How much would a Budget 4WD Trip cost us.

I split costs into up front set-up costs and on-going on the road costs.

Up front set-up costs

Vehicle Costs

  • The difference in vehicle purchase price and resale.

  • Stamp Duty 2-3% of the car’s purchase price

  • Insurance allow say $300 pa and bring evidence of your claim history.

  • Registration varies between states but can be up to A$700 for a 4WD – you should take this into account when negotiating the purchase price. This includes 3rd party injury but not 3rd property.

  • Tyres for a 4WD will cost anything from A$200 up – much much more in the real bush. Again include the likelihood of needing replacements in up front cost negotiations.

  • An older diesel engine requires servicing every A$5000 to A$6000km not the normal 10,000km recommended for petrol engines. The diesel service cost A$180-A$200 depending on what needed replacing such as oil and filters.

  • The stuff that breaks. We ended up spending A$3,000 in repairs on a vehicle that cost us A$7,000. Mostly it was stuff that needed doing because we were using the vehicle off-road and remote. We replaced the battery twice because the first one wasn’t rated high enough, we replaced shocks and the front end bearings which were leaking. We deliberately replaced all hoses and belts near the start of the trip, as we didn’t know their history and didn’t want any of them breaking in the middle of nowhere.

Other Gear

We spent another A$1,500 on camping gear, spares for the vehicle and tools.

On the Road Costs

I break on-road costs down as following in order of importance:

Fuel: Our 1985 Landcruiser drank diesel at an average of 12-14 liter / 100 km – this a pretty good figure and you will use a lot more fuel if you are towing or running a petrol engine. Diesel and petrol cost approximately the same in the outback. We fuel ranged in price from $1.20 in Queensland coast (the state with the lowest fuel tax) up to $1.90 in remote areas. We spent on averaged A$35/day but it obviously varied widely!

Accommodation: we spent A$40 on average – this was probably on the high end because we stayed in cabins in the cold weather and stayed in hostels or similar in the cities – we’ve camped approximately 60% of the time.

Food: Including other consumables like beer and wine, shampoo, laundry powder. Also including eating out came to about A$51 /day. At the start of trip, out of habit, we tended to eat out for lunch, this was often $25/2. We later on realised that it was a lot cheaper and often better food if we made our own. We drink lightly and didn’t eat fish very often – only on the coast.

Miscellaneous: This included medical visits and prescription charges, clothing, cash which we forgot to account for, entrance fees (very little on average), National Park entry fees, souvenirs (very few), internet access fees, mobile phone recharges. This averaged A$35/day.

Do these costs sound about right to you? What is your experience of costs on the road?

Budget Camping Setup

Budget Camping Setup

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