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Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Campervans....HELP!!

1. Posted by clarelou (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi everyone,

Hoping that someone can offer some advice.......I will be travelling to Oz on the 19th September 09 and staying for 3 weeks. We are planning to hire a campervan from Brisbane on the 25th September and spend 2 weeks driving to Cairns (or maybe Townsville depending on how far we get!). Can anyone help with the following:

- Given the time we are travelling (school holidays I believe) do we need to book camping sites before we go? This is something that we didn't really want to do as we very much wanted to go with the flow........
- Do we need to go to camp sites with hook ups regularly so that we are able to charge our campervan appliances?
- Any tips on finding scenic free camping spots?

Any help/advice really appreciated, at the moment I'm finding it all so confusing!!

2. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 7y

Hello there. I am very new to all this I only signed up a few days ago but already Im really enjoying listening to peoples travel stories. Ive been to Australia quite a few times and on two occasions only had a motor home. By golly theyre expensive things. But if theres a family of you they can work out cheaper. BEWARE they charge you mileage on them. So its not just the hire charge. As soon as the wheels start turning you pay again. I wouldnt worry too much about booking in advance for your stay. Dont forget that you have pretty much all facilities on board except water and waste emptying. You can pop into campsites for one night and do all your recharging on route. There are just thousands of campsites in Australia both on and off the beaten track. We went from Sydney to Darwin and back in an old camper van and from Brisbane to Perth and back on another trip. We did some outback stuff as well. Hope youve got A/C on board. Of course you will have. Our campervan was an old VW but it did the job. We found the less well known campsites were more homely and tended not to have too many drunks falling all over the place.
There are some lovely campsites in Rockhampton on your route to either Townsville or Cairns and an even more amazing camp stop at Kinka Beach.

3. Posted by clarelou (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hey there, thanks so much for your reply, it is really helpful!! not to mention that I have now stopped worrying about having to plan every aspect of the journey!! I will follow your advice and just see what we find.
As you've had lots of campervan experience, can you tell me how often you have to charge them up?
Thanks, Clare

4. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 7y

Tricky answer to get spot on. So I will estimate a bit. Say there are four of you and you use the motorhome continuously for everything while on the road. You will need to empty your waste every two days and top up your water every other day too. It is always a good idea about every 10 days or so to completely empty your water supply and refill it with fresh. You will learn to economise with the water, everyone does when there isnt an unlimited supply coming out the tap all the time. By recharging thats all I mean. You wont have to recharge your batteries or anything like that. There always at least two batteries that swap over charge so you dont have to do it. All you normally do is just flick a switch on the dahboard. Sometimes thats not even necessary as it does the job automatically. They charge up while you are driving, but you knew that anyway. Never drink the water on board, only bottled. The water may very well have a purifier if you have a really good spec motorhome but I dont trust them and if you are in Australia and get a bug its going to mess you up for 2 to 3 days at least. Just not worth taking the risk for the sake of a small amount of money. This motorhome is going to be something from a new dimension compared to a VW camper. Make sure you have a spare gas bottle too so as there is never a time when you run out. As soon as one goes off, change it over and exchange the empty one as soon as you can. You may find that its possible to fit several different sizes of bottle to the same connection. So really you only need one big bottle and one small one. Then again the hire company may tell you which gas and size you must use. Some motorhome hirers waiver the mileage charge for an extra one off fee. If yours does then work out the distances you will be doing and compare the charge to a waiver fee. It will work out in your favour to do it one way or the other. Always try and hire a diesel motorhome even though they are more expensive. You will make a very big saving on the fuael bills compared to petrol ones. I dont know if Australia does LPG motorhomes. You will need to check on that one.
I hope I have been of some help here.

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

Hi there, what size camper were you after? I have seen heaps of small van sized wicked, jucy and spaceship campers running up and down the east coast of Australia, these often don't have bathroom facilities, water tanks or a kitchen but provide you with a stove for cooking. They use the van battery for lights so it charges as you drive, you can google them to get an idea of prices/features available. If you're after something bigger like a motor home then Maui and Britz seem to be the go, these will have bathroom faclilties and a kitchen on board along with lights and a water tank. These also charge as you go, but as BedouinLeo said, you'll need to top up the water tanks and empty the toilet as you go.

6. Posted by clarelou (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi Tim and Leo,
Thank you both so much for the help and advice!! I read an article about campervans which made me think that they needed to be charged up every 12 hours!!!
Anyway, there is only 2 of us but I think we are looking to hire a van with bathroom facilities etc so would be going for the larger van more expensive you think we should book before we go to Brisbane? or just organise one when we arrive (we will have 2 days in Brisbane)
I didn't even think about the water (do not want to be ill!!) or the mileage, I'll definitely try to work out how many miles we expect to cover!!!
Thanks again guys XXX