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1. Posted by jax_07 (Full Member 76 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey Everyone

My friend and I are going to be in Cairns in a month or so and we're hoping to buy/rent a campervan for the rest of our trip (Darwin - Alice - Uluru - Adelaide - Melbourne - Canberra - Sydney) and was wondering if anyone could offer any words of wisdom??

We've been told we won't be able to rent as neither of us are other 25 - is this true?

Where is best to buy/rent?

What is a good price?

Who could we trust in the town to check over vehicles for us?

What should we get with the van?

And anything else you can think of!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers guys


2. Posted by Taffski (Travel Guru 182 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Jax...

You're in luck!

we sepent two years driving round the whole of Oz in our Campervan and sold it "Sadly" in Cairns last November!

So... in reply to your questions :

Depends on how long you're there for and how far you're going to cover.. remember Oz is big !!!

It's also about time of year... if you're arriving in Cairns in Setp / Oct / Nov then everyone will also be there at that time as they want to buy a van and go to Sydney for New YEar etc. So as a result, vans will not be cheap and good vans will be hard to find!

Costs : $3000 - $6000 (about £1500 - 2500) for a second hand van (Try and get one from a backpacker before etc.) remember you'll get what you pay for!

There's a van market in the centre of Cairns, however, don't bother with this. There's a car market (locals and backpackers) on the outskirts of town (by the Big 4 campsite) that we sold our van in.... It's cheaper than the car market in town. I think it's on a Saturday or a Sunday ?

If you get a van from backpackers.. it's all about which state the van's registered. There's numerous web sites on this, however, to sum up... get one from WA or QLD. Anywhere else and it's a pain to get registered etc. and expensive. All cards need a safety (green slip) to be sold in QLD and don't buy a van without one... else you'll have to get one yourself to get the rego transferred and this will cost you... not to mention if the van needs something doing to it.

Remember if you're doing it for a while... buy a good van. We payed $4700 in Darwin for ours and it lasted us 26,000 km's and we sold it for the same amount in Cairns two years later !! :O)

Above all enjoy and if you have more specific questions, drop me a line


3. Posted by moonschein (Budding Member 41 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Jax,
you're on the right forum, I'm in Cairns right now selling a van. we're finishing a year of the full loop, so plenty of helpful advice.
--you definately want to buy, esp. if there's more than one of you; I read your last blog entry, and you already have first hand experience of needing your own transport! also, if you maintain it well, reg. services and don't thrash it, the vans keep their value well, as Billy demonstrated.
--also, as Billy said, you get what you pay for: it's worth going a bit over what you expected and getting convenience (a fridge is a godsend!! cold beers, fresh meat in the bush w/o having to leave your gorgeous camp to search for ice) and reliability.
--the best way to find a good mech is to ask a good mech... ask the first 3 people you see to recommend a mech, then when you call them, say you'd rather not wait the week before they can see you, who do they recommend? or KMART has been really helpful for our roadworthy, fair and best priced.
--get the CAMPS3 atlas (also called supercamps) it's about 45$ but in your first month you'll get your money back in free camps, I've been writing gas notes and comments in our atlas, so the person who buys the van will inherit a legacy.
--if you're interested in ours we'll be here for about 2/3 more weeks then head back towards Brisbane, whenever we sell it we'll just fly the rest. ours is very good nissan loaded w/ extras, queen size bed that converts to 2 singles or a wraparound sofa, and w/ a full length 5 vent pop-top so if you wanted to make another bed up top very easy and all the windows open for secure ventilation (some of the cheaper vans you have to sleep w/ the door or front windows open!) we're selling ours for 7,300 neg., if you're interested in other details contact me. even if that's out of your range, I'm happy to answer any questions.
--how much time left do you have? if it's at all possible, I heartily recommend the West coast--the scenery is spectacular, isolated, pristine, the snorkling right off the beaches fantastic (in coral bay it's common to swim w/ Manta Rays), the weather for the next 3 months is perfect. the distances are so huge, we stayed a week in each place (couldn't drag ourselves away) and still did WA in 2 months. you'll catch wildflower season on your way south. (Uluru is a 2 day drive on way to Darwin) selling in Victoria is supposed to be profitable.
--btw, jobs are scarce in Cairns right now it seems, but Port Douglas is hiring and much nicer place to stay a few weeks.

--sorry this is so long, I can't believe our trip is almost over, and I want everybody to have as great a time as we did...


4. Posted by Laurenne (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Jax !!!

My name is Laurenne and I've seen your ad and I'm quite interested becoz I would like to do the same trip as you! I'm travelling in Australia since 2 months and I've realised that the best way to enjoy it is to travel with others people in a van !!! So, I wondered if we could do a part of the trip together, to share the costs and have fun! At the moment I'm in Bundaberg, then I'm going north, I can be in Cairns at the same time as you. I'm french and i prefer to travel with people who are not french, becoz i reckon it's more interesting. About me, i'm friendly and i like to have fun!

Tell me what do you think !;)
Speak to you soon i hope !