Here at Salamanda Travel we love hearing from clients about their holiday experiences. If you have ever considered taking a motorhome away with your family, then you’ll be interested in reading about the Howard family’s recent motorhome holiday to Byron Bay (in New South Wales). With three active kids under 8 in a motorhome and two stressed-out parents in desperate need of a holiday, this could have been a recipe for disaster. But we are happy to report that their trusty motorhome delivered them to Byron for a relaxing and fun-filled holiday. Read on for more details on the Howard’s seaside camper van trip.
We are a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids – 7, 5 and 10 months) and often struggle to find a family-friendly option for holidays. We normally go camping but taking a motorhome away had come up in previous conversations, so this time we bit the bullet and booked an Apollo 6 Berth Euro Deluxe motorhome through Salamanda Travel (who we found online). We’d heard good things about Apollo and liked the layout of the seating and beds.
While on the road, our 5 year old (Belinda) and 10 month old (Ben) sat in the middle seating area looking forward. Belinda was in a booster seat and Ben sat in a baby seat. (We had to remove the table to fit the baby seat in). Our other boy Jacob (who is 8 years old) sat in the same area but looking backwards. We weren’t sure how the kids would go but they didn’t suffer any car sickness and kept themselves amused with some toys and games that we had packed. We picked up the van in Brisbane so we didn’t have too far to travel (Byron is about 2.5 hours from Brisbane), but we did end up stopping once along the way for some food.
Our plan was to set up camp for the week at a caravan park in Byron so we pre-booked a powered camp site at the First Sun Holiday Park (www.bshp.com.au/first-sun/first-sun). We got a great site overlooking the Belongil Beach (a dog-friendly beach). We arrived in the afternoon and it didn’t take too long to get the motorhome set up. I guess that’s a benefit of a motorhome over a tent – a lot quicker and a lot less hassle! We set up the outside awning so that we could sit underneath during the day. It also proved handy to string up a laundry line for our towels and clothes. We hired an outdoor table and chairs so it was a popular hang out for everyone.
We were going to do day trips every second day but once the motorhome was set up, we didn’t really want to have to pack everything up again. So this is a disadvantage but Byron has a lot to offer within walking distance so it didn’t really matter in the end. We spent most of our time at the beach (2 minutes away), checking out the shops (5 minutes walk) and even hired bikes to ride up to the lighthouse (Australia’s most easterly point). We got the bikes from a bike hire place in town and they had a baby seat for Ben so the whole family could go.
Apollo gave us one their newer 6 Berth motorhomes so we could fit Ben’s portacot up the back of the motorhome where the aisle widens a bit. If the cot didn’t fit in the aisle we were going to set it up on top of the bed at the back. But it did fit and although this meant we couldn’t use the rear bed, the older kids shared the middle bed and my wife and I used the bed over the driver’s cabin (it was surprisingly roomy).
In all, the motorhome lived up to our expectations and we’d consider doing this type of trip again. We felt some things were missing from the motorhome (hooks to hang things up, a handrail near the side step, etc) but they were only minor things that we could deal with. On the plus side, the beds were comfy, the kitchen had everything that needed, the hot water for the shower come through quickly and even emptying the toilet and used water wasn’t as bad as I thought (of course I got lumped with those jobs!). The kids certainly had fun exploring the motorhome and can’t wait to go again.
The Howard Family