Wayne and Janet Egan have been part of the Trakka family for a number of years. Having purchased a Trakka Torino 4S five years ago, the duo have ventured far and wide across our Great Southern Land, and they’ve made time to give us the skinny on what they’ve learned along their adventures.
Trakka: You’ve spent quite a bit of time with your motorhome in the snow. Tell us about that. How does your vehicle handle cold conditions?
Wayne Egan: Last snow season I did quite a few trips to the Snowy Mountains in my Trakka Torino. It was the first time I had taken my motorhome to the alpine country and such cold temperatures. The first trip in the Torino exceeded my expectations so much; I just kept taking it to the snow throughout the ski season. A key aspect for me was planning my fuel usage so that each time I arrived in Jindabyne I had a very low tank and could refill on Alpine Diesel. More than once I arrived nearly on fumes. I wanted to avoid possible problems with normal diesel thickening and clogging which could affect performance and its ability to start.
The Trakka fit out in the Tornio was as expected. It is so comfortable in cold conditions especially whenfree camping, the diesel heater and hot water performed exceptionally well; it never faulted despite many nights under –8 Celsius. The Remote Pack’s superb level of insulation is excellent, always toasty warm plus the bathroom is a great drying room.
As a precaution I didn’t fill my water tank over 70% to allow for icing up overnight and of course on the cold days; likewise with the wastewater. When staying in caravan parks I disconnected the town water at night to avoid a frozen hose in the mornings and kept the hose under the motorhome. I bought snow chains for the Fiat Ducato, as it is mandatory in winter to enter into the National Park. I usually drive early to Smiggins, park then with the diesel heater on I cook a big breakfast and then get out on the first runs. The bonus is returning anytime for a relaxing coffee break and a good lunch. Taking a Trakka motorhome down to the snow country is just so easy and it really makes skiing very affordable.
T: You’re also beach go-ers, how do you prep for summer vs. winter trips?
WE: We have been using a load and go approach for many years. Some things are permanently in the Torino such as wheel ramps, chocks, basic tools, fuses, cable ties, torches, spare batteries, and collapsiblebucket with laundry items; as well as the standard kitchen items of crockery, pots pans and cutlery. I always carry two water hoses (2x10m) and extra 10m x 15 amp powers lead which have beensurprisingly handy on quite a few trips.
Fortunately I have the space in the garage to organise and store equipment with different plastic boxes and racks for whatever trip we are doing. Over the years I have found this the best way for us to organise a trip and hopefully not forget items. The surfboards are all in covers on their own racks, with wetsuits hanging up nearby and other beach stuff in designated plastic boxes. The camp and beach chairs and a folding table are all together so I just pack whatever the trip requires. Likewise my snow gear is ready to go for next winter with the ski clothing hanging up and gloves, helmet, boots and other accessories in a designated box. My snow skis are waxed in a bag, with the poles, are and also on a rack; all ready waiting for snow to fall.
Similarly with electrical items like the toaster, kettle and small coffee maker these only come out if we are staying in a powered site; no need to rough it. A fold up bike is very handy and mine is stored nearby ready to load.
T: What’s been the most surprising feature of your vehicle?
WE: We didn’t realise how easy the Trakka Torinomakes it to travel on a whim. It’s just so easy to go away in style as the layout is so well planned. We just put the Trakka on charge, turn the fridge for a few days in advance (if we have time), pack our clothes and food, make the bed, fill the water tank, pack whatever we need for the adventure and we are off.
NSW North Coast
T: You’ve done quite a lot of travel over the last five years; what’s been the longest time you’ve been on the road?
WE: As it is so convenient and easy we have simply lost count of the number of road trips over the years in our motorhome. Our trips usually average around six to seven weeks. This seems to be about the stage we like to get back to see our family. We are in the early stages of planning a longer trip to Western Australia.
T: What area are you mostly drawn to?
WE: Being an old surfer, the eastern coast has been the main areas we have spent the majority of time with the south coast of NSW the most frequented. However in recent years we have been drawn to inland Australia, visiting many of the great regional towns; along the Murray River is a bit of a favourite.
Last year for something different we went to the Snowy Mountains in November which was a new experience camping in the National Park, bush walking and cycling in the alpine countryside. Something we are keen to do again in 2019.
Kosciusko National Park
T: What are you generally packing when you’re on a Trakka road trip?
WE: dWe have a rough checklist of a range of clothes and footwear for the region we are going. Then wejust pick out the items as mentioned above for that trip whether it be beach, snow or inland – it just couldn’t be any easier. We usually plan our food around where we are going with enough for at least 3-4 days (more if there is not much available in the way of shopping). The beauty of the Torino is there is enough space to pack everything we want to take on a trip so we have that base covered pretty well afterfive years.
T: Talk to us about the practicality of being on the road for an extended time. Where did you do, for example, your laundry? Did you have to enter caravan parks to recharge your batteries often etc?
WE:We usually take enough clothes for several day and only those that are easy to wash and wear (depending on the time of year and location of course). We do our wash in a special collapsible bucket every few days and hang to dry, if travelling we hang our clothes in the drying room. For us, power can be an issue and if we’re not driving, usually after about three days or so we look for a caravan park. When it comes to washing bedding and towels, after six to seven days we usually plan ahead to stay for a few days in a caravan park in an interesting town or at a beach.
Tasmania –best place for free camping
T: What would you like to see in the next version of your motorhome?
WE: Probably an auto sliding door would be number one - like in the new Jabiru, with two single beds another must in the next motorhome, just for the added convenience. The offset being of course we would be losing the four seater comfort we have been used to over the years. After a couple of really hot inland trips I have been giving serious consideration to perhapsan air conditioner next time. But as anyone who has travelled in a motorhome knows there are always compromises both in terms of budget and space. Tamworth Music Festival in January 2018 was very hot; average mid forties.
T: Where’s the best place you’ve visited in your motorhome to date and what made it so wonderful?
WE: Tasmania without doubt, it was the whole package for us: beautiful countryside with some spectacular scenery, great towns, a good climate in the warmer months, very welcoming locals across the island, historical sites such as Port Arthur and Woolmer’s Estate, great food and some of the best free camp sites we have stayed in, both for views and facilities. Whilst we researched a fair bit, our travel plans were flexible enough to change our itinerary in the spur of the moment to journey to the west coast and stay in Strahan, travel along the Franklin River and take a rail trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Tasmania is on the bucket list to revisit, there’s just so much to see and do.
Port Melbourne – going to Tasmania
T: Do you tend to travel solo or accompanied and how does the Torino four seater work for you when you’re travelling?
WE: We tend to travel just the two of us, the extra two seats work well for meals, watching TV or simply having a cuppa and reading a book. It also gives that separation if one person wants to go to bed early and the other wants to watch TV (of course with headphones).
We have travelled a fair bit with other friends in their caravans or motorhomes and find that the four seater is more social, especially when we meet up for a chat or a meal. For the snow adventures I usually travel solo as my wife is not a skier and not that keen on the extreme cold conditions. On the snow trips I often catch up with friends - whether in a Caravan Park or free camping - who enjoy the cosy atmosphere with the diesel heater and cold beer.
T: What’s on your Torino adventure bucket list next?
WE: In the short term, a trip next month to Noosa and Byron Bay for a few weeks. Last year we went to Victoria, South Australia and Kangaroo Island and later this year we are keen to continue that journey and explore along the coast from Ceduna in South Australia to Western Australia.
The coming ski season is of course on the “must do” list with my season pass booked, my annual national parks pass and all my gear ready to load and go just need the snow!
T: What’s the best thing about life on the road?
WE: The best thing has to be the journey and doing your own thing, going where you want to go, when you want to go and not being caught up in any organised tour timetable. We enjoy the adventure of going to new places and experiencing first-hand what each place is like to visit and if we like it, staying a bit longer. You cannot beat that style of flexibility.
Going to places such as Central Australia and experiencing places like Uluru and Kakadu for the first time was something that watching a documentary or reading a book cannot give you. One of the things we like about motorhome life in a Trakka is the freedom it gives us when travel as you often pick up highlights on the spur of the moment, such as the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway, that you would probably miss if you have a rigid schedule or heaven forbid on a tour bus.
One of the best things, as mentioned, is how easy it is to take my Torino to the snow country, I usually take a relaxing driving day each way with breaks every couple of hours.
On route to Kangaroo Island