It has been just under three months since Willow and I arrived in Hobart to pick up our new van and that means that the deadline for our mainland return is approaching.
With the van
complete… liveable and ready for adventure we spent the weekend saying goodbye to friends before hitting the Tasman Highway for the East Coast.
Now away from the comfort of my brother’s driveway and workshop that had been home for our time in Tasmania, we are now floating free – undocked from the mothership so to speak, and alone – together – back in the wild.
Although this isn’t our first trip away in the new van there was a sense of inauguration as I saw Willow in the rear-view mirror sitting on the bed with her paws tucked and my knowing that it might be sometime before we all return to our island home.
The Tasman Highway has some great views over the Freycinet Peninsula as we approached Swansea – but that isn’t our destination today.
We turn off to Dolphin Sands and head through to the boat ramp at the Swan River. This will be our camp for the night.
Willow is quick to jump out as I open the sliding door. She rolls in the gravel covering her coat in the dust before finding some grass to eat.
So there we sit as we watch the clouds go by and their reflections in the river, and as the occasional dinghy of anglers passes us by.
But we have something to show you. Yes, our new van – and the three months of work that has gone into it.
So would you like a quick tour?
Willow jumps up to the side door step. It’s quite a bit taller than our old van. The 4×4 option raises the van by 100mm giving us lots of clearance for rough tracks. I hope Willow doesn’t mind the extra jump up..
Inside we have drawers for our food and cooking utensils. A bracket holds a swinging table which can be positioned where we need it. You might recognise the table – I took it as a memento from our old van, a spot where Willow enjoyed many afternoons. Now she can continue that in the new van.
I built the ladder out of Tasmanian Oak – Tas Oak is a fancy word for a gum tree. The ladder gives us access to the roof of the van to check the solar panels and to enjoy the sunset from the deck which I’ve yet to install. Though it will most often be used as a tea towel rack!
The kitchen has a sink and tap, some cupboards, and a stove. Behind the splash-back is room for all our condiments which means there is no fishing around in cupboards when we’re looking for the fish sauce.
We have a double bed. Willow likes to take her bath right in the middle. Like house cats, van cats are programmed to choose the most inconvenient locations for their daily activities. There is a 24″ TV and a stereo.
Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth!
Underneath the bed is a huge area for storing our stuff including room for a surfboard and Steph’s inflatable SUP board.
So there we have it, our new home. We hope you enjoyed our quick tour.
Soon I will be sharing the full progress pics of the van conversion so if you have any questions about the build please leave them in the comments below and I will answer them.
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Now we have just one week before we need to get to Devonport to catch the ferry to Melbourne. There we will be reunited with Steph and the three of us will travel back to Brisbane together.
Looking to build your own van? See how I built mine here.