How To Get Your Caravan in Order for a Getaway

How To Get Your Caravan in Order for a Getaway
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Another long weekend is coming up, folks! You know what that means: time to wheel out the caravan and get cracking on your holiday.

Holidaying with a caravan is hard work. On top of making sure the caravan is liveable, spider-proof and able to withstand the climate it’s being setup in (please don’t test your luck with weather that’s too cold).

But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Perhaps you’ve got a caravan that has become a home for spiders and lizards, ready for dusting off and taking on holiday. Maybe you’ve been thinking of buying a caravan off a mate or off Gumtree (or entirely new), or maybe you just want to see what lengths you have to go to in being a vanner (at least for a holiday).

We’ve got you covered. Here’s your checklist on getting ready for your caravan getaway. Keep in mind that this article was last updated on April 21, so if any of this information is out-of-date, chuck us a note.

Your caravan holiday checklist

To be a vanner, you need to have good preparation skills. Otherwise, everything falls apart as you go and you’ll start causing problems for yourself. Let’s start with the basics.

Give it a touch-up

Listen, there’s a lot of benefit to be had in a good looking caravan. painting the walls, replacing appliances, bed linen and the curtains are all fairly small things that can go a long way in enhancing your trip, however if your caravan is in a really poor state of repair, you might need to start giving it a bit more than a facelift. Expect to spend some big bucks, as Open Road says.

  • When you’re having a look at your van, make a checklist of what needs to be done and keep a torch at the ready. Feel along the side panels and make sure its not just in working order but capable of passing registration (including pink or blue slips).
  • If all it needs is a light dusting: great! do that. If it needs a bit more than that, give it the time it deserves and spend a while making it look pretty.
  • If the caravan isn’t in good shape and needs structural maintenance, try to not remove anything you can’t fix. You might need some help from a mechanic if it comes to replacing panels or bits of steel, but make sure it’s in good working order no matter what.
  • Don’t push your luck with the pink slip. If a part isn’t working (like the brakes or lights) then don’t expect a mechanic to approve it.

Caravan registration

Let’s talk registration, otherwise you’ll be forced to tow an unlicensed vehicle. If your caravan is in good, working order, then it should be registrable, provided it passes pink or blue slip requirements.

Caravan registration costs and rules vary state to state, as it does with registration for anything on the road. We’re gonna generalise and talk about NSW registration.

According to the NSW website, here’s how much you can expect to spend on a private caravan or camper trailer registration:

  • 255kg to 764kg: $74
  • 765kg to 975kg: $134
  • 976kg to 1,154kg: $153
  • 1,155kg to 1,504kg: $176
  • 1,505 to 2,504kg: $269

There are also caravan and trailer taxes to factor in:

  • Up to 254: $0
  • 255kg to 764kg: $123
  • 765kg to 975kg: $224
  • 976kg to 1,154kg: $255
  • 1,155kg to 1,504kg: $294
  • 1,505 to 2,504kg: $448

Keep in mind that business use trailer and caravan vehicle taxes are different.

Vehicle transfer fees also vary: $34 if within 14 days of acquiring the vehicle and $157 if not. You don’t need to register the caravan to drive it home (simply buy an Unregistered Vehicle Permit).

You can register your caravan at a physical Roads and Maritime Services office or on the RMS website: just make sure you have the make, model, year, VIN and plate numbers. If it hasn’t been registered in a while, you’ll need to either get a pink slip or a blue slip (which will require checking over the caravan for structural damage).

Pink and blue slips add pretty big costs, but they’re essential. A pink slip will set you back $22 for a trailer without brakes or $33 for a trailer with brakes. A blue slip will set you back $34 for a trailer without brakes or $48 for a trailer with brakes.

Get tech

While you might be pursuing the great outdoors to get away from humming aircons and bright screens, you can’t go on a holiday without at least a little bit of tech. Be careful not to spend too much (you would have already spent a lot before this point) and also be careful not to bring too much tech! The point of going on a holiday is to, mostly, avoid tech-related things, so don’t over-stress your holiday!

Enjoy your caravan holiday!