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Trip Summary, 2003 (Sep-Oct)
2003-02 route map
We left Sydney on 16 September 2003, arriving home on 17 October 2003 after being away for 31 nights. The journey took us down the New South Wales South Coast to Eden, where we had a successful whale watching trip off Twofold Bay, then onto Orbost in east Gippsland. From Orbost we returned to coastal New South Wales stopping at different places on the way northward. At each stopping place we used the A-liner as a base for local sight-seeing,

Total caravan distance was 1,384 kilometres. The car was driven 3,125 kilometers (including caravan towed distance plus 1,741 kilometres). Much of the roads, mainly the Princes Highway, run through generally hilly terrain which I had found on the Queensland earlier this year to be unsuitable for overdrive on the gearbox. Most of the time when towing the A-liner on this trip the gear selector was set to 3 and 90 to 95 kph not exceeded. This gave a fuel consumption of 15.9 litres per hundred kilometres (6.3 kilometres per litre). Fuel consumption when not towing the van, around settled areas and on day trips, was 11.3 litres per hundred kilometres (8.9 kilometres per litre).

The A-liner at Kiama caravan park. The clothes airer is in position on the A-frame.
16 October 2003. Kiama, NSW.
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Average fuel consumption for the entire 3,125 kilometres, towing and not towing, was 13.5 litres per hundred kilometres (7.4 kilometres per litre).

The Hayman-Reese weight distribution hitch installed after the Queensland trip proved effective in levelling the van and car. It increases the time needed to connect the van in the morning and the tow ball structure had to be removed when the A-liner was uncoupled because it was so bulky and stuck out so far but that was a small cost for having the A-liner towing with a reasonable attitude.

Although this period co-incided with school holidays in Victoria and New South Wales caravan parks were not busy; some were so quiet that they declined telephone bookings, others were not bothering to allocate specific sites to caravanners but allowed new arrivals to select any powered site. This was very much the off-season and some attractions were not running because of the shortage of patrons. The average cost per night for the 31 nights was $18.90.

Weather was generally poor. Wind, rain and low temperatures were common. One morning at Eden we found a thin layer of ice on the car. We really did not have enough winter clothing and need to pack more warm clothes for future trips.

The annex on the A-liner was rarely used. Effort required to erect this awning is rarely worthwhile. Interlocking rubber flooring squares outside the van door proved very useful even when used without the annex; the flooring mats cover up sand patches left where grass has been killed by successive caravan annexes. The breakfast bar installed in the A-liner before this trip reduced the need to get things out from under the bed for each meal, especially for breakfast - some additional work is planned to make the breakfast bar storage even more useful. The skillet proved very effective for cooking; its stowage under my seat caused little difficulty and was convenient.

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