Hello from Swansea, Tasmania! We’ve been touring this small island state south of Australia for about a week by campervan. Hiring a campervan/caravan is a popular way to travel in Australia since the outdoors are so beautiful and the country is quite expensive. We thought we’d share the pros and cons with you in case you’re ever considering it.
A Quick Tour
We’re renting the Apollo Hitop Camper, which sleeps 2-3 people and has everything you need except a toilet and shower. Here’s a quick look inside from our campsite behind a hostel:
It’s a lot roomier than Red Delicious and we’re enjoying being able to use the seating area. That being said, why waste precious space with a microwave? It also has porcelain dishes (probably because of the microwave) that rattle while we drive. But overall, it’s very comfortable.
The camper costs us roughly 65USD per night, which includes unlimited kilometers, propane, bedding, cookware and insurance. We’re renting a similar campervan in Sydney through the same company that’s half the price; the cost depends on length of rental, location, etc.
We’ve been able to find quite a bit of free camping, but have also parked at hostels and motels for 18USD per night for access to showers and restrooms.
For instance, this hotel/pub in Derwent Bridge, near Lake St. Clair National Park, allows campers to park overnight in their parking lot. There’s a rest area with public restrooms just across the road. They just ask that you come in for a meal or a drink.
The Pros and Cons
- Great way to see more remote areas
- More affordable than hotels or hostels when you have multiple people, and you save money because you can cook
- Spacious and superior protection from the elements (it rained on us one night)
- Opportunity to meet campground neighbors
- Fuel is expensive and these aren’t very fuel-efficient
- Since it doesn’t have a toilet (i.e., you aren’t fully self-contained), you’re still reliant on campgrounds
- Big and unwieldy to drive; has a hard time climbing hills
- There’s a house battery that charges the fridge, lights and water pump; it charges while you drive, but requires a plug in to really get fully charged
Is Golden Delicious a Better Option?
I wonder if it’s a better idea to spend a little bit more for the fully self-contained van (with a toilet and maybe a shower) so you’re less reliant on campgrounds and not paying campground fees. Or, if we’re still dependent on campgrounds, hostels or other public facilities for restrooms, why not just rent a more minimalist camper …like Golden Delicious?
Golden Delicious was our neighbor at the Derwent Bridge pub. And she’s given us some ideas about how we might make some upgrades to Red Delicious. With Golden Delicious, you have less space but all the same benefits…plus a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Here’s the video tour from the rental company:
Isn’t she glorious?
Anyhow, we hope this has given you some things to think about when deciding what kind of campervan to rent while abroad. Good luck!
Tasmanian devils in the Trowunna Wildlife Park animal sanctuary
Chris looking out at the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park