Road test: Apollo Euro Deluxe motorhome
While the weather gods are sleeping, an intrepid mother – wakes up to the benefits of travelling the east coast with her girls in a spacious motorhome
It may sound like hell on wheels, but I’ve just discovered it’s possible to enjoy a wet weekend in a motorhome with a nineyear-old child, two 14-year-old teenagers and a nine-year-old toy poodle. Rain may have put a dampener on a weekend on the east coast, but thankfully we had a mobile nest to hole up in and nip out of for bursts of activity between showers.
Having recently returned to Tassie from a road trip to the Northern Territory in a 35-year-old Toyota LandCruiser Troopcarrier without air conditioning, we were always going to relish the mod cons of an Apollo Euro Deluxe motorhome. Sure enough, we lapped up the ‘luxury’, but it was the ease and flexibility that was most appreciated: we were well-stocked and selfcontained, with hot water to boot.
We set out from the Apollo hire base at Cambridge (just behind the Hobart Airport BP) for St Helens and the Bay of Fires on the north-east coast. I didn’t get the chance to watch the how-to videos Apollo emailed with my booking details, but staff were on hand to run me through the basics. They advised me to download the ApolloConnect app. It would be my best friend, they said, with its tips for safe motorhome driving, managing power and water supplies, transforming tables and seats into beds and more.
First impressions of the Euro Deluxe? It’s big, really big.
“It looks as if it will take up one-and-a-half lanes,” my youngest said, as I navigated the roadworks at the Tasman Highway/Hobart Airport roundabout and proceeded to my second driving challenge, the narrow Midway Point causeways. All good.
For the most part, we're alone, immersed in nature and, thanks to the Apollo, with all our creature comforts
By Sorell, I was laughing. The motorhome was easy to manoeuvre and kept politely to its lane. It was responsive, too. When I braked sharply at about 50km/h in the wet we didn’t skid or wobble. My second fright was a buffeting on a gusty beachside highway stretch north of Bicheno, but it too was minor. I eased off the accelerator and it was no longer discernible.
By mid-afternoon we had reached Cosy Corner North, a free beach-site campsite in the Bay of Fires Conservation Area that allows leashed dogs. Just steps from pristine waters, Cosy Corner North is hot property come the holiday season. For the most part, we’re alone, immersed in nature and, thanks to the Apollo, with all our creature comforts.
Before dinner, we celebrated reaching our destination with some Lease 65 Pacific oysters we picked up on the way. Lease 65 sits along Binalong Bay Road, just 10 minutes before Cosy Corner North.
We prepared most meals in our Euro Deluxe. It comes fully equipped with a gas cooker, microwave, fridge and is well stocked with crockery, cutlery, pots and pans. All you have to pack is the food.
After a late swim at Binalong Bay, where moody skies and sea enhanced our sense of being cosseted in nature, we were ready to do it all again.
We did treat ourselves to a night off cooking and indulged in dinner at St Helens restaurant Raida, where they plate up a fusion of modern Australian and Japanese cuisine. The vegetarians among us went crazy on mushroom-filled gyoza while I savoured a spicy whole pink snapper.
Between downpours the next day, we went mountain biking on hired wheels from Giant St Helens. We stuck to family-friendly loops off the St Helens Mountain Bike Trails trailhead, but we plan to return to make a day of it and use the shuttle service for longer downhill rides. When it was raining, we were comfortably nestled in the Euro Deluxe. The teens hung out in the cubby above the cabin, talking, laughing and, of course, scrolling on their phones. My littlest kept herself entertained with games while I read.
After a late swim at Binalong Bay, where moody skies and sea enhanced our sense of being cosseted in nature, we were ready to do it all again. Next time, though, I would plug into mains power on night two. And I’d refill the water tank earlier, so we didn’t run out of water as well as power by Sunday morning. Should have watched those how-to videos.
I am of the ‘winging it’ ilk, but I’d suggest that anyone planning to hire the Euro Deluxe book it for a minimum three-night outing. There’s always going to be a bit of trial and error, but with good management the Euro Deluxe is worth its weight in rain.