man and a woman sitting in the back of their vans drinking a coffee
Australia,  Travel Tips

Roadtrip around Australia: tips for an amazing journey

Since I’m currently on the road, I will update this post as soon as I find out more and more tips for you (last updated on 20.05.2020). Even so, I already found out some helpful stuff for the roadtrip around Australia. Here you are:

You will need money

Not a surprise, right?! But I can surprise you with another thing: it is not that expensive as I thought.

Budget for fuel = $17 / day

A van will need about 10L fuel for 100km. The average fuel price is around $1.40 per litre, which makes $14 for 100 km. When I was on the east coast I drove on average 120km per day, so I paid about $17 per day for fuel. However, when I drove through the Outback, the average daily distance was 500km and the fuel price increased to about $1.90 per litre. I even once paid $2.1. To save money I always looked up where was the cheapest fuel on my route and I filled up my back-up cans. Nevertheless, do not be too frugal and make sure you always have enough petrol with you. Have a look at my post about my adventure in the outback here.
Furthermore, there was a positive development in fuel prices during the Covid-19 pandemic: the price dropped to about $0.90 per litre. Summing up all this, I would say that the average price is $1.40, depending on where you are…
Over and above, the distance to go all around Australia is about 12.500 km. And this is just if you go straight all the time. You should at least double it because you will not only drive the straight line. Therefore you will need a minimum of $3.500 just for fuel to complete the roadtrip around Australia.

petrol station in the Outback
A woman in the Outback

Budget for food = $17 / day

I cook almost every meal in my camping kitchen. I go to a grocery shop on average every 3rd day and pay around $50 for all my food, drinks and snacks (included hygienic articles, I don’t count this separately). It makes about $17 per day. You can even go lower if you don’t mind what you eat. I have to admit that I buy some nice products regularly (for example coconut water or super bio olive oil ;)). Aldi is the cheapest, then Coles.

So far, so good:
Accommodation = $0. If you want to stay on official campgrounds, you can count between $10-$20 per night for a simple one and $20-$30 per night for caravan parks.
Entertainment, parks, party = $350 for a trip to Whitsundays (2 nights in a resort), $220 for a one-day snorkelling trip on the Great Barrier Reef
Parking = $0
Car maintenance = $600 (small Issues + service)

A smiling woman camping

Where to stay overnight

You have different options, but the cheapest one is to stick to free options. In more populated areas there are barely free campgrounds, so you have to overnight on some random parking slots on the street, in a park, etc. In more remote areas, there are many designed free campgrounds, which is great. Some of them have even all the facilities like showers and toilets. I almost never use caravan parks. They are just too expensive. You have to pay about $20 for a spot without electricity and even more if you need a plug. No thanks.

Basically there are different rules in different regions regarding overnight staying in a vehicle. For instance, according to Local Government Act NSW anyone can sleep in a car in NSW, as long as it is in a parking spot, where you are allowed to park.

However, there are signs for ‘no overnight stays, no camping, no sleeping in a vehicle’ in every nice spot that I have visited so far. So it is actually illegal to stay overnight there. But to be honest, everyone is doing it. This is what a vanlife is all about, this is what we want when we are on the road around Australia – we want to wake up in a beautiful spot, next to the beach, ideally with some facilities like shower and toilet around. So, in my opinion, it is worth to risk a fine of $110.

The good thing about Australia is, that as soon as you get out of the populated areas, you will find plenty of free campgrounds!

White campervan in the Outback

My tips for free overnight staying in towns:

1) Wake up early, before rangers come! I heard they come around 7, so make sure you are gone by this time or at least pretend that you just came for a morning run 😀
2) If you are a solo girl, make sure that there are other travellers around, the best are the couples or group of friends. If there is no-one around that you can trust, just don’t make yourself too visible. Close your doors from inside when you sleep in some dodgy place. Check also my other article on how to travel solo without feeling lonely.
3) If you don’t want to risk the fine, I recommend you sleeping somewhere on the street in a residential area. Just park between other local cars and no-one will notice you!
4) Use Couchsurfing in bigger towns. It is a great opportunity to meet locals, have a proper shower and maybe even a laundry!

Useful Apps for the roadtrip around Australia

  • Wikicamps – It is an app for people who travel by van around Australia. It shows you nice spots, facilities and different other things. It is amazing, super helpful and you might find on it some reviews from me 🙂
  • Petrolspy – Shows you the cheapest fuel in the region
  • Firesnearme – Maps of current fires in NSW
  • Mapsme – Offline map
  • Gumtree – Online second-hand market
  • Polarsteps – tracks your steps around the country
  • Australiapost – send your orders/parcels ahead to a specific location

Something else

  • National Park Pass
    If you are planning to visit national parks, get a yearly ticket! For example, there is a yearly NSW Park Pass for $65, with this ticket you can enter and park in many parks around NSW for free (instead of paying $8 parking fee each time).
  • Free WIFI
    Telstra has plenty of free hotspots with good internet! Thanks to it, I managed to publish this blog 🙂 Just check where is the nearest spot and enjoy your coffee in your van while reading my posts.
  • How to purchase a campervan in Australia – my tips for beginners
  • Before you decide to travel by van, you should check my 7 ugly truths about vanlife

More to come

I will keep you updated with more useful tips as soon as I find out more!


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