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Peter and Patrice share their teardrop adventure to Lawn Hill

In June 2012 my wife and I did a 4000km trip to Lawn Hill National Park and back with our teardrop camper. We have an 8 x 5 Little Guy Teardrop which was originally imported to South Australia with a container load of other TD's from Little Guy Campers in the USA. I bought the camper in late 2010 from a fellow in Melbourne. We had been on a couple of shorter trips on the Queensland and NSW coast but the trip through the outback to Lawn Hill had been on our list for a while. We were restricted to the mid-year school break as my wife is a teacher - so we had 15 nights all up.

We headed to Lawn Hill which is in far north west Queensland, via Roma, Charleville, Blackall, Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton and Cloncurry. From Cloncurry it's around 400 kilometres including the last 85 kms or so of gravel - passing the Burke and Wills Road House and Gregory Downs. On the trip up we took in the Stockmans Hall of Fame and the QANTAS Founders Museum at Longreach and coming back the dinosaurs at Winton and a three day stop at Cania Gorge near Monto in Central Queensland. We stayed at a mixture of caravan parks, national parks, free camps and even behind a pub at Muckadilla near Roma for $10 - a top spot to stay if you are passing.

Lawn Hill National Park is a wonderful place to visit - a real oasis in the middle of the harsh savanah country of the gulf. Emerald green Lawn Hill Creek runs through the red gorge and abounds with fish and freshwater crocodiles. Everyone swims in the gorge - it's too inviting not too - in spite of the crocodiles which are not known to attack people like their saltwater cousins. You can hire a canoe and paddle the gorge - most people do - swim at the falls between the upper and lower gorge - and do the many walks that start in the National Park campground. There is also a private campground - Adels Grove - just up the road from the park. We stayed there as the National Park tends to be booked out well in advance. An added bonus of staying at Adels Grove for us was that Ernie Dingo did an impromptu show. He was staying at the nearby Lawn Hill Station and agreed to do the show for donations to the Royal Flying Doctor Service which is a very important institution in that remote part of the country.  

All along the way our teardrop drew strong interest from other travellers in campgrounds, rest stops and garages. The common questions were, what is it? it's so cute, does it fold out? how do you fit in there? (I'm 6'3"). They were always amazed at the queen size bed in the cabin and the galley, which in our case, because the van had been used as a demonstrator, has a fridge (small Waeco) microwave, induction hot plate and small pantry. Some people said they had seen them before but had never seen inside one and other knew about them and had wanted to own or build one for a long time. At some campgrounds we a had an audience before we had even unhitched and they were always amazed at how quickly we set up and how we could just push it around to fine tune the final spot. We just use an RV shade over the galley which is on two flexible poles and takes just a few minutes to erect. We could be set up and having a beer while people with conventional caravans, pop-tops and camper trailers seemed to be working for a long time to get set up. That's one of the many advantages I see with a teardrop - the minimal set up time which helps when you are trying to cover relatively long distances in limited time. 

We had some extreme ranges in temperature - from below zero in Central Queensland to warm nights in the gulf country. One morning at Sapphire we woke to find the roof and walls of the teardrop covered in ice. We were a tad cold that night - but only because we were using a summer doona. Once we switched to the down doona we were fine even in the sub-zero temperatures. All up the teardrop performed beautifully and was no problem to tow even at maximum highway speeds and then some. One day we covered 900km in under 9 hours including stops for smoko and lunch. My tow vehicle is a turbo diesel Hyundai Santa Fe and averaged 9.5 l/100km towing at speeds between 100 - 120kph. 

For most of our lives we have been traveling and camping and have used a variety of approaches including tents and owning two Kombis for 20 years. We find the teardrop very convenient, easy to tow, easy to set up, easy on the vehicle and fuel consumption and yet very comfortable and practical to travel with. We are planning more trips when we can get away from our work commitments.


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