The vehicle searching had ceased and we’d surprised ourselves with the outcome. Brace yourselves! For weeks we’d been trawling the web for used utes and ‘slide on’ camper units, either for sale together or separately and after a mega long day of viewing, in somewhat sweltering heat, we’d whittled the ute list down to just one. A 2011 Ford Ranger. Super annoyingly the best ‘slide on’ options were around Melbourne (in the south). Our only real option would have been to buy the ute and hope a good slide on would pop up for sale in the not to distant future as we travelled north. There was however one ‘slide on’ already advertised for sale on a farm a few days north of Sydney and after ringing up the chap to talk about it, we ended up agreeing not to buy the ‘slide on’ but instead spend a week or two helping out on his farm. As you do!

Enter two curve balls. 
When L stumbled across the 1967 Land Rover forward control, naturally for him everything else on the planet, including myself, suddenly became insignificant. Buying the ute was temporary put on hold whilst L tirelessly spent 3 days trying to make his Land Rover dream a reality. To L’s dismay no-one this side of Australia would entertain fitting air conditioning (to run off of the engine) to the tired looking tank. A couple of companies could have fitted an air-con unit to the cab roof which would run off a 240v hook up, but as we planned to mostly free camp and really only required 'the cooling’ whilst driving, this option was as good as useless. It would also cost $4-6k!
So the Land Rover was ruled out, the lack of air-con being the main reason and a handful of other issues also contributed to the decision. It was a heart breaking decision for L but the right one. After all the last time L bought a 1967 vehicle ‘unseen’ was when he purchased ‘Norman’ his Ford Anglia 105e Estate, and lets not forget what a hair raising drive home for him that was. Naturally it was only after the money had exchanged and shortly into the long drive home from Tamworth motorway services (at which they’d met), that L realised Norman’s tyres were egged, the steering components were shot and there wasn’t a drop of oil left in the back axel. Not exactly the roadworthy condition L was expecting Norman to be in considering just 3 days ago the car had ‘passed’ it’s MOT. Down the line Norman also needed an engine rebuild and then after that L began a full restoration. 
Neither of us were looking for another restoration project and let’s face it, spending what could end up being the most part of our year in Oz, limping from garage to garage wouldn’t exactly make for the most interesting of blogs or enjoyable of experiences. 

If you hadn’t already guessed it, we bought the camper van! Viewing the van in the flesh surprised the both of us. Neither of us expected we’d prefer it to the Ford ute, especially as we hadn’t been searching for camper vans, but this rarer 4x4 version caught L’s eye and mine too. After our time spent ‘campervan-ing’ in New Zealand it appeared we’d both developed a soft spot for camper vans. We couldn’t pass up on this little gem and for us this one ticked more boxes than the ute and offered comparable ground clearance. Ok so it certainly doesn’t have a Land Rover badge but then neither did the ute, one thing’s for sure, this little beast packs a punch. It would be wrong to overlook something which had been so meticulously maintained by the previous (somewhat overly passionate) owner of 21 years. To the extent that two layers of floor mats protected the lino flooring and seat covers galore featured heavily within. There was also the important stuff like the company who fitted the reconditioned engine were known to be the best in Sydney, equally no expense had been spared on the original camper conversion, the market leader had been used and the quality of the fit out was excellent.

Take the tour.
The top effortlessly pops, the immaculate interior successfully (somehow) houses everything needed on a micro living scale. There’s gas hobs & grill, microwave, fridge freezer, sink, shower, portable toilet, sockets, lighting, cupboard space, seating which folds out into a double bed, (perhaps slightly shorter in length than standard but perfectly fits non giants), under seat storage, table & chairs. There’s a plethora of windows for those ultimate panoramic views (park facing any direction, we’ve got it nailed), a bug proof (to my delight) side awning attachment and all round tinted glass with curtains galore to keep out that piercing Australian sun.

So here we are in our new wheels, currently tootling up the NSW coast for a couple of days before heading slightly inland towards Armidale, where we will spend a week or two dabbling in a bit of farm work. As L braces himself for the back lash from a select group of friends (you all know who you are! haha) for not buying the Land Rover regardless of it’s condition and flaws, the pair of us sit here in comfort despite watching the mercury climb to an unbelievable 40 degrees Celsius. I’m so very glad for the ice cold air now blowing at our faces and I think L is too…

(Note to Anna, a loyal reader and fellow Land Rover enthusiast: L sincerely hopes you can bring yourself to continue reading the blogs and would like to reassure you that a genuine 101 camper conversion will very much be on the cards after we return to the UK. So if in the mean time you find yourself with a spare minute to scout out a good’un, the plan to drive to Mongolia can go ahead.)