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Camper vans or not?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Camper vans or not?

1. Posted by Marmite1 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

So me and my boyfriend are off to Oz january 2010.
We are there for about 4 months and a bit landing in Cairns making our way down the east coast.
and are working out how to spend our time
One idea would be to rent a cheap campervan as we are on a budget
although rental prices makes it quite expensive for 4 months
would anyone suggest buying a van when we get there?

how do we go about doing this?
and what is the situation with insurance?
We will both be 19 and will have been driving for almost 2 years .

any help please

2. Posted by frankie 75 (Budding Member 28 posts) 7y

Hi Marmite,
my friend rents out ford station wagons which he has converted so that there is a pop up tent on the roof and fold out kitchen in the boot. he rents these to travellers like yourself and because it is a normal car easy to drive and park. his cars are called walkabout wagons if you want his details let me know and can give you email address sorry don’t know what his rates are but knowing him you may be able to bargain a deal for this amount of time.

3. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 7y

The choice of buying a car vs renting is quite difficult, with rentals you often have to pay extra for more insurance but with buying you might get stuck with a lemon. Check out some rental places online for a free quote, in Australia there seems to be lots of "wicked" campers and big chains such as britz, apollo and hertz.

If you choose to buy a van it would be worth getting it checked out by a mechanic before handing over your cash to make sure it's not going to break as soon as you're out the driveway. There are several types of insurance you can choose, you must have 3rd party injury insurance which is part of registering the vehicle and if you buy a registered van then it will come with it. You have the option of extra cover like 3rd party property and comprehensive insurance offered by insurance compaines such as NRMA, AAMI etc.

I think 4 months is a bit long to travel just the east coast unless you're going to stop and work somewhere for a while. I would travel down the east coast visit Melbourne, Great Ocean Road and then up through the centre to Uluru up to Darwin and kakadu then back over to Cairns to sell your van again.

4. Posted by Nomad4me (Budding Member 4 posts) 7y

If your starting in Cairns there are quite often cheap campers for sale. You will find notices posted on the Backpacker boards around town. Another option might be the hippie campers or Wicked campers. They both offer one way drop offs along the coast.

This website -snip- mentions quite a few FREE camping spots along the coast. Most are for limited durantion and have limited facilities. I guess you get what you pay for though.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

5. Posted by travelyack (Budding Member 23 posts) 7y

We are travelling around in Australia for a year in a Britz Xtreme 4WD and we see far too often Wicked Campervans broken down on the side of the road, usually electrical problems. There is a discount and reputable campervan hire company clled Backpacker. I believe the web address is
safe travels!

6. Posted by LusciousLu (Budding Member 72 posts) 7y

No such thing as a 'cheap' van with Wicked with all the hidden costs. Buy your own in Cairns (expect to pay up to $4k for a decent one that has got a lot of good kit. It seems a lot but this is still a hell of a lot cheaper than Sydney and way less than a Wicked!), start the journey there as most folk end theirs there. Get it checked out, it must have a roadworthy sticker. If the van is a bit of a wrong un there's a good, cheap mechanic in Mission Beach cos we had to use him when some Germans sold us a Toyota with a dodgy radiator (which they passed off as roadworthy!)...and not a bad place at all to get 'stuck' in while you wait for the vehicle to get fixed if it needs it!

If you buy your own, get one with a long amount of REGO to go. This provides you with 3rd party insurance straight up (every car is basically tax and insured in Oz compared to the UK). If you want to go any further then get yourself roadside assistance cover as well as this is a godsend if the bugger breaks down on you. And get the full cover or else the pickup can leave you and your luggage at the side of the road as you watch your van go to the doctors without you!

If you buy your own, you can customise her, love her completely and be very sad when you have to part...sorry I still have abandonment issues over Fifi! You dont get that with a posh, smart characterless Hippie Camper...that no self respecting 'Hippy' would ever consider stepping inside of!