If we think of Australia, the first images that arise in our minds are related to scenes of immense landscapes, surrounded by endless expanses of deserts and rainforests, long and vast beaches lapped by ocean waves, all traversed by endless roads crossed by leaping kangaroos and skies furrowed by golden eagles.
And immediately, we see ourselves sitting in the driver’s seat, one hand on the steering wheel and the other out the window, as with the background of a country song, we travel through that immensity, exploring with our van the perfect country for an on-the-road adventure.
If you, too, have goosebumps at the mere thought of it, and perhaps you are planning to move to Australia for a longer or shorter period, or you are already there, then you can’t help but do this: rent a van and treat yourself to a crossing the length and breadth of this continent.
But before you descend into this dream, here are some things you should know that might come in handy for a van trip.
8 TIPS FOR A CAMPER VAN TRIP TO AUSTRALIA
1. Download the Wikicamps AU App
This app is essential if you want an on-the-road trip to Australia. It costs $7, but it’s worth it.
By opening the map, you can see for each place all the places of interest: hostels, paid and free campgrounds, parking lots, places to visit, public toilets, libraries (helpful in using Wi-Fi), and much more.
Each category has a different icon, so it is intuitive to use. By clicking on it, you will find all the information about that place, photographs, and, most importantly, reviews from those who have already been there. These reviews are beneficial to find out, for example, if in a place you can stop and sleep without risking fines.
2. How to recharge smartphones
Since you will be spending so much time driving, the best way to avoid being left with a dead cell phone is to buy a dual USB port to put in the cigarette lighter. That way, you can charge two devices at a time.
You can find these devices in any electronics store.
Also, having your cell phone charged will help you kill time while your travel buddy is driving. You can use your phone to read the latest news, scroll on social media, take pictures, or play online poker – the possibilities are endless.
2. Van maintenance is key
Distances in Australia are really long, so you will have to drive for many miles. Therefore, it is evident that you must have a vehicle in good condition. If you have bought it, or are in the process of doing so, get a service done by a mechanic.
It is also essential to know at least the basics of your vehicle’s engine: how to check the level of fluids present (water and oil). Always carry a small can of oil with you, just in case.
3. Do Road Side Assistance
Even if you have just had your vehicle checked, you never know what can happen during such long journeys. That’s why we recommend you take Road Side Assistance, an insurance policy that comes to your rescue no matter what happens and wherever you are.
It’s best to get it in advance because it costs much less than calling it in when you need it and lasts for two years. If the campervan is a rental, on the other hand, find out well what your insurance includes.
4. Plan your groceries
If you have days of outback travel ahead of you, make a big grocery shopping trip before you leave; prices in the desert are much higher! Depending on how your kitchen is equipped, think carefully about which foods are easiest and most convenient to cook and store.
6. How to behave at night
It is always dark in Australia at night unless you are near a small town.
You will be faced with a starry sky as you have never seen before, with the Milky Way visible to the naked eye.
The first advice is to avoid driving in the dark; you might run into animals that suddenly jump into the middle of the road, such as kangaroos attracted by car headlights.
As mentioned, it is dark, and you may not even see your feet, so if you have to get out of the van to pee or for any other reason, always carry a flashlight.
Also, do not leave food outside the van at night because it could attract animals such as dingoes.
7. Sleeping in free campsites
Australia is littered with free camping and free campsites; look them up in the wikicamps app we mentioned at the beginning.
Many times these are areas with no amenities at all, at most toilets and non-potable water that you can boil to cook pasta or wash dishes or yourself.
8. Try to make friends
This kind of trip will lead you to meet a lot of people. Meeting someone on a journey like yours with whom you can share thoughts and impressions is essential.
In addition, you can give each other advices, help and tag along in case you have the same travel plans.
Park your vans in a circle, build a fire in the middle, and you will have unforgettable evenings.