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Goats On The Road By
Posted 14 Sep, 2013 | 11 Comments
Posted in: Places

Ever since our first trip to Southeast Asia, we’ve wanted to drive a camper van across Australia. We’ve had many travel friends undertake this epic journey and it is firmly on our future itinerary. From doing a lot of research we’ve found some simple tips that we think will help us to save money and have a better time travelling. We’ve also found a few places we must see along the way.


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Because of Australia’s massive size, we’ve decided we want to spend about 3 months driving around it. That way we can get a real taste for what the country has to offer. We’d like to plan the epic trip along the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Port Augusta. From what we’ve read online, we’ll need to bring plenty of supplies along this road as much of it is deserted outback.

We then want to travel north along the eastern coast and visit the highlights of this region like, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, The Gold Coast, The Sunshine Coast and Cairnes. Because we’re bloggers, we’ll need to stay connected. We’ve heard that there are a lot of internet cafes and wifi is readily available, but we also like to buy local SIM cards in every country we visit so that we can call in case of emergencies or to book hotel rooms. I recently received an email which opened my eyes to 4G mobile broadband plans from iiNet, a cheap mobile phone provider in Australia that may save us some money on 4G service while on the road.

We know how much a 1 year trip will cost through Asia and Australia, but visiting Australia by itself will be much more expensive. With the cost of gas and insurance, this trip could be over $100 / day which is more than we like to spend, but it will be totally worth it!

Now that we’ve got our itinerary roughly mapped out, we’ve started to research some tips on renting camper vans in Australia. The best ones we’ve come up with so far are:

1. To Rent Or To Buy: This one has been at the top of our list of concerns. Is it worth it to buy and sell a camper van or just rent one? We’ve found this general guideline by Transitions Abroad useful:

  • Less than eight weeks: It is almost always best to rent, no matter what vehicle you choose.
  • More than eight weeks: It is more cost-effective to purchase a car, minivan, or pop-top vehicle.
  • More than 16 weeks: It is more cost-effective to purchase a camper van or small motor home.

Seeing as we’re planing more than 8 weeks, it looks like we’ll be buying a camper van.

Other Tips for Renting a Camper Van in Australia

  • Be prepared to drive standard; most campervans have manual transmission.
  • You drive on the left-hand side of the road in Australia.
  • You usually have to be at least 21 years old to rent a camper van.
  • Consider roadside assistance
  • Get a local phone for emergencies and to skype with friends and family.
  • Although it is common to pick up and drop off your vehicle in different locations, check with your rental company to ensure they have a drop off location at your desired final stop and confirm if there are any extra fees to do this.
  • Watch out for Kangaroos!
  • Weekends are slow in Australia; don’t expect the rental company to be open for pick ups or drop offs; call in advance to check.
  • Insurance charges vary from company to company; some have mandatory charges while others do not.
  • Check to see if your insurance covers things like flat tires and cracked windows.

There is a lot of information regarding this trip online. We’ve found some great help from travel blogs and the camper van rental companies themselves, but probably the best advice if from other travellers who have done the trip already.

Do you have any tips about this type of trip? Any must-see places you can recommend? Please Leave A Comment Below!

Featured Image By: John Purvis & Wiki-Commons

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Goats On The Road is a website designed to show people how to turn travel into a lifestyle. We cover everything from how to save money to travel tips, travel hacks and how to make money on the road. Follow us as we travel the world and share our findings with you.

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11 thoughts on “Our Plan To Drive A Camper Van Across Australia

  1. Thanks for all of these tips. My friends and I are looking at renting a camper van next year and have started researching how to do it. Do you know where we can go online to rent/buy a camper van? Or do we have to be in Oz in order to do that?

    Thanks!

  2. Sounds like a fantastic trip, well worth the extra money. We drove from Broome to Melbourne a few years ago, slowly hugging the coast, it was amazing. We didn’t have much of a budget so we couldn’t afford a camper van or 4wd but we managed to buy an AU$800 old car that did us proud. Even in Broome there were quite a few buying options, we saw our car for sale on the hostel notice board. The car came with a little tent and a few camping bits and bobs. We also bought ‘Free Camps Australia’ {or something similar}, a road atlas that listed, in detail, all the free campsites and pull-ins, they often had toilets and were well used. Well worth the cash and saved us quite a bit of money. It was best in Western Australia though. National Parks were great, cheap places to camp with awesome hikes too. We didn’t drive between 5pm and dark due to the sheer quantity of Roos that hopped across the road when evening began to set in!
    We sold the car for the same as what we bought by advertising it on Craig’s List.
    Have a great adventure!

  3. If using a hire care you should also check if you can drive on dirt roads as some companies incur penalties if you do this!

  4. Having spent a year in Oz, seven months of which were camping (with a tent) around the continent, I have a few suggestions. First and foremost do not drive at night unless you are in and around a city, Aussie vehicles have Roo Bars for a reason and destroying your vehicle by running into a kangaroo, feral camel, livestock, etc. is an all too common event for those who drive at night. Secondly, do NOT have a set itinerary. You are extremely ambitious to try to see the country in three months. If you have to drive too much to try to see it ALL, you miss out on taking your time and experiencing the fascinating people of Oz. Third, and finally, enjoy your time. It all ends far too quickly but you will treasure your adventure for the rest of your lives.
    Steve
    PS. Write a daily journal so you can refer to it later and you won’t have to say “where were we when…?”

  5. Hey Rachel,
    Thanks for the awesome advice! It sounds a bit like how it was when we drove through South Africa – they gave out a mini booklet thingy that listed all of the cheap/awesome Backpacker places to sleep. We’ll definitely get the Free Camps Australia book that you are talking about, we’ll really want to be staying in campsites. It sounds great!

    I love that you sold your car for the same price as you bought it as well…nice one.

    Cheers and happy travels 🙂

  6. Hey Steve,

    Wow, 7 months of camping in Oz!? That would be quite the adventure! Thanks for all of the advice. We won’t be driving at night, we’ll try to go slowly and not have a set itinerary, it’s more fun that way anyways 🙂

    Oh, and of course, we’ll keep a journal!

    Cheers.

  7. It is a better idea buying a campervan when you are planning for a longer stay vacation rather than renting .Owning one of it you can guarantee that you can have your money back at least rather than renting .

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