Touring Tasmania in a camper van is a great way to get to many different parts of the island. We rented a Toyota 4-berth camper van with high roof from Autorent Herz. Was that a good decision?
Just to know what we compare the experience with, we are normally tent campers, happy to stay at basic campsites. The major advantages of traveling in a camper van is that you hardly need time to set up camp and everything is accessible while you are traveling. You do not loose time packing and pitching your tent. So when we have to fly, which tends to happen in Australia, we are happy to rent a basic camper. On a previous holiday we rented the more basic Juicy Grande camper van.
The dinette contains of a bench and two seats. These easily turn into a double bed: there is a board under the bench that you pull out, the back pillow goes on top of that. There are two boards that you can put between the two seats, the back pillow of one of the seats goes on top and your 1.84 x 1.44m bed is ready. In the Jucy Grande the front chairs had to be put forward when setting up the bed. In this van there is no need to do that, so plenty of storage space there for the loose day packs.
For the double bed under the high roof you put two loose boards in front of the other board and they are supported on the sides and put the second piece of the mattress on top of it. Since the board is not very thick and it is only supported on the sides there is a weight limit of 80 kg. The bed is 1.90 x 1.40 m, but there is not so much head space, about 40 cm. Enough for the children, not too suited for an adult.
We did not bother to make the bed in the rooftop smaller during our trip, we used it to store the blankets and pillows. Luka could still stand in the sitting area (she is 1.32m), we could not stand anymore, which you had to be aware of when getting in, but you are sitting in that area mostly anyway. In the back, where the cooker and the cabinets are you can always stand.
Enough luxury in the kitchen: the 2 pit gas cooker even had a toaster on the bottom. There is a microwave, an electric water boiler, an electric frying pan and a toaster. The electricity is only working when you are connected to outside power, which we did not have on many parts of our trip, but the water boiler came in handy on multiple occasions. You can find power on a lot of places, from camp kitchens to public toilets.
The 35 liter water tank is sufficient water for tea, coffee, brushing your teeth and being able to wash your hands for a couple of days.
There is a lot to see on the picture below. Above the microwave there is a grey box, this shows if the solar panel is generating power and how loaded the battery is. We have been without power for four days and the battery never came to half loaded. We did not use the tv and turned the fridge lower at night. The space in front of the tv was great storage when we were standing still (when driving you should not use it as such).
The two narrow doors are two cupboards, one for hanging coats in and we kept our hiking shoes there, the other has shelves and were great to store food and the kids clothing. In the back right corner of the picture is a lot of storage space for loose items, which we found extremely handy.
Putting it all together
- rooftop sun panel, we have been without power for over three days and the battery was not even half empty
- Two exits from the living area, one on the side , one in the back. This is especially handy at night, you do not have to climb over people to go to the toilet.
- luxury electric items like a t.v., a water boiler, a microwave, and a frying pan
- well thought out storage space, cupboards, under the seats and in the kitchen. You will have to bring soft bags though, no room for hard suitcases.
- the high roof makes it a wind catcher. Narrow vehicle makes it feel like the vehicle can easily tip over. We did not find the camper comfortable to drive in for over three hours. In Tassie you do not need to drive longer. You can, but you shouldn’t.
- No toilet in the camper. Not really a big deal, but at the free camp sites in Tasmania that do not have a toilet you have to have your own.
Comparing the Jucy Grande camper van with the Autorent Herz 4-berth camper van with high roof, the Jucy is a lot more basic. The 4 berth camper van offers a lot more storage space and comfort. Because of the two exits and the walking space in the back it feels a lot bigger. It is by no means a luxury camper, but it has all the facilities that you require, it all just is a bit tinier.
If not driving long distances we would choose the 4berth camper over the Jucy Grande camper. But for us this will not be an option much longer as the children are getting too big (the weight limit to the bed) soon.