Have Isuzu, will travel

These innovative grey nomads chose to go with a light truck to tow their caravan with ease around our great wide land

Kicking back, putting your feet up by a campfire and having the creature comforts of a modern caravan is part and parcel of the grey nomad experience. 

It’s no wonder that this lifestyle has become so popular over the past decade, giving people a chance to enjoy the endless beauty of the Australian landscape, and all at your own pace.

Helen and Greg Gault are long-time experts in Australian caravan parks and motels. 

The duo managed motels and caravan parks in Rathdowney in Queensland’s Scenic Rim. But when state borders opened as pandemic restrictions eased, the couple decided it was time for retirement and life on the highway.

After some serious deliberations, they eventually invested in a 2022 NPR 45-155 Tradepack to tow their New Age Big Red 22-foot caravan and carry everything they need to operate self-sufficiently on the road between stops.

“We try and get behind the wheel between six and seven in the morning, pulling up to have a cup of coffee somewhere on the road after a couple of hours,” said Helen Gault.

“We like to kick back and enjoy the coffee break and then we might get driving until around lunch time, and then we pull up stumps. We don’t like to travel too much distance in one day because we savour the journey. 

“A couple of hundred kilometres a day is enough for us.”

Greg and Helen Gault and their set up

Terrific tow

Even before retirement, the couple spent a lot of time together on the road exploring Australia’s highways. 

Border closures and state lockdowns restricted their travels for a few years but also gave them time to reflect on the upgrades they wanted to make to their set up.

The couple wanted a new vehicle for their life on the road but Greg became concerned about ensuring their dream caravan was towed safely and legally. 

Caravan owners can get caught out if they exceed the towing vehicle’s gross combined mass (GCM), which is the total permissible combined weight of the vehicle and caravan, including occupants, fuel and cargo.

Greg looked at a range of 4WDs but decided to talk to Brisbane Isuzu Archerfield about purchasing a light-duty truck.

The Brisbane Isuzu Archerfield team recommended an NPR 45-155 Tradepack for the task, putting the worry of exceeding weight limits into the rear-view mirror.

With a GVM (and towing capacity) of 4,500 kg along with the unit’s 5.2 litre, four-cylinder 16 valve 4HK1-TCN engine, the NPR has all the power required to tow the considerable weight of the deluxe caravan that Greg and Helen have fitted out with a series of impressive extras.

The couple has enjoyed quite a few jaunts on the road in their NPR since collecting it in early 2022, including trips to Sydney, Melbourne and a stop-off at Phillip Island.

“When you’re going along the highways, you don’t even know the van is behind it sometimes,” Greg Gault said. 

“The NPR has been the best towing vehicle I’ve ever used.” 

Storage is not a problem with the Isuzu

Bells and whistles

Modifications were made to the NPR so that it resembled Helen and Greg’s dream vehicle with all the added conveniences needed for life on the road.

“We got a solar panel put on the truck and we’ve wired it up for 12 volts, so it will run our fridge,” Helen said. 

“We’ve just put a 200-litre tank on it so if we happen to find cheap fuel somewhere, we can fill it up. Not to forget the airsafe tow hitch which stops any damage to the caravan while towing.”

The couple has also ventured to Yowah in Queensland, a town known for its opals.

“When the NPR is on the bitumen and you’re driving it up the highway, it just purrs along,” Greg said.

“The truck has been able to handle all kinds of weather, we’ve had no issues driving in wet conditions or into the wind.” 

At this stage the couple and their beloved NPR have travelled 12,000 kilometres and there are plans in the works for longer trips and more sightseeing.

Greg who has a bit of experience driving trucks has had no complaints.

“I really like it, I’ve driven a few trucks in my time as I did some years in the fire brigade. Helen drives it as well, and neither of us needed a heavy vehicle license as the NPR can be driven with your standard car licence,” Greg said.

From its renowned visibility, the height of the cab and the storage for food, clothing, tools and knickknacks, Helen and Greg have been over the moon about upgrading from a 4WD to an NPR 45-155 Tradepack. Even the couple’s Cavoodle pup enjoys going along for the ride.

“The Isuzu reliability and guarantee of quality and service keep us feeling safe and sound on the road no matter where we are in beautiful Australia,” Helen said. 

Helen enjoys her time behind the wheel too, with no need for truck license
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