I'm planning the OZ leg of my RTW trip, which will last approx 2 months. One thing I am certain about is having my own transport. The freedom to explore in my own time is a major requirement.
Obiously there are two main choices - a car or campervan. But also whether to buy or rent. So I have a few questions/issues to think through:
The car would be cheaper, but would mean either camping or hostels, which cost.
The van is more expensive, but no cost for accom.
Renting isn't that cheap, when you factor in the 'excess' insurance issue I keep reading about. Plus, there's a chance we could stay for more than 8 weeks. I'd probably lean towards buying and hope to sell it on (or use a company with a guaranteed % buyback scheme).
We will be hitting Oz in the low season, so will that make renting much cheaper? Also, how much do the campsites charge?
OK, enough rambling, you get the idea. I'd appreciate views/feedback/advice from people who have been there and done that.
We were in Oz for 3 months in winter season a couple of years back. We bought a car and took a tent which definitely had it's pluses and minuses...
I think one of the main things worth mentioning is that it depends where your starting point is and how far you are planning to travel round Oz. We arrived in Brisbane and there wasn't that much of a cheap 2nd hand car scene as most backpackers arrive and leave from Sydney or Melbourne, plus we were out of season. So finding a cheap car that is in decent condition may be an issue - if you have a very limited time to spend in the country you probably don't want to be having to spend weeks looking for a decent vehicle. You also have to try and sell it at the other end of your trip (provided it has survived the miles you have driven) which can be a bit hit and miss. We met a few people who were just planning to leave the car at the airport with the keys in the ignition as they didn't have time to sell it/couldn't find a buyer!
As much as the weather in Oz in winter is not too grim in comparison to the UK, we did have some pretty horrible weather which got a bit depressing in our tiny 2 man tent - so if you do go for the tent option, I would recommend getting one that you can sit/move about in comfortably. Although many campsites have communal kitchens and picnic benches they aren't always practical for spending time in other than for cooking so it's great to have somewhere warm that you can relax in. Which is where I think the campervan idea would probably have the edge...
Occasionally we rented a 'cabin' on a campsite when the weather was really bad. It usually worked out cheaper than a hostel and it meant that we had our own private accomodation and bathroom rather than paying the same price for a dorm. I can't really remember costs but if you check out the Big4 campsites (am sure they must have a website), they are at the deluxe end of the market and independent sites are usually a good bit cheaper.
Not sure about how cheap it gets to rent cars and campers in the off-season in Australia but NZ prices were really low when we rented in September 08. We got a Toyota Granvia for NZ$15 and it was great fun.
Hope that helps a bit - feel free to contact me if you want any more info.
Cheers for that. We're thinking about landing in Melbourne, so hopefully it'll be a little easier. From there up the east coast and see how far we get. If it's much cheaper in the off season we'd probably go with a rented campervan. I doubt we'd book in advance, rather see what deals we can do when we land while we spend a few days in Melbourne. I wouldn't want to buy a car and worry about having to sell it. But, Auto Barn have a buy-back deal which looks interesting.
Wicked Campers are a low cost van rental company.Australia doesn't have an off season really, prices stay constant all year.Also remember in Australia Summer/south and Winter/north.This way you will have beach weather anytime you're here and the Northern Winter sun doesn't burn like summer sun.
Cheers-I've come across Wicked...will have another look. I think we'll start in the south and make our way up north. After 2 months in SE Asia we'll probably be grateful for a bit of cold weather!
I just left a notice in the Forum but Wicked have just announced a promotion.You will get 1 free days rental if you turn up at the rental office "naked"
I've seen that. If I turn up naked they might take pity and give me a free week!
None of us is perfect but a free stuff is free stuff
There are a few companies around offering the Buy-back as you mentioned before - when we went to Australia we just flew up there and compared the two options of renting or buying. We ended up buying but spent nearly three weeks trying to sell our car - so if you buy definitely go for Buy-back guarantee - saves you so many headaches.
I guess if you go for the buyback make sure the company actually has branches where you plan of selling it again. You have at least two options then - either selling privately or back to the company. I know Auto Barn & Travel Wheels do buybacks - just give it a go. Enjoy your trip... and by the way - Melbourne is really cold in winter!!!