If you are travelling in Australia, there’s lots of little things that you soon learn to do on a regular basis. Checking the wind forecast is one of them, and this is hugely important when you are camping on the coastline.
Why does the wind forecast matter?
If you’ve never been camping on the coastline in extreme wind, its a hard feeling to explain. You’ll end up with sand flying everywhere, a much higher chance of things breaking and ultimately a really unpleasant stay, compared to what it could be.
We got hammered by the smallest sand particles you’ve ever seen at Hall Bay, and an afternoon that should have been nice and relaxed became very stressful and uncomfortable. If you have a full size caravan you are much less susceptible to what the wind is doing, but it still rocks the van around and makes for an unpleasant stay if you are locked inside for hours on end.
What should you look at in the wind forecast?
There’s two things that you need to keep an eye on; the wind strength, and the wind direction. Both are equally as important, as its possible to have an amazing time with strong winds that are blowing the right way, and its also possible to have a great time with light winds, blowing the wrong way.
If we haven’t booked something way in advance, and are locked into it, we’ll generally look for a location on the coastline that suits what the wind is doing. If its blowing a gale from the West, we try and find a piece of coastline that faces East. If its blowing from the north, a bit of coastline facing South is generally best.
Of course, you are limited by the geography, and there’s plenty of places in Australia that have very little options for protection from the wind.
On our visit to the Eyre Peninsula, we got hit by wind badly on a number of occasions, and we had to suck it up from time to time. However, we also got pretty good at matching our location with what the wind was doing. In the Lincoln National Park, we hopped from one side to the other for more than a week, avoiding the strong winds that were changing direction often.
What can you do if its windy?
Inevitably, you will find yourself in windy situations that aren’t that pleasant. You learn to adapt and make the most of it, but its generally not that pleasant. We’ve found some of the below helps hugely if its windy.
Close up and head away from camp
If you have a caravan, life is much easier when the wind picks up; you have somewhere sheltered that you can hide, and asides from the noise and rocking, its pretty pleasant. If you are camping though, and have limited options to stay at camp we find often the best thing to do is to shut up shop, and head away for a few hours.
Sitting in your car while the wind pounds in, and you drive around and explore different spots is a great way to spend a few hours, and it makes it a bit of an adventure.
Turn the camper or caravan around
If the wind is howling in on one direction, and you can easily turn your setup around, sometimes this is the best option. We’ve got a draft skirt (which we thought was useless, but its amazing), and sometimes just spinning your setup around is all you need to do to make an unpleasant afternoon quite enjoyable.
Its rare for us to pack up and leave, but we have done it. Generally this is because we spend a fair bit of time making sure the weather is suitable, but we don’t always get it right, and there are times where we’ve just had to cop bad weather as there was no other alternative.
Take anything down that you don’t need
I can’t stress this point enough. The number of people who leave things up when its going to be windy, or when it is already windy is astounding. At our most recent stay at Southend, we knew some bad weather was coming in, and we shut up shop (although not as well as we should have, as sand still got in!), but some people did absolutely nothing.
When we arrived back in the caravan park, we counted two gazebo’s that had flipped and snapped, and a couple of caravan awnings that were still smashing around in the wind. Admittedly people might not have known the wind was coming, but its such an important lesson to put things down.
Just a few weeks earlier I heard a crash at a Hipcamp in Aldinga, and turned around to see a double gazebo literally sitting on top of a caravan!
The wind is a part of travelling
Unfortunately, there’s no magic fix for the wind, and you have to work around it. For us, living out of a Hybrid Camper we have to be more cautious as life is seriously unpleasant if we get it wrong, but we know this, and pay attention to what the wind is doing.
If you don’t take 5 minutes to check the wind forecast every day or so, you’re probably missing out on opportunities to make life more enjoyable on the road.