Escaping to a life on the road

Michelle Johnston in a HQ caravan. Photos: Rob Maccoll

By Margaret Maccoll

Three years ago Michelle Johnston and her husband decided to invest in the latest in luxury caravans and take to the road.

Their children were established in university and work and they needed an adventure. They bought a HQ caravan, converted its back deck into a mobile coffee shop and haven’t looked back.

“On the road we’ve made so many friends,“ Michelle said.

“We’ve simplified our lives. People ask us if we miss our jobs, the big house and the pool. We no not miss it. It’s taken the stress away.“

The couple have picked up a variety of jobs along the way including managing bush camps and telling their story to visitors at Caravan and Camping Expos, which is what they were doing at Nambour last weekend.

Since COVID19 the couple have noticed a steep increase in caravaners and campers, particularly first timers and the increased demand for caravans has lengthened wait times for the mobile homes to 6-12 months.

Bob Carroll, director of Australian Events which organised the South Queensland Caravan, Camping, Fishing and 4×4 Expo, said over the past year bookings had increased 35 per cent for powered campsites and the increase in people going off-grid could only be estimated by the increased interest in equipment such as solar panels.Bob said a recent caravanning report showed the benefits of camping and caravanning were wide reaching. Bob said 97 per cent of respondents to a survey reported improved family relationships and better social interactions with children.

New camping and caravanning equipment has changed the way people enjoy the outdoors. Maroochydore-based company Hard Korr Campers, for example, produce a range of campers that fit on to a ute allowing tradies by day to transform their vehicles into camper vans on the weekend.

For people wanting a total escape to places such as Teewah Beach companies like Jawa provide total off road, fully equiped, self-contained vehicles.

For more information visit www.caravancamping