Everything you need to know about Campervan Hire
Australia is a very popular place if you are considering campervan hire and organising one of the best holidays of your life – and it’s not hard to see why! This country is the planets sixth largest country (did you know you could almost fit the United States of America or the whole of Europe into Australia?), so you can be sure that when you come here you will be spoiled for choice on what you can do, the things you can see and the places you can visit.
Before you do that though, there are many factors to consider for a visit down under and you’ll want to make sure that you have the best time during your trip…and select the right campervan. With our years of firsthand experience of travelling across this vast country we have put together this information to help guide you through the campervan hire process, as there’s lots to consider!
To help get you started, these are the important points when planning of your campervan rental trip to Australia.
When is the best time to travel
Sounds like an easy question, right? Well, actually no, it’s not an easy one at all! Did you know that due to the size of Australia, the country experiences a diverse climate with temperatures ranging from extreme heat in the northwest of Australia to below zero in certain areas in southern Australia? Because of the country’s vastness, there is no-one single seasonal calendar!
There are 6 climatic zones throughout the continent which translates as two main seasonal patterns.
In the Temperate, Desert and Grassland zones there is spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons and in the equatorial, tropical and sub-tropical zones they essentially experience a wet and dry season. Therefore, depending upon where you are, the climatic conditions will be dependent on which climatic zone you are in i.e. temperate or tropical.
Seasons in the temperate zones
The blue, pale yellow and pale red areas on the map highlight the Temperate zone have four seasons which are spring, summer, autumn and winter. For our northern hemisphere travellers, these are the months for these seasons:
- Summer: December to February
- Autumn: March to May
- Winter: June to August
- Spring: September to November
Seasons in the tropical zones
The three climatic zones in the tropical areas of Australia are shown by the brown, dark green and pale green areas. These three regions in the north of the country experience high temperatures and high humidity and have two distinct seasons:
- Wet Season – also referred to as monsoon season, runs for six months between November and March. This season is hotter than the dry season with high humidity and is generally avoided for holiday travel as many of the roads can be closed and weather conditions unstable.
- Dry Season – this runs for the remaining six months usually between April and October. It is generally dryer with clearer skies with lower humidity levels.
So, depending on what types of activities you like to do and what weather you’ll want to experience, the time of year will play a big part in you choosing where you want to go.
As a rule of thumb if you are planning an iconic trip, for example Adelaide to Darwin, or Darwin to Perth, it is important to consider the tropical climate as the most important factor in your holiday planning and motorhome rental. This means you would want to ensure that your trip in the top half of Australia was enjoyed through the dry season, or May to September is a good time.
- It will be cooler in the southern part of your trip, but overall a much better experience. Depending on when you are travelling within the dry season, would also determine in most cases the best direction for your trip. If you are travelling in your campervan early in the season, then it is better to go from the South to the North, and conversely if you are travelling in your campervan later in the season, then better from the North to the South.
However, if travelling in the southern half of Australia, you will find that the most favoured time for visitors to arrive is during the summer months (December to February) when the southern and eastern cities of Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne are warm and sunny and the evenings are pleasant, the sea is warm and there is the hustle and bustle of outside cafes. It is worth noting though that this time of year is also the busiest as a lot of Australian’s also take their holidays during this time. Depending where you are travelling from will also determine if you are finding the temperature ‘hot’ during this time or not.
- We love campervan hire through the southern areas in November/early December or Feb to April, once children are back at school, and perhaps not quite as busy as that January madness.
- Increased demand of campervan rental also increases the price, so that is also something to factor into your holiday planning
- We also find the temperatures are more comfortable for may during this time too.
Do you have set travel dates to Australia and times to consider campervan hire?
- Remember what we said above; travel in the northern states is best during our winter months, the dry season. If you can only travel to Australia in our summer months as noted above, then better to target the southern states
- July is the most popular month around the Top End, and pricing for 2WD campers is usually more expensive for hire during this time than May and early June.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 – your route determines the best time of the year. Or if you can only visit Australia at a certain time of the year, this will determine the best route.
Where to go
Once you know roughly what time of year you want to travel you can then look at where you could go. We have provided a list of suggested Travel Routes that explores many of the favoured routes across Australia. On this list, we detail when to go and roughly how long you might need to do that trip. Obviously everyone is different with how they like to travel and will have different travel requirements, however this is a good guideline to start your planning.
What else to consider for your campervan hire
One of the great things about dealing with Gallivanting Oz is that we have a huge range of campervans. We do this by using a range of suppliers to offer the best campervan for your needs – and the best bit? You don’t pay any more for out good old fashioned service and will benefit from the range and our experience. We do know though, at the start of your planning, once you’ve worked out where you may like to go, it can be overwhelming for some to work out the best campervan.
To help narrow down your options, here are a few tips as to what you may be looking for in your campervan hire.
To start with, you will want to consider your route and decide if you are wanting a 4WD or 2WD vehicle and what size vehicle is going to be right for you and there are a variety of factors to consider such as drivability vs space vs cost vs personal taste/features
- Even though all the campervans for hire are pretty easy to drive, for some, the idea can be daunting. Some prefer driving something smaller if they have only ever driven a car before so we do have a large range of options.
- The smaller the vehicle the better the fuel economy can be therefore meeting budgetary requirements – the Two berth motorhome with a toilet and shower actually has very good fuel economy considering it is a 7m long vehicle – most average around 10 – 11L per 100 km.
- While the larger four or six berth motorhomes for hire may seem big on paper, once you are behind the wheel you will find they are surprisingly easy to manoeuvre. With great mirrors and many having a reversing camera you can enjoy more space, but still take your home around with you as you explore Australia.
- If you’re planning on getting off the beaten track onto unsealed roads then you’ll need to consider a 4WD campervan option. We have a large range of 4WD campers to choose from – some with rooftents, others a ground tent included, as well as our favourite the option that is more campervan style, with a big comfy bed, but capability to explore some fabulous areas on unsealed roads/4WD tracks.
- Our 2WD campervans for hire are generally allowed to travel only on well-maintained unsealed roads to recognised campgrounds of up to 12 km.
- We do also have a smaller hitop campervan with one of our suppliers does that give the flexibility on travelling on unsealed roads (not 4WD tracks) within national parks for example, which may suits your needs.
- The 2 berth campervans for hire with toilet and shower do tend to be the most popular as they have a large double bed at the rear of the vehicle which doubles as the living/seating area during the day. We also have quite a few options where the front seats rotate in these vehicles giving the option of leaving the bed made up during the day and still having somewhere comfy to sit.
- The campervans for hire without toilet and shower are generally more compact and will require the packing away of beds to make way for living space during the day. Some small families do chose to travel in these if on a tight budget, however it is important to understand they are not very spacious.
- Depending on how many are travelling, some couples prefer a little more space and will look at four or six berth campervans.
- Four berth vehicles do vary in their layout but have the benefit of having two double beds – configured with one above the cab and the other made out of the seating area in the main cabin but there are a couple of campervans for hire that have the two double beds at the rear with the top bed on a lift system that raises it up to the roof when not in use. We also have the larger slider option on some routes that are popular for those that like an island bed and larger bathroom in their campervan hire.
- Whether you are a couple, family of four or six of you travelling then a six-berth offers the most flexibility with sleeping arrangements as the extra seating area becomes the third bed. This provides the most flexibility and space for couples or extra bed configuration for a family or friends of four. Six people will have to travel in a six-berth due to the legal requirements of being securely seated when the vehicle is moving.
Personal Taste and Features
- Toilet and Shower
- Only our 2WD campervans for hire have an on-board toilet and shower (some of the 4WDs have external hand held showers)
- Some of our four and six berth campervans have larger bathrooms. The shower is usually housed in the same space as the toilet, with a pull down hand basin. The campervans for hire with the larger bathrooms have the shower in a separate ‘space’ within the same room which means the toilet doesn’t get wet when you shower. Minor details but for some couples this can make all the difference to their holiday experience. You should let us know if that is important to you.
- All our campervans come with linen which includes a duvet/sleeping bag (4WD’s); sheets, pillow, pillow case and a bath towel. You may like to pack an extra towel for swimming.
- The kitchen space in terms of features are pretty similar amongst the 2WD range; it is really about how much space there is – generally most kitchens in the 2WDs will have a microwave (works when plugged into 240 volts), gas cooktop, and some of the larger 4-6 berth campervans for hire, come with an oven and grill. All come with a range kitchen utensils, plates, cups and glasses.
Superior Fixtures and Fittings
- In our range of campervans for hire you’ll notice three categories of vehicles: Premium, Premium Economy and Economy. These categories are generally allocated according to the age of the vehicle and its features. Some travellers prefer absolute comfort, so our Premium range of campervans are relatively new and feel more luxurious and is perfect for those who enjoy the finer things in life, but this often does come with a higher price tag. Others prefer a vehicle which offers comfort at a more affordable price. Let us know if there are budget constraints or preference as to the age/features of the campervan at the time of your enquiry so we can be sure of sending your relevant information.
- Choosing the right vehicle is sometimes determined by budget. If you have a budget in mind, let us know what that budget is and what your preferred level of requirements are that you expect from a campervan, for example if you definitely want a toilet and shower. This will help us provide relevant campervan hire information to get you started with your planning – and of course let you know of any deals that are going!
- 4WD’s are generally more expensive than a 2WD vehicle to hire, it does depend on the time of year though.
- The time of year that you are travelling great affects the price of hire vehicles for example consider peak seasons such as school holidays, Christmas and New Year and other holiday celebrations are the most expensive and busiest times to travel. However, if you consider the shoulders seasons of these peak times you can sometimes grab yourself a good deal.
Our top tip?
Plan your trip and talk to us (the experts), and do it early!
By talking to Gallivanting Oz, experts in the field of campervan hire in Australia, we’ll help you avoid making any potential costly mistakes such as jumping into the first campervan or motorhome hire you see, booking in the wrong season, not making good use of discounts/promotions or entering into a hire agreement that you just don’t understand. We are sure you would not like any surprises at pick up.
There are so many benefits to discussing your campervan hire with us. Apart from helping you chose the right campervan, we have actually travelled the roads ourselves – we will tell you those little bits of information that will make a difference to your Australian experience. Many websites will allow you to book a campervan without any one-to-one communication then send you on your way but that’s not what motorhome and campervan holidays are about! Well we don’t believe so, which is why we pride ourselves on our customer care and service we provide.