Australia campervan with kids

Planning a Family Campervan Holiday in Australia

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We think a campervan road trip is the perfect way to explore Australia.  In this post we are going to tell you why campervan holidays are so much fun with kids and how to determine the right vehicle for your family to start planning your trip.

Why Choose a Campervan Holiday?

  • You get to see a lot, but you have a home base – no moving suitcases in and out of hotels and cars
  • Its camping made easy – nature with conveniences
  • Its an adventure – you get to see the in between places
  • Flexible schedule – adjust your schedule as you go
  • Save money – cook your meals and save
  • Fun for kids – it’s like a mini-house for kids to explore
    Australian Campervan with kids

    Photo: Courtesy of Britz

Campervan Costs in Australia

Campervan costs vary greatly depending on the season, vehicle and location and can range from $50-180+/day.  You also need to consider including optional liability reduction, which can add $50/day to the rental.  One-way rentals can also add to the cost as will travelling during school holidays.  Some seasons there are also 5-night minimum rentals.  Many campervan rental companies often offer promotions, so check their latest deals.

Although the cost of a camper may initially sound expensive, consider you are paying one cost for your car rental, accommodation and the ability to self-cater.  You do need to factor in the additional cost of petrol and camping fees (up to $20-70/night).  However, it offers the convenience to just pull up, park the vehicle and crack open a cold drink without the need to move luggage or unpack.

Campervan rental Australia

Photo Courtesy of Britz

Choosing the Right Campervan

Factors to consider when determining which vehicle is right for your family:

  • # of Berths – generally campers will come in 2, 4 and 6 berth configurations.
  • # of Seatbelts and # of Seat for Car seats – are the seats forward to rear facing? Read this section carefully for each vehicle.  How many latch systems are there?
  • Desired comfort level – do you want to squeeze into a backpacker-style campervan or do you want the comfort of a full size RV?
  • Terrain of trip – do you want to be able to go off-road or drive on unsealed roads?  For most of Australia, 2WD is perfectly fine, but a 4WD rental allows you to access beach campsites and lesser-visited areas.
  • Ease to drive – a larger vehicle offers more space, but will be harder to drive.  Especially for those not used to driving on the left.
  • Standard or Automatic? – most vehicles are automatic.  If you aren’t used to driving on the left, choose automatic.
  • Cost of Petrol – a larger vehicle is going to cost more in petrol.  Average petrol prices in Australia (2018) are $1.40-$2.00+/L.
  • Ability to Free Camp and be self sufficient – do you want to free camp or are you happy in campsites and caravan parks?  You will need toilet facilities and water to be self sufficient.

Best Campervans for Families

We have done three campervan holidays with the kids.  The first was in New Zealand when they were babies.  The second was in the Canadian Rockies and the third and most recent trip was the Red Centre of Australia.  Twice we have had a 6-person RV with lots of space and comfort for the whole family.  Most recently we had a 4WD Land cruiser with roof-top tent from Britz for our adventurous road trip into the Outback.

Here is us on our New Zealand campervan trip with Britz in 2010.

Britz offers lots of great options for families in Australia (and in NZ and USA).  To help you choose which vehicle is best for your family and trip we will run through the best options.  They are constantly updating their fleet ensuring their vehicles are in great shape.

Small Families

Although there are lots of campervans with 2 berths suitable for a small family, many of them lack a third seat.  The Britz Venturer Plus has a third seat that can accommodate a car seat and a third berth.  The vehicle has a toilet, shower and kitchenette.  This vehicle is perfect for families that want a smaller, more economical option.

Families of 4

Britz Voyager is a great compact campervan that can accommodate a family of 4 with 2 carseats.  There is a double berth over the front seats and a double berth in the rear.  This vehicle has an automatic transmission, a kitchenette, but no toilet.

Photo courtesy of Britz

Families of 4-6

Larger families or families that want a bit more comfort should consider an RV-style vehicle like the Britz Frontier which can  accommodate 6 in comfort.  With a full shower and toilet, kitchen and 3 double berths, there is plenty of space for the whole family.

4WD Vehicles

The 4WD vehicles definitely sacrifice some comfort for families, but increase the adventure factor.  A 4WD holiday is more like traditional camping and I would only suggest these vehicles for families that have experience camping.  While the above campervans require little setup, the 4WD vehicles require you to set up your vehicle for sleeping each night. However, having 4WD allows you to get off the beaten path and access more remote locations.

  • Safari Land Cruiser with Roof top Tent – we loved the roof top tent where the 3 kids slept, with us parents under on the annex tent.  These vehicles come with all sleeping equipment, portable stove, refrigerator and kitchen ware.  This a heavy duty vehicle and we felt very adventurous with our huge tires and snorkel.  Storage space is tight for a family of 5 and you do need to collapse the roof top tent whenever you want to go anywhere.  Best for smaller families and families that are looking for an adventure.  It is a manual transmission.
  • Outback with Floor Tent – similar to the Land Cruiser, but with two floor tents.  While this vehicle is a little less rugged, the advantage is that you can drive off and leave your tents set up.
4WD Comparison

Britz 4WD Comparison chart, courtesy of Britz

Packing List for Family Campervan Holidays

The great thing about a campervan holiday is that most of the camping gear comes with the vehicle.  Here are some items that you want to make sure to bring:

Epic Australian Road Trips

With great camping infrastructure, mild weather and so many amazing places to explore Australia is the perfect destination for a campervan holiday.  Australia is a huge country and you won’t be able to see all of it on one holiday.  Here are some of the best Australian road trips.  Pick one, slow down and have an amazing trip down under.

driving Great Ocean Road

  • East Coast of Australia
    • Sydney/Brisbane to Cairns – classic route that allows you to experience Aussie surf beaches, quaint towns, the Great Barrier Reef and tropical Queensland.
    • Sapphire Coast: Melbourne to Sydney – experience Australia’s two largest cities and the beaches and National Parks in between.
  • Northern Territory
    • The Red Centre – a one-week Outback loop taking in Uluru, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs is magical and totally different.
    • Top End – explore the wet tropics of the Top End, visiting Darwin and Kakadu National Park
  • Western Australia
  • Great Ocean Road – departing from Melbourne this stunning coastal drive offers lots of iconic sights, small towns and National Park land.
  • Wild Tasmania – the East coast of “Tassie” is untouched and perfect for a road trip.  The rugged coast, historic sites and foodie culture is a great place to explore.

Have you done a campervan holiday?  Where did you go and what did you like the most about it?  

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Campervan Holiday in Australia

Family Campervan Holiday in Australia

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