4 places to park your motorhome near Denver

By United States /

Denver is one of America’s most exciting destinations. Colorado’s capital city has many exciting arts, culture and sports attractions. It’s also surrounded by a beautiful landscape of snow-capped mountains.

When you book your next trip to the city and hire a motorhome from Denver Airport and park it at one of these camping grounds.

Moraine Park Campground
This campground is set amongst pine forest in the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain National Park (pictured), which is just over 100km from Denver. Many people head out here for a day trip in the summertime, but it’s a shame to not spend at least a night or two in this beautiful wilderness. For about $20 a night, you’ll have access to incredible views 2,4800m above sea level. It’s the national park’s only year-round campground.

Lakeside Caravan Park
The name says all you need to know about the location of this caravan park. Except, the exciting thing is you’re amongst five tranquil fishing lakes! This means you’ll find peace and quiet no matter which direction you set off in. The site offers hire boats and various water sports. If that’s not entertainment enough for you, then be glad to know the park even has its own cinema and WiFi.

Buena Vista Koa
The view that’s waiting for you at this campsite will leave you breathless. Wake up each morning to a panorama of five 4,000 metre high peaks. You’ll be able to park your motorhome only a short distance from the Arkansas River, which weaves its way through these scenic valleys. Enjoy a range out outdoor activities, including hiking trails, visiting ghost towns and rafting.

Rainbow Lakes Campground
About two hours from Denver is the breathtakingly beautiful Rainbow Lakes Campground. You’ll find many campers making the most of this seriously under-rated site. The surrounding peaks offer some of the best hiking in the country, but just make sure you’re well-prepared. The moderate Rainbow Lake Trail also showcases postcard perfect views.


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5 holiday parks to make a splash


A family holiday isn’t the same without a fun water park nearby, and it’s even better when the splash park is located only metres from your accommodation!

Here are five Big4 holiday parks where you can make a splash.

BIG4 Tweed Billabong Holiday Park, NSW (pictured)
Located on the Far North coast of New South Wales, the Big4 Tweed Billabong Holiday Park is touted as the country’s premier holiday park with a water playground. It promises more than just endless entertainment with its tipping bucket and slides. The splash park design even reflects the magnificent surrounding Wollumbin-Mount Warning landscape.

BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park, Vic
This surf themed indoor water park, Surfari Splash Zone, operates all year round. The splash park not only provides a cool relief in the summer months, but it’ll warm you up in winter, when it transforms into a heated water park. Some of its special features include a giant shark tipping bucket, cannon guns and fountains.

BIG4 Swan Hill, Vic
This zero-depth multi-level play area has interactive features for kids of all ages. The aquatic park boasts three water slides, spray cannons and a giant, 8.5m super splash tipping bucket. It’s bound to keep the kids entertained for hours on end. There’s also a toddlers’ area away from the spray cannons with a soft fall surface.

NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park, Qld
Located just 10 minutes north of Surfers Paradise, the NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park has an exciting Shipwreck Shores Pirate Themed water park. There are three swimming pools, along with a waterslide, waterfall and wading area surrounded by landscaped gardens. Best yet, Treasure Island Holiday Park is centrally located between all of the major theme parks!

Marion Holiday Park, SA
Beautiful Marion Holiday Park is nestled amongst wetlands and 200 year old red river gum trees, providing an intimate and cosy backdrop for a memorable holiday with the family. It has a lagoon pool and a fun water park with playground facilities, including a water slide. The best part is its central location, just a few minutes south of Adelaide’s CBD.


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Where to visit in Queenstown with your campervan

By New Zealand / Queenstown /

Queenstown is one massive adventure waiting to happen. Rent a campervan from DriveNow and visit these amazing places when staying around the city.

Queenstown Hill Walk
It’s a fairly easy walk, but there are amazing views once you reach the top. Drive to Belfast Street in Queenstown before hiking through pine forest to the summit of Te Tapunui. Stunning views overlooking Lake Wakatipu await during the three hour return journey. You’ll also learn about Maori history, Queensland’s gold rush and how Queenstown became the Adventure Capital of the World along the way with information signs.

Walter Peak High Country Farm
Experience the beautiful Lake Wakatipu by cruising across it in a vintage steamship, before disembarking at Walter Peak High Country Farm. Here, you’ll help feed adorable farm animals, watch a sheep shearing display and join horse treks or cycling excursions.

Camp and canoe at Moke Lake
Moke Lake is touted as one of the best camping spots in all of New Zealand, but it’s often overlooked in favour of Lake Wakatipu. However, beautiful Moke Lake sits in the mountains nearby, and is a perfect spot to bring along your own canoe or kayak. If you’re daring, why not go for a swim? Just make sure you bring a wetsuit!

Skiing The Remarkables
Located in the Remarkables mountain range is a popular ski field, which is just over half an hour’s drive from Queenstown. The north-facing slopes are a great spot for beginners learning how to ski or snowboard. However, the terrain is varied, which means The Remarkables is also an adventure paradise for experienced skiiers. Not to mention the amazing views!

Chard Farm winery
Close to Queenstown is Chard Farm, which was established in 1987. It makes them one of the pioneers of wine in Central Otago, producing fine cool climate wines. Sit down to a wine tasting like no other at Chard Farm. It specialises in Single Vineyard pinot noirs and Chard Farm’s philosophy is that people prefer drinking wines with interesting flavours, rather than simply tasting special wines.



West is best for adventure – try these four ideas for your next road trip in Western Australia

By Australia / Broome / Perth / Western Australia /

Comprising an entire third of Australia, there’s plenty to do out West when it comes to travel adventures. Try these experiences for size …

Photograph the pinnacles

Where: Nambung National Park, 250km north of Perth

THOSE with a burning desire to capture the world through their camera lens will relish the chance to photograph the Pinnacles at sunset.

These dramatic limestone formations are up to five metres tall, having formed 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

Wind, rain, sun and vegetation have sculptured these dramatic structures over time. Top photographer Ilya Genkin advises using polarising filter and a low level shooting point to achieve brilliant shots at any time of day, but avoid shooting on dark, moonless nights or extremely rainy or cloudy days.

“The Pinnacle formations are best photographed in the early morning or late afternoon as the play of light brings out the colours and the extended shadows of the formations delivers a contrast that brings out their features.”

It’s even worthwhile taking the scenic drive a few times to get a feel for the best morning, evening and night shots. August to October is the best time to visit, as the days are mild and the area’s gorgeous wildflowers blossom.

Visit the Bungle Bungle Range

Where: Purnululu National Park, east of Broome

EXPLORING the black and orange striped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range in the Pernululu National Park is one of nature’s gifts.

Check out the endless number of beehive-shaped rock formations, hidden valleys, rock pools, and gorges lined with palm trees. The domes stand between 200 and 300 metres above the woodland and grass covered plains, making it one of the Australian Outback’s great wonders.

The scenery is mesmerizing, yet perhaps the most mind-blowing thing is that Indigenous people have inhabited this area for generations and the rest of Australia and the world didn’t even know it existed until about 30 years ago.

Margaret River Discovery Tour

Where: 270km south of Perth

FOR the adventurous at heart there’s everything from caving and mountain biking to horse riding and cultural tours, but one can’t visit Margaret River and put aside a day for the Margaret River Discovery Tour.

The tour includes a 4WD journey through the bush, a stroll out to the Willyabrup Cliffs on the Cape To Cape Track, a paddle on a canoe down the beautiful Margaret River and a gourmet lunch at a magnificent winery.

The company’s Sean Blocksidge says it’s all about going off the beaten path and linking the area’s great outdoors with why the wines in the country’s south west are so special. Not only do visitors enjoy a unique wine and scenic touring experience but they uncover locations that most locals don’t even know exist.

Treetop Walk

Where: Walpole, 250km south east of Bunbury

BEING amongst the tree top canopy of some of the tallest timber giants in Australia truly is a breath of fresh air.

The Valley of the Giants treetop walk enchants visitors, taking them to the top of 400-year-old giant red tingle trees, which are only found within a 15km radius of Walpole.

The 600-metre walk leads over a deep gully, educating and allowing its visitors to explore the area’s most ancient, intriguing and majestic trees. The views that await once you’re 40 metres off the ground and watching over the forest as these giants have done for centuries are simply breathtaking. It’s no wonder why it’s the most visited place on the Rainbow Coast.

This tour offers the best of both worlds as afterwards the Ancient Empires Walk takes you beneath the canopy and you pass some giants which are over 15 metres round at the base. The path gradually ascends into the treetops, making it suitable for people and children of all ages, including those with wheelchairs and parents with strollers.



Campervan Hire in the Top End – Travel Tips

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

If you are planning a campervan holiday in the Top End of the Northern Territory and exploring more remote locations, here are some tips from our experience on the road. Much of this applies to travel any way in remote Australia. If you have ideas and tips you’d like to share, please send them into writeabout@drivenow.com.au.


    • Walk round and thoroughly check your Campervan rental before you leave the branch. Take photos of any existing external scratches or damage. Check inside that everything is working. Your campervan supplier will be helpful and will work with you on this but photos are the easiest and clearest way to document and record


    • If your Campervan comes with a TV you may need to use the auto-tune feature when you move between locations to pick up digital signals. In the Top End these appeared to change between Darwin, Jabiru, Katherine and Batchelor


    • If your campervan has a toilet cartridge you will find sewage dump points close to most caravan parks


    • Whilst you’ll find Supermarkets in most locations stock up with food before leaving Darwin – cheaper and easier


    • Purchase multi-packs of water bottles and keep the Campervan’s fridge well stocked with them for daily excursions


    • Tap water at campgrounds may be unsuitable for drinking water – best to use your own


    • Fuel in the Top End is expensive – that is a fact. Top up whenever you can and expect to pay up to $0.40 more per litre in remote locations. Cheapest location we found was the BP in Katherine, cheaper than even Darwin


    • You’ll get mobile phone reception near most locations but on highways such as the central stretch of the Kakadu Highway between Jabiru and Pine Creek this will drop out


    • Avoid driving at night or sunrise and sunset when animals are at their most active and more likely to stray on the road


    • Never take your Campervan off sealed roads other than short distances (sub 5kms) to designated campervan parks. To do so will void all your insurance cover and make you liable for the cost of any damage. This rules out Jim Jim Falls and twin Falls.


    • Road Trains – for those new to Outback roads, Road Trains are trucks with multiple trailers up to 53 metres (174 feet) long and are a common site on Northern Territory highways


    • Observe the warning signs about not lingering around water holes or fishing – crocodiles may be present and you don’t want to become lunch



Travel Top End Loop – Litchfield Park – Marines on Falls Day 7 & 8

By Australia / Northern Territory /

Batchelor, Buley Hole and Wangi Falls

The Final destination in our loop through the top end in our Maui Motorhome was Litchfield Park. Just 80 minutes south of Darwin, close enough for a day-trippers and 244km north of Katherine straight up the Stuart Highway.

14kms off the Stuart Highway the small township of Batchelor is the gateway to Litchfield Park. Made up of a couple of pubs, a Best Western Hotel, small supermarket, fuel, Post office and 3 holiday parks, Batchelor is also home to the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education . The Batchelor airport, a former World War II airstrip offers scenic flights of the Park starting from $99 for a short flight.

As is the way in remote Australia there’s always an unexpected surprise to be found in the most extraordinary of locations and Batchelor is no exception. At the heart of this small township you’ll come across a model of Karlstein Castle, the original which still stands in Bohemia. Built by a former resident, Czech born Bernie Havlik, the model castle sits atop a large rocky outcrop that Bernie’s gardening crew found difficult to maintain and keep tidy so Bernie came up with an alternative solution which still stands over 25 years later.

For our Litchfield Park base we chose the Big4 Batchelor Camper Park. This lush picturesque campervan park is set amongst shady gums in the heart of Batchelor and guarantees you awake in the morning to a cacophony of bird song. Recently taken over by new owners, the rejuvenation of this Big4 park is a work in progress but all the basics are covered with pool – all be it a bit basic and plastic, good showers and washing machines. Shame you required a dollar coin to operate the BBQ however perhaps Jabiru and Katherine spoilt us.

A concrete pathway leads from the holiday park across to the Best Western Hotel which offers accommodation, bar, bottle shop, bar-bistro and restaurant, giving the chance for a chef’s night off.

We headed into Litchfield Park early the next morning, first stop was the Magnetic Termite Mound fields. Looking like Antony Gormley sculptures, these termite mounds stretch into the distance in both directions and offer a great photoshot.

Next stop was Buley Rock Pool. BIG Tip here is to arrive as early as possible – this is a beautiful series of rock pools, deep enough to bomb and jump into but popular and can become quite busy. These pools are all safe to swim in during the Dry Season being Salt water crocodile free.

You can continue down the road to Florence Falls for more swimming – we toured the car park there and decided the number of coaches, cars and campers meant too many people and headed on to Wanggi.

If you needed just one reason to visit Litchfield Park Wangi Falls is it. 64kms from Batchelor, the Falls cascade down 51 metres into a huge deep pool surrounded by lush trees full of bird life and sleeping flying foxes. The Pool is totally safe to swim in during the Dry season and thoroughly checked by Park Rangers for salties at the end of the Wet Season in March/April before being open to the public.

Despite its popularity the sheer size of the pool ensures there is room for everyone. During our visit US Marines on leave from training in the Territory explored the Falls in their own way by scaling the cliffs and jumping 10 metres into the Pool. Not recommended and much against the Park Rules.

We spent much of the afternoon at the Falls before heading back to Batchelor for our final night.

The drive back to Darwin was quck and easy with a coffee stop and top up with diesel (rental companies charge a premium if you return a vehicle without a full tank). Other things to remember to do prior to dropping of your campervan is to empty the toilet cartridge and waste water. The drop-off process was all done and dusted in 15 minutes and we were in a taxi for the airport before we knew it.

We elected to fly home with a grown-up airline, Qantas, great service, seats, leg room, food and drinks you didn’t have to pay for and entertainment. Cost more but worth every cent.

Great time, great trip, big country!
Nancy L

We travelled the Top End at the end of the Dry Season in September with a 6 berth Motorhome from Maui. You can discover more about renting a motorhome in Darwin and the Northern Territory on the DriveNow website.


Travel the Top End Loop – Lazy Lizard lunch and cruising with Katherine – Day 5 & 6

By Australia / Northern Territory /

Pine Creek, Katherine Gorge and Cutta Cutta Caves

Before leaving the Jabiru area we stopped off at Mirrai Lockout, parked up the motorhome and a 20 minute walk up to the hilltop was rewarded with panoramic views of across Kakadu to the Arnhem Land escarpments on the other side of the East Alligator river.

We had thought about Jim Jim Falls however as it was accessible only via a 2 hour journey on an unsealed road it was off the agenda with our motorhome – no motorhome or campervan rental can be driven on unsealed roads (unless entering a camping ground or something similar and over a short distance). The Jim Jim Falls road as with many in the park is closed during the wet becoming impassable. As we drove south we crossed countless dry river beds all with the rather telling sign “Don’t linger on bridge and no fishing”, Crocs never seemed to be far away,

Lunch at the Lazy Lizard Resort in Pine Creek was everything you expect from a great Outback pub. Great food and décor to match. Amazing wooden troughs as basins in the toilets, outdoor pool tables and backpacking Germans serving behind the counter!

Having filled up with fuel it was on down the Stuart highway for the 70 minute drive to Katherine. This was our next stocking up point with a trip to Katherine’s large Woolies supermarket (in the main street on the left at the southern end of town) and then we checked in to the Katherine Big 4 , another great holiday park, plenty of space, pool & spar, surprisingly slightly more expensive than Jabiru (our Maui rental came with discounted rates at Big4 Parks) but still great value and excellent facilities including the best equipped kitchens of our trip. In fact we found the facilities wherever we went so good that our motorhome’s cooker had a holiday and was hardly used.

Of course no visit to Katherine is complete without a cruise through Katherine Gorge or to give it’s correct name Nitmiluk Gorge which sits in the Nitmiluk National Park belonging to the local Jawoyn people. We pre-booked online for convenience sake – $244 for the 4 of us and settled on the 2 Gorge tour – all very much dependent upon water levels.

There’s been plenty written about Katherine Gorge or Gorges as there are 13 in all, needless to say they lived up to expectations. You can hire Kayaks and make your own way down and it’s safe to swim in with only harmless and rather shy small freshwater crocs present.

The other expedition we mounted in Katherine was to drive 30kms south on the Stuart highway and visit Cutta Cutta Caves.

Only discovered in 1910 by a drover whose cattle disappeared into sink holes, the caves extend back 450 metres although only 250 are open to the public – the humid conditions and ammonia make it too dangerous to venture deeper. The local aboriginal clan named the caves Cutta Cutta meaning many stars after the sparkling calcium deposits found within. As it totally flooded during the wet season the cave system was not occupied by aboriginals and has no rock art.

The tour is short and there’s not a huge amount to see, however our guide did show how absolutely and totally dark it becomes when he shutdown the lighting system – the average person lasts 30 minutes before their mind begins to play tricks, we were gladed normal service was resumed after 2!

Nancy L

We travelled the Top End in a 6 berth Maui Motorhome.You can learn more about campervan hire in the Northern territory on the DriveNow Darwin pages.



Travel the Top End Loop – Arnhem Land – Day 4

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

Arnhem Land and 20,000 year old Australians

Day 4 was spent on tour in Arnhem Land and for me this was the absolute stand out of our entire trip – if you can only book one tour in the top end – make it this one. You will not be disappointed in what was a memorable and an amazing experience.

The tour is organised by Lords Safaris (www.lords-safaris.com), one of only 3 operators permitted by the Land council to enter Arnhem land. Yes it is expensive at $810 for 2 adults and 2 children, however worth every cent. You experience that rare opportunity of exploring 20,000 year old Rock Art with a member of the Aboriginal clan that the art belongs to, and all in its raw natural environment. Not for the faint hearted as you’ll discover.

Collected at Kakadu Lodge by mini-bus, the 17 of us were driven out to Cahills Crossing to enter Arnhem Land. Access to Arnhem Land is restricted and managed by the Northern Land Council with limited permits issued each year – hence one reason for the higher tour costs.

Cahills Crossing is regularly featured on Australian News in January & February with great torrents of water during the wet season as someone is rescued from a stranded 4WD; for us the causeway was bone dry, with mud flats on one side, tidal water on the other and crocs evident on both. Only the foolish swim or enter the water here.

Our Arnhem Land tour started in the local Aboriginal community of Oenpelli where we met and saw at work the artists and weavers at the local Art centre and learnt more about the community and what it was like living in a remote location
(at least in our eyes) and being often cut off for weeks during the wet season and reliant on air transport for everything – including diesel for the local power station. Life here is not easy and this made the whole experience that bit more real and in some ways confronting.

Our guide, Roland, joined us as we took the short drive to the base of Injalak Hill, renowned for it’s rich rock art galleries, some of the best in Australia. Water Bottles, sunscreen and hats an absolute must.

We set off up the hill following a very rough path, really walking over stones and scree for 15 minutes before arriving at the first Art Gallery. No ropes, no steps carved into the hillside and no barriers, just the real thing.


Over the next 2 hours we were taken through more than 10 galleries of varying sizes and ages with Roland describing the use of 2 and then 4 colours in the art and the significance of each piece of work. The walks between galleries involved squeezing down narrow canyons, through rock cracks and along ledges all very safe for the sensible and averagely fit person but not for the infirm, under 5s or unsteady. Areas of the hill are burnt off to discourage goannas and snakes (nice to know) although you may see black kangaroos and wallabies on the hill – but given the temperature most sensible animals are likely tucked up in bed waiting nightfall.

These galleries are as current to their owning clan today as they were to the original artists 20,000 years ago and each year any art work that is exposed to runoff during the wet is carefully touched up and maintained. Whilst the oldest go back 20,000 years there is much younger art work including that painted after Contact – being the first time aboriginals came into contact with non-indigenous people, the first being Makassan Sea cucumber fisherman from Indonesia 500 years ago.

Just before lunch Roland took us through to a large ledge backing into a cave which historically was the burial area for the clan. This was a very spiritual place and the only part of the tour where photographs cannot be taken.

Lunch was 200 feet up on a wide deep ledge overlooking a plateau stretching across towards the Arafura Sea  and on our left an escarpment running down in parallel to the East Alligator River. A photographer’s heaven.

Following lunch we explored further galleries before heading back to the Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre in Oenpelli for the opportunity to purchase goods with all proceeds going straight back into the community. Pricing ranged from
$20 through to $3000+ for some of the larges pieces of Art although given these would fetch 4 or 5 times the cost in city galleries this was definitely the place to purchase if Aboriginal Art appeals (and they will post it home for you
as well). What was surprising was how expensive the Pandanus baskets and other weaved products were.

We headed home at 4.30 and by 5.40 were sitting in the Kakadu Lodge pool cooling off – great day and great way to finish. Next is Pine Creek, Katherine Gorge and Cutta Cutta Caves.

Nancy L

We travelled the Top End in a 6 berth Motorhome from Maui kicking off our trip in Darwin. More information and pricing on Maui and other top campervan companies in the Northern Territory can be found on the DriveNow Darwin campervan hire page or contact Reservations on 1300 547 214.


Travel the Top End Loop – Kakadu and a hissy Saltie – Day 3

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

Day 3 Darwin to Kakadu and Yellow Water

We collected our motorhome from the Maui depot on Bombing road in Winnellie (around $35 from the city). Allow 45 minutes for the staff to show you around the vehicle and explain how everything works. There’s DVD you can watch and we were also given a USB stick with the video. A team member will go over the vehicle with you to check for any existing scratches or damage and there’s no harm in using your phone camera to snap these just to be totally sure.

Now is also the last opportunity for you to take out any optional excess insurance reduction protection. Unlike car hire your travel insurance is unlikely to cover your excess liability and given you are travelling in the Northern Territory reducing this liability is a good idea. Ours cost $45 a day although we choose not to take the $99 separate rollover cover.

Next stop – the supermarket. There’s a Woolworths in Palmerston, or stick on the Stuart Highway and a little further south (22kms from Bombing road) you’ll find a Woolies on the right of the highway at Coolalinga – along with a Caltex – handy for topping up before returning the vehicle.

It is strongly (very) recommended to stock up on groceries and other essentials before leaving Darwin – you will find supermarkets elsewhere but these will be more expensive and in less populated areas be small with limited choice. However you will find that EFTPOS facilities are everywhere – there’s no need to carry larger than normal amounts of cash.

Road-Train-Northern-Territory Once fully provisioned including grog (last opportunity is in Humpty Doo just outside the park on Arnhem Highway) we headed for Kakadu, south on the Stuart Highway before turning left turn onto the Arnhem Highway. All very well sign posted to the point our TomTom was really redundant.The 255km drive into Jabiru takes around 3 hours from Darwin. Be aware of Road Trains – these operate across the Territory and can be up to 4 trailers and 50 metres long, impressive and very long trucks!

Kakadu Park charges a park fee of $25 per person valid for 14 days (children under 16 & NT residents are free). There’s no booth at the Park entrance to collect this, you can pre-purchase when collecting your campervan, online on the Federal Government’s www.environment.gov.au site or purchase at shops within the park. It’s really a honour system – you can be fined if found to be without a pass.

Kakadu-Lodge-PoolOur first overnight destination was Kakadu Lodge in Jabiru. This proved to be an excellent choice (actually only choice in Jabiru!) and highly recommended. There’s plenty of space and powered sites with over 200 they have never had to turn anyone away even in the peak July period so there’s no need to book ahead (in fact they don’t take bookings for powered sites). There’s also unpowered sites, cabins and tent-cabins that can be hired as well.

Toilets and shower block we accessed were the best on our trip. Central Pool was an oasis for the kids and with a bar and bistro adjacent a great meeting place for evening meals and drinks.

Reception have a small shop and selection of tourist materials along with Tour booking services. This park was the best value in our opinion at $43 a night for a powered site and family of 4 along with the best facilities – a stand out.

The next day we headed 50kms south down the Kakadu Highway to Gagudju Lodge at Cooinda to jump on a cruise of the Yellow Water Billabong. $244 for the four of us. Cooinda also has a Caravan Park and is another great spot to stay. It’s also home to quite expensive fuel – 50 cents a litre more than major Australian cities! However given its remote location and their limited options in raising revenue it’s a bit more understandable – we topped up – in fact we topped up whenever we could.

This was an opportunity to see water wildlife and we were not disappointed. Plenty of salt water crocs which of course were headliners (never knew that they hiss as our youngest discovered) however the abundance of other animals including Buffalo, Whistling Ducks, Darters, Jabiru, Sea Eagles, Ibises, Spoonbills Brolgas and Magpie Geese to name but a few made this quite an amazing 2 hour trip. Something like 25% of all birdlife in Australia feature within Kakadu Park. Belinda, our guide, was terrific and seemed to have eyes in the back of her head in picking up animals that the 40 odd tourists managed to be oblivious to.yellow-water-crocodile
Nancy L


Travel the Top End Loop – Catch a Wave in Darwin – Day 1 & 2

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

A 10 day discovery of Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine and Litchfield Park by Campervan Hire with DriveNow.

FOR the September school holidays the choice was left to the kids, Darwin or New Zealand? – the selection fell the way of the warmer Northern Territory, and warmer it most definitely was with the coolest day hitting a mild 37.

Although a family of 4, we organised a 6 berth Platinum River motorhome through Maui which proved to be the perfect vehicle – plenty of room, easy to drive and came with everything we needed – shower, toilet, fridge, great cooker and no need to pack towels or bed linen. There’s even a TV and DVD player to keep the kids entertained and the air-conditioning made sleeping easy during the very warm nights.

The Team at the Maui branch in Winnellie, Darwin were terrific, explained the best insurance options for us, showed us right through the motorhome and even have a DVD to help you become familiar with the vehicle. All adding up to the perfect start.

You can find the latest rates and more details on this and other campervans on the DriveNow Darwin Campervan rental rate page.

Day 1 & 2 – Exploring Darwin

Our trip started with a slightly cramped late night Jetstar flight out of Melbourne (no star jumping in our little plane) on a Thursday evening depositing us 4 and half hours later into Darwin and into the Marrakai Luxury apartments on Smith Street at 2.15 in the morning. Shuteye time.

Whilst slightly dated our two bedroom apartment had everything we needed, was air-conditioned throughout and a great little pool downstairs that quickly became home from home for the kids.

Darwin is definitely a blend of old and new and always a city with a large transient population dominated by backpackers and more recently construction workers on the Ichthys Gas Project.

There’s plenty to do and explore in Darwin – for families your number one destination is the Darwin Waterfront precinct. This on-going development includes a huge Wave Pool that’ll keep everyone entertained for hours, a safe man-made beach and plenty of restaurants and shops. All within 5 minutes’ walk from the Smith street mall.
Other highlights include the array of markets; Mindi Beach Sunset market (Sun & Thur May-Oct), Nightcliff Village Sunday market, Parap Village Saturday market and the Rapid Creek Sunday Flea Market are all worth a visit if time permits. Feed a multitude at high tide with Aquascene’s Fish Feeding on Doctor’s Gully off Daly Street.

For history buffs there’s the Aviation Heritage Centre at Berrimah on the Stuart Highway with a B52 bomber, Spitfire and other aircraft as well as a dedicated display to the bombing of Darwin; the WWII underground Oil storage tunnels; and plenty of WWII airfields dotted right across the Top End.

For those looking for a unique cinema experience checkout the Deckchair Cinema on Jervois road in the Waterfront Precinct running nightly shows of a range of movies between April and November (chairs provided).

We spent two days exploring Darwin and felt this was probably under done by 1. An extra day would have given us the additional time to explore more markets and the museums as well as time to relax, unwind and chill-out by the pool. But time now to collect our camper and hit the road.
Nancy L


5 Resources For Planning A Road Trip In Australia


ROAD trips in Australia. It’s the new black for tourism Down Under where caravanning, campervanning, cabin stays and camping is booming. In fact, the industry has always conquered any economic challenges. It’s an affordable, fun and down-to-earth way to experience this great country.

DriveNow’s CEO Russell Matters is only all too aware of it, claiming the rise in people either grabbing a rental car and heading for a caravan park cabin or the increase in campervan rentals in Australia is surging. “Definitely on the rise,” he said. “It’s an affordable way to have a holiday and I guess the big advantage for people who don’t own a campervan is that they can hire one from DriveNow at a great price and hand it back when they’re finished. It opens up a world of possibilities and we’re noticing some people doing it every year now for that one Australian road trip experience somewhere different. I’ve talked with a few customers who have rented cars after flying interstate and they have headed straight for a cabin in one of the Family Parks venues or Big4 parks.”

“It’s about escapism, getting back to basics and family values,” says Stuart Lamont, CEO of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. “We’re time poor and this type of holiday experience gives us the opportunity to discover more of our beautiful country and get our hands dirty,” Lamont continued, when I interviewed him for an article in News Limited’s Escape magazine.

So while there’s a will to do a road trip, there are plenty of ways to plan one. That may be through a book, a website, an app or a TV show. Here are 5 resources to help plan your next dream road trip anywhere in – or all around – Australia.


Perfect size, spiral bound and 328 pages of goodness thanks to Explore Australia’s latest release which has well travelled writer Lee Atkinson offering up all her pearls of wisdom when it comes to finding a road trip to suit. It has recommendations for eats, stays, sidetracks, maps, driver ratings and so much more. It’s only $39.95 and you can find out details at her website www.leeatkinson.com.au


The Family Parks crew are building a terrific army of caravan parks on its list all over the country so find out more at www.familyparks.com.au – in fact, they have more than 120 unique destinations throughout Australia and New Zealand. Find out how you can join up as a member for next to nothing to receive great discounts on park stays and with associated partners. Big4.com.au  and toptouristparks.com.au are other chains well worth looking into.


Click into the iTunes app store or go the Android option for this beauty that just coasts $4.49. There are loads of itineraries and destinations, including family friendly options to more hardcore 4WD trips. Yep, it’s another Lee Atkinson special. She knows her stuff!


Why not plug the country’s biggest travel magazine I contribute to? Okay then. Circulated to 5million+ readers every Sunday in News Ltd publications, there’s always a great road trip story to peruse whether it be Spida Everitt, from The Great Australian Doorstep fame, or my Park Life page that appears once a month suggesting five great caravan parks around the nation to park your campervan or pitch a tent. Found in major metropolitan newspapers around Australia including the Sunday Herald Sun (VIC), Sunday Mail (QLD), Sunday Telegraph (NSW), Sunday Tasmanian (TAS), Sunday Times (WA), The Sunday Mail (SA).


There are plenty of road trip TV shows doing the rounds, but this one is excellent and it’s well worth popping into the official website for a humungus amount of resources for road trippers, product specials, videos, and recommended places to stay. Visit www.whatsupdownunder.com.au.



99 experiences for road trippers that have the rest of the world jealous of Australia

By Adelaide / Australia / Great Ocean Road / New South Wales / Queensland / South Australia / Tasmania / Victoria /

JEALOUS? you bet they are. But anyone who lives beyond Australia’s coastline is more than welcome to head down to the Southern Hemisphere and experience the places that make we Aussies spoilt for choice.

We live in a big, bold land, an entire continent in fact, and relish the fact we have different worlds of discovery around every corner, inland and along our vast coastline of Oz. To pick up a campervan or rental car in Australia and hit the road is magical, especially when you have no plans and open your eyes to real exploration and stop off at a random place knowing you’re about to discover something new.

Road trips in Australia are in. It’s the buzz style of travel Down Under especially given the large amount of caravan holiday parks at just about every city, town or hamlet you drive through.

So what are five recommendations from the bunch of fantastic experiences in every state of our great southern land we’ve written about? Try these for size:

1. Go nude on the Granite Belt in Queensland

NUDE food is just as nature intended it to be – fresh food that’s in season and food that belongs to the region. The Granite Belt Nude Food Trail has food at every corner along this scenic stretch of the Great Dividing Range.

The Granite Belt is also home to some of Australia’s (and the world’s) best wine growing regions. Winery tours and traditional concerts in the vineyard are held at Granite Belt and Stanthorpe throughout the year and include everything from Jazz and Opera to Bollywood.

Find out more at www.southernqueenslandcountry.com.au

2. Fairytale wonderland for the kids in New South Wales

COME Springtime when the sun starts making its and the Hunter Valley Gardens in NSW come to life.

Set in the historic district of Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley, it’s truly like stepping into another world. In the rose garden meander past up to Italian Grotto enchanting you with stunning views of red Bougainvillea, pink wisterias and cascading geraniums that line the Mediterranean Garden.

But perhaps the biggest drawcard, and indeed the most unique, is the Storybook Gardens. The enchantment begins with topiary animals such as teddy bears and horses. The kids will love having their photo taken next to giant sized world-famous nursery rhyme characters such as Humpty Dumpty on his wall, the characters around the table at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with Alice in Wonderland, or laying about on the hill next to Jack and Jill as they prepare to tumble down.

More info at www.tourismhunter.com.au

3. Get on your bike along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria

TUCKED away in the Otways rainforest not far from the beach is a mountain biker’s paradise.

The sleepy town of Forrest, 45 minutes from Apollo Bay, has some of the best mountain bike trails in the southern hemisphere.

There’s more than 60km of single track surrounding this charming township, with trails for riders of all skill levels. Whether you want to take the gentle 3km Forrest Town Loop or brace yourself for the more breathtaking valley views are just reward.

Towering trees and the beautiful Lake Elizabeth captivate visitors every time. An abundance of native wildlife including king parrots, crimson rosellas, koalas and even grey swamp wallabies, can be seen and heard along every trail. Riders can hire Giant Anthem and Trance model bikes on these world-class trails. There’s also a handful of riding events throughout the year, such as the Forrest Festival and Otway Odyssey.

More www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au

47platypuss4. Platypuss spotting in Tasmania

OUR world-famous platypus is widely considered to be one of the world’s most unusual creatures. Believe it or not, it’s also one of the few venomous mammals in existence.

A visit to the Platypus Interpretation Centre at the Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame is a chance to see a platypus in its natural environment and learn so much more about them. With a bit of luck, he or she won’t be sleeping – they’re said to snooze for 14 hours on average each day.

Visit www.cradlecoast.com

5. Discover a German village in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia

HAHNDORF, described as “the jewel of the Adelaide Hills”, is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. Few villages in Australia ooze such charm and elegance, with elm and plane trees more than a 100-years-old lining the streets.

Hahndorf is home to many German bakeries, pubs and cafes – not to mention the craft stores, galleries and souvenir shops. Its buildings, which are beautifully maintained, give Hahndorf a charming village feel. It’s also the perfect place to spend a day with the family.

Find out more at www.southaustralia.com