After a couple of challenging months, this somewhat stalled travelling circus was in ready to shake things up a bit. In desperate need for a change of scenery, Raffles suggested camping while Sugarpuff suggested we go ‘everywhere ever’. Me? I just wanted to breathe in a little fresh country air. Which is how we found ourselves spending a week chugging around Central NSW in a JUCY Condo, our lime green home on wheels.
The JUCY Condo is a two-litre, five-seater, automatic Toyota Hiace, adapted into a four-berth, self-contained campervan. Incredibly easy to manoeuvre, the JUCY Condo’s smaller size but cleverly designed interior offered a winning combination of driving ease and space.
And while it certainly wont be winning the Bathurst 1000 any time soon, our Condo did itself proud tackling the hills and fast corners of the Mount Panorama Circuit.
Room on the road
While the JUCY Condo doesn’t come with an internal shower or toilet, the smaller campervan style vehicle provides an affordable, and perfectly comfortable, alternative to a larger motorhome. Van park communal facilities are perfectly pleasant (a big shout out to Jenolan Caravan Park in Oberon who have a particularly modern amenities block with lovely showers and an accessible bathroom) though upgrading to powered ensuite sites at some parks provided privacy and a little added convenience. If a loo is a deal breaker, JUCY does offer an optional cassette toilet that is easily stored for use in the event that there are no public amenities.
Sleeping four people, there’s a double bed in the elevated roof. This pulled out in seconds to create the perfect sleeping nook for the kids. I’m sure it would be fine for adults too but we were unable to test the theory as the kids quickly declared it their “cubby” and off limits to adults. Luckily, the day couch in the main cabin converted into a rather comfy double bed that said adults were more than happy with. The Condo comes stocked with toasty warm bedding for both beds, as well as a set of towels, which is hugely convenient as we forgot to pack ours in the excitement of finally getting back out on the road.
The fold out table between the sofa and passenger seats in the main cabin made for a perfect spot for us to play board games with the kids on colder nights. The kids also decided to hang a disco light they’d picked up at Parkes Observatory in our Condo for added atmosphere, though any actual dancing action was restricted to outside the van.
The JUCY Condo was also stocked with folding camp tables and chairs for use outside, which we took full advantage of on warmer nights.
The kids both adore the novelty factor of a campervan, while I love that everything we need is permanently in place inside and all we need to do is pull up at our allocated site at each van park and plug ourselves into the power. There’s no setting or packing up camp, no searching for a place to cook and clean – it’s all ready to go.
Stash and stow
We are notoriously light packers and had enough space for everything we needed, but the compact size means storage is a little light on in the JUCY Condo. If you tend to overpack, you might need to rethink your packing strategy. It did take us a day or two to get our heads around maximising our storage space and making sure things were easily accessible, but packing our gear into several smaller bags meant we could easily store it all in the compartments under the sofa/bed, which is accessible simply by lifting up the seat.
A space to store the outside table and chairs would have been ideal but we were able to just pop them on the floor in the back when not in use.
When not driving, the Condo can be powered via a power cable at powered sites, and there are plenty of internal power points and USB ports for charging all the kids devices. Super convenient.
What’s cooking in the Condo?
Self-catering in the our JUCY Condo worked out well. While we stayed in caravan parks which had camp kitchens, we mostly cooked over the gas cooker supplied in the Condo. There’s also a kitchen sink fed by a 55-litre fresh water tank and 60-litre grey water tank, a small but useful fridge, and a table that folds down to make prepping meals easy.
The kitchen has ample storage too with JUCY providing as standard a kitchen kit including plates, cups, cutlery, pots, pans and most cooking utensils one might need. Zippered pockets along the walls of the kitchen provided us with additional room for non-perishable groceries, meaning we were able to stock up on groceries for a few days meals.
If you want to keep things simple, we’d suggest just grabbing the basics and plan meals that require minimal fuss. Of course, fanatical foodies that we are, we ignored our own advice. We love to cook, wherever we are, and it was actually pretty easy to whip up gourmet meals on the go, with a sizzling egg dappled shakshuka and a fragrant prawn and chorizo studded paella drawing crowds of campers and proving definitively it really isn’t the size but what you do with it that counts (your kitchen that is).
Just remember to pack washing up liquid and dish cloths because you’re going to want to keep the small space as tidy as possible.
So, what’s the verdict on our JUCY Condo adventure?
Well, Raff and Sugarpuff are already begging for us to hit repeat and given the affordability and undeniable convenience of campervan travel, who are we to say no?