  • Peace of mind: With the ATX Suspension, you can trust in the reliability and durability of your off-road caravan, giving you the confidence to explore remote destinations without worry.

Limited-Time Promotion Act Now and Save

This is a limited-time opportunity you don’t want to miss. May 19th to June 30th 2023, we are offering the ATX Suspension Upgrade as part of an exclusive promotion. By taking advantage of this offer, you’ll save a significant $2750 on this exceptional upgrade. Don’t miss out on the chance to elevate your off-road adventure and enjoy substantial savings!

How to take advantage of the Offer?

Simply submit a configurator build for any Sojourn or Peregrine Pioneer models between May 19th to June 30th, 2023! Time is limited, so start your journey towards the ultimate off road experience and enjoy the comforts of cruisemaster ATX off road suspension.

Unlock the Power of ATX Suspension: Elevate Your Off-Road Adventures with Zone RV and Cruisemaster

Are you ready to explore the great outdoors with an off-road caravan that can handle any adventure? At Zone RV, we share your love for off-road travel, and we’re dedicated to providing you with the best experience possible. That’s why we offer Cruisemaster’s ATX suspension as an option for our caravans.

What is ATX?

Crusiemasters ATX suspension is a game-changer for off-road caravans. It utilizes air bag suspension to give you a smoother and more comfortable ride, even on rough terrain. The airbags absorb bumps, keeping your caravan stable and ensuring you can enjoy your adventures without feeling every jolt. The powder-coated body of the ATX suspension provides exceptional durability, protecting it from the elements and rough conditions. Equipped with M46 piggyback monotube dampers, the ATX suspension offers superior handling and performance, giving you better control on challenging off-road terrains.

Who makes ATX Suspension?

ATX suspension is brought to you by Cruisemaster, an Australian manufacturer known for their exceptional suspension systems. With years of expertise and experience in creating all-terrain experiences, Cruisemaster has developed ATX to withstand the toughest off-road conditions, ensuring your caravan stays reliable and capable on your adventures.

Why do we offer ATX suspension?

We offer ATX suspension as an option to our customers because we believe in providing the best off-road experience possible. With ATX, you’ll enjoy improved off-road performance, enhanced traction, stability, and control. It helps your caravan navigate rough and uneven terrains with ease, making your off-road travels more enjoyable and safer.

The Benefits of ATX Suspension?

By choosing ATX suspension, you’ll experience a range of benefits that enhance your off-road adventures. Firstly, the air bag suspension provides a smoother and more comfortable ride by absorbing shocks and vibrations, reducing jolting and bouncing. Secondly, ATX suspension is known for its reliability, meaning less time spent on maintenance and more time exploring. You can have confidence in the durability and performance of your off-road caravan.

To truly witness the impressive capabilities of ATX suspension, we invite you to watch Cruisemaster’s videos showcasing its outstanding performance. These videos highlight the off-road performance and versatility of ATX, demonstrating how it can tackle challenging terrains and provide an unmatched all-terrain experience.

If you’re an adventurous traveler looking for an off-road caravan that can handle any adventure, ATX suspension is the ultimate upgrade. With its innovative features, durability, and improved off-road performance, ATX enhances your travel experience and ensures you can explore the great outdoors with confidence.

Crispy Boneless Pork Belly

A juicy pork roast with a thick layer of golden crackle. This is the old faithful that would bring the family together of a weekend. Shared with all the trimmings and lashings of gravy, this was a family favourite. We were determined to bring this meal on the road with us so, we invested in a Zeigler and Brown portable oven so we could recreate this memory no matter where we pulled up. 

It’s important to slow down and take the time to enjoy a moment in time with the people around you that matter. When we were still in a house, after hours of work and sparse family time, a pork roast was a tradition where the whole family could get involved and share good music, good company and eventually good food when it cooked. Now we are on the road full time, we still have the same values and have mastered this dish in our Ziggy. We often take the time to slow down and enjoy a campsite with just the four of us and uphold this Pork Roast tradition. If you are a pork lover and love your roast veggies, try this recipe in your portable oven in the van! 




2kg boneless pork roast 



Prepare the pork. Remove from any packaging and pat dry with paper towel until all surfaces feel dry to touch. 

At every 2cm increment across the top of the rind make incisions all the way though until you can see the meat under the fat. 

Zone Rv Pork Belly

Generously apply salt to the skin of your roast and rub it into the grooves, right down to the visible meat. 

Allow to sit on the bench until the meat reaches room temperature. Do not leave uncovered in fridge overnight or excessively dry the skin out. 
Turn the oven on HIGH and allow to preheat until temp as hot as you can get it. We usually aim for 260-280°. The hotter the better to achieve a good crackle during the cook. 

When your temp is as hot as you can get it, place the pork in the oven in a roasting dish or disposable foil tray resting on a trivet. A trivet is essential with a portable oven so you can diffuse the heat around your dish and don’t burn the bottom! 

Leave the temperature on HIGH for the first hour of cooking and do not open the lid! The temperature may drop in the first part of cooking as it works to bring the meat to temperature. No matter how tempting it is, do not lift that lid for the first hour! 

Check your roast after 1 hour of cooking. Cook for 1 more hour on MEDIUM setting or until a knife into the centre of the pork causes clear fluid to escape. If the fluid is still pink, it needs to cook little longer. Check every 5-10 minutes after two hours until liquid runs clear when stabbed. A general rule of thumb is to allow 1hr of cooking to every 1kg of meat.  

Remove the roast from the Ziggy and separate your crackle from the meat. Cut to your liking and ENJOY! 

Zone Rv Pork Belly

Chris, Sian, Jayda & Jack

Our plans for 2023

What a year 2022 has been for Zone RV!

As an organisation we continue to grow, evolve and invest into the future. From moving into our new facility and doubling our staff footprint to launching the expedition project and installing the largest 3D printer in Australia, 2023 has got a lot in store for Zone RV.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff and suppliers for all their hard work and support this year.

Last but not least, an extended thank you goes to our customers and owners, without you there is no Zone RV!

We look forward to seeing you all again in the new year and helping you prepare for your next adventure IN THE ZONE!

Safe Travels

Adrian Toft



We love travelling in the tropics! Yes it may be hot and humid however the blue sky days are picture perfect, the palm trees sway gently in the breeze, and the abundance of tropical fruit on offer is one of our favourite things!

On our recent travels between Cairns and Ingham in Tropical North Queensland we pulled over at a roadside fruit stall and grabbed ourselves a huge watermelon, picked fresh off the farm next door. 

The perfect complement to a hot summer’s day is a deliciously cooling and moreish salad, and this watermelon, feta and mint combo will have the entire family Feeling Good! And with only 5 ingredients, it doesn’t get any easier than this! 


700g watermelon

1 small red onion

180g feta cheese

1 small bunch fresh mint

Extra virgin olive oil


Cut the watermelon into bite sized chunks and add to a serving bowl.

Finely slice the red onion before adding it to the watermelon. Then crumble over the feta cheese. Tear the mint leaves into small pieces and add to mix. 

Gently combine all ingredients. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with cracked black pepper. 

Serve immediately and enjoy this deliciously fresh salad!

Tip – refrigerate the watermelon before making.

Don’t forget to enjoy! Paul, Katie & Jasper – The Feel Good Family


It’s really quite a skill to be able to live off grid and require nothing from anywhere else. When you master this lifestyle, it is so rewarding and cost saving to be in the most remote locations with a stunning backdrop and complete faith in yourself and your setup to stay for longer and be self-sufficient. Below is a few of our top tips that we feel can help you stay unplugged a little longer.  

Being Water Conscious

Every setup, no matter the size, will experience some form of water restriction as you can only carry so many litres in your car or caravan. Our family of four have three tanks totalling 240L and we can manage a week comfortably without filling up again. How you ask?? There are many techniques you can use! Simple change of habits including navy showers, washing up only once a day, getting restricted flow tap and shower heads, turning the tap off between teeth brushing and using a composting toilet are just a few ways you can save litres every day. You can even use an alternate water source such as river or rainwater for duties like washing up or hand washing if it’s available.  

Another option is to carry a pump so you can draw water into your van from a clean water source nearby. Be sure to use a suitable water filter just in case there are any nasties you can’t see in the water source getting into your setup. 

Getting Full Sun

When we pull up to a new off grid campsite, we always check where the sun will rise and set of a day. We also look up to see if anything will obstruct the sun and lay shade over our setup. This is important when off grid as you need to maximise your solar panel sun exposure during the day to recharge your batteries.

Parking in a shady area for heat relief will also shade the solar panels on your roof so you need to be prepared with an alternative solution such as a portable solar blanket that can be laid nearby in full sun. Although a large battery is helpful to provide multiple days of power, the same battery will require days of charging if conditions are not ideal. Solar panel obstructions will slow your charging time and bring you back on grid if not managed.

off grid campsite - zone rv
Utilising an open area to get full sun exposure

Learning your Power Usage

So you are getting full sun during the day and charging your batteries but do you know how much power you draw and what uses the most power? Some appliances in your van can have a large draw of power and may catch you out if you don’t have ample solar to recharge. Here are a couple to look out for:

    1. Manage Power Usage Overnight

    I have heard of some fridges can draw up to 6 amps per hour! Overnight that could be up to 80 amps usage to cool your food while you are asleep! It could even higher if the weather is hot, and your fridge works overtime to stay cool. Most fridges have a power saving option so be sure you read the manual and find out how to turn that setting on your fridge.

    2. Manage Your Appliances

    Using your inverter to use 240V appliances can also be a big draw of power, especially on a smaller battery system. Any appliance that generates heat (kettle, hair dryer, toaster, induction cooktop, air fryer, coffee machine) will have an especially high draw of power that could drain your battery in a short period of time if not managed. For a smaller battery system, only turn your inverter on when you need it and work out what amp hours your appliances draw so you know what to expect. When possible, use high draw power items during daylight hours so you can utilise excess solar power rather than drawing direct from your batteries of an evening.


    As much as being off grid is wonderful, most of us need to be connected to the world via internet or phone at some stage and that is why our next tip is around connectivity.

    Having a reliable internet and phone setup will keep you connected to family, friends and possibly work if you need it. As we work online on the road we like to cover all options so we use a 12V modem with external antenna on the roof of our van to access internet. We also have a Starlink satellite modem for when the 3G/4G network is out of range.  

    Star Link
    Star Link

    Finally, we also carry a Zoleo texting/SOS device which we take with us at all times both in the van or car that runs via satellite in case there is an emergency. It’s one of those things that you don’t know you need until you need it, kind of like an insurance policy. We started our travels without this device and after having a 2 year old with a high temperatures on a remote desert track, 2 hours from home with no help, we decided this was a necessity going forward.


    The final and most important fact that can make or break your remote camping experience is your car and caravan setup. It’s so important to have a kit that has been built properly and assembled with the end user in mind. If you are buying new, choose quality gear with good reviews and happy customers and if buying second hand, look for a setup that has been loved and maintained. Learn your setup, keep a few handy spare parts on board and service and maintain your gear. Learn how to change your bearings and check the basic running mechanisms, check bolts are tight and visually look for any inconsistences. If something is going to go wrong when you’re remote, it’s reassuring to know you can fix it or at least get to safety because you know your gear.

    The off grid lifestyle takes a little bit of learning and practice but it’s so rewarding to do. Start small and just try it for a couple of days to start so you can build your confidence in your setup. The end goal is to stay off grid for as long as you’re capable and comfortable. Take your time and learn the ropes as you go! We really hope that these tips have helped you to start planning your next off grid adventure and hope to see you out there in one of the remote corners of Australia.

    Big oz Explorers - Zone RV
    Big oz Explorers

    All the best for your future travels! Chris, Sian, Jada & Jack – Big OZ Explorers!

    What’s it like living with a Zone RV off-road caravan?

    Life “in the Zone” with the #ZN-259

    Ever thought about finishing up work, selling the house, buying your dream caravan and hitting the road with no end date? Zone RV owners Elisa & Wayne Jeffers have done just that!

    Our journey in the Zone

    Since late May 2022, Wayne and I (Elisa) have been living on the road full time in our Zone RV Off-Road 20’6 with our Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series and Z-UEV canopy fitout.

    We had been planning this trip for several years, with the dream of traveling this beautiful country of ours with no end date. Yet we found that often when we traveled on a scheduled plan, we found ourselves wanting to stay in locations longer than our trip would allow us. Our dream was to have a flexible travel schedule and be able to spend an extra day or two at a location if we wanted to.

    Where our off-road caravan journey started

    Zone RV Muster 2022 at Hangar O

    After leaving Brisbane, our first destination was the 2022 Zone RV Muster at Hangar O. We always enjoy the Zone RV Muster – in fact we’ve attended since the Esk 2020 Muster. As a Zone RV owner, we highly recommend attending the Muster, it’s a great event to plan a trip around! What a great way to meet so many lovely people in the Zone RV community and form some lifelong travel friends.

    After enjoying a number of days at Hangar O, we officially started our trip around Australia, living full time on the road in our Zone RV 20’6 Off-Road.

    Driving an off-road caravan to Birdsville

    Departing the Muster saw us officially start our journey to the most remote music festival in the world, the Big Red Bash in Birdsville Queensland! Our trip to the BRB took us just over 4 weeks as we were excited to take our time, enjoy the journey and appreciate destinations we can explore along with way.

    We love that our Zone has given us the ability to live off-grid for great lengths of time. During our journey from Hangar O to Birdsville we have enjoyed some great low cost & free camps that we definitely recommend checking out if you’re passing through!

    Stay tuned for our next blog as we explain our top 5 must do free & low cost camp grounds when travelling from South East QLD to the Big Red Bash

    Elisa & Wayne Jeffers – Life In The Zone #ZN-259

    The Zone RV handover experience

    Get comfortable with your new caravan before you hit the road!

    We understand that as a caravan and adventure enthusiast, handover day of your new caravan is such an exciting experience – and perhaps a little daunting for some.

    So to make sure that you feel comfortable in your new caravan and have the best possible experience, we give you the option to receive your new Zone RV at the stunning 160 acre Hangar O property.

    Located just north of Gympie, about an hour from the Zone RV showroom & factory, Hangar O is the perfect spot to spend a couple of nights while you learn all about your new caravan.

    The property’s owners and caretakers, Darren & Sam, will host you and help you learn about operating the features of your new van. Darren & Sam have created an oasis based on the vision of escaping the ordinary and providing an experience like no other.  

    It’s a great way to spend some time getting comfortable with your new environment before you hit the road on your first adventure!

    What’s involved with the handover experience?

    The Zone RV handover experience is designed to make sure you feel comfortable and have the opportunity to enjoy your new caravan in a relaxed environment. The experience includes a site for up to 2 nights at Hangar O while you use and learn the new features of your caravan. As your host, Darren will be on-site and available to help and provide relevant information about operating the features of your new van.

    We reckon that the opportunity to relax over a 2-night stay gives you the opportunity to become comfortable in a new environment before hitting the road on your new adventures!

    Paul & Katie from The Feel Good Family recently picked up their new Sojourn caravan, experienced Hangar O, and would like to share a few words with you about their customer journey experience.

    We look forward to welcoming you to the Zone RV community.



    Hello, we are Katie, Paul and Jasper Guerin. In September 2019 we packed up our lives and hit the road for full time travel around Australia. 

    When our little miracle was born, after 4 long years of IVF, we knew very quickly that we needed to make a change to our lifestyle. With such full and demanding careers we were missing out on the precious family time that we had desperately longed for. What followed was 2 years of planning, paying off debt, downsizing, and saving as much as we could to purchase a caravan and 4WD and hit the road.

    Being so new to the caravanning world (we had never even camped before!) we wanted to share our journey with others in the hope it would provide some inspiration… if we could do it, anyone could!

    Each week we produce an episode of our Family Travel Australia series for our YouTube Channel and free to air TV, as well as a weekly Podcast that showcases destinations and experiences around Australia, together with our daily lifestyle. 

    The thing that has impacted us the most is the awesome community that comes with camping and caravanning. We feel more connected with not only the people we meet on the road, but with ourselves, each other and the environment.

    Becoming Brand Ambassadors for Zone RV is a dream come true and we can’t wait to hit the roads less travelled in our new Sojourn Family van!

    The 2021 Zone RV Muster, QLD

    Earlier this year, we held our inaugural Zone RV Muster with over 150 Zoners at Hangar-O, 45-minutes north of Gympie, Queensland.

    Hangar O is set on 160 acres and boasts plenty of space to park your van and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. There is plenty to enjoy and explore, including creeks, spring-fed billabong, 25m swimming pool with a toddler pool, massage pavilion and an abundance of wildlife. It’s a popular spot to explore nearby Fraser Island, Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Noosa, Mary Valley Rattler and many other nearby attractions.

    Driving into the gates, there was nothing better than seeing over 70 Zone RV’s parked around the sprawling property.

    The event was a great success and the community of Zone RV Owners had a wonderful time connecting and sharing stories of their travels.

    Lawn Hill & Byfield NP, QLD

    Like many of you, we have been reflecting on where we’d rather when we can travel again. If you’re searching for some inspiration, join Zone RV’s Founder, Dave Biggar, and his family as they head to Lawn Hill and Byfield National Park in Queensland.


    Lawn Hill is 28,200 hectares of sacred National Park located near the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Its dense forest and windy, emerald watercourse is the reason it gives it its name ‘Boodjamulla’, meaning Rainbow Serpent Country in the local indigenous language. The red sandstone walls that drop strikingly into the emerald green waters is the reason why over 40,000 people pack their bags and hit the road 540km north-west of Mount Isa to see and experience this national park each year. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Boodjamulla, here are some things to see and do:

    Walking & Hiking:
    There are seven trails ranging from 600m to 7km to take you along the length of Lawn Hill Gorge. The views are stunning but prepare yourself for steep hillside tracks. Pack plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen and remember to wear a hat and protective gear. Our pick of the trails is the longest (3.5km each way) towards Upper Gorge, where you’ll be rewarded with views of the Upper and Middle Gorges.

    Canoe & Swim:
    Swim all year round in Boodjamulla (no salty crocodiles to worry about here) and canoe up and down the gorge. Canoes are available to hire at the Lawn Hill Gorge camping area.

    Flora & Fauna:
    With over 1,000 species of birds, fish, frogs, turtles and species of flora across the park, there is plenty of animal spotting and bird listening to experience. You may also come across Australian freshwater crocodiles (the non-man-eating kind, phew!) and learn about Aboriginal uses of native plants from the interpretation signs in the information shelter.

    Where to stay? There are two places to camp in your ZONE RV:

    • The Lawn Hill Gorge camping area (4km into the national park)
    • Miyumba camping area (3.5km from the Riversleigh Fossil site)

    For more information, click here.


    Byfield National Park is truly one of a kind. Located on the Capricorn Coast, Byfield is about an hour’s drive north of Rockyhampton and covers an estimated 25,000 hectares encompassing Byfield National Park, Byfield State Forest and Byfield Conservation Area. Its diverse biosphere includes plantation pine forests, rugged mountains, low growing shrublands and countless sand dunes. 

    Getting to Byfield is as easy as heading north through some of Queensland’s lush farmlands. You’ll pass Mount Ganter, Maryvale, Bayfield, Castle Rock and Rocky Perch and we definitely recommend stopping into the Byfield Store for last-minute supplies, and the latest National Park information and warnings. 

    If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Byfield, here are some things to see and do:

    • Stoney Creek
    • Water Park Creek
    • Byfield State Forest – perfect for bushwalking, off-roading, fishing and mountain bike riding
    • Big Sandy
    • Nine Mile Beach
    • Five Rocks Beach

    For the latest park updates (including conditions and warnings – crocodiles, 4WD, dingoes, weather conditions, tides and current sand drifts) and where to camp, click here or talk to a Park Ranger. 

    Our team is here to help you, so please feel free to ask any questions or queries and we will be more than happy to help clarify for you. We’d also like to let everyone in lockdown that we are thinking of you and we hope you are doing ok. We hope that you’re taking care of and looking after each other. If you’re on the road (lucky you!) please take care and remember to follow the local State Government’s regulations.

    Sunshine Coast, QLD

    Your handover date to pick up your ZONE RV has been finalised – congratulations! 

    What next? Since you are collecting your shiny new ZONE RV from our Showroom & Factory in Coolum, we recommend making the most of your time here on the Sunshine Coast and spend a week or two exploring our postcard perfect backyard while really getting to know your new van. 

    We get asked all the time where our Zoners should stay while they’re here, so we’ve come up with a detailed list of overnight sites to ensure you have the best time exploring the Sunshine Coast and surrounds. We recommend staying at a few different sites, if you’ve got time!

    National Parks

    We love our local National Parks and we have quite a few for our Zoners to explore, depending on their preferences. Below are our top picks along the Sunshine Coast.

    NB: *Experienced beach 4×4 owners only


    With so many campgrounds to choose from along the Sunshine Coast, it may get a little overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’re sharing our top campgrounds below. These are the places we know and love, and return to year after year.


    Discover amazing local residents properties that will welcome you and your ZONE RV to stay for a while. Tap the link below to begin exploring what’s on offer: Hipcamp – Sunshine Coast sites.

    Another great place to look for information about where to stay and what to see and do on the Sunshine Coast, is the Visit Sunshine Coast website. Here you will find an extensive list of local camping sites, as well as excellent and up to date information about our local attractions, beaches and so much more.

    We look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful Sunshine Coast!

    Please note: Please make sure you are abiding by the current QLD State Government rules and regulations at all times. For further information, please visit this website. Thank you.

    Campfire Hot Chocolate

    The campfire is roaring away, dinner has been eaten and the temperature is dropping. What better way to warm up than a hot chocolate made over the campfire!

    You may have guessed this isn’t like any other ordinary hot chocolate. This one is special. It’s creamy, luscious and cosy. It’s like a warm hug in a mug. And we’re very happy with that. It’s made from scratch and has no nasties that the instant varieties have. In our humble opinion, there really is nothing like hot chocolate to heat up a cold winter camping trip. And all you need is hot glowing coals, enamel or cast iron saucepan, and a fork. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get making.

    2 people


    • 3/4 cup water
    • 3 tbsp cocoa
    • 3 cups milk
    • 200g chocolate, roughly chopped
    • 3 tsp white sugar
    • 2 tbsp Thick dollop cream


    1. Bring water to a simmer in a fire-safe saucepan over hot coals. Whisk cocoa powder in the water with a fork until there are no lumps. Add milk and continue to simmer.
    2. Whisk in chocolate and sugar, stir frequently until the liquid is smooth and creamy, and the chocolate has completely melted. This step should take about 5 minutes.
    3. Serve in mugs, and if you’re feeling extra fancy, top with thick cream straight from your fridge and stir. And enjoy!

    Campfire Baked Ham & Eggs

    Sometimes when you get up in the morning and open the door to your ZONE RV and see the beautiful view in front of you, all you want to do is get a cosy campfire going and cook a simple yet delicious for breakfast over the coals.

    Enter our Campfire Ham & Eggs; baked in enamel mugs, these little cups of cosy goodness on a cold morning are like warm hugs in a mug.

    And best of all? You bung all the ingredients into the mug, wrap it in aluminium foil, and let the coals do all the hard work.  

    Serving size:

    4 people


    • Olive oil spray
    • 4 thin slices of ham (or bacon)
    • Handful of fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
    • Handful of grated cheese, cheddar or mozzarella
    • 4 eggs
    • Small packet of shallots, finely sliced
    • Sea salt & cracked pepper, for seasoning


    • Aluminium foil
    • Campfire with glowing coals
    • Coal safe tongs
    • 4 enamel mugs
    • Chopping board
    • Sharp knife
    • 4 forks 


    1. Prepare a campfire safely with glowing coals.
    2. Spray the insides of the mugs with olive oil.
    3. Place a slice of ham into the mug to line the sides and base. Add a small handful of spinach leaves and grated cheese into the bottom of the mug, pressing down slightly with your hands.
    4. Crack an egg into each mug.
    5. Place each mug in the centre of a large sheet of aluminium foil. Bring the sides in and tightly twist with your hands to secure the foil together. Using your coal safe tongs, place the mugs on top of the coals and place a few around the sides of the mugs; don’t place any on top of the mugs as you will need to check when they are ready, and you may get ash in your mugs and on your food. While it’s totally safe if you are using natural coals, no one likes that added bit of texture.
    6. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the egg whites have set. Peel the aluminium foil off from the mugs using the coal safe tongs (beware the mugs will be very hot).
    7. Garnish the baked ham and eggs with chives, and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.
    8. To serve, wrap a tea towel around each mug so you can enjoy your breakfast straight away, or wait for the enamel mugs to slightly cool down before tucking in.

    ZONE RV Caravan First Aid Kit Checklist

    Australia is a beautiful country with lots of stunning areas to explore and discover, especially in your ZONE RV.

    Whether you’re heading off grid for a few weeks or you’re enjoying the convenience of a local camping site, it’s really important you have a fully equipped First Aid Kit onboard your ZONE RV for travelling around our beautiful country.

    Every caravanning First Aid Kit should have all the First Aid Essentials, including antiseptic lotion, bandages, surgical tape and scissors.

    To help get your First Aid Kit together, we’ve created a ZONE RV Caravan First Aid Kit Checklist, which you can also download and print.

    Safe travels!

    • Antiseptic lotion and wipes
    • Bandages
    • Snake bite bandages
    • Surgical tape
    • Scissors
    • Disposable gloves
    • Saline solution
    • Tweezers
    • Gauze
    • Band-aids
    • Aspirin and pain relief medication
    • Cold & flu tablets
    • Burn cream
    • Hydralyte
    • Mosquito lotion
    • Cold packs
    • Gastro-Stop
    • Eye wash
    • Thermometer

     Additionally, as our environment has been changing constantly for over a year, we highly recommend purchasing hand sanitiser and a packet of disposable face masks for every person in your van, just in case local regulations change depending on where you are around Australia.

     Download and print your ZONE RV Caravan First Aid Checklist here.

    Note: We are not medical professionals, and this is a guide based on our experiences travelling around Australia in a ZONE RV. For more information, speak to your local doctor or pharmacist.

    Do I Need an OFF-ROAD Caravan?

    Many people fall victim to the idea, if I don’t go off road, I don’t need an off road caravan. But buying an off road caravan is not just for the brave who dare drive the road less travelled, it also offers superior on road capabilities and gives you the option to take your caravan into some more private camping areas.

    Let’s be honest, the Australian roads are a little rough around the edges, some major roads are still unsealed, and who doesn’t love a private camp spot on a remote beach? However the world of off road caravans can become quite overwhelming, with some vans claiming the off road title while offering little more than some checker plate stone chip protection, while others could be mistaken for a luxury hotel room all while out performing almost every other off road van on the market.

    It’s important to understand that for road caravans to be true off road caravans, there isn’t a black and white line, but the full spectrum of grey in between, which is why ZONE RV have produced a series of caravans that clearly provide superior quality vans and solutions to suit off road and/or road travel.

    What makes off road caravans a must have, are their superior construction. Traditional vans are built using timber frames, which are attached to a chassis and then clad, while ZONE RV’s range of caravans are built using a unique monocoque construction, comprising superior composite panels that are fully integrated with the chassis and with each other, making them the strongest, yet lightest caravans on the market. This cutting edge technology not only translates to superior off road performance, but excellent road capabilities and increased longevity of your caravan. The single styled construction means all caravans are dust proof and waterproof, essential when needing to survive the barrage of dust the Australian roads hit you with.

    Dust is known as a micro abrasive, similar to what your Jiff washing liquid is like. If dust is able to enter your caravan, it will slowly but surely break down any moving components, such as draws, joins, seals, electronics and especially fridges. The only way to avoid this is to stop dust from ever entering your caravan.

    The interior advantages of an off road caravan is also present in the construction of the cabinetry, but be sure to check with the manufacturer what construction method they use. Traditional timber frame structures are usually secured to the walls of the caravan, which rattle apart on Australia’s corrugated roads or even less than perfect sealed roads.

    A premium quality off road caravan utilise aluminium frames for the cabinetry, which are then securely bonded onto the floor as well as each other, forming part of the monocoque structure. The singular structure of the caravan forms near indestructible cabinetry, able to withstand harsh corrugations and rough roads.

    An off road caravan’s superiority is also evident in the tow points. A more robust off road specific chassis secures the van to the hitch point, while a multi directional hitch allows the van to move independently to the vehicle, reducing strain on the attachment point to the tow vehicle.

    Check the off road van has sufficient clearance in the front end of the chassis, that the underside of the hitch plate has added protection and that the cross members and weld points of the chassis have additional plates for added strength.

    Off road caravans also outdo their road travelling counterparts in their suspension setup. Traditional road vans sport the roller-rocker leaf spring systems, which can work very well on smooth bitumen roads, but the reality is, these roads are few and far between with the likelihood of needing to drive on some less than perfect roads in between.

    Almost everyone can remember driving in a car with the old leaf springs and hitting the roof every time you hit a speed bump… and that was with your seatbelt on! Just imagine what those sorts of bumps are doing to your caravan. Most off road caravans have moved to independent suspension such as the Cruisemaster XT coil and Cruisemaster XT Air Bag suspension, allowing longer and independent wheel travel with some of the more expensive models using automated ‘smart’ airbag suspension such as the Cruisemaster ATX Auto Level, which can be controlled via an app and offers superior performance on and off the road.

    All off road and touring vans also take advantage of superior all terrain tyres, which are highly recommended. The difference between a road tyre and all terrain tyre is not only in the tread pattern, but also the strength of a tyre. Thicker tread pattern means less chance of a puncture, but also thicker and strong sidewalls reduce your chance of having a sidewall blowout. The deep channels in the tread also help displace water more rapidly, decreasing your chance of aquaplaning and increasing your confidence to drive in poor weather. The stronger tyres also allow you to lower your tyre pressure to much lower pressures, increasing the ride comfort on those long corrugated roads.

    If a full blown off road caravan isn’t what you are looking for, then some of the touring caravans might be for you. Inspired by their off road counterparts, these caravans’ have taken the essential design features and applied them to a more road oriented caravan.

    ZONE RV’s VENTURE SERIES represents an evolution in premium touring caravan design, using their revolutionary off road design features in a luxurious yet lightweight, full sized road oriented caravan. With superior on road towing and integrated safety features, large water storage options, state of the art electronics and solar systems, full ensuite, queen size bed and innovative kitchen design, you are sure to want to upgrade to a ZONE RV. 

    Banana Banoffee Boats

    As the weather is starting to cool down in Australia, time around a cosy campfire has got us thinking about all of the delicious desserts we can bake over the coals.

    Recently we spent a weekend with the ZONE RV team off the grid and cooked these mouth-watering Banana Banoffee Boats for dessert under the sparkling stars.

    What we love most about this dessert is that it requires minimal ingredients and is very simple to make, which is very important when you’re off grid for weeks at a time.

    Extra Tip: You can freeze your bananas if you’re heading off grid and when you’re ready to make these delicious Banana Banoffee Boats, you simply thaw them to room temperature before cooking them over coals.


    • 4 bananas
    • 180g block of Cadbury Caramello Chocolate, roughly broken up 
    • 4 Arnott’s Butternut Snap Cookies, roughly broken up into chunks
    • ½ cup white marshmallows, roughly chopped
    • Sea salt


    • Aluminium foil
    • Campfire with glowing coals
    • Coal safe tongs
    • Grater
    • 4 plates or bowls
    • 4 spoons


    1. Prepare a campfire safely with glowing coals
    2. Cut each banana lengthways approximately 1cm deep (don’t cut the banana all the way through to the bottom).
    3. Open each banana and insert the cookie chunks, followed by the marshmallows and then the chocolate.
    4. Wrap each banana in aluminium foil to enclose them completely. Place on top of the glowing coals for 5 to 8 minutes, or until chocolate has melted and the banana has cooked through.
      • Tip: To see if your banana is cooked, take a wrapped banana boat off the coals completely and set aside on a table or chopping board, and open the foil to check. By checking your banana boat away from the coals, this will avoid any ash falling into the banana.
    5. When the banana boats are ready, take them off the coals and set each aside on a plate to cool for two minutes. Please take care when opening the parcels as the banana will be very hot inside.
    6. Grate more chocolate on top of the banana boats and sprinkle sea salt on top to season.
    7. Serve with a spoon and enjoy!

    5 Reasons to Visit Byfield National Park with the Whole Family

    The family and I recently explored the Byfield National Park area in our ZONE RV ZBF-20.6 BASE SERIES Family, and we loved it so much that we wanted to share our highlights with you all. As with any camping experience, we learned a few things while we were there. So, I’ve included some tips for those who haven’t been to the Byfield area, including what we would do different next time. 

    1. It has the best of both worlds
    I can never really decide whether I prefer camping in the bush by a freshwater creek or in the sand dunes by the salty ocean. This is why we loved Byfield National Park, because you can do both. We spent a week in the area – a few nights at Stony Creek, a couple of nights at Fern’s Hideaway Retreat, and a beach camp at Nine Mile Beach.

    The drive out to Stony Creek through the Byfield State Forest is stunning; we were just captivated by the beautiful mountain ranges behind the endless pine trees.

    Stony Creek provided a lovely campsite that backed onto the creek. The rope swing into the creek was a highlight for us at this camping spot.

    I do have to say though, if you are coming to this spot make sure you’re prepared for the mosquitos. Of course, it is seasonal, but while we were there the mosquitos were terrible. I managed to pack a natural insect repellent for the kids and we just made sure they had long sleeve clothes on at dusk and dawn.

    Fern’s Hideaway is a beautiful privately owned property that offers caravan and camping sites, as well as cabins. We had plenty of room to park our van on perfectly manicured green grass. The highlight here was definitely the free canoeing experience along Waterpark Creek which the property backs onto.  All four of us – Dave, the two kids and I – all fit in one canoe and went for a row up the creek. I highly recommend this!

    Fern’s Hideaway was a good campsite for filling up the water tanks too before we went beachside. We unhitched the van (left it at Fern’s Hideaway) and packed some supplies into Dave’s Z-UEV. While we enjoyed the flexibility of having nothing to tow and sleeping in the canopy and swags on the beach, it sure did remind me of how truly spoilt we are camping in our van!

    We stayed at a campsite at Nine Mile Beach and spent the next day at Five Rocks Beach. Five Rocks beach offered a great adventure for the whole family exploring the famous Five Rocks and surrounding rock pools.

    2. The Australian wildlife is abundant
    The Byfield National Park area is known for its diverse range of bird species, so if birdwatching is your thing, then this is destination is for you. I’m no professor when it comes to bird species, however we knew what an emu was when we saw it! We even saw an emu with chicks walking on the side of the road. But birds aren’t the only wildlife you’ll see.

    Just in the week we were there we saw goannas, snakes (including a huge sea snake nestled in a rock pool at Five Rocks), sharks, a stonefish (at Stony Creek), a stingray, and of course we heard about the potential of seeing saltwater crocodiles.

    But if you ask our three-year-old Donny what his favourite animal was, he will tell you it was Banjo. Banjo is a hand-raised wallaby at Fern’s Hideaway that the kids were able to pat and feed. We were definitely unprepared for some of the wildlife we came across.

    In fact, Dave thought he was going kite-surfing before the locals warned us about the sharks and crocodiles!

    Next time we will also be packing reef shoes for Stony Creek as a safety measure against stonefish.

    3. It feels like a remote camping experience, even though civilisation is nearby
    Byfield National Park is a great destination for those who love the idea of remote camping but still like the comfort of knowing a township is close. With Yeppoon about 40 minutes away and Rockhampton about an hour away it’s easy to stock up on any essentials you need or may have forgotten. During our time in the area, we were pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was. Particularly on our coastal exploration, most of the time we were the only 4WD on the beach. We were the only people at our campsite on Nine Mile Beach which made for a very special experience. I’m sure it would be busier at other times of the year though.

    4. It’s a real 4WD adventure
    OK, I’m not kidding when I say the Big Sandy beach access track at Byfield National Park is a serious challenge. There’s just no way we would have made it onto the beach with our caravan in tow! You’d be doing REALLY well to even tow a camper trailer or EXPEDITION SERIES up there. In saying that, it was super fun tackling this track and the other beach tracks in the area such as the Death Valley Track (name says it all, right?).

    Our two little boys love a good 4WD adventure, so they were laughing their heads off bouncing around while driving on these tracks. The tracks were seriously bumpy, the sand was extremely soft, and the tracks were some of the narrowest we’ve been down. Remember your recovery gear (Maxtrax are a must) and it’s not a bad idea to travel with friends in case you get stuck.

    5. The locals alone are worth the visit
    If the previous four reasons weren’t enough, I would say get to Byfield just to meet some of the locals in the community. Everyone we met in the area were very friendly, helpful and keen to make us feel welcome. The Byfield General Store was absolutely charming and boasted an impressive menu. It also definitely fulfilled Dave’s craving for a barista-made coffee.

    Attached to the Byfield General Store is a unique shop filled with locally made natural products and other items with a focus on health and sustainability – it was an absolute gem of a find. We always love to try and support local businesses when we’re on the road, so a locally made insect bite balm for the whole family made the perfect excuse to buy something.

    I hope these five reasons entice you to visit the Byfield National Park area, and hopefully I’ve provided some useful information that can help with planning a trip there. It can be rough and tough, but it can also be peaceful and picturesque at the same time. It would definitely be nice to see some Zoners there next time!

    Best Off-Road Caravan Pesto Gnocchi Recipe

    This recipe is a favourite in our house, so the fact that it’s also so easy to whip up in the caravan is a huge win for the whole family. I have made this recipe in our ZONE RV Family Base 20.6 many times and it never disappoints. It’s vegetarian so we love to eat it on what we call our ‘meat-free Mondays’ each week.

    First things first though, I don’t make the gnocchi from scratch. We bulk buy 500g bags of pre-made gnocchi from our local Farmers’ Market in Yandina and store them in the freezer. You can also buy pre-made gnocchi from most supermarkets or independent grocers. The fact that the gnocchi can be kept in the freezer makes it a great meal option while camping, because as most of you know, food needs to last until the next destination for supplies is reached!

    The next thing I need to mention is this recipe requires a decent blender to blitz the pesto sauce. One of the perks of making this recipe in a ZONE RV is that I was able to use my favourite NutriBullet, as the van has 240v power. So, I guess you could say this isn’t your average ‘camping’ meal… In saying that, if you’re camping without 240v power, you can always make the pesto sauce in advance and simply freeze it.

    Serves a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids).
    Prep time: 10 mins
    Cooking time: 15-20 mins

    • Pre-made gnocchi (750g)
    • Head of broccoli (cut into small florets)
    • Punnet of mushrooms (sliced)
    • Punnet of cherry tomatoes
    • One small brown onion
    • One red cayenne chilli

    Pesto sauce:
    • Large bunch of basil leaves
    • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
    • 1/3 cup of olive oil
    • ½ of cashews (You can use ½ a cup of parmesan cheese instead of cashews if you can tolerate dairy)
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • Salt and pepper (generous amount of pepper!)

    1. Pour all the pesto sauce ingredients inside the blender and blitz until smooth. Add a splash of water or more olive oil if the blender is struggling to blitz the sauce. Set aside.
    2. Heat a large fry pan on high. Pour a small glug of olive oil into the pan and add the gnocchi. You want the gnocchi to become golden and slightly crispy on the outside.
    2. While the gnocchi is frying, chop all of the vegetables.
    3. Once the gnocchi is slightly golden and starting to get crispy, add all of the vegetables. Fry for a couple of minutes.
    4. Add all of the pesto sauce and mix through. Stir for a few minutes until all the vegetables and gnocchi are covered in sauce. The gnocchi should be slightly crispy and the vegetables should be soft.
    5. Serve with extra pepper.

    My kids and husband Dave love adding cheddar cheese on theirs so that’s an option too!

    There you have it, my pesto gnocchi recipe. Hope you are inspired to try it on your next camping trip or even just at home! Get creative, you can always just use whatever vegetables you have left in the fridge or freezer – plenty of other vegetables will work just as well.

    Tips For Towing Your Trailer or Caravan Along the Beach

    The thought of towing your home on wheels down a beach or soft track can be daunting, it certainly took us a while to build up the confidence to do solo trips along remote beaches on our trip around Australia. However, these days if we stumble across a remote beach you bet, we will be dropping the tyres and searching for that perfect camp. Having the confidence to tow your home up the beach opens up a whole new world of camping options and will often get you to that picture-perfect camp spot without another soul around.

    Beach camping has always been our go-to, our first trips were in our old and trusty single cab Hilux which we’d sleep in the back of. The formula back then was simple, drop your tyres and give it plenty of right foot! But as our camping/ touring set up has evolved we now have an extra pair of wheels dragging behind us, which makes beach driving a little trickier, but certainly still do-able. So, we thought we’d save you a little bit of pain and share a few tips we’ve learnt along the way. Admittedly most were learnt the hard way.

    When it comes to beach driving tyre pressure is your best friend. Something a lot of people overlook (we too were guilty of this) is the pressure in your trailer tyres. If your tyre pressures are too high you will find the tyres dig into the sand and you will be pushing a mound of sand in front of your tyres, so your essentially just dragging an anchor.

    This means your car is working a lot harder than it has to pull you through the soft stuff. The rule we follow is to put half the pressure of the car tyres in the trailer tyres, so if the cars on 18psi we will run 9psi in the trailer.

    If we plan on driving a beach, we are unfamiliar with, we will drop the car to 12psi and run 6psi on the trailer. Most people will think that’s quite low but every tyre is different so for our Nitto Grapplers that’s the sweet spot. If we find that combo isn’t doing the trick and it’s time to turn around, then we still have a bit of wiggle room if we need to go lower to get us out of trouble.

    When your towing along a beach it always pays to plan for the worst and drop the tyres a little lower, I’d rather spend an extra 5 minutes airing up than 2 hours on the shovel.

    Something we didn’t have to worry about with the old Hilux was traction control, but these days most 4WD have it, ours included.

    When you’re on the road or tackling a technical track traction control works wonders, but when you hit the soft stuff it can quickly turn against you. So, make sure you turn traction control off before you hit the beach.

    We will also slip our car into low range before towing along a beach. This takes some stress off the car and allows the transmission temperature to stay at a better working level.

    Another simple trick we learnt is lowering the setting on our brake controller when beach driving. If the brake control is set too high and you apply the brakes your trailer wheels will dig into the sand and may cause you a little strife when you drive off. It will also make cornering a lot safer, if you accidentally apply the brakes on a corner on a high setting the trailer tyres will lock up and slide around the corner and could leave you in a sticky situation.

    Of course, things don’t always go to plan when 4WDing especially towing, but we think that’s half the fun. As a bare minimum we always take sure we have 2 pairs of Maxtrax, a shovel and a quality air compressor on board that can handle pumping up 6 tyres on a summer’s day. This will get you out of most sticky situations!

    We hope these tips give you a little more confidence to tow your camper or caravan along the beach. We are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to beach camping in Australia so make sure you take advantage of it and get your home on wheels to that hidden gem you’ve always dreamt of parking up at!

    Off Grid Living

    Australia has some of the best camping in the world, but to take advantage of the best spots you need to get off grid. How long you last off grid is generally governed by how much water you can carry, how much fresh food you can store, how much power you can hold and how quickly you can recharge your 12v. Our Z-10.0 EXPEDITION SERIES by ZONE RV has been cleverly thought out to make the most of off-road touring so here are a few key features that allow us to stay off grid for longer.

    Our trailer has 2 x 90 litre tanks which will last the two of us close to 2 weeks even with a quick “spray down” shower every night. We also carry a 22 litre jerry can on the front of the trailer as an emergency supply. If for some reason we run out of water or puncture a water tank off-road we know that we will have the extra 22litres that will last us 2-3days while we drive back to civilisation.

    Luckily, we haven’t had to resort to that yet! Another really cool feature we have on our Z-10.0 EXP is the creek pull system. This allows us to draw water from a lake, river or creek and fill the tanks or alternatively we can bypass the tanks and go straight to the hot water unit for showering or washing up. Doing it this way means that we don’t risk contaminating our drinking water. It’s pretty hard to beat a 5-minute hot shower next to a creek after a long bumpy day on the tracks!

    With a 75 litre fridge built into the kitchen of the Z-10.0 EXP we can comfortably carry 2-weeks’ worth of fresh food in the trailer alone. We use Tupperware style containers to store any loose items. This maximises space efficiency in the chest style fridge and also increases the lifespan of things like fruit and veg so that they don’t end up bruised or squished from taking bumpy off-road tracks. Top tip is to put a sheet or two of paper towel in the containers to absorb any moisture that comes off of your veg. If your fishing game is strong you might even find you can stretch our two weeks out to three, however we learnt the hard way that this isn’t always a very reliable plan!

    It’s all good and well having a big fridge but you need plenty of power to run it. This is where our Z-10 EXP really shines. We have a 200amp Enerdrive B-tec lithium battery that can comfortably keep the beers cold and the lights on for a few days without being charged. To keep the battery topped up we have added an extra 2 solar panels to the roof of the camper which gives us 440w of solar and can put over 20amps into the battery with full sun.

    If the weather is good this means that it’s fairly easy for the battery to be back at 100% by about 10am each morning. On the flip side if we only get a small window of sunlight to top the batteries up with, we will plug in our 200w solar blanket as well which will boost the solar charge up to 30amps! With so much power and charge onboard we can comfortably run a coffee machine, blender and induction cook top through our 2000w ePower inverter, you can kiss powered campsites goodbye!

    With power, water and refrigeration well and truly covered we are able to explore further and enjoy those hidden gems for longer!


    One of our favourite features of the Z-10 EXPEDITION SERIES is the well thought out and generous amount of storage. Gone are the days of working out which single shirt and pair of shorts you are going to pack, we have plenty of room for all our summer and winter gear which is essential when doing the big lap around Australia.

    Inside the sleeping quarters we have nine small compartments on the right hand side that are perfect for storing your socks, undies, toiletries, chargers and any other small items you may need quick access to when inside. On the left hand side there are two generous sized his and hers compartments which we use for our clothing. These compartments are much deeper than those on the right and have plenty of room for shirts, board shorts, jumpers and even the big stuff like puffer jackets. Towards the head of the bed there are two more large compartments which we use to store our off season clothes, towels, spare bedding, extra rolls of toilet paper or any other supplies we may have stocked up on. One of these compartments also has a USB port so we can charge our phones or have the iPad plugged into to watch movies before bedtime. If all that isn’t enough for you, the bed lifts up and gives you easy access to a huge area for all your bulky gear. We use this space to store extra food and beers for longer trips as well as our snorkelling gear, fishing rod, yoga mats, spare camp chairs and a big bag of dog food for our side kick.

    Externally there’s also plenty of storage in the front toolbox. We use the drivers side to store our chemical-loo which is strapped to a slide. On the passenger side there is another slide out drawer which we use to store our messier items like, chainsaw, spare oils, axe, camp oven and campfire pans.

    Our trailer is also optioned with the firewood rack so the top of the tool box can be used to tie down firewood, dirty gear or a couple of extra swags for the kids. On the front of the tool box we also have 2 x 4kg gas bottle holders and 2 jerry can holders for those longer trips, which are all lockable.

    Now we’ve saved the best for last, I’ll be the first to admit that I never thought I’d get so excited about a camper trailer kitchen. If you lift up the kitchen door and slide out your bench top/ cooker you will have access to everything you need to whip up dinner or a quick roadside coffee and snack for those longer days in the car. The door itself can provide instant shade and the kitchen is big enough to have everything in the one place. There is no need to do laps around the camper searching for pots, pans, pasta packets and cans which you have crammed into random compartments all over the place. On our slide out bench top we keep our pots, pans and blender stored in our Navigator storage bags while we travel to stop them bouncing around. In the kitchen we use the shelves above the bench as our pantry so we have easy access to whatever ingredients we need. We’ve also stuck a little spice rack on the top left corner which makes accessing our herbs and spices a lot easier and reduces the footprint in the shelves. The tubs on the right hand side are used to store all our onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes so they don’t start rolling around the kitchen when we hit the rough stuff. On the far right we have our ‘junk shelf’ which is a mixed bag of goodies. The drawers below the sink are used to store our cutlery/ utensils and our plates and bowls. Next to that is the built in 75litre fridge which can be loaded up with enough food for a few weeks off grid! To make better use of the deep fridge we sourced some Tupperware containers that are a perfect fit, we fill these with loose veggies so they don’t get squashed.

    When we were searching for a compact, light weight, go-anywhere camper trailer the overall specs generally meant sacrificing storage. But thanks to the savvy design of the EXP 10.0 you can have your cake and eat it too!

    James Price Point

    If you haven’t heard of this place I’d say there’s a good chance you’ve seen photos of it. It’s hard to miss the vibrant red cliffs that meet the white sand and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. This iconic place is actually a surprisingly easy day trip from Broome, but if you want to make the most of it I’d hitch on the trailer or throw in the swag because this place lights up on sunset and transforms shape on different tides.

    James Price point is located 40 kilometres north of Broome, along Manari Road. It’s a bumpy old ride so drop your tyre pressure and it will be much more comfortable, you’ll quickly forgive the corrugations when you reach your destination. Whether your day tripping or doing an over night mission make sure you pack plenty of food, water and a camera!

    We’d been dreaming of exploring this part of the Dampier Peninsular for a long time so we towed our ZoneRV EXP10.0 there and spent 4 nights and made the most of it. There’s plenty of camp sites that will accomodate larger vans as well. Manari Road has high banks on both sides and is quite narrow so you’ll need to take it easy and slowly navigate oncoming traffic. You will need to be self sufficient so make sure you’ve got plenty of water and a good solar set up.

    There are a few options for camping here. You can park up on top of the cliffs overlooking the ocean (highly recommended), you can drive down onto a large flat section that’s at beach level with plenty of room for large vans or you can drive onto the beach and tuck into one of the red coves under the cliff.

    For our first two nights we parked on the beach under the cliffs. I wouldn’t recommend this option for bigger vans as turning around on the soft sand with limited space may lead to a long day on the shovel!

    Also, make sure you check the tides before committing to a beach camp there is minimal reception so check the charts before you leave. The sand on the beach is soft…really soft! As a gauge we ran 10psi on the car and 6psi on the trailer and had no worries. On a low tide with the sun directly above this picturesque campsite quickly transformed into an oven, so for our third and fourth night we decided to camp up on the cliff top and make the most of the cool breeze, this was amazing!

    On low tide we would walk along the beach searching for rock pools for Bosley to cool off in and on high tide the fishing rods would come out. Whilst I was fishing Nat would read a book and as a precaution prepare a meal that didn’t require fish…predictably I had no luck in the fishing department, our neighbours on the other hand managed to land a nice Queenfish.

    If you’re travelling through Broome make sure you allow some time to explore this amazing area, it is truly unique and certainly lives up to all the hype!

    Our Favourite “End Of Week Curry”

    We’re pretty lucky that we have a 75 litre fridge in our ZONE RV Z-10.0 EXPEDITION SERIES and a spare 45 litre in our car…however there are still those final days of a off grid mission that can leave us scraping the barrel for “foodspiration”. So here’s our go to when we are on fresh food rations.

    Serves 2-4 people
    (or enough for left overs as lunch the next day)

    What you’ll need –

    1 tbsp x coconut oil
    1 tsp x ground cumin
    1 tsp x ground coriander
    1 tsp x ground turmeric
    1 tsp x garam masala
    1 tsp x paprika
    1 x brown onion
    1 tbsp x chopped or crushed ginger
    1 tbsp x chopped or crushed garlic
    1 x can of coconut milk
    1 x can of diced tomatoes
    2 x can of chickpeas
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1-2 cups of basmati rice

    Plus any left over vegetables you have. For this particular batch we diced a small sweet potato, a zucchini, half a left over egg plant and a few sad looking pieces of kale!

    Method –

    This will work over a camp fire or a regular cooktop however we like to think that a fire gives it more flavour. So pull out your camp oven and slowly melt down the coconut oil along with all your spices. Keep on a low heat for 2 mins or so until you can begin to smell the aromatics. Add in your onion, ginger and garlic and cook these on a small flame/ low to medium heat until browned and fragrant. *Top tip: we like to keep the ginger and garlic cut a bit chunky so you get a yummy hit with each mouthful.

    Strain and add in your chickpeas. Stir these through along with any other veg you’ve managed to salvage. Once the chickpeas and veg have started to soften you can go ahead and add in the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste. Stir through until well blended.

    Let the curry simmer away for 20-30 minutes whilst you prepare the rice. We’re pretty loose with the time frame as it will depend on how well your fire is going but just make sure it doesn’t turn to complete mush! We normally do 1 (and a bit) cups of rice that goes along way for two of us, however if your feeding the troops go ahead and do another full cup. We use the 1:2 ratio – 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water. For an extra bit of flavour, sprinkle some ground turmeric and cracked pepper in the water. This always makes us feel like we’re eating fancier then a canned meal, hehe! Just before the rice looks like it’s fully cooked through as in all of the water is gone, take off the flame and let steam for a few more minutes.

    By this time the curry should also be well cooked. Go ahead and serve up! If you just so happen to have any yogurt or fresh coriander, these can be tasty additions to add on top and might make your meal look like it came from a fancy restaurant instead of the bottom of the Engel.


    Our Pooch Friendly Route Down the Ningaloo Coast

    In November we made our way down the Ningaloo coast with our best mate Boz. We were worried that we’d be fairly restricted by travelling with a dog in this area however we quickly discovered that there are still plenty of great station stays that will allow you and your four legged friend to get in on the action. Here are our top four picks!

    Before we get to the good stuff it is worth noting that for these station stays you’ll need to be fully self sufficient so load the fridge, fill the water tanks and give the solar panels a clean. If you own a chemi loo pack that too. If you don’t have your own dunny the stations that require you to have one normally rent them out at around $5-10 a night. If you are bringing your pooch keep in mind that these are all working stations so 1080 baits are found outside of the camping areas. This means that even though you are allowed to have them with you, be prepared to have them on a leash with a soft muzzle if you can so that their nose doesn’t get the best of them.

    Our first camp was at Ningaloo Station, I promise you the notorious 32km of corrugations on the way in are worth it! There are several camping areas to choose from, we chose South Lefroy Bay after a local recommendation. We had the entire campground to ourselves for 5 days, along with some very unseasonal light winds. There was a reef drift right in front of camp so every morning we would put on our snorkelling gear and drift along the teaming reefs for a couple of hours. Once we were all water logged we retired to our camp chairs to enjoy a cuppa and read our books. This place was paradise!

    created by dji camera

    Our next stop was Worroora Station, another gem! The road in was a lot more enjoyable then that to Ningaloo. We were greeted by the extremely friendly host and parked up for the night at 18 mile beach. It was a beautiful spot but we found it a little too crowded after our 5 days of solitude so the next day we drove down the road to a camp area called sandy point. Turquoise water and not a soul around, bingo, we had hit the jack pot again. Even though the wind had kicked up by this point we were still able to enjoy a swim in the ocean and then seek relief from the wind at camp which was tucked behind the dunes. There is so much coast to explore along here, so make sure you pack your snorkelling gear and fishing rod and go for an adventure.

    After 3 nights at Worroora it was time to hitch up the trailer and restock in Carnarvon. This lead us to our next destination, Red Bluff. If your not a surfer you may not fully appreciate this place, but waves aside this is still a beautiful place to visit. The camp is situated on the north side of a bluff which protects the beach and camp from the southernly winds. Most camp sites have there own access track to the beach and if you head north along the beach you’ll find some beautiful rock pools on low tide to dunk in. Walking out on the bluff is a must as well, at the south end of the beach you’ll find some amazing limestone caves to explore just before the track starts. If you continue to follow the track out onto the bluff along the rocky edge, you’ll most likely spot turtles, dolphins, sharks and bait balls along the way. Like the rest of the Ningaloo coast the ocean is so alive! If the Wave Gods shine favourably on you, you’ll be able to witness a world class point break ‘Red Bluff’ doing its thing. Make sure you pull up a seat and watch the show, your likely to witness the extreme highs and lows of surfing.

    Continuing north from here you’ll find yourself at our all time favourite, 3 Mile Camp at Gnarloo Station. After traveling around Australia for the past 12 months there’s good reason as to why this place still takes the cake for us. There’s something for everyone here, surfing, fishing, snorkelling, rock pool hopping, coastal walks and general good vibes. Although during our time here “Huey” didn’t answer our prayers and produce surfable waves, the kite surfers took full advantage of the strong southerly winds which was very entertaining to watch. If you happen to get the right conditions it’s well worth checking out the infamous wave ‘Tombstones’ which is one of the best left handers in the world. However this time round we spent our days exploring the coastal track between Gnarloo and Red Bluff which is littered with secluded beaches, rugged cliffs and amazing snorkelling spots. Our planned three days here quickly turned into a week, which seems to be a common theme every time we visit.

    Whether your traveling with a pooch or not these are four amazing spots worth putting on your West Australian bucket list!

    Life in the Slow Lane

    Life in the slow lane…why our trip went from ticking box’s to having no set plans.

    When you commit to any kind of travel it’s easy to fall into the trap of jamming as much into your itinerary as possible. You see, most of us are so time poor these days that we schedule the crap out of our lives just to feel like we’re tick all the box’s and not developing some serious FOMO (fear of missing out) along the way. Whether it’s a weekend away or a year of road tripping around Australia like us, we’re here to tell you, you’re better off leaving big spaces in your itinerary and this is why…

    Mid December 2018 we left our beautiful home in Perth to embark on a yearlong road trip around Australia. We had a long list of places we wanted to see and visions of waking up somewhere new every day. We were so excited that we practically cut off the bottom of WA and within the first week had crossed our first state border, WA to SA. Within the first month of travel we literally didn’t stay in one place any longer than two nights. We had caught the travel bug hard and fast like two kids with ants in their pants. 

    Whilst it’s definitely necessary to have certain things pre-booked we’ve come to learn that it’s a far more satisfying style of travel to just slow things down a bit. For example, we had our trip to Tasmania pre-booked so we could make it over there for the end of summer (peak season). But as a result, we sped through so many amazing locations that we genuinely fell in love with just get to the next best thing. You know how it goes, you’ve got your itinerary, you’ve got your hit list and all those other places that someone’s told you about, who’s cousin had told them they visited five years ago, they said it was amazing and “you’ve got to go” so you jump from spot to spot just to say you’ve done it, you’ve seen it all! Well that’s all well and good but I’m telling you, there’s magic in letting go of your plans! 

    Some of our greatest experiences on the road have happened after we had let go of scheduling. One of the best and most memorable parts of our trip was when we were meeting up with friends just to do an “overnighter” with them in Mission Beach, Queensland before continuing north to Cape Yorke. We were still feeling like we had a few rogue ants left in our pants at this point as it was late July and most experienced nomads will tell you it’s best to be in far North QLD between June and August to make the most of the dry season. Over dinner we were invited to go explore the islands off Mission Beach by our friend’s cousin (I know I suggested to ignore some of these cousinly suggestions, but this was one was too good to be true). So, we forfeited our “overnight” plans, jagged a few swags to borrow and head out to the islands to do a sneaky camp out. One night rolled into two and eventually two nights rolled into three before we ran out of food and had to head back to the mainland. All in all, we pumped the breaks in our schedule to make room for some spontaneity and magic it was! 

    These kinds of experiences are often overlooked or entirely missed when you set out to do it all and travel to as many places as physically possible in your travel timeline. You see as a culture we are so focussed on doing that we forget to slow down and just be. So next time you book a holiday make sure you leave some room for magic. Room to immerse yourself in each moment, place and experience so that you can truly reap the rewards of what holidaying is all about, adventure coupled with unwinding from the day to day grind we tend to get bogged down in.

    Believe us you’ll actually see and experience a whole lot more by doing so. 

    How to Cook Outdoors

    How to cook outdoors over an open flame 

    Spending time outdoors is our absolute favourite thing to do here at ZONE. Anything that combines road tripping, adventure and cooking, and we are there. 

    If one technique you have always wanted to master is cooking outdoors over an open flame, we don’t blame you. Nothing beats that delicious smoky flavour a flame creates. 

    The first thing to know with cooking outdoors is not to get intimidated by fire. Confidence comes with practice. So, it’s important just to get out there and give it a go. Here are our tips:

    • If you’re new to cooking over a fire, start with an open fire pan so you don’t get overwhelmed. Cooking outdoors should be easy, fun and experimental. Later down the track if it interests you, you could try rigging up a tripod with a hook.
    • Not all wood is created equal. You want to make sure you use hardwood to fuel your fire. Hardwood creates coals, which you want to cook over as they radiate a sturdy, strong heat. 
    • To get your fire going, use scrap cardboard, single sheets of newspaper scrunched up, gum leaves, twigs, hardwood kindling and matches. You can use a fire starter (those white chunks you can pick up at most supermarkets) but we prefer the more traditional method of using what we had around us. Once the flames are up, you will need to add blocks of hardwood to make coals. 
    • From our experience, and depending on the hardwood you have, it can take anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour to burn hardwood down to coals. 
    • Measuring the heat is all done by hand and instinct, something you develop over time – and not by putting your hands directly onto the flame or coals, of course. If you can put your hands above the coals for more than six seconds, the heat is most likely to be around 100 degrees Celsius. Three seconds is about a medium heat and likely to be around 170 degrees Celsius. And one second is most likely to be around 200 degrees Celsius. 
    • Ovens and gas stove work really similar to fires, to increase the heat, add more hardwood to create more coals. To decrease the heat, use less coal by removing hardwood or adding less hardwood.
    • To move the heat around so you can cook different foods and different heats, use a stick or a shovel.
    • If you are planning on cooking a big meal, get two fires going – one to cook on, one to create coals on. When you need more heat, you can move the coals onto the fire you are cooking on.
    • Lastly, wherever you are camping and or cooking, fire safety (especially with kids around) and fire restrictions need to be adhered to when cooking with flame outdoors.

    We used cardboard, kindling and matches to make the fire in these photos. It was a little bit windy, but we eventually got it started. Once the fire was firmly established, we placed the open pan over the flame. As the pan was warming up, we prepped breakfast.

    We used speck, eggs, broccolini, saffron milky cup mushrooms, and fresh bread. 

    As the flame started to drop and kindling embers were beaming hot, we threw a dash of oil onto the large pan and started cooking the speck, broccolini and mushrooms. The caramelisation of the speck fat chargrilled the speck and the vegetables. Later on, we moved the food around, fried the eggs and sat by the fire enjoying a hearty breakfast in the warm morning sun. 

    Reasons why you SHOULD travel Australia with your best mate…

    In preparation for our trip around Australia we had been told plenty of times that it might be easier if we left him behind. Most articles or blog posts we came across seemed to be pretty discouraging too, all the amazing National Parks we would have to forfeit or beautiful camping grounds that weren’t dog friendly. But having travelled as a pack many times before closer to home in Western Australia, we were committed to bringing our wing man along…and here’s why you should too.

    One of the best parts of travelling around Australia is the people you meet along the way, add a dog into the mix and you’ll quickly find yourself with a nationwide group of friends made simply from conversations that have started with, “can I please pat your dog?”.   It can be a little daunting taking off on the road just by yourself or with your family in the sense that you become reliant on certain levels of interaction. Having your dog with you will either keep your love tank full when long days on the road seem lonely or lead you to cross paths with like-minded people who love dogs and love to travel. Boz has been one of the best ice breakers for making friends on the road which has led us to traveling the coast lines of Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland with new friends we otherwise might not have met.

    Whether your best mate is mice size or beast size the bark of a dog can act as a powerful deterrent for the opposite kind of company too. Let’s face it, whilst we are lucky enough to live in a fairly safe country there are still those times when travelling into remote areas can feel a little sketchy. Whilst thankfully there hasn’t been many of these moments, we’re still convinced that Boz would let us know if there was some bad energy around.

    Man’s best friend is resilient…he or she won’t care where you are so long as they are there with you. Whilst traveling Australia surely is amazing there have been plenty of times where the weather hasn’t been on our side or our destination for the night hasn’t been as idyllic as we had imagined. Whilst humans can be quick to get hung up on the little things’ pooches do not. Boz has always raised our spirits, he’s the one bouncing through the puddles when it’s raining or sprinting through the dusty gravel pit even when we would all rather be parked up on lush grass or a beautiful beach. Dogs offer a crucial reminder to be present and make the best of what’s around us and this is really important to practice when travelling Australia. Whilst we can guarantee you will have a steady flow of pooch friendly epic outlooks and beautiful sceneries, travelling long distances on the road isn’t without its shortage of bleak or miserable pit stops. But trust us as owners of one of the happiest creatures on earth, you will be better off with your fluffy reminder in tow.

    Things to see and do in Esperance, Western Australia

    If you happen to be driving through along the south coast of Western Australia in your ZONE, make sure you stop into Esperance for a few days. In fact, because there is so much to see and do and because it’s a very caravan friendly destination, we think you’ll need at last five days in Esperance.


    If you want to stay in Esperance town, you can park your caravan at the Esperance Seafront Caravan Park. It’s a relaxed and quiet caravan park overlooking beautiful Esperance Bay, and it’s an RAC Rated 3.5 Star park with terraced shady lawned sites and magnificent views. The beach is just across the road and the centre of town is just a short walk along the waterfront esplanade. It offers 170 powered caravan and tent sites across 10 acres, and the Esperance Seafront Caravan Park Shop and Reception is open daily from 8am to 6pm.
    Our tip? Try to book in advance as it’s busy all year round. For all the park features, head here.

    If you are thinking of staying in the beautiful wilderness, you can’t go past Cape Le Grande National Park and camp at Lucky Bay Campground. It’s truly incredible! With only 25 campsites, spots are strictly limited and booking is a must. With Lucky Bay right on your caravan step, it pays to be organised. And even better, you can drive on the beach at Lucky Bay and meet some very friendly local kangaroos. To book, simply visit here.

    Things to do

    If you are travelling with children, there are a couple of parks in town to keep them entertained.

    Esperance is all about beach living, but don’t save all of your sandy adventures for Esperance Bay! Head out of town and drive the Great Ocean Drive loop. Along here you will find some of the most stunning, postcard perfect beaches Esperance has to offer including West Beach, Blue Haven, 11 Mile Lagoon and Twilight Beach. 

    The best surprise of all is that Cape Le Grand National Park is only 45 minutes east of Esperance. Lucky Bay is an absolute must and everyone heads there for the great facilities, beach driving and the opportunity to get a photo with a local kangaroo. 

    Whatever you end up doing in Cape Le Grand National Park, make sure you venture over to Thistle Cove for a full beach day – you will more than likely have the entire beach to yourself all day. There are no facilities, so pack plenty of food, shade and water. 

    Places to eat

    The beauty of Esperance is you can do as little or as much as you want in a day. There’s no rushing around here. The centre of town is located on the water just a short five to ten minute walk from Esperance Seafront Caravan Park. You can easily spend a day meandering slowly around town, and there are some seriously cute shops. 

    Get your daily coffee at Downtown Espresso Bar; they also make their own pretzels by hand. The jalapeno pretzel is the best!

    Stock up on groceries at Bob and Jim’s General Store if you fancy cooking up a storm.

    Stocked up on salad sandwiches from the French Hot Bread Shop (who surprisingly do a really good Banh Mi) every day. It’s open early and is always busy. It’s the perfect place to grab lunch and snacks before heading over to Cape Le Grand National Park for a day trip.

    Do a spot of shopping at Luna & Sage and the local surf shop Inner Tube. 

    Enjoy a meal at Taylor St Quarters (the cocktails are really good) with views of Esperance Bay. Cocktails by sunset here are incredible and you really get that super friendly “locals only” vibe. 

    If you fancy a night out, Fish Face is one of the best restaurants in town.