Follow these handy guidelines for travelling Australia by motorhome or campervan.
A campervan holiday is a fantastic way to see the many wonderful sights that Australia has to offer. Planning ahead is a great way to ensure the holiday runs smoothly and without any unexpected surprises.
Campervan and motorhomes are available to hire in all major cities, with a wide variety of options to suit backpackers, families or luxury travellers. It is wise to allow a few hours when collecting the vehicle to ensure familiarity and the opportunity to ask the hire company plenty of questions before setting off.
It is also recommended to charge vehicles on the first night of a trip to ensure all appliances are fully charged before commencing a long drive. Also suggest booking holiday parks before picking up a vehicle, as many are popular and can book out during peak seasons. Most rental companies offer discounts with specific holiday parks so it pays off to ask for advice.
Larger motorhomes need a substantial area to turn and may require a special driving license if over size or weight restrictions – be sure to check with the motorhome provider before reserving a larger vehicle. Parking space is often limited for bigger vehicles in city centres of most towns which should also be taken into consideration.
Vehicles with solar panels, inverter and batteries or a generator are available if planning an itinerary where long periods will be spent away from mains power. If using a generator and spending time in outback Australia, it is worthwhile considering a diesel-powered unit, as unleaded petrol is not always available in remote areas.
Motorhomes should only be driven on sealed/bitumen roads or short, well-maintained access roads to recognised campgrounds. Specific permission from rental companies may be granted for other roads, but should be organised in advance. This is to avoid damage to the vehicle that may result in additional charges.
Hard suitcases can take up more space than soft bags, which is very important when travelling with a large group in one vehicle. Soft travel bags such as backpacks and duffel bags are perfect for the amount they can fit as well as their ability to fit in small spaces.
It is recommended to plan stays of two nights or more to ensure that you are not driving every day. Plan your upcoming adventure by using suggested itineraries to give ideas on things to do and see in each area to break up your journey. Purchasing a park membership for discounts on campsites can help to keep costs down on long journeys.
Pre-booking overnight stays also make sure school holidays and local events don’t interrupt plans and availability of campsites. Shopping for food and supplies once familiar with a vehicle will also allow better use of available storage and avoid overcrowding the living space.
It is important to be familiar with maintenance and service needs of a vehicle when travelling for long periods and in remote areas. Check water, coolant levels and tyre pressure every 500 kilometres (310 miles) travelled.
Check battery terminals if travelling in rough terrain. In dusty conditions, it may be necessary to clean the air filter daily. Monitor vehicle gauges when travelling long distances and be familiar with the rental provider’s roadside assistance number in case of breakdown.
It is recommended to travel no further than 450 kilometres (280 miles) in one day, and to stay in one area for at least two nights between long drives to get the most out of each destination and reduce fatigue.
Caravan parks are handy for hot and cool showers, to plug in to mains power to charge up the house battery for some air conditioner on a really hot night, and to catch up on laundry.