There’s nothing quite like travelling Australia in an RV. Besides getting to experience all the wonders the country has to offer on the road, you can also combine your transport and accommodation costs in one.
There are so many ways you can travel Australia, and there are so many variables you need to consider! Whether you’re a bush camper or caravan park lover, family of 2 or family of 4, driving your own wheels or hiring an RV; we’ve put together a breakdown of all the basic costs you will likely encounter before and during your trip around the Great Southern Land (based on a 3 month lap).
1. Pre-Trip Costs:
Gone are the days where your only option to travel Australia was to go out and buy a new or used camper trailer, caravan or motorhome; now you can hire someone else’s for a fraction of the cost! Below we have a clear comparison of these three different options, accompanied by some pros and cons to make the decision a bit easier for you.
Travelling in a Motorhome
- Buy a new motorhome: average price = $150,000.
- Buy a used motorhome: average price = $110,000.
- Hire a motorhome on Camplify: from $150 per night (total for a 3 month trip = from $13,650)
+ You will pay more in price, but you don’t need to worry about your car! This eradicates any pre-trip expenses that are associated with preparing your car for the big trip. It also means that yes, even the Hyundai Getz owners can go on the trip on a lifetime!
+ Want to travel Australia with your boat in tow? You can do just that with a motorhome, unlike other travel options.
- You’ve just set up at your campsite and then you remember you forgot the milk! Unfortunately, your home and vehicle are combined, so a mistake like this can cost you precious relaxation time.
- You’ll want to get in a good pack-down and set-up routine if you plan on going on a lot of day trips.
- Driving and parking in metropolitan areas can be a significant challenge.
- If you plan on buying a new or used motorhome, be sure to budget for costs such as insurance, registration and maintenance.
Travelling in a Caravan
- Buy a new caravan: average price = $48,900.
- Buy a used caravan: average price = $40,000.
- Hire a Caravan onCamplify: from $50 per night (total for a 3 month trip = from $4,550)
+ Unlike a motorhome, you can leave your caravan at a site and take the car out for the day.
+ Caravans will likely provide the most storage and most importantly... personal space.
- Similar to a motorhome, purchasing a caravan comes with additional costs such as such as insurance and registration.
- You will need quite a large car to tow a caravan. You will also require some sort of electric braking system to ensure you have a safe journey. A great option isElecBrakes
, a wireless electric brake controller which requires no permanent set up, just an app on your phone! If you are hiring a caravan through Camplify, keep an eye out for owners who include this!
Travelling in a Campervan
- New Campervan: average price = $70,000.
- Used Campervan: average price = $30,000.
- Hire a Campervan on Camplify: From $50 per night (total for a 3 month trip = $4,550)
+ Just like motorhomes, with a campervan you don’t need to worry about your car!
+ Campervans are a lot easier to drive than towing a caravan or driving a motorhome, and will be the easiest to drive/ park in suburban areas.
- Travelling in a campervan may not provide the comfort and space than a caravan or motorhome provides, and they can certainly get cold in winter!
Travelling with a Camper Trailer
- Buy a new camper trailer: average price $15,000.
- Buy a used camper trailer: average price $7,000.
- Hire a Camper Trailer on Camplify: from $35 per night (total for a 3 month trip = from $3,185.00)
Camper trailer positives:
+ Camper Trailers are by far the cheapest option for a 3 month trip around Australia. From as little as $35 a night you can upgrade from the old canvas tent to a luxurious bed, small dining area and most of the basic cooking facilities you could ever need.
+ Travelling with a camper trailer gives you more access to off-road areas that you wouldn’t be able to access with a caravan or motorhome.
+ Camper Trailers are much lighter that large caravans and motorhomes so your vehicle is likely to use much less petrol with this option.
+ Compared to a caravan or motorhome, driving with a camper trailer gives you much more visibility on the road and in your rearview mirror, which is a better option for those with little experience towing or driving large vehicles.
Camper trailer negatives:
- Although a camper trailer is a significant upgrade from a tent, they can still be quite basic and still require a fair amount of set-up and pack-down time.
- If you know you’ll be on the move a lot on your trip, this might not be the best option.
- Camper trailers are built to be as compact as possible, so naturally there will be much less room for storage and fewer options for amenities as opposed to other options.
Your Vehicle/ Motorhome:
We all know Australia is a big country and there are certainly a lot of spots you wouldn’t want to break down (i.e. Wolf Creek). You should be prepared for the following costs to ensure your vehicle or motorhome is 100% ready to tackle the trip.
Full Service: allow $1,000.
Get your vehicle professionally serviced by your mechanic at least 3 weeks before you head off on the road.
Spare Parts: allow $300.
Take spare parts such as engine oil, fan, alternator and air conditioner belts, jumper cables and most definitely, duct tape!
Supplies: allow $1,000.00
Depending on what sort of RV you own/ hire, you are going to need to buy at least a few items to get you through the 3 months on the road. Supplies you will likely need on your trip include:
- Basic food items such as salt, pepper, sauces, canned goods etc.
- Torches, camping chairs, outdoor tables, kitchen necessities (cutlery, plates, cups, utensils etc), accessories, linen, a GPS and fly nets (very important!). On a budget, all of these items can be purchased from stores such as Kmart.
- Camping stores such as BCF may come in handy for certain camping accessories such as an esky/ portable fridge and a gas cooktop.
- A satellite phone- if you know you’re going to be driving through remote locations it might be worth investing in a satellite phone to put your mind at ease. They can be costly (from $700), so do your research! It’s worth checking out Gumtree as well, as many people sell ‘like new’ satellite phones after returning from a trip.
2. On-The-Road Costs:
Australia is very fortunate; most of its attractions are nature-based, which means relatively little to no costs are associated with seeing some of the most scenic and unique attractions in the world! Just remember, on the East Coast the main cost you're likely to face is accommodation expenses and on the West Coast, it will likely be petrol and food expenses.
Food: allow $3,600.
The above allowance is based on a family cooking a majority of meals, and only eating out at a café/ restaurant once or twice a week. Eating out in Australia can be quite expensive and probably isn’t sustainable if you’re travelling on a budget. Instead, stock up at supermarkets and fruit stalls and cook your own meals. For some inspiration check out 7 weird (and very Australian) camping food ideas
Fuel: allow $4,000.
There’s no avoiding it, fuel will be one of the most significant costs on your trip. In Australia, unleaded fuel costs roughly $1.30/litre and diesel roughly $1.25/litre, which fluctuates often and varies between locations. Be prepared for significantly higher fuel prices in remote locations such as the Nullarbor and Central Australia (up to $0.50/litre more than metropolitan areas!). Roughly $4,000 should be allowed for a 20,000km trip following the coastline of Australia.
Campsites: allow $2,000.
Campsites in Australia generally cost between $20 (unpowered) and $60 (powered with facilities) a night; depending on the location and the facilities. On a budget, opt for national parks or free campgrounds, but keep in mind facilities will be basic and no power will be provided.
National Park Fees: allow $100.00
As a general rule of thumb, National Park fees are around $10-$15 per day per vehicle in most Australian states. With a majority of Australia’s best scenery located in National Parks, this is an expense you certainly won’t regret!
Tolls: allow $60.00
Yes, you do have to consider toll fees in your budget! Nowadays, tolls can be pretty expensive and can result in pretty hefty fines if left unpaid. Toll fees vary from $3 to $13, depending on the destination and size of your vehicle. Be sure to purchase an electronic tag or temporary pass before travelling through metropolitan areas such as Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne
Activities: allow $2,000.
Australia has a variety of experiences and activities, from swimming with the ‘puppies of the sea’ in crystal clear waters to walking through the treetops of some of the oldest and largest trees in Australia. With so many options, it can be hard to choose what to prioritize to stick to a budget. You might want to consider some of these amazing Australian activities:
- Great Barrier Reef full day adventure (Cairns, QLD): $258.00 per person/ $767 per family
- Eden Killer Whale Museum (Eden, NSW): $10 per person/ $25 per family
- National Surfing Museum (Torquay, Victoria): $12 per person / $25 per family
- Swim with seals (SA): $205 per person/ $600 per family
- ‘Valley of the Giants’ Tree Top walk (Denmark, WA): $21 per person/ $52.50 per family
- Uluru Sunset Camel Tour (NT): $129 per person/ $516 per family
We hope this guide will help you budget for a trip of a lifetime travelling Australia! Don’t forget to research thoroughly, plan carefully and make smart spending choices to make sure you get the most out of your time on the road.
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