If you plan to Campervan around Australia you need to first realise that it's BIG. Vast. Not for the faint-hearted. It's the world's sixth largest continent and it's largest Island. It claims some 60,000 km of coastlines and runs 3000km top to bottom or a cool 4000km from Sydney to Perth. Europe fit's into Australia twice!
So what does all this have to do with Campervanning? Well when you book a van with Park My Van and ask "I would like to rent a Campervan from Sydney to Cairns for 5 days”… or “Can I drive from Perth to Sydney in a week?”… The answer, we are afraid, is No… Unless all you want to do is drive.
So you've got the van and you're hitting the road. Here's our top ten to help you stay out of trouble whilst you’re on the road.
- Licenses. Generally hassle-free. If you are staying for less than 6 months, you can use your home country licence as long as it is printed in English. If not you'll need an International Drivers Permit or an official English translation.
- Legals. When you sign a rental agreement you agree to follow the road rules of that country - So learn them prior to getting behind the wheel. For example - Keep left - this crazy convict colony drives on the left. Overtaking happens on the right and is the only time you should find yourself in the right hand lanes… especially if you’re cruising along in your winnebago at a top speed of 60km/h.
- Wolf-whistling. It is customary when passing an attractive guy or gal on the side of the road to honk your horn in appreciation or to even lean luridly out the window and yell something incomprehensible as you drive past - the faster the better.
- Bring a calculator. Speed limits are posted in Kilometers. As is the speedometer but as a rule of thumb 100km per hour converts to roughly 60 miles per hour.
- Buckle up. Or “Click clack, front and back” as the Road Transport Authority (RTA) told me as a kid growing up in the nineties. Youtube video here (beware bad 80’s hair and less than subtle messaging abound). Essentially, seatbelts are required by all passengers. Drivers can be fined for their passengers flaunting the rules.
- Don't drink and drive. The legal limit for driving in Australia is a Blood Alcohol reading of .05 and any police officer can randomly stop and breathalise you.
- Bring some cold hard cash. You can expect to part with anywhere from A$1.50 to $2 (in remote areas) per litre of petrol. Service stations in the outback, have erratic opening hours and can be as far as 350km apart. And you may not find it as easy to use your overseas credit card.
- Kangaroos are deceptively solid. Wombats are veritable hulks. Somewhere amongst the withered gums and salt scrub there are native Australian Marsupials lurking. Whilst they’re cute and furry they don’t mix well with car engines or radiators. They are most active at dusk and dawn so try to avoid driving around these times and at night as they will ruin your engine if you hit one.
- Bag a Bargain. There are lots of free campaign spots along popular routes throughout Australia. It’s illegal to camp anywhere you please but check out Park My Van’s Free listing section over on out site. Worst case you have free toilets and drinking water, best case a hot shower, wood fires and plenty of grey nomads to chew your ear for the evening - see Gum Bend Lake or Bingara Riverside Camping for just a couple.
- Plan and Organise. In addition to being big, Australia is also remote, so unfortunately we also have to recommend that planning, plenty of fuel, spares, food and water are all commodities that you won’t take for granted when you find yourself stranded in the flies, dust and relentless heat of the outback. So plan, bring a sense of humour and some self reliance and you’ll be road ready for Australia in no time...