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* * * Aussie Traveller Awning * * * 21/3/2006 * * *5:57 AM * * *



A couple of pics taken during an early pre-project trip. By this time I had purchased and fitted a second hand Aussie Traveller awning. This is a 'roll out/wind up' type of awning, that is reputed to be the most stable awning in windy conditions, due to it's design incorporating retractable wire 'cross-members. Easy & quick to use.

* * * Early Design Considerations * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 5:26 AM * * *

Below is a list of 'random thoughts' that I wrote out near to the beginning of the project. Little has changed as the project has progressed. Apologies for the lack of structure. It was all too much to consider re-writing. future installments will flesh out issues referred to below.

Intention: to refit motorhome for 15 month trip around Australia, removing the very heavy MDF interior & redesigning to a comfortable, practical layout suitable for 'free-camping'. Retaining some already installed 'infrastructures', albeit with upgrades
Light & spacious homely   interior
Light weight but strong construction.
Plenty of structured storage space
Comfortable for extended 'indoor' periods.
Comfortable 'lounging seat'
Permanent bed
Good cooking facilities
A good sized fridge that 'just works'.
Pressurised 'on demand' water system. Hot Water.
Capable of 10 days self sufficiency or indefinate self sufficiency where water is available.
Motorcycle carried on rear
Good airflow/max heat reduction
Outdoor kitchen
Retain vehicle air con.
Retain 240V reverse cycle air con
Laptop TV, DVD,photo album,internet, email, maps, campsite lists, trip logs.
Quality fm radio & iPod (& fm transmitter) sound system.
Inside toilet   -should be easy to access & move
Exterior shower
Small roofrack   accessible via roof hatch above bed.

Full height cabinets only at front
Light colours Grey/green/timber
Ply on timber & aluminium frame
Elfa basket storage system in most cabinets.
Premium quality dunlopillo foam, with 'anti-moisture build up' undermesh.   Hinged mattress making underbed storage         easier.
Chair cushions to be 'non sliding'! Buttons tied through to back of seat?
Queensize bed with possibility of sleeping east/west or north south. (with additional use of seats)
Smev gas oven & 4 burner cooktop. Plenty of work space & easily accessible ingedients. Smev Sink i/c draining board.
Vitrifrigo 12 volt 133 litre remote compressor fridge, (installed with extra insulation) + 'standalone'   solar system dedicated to fridge, 12v roof fan   & one 'backup' power point&   (375w pv (3 x 125w / 300a/h batts/12v). AGM batteries. 45amp smart controller/regulator with battery temp sensor & LCD display.
Shurflo Aqua King pump. Sink to have 2 taps. One from main water tanks (160L) . One from drinking water tank (?40L). Hot water from Engine heat exchanger unit (Twine). Hot water also from LPG shower.
Separate solar system for rest of 'House'   = 120w (2 x 60w) pv/ 180a/h batts/24v + charging from engine via Redarc unit. 12v house supply is tapped from the 24v bank via a 20amp Redarc Charge equaliser.
Additionally, in the cab, a 24 v to 12 v converter + pure sine wave inverter (allows charging/computer use from vehicle batteries when driving
A second pure sine wave inverter connected to house batteries for laptop use when not travelling.
Honda C90 - dual seat with carrying capacity for two people + shopping or lightweight camping gear. Mounted on rear rack -design to be easy to get bike on & off. Steel bumper will need to be replaced with alloy to save weight.
Possibility of rear suspension spring upgrade needed?
Two ceiling hatches/vents. 1 x Midi Heki 700mm x 500mm over bed. 1 x 400mm x 400mm Fantastic 2 way, 3 speed vent/fan with thermostat. All ceiling & behind high level cupboards insulated with two layers of Aircell insulation. Roof painted with thermally reflective paint. Much of roof covered with solar panels/roof rack. Full length awning.
Fabricate 'side bin' for storage, accessible from outside. Gas stove & small work top on reverse of door.
Full length Aussie Traveller awning (with full annexe walls)
Vehicle air con ducting to be removed & replaced with cupboards. Ducting to be reduced in size/incorporated in the cupboards., & with fewer outlets. Will require outlets primarily in driving cabin, & over bed & maybe ?mid way?
Reverse cycle air con unit at rear of bus is almost new, & is a very effective heater when 240v available. Allows bus to be a spare bedroom at home, year round.
All entertainment & communications via Laptop & iPod. Remove TV, Stereo system CD storage. Big space saving.
Remove Microwave. Not practical without regular 240 volt/caravan parks.
Portapotti, in cupboard under the bed. On purpose built trolley for easy pulling in or out. Secured to prevent trolley coming all the way out, but with ability to disconnect so the toilet can be 'rolled' down to the door, when emptying needed. Doors to   secure to ensure toilet whilst driving.
External LPG shower. With shower 'tent'. Probably an 'Aussie Hot camp shower', Store in side bin

* * * Motorhome Conversion * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 2:29 AM * * *

G'day folks, this is my first attempt to establish a blog.

My intention is to utilise this space initially as a means of sharing a pictorial account of the process involved in converting my Nissan Civilian bus into a motorhome. I expect that those interested will predominantly be friends from the CMCA (Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia) who are undertaking similar endeavours. However all are welcome, & any feedback will be gratefully received.

It is possible that as time goes by, that topics here may well expand to other matters. For example in the near future I will be heading off for a month's adventure in the jungles of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, from which I expect to gather a few tales & photos to share.

My previous 'publications' on the web include 'Riding My Thunderbird' an account of a trip around Australia by motorcycle which can be read online at

I also had a small piece included in an ABC online project entitled 'Dust on My Shoes'. This can be seen at
under the section 'Rough Travel/Stories of Chance Encounters''. My piece is entitled "Sleeping Rough".


Here Begins the story of my bus


'Anonybus' as it has been christened is a 1989 Nissan Civilian, originally owned by the Ayers Rock resort in Australia's Northern Territory. I have it's full history which I won't bore you with. Suffice it to say I bought it with only 130,000kms on the clock, very little for a diesel motor.

The chap I bought it from had already converted it to a motorhome, but had done so with the intention of staying predominantly in caravan parks where mains power was available. After a few short trips we realised that what we had bought was unsuitable for 'bush camping' away from mains power, & decided a total re-fit was called for. I ripped virtually everything out, taking the bus back to a bare shell & started again. The 'rebuilding' process has taken me about 12 months to date, & I'd estimate I'm about 2/3rds completed.

Our aim is to spend 15 months on the road, travelling around Australia, commencing some time in 2007.

Here are some pics showing the bus as it was when we bought it.

As you can see the interior was largely constructed of MDF. Very heavy. This has all been replaced with frame & ply construction, reducing weight considerably.

Next 'installment' will discuss my aims for the conversion
Chow for now. Ian


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