Expert Tips

Apr
14
2011

6 Tips for Stress Free Car Hire

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There’s no need for car hire to be a stressful process, here’s a few tips on how to ensure things run smoothly and avoiding nasty surprises: Book Earlier – Always the best advice as this ensures the best rates and locks in the vehicle you’re after. With no Credit Card details required when booking through sites such as DriveNow.com.au and no booking or cancellation fees locking in Car Hire has never been easier. Booking Optional Extras – If you need Baby or Booster Seats, Sat-Nat aids or other optional extras ensure these are requested when making your initial booking as there will be limited numbers available in each location. Read the Contract – Not the most interesting of things to do, however ensure you know and understand what your obligations are and what the rental company is responsible for. Check your Car – Before leaving the rental depot check the inside and out of your vehicle for any damage or markings and compare against the…

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Apr
13
2011

5 Money saving Tips when Hiring a Car

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Here’s some great tips on how to keep the cost of renting a car down to a minimum: Book Earlier – Possibly the best tip. The earlier you book generally the cheaper the rental rate you will secure especially around peak times such as Christmas, Easter and School Holidays. Many rental companies have automated pricing systems that raise rates depending upon how close the pick up date is and vehicle availability. With no need to provide credit card details and no cancellation fees you’ve nothing to lose plus you secure the vehicle you’re after. This is particulary important if you’re in the market for a People-Mover (7 seater) around a peak time. Compare and you will save – Make use of booking sites such as DriveNow.com.au, offering a free service with no booking or cancellation fees you can compare cars and prices from all the major rental companies. Your booking is made directly with the rental company and confirmed to you via email with no payment required until you pick up…

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Nov
16
2010

Noodling for opals in Lightning Ridge

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IT’S off to see the natural wonder of Opals, we go. In Lightning Ridge, that is, which is about a nine hour direct drive after collecting your Sydney campervan rental if you don’t plan on having any stops. Lightning Ridge is one of those quirky, bizarre and often downright weird places. But it’s a place you just have to visit in this lifetime, especially for a family holiday. The kids can enjoy noodling – a bizarre name for digging for Opals – above or below ground. Many people have come to Lightning Ridge and struck gold! Or perhaps I should say Opals, anyway. Black Opals. It’s a place so arid and sparsely planted that you often think, ‘Why on earth would anyone live out here?’ But it’s exactly that very fact that attracts so many people each year. It’s an odd place, with living conditions you will only ever find the same in Coober Pedy. Mounds of dirt provide the…

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Oct
31
2010

Sydney to Manning Point … and ‘neverending hamburgers’

By Australia / New South Wales /

COASTAL delights often come in small packages, and after snapping up a hot DriveNow deal on a Sydney campervan hire, we discovered our little seaside gem, Manning Point, after a four-hour drive north of Sydney hugging the east coast. The drive itself is quite spectacular, as you begin with a 15km drive along the Pacific Hwy before launching into a 130km cruise up and down the snaking, sloping smooth road of  the Sydney Newcastle Fwy. Then it’s a quick diversion back onto the Pacific Hwy for 40km before slowing things down to absorb the countryside – and watch for occasional potholes – as you wind your way through the mid-north coastal area’s city’s cities and hamlets including Taree and Old Bar. Roadside signs inviting you into Oyster farms and farmhouse stalls offering homemade jams and free-range eggs are the precursors to your arrival at Manning Point, a 25-minute drive east of Taree. We parked our camper at beautiful East’s Ocean…

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Oct
01
2010

The start of a Rainbow

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After leaving behind a truly awesome week in The Grampians we headed two hours north to a funky little country town called Rainbow – and, no, there weren’t any rainbows in the sky, much to our youngest son Boston’s disappointment. However, there is a big town mural of a painted rainbow! It actually got its name from a colourful patch of wildflowers that grow on the surrounding hills. But all the same, it is a bright and cherry little town to say the least and they make the best pies this side of Africa. The local bakery in town offers a rang of delicious goodies and we nearly ate them out of house and home! Without doubt they have the best pies ever. There isn’t a lot to see and do, but there is a wonderful local icon called Yurunga Homestead. This is an ancient homestead more than 110 years old and which has been amazingly restored. The owners’ belongings…

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Aug
30
2010
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Great driving holidays – Broome

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BROOME is perfectly positioned on the Indian Ocean with some of the most pristine waters we have ever seen. To get there by campervan from either Perth or Darwin is going to take about a day from either direction. It really is where the Outback meets the ocean, with the red desert dirt continuing until it meets the white sands. This place is definitely up there on the list of things that must be done again. This place has a great surf break, excellent estuary fishing and boating, fantastic walkways and – believe it or not – even a genuine dinosaur footprint. That’s right, take a drive or bush walk down to the lookout and wade out at low tide and see an actual dinosaur footprint! Unfortunately, when we were there, they were experiencing king tides and the tide was never low enough for us to see it for ourselves, but the lookout from the rocky headland was just magical…

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Aug
20
2010

A Guide to … Vehicle Stability Control

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Stability Control has been touted as the most important automotive safety device since the seatbelt. Governments in North America, Europe and Australia have plans to make the technology compulsory on all new vehicles because studies have shown it can reduce the likelihood of single-vehicle crashes and prevent roll-overs. It is designed to prevent cars from an unintended skid in a bend. In most cases the technology works without the driver knowing that he or she has had a brush with danger. In essence, Stability Control protects drivers from minor indiscretions, such as when suddenly finding themselves on wet or slippery pavement, or in an unexpectedly tight corner. However, Stability Control does not (and nor does it promise to) over-rule the laws of physics. If you’re travelling way too fast for a corner or for the conditions, you may still run off the road. Stability Control is an extremely worthwhile technology, but it is important to note that some systems are…

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Nov
09
2009

Keeping Kids safe in Cars – New Regulations in Australia

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Australia’s states and territories have finally got their act together and established a National set of rules to govern children and how we secure them in cars. The introduction of these new rules does vary. In Victoria they come into effect from November 9th 2009, Tasmania introduces them in December 2009 whilst the other states and territories will follow in 2010. In a nutshell the following will apply: Under 6 months – Children must be seated in an approved and properly fitted rear facing child capsule 6 Months to 4 Years – Children must wear an approved and properly fitted rear or forward facing restraint with in-built harness 4 – 7 Years – Children must wear an approved and properly fitted forward facing child restraint with in-built harness or an approved booster seat, correctly fitted and fastened Whilst these rules are to be welcomed they do not take into account that all children are not alike and nor do they…

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Sep
17
2009
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A Guide to… Petrol or Diesel?

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Petrol or diesel? It’s a common question when people look to update their car. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. It depends on individual needs – and what sort of impact you want to make on the environment and public health. Typically, diesel engines make more sense in trucks and in vehicles used for towing, because of the pulling power of the engine at low revs. Diesel engines can also deliver better economy, especially on the open road, so they are often well suited to motorists who do a lot of country driving. But in most cases diesel-powered cars cost more to buy than the same car with a petrol engine. On a popular European hatchback, for example, the petrol version is $30,000 and the diesel version is $33,000 – a 10 per cent premium. Will you get that money back in fuel-cost savings? That depends on the price of the fuel and how far you drive each year. The price…

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Sep
02
2009
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They don’t build ’em like they used to… A Guide to Old Car Safety

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They don’t build ’em like they used to. That’s how old cars are generally described. Tough as nails, made of steel. New cars just fall apart in a crash, so the saying goes. But contrary to perception, there is a very good reason new cars deform more readily in a crash: it can save your life. Consider this: when an old car has a front end crash, the structure won’t be crushed as much as a modern car’s would, which means the occupants experience a more sudden rate of deceleration, and potentially more life threatening injuries. The front end of a modern car is designed to collapse in a crash, to help absorb some of the impact. This slows the rate of deceleration on the occupants inside the car and, hopefully, helps prevent life threatening injuries. The dramatic improvement in the crash safety of cars over the past 30 years or more is just one of the reasons young novice…

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Aug
20
2009
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What makes a Hybrid tick and where do we go from here?

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A Guide to … Hybrid Cars… what makes a Hybrid tick and where do we go from here? NRMA offer some insight on this and what we can expect We are witnessing what the industry calls the gradual electrification of the motor car. That is, petrol engines are going to get smaller and electric motors will get bigger as battery technology and public recharge points improve … Until, eventually, the petrol engine can disappear from some city cars altogether. The first stepping stone on this path is the hybrid car. For those who aren’t familiar with how they work it’s simpler than all the tech talk makes it out to be. For starters they don’t need to be plugged in to electricity and, for the time being at least, they are fueled and serviced just like a normal car.  If you opened the bonnet on today’s hybrid car you’d see a petrol engine under the bonnet and an electric motor…

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