How to Book a Cheap Campervan Hire in Australia: Ultimate Hack!

Australia is known to be one of the most expensive countries for travel. On average, prices in this country are 20-30% higher compared to some of the most expensive cities around the world, like London, New York and Singapore, so finding the best way to travel in Australia on a budget can be a difficult task.

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But don’t despair! If paying $30-$50 a night for private rooms and another $50-$100 every time you want to head to a new city doesn’t sound like your idea of cheap travel, there is an alternative – travel in a CAMPERVAN!

While campervans may not be a popular method of transportation in your home country, they are extremely popular budget-friendly accommodations in Australia. There are over 500,000 campervans registered in the country and despite some rumours that campervan users are grey-haired retirees, over 50% of campervans are being driven by 19-30 year olds. 

Great! So now we know that you won’t look silly travelling around the country in a campervan, but the biggest question is – does it make your trip cheaper? At first glance, it may not look that way. 

At $50-100 a day, your campervan will cost you anywhere between $1500-3000 a month, plus the total cost of fuel! Cheaper than staying in hostels, but still a hefty price for your Australia budget travel. After months of road-tripping, we’ve learned how to travel in Australia on a budget.

Campervans line Flynn's Beach in Port Macquarie, NSW
Campervans line Flynn’s Beach in Port Macquarie, NSW
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The Ultimate Cheap Campervan Hire Hack

So here’s a trick. Due to the popularity of campervans to travel to Australia on a budget, many travellers rent a campervan in one part of the country, drive around Australia to the other part, hop on the plane and head back home. 

There are hundreds of campervans being driven and dropped off the same popular routes on a daily basis. 

Campervan companies are desperately looking for someone to relocate those campervans back to their original home base and are willing to offer incredible deals for someone to do it! With a bit of flexibility on your end, you can score a 4 -6 berth campervan for $1 a day! 

And on top of that, if you are booking last minute, the companies will often also throw in cheap fares and good value for your petrol costs, in some cases, they will even reimburse you for all of the fuel! Think of it as the best way to travel around Australia on a budget!

Enjoying time on Cable Beach in Western Australia during one of our campervan adventures in Australia
Enjoying time on Cable Beach in Western Australia during one of our campervan adventures in Australia

Australia By Campervan: Handy Tips

Some things to remember when booking campervan relocations:

1. Save on Insurance

Insurance is not included in the price. You can’t avoid insurance, but you can snatch a better deal! If you are worried and don’t have good travel insurance, get it, but it’s all a matter of luck and, of course, your driving skills.

Since campervans are pricey, good coverage is crucial. Firstly, consider including car or campervan rental insurance in your travel insurance; it’s often cheaper. Next, explore insurance options, a higher deductible means lower overall costs. You can even use an external company to cover that deductible. 

Here’s a trick:  get campervan insurance with the highest deductible, then get separate deductible coverage. This way, both the campervan and deductible are protected in case of an accident, and it’s way more cost-effective than pricey, low-deductible insurance. Check with your rental company for coverage details, and note that external providers may require an upfront deposit. Rules vary, so review the specifics to ensure 100% coverage!

Hunter Valley Road
Hunter Valley Road, Australia

2. The $1 a day advertised rate is set for a limited time only

You will typically be given enough time to drive for only 2-4 hours a day to get to your final destination. It’s up to you where you stop along the way and how you break up your journey.

3. The kilometres you have are limited

The companies will build in some extra kilometres for detours, but if you want to take a massive detour inland over large distances to check out something off the beaten path, this may not be the best Australian transportation option. 

Also, when driving around Australia, choose petrol stations wisely as prices can vary. Refuel at the stations with the best prices to save money on your travel within Australia.

4. Some deals include sleeping bags, pillows, towels, free wifi, and the whole setup, but some don’t

Check to ensure the offer has what you need or you’ll end up paying extra for it.

5. Book shorter trips

Don’t look for a campervan from Cairns to Melbourne. There won’t be lots of relocation offers available and the ones that pop up will not give you enough time to explore the entire East Coast. Instead, look for a relocation from Gold Coast to Cairns or Cairns to Hervey Bay and once you get there, look for another one down to Fraser Island, etc.

Watching the sunset at Port Gibbon, Eyre Peninsula
Watching the sunset at Port Gibbon, Eyre Peninsula

6. In many larger cities and towns in Australia, it is illegal to park campervans on the street overnight

You will have to find a campsite to park in overnight. These are, unfortunately not free. Best campsite deals (as low as $5 per campervan per night) can be found in National Parks. 

Look for them here for Queensland, here for NSW, here for Victoria. Alternatively, if you want to be parked close to the centre of activities, look into hostels. Most hostels often have reduced fees for campervan parking and free wi-fi, it’s a great way to save money and make new friends with fellow travellers.

Parnkalla Trail in Port Lincoln
Parnkalla Trail in Port Lincoln

7. Your campervan will have a self-sustained kitchen. 

Use it along with free BBQs in parks and in picnic areas in most cities to save on eating out. There are dozens of websites out there with great deals on campervan relocations, but luckily there is one that aggregates them all.

Tips for Saving Money on Food

Depending on your trip around Australia, detailed planning is essential. Pack enough food for a few days and consider these great tips to save money on food while travelling to Australia by campervan. These camper vans come with kitchens and cooking gear, so you won’t have to drop a ton of cash on eating out for every meal, but remember, there’s always a little hack to save some bucks on those foods as well:

Stock Up on Shelf Stable Foods

If you have the space, buy in bulk, cook your own meals in large batches, and freeze meals. It’s a more cost-effective and convenient way than constantly restocking on the go. Make sure to pack plenty of food to last a few days and grab all your essential items like spices, tea, instant coffee, oatmeal, pasta, and more before you start your road trip. 

During your trip, you’ll find plenty of stores with affordable cooking equipment options, making it easy to set up your own kitchen at reasonable prices.

Buy from Roadside Stalls

Look out for those roadside veggie stalls as you travel. You can snag some fresh, farm-to-table produce at a fraction of the supermarket price. Plus, you’re giving a farmer a little extra support, and there’s no better feeling than that!

Visit Farmers Markets

Hit up the farmers’ markets in Australian towns. These markets are ideal for filling your campervan with fresh, local produce and fresh ingredients. 

You’ll discover organic, locally grown goodies at great prices, from delicious honey to freshly baked treats, these markets offer unique finds that you wouldn’t typically get. It’s a fantastic way to support local communities and to treat yourself too!

Support local farmer's market when visiting Daylesford!
Support local farmer’s market when travelling in Australia

Look for Supermarkets Sales, Discounts and Markdowns

Save some bucks by hunting for real bargains and discounts at the supermarket. Don’t be shy about grabbing those clearance items with big price drops. Just remember, only snag what you’ll actually use, no point in bulk buying if it’s just going to fill up your campervan storage.

Avoid Food Waste With Meal Planning

Saving money on food includes no more tossing it in the bin. We simplify breakfast and lunch choices to cut down on waste. Full-time road life has taught us the power of meal planning, it keeps our travel expenses in check and ensures we use up every last bit, so there’s hardly anything heading to the trash.

Eyre Peninsula National Parks: Coffin Bay
One of many lunch spots in Coffin Bay, Eyre Peninsula National Park

Catch Happy Hours

While it can be nice to have a cocktail with dinner when you’re visiting towns, it will usually cost you quite a bit of money. So save some cash by checking out happy hours, and look for places with good deals on food and drinks during the early evening, typically between 4-6 pm is your best bet. It’s a smart way to enjoy a meal without breaking the bank.

Tips on How to Sightsee for Less Money

We’ve got some awesome tips for you on how to enjoy your campervan relocations while still having time to explore Australia. That way, you can make the most of your trip and see some sights along the way!

Explore the National Parks

Australia has hundreds of national parks and state forests, providing a bunch of free activities like hiking, fishing, waterfall swimming, and picnicking. 

Many parks even offer excellent facilities like toilets, water, picnic areas, and sometimes even showers. You’ll often find free and coin-operated BBQ facilities in beachside parks, it’s a great way to cook a meal and enjoy the Aussie outdoor lifestyle. And guess what? Lots of national parks offer campervan parking for a small fee or even for free. Just make sure to book your spot in advance and enjoy staying overnight. Nature’s beauty is free, and Australia has plenty of it!

Surfleet Campground, Lincoln National Park
Surfleet Campground, Lincoln National Park

Map Out Your Daily Drives

Before you hit the road in Australia, take a moment to plan your daily route. The country is vast and not as densely populated as you might think. Plot out essential stops like supermarkets, gas stations, tourist attractions, and campgrounds on your map to avoid regrets later. Be prepared, as not planning can lead to frustrating situations and unnecessary spending. Also, add extra time to your route planner’s estimated duration, considering stops, short hikes, and unexpected delays. 

Don’t overload your daily plan and make sure to buy tickets or book in advance whenever possible to get discounts! If you’re staying in a big city and planning day trips, trains and public buses are the cheapest way, thanks to daily caps on public transport fares. In most major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, affordable public transport options like Opal Card, Translink, or Myki also make getting around easy if you’re on a tight budget. Get a travel card, bus passes, or consider buying unlimited travel passes for a certain length of time during your visit, it’s worth your time investigating and getting one. 

Flinders Street Station
Tram in Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Take Advantage of Free Activities

Australia has lots of free activities, so make the most of them! For a fun and free adventure, visit the local Visitor Information Centre for top tips on low-cost or free activities. Skip expensive tours and tourist attractions, simply head to stunning beaches, museums, galleries, libraries, join free walking tours, or simply take a self-guided tour of the city.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Photo Credit: Visit Victoria/


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3 thoughts on “How to Book a Cheap Campervan Hire in Australia: Ultimate Hack!”

  1. I’m thinking I need to head overseas for an adventure. Drinking tea and camper banning sounds good to me. Freedom ! I want freedom!

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