When you ask people what their dream ‘classic road trip’ would be, a common response is to take a year off work, and set off to explore Australia by campervan. The excellent infrastructure and multiple camping and campervan rental options make this a dream thats actually very do-able, and the unique attractions provide various routes which could all qualify as ‘The Worlds greatest road trip’.
There are countless options to rent a campervan in Australia with rentals starting at around 50 Australian dollars a day (about £30/$35) for a small camper with no washing facilities and a porta-potty toilet. Just type ‘Australia Campervan Rental’ into Google and you’ll be presented with pages of options.
If however, you’re planning to really go for the ‘once in lifetime’ road trip, and take longer than a couple of months to complete your journey, buying a campervan is probably going to be your best option. Many people do this, and sell their van onto other travellers at the end of their trip.Sydney is the most common starting and ending point so is probably the best place to try and buy a camper. Noticeboards in hostels, cafes and bars frequented by travellers will usually have ‘camper for sale’ notices, and local newspaper small ads are also a good source of likely vehicles to buy.
The following websites are also likely to yield some options –
As in any country, when buying privately, you’re at risk of buying a vehicle that isn’t mechanically sound. One option to get round this is to join the Australian Motoring Association which has branches throughout the country. For a small fee they’ll then inspect any vehicle you want to buy. Their website also provides hints and tips on what to look out for when buying and selling.
If you’d prefer to avoid the potential hassle of buying and selling, a number of rental companies will sell you a van with a guaranteed buy-back value at the end of the usage period. Obviously this is based on the van being in the same condition as when you bought it, and you will be responsible for insurance and maintainance costs while you own the vehicle.
So once you’ve sourced a vehicle, you just need to decide where to go. The beauty of exploring Australia by campervan on an extended trip is that you aren’t subject to the time pressures often faced when driving abroad. You really have the freedom to decide where to go and at what pace.
There are a number of well trodden classic campervan routes below, but if you’re on a long trip you can mix and match these to come up with your ideal route –
“The Track” – North to South
The Stuart Highway, also known as ‘The Track’ is one of Australia’s major highways and is completely paved nowadays. Its a renowned route for travellers and one of Australia’s classic road trips. It runs from Darwin, Northern Territory, in the north, via Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, to Port Augusta, South Australia, in the south—a distance of 2,834 kilometres.
Cape York Peninsula
Driving your campervan to the top of Australia is one of Australia’s great adventures. Cape York Peninsula is in the Far North of Queensland and combines remote wilderness, abundant wildlife and a challenging campervan drive experience.Note that outside June to October it can get very wet up here.
Exploring the amazing scenery around Uluru or Ayers Rock is a truly unique driving experience. In addition to the rock itself theres Kings Canyon – West and East MacDonnell Ranges, and Alice Springs Desert Park .
The Snowies are Australia’s tallest mountain range and are situated in New South Wales. In the winter its possible to ski at resorts like Perisher and in the summer you can take part in a range of outdoor activities and park up in pristine forests or by shimmering lakes. A great outdoors experience whatever the time of year.
The Pacific Coast Route
The Pacific Coast Touring Route stretches from Sydney to Cairns, following the beautiful coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Along the way discover an endless array of beautiful beaches, pretty bays and relaxing coastal towns.A classic Aussie road trip.
Sydney to Melbourne
There are four main options to drive the 900 km between the two cities and you can choose between coastal routes, routes through the Snowy Mountains or through the towns of the Murray River.More details on this website-
The Gibb River Road
Traversing the Gibb River Road in a campervan is a great adventure drive and one of Australia’s obvious ‘Worlds Greatest Road Trip’ challengers. The 660 km dirt road from Broome/Derby on the West Coast to Kununurra on the WA border. The route visits stunning gorges, remote cattle stations and some of the Kimberley’s hidden treasures.More detail on the website below
Crossing the Nullarbor
The ancient landscape of the Nullarbor Plain involves a great campervan drive from Perth to Adelaide. Watch whales from towering cliffs, swim on deserted beaches, eat great sea food cooked over the Barbie outside your van and view some of the most stunning, untouched scenery in Australia.
Classic Road Trip Distances & Recommended Times
Adelaide to Darwin (via Ayers Rock and Kakadu National Park) – 4,000 km: 20 days
Adelaide to Brisbane – 2,100 km: 15 days
Adelaide to Melbourne (via Coastal road) – 1,000 km: 7 days
Adelaide to Sydney – 1,450 km: 8 days
Adelaide to Alice Springs (via Ayers Rock) – 2,100 km: 12 days
Alice Springs to Darwin – 2,100 km – 12 days
Alice Springs to Cairns – 2,500 km – 12 days
Alice Springs to Brisbane – 3,100 km – 14 days
Alice Springs to Ayers Rock and return – 900 km – 5 days
Brisbane to Cairns – 1,750 km – 8 days
Brisbane to Darwin – 3,500 km – 18 days
Brisbane to Melbourne – 1,700 km – 9 days
Brisbane to Sydney – 1,100 km – 5 days
Broome to Darwin – 1,900 km – 10 days
Cairns to Darwin (via Townsville and Tennant Creek) – 3,100 km – 15 days
Melbourne to Sydney (via Inland road) – 900 km – 4 days
Melbourne to Sydney (via Coastal road) – 1,100 km – 7 days
Melbourne to Darwin – 3,900 km – 21 days
Perth to Adelaide – 2,800 km – 14 days
Perth to Broome – 2,350 km – 12 days
Perth to Darwin – 4,250 km – 21 days
Perth to Alice Springs (via Ayers Rock) – 4,200 km – 21 days
Sydney to Cairns – 2,500 km – 15 days
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.