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© Will Parker @wexploretravel

How motorhomes are changing the game for adventurous families

The scenery along the Kimberley Coast is even better when enjoyed with family from the comfort of a Maui motorhome, writes Leah McLennan.

With a powerful leg kick, I glide below the surface of the azure-blue water off the Kimberley Coast and peer at the white sand below. A dark flash catches my eye. I squint through foggy goggles and spot a long brown thing.

OK, it’s a crocodile. Don’t panic. My head breaks the surface and I gasp for breath. My arms and legs are flailing like a rag doll tossed by a child. Get to shore. Water, water and crocodiles everywhere. My feet hit the sand and I’m running. I won’t stop until I reach that fisherman sitting on an upended bucket.

“You scared of logs?” he chuckles. Logs? You can’t be serious? I’m mortified. Time to beat a hasty retreat back to the safety of the motorhome ... and my mum and two kids.

Two minutes. That’s how long it takes to get from the beach to our perfectly positioned Maui Cascade four-berth motorhome at Barn Hill Beachside Station Stay, 140 kilometres south of Broome in Western Australia. If I’d parked any closer, the waves would be collapsing at our tyres.

I’m new to motorhome holidays, but (when I’m not fleeing “crocodiles”) I’m loving this winning combo of ‘topof-the-line brand-new Mercedes with pristine Kimberley coastline’. It sure trumps putting up a tent for the family.

There is also the joy a fully kittedout kitchen, shower, toilet, two comfy, double beds, a TV and DVD player can bring to a mum desiring a relaxing break. The interior perspective on this glorious behemoth is suitably calming, with blue cushions matching the sea and huge picture windows surrounding the U-shaped dining area.

© Leah McLennan

An unexpected delight

This week-long getaway is serendipitous in how it came about. The Britz depot in Broome (my home town) did not have any Britz vehicles available, but it did have a seven-metre-long, 3.4-metre-high, 2.2-litre turbo diesel Maui “glampervan”. We’ll take it, I said.

Maui is Britz’s premium brand; the vehicles tend to be newer, with some extra flourishes, such as outdoor barbecues on certain vehicles. Britz vehicles are more budget-friendly, so they’re perfect for young families keen to keep costs down.

© Leah McLennan

A two-stop itinerary

As my mum is only visiting for a short time, we decide to keep our Kimberley itinerary simple and stick to two destinations. After Barn Hill, we catch a breathtaking sunrise before continuing on, our van full of sand, to Birdwood Downs, a horse-riding school near Derby, 230 kilometres east of Broome.

In just two nights, we grow accustomed to falling asleep to the sound of waves in our comfy double-bunk bed (made by converting the dining area into a double bed and lowering the bed above).

The girls, aged six and eight, love the bunk the most, but the “grown-ups” adore the kitchen. Having a gas stove and a 130-litre fridge/freezer means we can carry fresh food. Ice in the freezer? It must be time for a cocktail.

The only items missing from the kitchen are martini glasses, but wine glasses suffice. Our biggest mistake? Packing four wheelie suitcases when we could have put our clothes in soft bags. Fortunately, there’s plenty of underseat storage.

© Leah McLennan

Motorhome 101

One of the most useful items on board is the tablet with demonstration videos. A friendly woman shows us how to empty the wastewater and toilet cassette. But no matter how many times we watch the sunshade demo, we can’t figure out how to erect it. Fortunately, I’m acquainted with a fisherman. I walk down to the beach and ask Rodney to take a look at it. He simply unscrews two wingnuts and pops it out.

I’d be smiling if it weren’t for him teasing me about my run-in with a log.

© Leah McLennan

Getting there

Broome is over 2,200 kilometres north of Perth and is accessible by air from Perth, Darwin and Kununurra. Britz Campervan Hire Broome is located five minutes from the airport.

When to go

June to August (dry season) are the most popular months to visit the Kimberley, with temperatures ranging from 14°C to 34°C.

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