In 2017 we had visited Australia for three weeks before flying over to New Zealand for the classic 4-week camper van tour. Our vehicle was a Mercedes Sprinter van conversion rented from Maui in Aukland. It was a shock to get used to but we came to love it. Since it looked a bit alike a bus, we nicknamed it Busby.
For this road trip in Australia we have again gone with Maui and rented Busby’s sister ship, though this one has the luxury of air-conditioning. Naturally, we’ve tagged it Busby II.
After a morning with our hosts hitting the shops for some supplies to get us started, we headed to the airport to drop off our Avis rental car. From there it was a A$32 cab ride to the Maui rental depot to collect Busby II.
The flat-roofed collection shack was steamingly hot: the main aircon had broken and the substitute aircon was hardly working; switching on extra units blew the fuses.. Collection at Aukland 2017 had been a nightmare of a wait and here we had a similar wait though not quite as bad. Actually, it’s three waits, first to get booked in, then to have a what is and is not covered conversation with electronic forms to sign, then to be “shown” the van. Quite what the purpose of the online check-in is, I don’t know. Well, I suppose some of the details on the iPad form were already completed.
I asked about tolls. This was not as easy as with the Avis rental car. We could open an account with Linkt, or just pay retrospectively if we bumped into a toll – I didn’t really expect to – by calling a number; you have three days to pay. What we couldn’t do was open an account right now and we had to drive back “home” which would normally be through tolls.
We’d made the mistake of saying we were somewhat familiar with the vans, having something similar at home and having rented Busby I in NZ. This was a mistake. The handover guy proceeded to tell us next to nothing, other than pointing us to an in-flight information card including the electric cable, gas cylinder and brace position.
He did show us how to make up the bed, after I asked, though most of the time he didn’t seem that familiar with the van. The trouble is, these vans all vary slightly according to vintage and specifics can get confused.
Mr. Handover asked if we wanted toilet chemical. “Duh! Err, yes”.
He asked if we wanted outside table and chairs. “Yes please”. He went to fetch the extras.
I asked about the fridge which he said switched over automatically.
“Do we have satnav?” “Yes.” Excellent.
Eventually we were let loose. Since we had no toll account, we programmed the satnav to avoid tolls and took the scenic, traffic-light-strewn route back through Brisbane to Camira. It really wasn’t that bad … on a Saturday and it was more interesting than a motorway.
We made it back to our hosts without any problems and turned into the drive so they could have a look round and a poke and prod.
The electric hook-up looked like a domestic Australian plug and David offered to connect us to get the fridge cold for our morning departure. BUT … the mains connector was actually a bit larger, 15 Amp as opposed to 10 Amp. So, we couldn’t precool the fridge. No biggie.
It was our hosts birthday so G&Ts were calling loudly. We surrendered to the call for our last night in Brisbane.