Last updated on 4 August, 2023
Australia is a vast and beautiful country. Many each year seek to find new places to discover and for adventures by travelling around Australia in their caravans. Most people want to know what it costs to travel Australia in a caravan? What should their lap of Australia budget be?
Travelling Australia by caravan is very popular. It gives freedom to go wherever you want. However, the cost of travelling Australia in a caravan can vary greatly depending on the length of the trip, the route taken, how fast you travel and so much more.
How much a road trip around Australia costs varies greatly. What one travelling individual, couple or family may spend can be vastly more or less than another. Still, there are some frequent expenses to add to your travel budget when planning your trip.
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- How Much Does it Cost to Travel Australia in a Caravan?
- Lap of Australia Expenses
- How Much Do We Spend as a Couple Travelling Australia Full Time in a Caravan?
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What it Costs to Travel Australia in a Caravan?
How Much Does Fuel Cost to Travel Around Australia?
The cost of fuel to travel around Australia varies depending on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, prices and distances travelled. The last year, we towed our caravan 100 kilometres, costing us $10 for fuel, a significant chunk of our travel budget.
The amount paid for fuel ranged from $1.65 to $2.70 per litre. Using a fuel price app and having dual long range fuel tanks helps to find the best prices and the driving range to avoid the highest.
How Much Money Do You Need for Australia Travelling?
Travel budgets for travelling around Australia in a caravan range from $30k to $100k+ per year.
Most people have heard that it costs $1 per kilometre to travel around Australia with a caravan. For some, it may. We have met pensioners living from one payment to the next, travelling as far and slowly as they need, so they can afford to travel. We have also met travellers with big budgets travelling as fast and free as they want, spending up big.
How Much Money Should I Budget for a Lap of Australia?
Small Travel Budget of $30k to $40k per Year
A travel budget of $30000 per year for a single person or couple or $40000 per year for a family is sufficient for full time travel, slow travel. To tour Australia with these funds:
- It is best to have an off grid set up.
- Free or low cost camp the high majority of nights.
- Travel slowly to use minimal fuel.
- Avoid peak periods; instead, travel in the shoulder or low seasons.
- Eat to a reasonable food budget, meal planning, buy food from supermarkets and cook your meals and snacks.
- Enjoy (mostly) free or low cost activities.
- Use a low cost option for laundry.
- Complete most repair and maintenance tasks on the vehicle and caravan yourself.
- Shop around for the most affordable insurances, phone plans etc.
- Have a roadside assistance policy to avoid costly towing and breakdown costs.
- Buy only what you need and be content to make do as much as possible.
Medium Travel Budget of $50k – $70k per Year
A travel budget of $50000 per year for a single person or couple or $70000 per year for a family is sufficient for a one (1) to two (2) year lap of Australia or a quick half lap. To tour Australia with these funds:
- It is a good idea to have an off grid set up.
- Mix up paid and free or low cost camping.
- Travel reasonably quickly depending on fuel costs and consumption.
- Enjoy a mix of free, low cost and paid activities.
- Enjoy some meals out, but generally eat food bought from a supermarket.
- Make use of laundry mats for doing laundry.
- Complete nearly all repair and maintenance tasks on the vehicle and caravan yourself. Pay for repairs when necessary.
- Shop around for the most affordable insurances, phone plans etc.
- Have roadside assistance to avoid costly towing and breakdown costs.
- Be conscious of your spending, but feel reasonably comfortable buying most things needed.
Big Travel of Budget $100k+ per Year
A travel budget of $100000+ per year for a single person, a couple or a family is sufficient for a one year or less lap of Australia. To tour Australia with these funds means:
- Travel as fast as you need or want.
- Stay in paid caravan parks or campgrounds every night.
- Travel to places in peak periods.
- Enjoy all your bucket list items.
- Enjoy eating out often.
- Pay for vehicle and caravan maintenance and repairs when needed.
What does it cost to travel Australia in a caravan? For some, it is as little as $500 per week or less. Others are spending $1500-2000 per week. It is not essential to spend big to have a great time road tripping around Australia. Making memories of a lifetime can be done on any budget as long as you are doing it.
Lap of Australia Expenses
When budgeting for a lap of Australia, the expenses to plan for typically are:
Since fuel prices have catapulted, fuel budgets of $10k-20k per year to road trip around Australia would not be farfetched.
Estimating how much a household spends on groceries provides a reasonable idea of how much to budget while travelling. Most people’s spending habits at the supermarket remain the same if the plan is mostly cook your meals. Add some additional funds if significant amounts of time will be in remote and rural areas where the cost of groceries is higher.
Accommodation | Caravan Park and Campground Fees
Accommodation costs can vary depending on preference for free camping or staying in caravan parks and whether travel is during peak and non peak times. Commonly, it costs $40+ per night for a caravan site in a caravan park and more if there are children.
By free camping, more often than not, our accommodation costs travelling around Australia have been minimal. In a year at most, we camp an average of 25 nights in paid campgrounds or caravan parks. We have a set up for off grid camping.
Tours and Attractions
The very notion of travelling is to see and do great stuff. So, it is vital to have in the budget to do some once in a lifetime bucket list items and some fun things along the way.
Our spending in this category has been on scenic flights, vehicle ferries to islands, boat and other tours and permits to remote communities such as Nhulunbuy. The total amount is nearly $20000 over the years of road tripping Australia full time.
Also, note that we have our kayak, 4WD, snorkel gear and Daryl’s golf gear which has saved us lots of money on hire costs.
Vehicle and Caravan Maintenance and Repairs
An expense we grossly underestimated was how much funds we would need to keep our caravan and car on the road. In the five years we have been on the road, we have had:
- To replace our vehicle.
- Two smashed rear windscreens.
- A bent axle on the caravan.
- A roof leak in our pop top caravan.
- Tow bar sheer of the car.
- Numerous tyre blowouts and flats.
- Car and caravan battery replacements.
- Major transmission service.
- Caravan awning and skirt replaced.
Plus, all the routine vehicle servicing and maintenance. The costs add up! We recommend for a one year lap of Australia, having $5-8k in your funds for unexpected costs for keeping your rig on the road.
Insurances, Registrations and Roadside Service
Before hitting the road, sought out:
- Vehicle and caravan registration and insurance
- Appropriate roadside service coverage
- Ambulance cover or private health insurance
It pays to get a few quotes, as it could save hundreds of dollars a year.
As wayfarers, we use gas for our fridge and cooking when off grid. Generally, we use a 9.5kg bottle of gas every three to four weeks. If you have a gas heater and hot water service, usage may be a bottle a week.
Vehicle and Passenger Ferries
Australia has many islands to visit on a big lap. Each island has a ferry service. It is a good idea to check out the websites of each island on your itinerary and budget for the ferry costs.
Overall, we have spent close to $5000 on vehicle and passenger ferries to:
- Tasmania (Spirit of Tasmania) for car and caravan
- North Stradbroke Island for car only
- K’Gari for a car only
- Kangaroo Island for car and caravan
- Rottnest Island as passengers
- Magnetic Islands for a car only
To save money, we did not take our caravan to some islands and camped in a tent instead.
Emergency funds are a financial safety net. It is money for unforeseen circumstances, such as a major vehicle breakdown, medical emergencies or unexpected flights home.
Emergency funds provide peace of mind. It means unforeseen circumstances are less likely to cause stress or end your trip.
Other expenses to consider are:
- Dog Expenses and Vet Fees
- Educational Costs
- Medical and Pharmacy Expenses
- Mobile and Data Plans
- Streaming Services (Netflix)
- Loyalty Memberships (Big 4)
- Miscellaneous Items
How Much Do We Spend as a Couple Travelling Australia Full Time in a Caravan?
Our budget changes significantly. Our weekly spending varies from $600 to $900 per week or about $35000 to $40000 per year as we travel around Australia full time as a couple with our dog. The changes in our expenses depend on factors such as:
- Availability of free camps v caravan park fees.
- Fuel costs in remote locations and travelling vast distances v city or suburban fuel costs and short distances.
- Cost of groceries in remote areas v costs for these in city or suburban areas.
- Paying large sums for bucket list items v doing only free stuff.
- The car or caravan has needed expensive repairs v diy maintenance tasks.
- The dog needs emergency vet care v routine annual vet check.
- There is a big family celebration you fly home for because you would never miss v a phone call to say congratulations.
There are many reasons why travel costs change week to week, area to area or year to year (if you travel full time).
What does it cost to travel around Australia in a caravan? We hope this blog post has given you a way forward for planning your travel budget.
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