RV Camping - HappyVagabonds.Com Copyright © 2020

Tips for an RV Vacation in Australia

Article Contributed By Alan Astley If you are into RV camping – whether full-time or just for vacations – and you’ve been thinking of making a trip ‘down under’ to Australia, then consider making your vacation there an RV touring one. It’s a great way to see this vast country, which is roughly the same size as the US, and touring in an RV is a very economical way of getting around. Whilst the interstate highways in Australia are not as extensive as they are in the US, they are still very good, and there are campgrounds throughout the country of a similar standard to those at home. RV vehicles in Australia are generally called ‘campervans’ or ‘motorhomes’, so ‘campervan hire’ and motorhome hire’ are the search terms that you should use to see what type of vehicles are available for vacation rentals in Australia. ‘Campervan’ is generally the term applied to smaller units with two sleeping berths, whilst ‘motorhome’ is the term used for larger units. But some companies use the terms interchangeably. It’s best to make bookings in advance because RVing is a year-round activity in Australia. In the winter months Australians head north in RVs to the tropics and desert regions, whilst in the summer months they head south to the beaches and the temperate mountain regions. You won’t need to bring much with you because the vans are very well equipped, but you can check out websites like MOTackle & Outdoors to see what type of outdoor products are available in Australia. It’s similar to what you’ll find in North America but some of the brands may not be familiar to you. Challenges of driving ‘down under’ The biggest challenge you will find in embarking on an RV vacation in Australia is that they drive on the left ‘down under’. If you’ve not done that before, it’s recommended that you not book to pick up your vehicle on arrival, but leave it a day or two to get over your jet lag before taking to the road ‘on the other side’. Then take the vehicle for a few short practice drives before heading out on the open road to start your vacation. The road rules in Australia are much the same as in the US, but you cannot turn left at red traffic lights like you can turn right in the US. Australian traffic police are very strict on speeding, and there are radar speed cameras everywhere on the main highways, so keep an eye on the speedometer to avoid any hefty traffic fines. And they are very strict on wearing seatbelts as well. The second biggest challenge will be one that you will face when leaving the cities and getting out onto the open road – and that is avoiding kangaroos, and their smaller cousin, the wallaby. Swerving to avoid kangaroos is the leading cause of accidents amongst overseas visitors who hire vehicles in Australia. There have been several fatal accidents in recent years where campervans have swerved to avoid kangaroos and rolled over. The only way to avoid hitting kangaroos is not to drive at dusk, during the night, or early in the morning in the hour or two after sunrise. Whilst kangaroos are generally not as active during the day, you will still need to keep an eye out for them throughout the day, especially in outback and desert areas. Types of rental RVs available The range of RVs that are available to hire in Australia is not as extensive as what’s available in North America but you will still find vehicles that are very comfortable for one or two couples, or a family, to tour the country. You won’t find many of the very large RVs that you see on the road in the U.S. The few you may see will be privately owned, and not hire vehicles. About half of the RVs available for hire in Australia have manual transmission, and the rest automatic transmission. The latter tend to get booked first, so it you are looking for an RV with automatic transmission, you may have to book further in advance, especially during Australian school holiday periods. For visitors who may be planning to travel to the outback, a four-wheel drive RV may be advisable, but note these will come with special conditions as to where you can and where you can’t drive them. Of course, they are also more expensive to hire than the two-wheel drive versions. In Australia, RVs can be hired with or without bed linens, towels, outdoor furniture (such as portable tables and chairs) and other accessories. As it wil not be practical to bring these items from overseas, you should ensure that when making advance bookings online that all these things are included. For the smaller campervans they will usually be available at an additional cost, but most companies offering the larger motorhomes include these items in the daily rate. The cost of these optional extras should be factored in when making price comparisons. When picking up your RV in Australia you will have to decide on the level of insurance excess you want to carry, just the same as in the U.S. Given that you’ll be driving on the left hand side of the road, it would be wise to go for the policy option that gives you as low an excess as possible -- as long as the premium is not over the top. Most RV hire companies in Australia offer unlimited mileage contracts, but some may impose a daily cap, so check this out before booking. Gasoline prices are about 50-60 percent higher in Australia than they are in the U.S. so you will need to factor this into your budgeting too. Where to start and where to go Most travellers from the U.S. will arrive in Sydney or Melbourne and start their journeys from there, but if it is winter ‘down under’ (summer in North America) it’s better to fly into Brisbane the sub-tropical capital of the state of Queensland. Aside from the fact that puts you into warmer weather right away, Brisbane is not such a big city as Sydney or Melbourne, so it’s easier to get out of the city onto the open road if you’re feeling a bit nervous about driving on the left. Brisbane is also well located in terms of being a good starting point to drive north into the tropics in the winter months, or south into the states of New South Wales and Victoria in the summer. These three states are the most popular with Australian RV vacationers because there are more campgrounds located in these states than the rest of Australia, and the most popular destinations for RVers are closer in distance than in other regions of the country. Brisbane can also be used as a starting point for a journey into the outback, driving northwest to Longreach and Mount Isa and then into the Northern Territory for the journey down to Alice Springs in the dead center of the continent. From there the iconic Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) can be visited and vacationers can continue south into the state of South Australia and back to Queensland through Victoria and New South Wales. That’s a long trip though and is best tackled only if you are planning to spend at least a month in Australia. For shorter duration trips, the drive up the east coast from Brisbane to Cairns and the Daintree National Park is a popular one during the winter. During the summer months there are a range of itineraries that can be organized by driving down to the Central Coast via Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, and then either up into the Australian Alpine National Park – perhaps visiting the nation’s capital, Canberra, on the way – or staying on the coast all the way to Melbourne. For these shorter itineraries, one-way hires can be organized so that you don’t have to drive back to Brisbane. Where can you park overnight? In Australia it is possible to park overnight at no charge in some national parks and at some beaches, but parking spots are usually limited and allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. There are also some roadside rest stops where overnight parking is permitted. However, check for signage upon arrival because in many areas overnight parking is not permitted, and you could find yourselves being moved on by the police in the middle of the night. To be on the safe side, it would be wise to check the local city council’s website online before settling in for the night, as most local authorities publish rules and regulations relating to camping in public places on their websites. In outback regions there are often areas designated as ‘bush camps’ on the outskirts of towns where you can park overnight for free or for a very nominal fee. Facilities at these bush camps are very basic though, or non-existent. The parking fees for managed campgrounds will vary between $5 and $50 a night depending on the location and time of year. For the more popular locations in busy periods, it is essential to make bookings in advance, so you will need to spend some time pre-planning your itinerary and checking where pre-booking may be required. Aside from the challenges of driving on the left and dodging kangaroos, undertaking an RV vacation in Australia is not much different to one in North America. Yes, you might find the Aussie accent a bit difficult to comprehend at first, but you’ll soon get to understand them, and you will find them a very friendly bunch.
Tips for an RV vacation in Australia
Tips for an RV vacation in Australia
Tips for an RV vacation in Australia
Learn about being a work camper and work camping jobs on our Work Camper Jobs page.

Tips for an RV Vacation in Australia

Article Contributed By Alan Astley If you are into RV camping – whether full-time or just for vacations – and you’ve been thinking of making a trip ‘down under’ to Australia, then consider making your vacation there an RV touring one. It’s a great way to see this vast country, which is roughly the same size as the US, and touring in an RV is a very economical way of getting around. Whilst the interstate highways in Australia are not as extensive as they are in the US, they are still very good, and there are campgrounds throughout the country of a similar standard to those at home. RV vehicles in Australia are generally called ‘campervans’ or ‘motorhomes’, so ‘campervan hire’ and motorhome hire’ are the search terms that you should use to see what type of vehicles are available for vacation rentals in Australia. ‘Campervan’ is generally the term applied to smaller units with two sleeping berths, whilst ‘motorhome’ is the term used for larger units. But some companies use the terms interchangeably. It’s best to make bookings in advance because RVing is a year-round activity in Australia. In the winter months Australians head north in RVs to the tropics and desert regions, whilst in the summer months they head south to the beaches and the temperate mountain regions. You won’t need to bring much with you because the vans are very well equipped, but you can check out websites like MOTackle & Outdoors to see what type of outdoor products are available in Australia. It’s similar to what you’ll find in North America but some of the brands may not be familiar to you. Challenges of driving ‘down under’ The biggest challenge you will find in embarking on an RV vacation in Australia is that they drive on the left ‘down under’. If you’ve not done that before, it’s recommended that you not book to pick up your vehicle on arrival, but leave it a day or two to get over your jet lag before taking to the road ‘on the other side’. Then take the vehicle for a few short practice drives before heading out on the open road to start your vacation. The road rules in Australia are much the same as in the US, but you cannot turn left at red traffic lights like you can turn right in the US. Australian traffic police are very strict on speeding, and there are radar speed cameras everywhere on the main highways, so keep an eye on the speedometer to avoid any hefty traffic fines. And they are very strict on wearing seatbelts as well. The second biggest challenge will be one that you will face when leaving the cities and getting out onto the open road – and that is avoiding kangaroos, and their smaller cousin, the wallaby. Swerving to avoid kangaroos is the leading cause of accidents amongst overseas visitors who hire vehicles in Australia. There have been several fatal accidents in recent years where campervans have swerved to avoid kangaroos and rolled over. The only way to avoid hitting kangaroos is not to drive at dusk, during the night, or early in the morning in the hour or two after sunrise. Whilst kangaroos are generally not as active during the day, you will still need to keep an eye out for them throughout the day, especially in outback and desert areas. Types of rental RVs available The range of RVs that are available to hire in Australia is not as extensive as what’s available in North America but you will still find vehicles that are very comfortable for one or two couples, or a family, to tour the country. You won’t find many of the very large RVs that you see on the road in the U.S. The few you may see will be privately owned, and not hire vehicles. About half of the RVs available for hire in Australia have manual transmission, and the rest automatic transmission. The latter tend to get booked first, so it you are looking for an RV with automatic transmission, you may have to book further in advance, especially during Australian school holiday periods. For visitors who may be planning to travel to the outback, a four-wheel drive RV may be advisable, but note these will come with special conditions as to where you can and where you can’t drive them. Of course, they are also more expensive to hire than the two-wheel drive versions. In Australia, RVs can be hired with or without bed linens, towels, outdoor furniture (such as portable tables and chairs) and other accessories. As it wil not be practical to bring these items from overseas, you should ensure that when making advance bookings online that all these things are included. For the smaller campervans they will usually be available at an additional cost, but most companies offering the larger motorhomes include these items in the daily rate. The cost of these optional extras should be factored in when making price comparisons. When picking up your RV in Australia you will have to decide on the level of insurance excess you want to carry, just the same as in the U.S. Given that you’ll be driving on the left hand side of the road, it would be wise to go for the policy option that gives you as low an excess as possible -- as long as the premium is not over the top. Most RV hire companies in Australia offer unlimited mileage contracts, but some may impose a daily cap, so check this out before booking. Gasoline prices are about 50-60 percent higher in Australia than they are in the U.S. so you will need to factor this into your budgeting too. Where to start and where to go Most travellers from the U.S. will arrive in Sydney or Melbourne and start their journeys from there, but if it is winter ‘down under’ (summer in North America) it’s better to fly into Brisbane – the sub-tropical capital of the state of Queensland. Aside from the fact that puts you into warmer weather right away, Brisbane is not such a big city as Sydney or Melbourne, so it’s easier to get out of the city onto the open road if you’re feeling a bit nervous about driving on the left. Brisbane is also well located in terms of being a good starting point to drive north into the tropics in the winter months, or south into the states of New South Wales and Victoria in the summer. These three states are the most popular with Australian RV vacationers because there are more campgrounds located in these states than the rest of Australia, and the most popular destinations for RVers are closer in distance than in other regions of the country. Brisbane can also be used as a starting point for a journey into the outback, driving northwest to Longreach and Mount Isa and then into the Northern Territory for the journey down to Alice Springs in the dead center of the continent. From there the iconic Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) can be visited and vacationers can continue south into the state of South Australia and back to Queensland through Victoria and New South Wales. That’s a long trip though and is best tackled only if you are planning to spend at least a month in Australia. For shorter duration trips, the drive up the east coast from Brisbane to Cairns and the Daintree National Park is a popular one during the winter. During the summer months there are a range of itineraries that can be organized by driving down to the Central Coast via Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, and then either up into the Australian Alpine National Park – perhaps visiting the nation’s capital, Canberra, on the way – or staying on the coast all the way to Melbourne. For these shorter itineraries, one-way hires can be organized so that you don’t have to drive back to Brisbane. Where can you park overnight? In Australia it is possible to park overnight at no charge in some national parks and at some beaches, but parking spots are usually limited and allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. There are also some roadside rest stops where overnight parking is permitted. However, check for signage upon arrival because in many areas overnight parking is not permitted, and you could find yourselves being moved on by the police in the middle of the night. To be on the safe side, it would be wise to check the local city council’s website online before settling in for the night, as most local authorities publish rules and regulations relating to camping in public places on their websites. In outback regions there are often areas designated as ‘bush camps’ on the outskirts of towns where you can park overnight for free or for a very nominal fee. Facilities at these bush camps are very basic though, or non- existent. The parking fees for managed campgrounds will vary between $5 and $50 a night depending on the location and time of year. For the more popular locations in busy periods, it is essential to make bookings in advance, so you will need to spend some time pre-planning your itinerary and checking where pre-booking may be required. Aside from the challenges of driving on the left and dodging kangaroos, undertaking an RV vacation in Australia is not much different to one in North America. Yes, you might find the Aussie accent a bit difficult to comprehend at first, but you’ll soon get to understand them, and you will find them a very friendly bunch.
Tips for an RV vacation in Australia
Tips for an RV vacation in Australia
Tips for an RV vacation in Australia
RV Camping - HappyVagabonds.Com Copyright © 2020

Learn about being a work camper and work camping jobs on our Work Camper Jobs page.
RV Camping - Happyvagabonds.com