Renting a campervan in Australia

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 Cost

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.

 

Wilderness Hotel

 

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

The Pros

  • 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

The Cons

  • 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

 

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

Tasmanian devils in the Trowunna Wildlife Park animal sanctuary

 

Chris Franklin River

Chris looking out at the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

  10 comments for “Renting a campervan in Australia

  1. Arlene Murray
    2016-03-08 at 12:14 pm

    How exciting!!! So if you calculate how much you spend on petrol, camp site fees, van rental etc. are you still ahead compared to staying in hotels? Curious…

    Miss you guys! Stay safe..love you!

    • Tamara & Chris
      2016-03-08 at 12:19 pm

      Definitely ahead, because if we were visiting all these parks but staying in hotels we’d also have to rent a car and pay for gas. There isn’t much public transport to reaching these faraway places. We could look for cheaper accommodations like hostels, but they charge by the person so it’s not as good a deal when there are two of us. And even though we pay campsite fees sometimes, sometimes we don’t! When we rent a van to travel outside Sydney it will be cheaper because the van is cheaper, but free campsites might be harder to find. When we stay in Sydney we won’t have a car at all and will just rely on walking and public transport. All good questions! Love you too, mommy 🙂

  2. 2016-03-08 at 1:51 pm

    Hi you two! Looks like you’re having a great time over there. Beautiful photos and thought provoking conversation about investing in your travel van. Neat!

    Miss you and see you soon for some bowling and Jenga.

    • Tamara & Chris
      2016-03-20 at 3:25 am

      Thanks, Sars! We miss you too

  3. Tina
    2016-03-08 at 5:02 pm

    That is a nice setup, like the back kitchen with the fold down table. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Tina

    • Tamara & Chris
      2016-03-08 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks! The table and the headroom are pretty nice 🙂

  4. 2016-03-09 at 10:07 am

    Fabulous post. I had no idea that these are options. i would even consider something like this if it existed in the US. I’ve gone camping by myself in Joshua Tree and Big Bear Lake, and I was a little scared. I’d definitely feel safer in a setup like this. Golden Delicious is a beauty…really like them apples. 🙂

    • Tamara & Chris
      2016-03-20 at 3:27 am

      Grazie, Kerry! There are actually a few companies in the U.S. that do this — Escape Campervans and Jucy Canpervans are two I know of, but there might be others I haven’t heard of. And I’m sure there are some in Europe too if you ever want to give it a try. Definitely nice on a colder night. 🙂

  5. Ersin
    2016-03-28 at 5:23 am

    Hi from Melbourne, Victoria. You guys going to travel around here?

    • Tamara & Chris
      2016-03-28 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Ersin: We’d LOVE to travel around Victoria but sadly weren’t able to make it work while we had the camper. Australia is just really, really big. We’re now in Sydney staying with friends, and later this week we head up to Port Douglas to take a trip to the reef. Thanks for reading!

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