Considering touring Australia by motorhome? Here’s everything you need to know to get you on the road and make the most of your Aussie road trip adventure.
Touring Australia by motorhome
The first thing you need to understand about Australia is how vast it is. Spanning more than 7.6 million square kilometers (or 2.9 million square miles), getting around to see everything is an impossibility. To put it in perspective, the entire land size of England could fit inside its borders 58 times over.
In fact, driving the more than 17,000 kilometers it would take to circumnavigate mainland Australia would require approximately 244 hours of drive time. Unless you have 3 months or more for your Australian adventure, don’t even attempt to get around it all.
When touring a country of this scale, the motorhome is by far the best way to do it. Offering you complete freedom to travel wherever the road leaves, you won’t need to fork out for expensive accommodation while enjoying the luxury of having everything you need in tow.
You can find campervan hire from the capital cities across Australia, plus a few of the more popular tourist cities. The biggest rental companies all have the ability to perform one way rentals if that is what you want. Beware the one way fees that are charged on one way rentals, sometime it is cheaper to a campervan back to the original destination.
Best Destinations in Each State and Territory
While it would be nice to completely discard your itinerary, when touring such a vast nation, it does help to have a rough plan of a few key destinations you would like to visit.
When planning your itinerary, it’s up to you if you’d like to park roadside or in a caravan park overnight. If you do opt to sleep roadside, make sure you factor in the need to plug into a powered site every few days to recharge the auxiliary battery.
If you want to head inland to experience the true Aussie outback, it’s also important to plan where you’ll refuel as petrol or gas stations can be few and far between on some stretches of road.
To help you design a basic itinerary for your motorhome adventure, here are a few favourite destinations you may want to consider including in each state and territory around Australia.
New South Wales
- Sydney Harbour: Great for sightseeing, shopping, dining, and nightlife. Home to world-famous iconic attractions like the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, Circular Quay and the Sydney ferry network.
- Sydney Beaches: Maroubra, Coogee, Clovelly, Bronte or Bondi within easy reach of the CBD, Shelly Beach, Manly, Queenscliff, Curl Curl and Dee Why on the Northern Beaches, or Terrigal, Avoca and Killcare on the Central Coast.
- The Blue Mountains: Breathtaking natural scenery including towering forests, picturesque waterfalls, and quaint, character-filled villages.
- South Coast: The Grand Pacific Drive takes you through beautiful southern coastal towns like Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, and the Shoalhaven.
- Southern Highlands: Green rolling hills, lush rainforests, and cute historic townships.
- Dubbo: Regional destination home to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo and historic buildings. Explore the caves and mines in nearby Wellington, or day trip to the likes of Narromine, Gilgandra, Warren, Coonamble, Coonabarabran, and the Warrumbungles Region.
- Coffs Harbour: Beautiful coastal escape which is also home to breathtaking rainforests and waterfalls.
- Melbourne: Major city with a cool arts vibe and a European feel. Check out the CBD laneways, St Kilda, Fitzroy, and the Queen Victoria Market.
- Day trips: Head to the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley wine region, and the beautiful Dandenong Ranges.
- The Great Ocean Road: Breathtaking ocean vistas, refreshing surf beaches, rocky coastline, mountainous landscapes, lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and coastal townships.
- Grampians National Park: Rugged mountain ranges complete with lakes, waterfalls, scenic lookouts, and some great restaurants and wineries.
- Alpine Region: The north-east Victorian alpine high country is home to granite cliffs, rocky outcrops, and spectacular views. Take the time to visit charming towns like King Valley, Bright, and Beechworth.
- Hobart: Character-filled southern city with historic buildings and colonial-era cottages. Check out Salamanca Place and Battery Point, The Derwent River and the MONA museum, and head up Mount Wellington for some fantastic views.
- Launceston: A small city with historic buildings in a beautiful setting. Make sure you visit Cataract Gorge.
- Cradle Mountain: In the Lake St Clare National Park, Cradle Mountain is possibly Tassie’s most impressive natural attraction.
- Natural coastline: Tour the Fleurieu Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, Limestone Coast or Kangaroo Island to sample the beautiful coastline and natural landscapes.
- Barossa Valley: World-famous wine region complete with restaurants and cellar doors a-plenty.
- Rivers: Explore the Murray River, Lakes, and Coorong region.
- Rural outback: Get a taste of Australia’s inland red dusty roads driving through the Flinders Rangers or out to the very isolated Coober Pedy.
- Fremantle: Check out the food and entertainment precinct at Fishing Boat Harbour and the Fremantle Markets. You can also snag a ‘Quokka selfie’ on nearby Rottnest Island.
- Margaret River: Famed wine region home to a great selection of restaurants, cellar doors, and breweries.
- Kalgoorlie: Regional inland city offering an authentic taste of the Australian outback.
- Road trips: WA is enormous, but if you have the time, consider destinations like Albany and Esperance, the Kimberley via Geraldton and the Abrolhos Islands, Carnarvon, Exmouth, Port Hedland, and Broome.
- Darwin City: Visit the Stokes Hill Wharf and the Darwin Waterfront Precinct home to some great bars, restaurants, a wave pool, and man-made beach. Don’t miss the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
- Adelaide River: With an enormous population of crocodiles, get on a jumping croc cruise to witness these fearsome creatures up close.
- Litchfield National Park: Breathtaking waterfalls, water holes, rock formations and ancient indigenous art.
- Kakadu National Park: The Indigenous heart-land of Australia made famous when featured in Crocodile Dundee.
- Surf Beaches: Check out the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast to the likes of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Coolum and Noosa Heads.
- The Scenic Rim: Home to Tambourine Mountain, Springbrook and Lamington National Parks, Mount Nebo, Mount Mee, and the Glasshouse Mountains which each offer some seriously breathtaking rainforest scenery.
- Islands: North Stradbroke Island and Bribie Islands are both in easy reach of Brisbane.
- Darling Downs: Experience the outback and regional cities and towns like Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla, Roma, and Charleville.
- Airlie Beach: On the doorstep of the Whitsundays, make sure you visit the Airlie Beach Lagoon, Airlie Beach Markets, Whitehaven Beach, and the surrounding hinterland.
- Cairns: Northern city with sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, and show-stopping rainforests and waterfalls.
What to look for when hiring a motorhome
It pays to know what to look for when looking for motorhomes for hire. Motorhomes each come equipped with different features, with some motorhome hire companies including some extras for free with others charging extra.
When hiring a motorhome, finding one with these features:
- a well-equipped kitchen which includes a sink, stove, fridge, microwave, cooking utensils, and dining equipment
- a dinette or table to eat meals
- intelligent sleeping arrangements (some motorhomes include convertible or lift-up beds to maximise space)
- a complete bathroom with shower and toilet
- towels and bedding including sheets, doonas, and pillows
- outdoor tables and chairs and a roll-out awning or shade
- automated manual transmission (or manual transmission if you’re a confident driver) and a fuel-efficient engine
- reversing camera
- air conditioning
- storage for your luggage
Most motorhome hire companies will include insurance and tolls with your hire, while others will charge extra. Before taking your motorhome on an unsealed road, make sure you check the insurance will cover you if anything happens. It’s also important to check if your motorhome hire is limited to a certain number of kilometers per day to avoid cost blowouts.
On request, some motorhome hires companies will also offer additional extras like GPS navigation hire, baby seat hire, bike hire, or even pre-stocking your motorhome with groceries or alcohol!
How to find Motorhomes to hire
It’s relatively easy to hire a motorhome through a private motorhome or campervan rental company in Australia.
Simply do an online search based on your chosen pick-up location to see what’s available on your preferred dates. If the motorhome hire company has more than one branch, they should allow you to collect and return your vehicles to different locations.
You’ll also need to ensure you meet the licensing requirements. Most motorhomes can be driven on a standard car license. If you have an international license, you should be able to drive the motorhome using your regular license provided it hasn’t been canceled or revoked.
To book your motorhome, most companies will require a credit card and may request a deposit to secure the booking with the balance payable when you collect the vehicle.
Now you’ve got the run-down on hiring a motorhome in Australia, it’s time to start planning your Aussie motorhome road trip adventure!
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