Aussies all over the country, and people from all over the world, dream of trekking across the Great Southern Land to see all its magnificent spots.
One of the best ways to see the very best of Australia’s natural scenery is by going on a road trip with a camper trailer or a campervan and camp around the joint.
Although camping means you must sleep out in the bush or some remote place, as opposed to a 5-star resort, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap.
Outdoorsy clothing and camping equipment is great to have, but what’s not so great is their price tag! (Ever set foot in a Kathmandu store? Strewth!) With that in mind, some people might get put off camping when they can pay the same price for a motel room.
Mars Campers are experts at all things camping, and that includes the price. We can help you plan a budget-friendly camping trip that allows you to see more of the country and less of the inside of your wallet.
Having a camper trailer can save you a ton of money in the long run, especially if you like to camp often and get to basics (which is the whole point of camping!).
Although you’re going to the bush that’s far away from civilisation, that doesn’t mean you don’t need money.
Australia can be an expensive place to travel around (and to live in for that matter), which is a reason why so many Aussies travel to places like Bali and Thailand for a cheap holiday.
But if you prepare yourself financially before heading off, and know how much you can afford to spend, then you don’t need to go so far away from home to enjoy an affordable holiday.
Break down your trip day by day with both an itinerary of your plans and a budget the costs involved with what you do each day.
This will help you know what exactly you’ll be doing while camping and how much you will have to spend. The more money you have the better, of course, but if you’re on a tight budget then you’ll need to set how much you can spend each day.
Working out how much you’ll need to spend per day also includes how much you’ll have to spend on necessities like emergencies, food, and laundry.
Although you could just rough it up and not shower or wash your clothes, you’ll start to pong quick smart. You’ll also have to factor in how much it cost to rent a camper trailer or campervan if you choose to do so.
You’ll need to bring some camping gear along with you. There are many brands that sell these things, and some are much dearer than others.
The irony of this is that many people think camping’s a cheap way to see the country, but a lot of the time it’s not that cheap.
There are different types of camping equipment. If you’re after a basic tent, don’t pay too much. Remember, the whole point of camping is to rough it up. If it’s costing you a packet, you might as well stay in a motel.
Having said all that, particular types of camping gear are needed for certain places, like snowy mountains, so something like that you may have to pay more for.
If your mates go camping, see what gear they’ve got to see what the good stuff is, and you can ask them for other camping tips too. Or even better, borrow their equipment if they’re not gonna use it.
There’s only so much room in your vehicle and your backpack for that matter. If you’re travelling around in a campervan with your family, then you’ll have to pack everyone’s stuff.
However, if you’re backpacking around, then you will obviously have a backpack on a lot of the time and your back will be bloody sore after a while.
The solution to this is pretty simple; only pack what you’ll need! For one, don’t bring along a bunch of crap that you won’t use, especially if it’s big and bulky. If you’re travelling with your family or mates, discuss with them what you all will need to take.
This way no one overpacks or two of you bring the same thing when there’s need to.
Every place you go camping to will be different though. Ensure that you only pack the equipment you’ll definitely need for that particular place, not just any old camping equipment that may be useless where you’re going.
If you notice that you haven’t used certain equipment for a while, then you can probably leave it at home. However, always bring safety gear!
Obviously, you’ll need to bring some tucker with you for when you go camping in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t too many servos or milk bars around in the bush, mate! You’ll need to know what to buy in advance.
Stock up in foods like fruits, veggies, rice, pasta, and the like; they’re small and don’t weigh much. Bring along some sauces and spices too to add to your meals.
While you can stop to get some snacks to eat in the car at servos like chips, sandwiches, choccies, burgers, ice cream, dimmies, and potato cakes/scallops, those will all add up (including on your waistline).
If you’re watching what you’re eating, there are plenty of healthy snacks available too. For when you’re hiking, raisins and peanuts are a top choice.
They’re small and are easy to carry, so they won’t weigh own your backpack. They are also highly nutritional.
For when you’re settling down for the night, you can cook yourself some grub. Cooking is a major part of the camping experience, and to cook something yourself in the great outdoors makes your tucker taste that much better and feel more rewarding.
We all love a good barbie, so it may go without saying to cook yourself up some snags.
Alternatively, you could cook at home in advance and freeze them in portions in your caravan or freezer (if you have one).
Accommodation can be pricey despite having to forgo the privacy and luxury a motel room offers, that goes for many campsites too. But fortunately, Australia has tonnes of free camping sites for you to choose from, but don’t just pick any old campsite.
If you do some research, you’ll find that many campsites are very cheap, or even free, meaning you’ll save heaps of cash. Many such campsites can be found in national parks, crown land, and state forests that are right in the heart of the bush that you want to explore.
However, if you’re after a powered campsite, that’ll cost more. If you’re travelling with a group, then you all can split the cost between you.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for activities that are free. This mostly includes sightseeing activities that every camper has in mind, from walking through the bush, beaches, and the such.
Anyone who’s ever seen the cost of petrol at any servo (so basically everyone in the world) will know how expensive fuel is! With all the driving you’ll have to do to drive to where you’re camping, a lot of fuel will be eaten up.
There are a couple of ways to save money on fuel. If you shop at Coles or Woolies, their receipts often include a fuel discount docket that usually saves you around 4 or 8 cents per litre. (Talk about keeping prices down, like their ads say!)
Most servos sell slightly cheaper fuel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so go then rather than on the weekend.
Although Aussie summers can be scorching hot, especially in the bush or desert, try not to use your air-con if you can.
Yeah, putting up with the heat could give you the S#@$%s, but the cooler eats up your fuel, so don’t use the air con until you’re desperate.
Before you go anywhere, get your vehicle serviced before you head off to the bush. You don’t want your vehicle to break down in the middle of nowhere and be stuck there, ruining your trip. If you do, you’ll have to organise a tow to the closest town, and then get it serviced anyway.
Yeah, getting it serviced can be a time-consuming hassle and expensive, but knowing that your vehicle’s in good nick before you travel will not only give you peace of mind but also significantly reduce the chance of breaking down.
Not only is camping with your mates or family good fun, but it’s also a great way to save a few of your own bucks.
If you go away with others, you’ll then need a decent size vehicle to accommodate all of you and everyone’s things. So it’s only fair if everyone pitches in on the vehicle costs, especially where fuel’s concerned.
They can also pitch in on the servicing cost and the vehicle’s rental fees if you’re hiring a vehicle.