Getting on the road
The best way to see Australia is on a roadtrip. If you’re planning a trip and are thinking about renting or buying your own vehicle then read on. We’ve put together a full guide on dos and don’ts, top tips and expert recommendations for travelling around Australia by road.
- How to choose the right campervan or car for you
- To buy or rent? That’s the question…
- Top tips for selling your vehicle at the end of your trip
- 5 best places to visit in Australia in a campervan
- Survival Tips for Living in a campervan
- Australian Driving tips: Rules of the road
- Show your vehicle some love
How to choose the right campervan or car for you
Fridge vs. no fridge – lots of space vs. not so much space – proper campervan vs. station wagon … decisions decisions decisions.
Buying or renting a car or campervan for the first time can be pretty daunting and with so many options out there it’s sometimes a little confusing to decide on what the best option for you is. Read on for top tips and expert advice on how to find the right vehicle for you.
These trusty vehicles are cheap, reliable and most importantly easy to pick up all over the country.
We recommend station wagons for:
- Travellers who are more than happy to bunk down on a mattress in the back of the wagon or to sleep in a tent.
- Travellers on a budget – they are cheaper vehicles to run than vans or campervans.
- Groups of mates who are travelling together (this is a great way to save on the cost of petrol)
- People who prefer automatic vehicles (over 85% of station wagons are auto)
- People who are planning to mix it up between camping and staying in hostels.
Cost: Travellers Autobarn offer station wagons to rent from $35 a day, or you can buy one for about $3000 – $5000
The perfect vehicle for groups of two who are planning on living life on the road for a long period of time (6+ months).
We recommend campervans for:
- People who have some extra cash to spend on a vehicle
- Travellers who prefer their home comforts such as fridge, kitchen sink and gas stove.
- Travellers who are planning on sleeping in their vehicle every night and are looking for a little more room.
- Travellers who are confident with driving a manual
Cost: Bag yourself a campervan for anything between $9900 – $16,000 or rent one from $45 a day.
The perfect choice for a couple or two mates who are looking to cruise around Australia at a chilled out pace.
We recommend vans for:
- People who can be flexible with their budget and are happy to spend a bit more
- People who are planning on spending most nights on their trip sleeping in their vehicle
- People who planning on roadtrippin’ for a couple of months
- People who are happy to drive a manual
Cost: Pick up a van from Travellers Autobarn from around $4000 – $8000 or rent one from $35 a day
4WD’s are one of the best cars to travel around Australia in. They are expensive to buy, and expensive to run – but don’t let that put you off. If you’re planning an adrenaline filled Aussie roadtrip adventure then this could be the car for you.
We recommend 4WD’s for:
- Travellers who have some cash to spend
- Travellers who are looking to head off the beaten track
- Groups of 2 – 5 who are planning on sleeping in hostels and motels at night.
- Experienced drivers who will be confident handling such a big and powerful car
- Nature lovers who want to explore the most remote parts of Australia.
Cost: A 4WD from Traveller’s Autobarn will cost you between $6000 – $10,000.
To buy or rent? That’s the question…
Once you’ve decided on the vehicle that’s right for you and your trip the next decision you need to make is whether to buy or rent your vehicle in Australia.
Below is a list of some important factors you need to consider before you make the call:
- How long are you going to be travelling around Australia for?
This is the most important factor to consider when you’re debating whether to rent or buy your campervan or car. If you’re only planning on hitting the open road for 3 – 4 months (or less) then we recommend you rent. The benefits of doing this are:
- They come equipped with all the campervan essentials you need
- 24 / 7 roadside assistance
- Toll free service number
- Access to free campgrounds
If you are planning on staying in Australia for as long as possible then buying probably makes the most sense for you. If you are travelling in Australia for a year or 2 then it’s likely you’ll have to find work at some point and having your own vehicle will help to open up lots of possibilities for you – especially if you are planning on doing the farm work that’s essential for getting your 2nd year visa.
- How much money do you have?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how many dollars you are willing to spend. If you are a backpacker with cash to spare (lucky you), then renting is an easy option that offers no worries, no hassle and extra security.
If you are working to a tight budget then we recommend you take the time to shop around for a good deal on a vehicle. Don’t forget to consider how much you will get back when you sell it at the end of your trip.
- Looking for complete freedom?
If you want to come and go as you please, you want the option to change your route whenever, paint it, bump it – then buying your own vehicle is for you.
There are a number of benefits to renting your vehicle but if you’re really looking for the ultimate freedom out on the open road then owning your wheels is the way forward.
- What kind of traveller are you?
If the idea of breaking down on the side of the road in the outback and having to flag down a stranger to tow you to the nearest local garage is your idea of a nightmare then owning your vehicle might not be for you and renting gives you extra security and minimum fuss if something happens.
On the other hand if you’re adventurous, confidant and more than happy to deal with unplanned scenarios then buying is the way to go.
Top tips for selling your vehicle at the end of your trip
When it’s time to pack up your bags, dust the sand off your flip-flops and start wearing all white to show off your awesome tan it’s also time to sell your vehicle on.
But what do you need to consider?
- Where will you end up selling your vehicle? It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. April to July is probably the worst time of year to try to sell your vehicle (as Sydney, Melbourne and Perth will all be very quiet). Avoid trying to sell your vehicle in Darwin and Cairns between December and June, and Brisbane and Adelaide can be difficult all year round.
- Registration and paperwork. The more registration you have on your vehicle the more attractive it is to a prospective buyer (we recommend at least 3 months)
- How much time do you have? Don’t leave it too late to try and sell your vehicle before you head off back home as it can take 2 – 4 weeks to sell your vehicle on. That’s a lot of time to spend worrying that you might not sell it!
What is a buyback guarantee and why does it matter?
Buyback guarantee is when we tell you up front how much we will pay to ‘buy back’ your vehicle before you even buy it in the first place. This means you can avoid the money worries or time pressure at the end of your trip and get on with living it up Down Under for your last few weeks in Australia.
We also let you return your vehicle to any of our locations – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin or Perth. Too easy!
If you do manage to sell it on yourself for cash then no worries – just give us a call to let us know.
Another added bonus is that you don’t need to worry about any of the paperwork as we handle all of that for you.
5 best places to visit in Australia in a campervan
Here are some places we recommend you and your campervan visit:
- The Great Ocean Road: Epic beaches, great campsites and breathtaking sunsets.
- West Coast Adventure in Western Australia: Complete wilderness, outback and epic beaches
- Tropical North Queensland: Rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef and the chance to experience true Aussie beach bum life.
- Tasmania: Rural and natural beauty, amazing landscapes and secluded beaches
- The Red Centre: True outback experience and living in cultural landscapes in the heart of Australia
For some wanderlust inspiration and information on other epic road trips and check out our ultimate guide to the best roadtrip in Australia here.
Survival Tips for Living in a Campervan
Travelling around in a campervan is a brand-new experience to lots of people, so we thought we’d put together some tips to ensure that your trip around Australia with Travellers Autobarn is the ultimate, stress free road trip!
Plan a rough route
Australia is enormous and you won’t be the first backpacker to look at a map and underestimate how long it will take you to drive from one place to another. But, while you still want to keep some degree of spontaneity during your trip, it’s ideal to have a rough idea of where you want to travel to, the route you want to take and how long it will take you to get there.
Have a rough idea of the places you want to stop by and visit, or the route you want to take before you set off.
Stock up on food at a supermarket
Once you have hired your campervan it’s likely that you will be departing from one of Australia’s major cities, so we recommend that before you hit the road you stop by a large supermarket to stock up on all the essentials (and we don’t just mean beers and sausages for the barbie!).
Buying food and supplies from petrol stations and small local stores on the journey can hit your backpacker budget hard.
Buying cheap petrol
One of your biggest outgoings is going to be cost of your fuel. One of the best apps we recommend is MotorMouth. It’s really handy for finding the cheapest petrol on sale in your area. And don’t forget, having the air-con on all the time will eat into your fuel tank – so if you’re trying to save some money settle for opening the windows instead.
Remember that you are responsible for the campervan while it is in your possession. This means that you should treat it like it was your own vehicle, carry out basic maintenance checks every 500 km. Basic maintenance includes checking things like the tyre pressure and coolant levels.
If you’re driving a campervan then make sure you know the height of the vehicle and be wary of driving into car parks, under bridges or low-hanging branches if you aren’t sure.
Bushfires are a common occurrence in Australia, they can be really dangerous – so always make sure you adhere to the guidelines.
We recommend that you visit or download the dedicated bushfire website or app for each state that you are travelling through (particularly in summer).
If you start a campfire then you must always make sure it is completely out at the end of the night and have at least 10 litres of water nearby in case it gets out of hand.
Australian Driving tips: Rules of the road
With the freedom of the road comes a little responsibility, and you should be aware of the paperwork that goes hand in hand with owning a car in Australia. The registration of your car, or the ‘rego’ as it is more commonly known, refers to the set of registration papers that every car must-have. These must be renewed every year and are specific to each state.
Each of the 8 Australian states has slightly different rules – if in doubt check the state website:
- New South Wales – Roads & Traffic Authority NSW (RTA)
- Victoria – VicRoads
- Queensland – Queensland Transport
- South Australia – South Australian Government Transport, Travel and Motoring
- Western Australia – Government of Western Australia Department of Transport
- Northern Territory – Motor Vehicle Registry
- Tasmania – Department of Infrastructure, Energy & Resources
- Australian Capital Territory – Rego ACT
If you break down, stay where you are.
If the unfortunate happens and you do come to a standstill surrounded by clouds of smoke coming from under the hood then stay where you are and wait for someone to pass by.
In Australia, it’s not uncommon to drive for hours without seeing another person. So the safest thing for you to do is to stay with your campervan or car. Leaving to look for help could mean that you spend hours or even a full day walking around under the scorching sun and in soaring temperatures before you come across help.
Always carry enough water and food.
The hotter it is, the more water you need.
It’s recommended that you carry at least 4 – 5 litres of water a day, per person. You also need to think about carrying some extra water in case you break down and are stuck overnight. Most large supermarkets stock 10L bottles of water – so make sure you stop off to pick up as many as you need.
It’s also crucial that you pack some non-perishable food to keep you going should you break down – think cereal bars, nuts and dried fruit. We recommend that you try to avoid snacking on salty snacks – it’s just going to make you even thirstier and could speed up dehydration.
Watch out for Skippy!
The Australian outback is famous for its wildlife – kangaroos, koalas and of course spiders, to name a few.
When you’re driving be aware that collisions with kangaroos, cows and other animals often occur on outback roads, particularly at nighttime, dawn or dusk. If you are pulling a night shift at the wheel then try to ensure that the passenger next to you stays awake and alert to help you watch out for any animals on the road.
Avoid unsealed roads
Although many of the roads in the outback are in good condition, you may suddenly find yourself driving on an unsealed road (such as a field or a gravel track).
If you have hired a campervan or car from one of the big cities like Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, then you might find that the insurance policy you took out does not cover you when you’re driving on unsealed roads. Make sure you read the small print.
To put it simply, a campervan road trip is the only way to see Australia. Speak to the team at Travellers Autobarn for more information and to book your campervan today.
Or, if you want to read more of our exciting Guides by Travellers Autobarn, come and hear what we’re talking about!