The endless expanses of Australia are made for a camping road trip and backpackers especially, love to explore the vast incredible country in a camper van or 4WD vehicle. Here we will share some camping hacks and tips that will not only make your life easier but can also be very useful to prevent a simple breakdown when you are in the middle of nowhere!
1 # Check your car in advance
If you are purchasing a vehicle to travel in when you arrive in Australia, it is highly advised to have it thoroughly checked over by a qualified mechanic. Most backpacker cars are 20 years old and have driven several 100,000 kilometres. Make sure your coveted vehicle drives for another thousand kilometres before you buy it.
2 # Check the oil and coolant every few days
Whether you are travelling in your own car or rental car check the oil and coolant levels to avoid any engine damage. Due to the hot temperatures and long distance it is also important to check over the radiator once every couple of weeks.
3 # Have basic tools with you
The roads of Australia often turn into rough gravel roads which are no problem for most vehicles but make sure that you have a spare tyre and a basic tool kit including a socket set, wrench, pliers, screwdriver. Zip ties and gaffa tape could also come in very handy!
4 # Check fuel prices and use discount promotions
You will spend a large part of your budget on fuel. To keep these expenses down, compare fuel prices online beforehand and take advantage of the discounts offered by major supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths, which offer 4 cents off per litre at selected fuel stations.
5 # Do not drive at night!
Wildlife accidents with kangaroos are not uncommon on Australian roads, so avoid driving at night.
6 # Plan money for service and parts
This applies again to everyone with their own car. Your car is probably old, and you will drive many kilometres. To make sure it does not fall short of your goal, change your oil every 10,000 kilometres and plan to spend money on replacement parts.
7 # Backpacker cars can be recognized from afar
The painted van, the 4WD with a rooftop tent or the twenty-year-old car with a rooftop basket full of jerry cans. In most cases, you recognise backpacker cars from afar and is always a great opportunity to meet new people.
8 # Plan your trip
The best way to travel Australia is to follow the seasons. During the wet season (summer months) try to avoid the tropical north and during the winter months (June – August) avoid the southern regions. It is best to travel South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria during the summer and explore Queensland, the Northern Territory and North-West during the cooler winter months.
More information can be found here: Seasons and climate in Australia
9 # Cook on your own when traveling
The #1 way to save money while on the road is to cook your own meals. Make sure before starting your road trip that you have a reliable gas cooker with at least a 3kg gas bottle. Another hot tip for when you are in towns / cities, check local parks and beaches for free BBQ’s, save your gas! Great camping hacks!
10 # Use Wikicamps or similar camping apps
Wikicamps and Campermate are like a bible for campers. They are traveler-based apps and have everything you need to know marked on an interactive map; free camp spots, free hot showers, potable water, dump points etc.
More info can be found here: Free Camping Australia: Adventure Wilderness in Low Budget Style
11 # Hammock, Lazy Mat and Co.
For the lazy days on the beach, it is worth investing money in a hammock or the like. Plus, you will be able to take a nap anywhere!
12 # Organize your storage space
To keep your camper organised it is worth packing everything in boxes; one for food, one for clothes, one for pots and pans etc.
13 # Build a high bed base
If you need to build a bed base in your camper, build it higher enough to store the boxes underneath.
14 # Invest in mosquito nets
To avoid getting annoying mosquitoes and poisonous animals into your car, you should invest in mosquito nets for the windows.
15 # Rooftop storage
Roof racks or a rooftop basket is a great option to store any items that do not get used daily. This will allow for some room in the car, making it a more comfortable journey.
With all these camping hacks and tips, you are now ready to make explore the vastness of Australia safely and on your own.