I am travelling to Australia for 6 months with 2 of my friends ( we are all 18 ) and we are planning to campervan up and down the east coast for pretty much all of the time. We arrive September 15th 2005, and fly back 12th March 2006. For the first 2 nights we have already booked a hostel so that is sorted.
Basically, I need to know whether if it is better to buy a campervan or rent one? Has anybody done what we are planning to do? Where is the best place to buy/rent a campervan?
Ideally, we have about $8000 between us to spend on either renting or buying a campervan for about 170 nights. If we do decide to buy a campervan, where is the best place to buy from? I have heard about buy-back schemes, where is the best place to get one of these?
If we decide to rent, which is the best and cheapest company?Is air-con a must?Are there any 'hidden costs' that we should know about?Is it best to book asap before we fly, or should we wait untill we get there?
Really really need your help folks!
If we do decide to either rent or buy, we will mostly be staying in cities. Where is the best place to park/keep the campervan at night when we are sleeping, and in the daytime parked up?
Is most parking free in australia?Could we park on the beachfront parking and stay there the whole night without any problems?
If not, where is the best place to park, and how much will it cost per night?
Finally, what is the best type of vehicle to buy for 3 people?E.g. Campervan, Hi-Ace or caravan etc!
I cant help you on the campervan front but can give you some advise on parking. Most parking is restricted in some form. At the beaches you will be paying through the roof for the privilege in major towns and cities... at night from around 10 it becomes free... umm... it is possible to find beaches which do not have restricted parking but not in the cities as I have said... you can find your share of free parking on the street around the place particularly at night... once you get out of the city parking at night wont be a problem... alternatively there are campsites around the place which are pretty cheap and you could set up there... hope that helps...
In terms of buybacks vs rental, you should check out www.travellersautobarn.com.au, who are probably the most well known of their type.
I came to the conclusion when I travelled that 3 months+ was the threshold beyond which it was better to buy rather than rent(Rental could cost you about $99 a day).
You'll get a better deal if you can be bothered to buy privately and sell privately rather than do a buyback though, as they usually only allow you 50% of what you paid. Do the sums properly on every offer and see what works best for you.
Why only cities? Australia doesn't have many you know! I love Melbourne and Sydney, didn't stay long in Brisbane, and thought Surfers Paradise was great. But whatever you do, don't avoid the small towns along the coast - you will miss out in a big way. Byron Bay, Noosa, Airlie Beach to name just a few. The beaches all along the coast are fantastic, and I can tell you for certain that you can park for a couple of hours in the main streets at no cost whatsoever - right outside your favourite shop or cafe! And there's a lot more chance of finding a campervan spot where you won't get bothered too, although I'm not going to guarantee it!
As for air con, that depends on individuals. Obviously it's going to be hot, but you'll be outside a lot right? Is it worth it, especially as your campervan door is going to be open most of the time you are stationary anyway. Might be better to get used to the heat. Although I have to say air con was great in the car we hired, but you might pay extra of course.