You’ve arrived a day early for an extended weekend at a stunning bush camp or coastal hamlet. It’s a relaxed park and you have the pick the sites (half your luck!) but with so many to choose from, how do find one that suits you best?
Some advantages are a given, but to fully maximise ‘the jump’ you’ll need some forethought, a good handle on your personal touring preferences and, as an extension of that, your preferred style of rig.
Whatever your chosen mode of camping, though, make sure to scope the area first, and assess the lay of the land.
Finding a flat surface should be high on your list of priorities. Although member caravan parks aim to provide level places to camp, grassy areas for softfloor campers can have greater variation as they tend to be large to accommodate big tents. But if you can keep the trailer’s wheels level with each other and adjust at the jockey wheel height to match, you’ll fare better at the kitchen and in bed.
If you’re in a tent, there’s little you can do on a sloped site, except arrange the bedding so your head is higher than your feet.
Levellers on caravans or campers with raised hard floors will counter the impact of a slightly skewed campsite.
Many established campgrounds and caravan parks avoid the issue by providing motorhomers and caravanners concrete slabs on levelled sites, with some now offering one-way ground mats for a dry area underfoot beneath the awning.
Sun, Shade & Shrubs
If you’re planning to spend long days at camp, investing in a compass (or compass app) will help you estimate the direction in which shade is cast. If the treeline is sparse face your camper east, for optimal protection against afternoon sun (or west if you’re a late riser). While shade is important, avoid parking too close to trees, especially eucalypts, which are known to drop limbs. Sap can also be difficult to remove, if it falls on to canvas.
Shrubbery, on the other hand, can provide privacy and act as a break from wind.
Access For Large RVs
If you’re passing through a region overnight and wish to stay hitched, or travel in a large motorhome or caravan with a wide turning circle, large drive-through sites offer easy access. Once rare as hens’ teeth, more and more are becoming available as parks refurbish their grounds, with some reaching as long as 20 metres!
In some instances, you may pay a little more for the privilege.