Australia is regarded as one of the most unique and thrilling tourist destinations on the planet. Blessed with a huge range of landscapes, from the sunny shores of the surf-laden coastline, to the eerily impressive vastness of the Red Centre, this imposing continent is perfect for campervan exploration. Of course, tourists will have to make sure they plan their trips very carefully. Distances are often immense, and in some parts of the country, there is nothing but you, the open road and the untamed natural landscape that surrounds it. Nevertheless, this is what makes a trip 'Down Under' really worthwhile.
Because Australia is so vast, there is no 'best season' to visit the country. If travelling in the northern tropics, then avoid the wet season (October through to March), as torrential downpours make driving dangerous and near impossible in places. If tourists are visiting the major mainland cities, then each season brings something new to experience. However, the island state of Tasmania is best to avoid during the dead of winter. Spring through to autumn brings stunning scenery back to life and a climate more comfortable for travellers.
In general, the roads in Australia are well-maintained and safe. However, there are many unsealed roads in the outback region of the country; these should be traversed with care. Most areas are well-signed, so it's easy to navigate Australia by self-contained campervan. Due to the long distances between sites, it is common to find an abundance of camp sites and holiday parks, especially within and near the major towns and cities.
Queensland, commonly known as the Sunshine State, is home to many marvellous attractions. The Great Barrier Reef encompasses much of the maritime coastal region, while many forested national parks are located along the Great Dividing Range. Brisbane is the capital city, and most-used gateway into the state. Due to Queensland's sheer size, tourists need several weeks to fully uncover the state. If time is limited, concentrate on one area.
The Northern Territory is outback Australia at its finest. From the natural grandeur of Uluru, to the fauna-rich wetlands of the Kakadu, the Northern Territory can be discovered by campervan hire during the drier months. Small towns like Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek provide an oasis for the beautiful yet unforgiving desert landscape that dominates this region.
New South Wales, with its main gateway of Sydney, is Australia's most vibrant area. From Sydney, there are countless destinations that cannot be overlooked, such as the Hunter Valley wine-growing region to the north, the Australian Capital Territory and its appealing highlands to the southwest and the glorious Blue Mountains to the west.
Western Australia and South Australia boast some of the more rugged inland attractions, such as WA's historic Kimberley region, and the flat enormity of SA's Nullabor Plain. The most vibrant areas in these states hover around the capital cities, Perth and Adelaide. Everything from wineries, to beaches, and to national parks is part of the capital cities' ever-growing tourism campaign.
Although Tasmania is compact in size, it still packs one mighty tourism punch. The cities of Launceston, Hobart and Devonport are the main gateways into the Apple Isle. From here, mesmerising sites like Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and the Freycinet Peninsula await newcomers. Despite the island's small size, visitors should allow at least four or five days to truly embrace the natural beauty of Tasmania.
When driving in Australia, use the left side of the road, and always be on the lookout for speed traps. Remember, long distance driving is quite normal, which is why motorists need to stock up on fuel, food and water before departing. The police are always out in force, so driving with caution is recommended, and driving under the influence of alcoholic substances (over 0.05mg/ml) leads to severe penalties.
- Speed limits in the city: 50kph to 60kph.
- Speed limits on national roads: 100-110kph.
- Help number: 000.