If you want to explore Australia and don’t want to buy your own, renting a vehicle is probably the best option for you. Especially travelling in a campervan not only gives you the ultimate freedom, but also saves you money because you don’t have to spend anything on hostels. How do you get a good camper deal? There are numerous companies that offer campervans in Australia and prices vary greatly. This makes it difficult to reach the right decision. Therefore, we have put together an overview of the most important things to know.
Why travelling Australia in a campervan
Travelling in a van is the epitome of freedom, you get to know the locals and the countryside. You save money on accommodation and be part of a great camper community.
More information: Travelling in a Van in Australia: “7 Reasons To Do it”
Prices for campervan rentals
First, you should know that prices for rental campervans are not fixed. We often read on social media that person XY paid X amount for their campervan. Even though their comments can give you a broad idea, prices generally vary too much to know for certain how much you’re going to have to pay. Prices vary according to the model and the age of the campervan, the equipment and extras, the type of insurance, the season, the period of renting, and the availability.
Budget Campervan Rental – How to get a good deal
There are a few things you can do to get a better deal. First of all, book your campervan well in advance. Second, get your campervan from a rental company in a big city (more information below). Third, choose an older model, they’re always cheaper but still decent. Fourth, rent a campervan for a longer period of time instead of twice for just a few days. The longer you’re renting, the lower the daily rates. Last but not least, look for specials. You don’t want to search the entire Internet to compare individual prices of various campervan providers? No problem! There are a few price comparison sites that make your research easier. Our favourite is Motorhome Republic. It’s free and you can even book online.
More information on Cheap Campervan Rentals in Australia – How to get a good deal
Choose the right hire insurance
Always make sure your rental vehicle is insured, so that you aren’t lumbered with costs in case of damage. As the insurance policies offered directly by car rental companies are usually more expensive, it’s best to arrange the hire insurance yourself. For example, a good provider of cheap insurances is Rentalcover. Depending on the scope of cover, insurances cost between 9.30 AUD and 29.70 AUD per day. That’s almost half of what you pay for insurance directly with car rental companies.
More information on Options for Campervan Hire Insurance Australia
Campervan rental companies in Australia
There are a multitude of rental companies in Australia, but most of them are agglomerated on the east coast of Australia. The largest companies usually have several sub-brands offering different ranges. The 2 main players in Australia are the Britz and Apollo groups, which have the largest fleet of vehicles.
These are the main brands grouped by range:
Luxury and Medium Budget: Apollo, Kea, Maui, Britz, Cruisin’ Tasmania Motorhomes
Low Budget: Wicked Campers, Travellers Autobarn, Spaceships, Mighty, Jucy, Camperman, Awesome Campers, Hippie Camper Vans Brands Australia
Best places to hire campervans in Australia
If you want to hire a campervan in Australia, the best place to get a good deal is in one of the major cities Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, or Brisbane. The reason it is cheaper there is the number of rental companies competing for customers. The most affordable option is going to rental companies close to the airport. As they don’t have to pay high rents for offices in the CBD or inside the airport, they can afford to give you a good price.
This is definitely something to take into account when planning your itinerary.
2-seater vans are the most popular because they are cheap, but allow you to travel comfortably. Most of these models have a similar design, with a double bed at the rear of the vehicle. In some models, this bed can convert into a bench and table. A small kitchenette with gas stove, fridge, and kitchen utensils is often set up in the very back of the van, accessible from the boot. Otherwise, the van comes with a gas cooker. This type of campervan is called “low top” because it doesn’t have a high roof. The living space is therefore limited.
2.5 and 3-seater campervan
These vans are called “Hi-Top” because they have a high roof, which allows you to stand upright inside. A single bed (often quite small) is located in the top. In the living area, there’s a kitchenette and a bench that converts into a bed. This type of model is ideal for couples or parents with a child. Make sure that the model suits the age of your child, as most of these hi-tops are not suitable for young children under 4 years old.
These campervan are equipped with 4 seats and 2 beds. They can fit a family or 2 couples. Some models even have 2 anchor points for baby seats. The design is generally similar to the 3-seater, except that the top bed can accommodate 2 adults.
The 5-seater is the biggest van available on the market. It has got 5 seats and 2 large beds (which means you’d have to share one of the beds with 3 people).
Some rental companies offer station wagons. The advantage of these cars is that they are cheap, they consume less and have 5 seats! Ideal for young people on a budget. However, you don’t have any living space inside the car. You will have to cook outside and sleep in a tent or put a mattress in the back of the car. Most rental companies offer everything you need for your trip (tent, table & chairs, kitchen utensils, stove, cooler etc.).
Even though they are more rare, some rental companies offer 4WD vehicles, which can go off-road. You find them especially in Northern and Western Australia, areas in which you might need 4WDs. These cars can accommodate 2 to 5 people, depending on the model. Again, you will cook outside and sleep in a tent. Some even have roof tents.
Obviously, the equipment varies with the campervan model and the size. In any case, you have a place to sleep and to cook. Unlike motorhomes, campervans don’t come with a shower or a toilet though.
- Bed inside the campervan or rooftop tent (in some models)
- Linen including sheets, duvet, pillows, bath towel (sometimes at additional cost)
- Gas cooker
- Water tap with pump (manual or electric)
- Kitchenware (cutlery, plates, glasses etc.)
- Pots and pans
- Microwave (depending on model)
- Table & camping chairs (often at additional cost)
More information: Motorhome and campervan equipment
What to check for when renting a campervan
- Before you sign the contract, inspect your campervan and look for damages (interior, cockpit, engine etc.).
- Carefully read your rental contract and the fine print (make sure there are no hidden fees).
- Don’t hesitate to take pictures, especially of existing scratches and small damages.
- Ask questions.
- Double-check that the vehicle corresponds to the model you booked. It might be the case that the model you booked is no longer available. If you get a different model, you should be upgraded.
- Ask for user directions (electrics, bed, charging systems etc.). Make sure you know how everything works.
- If you’re planning on driving in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane, get maps and find out about the toll procedure.