Members of the Retreat Caravans Family Group gathered in Kangaroo Valley, NSW, to bond over their shared love of vanning.
WORDS Malcolm Street
A shared interest Facebook group jumped out of the digital sphere and into the real world when members of the Retreat Caravans Family Group met up in real life for the first time recently.
The group was started last year by Retreat Whitehaven owners Phil and Lyn Deaves, who wanted to connect with fellow Retreat owners. After first interacting with other owners via Facebook, Phil and Lyn thought a face-to-face get-together was in order and organised a weekend away at Kangaroo Valley, NSW, for members.
Kangaroo Valley is mid-way between the Southern Highlands and Nowra. It is not a large town but is very scenic. Its most memorable feature is the Hampden suspension bridge, with its four crenelated sandstone turrets, that crosses the Kangaroo River. I can also report that it has some excellent cafes and shops.
The group converged on the Kangaroo Valley Tourist Park for the gathering and were treated to customised nametags, featuring a picture of each owner’s Retreat van, and a very impressive Retreat caravan-shaped cake, courtesy of Phil and Lyn.
Owners came from far and near for the event. Some, like Phil and Annette Meurer who travelled in their Retreat Fraser van, had a quick trip from nearby Wollongong, as did Alan and Joan Bird who had an even quicker trip from Shoalhaven Heads. Unfortunately, they were not able to bring their Retreat Magnetic van because Joan was still recovering from back surgery.
Other owners, such as Ed and Julie Herring, came from as far away as Hayborough (near Victor Harbor) in South Australia in their Retreat Hamilton. They had an additional excuse for travelling so far, as their grandchildren live locally and stayed in a tent on an adjoining campsite.
Clive and Linda Leney from Geelong, Vic, travelled around the east coast of Victoria and New South Wales with their Retreat Mabel caravan to attend the event. Clive has an engineering background and not only does he like travelling in his van but he likes tinkering with it as well. He has improved everything from the shower door clips to an interesting rearview camera setup.
As I walked around the caravan park talking to the owners, everyone was settling in for a great weekend and, although I wasn’t able to stay for the entire time, I was assured that is just what happened.