by Martin Crowe
The Northern Territory is the central northern state of Australia and is famous for marvelous outback journeys. Frequently known as the Never-Never by the customary owners on account of it’s timelessness and mythical stories, the Northern Territory delivers more adventure than almost all of Australia’s states and the opportunity to get truly lost in the beauty and ruggedness of what is the quintessential “Australian Outback”.
The best way to travel this vast red, green and sapphire land is with a vehicle of your own rented in Darwin or Alice Springs – the 2 leading cities. There is only 1 thing to bear in mind if driving in the Northern Territory, Western Australia or anyplace in the outback: if you want to be leaving the black tar, you have to be in a 4wd!
Where is Darwin.
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, and is the biggest in the state. It is situated on the central north coast of Australia on the Timor Sea and is found between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator.
Darwin is the gateway to the outback of Australia – the rugged, beautiful, red, green and blue lands that have made Australia celebrated the world over. From Darwin you get quick access to a number of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. Kakadu National Park – the world heritage listed park lands, Litchfield National park – the inland treasure of the Northern Territory, Uluru – the worlds largest monolith, and a plethora of other attractions which make you gaze in wonder. You cannot find any better way to visit these timeless, rugged places than with your very own 4wd camper hire from Darwin.
The Northern Territory is sparsely populated and is primarily outback bushland and national parks. Darwin has a population of about 130,000 defining it as the biggest city in the Northern Territory, however is only 16th biggest in Australia. It is an important gateway to South East Asia and possesses quite a military significance to Australia. As a result, you will normally find Navy ships in the harbour. It is the northernmost point of the popular Ghan railway that crosses the country in a North/South course with the alternative end being Adelaide some 2979km away.
Like all leading cities in Australia it has a bountiful supply of shops, eateries, cafes, petrol, places to stay and everything a tourist will need to have a wonderful time.
When to Go.
Darwin is in a tropical location so is hot and humid throughout the year. It is more defined by a wet and dry season. The ideal time to go is the dry season, but in particular the times when there are no school holidays is the best of the best.
Dry Season: Late April to September/October. This the perfect time of the year to go. In this time there is less rain and the night times become a little cooler. “A little cooler” in Darwin means an average of around 20 deg C (68F) as apposed to 24 deg C (75F). The days stay about the same average all year at 32 deg C (90F) but they seem far more tolerable during the dry season with about 50% the humidity of the wet season.
School holidays: These are the times which will raise crowds in Darwin and other attractions in the Northern Territory during the dry season. Dates differ from state to state, but taking in to account the beginning dates of the first state(s) to go on break and the end of the last state(s) to go back, these are the dates of school holidays. (Subject to minor change each year).
29th March – 26th April 1st July – 21st July 23rd September – 13th October
Wet Season: October/November to around April. The wet starts with particularly steamy, hot weather accompanied by some remarkable lightning storms. The rain increases as you approach the end of the year. The wettest part of the year is from January to March. During this time numerous unsealed roads will close to all but local residents and it is not advised to go at this time except if you like being wet. Even 4wd campers are likely to get bogged at this time of year. This is also the part of the season that is most prone to cyclones.
What to See.
Darwin is the gateway to outback Australia. With a 4wd campervan rented from Darwin you may get to all the places you want to go and even to some you don’t know you want to get to yet. From Darwin it is just a road-trip to the likes of Litchfield National Park, Katherine, Uluru & Kings Canyon, Alice Springs and The Kimberly in Western Australia. And don’t forget Darwin itself for some enjoyment and relaxation. As little as three hours drive from Darwin, Kakadu National Park possesses a rare dual World Heritage listing for both its natural splendor and its historic Aboriginal culture, dating back 50,000 years. It is one of the most popular sights in the north, with Uluru being the most favored in the south.
There are no trains or trams around Darwin, it is just buses. There are several sight-seeing opportunities around Darwin that are not in the middle to town and you can save yourself a great deal of waiting at a hot bus stop if you splash out on a camper. And once you are ready to see the places that are further afield, make sure you get yourself a 4wd camper hire to do the long miles with. There is minimal useful public transport options outside of Darwin. The only train operates from Darwin to Adelaide 2 times a week (The Ghan).
Darwin and the Northern Territory are where so many of the most famous photographs of Australia are taken, not to mention movies like Crocodile Dundee and Kangaroo Jack. It is a destination where time simply stopped tens on thousands of years ago and now gives the contemporary sightseer a glimpse in to the past when only the Aboriginals inhabited the land along with the native animals. No other place in Australia or the globe can offer wonderment, tranquility, exhilaration and adventure like that which is on offer in the “Never Never”.
Before you plan your next vacation anywhere, discover more about the amazing journey you can experience with a campervan hire Darwin Australia. Discover which type of Darwin campervan hire will suit you and where to take it.
by Tim Ahern
Perth, in Western Australia, is said to be the worlds most remote capital city. It’s nearest capital city neighbor, is Adelaide around 2500km away. With a bustling population of around 1.8 million inhabitants, Perth has something to offer nearly everyone, however it is when you head a few hours out of Perth, in pretty much any direction, that the fun really starts. Keeping that in mind, it is highly recommended to rent a vehicle whilst you are there. To have true freedom of movement though, it is recommended that you hire a campervan or motorhome so you can set your own agenda and operate to a timetable that is governed entirely by you.
To the south of Perth is the famous Margaret River wine region. Known for it’s delightful wines you can also indulge in beautiful food and amazing surf. There is even one beach there where stingrays come to the shore daily to feed on the left overs that fisherman throw away when they clean their fish. Standing knee deep and realtively still, you can have the stingrays glide past you like a cat as their flaps brush up against your legs. I’ve done it and I am still alive to tell the tale so don’t worry. There’s a sheep farm in Margaret River that has camping facilities with all the amenities you could want including a nice social communal kitchen and open fire which everyone gathers around at night. This place, along with all the good camping site around Australia can be found in Camps Australia book which is highly recommended (at time of writing Camps is up to version 7).
To the north of Perth is the famous sandstone phenomenon called The Pinnacles. Only a couple of hours along the northbound coast road, the Pinnacles are situated just near a town called Cervantes. However, ON THE WAY, make sure to stop in to a little place called Lancelin. Lancelin is the home of sand dune surfing and is a great little place to burn some energy and have some fun. There are couple of little places in town that rent out sand boards cheaply, but do yourself a favor and get a half day – sand boarding can be tiring. If you’ve got a 4WD campervan then you can have a heap of fun driving right up to the best sand dunes, if you’ve got a 2WD then best park on road next to the dunes and walk in. This whole area is a great place to let loose if you have a 4WD as the sand is fairly well packed but loose enough to really get to know what your 4×4 can do. I saw one guy fly through there at about 80km going absolutely nuts up every dune he could find. He didn’t stay long but he sure did have fun while he was there. The boards are very similar to snow boards and a pretty easy to work out. I even took the dog on mine. Anyway, afterwards you can walk to the beach, rinse off, and continue on to Cervantes for the Pinncales and a good nights sleep in your campervan. It’s a great little overnight trip. I found some other people that had done this trip, You can find their experience here.
There are lots of things to do in Perth itself and Tourism Western Australia has revetnly put out a new pomo video showing some of the things you can get up to there. You can find that video attached to this article. There is a also a cool listing of things to do on Trip Advisor that you can find here.
Perth and Western Australia are a beautiful and amazing part of Australia. It truly is massive and divergent in every manner so the ultimate way to see it is with a rented campervan or motorhome which allows you to determine your own schedule, stay where you wish, get up when you want and get going when you wish.
Tim Ahern has over 5 years of world travel under his belt with over a year spent in a 4 wheel drive campervan around Australia. It is no wonder that campervan hire in Australia is his recommended method of transportation for check outors. If you are looking for campervan hire in Perth you should check out his campervan review site to find out who the best hire companies are.
by Tim Ahern
If you’re considering campervan hire in Australia, then the most obvious place to pick it up or drop it off has to be Sydney. There are numerous reasons why you want to rent your camper and Sydney and I’m here just to let you know the most basic of these reasons.
Firstly, Sydney is Australia’s biggest city. With around 5 million people in greater Sydney there is plentiful supply of all things, and campervan hire companies are one of them. Sydney is also centrally located on the east coast. From here is it approximately 1000km to Melbourne and Brisbane, approximately 1400km to Adelaide and only 290km to Canberra – the nation’s capital. No other city in Australia has this kind of central proximity to so many other cities of interest.
Sydney is also the major arrival port for Australia. More passengers come through Sydney airport than any other in the country, so it is likely that you are going to arrive or leave through this city anyway. From Sydney you can also catch any form of public transport to any other part of the country.
With the plethora of transport choices that such a large city offers, why would you want to hire a campervan when there are so many other options? Well, the answer lies in the public transport options outside of Sydney and the ease and control that a campervan can give you. Once you get out of the major cities public transport options become fairly limited by world standards. This is brought on by the massive size of the country, the small population for that size and wealth of the nation that allows most people to own their own car, hence not needing public transport. Once you get out of the major cities, and in particular if you want to get off the national highway, then getting public transport becomes quite painful.
There are also an number of things to do in Sydney that are on the outskirts of the city. To the north is Palm Beach, the central coast and the Hunter Valley. To the west the Blue Mountains and to the south, Cronulla and the Royal National Park. All of these can be reached significantly easier in your own vehicle that you can then spend the night in whilst you are there. Getting to and from all these areas will take hours on public transport in both diretions.
Not everyone wants to sleep the night in a vehicle, but having the ability to drive to any location will massively expand the sites you can visit whilst in Australia. Sydney, with more campervan hire company depots than any other city, is certainly the place you want to look in to picking up a vehicle from. And keep this in mind whilst you are doing your campervan research – there are over 30 companies with depots in Sydney. Many campervan hire webistes will only show you results for the top 5 companies. Some will show you results for around 10 companies. Make sure when you research your campervan that the website you are researching on shows at least 20 different companies that can supply you with a camper for the dates you need. Otherwise you are likely to be paying more than you need to.
Tim Ahern has been researching and reviewing campervan hire in Australia ever since he spent a year in a four wheel drive camper traversing that country. He now spends his time divulging his experience with everyone who desires to know about campervan hire in Australia. His favorite topic is Campervan hire from Sydney
by Tim Ahern
So you’re not sure if you want to rent a campervan whilst you travel in Australia or maybe buy a car. Well here is some more information to help make the decision.
The longer you hire a campervan, the cheaper the daily rate gets in most cases so there is a distinct advantage to long term hire. Every rental company will also give you roadside assistance coverage to help with breakdowns if they occur. There are no issues about picking up a campervan in one city and dropping it off in another one and in most cases if you are not happy with the campervan you have, then you can exchange it.
Be aware though, when renting there can be hidden costs so make sure you read all the contract details carefully. Also keep in mind that all camper hire companies will charge a security deposit, some take this off your credit card at the time of charging it and hold on to it for the length of the rental, this money, therefore, will not be available for you to spend whilst you are traveling in the campervan.
Purchasing a car, on the other hand, can pose just as many problems as hiring. Firstly your money is tied up in the vehicle. Secondly, if you buy a lemon you can end up with nothing – wasting the money you used to buy it. Additionally, most states in Australia require roadworthy certificates to be done upon annual registration and some when the vehicle changes hand. If the registration runs out whilst you are driving it you will be up the registration costs of around $600 as well as any repair work to get the roadworthy certificate. If you buy from other backpackers you can almost guarantee they have not spent a cent more than absolutely necessary on maintaining vehicle, and like a hot potato, it just gets passed around from traveller to traveller. Eventually the long kilometers and lack of maintenance will cause a breakdown and if this occurs 300km from anywhere you will find yourself in a lot of bother. You will want to plan in advance on whether to spend money on roadside assistance for the car or just get it towed when it dies – towing is expensive.
It is also quite obvious that the closer you get to your leaving date, the less money anyone will give you for the car – another chance that you will get nothing back for it if you can’t sell before leaving.
Look, at the end of the day, campervan hire in Australia can be tailored to fit nearly any budget. In addition to this, it can offer piece-of-mind knowing the price of the journey is already known before you leave the depot and that you will have roadside assistance for the whole journey.
Want to find out more about campervan hire in Australia, then visit Tim Ahern’s site on how to choose the best camper hire for your needs.
by Tim Ahern
If you’re looking to hire a campervan or motorhome in Australia, then you can guarantee in your search you will come across the company Britz. However, before your commit to hiring anything from them, great as they are, you should at least consider some of the 60 alternative companies. Below you can find out about some other well known, and not so well known alternatives.
Clearly the biggest player in the Australian motorhome hire market is the company Britz. Through their own brand of vehicles as well as the extended family brands of Kea Campers, Maui and Mighty Campers, they have more vehicles than anyone else. The biggest competitor to this would have to be the Apollo brand of campers. The Apollo family consists of Apollo, Cheapa Campa and Hippy Campers. Each one is positioned to go up against Britz in each market segment of superior, mid-range and budget respectively. In any research in to campervan hire in Australia, the Apollo range should be looked at as a key alternative.
If you are researching the budget camper market you will inevitably find the aforementioned Hippy and Mighty campers, however, you are also likely to come across Wicked Campers too. Wicked are a leading force in the budget campervan hire market world wide and Australia is no exception. They have a reputation of being unreliable, breaking down a lot and not really helping out in these situations. However at the same time they have grown to a mammoth company with depots world wide and a massive Facebook following, so enough travellers must be happy with them to warrant this kind of expansion and love. If you are a bit worried about this reputation, then try looking at Travellers Autobarn and Awesome Campers as alternatives. Travellers Autobarn has been around since 1993 and over the last few years has been winning a plethora of awards for their service (as voted by users). Awesome has been expanding rapidly over the last couple of years suggesting that they are doing a lot of things right by their customers.
But Britz itself really is aimed at the middle to upper price range of campervans. So what are some alternatives in this range? Well, staying clear of the aforementioned camper companies that are owned by Britz and Apollo, one mentionable alternative is Around Australia Motorhomes.This company is going for the luxury motorhome market and definitely making their mark. No skimping with this crowd, their fleet consists mainly of top-end Winnebagos for the clientele that want space and luxury on their travel. If this is you, then definitely get a price from them before booking anywhere else. Independently owned, they pride themselves on client satisfaction and are a small enough company to care what the end user thinks.
There is also a mid priced company worth mentioning called Energi Motorhomes. It is not heavily promoted but users appear to be happy with them. They don’t have a huge marketing budget it seems, so they don’t pop up early in search results but they if you can find a price comparison site that represents them, then take note. The vehicles they supply are quite modern and the prices seem quite good – but no so cheap they are unbelievable, which is a good thing. Anyway, if you do a search on a website and they don’t turn up in the results, keep looking until you find a site that represents these guys and give them some serious thought before booking.
Additionally, in the mid range price market, keep an eye out for Camperman Campervans. Recently they have been becoming a major player in a market that is full of also-rans. They have been one of the fastest growing companies in the mid to upper price range offering new vehicles that fit nicely in to the market. Whilst they are definitely pushing their new vehicles, they are still holding on the older vehicles that they had when they were smaller. With these older vechiles they can still tap in to the cheaper end of mid range market too. They have bases up the whole length of the east coast of Australia and so they offer quite an alternative to Britz and the other major players that are in this market segment.
So, if you are looking for a cheap campervan, and mid range motorhome or a luxury RV, there are definitely alternatives available to the dominant Britz range. I have only covered a handful here. If hiring from Sydney, the largest Australian city, there are over 30 companies that have depots available to you. Make sure when researching for which company to hire from, you look for a website that gives at least 20 different companies in the results for your search criteria.