Young couple having breakfast next to their hired station wagon

Station wagons (also known as ‘stationwagons’, ‘wagons’ or ‘minivans’) are a great way to get around and explore Australia. 

Station wagons used to be the default way for backpackers and travellers to get around Australia. However, these severely underrated, convenient, kinda-cars have recently started disappearing from roads everywhere. Hiring a station wagon to travel Australia has its own unique advantages over a traditional car, and for some people it might be even better than a van. 

Let’s have a look at a few advantages of hiring a station wagon over other vehicles:

Hiring a station wagon is cheap

Traveller stopped by the water in a Travellers Autobarn station wagon

Travelling in a station wagon is a very, very cheap way to explore Australia. 

Hiring a wagon starts at about $55 per day — yep, that’s right, 55 dollarydoos for an entire day. It’s a whole lot cheaper than most cars, vans or hotels that’s for sure. Even in peak season (around Christmas & New Years Day) you’re looking at a maximum of around $99 per day, which is a pretty cracking hot deal. Trust us when we say this is the best station wagon deal out there and you won’t find an equivalent rental at such a cheap rate — it’d cost you more to buy a case of beer!!!

Hiring a wagon starts at about $55 per day…

One of the brilliant things about hiring a station wagon (and we’ll get to this properly in just a second) is that you can split the costs with plenty of travel mates. Imagine you’re travelling around the countryside off-season with a group of 3 friends and split up the daily costs: divide $55 per day by four people and your daily hiring cost is literally less than your lunch.

Station wagons can fit lots of passengers (or just a few if you like)

A group of three friends camping beachside in a packed station wagon

Station wagons can usually fit up to 5 people — in fact, depending on the model, they can sometimes fit even more! It means that they’re one of the most flexible vehicle options out there and are suitable for solo travellers, couples, groups of friends, and even whole families! Chances are, we’ve just mentioned your situation so it’s worth considering hiring a station wagon.

Station wagons can usually fit up to 5 people…

Station wagons are very spacious

A young woman watching the sunset in the back of a spacious station wagon

Station wagons offer loads of space! You can fit heaps of suitcases, bags and other luggage into the boot of the vehicle. Plus, with many models, you can fold down seats to fit even more. This is fantastic if you’ve got lots of bags, a large tent, a big air mattress, or you’re bringing everything but the kitchen sink.

If you’ve got a smaller crew or you’re travelling alone, you’ll have more storage space than you’ll know what to do with — loads more compared to a small hire car or even a campervan.

Station wagons have automatic transmissions

A woman relaxing beachside with an automatic transmission ford station wagon

All our station wagons are automatics, so you can have a hassle free drive on highways, country roads, over mountains, or through town. On top of that, driving a station wagon is much more similar to driving a normal car than driving a tall, long and large campervan.

All our station wagons are automatics…

This alone is a deal-winner for many travellers who can’t drive a manual transmission car and just want the most comfortable vehicle possible to drive around in. Lots of campervans and cheap car rentals have manual transmissions, so make sure you do your research if you only know how to drive auto. Check out this article on license requirements for driving in Australia if you have any doubts.

Station wagons give you loads of overnight options

Pitched tents alongside a Travellers Autobarn

If money is extra tight, you haven’t made up your mind on accommodation, or you’re keen to mix up your camping options, a station wagons will give you plenty of overnight options:

  1. Camping: Station wagon + tent + air mattress + sleeping bags/linen = an amazing DIY glamping trip. If you book a Ford station wagon with Travellers Autobarn, you can hire a tent and cooking gear directly from us — just BYO sleeping bags & mattress.
  2. Sleep in the back: Station wagons are so spacious that you can easily sleep in the back of one. Just push down the back seats, chuck your BYO mattress in the back, et voilà: your accommodation needs are pretty much sorted. Back in the 80s & 90s, this was how people preferred to get around Australia.
  3. Stay at hotels: If you don’t feel like camping or sleeping in the back (or you’ve got too many mates to make it work), you can use your station wagon as a normal car and stay in hotels, motels or hostels every night. No judgement from us: camping ain’t for everyone.

Station wagons are great for travelling with kids

A mother and child sleeping in the back of a rented station wagon

If you’ve got kids, you don’t need us to tell you that travelling with youngsters can be tricky. “Are we there yet” is a cliché for a reason — many of us have vivid memories of being crammed, squished and bored in the back of a car with hardly any space to move. Thankfully, with a spacious station wagon, there’s more than enough room for all the kids and luggage (oh, and iPads are a thing now so goodbye boredom).

…there’s more than enough room for all the kids and luggage…

If your child is under 4 years old, your options are pretty limited when it comes to hiring a campervan since it can be impossible to fit child seats in some models. Luckily, most station wagons are suitable for families with kids from as young as 6 months (some models are even safe from the age of 1 month), plus there’s plenty of space to fit a stroller with the luggage in the rear. Happy families all round!

If you’re feeling tempted, you can get a quote on hiring a station wagon from Travellers Autobarn (2006 to 2010 models).

If it doesn’t sound quite right for you, compare all our rental vehicle options to find the one which suits you best (including our articles about best reasons to hire a campervan).

If you have trouble with making a booking or you need some more information, get in contact with us. You can use the buttons below to contact our reservations team, or call us directly on 1800 674 374 (we also have overseas contact numbers in case you’re outside Australia). Happy travelling and we’ll see you out on the road soon.

About the Author

Bastian Graf

Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.

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