Flexibility has been the name of the game on our international trip, and this has often been challenged. Jumping in an RV for three weeks sounds like a dream, but then I began thinking of the items I didn’t have along (still only have backpacks) and the lack of experience we have RVing. To make our trip smother we chatted with many local Aussie campers along the way and read several blogs. Now we bring what we learned to you, a list of everything you need to know about RVing in Australia.
- When budgeting out your trip consider; cost of camp grounds, fuel, food/snacks, and camping necessities.
- When choosing your RV – go small. These large vans are tough to drive (often stick) and smaller is less to worry about. Our Toyota Hiace didn’t have a bathroom, and we were glad we choose this option since it meant not having to empty out black water (bathroom waste).
- Rent from a company that provides kitchen supplies and linens when booking (we went with Travellers Autobarn)
- Plan your route and book your stays ahead of time. We recommend arriving to your site before 5pm to insure a smooth check-in (they often close quite early)
- When booking RV parks look for; shared kitchen, ratings on the bathroom facilities, and the cost for your vehicle size. Having a plug-ins spot cost a bit more.
- Law enforcement is strict on where you can park overnight in Australia – make sure you stick to designated areas.
Things to Purchase
- Buy a fan that plugs into the cigarette outlet, this will make sleeping possible in noisy/warm areas. We loved this one.
- The ultimate book on places to camp – (cell service can be spotty on the road) Australias campsite book.
- Purchase power converters to charge devices on the road. We optimized charging devices off our car battery when driving just incase we wouldn’t be staying at a powered site that night. This car power inverter was a life saver for charging laptops.
- Camp chairs are a must and are great for hanging out next to your RV (Australia Kmart is insainly cheap)
- Purchase filtered water for drinking. We wanted to be extra safe so we didn’t drink any water that we put in our RVs water tank.
- Driving an RV is s-l-o-w goin’. I would add 30% more time to the GPS eta. With a a seriously slow acceleration, it’s best to rock the slow lane (in Australia’s case the left side of the road)
- Make sure food and kitchen supplies are secure before hitting the highway, they may rattle and shift.
- Take a break from driving every 2- 3 hours. Stretch your legs and grab a free coffee from a reviver station.
When you arrive at a power site there will be two hookups available to you. One for electricity and the other for water. Connect your power right away, only refill water when you run out, no need to add extra weight before jumping on the road. (Unpowered sites have no hookups)
- Mind the clearance of your RV, you are taller than you may think.
- Reverse your RV into your campsite for the night and make sure the hookups are on the correct side of your vehicle (unlike photo above).
- Be sure to plug-in every other night to keep juice for your refrigerator and lights.
- Power for your wall sockets, and microwave will only work when you are directly plugged in.
- Water tank – we filled ours every third day. We only used this water occasionally for washing dishes, washing our hands, and brushing teeth.
- Ask other campers, we had a lot to learn and there are so many people around you who have already figured it out. We were always thankful for helpful tips!
- Using the public park barbecues is a great way to meet people, and also much easier to clean than your RV kitchen (we covered the grill with tin foil). Another perk is that you wont be getting the inside of your van hot, a big concern during the Australian summer months.
- Open the fridge only when necessary (when you are not plugged in). Even if you run out of power the airtight seal will keep things cold until you get to your next powered spot.
- Bread products dry out fast in the heat of a vehicle. Buy zip lock bags and store everything in them.
- Places in Australia close early (many as early as 5pm). Plan ahead for dinners and campsites!
- Research your season. Australia can have extreme heat and an intense rainy season – hard weather for first time campers.
- Avoid driving at night – kangaroos are nocturnal and hard to see…
- Use caution when driving over puddles. If they are too deep you can seriously damage your engine.
Slow down and enjoy the trip. Rushing to get miles in and cover more coast will cost you enjoyment on the road and lessen the chance of meeting other great travelers.
Also – here’s a quick walk around our Toyota Hiace Camper Van 🚐