Here is a special article to give you a little summary of our campervan stay. Here I tell you about our experiences, what we liked and regretted and I give you other perspectives to explore according to your budget and your way of traveling.
Why in a van?
In our head, we had to make the trip with a vehicle in which we could sleep and cook. We thought it would be more practical and more economical.
Where did we rent it?
We booked our Toyota Hiace on the “Motorhome Republic” site. It’s a tenant comparator. You put what you are looking for and he makes proposals to you with the selected criteria and prices.
We picked up our van in Melbourne and returned it to Sydney.
Here are agencies that rent vehicles:
Jucy Rentals (côte est) www.jucy.com.au
Hippie Camper www.hippiecamper.com Spaceships (côte est) www.spaceshipsrentals.com.auBritz
Before you book
When you book your van, think of some small details that could spoil your stay, such as:
– if you have the right (it depends on the rental company) to drive wherever you want to go; for example in the red center, some rental companies do not agree.
– conditions for taking over and returning the van. For example, to return our van to Sydney it cost us 200AUD more.
– the caution ; beware of the amount of the deposit and remember to make sure the condition of the vehicle inside and outside; take photos and videos; do not trust the rental company.
– the size of the van; take a van where you can put all your bazaar and you will manage to drive serenely.
What type of vehicle to rent?
We had rented a Toyota Hiace vehicle for two adults and one child. We did not have children, however.
Honestly it was the perfect size and it was really well laid out. We had enough space to store everything, we had a super well equipped kitchen area with two hot plates, lots of kitchenware, a microwave and a small fridge. We could stand in it.
Now, should you hire a van, 4×4 or car?
Here is a small list for the undecided:
Van type Toyota Hiace
Van « self contained »
4×4 with tent on the roof or outside
|Autonomy (bed / kitchen)||Yes||Yes||Yes if tent||No except with a tent|
|Utensil, Gas, Beds provided by tenant||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Gas consumption||A lot||A lot||A lot||Normal|
|Easy to park||Yes except malls||YEs except malls||Yes||Yes|
|Camping mandatory||No||No||No||Yes except if tent|
|Camping with electricity||No unless you do not drive enough during the day||No unless you do not drive enough during the day||Yes||Yes|
|Camping with kitchen||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Average camping price||40AUD||40AUD||40AUD||>50AUD if no tent|
|Unsealed roads||Yes unless really bad||Yes unless really bad||Yes||Yes unless really bad|
|More places to see||No||No||Yes||No|
If we had known before leaving how the roads were, what we were going to visit and what we could have seen with another vehicle we would have preferred to rent a van with 4×4 wheels even if more expensive or a 4×4 with tent on the roof or tent to go up (we always have ours anyway and we put it up at times when it was too hot in the van because the air has trouble circulating in it at night). It’s frustrating not being able to go to certain places, especially the red center, because they are only accessible to 4x4s.
Just because you’re camping or don’t have a shower in your vehicle doesn’t mean you should be dirty! I have read in several blogs that when traveling like this you will have to ignore your hygiene … er, no!
First, do we really need to shower every day? no.
You can find free or paid showers in town (between 0-5AUD).
You can shower with the pan and the glove. And yes, be aware that if you travel to Polynesia and Micronesia you will sometimes have no other choice!
You can shower in the campsites!
In short, you will stay clean, don’t worry!
Know that Australians love BBQs. This is great because on all highway areas (the vast majority anyway), in gardens, rest areas and campsites, you will have free BBQs available! And sometimes even toilets and water, isn’t that beautiful ?!
Good to know before you prepare your budget
Before leaving we thought that we would not need to stay in campsites, but that is wrong! You have to plan a camping budget if you are in a van because if you do not drive enough per day you will need electricity, sometimes you will want a little comfort (shower, swimming pool, well-equipped kitchen, water etc).
We managed to park our van in free campsites too, which allowed us to save a lot of money. We found them on the Wikicamps app. We only took campsites with electricity two or three times, the rest of the time we didn’t need to recharge the van.
Be aware that you can have discounts at certain campsites like “G’Day” or “Big4” with your tenant. Educate yourself. It must be written on your vehicle key.
It is also possible to go wild camping, but choose the places well to avoid the plums! You can find phony excuses if the police come knocking on your door like “I am waiting for the sunset”, or “we just arrived we are resting” … 🙂
The gasoline budget will hurt very much! Especially if you are traveling in the center. Try to fill up in big cities; “United” stations are generally less expensive. If you are going to the center, take a jerry can or two for help and think that the satins service usually closes at 5 p.m.
If you have a small gas bottle, know that you can refill it everywhere; it’s the same type of gas that is supplied by everyone. It’s not very expensive. If you go to campsites try to use the kitchens!
Financially, how much did we get in the end?
We left for two months. Here are our expenses for driving 15000 km:
– Van rental : 2730 euros
– Deposit in Sydney : 2730 euros
– Fuel : 1785 euros
– Camping : 885 euros
-Changing a tire : 102 euros
-Highway charges we could have avoided : 5 euros