25 January 2024

Summer vibes: Road tripping retro style with Annie and Fannie

| Katrina Condie
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Retro RVs

You may have seen Annie and Fannie on the roads around the Illawarra. Photo: Retro RV.

Sarah and Catur Widodo spent a year travelling around Australia in a bus and are keen to share their love of the road and the great outdoors with visitors to the region.

Two years ago, they traded their bus for a couple of cute Volkswagen Kombi RVs, Annie and Fannie, which they rent out to hipster holidaymakers keen for that carefree retro experience or to those seeking to relive their teenage years.

Locals may have spotted Annie, a 1973 RV, and Fannie, a 1978 model, on the roads around Shellharbour or up and down the South Coast.

Sarah said the original Kombis had each been rescued and restored with a snail-style motorhome conversion and fuel-injected Subaru engine and transmission.

She said nothing had been spared in the detailed fit-out, providing “yesteryear’s charm with today’s modern comforts”.

“They are a super fun way to explore the South Coast and beyond,” she said.

“Our RVs come packed with everything needed for a vacation, so the hirer only needs to bring a travel bag and a keen sense of ad-van-ture.”

She said the couple wanted to start a business to share their love of van life and adventure with others.

“We travelled Australia in a bus for a year and now, when we aren’t in our RVs, we fly to our second home in Bali. We have always been nomadic between the two countries throughout our 20 years together,” Sarah said.

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“After seeing the country and doing the big lap in our old bus, we realised there really is no place like home, so now we love to share our beautiful South Coast with holidaymakers.”

Cruising down the highway in a beautifully restored vintage Kombi is a super fun road trip holiday to tick off the bucket list.

Sarah said there was “something magical about Kombis” that appealed to laid-back travellers, no matter their age.

“They are just super fun!” she said.

“We love the joy they bring to everyone who sees them. They make bystanders so happy to see them out and about.

“A lot of waving is done when driving these beauties around. It adds to the experience of having a celebrity moment, not to mention awesome photo opportunities for the memory bank.”

She said, while the RVs were spacious inside, they still fit into a normal car space and were “so easy to drive”.

People can hire Annie or Fannie for the ultimate van life experience which Sarah said was “just like an Airbnb on wheels”.

“You take your comforts wherever you want to go with you. It’s a perfect balance of the great outdoors with all the comforts of home at your fingertips,” she added.

With a 200-km per day travel allowance, the RVs can travel interstate and customers can make bookings for extended travel.

“Our top local destinations we love to suggest to our hirers are oceanfront venues to park and enjoy the serenity,” Sarah said.

“Shellharbour is top of our list for location and activities. Shellharbour Beachside Holiday Park has absolute oceanfront powered sites that are perfect for our RVs.

“Leave the RV set up onsite and explore the village, marina and Bass Point Reserve by foot or bicycle, swim, surf, snorkel, skydive, whale watch, hike, wine and dine – Shellharbour has it all!

“Coledale Beach Camping is also a fantastic location especially when timed with the monthly markets held next door, while Jervis Bay is our most popular destination down south.”

Annie and Fannie have adventured to the Great Ocean Road and Byron Bay, and the Nitro Circus hired one to travel from Wollongong to the Central Coast between shows on their international tour. The RVs have also been featured on the Travel Guides TV program.

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The iconic retro campers are two berth, making them ideal for a couple, a bestie getaway, parent/child holiday or a solo escape. They feature a kitchen, two-burner gas stove, fridge, fold down table, double bed, outdoor table and chairs as well as retro extras like an Esky and picnic rug.

The Illawarra’s colourful duo is part of the Retro RV fleet that now has more than 20 RVs available for hire in most states of Australia.

Sarah has spent her whole life in the Illawarra, while Catur is from Indonesia and has been based in Mount Kembla for the past 20 years.

The pair are well known in the music scene, having performed and taught community classes in African drumming for more than a decade, and they were part of the market community for a long time with their Coconut Bar.

These days Sarah and Catur also operate the Retro Roast coffee van at the foothills of Mount Kembla village and, yes, their Retro RV Illawarra customers are welcomed with a complimentary coffee!

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on Region Illawarra.

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