Karavan dramas

I’ve owned my caravan for over 2 months now and have had more ‘dramas’ than I realised. It’s been a steep learning curve and an action packed time with continuously moving locations.

I’m showing 12 of my dramas in this video. Higher than I realised!

My top 5 dramas

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Car drama

I’d driven around Glenorchy and tried out a gravel road and fording rivers. My car started playing up, with the brakes not sounding right and the whole car shuddering. I wondered if a towing company was required and the car taken to Queenstown, as there’s no mechanic in Glenorchy. Testing the car some more, it seemed to fix itself and was fine the next day, so I hooked up my caravan and drove into Queenstown. Just as I was turning onto the campground road, it started shuddering again when I put my foot on the brake. Time to admit that I needed it checked – brakes are kind of important. Explaining to the receptionist, she gave me the name of 2 mechanics, but warned me that there weren’t enough in the area and I might have a wait. I was in luck! The mechanic also thought brakes were important and I took the car in a couple of days later. Turns out, it was the shoe and drum… the brake components on the back wheel. And water makes it more noticeable… fording those rivers obviously didn’t help. $400 later, I was ready to carry on to the next destination.

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Cupboard drama

Reaching my next campsite, I saw that the sliding doors to a cupboard had jumped out of their tracks. Then I noticed that the folding kitchen bench was not able to fold up and a screw holding the cupboard in place had split the wood and was sitting on top. It’s not suppose to be there! I’ve been able to take out the screw and moved the folding bench to hold the cupboard in place. For now, I’m taping the bench in place. To fix this, it will require a trip to the hardware store. Any ideas?

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Stuck in mud drama

I was invited to stay on some friends land in Karamea. They weren’t there when I arrived, so I decided to drive onto the land where the slop was at it’s most gentle. Turns out, this was the boggy patch. Honestly, it looked fine from the road! I drove on, and felt the caravan become harder to pull. Straight away I was having images of spinning wheels in mud if I stopped, so I charged towards the flat section. And a good thing too – the wheels started spinning when I tried to move again. The caravan was staying where it was for the unforeseeable future. Luckily the weather improved over the next couple of days and we decided to move the caravan to a firmer area before the rain arrived. My friend had his van as an option to pull my car AND caravan if I was still stuck. We also had wood ready to put on the ground. I put the car into 4×4 after some groans from the car (I really need to learn more). And it was fine! It moved off smoothly – altho there were some impressive tyre marks on the ground.

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Cable drama

Arriving late to a campsite, I was tired as I parked my caravan. Disconnecting the caravan from the car and driving forward, there was a loud screech. Wondering what on earth I’d done, I saw that I’d forgotten to disconnect the brake chain from the car and the metal connection was completely out of shape. The people next door asked what had happened and if I was all right – talk about embarrassing. I was now known as the girl that didn’t know what she was doing. I went to the hardware store the next day and was able to buy a new part… it’s like it neveeeeer happened.

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Towing lights drama

The plug from the caravan to the car that shows my brake and indication light was popping off during my journey. One day, it fell off and was dragged on the road for a long time before I realised. I’m a nice driver and was pulling over to let cars pass – there must have been a lot of concerned drivers with my sudden movements with no indication.

Arriving in Taupo, I rang around to find a trustworthy auto mechanic and worried how much this would cost. Later that day, I enjoyed a cup of tea with the campground owner and his caretaker. Turns out the owner use to be a mechanic. In the end, I was sent off to buy the new part and he attached it for me. I watched what he was doing incase it happened again, but I can see that the new attachment plans to stay attached. This just reminds me of the kindness of strangers and the importance of talking to the people around you.


It’s been an eventful couple of months. I’ve learnt a huge amount and life has felt exciting, even with all these dramas. I am hopefully that there will be less dramas in the coming months…

Have you had any towing dramas? Stuck in the mud? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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22 Comments
  1. You call them dramas, I call them the “joys of travel” haha
    At least you’ve got some interesting stories to tell from the road 🙂

      • TravellingK
      • January 18, 2017
      • Reply

      Isn’t it crazy that peoples best travel stories are the ‘dramas’, haha.

  2. Haha but isn’t that the charm of it? You are turning into a handy-woman in short time with all this drama 😉 Good luck with it.

      • TravellingK
      • January 18, 2017
      • Reply

      I’ll become THE most handy-woman ever! Thank you

  3. Haha, well done for dealing with all of these issues. We had a few of them on our camping trip around Iceland!

      • TravellingK
      • January 18, 2017
      • Reply

      Thank you 🙂 I’m now curious to know about your Iceland issues!

  4. At least now you know more about caravans? A learning curve for sure, but you’ll be a pro now! I’d love to caravan about for a while! Maybe one day!

      • TravellingK
      • January 18, 2017
      • Reply

      Oh yeah, it’s been a big learning curve and sure there is more to know! Definitely give it a go 🙂

  5. Love how you kept it positive even though you faced problems! Doesn’t sound fun, but at least they make great stories!

      • TravellingK
      • January 18, 2017
      • Reply

      Thanx! And I agree that the mistakes always seem to make the better stories.

  6. Those stories sound so frustrating! I would especially hate the stuck in the mud one. But I like how you have a sense of humor about it! I don’t know how to drive, so I’ve never had a towing drama myself.

      • TravellingK
      • January 22, 2017
      • Reply

      Luckily I was stuck in the mud in a scenic spot!

  7. Sounds like a manic experience. But saying that all this will give you lessons and in no time you will soon the Van expert!- i bet no boring days and more interesting stories to tell in the future.

      • TravellingK
      • January 22, 2017
      • Reply

      Yes, every day is different! Sometimes I want to stay put just for a big of boredom, haha

  8. I have never owned a caravan, but I have towed my aunts camper trailer. Luckily she did all the difficult manouvering and hooking it up!! It was fairly easy to drive with it, but I imagine a caravan would be harder to tow. Enjoy your trip around NZ, wish I had been able to tour it with a caravan 🙂

      • TravellingK
      • January 22, 2017
      • Reply

      A good skill for you to have tho! Sure that practice will come in handy one day. Sounds like you’ve explored New Zealand – hope it was a fun trip?

  9. You call them “dramas” when for me its a part and parcel of life. Seriously, nothing seems to go smoothly for me, without hiccups , be it travel or my real life…so, in a way, I can totally relate

      • TravellingK
      • January 22, 2017
      • Reply

      Life does play jokes sometimes. Hope your hiccups have been ones that can be laughed off?

  10. I never drive with caravan attached to my car before but I do plan to have a road trip in NZ with that. Seems I really have to well-prepared with such situation. You are brave!

      • TravellingK
      • January 22, 2017
      • Reply

      Oh exciting! A lot of visitors hire a motorhome or van which seems to be easier to drive with! Enjoy 🙂

  11. I’ve recently come across your blog, which I’m really enjoying as I am new to the caravanning experience myself. I don’t think anything you’ve done is as silly as my first error with my caravan, down in the Catlins. I drove in a dead end street, and had to reverse to get out, only the brakes on the caravan jammed on. Frantic postings to the trademe motoring message board (lot of knowledgeable people there, if you’re ever stuck) revealed that there’s a wee pin I had to put in place when reversing, to de-activate the brakes.

    Have to say I was freaking out when I saw the “safety cable” in the video, as obviously it was not up to the job of restraining the caravan if it somehow came off the towball – very glad to see you got that sorted.

      • TravellingK
      • May 28, 2017
      • Reply

      Hi Barry, that does sound like a stressful time being stuck in a dead end road! I must confess to being worried something similar would happen to me. My one deadens road luckily had enough room to turn completely around. Great tip about Trademe – I’ll have a look.

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