The key costs I split into setup (capital if you will) and running costs (day to day budget). Obviously you need the money to buy gear and the vehicle up front but hope to get most of this back at the end of the trip. There is an old saying in Australia, “any idiot can be uncomfortable in the bush” and depending on what you spend you can substitute experience for gear!All costs are in Australian dollars try this site for conversions to your currency
Day to Day Costs
Caravan Parks $20 – $35 Typically $24 for 2 people for a powered site.
Although we have a tent we prefer a powered site so that we can easily charge the electronic gizmos and the camping lights. We found that the Council owned parks in smaller centers although often well-situated next to a beach or a river tend to be poor value as they only provide an amenities block. Private caravan parks particularly in popular areas tend to include well provisioned kitchens, BBQ’s, games rooms, laundries (extra cost), swimming pools, wireless internet and children’s play areas. The best deal is to joining one or more of the main groups of private parks : Family Parks of Australia, Big 4, or Top Tourist Parks. For example Big 4 costs $40 for 2 year’s membership – giving you 10% off their rates – staying only on powered sites you save $2.50 to $3.00 per a night after two weeks you’ve paid for it. However as larger cabins can cost over $100 you can in fact pay back your membership in a few days if staying in these! You don’t need to join in advance or even when you check-in – just during your first stay at a park and they will give you the discount retrospectively!
However as we have a tent we have found as the temperatures got lower in the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania we often stayed in cabins at the parks. A cabin costs $40 – $80 depending on whether it had an en suite (usually $65) or not (usually$50). (Prices include the 10% discount from being a member of the association if applicable) All include some sort of cooking facility at a minimum a fridge, hot plate, toaster and hot water jug, and often including a microwave, bench top oven and electric fry pan. Usually linen was included though sometimes we had to supply our own sheets and towels (we could have hired if necessary).
Hostels and other accommodation.
In cities I prefer to not stay in a caravan park which may be 20km from the CBD. Instead you can pick up accommodation closer in which still provides secure parking for your vehicle. Typically this wont be actually CBD but maybe 5km out on a public transport route. For example in Melbourne we found St Kilda to perfect as their are numerous trams to the city and it is also close to the departure point for the ferry to Tasmania. Its generally the newer hostels in St Kilda that will provide secure parking for little or no extra charge. We enjoyed the Cooee Hostel ($75 / double en suite with flat screen TV and internet access) . Hostelworld is a good place to start for hostels and cheaper hotels. I also have found good self-catering apartments using consolidator sites such as RatesToGo especially if booking within a few weeks or days of arrival.
Which includes – as far as we are concerned anyway a reasonable amount of beer and wine. We eat well when we self-cater, I enjoy ethnic food and tend to buy the various prepared sauces which work quite well with minimum effort. We tend to eat out in the big cities where there are great options at reasonable prices (less than $20 for a main course) but otherwise will self-cater with the odd relapse into take out pizza or fish and chips. We drink cheaper bottles of wine – a reasonable local red can be had for less than $10 in a bottle store and a 6 pack of premium beer will cost $12 to $15. Down the east coast we were averaging $200/week for groceries (including booze) and the same again for restaurants – but I think this will tip in the favor of self-catering as we get more remote. The budget of $50/day for food seems to be about right. Lunch in a coffee shop can easily cost $30/2
Diesel has varied between $1.21 to $1.80- cheaper in Queensland than other states, cheaper to big cities than the bushWe are only getting about 14 to 16 litre’s / 100km with an older Landcruiser, which is, unusally in Australia an automatic. Also a diesel needs an oil change every 5000km so we have paid $180 – $190 for those.
I would budget $40/2 a day for this one – but for the month we were on the east coast we were nearly double that. In Tasmania we were close to budget. This is the hardest thing to budget – a day pass on the trams over $6 per person. An attraction entry anywhere between $5 or $20 per person. Showing our youth hostel cards got us a surprising number of discounts on museums and attractions. A National Parks pass for Tasmania – $80 for the vehicle for 2 months. Movies – $15 per person. Internet access varies from $4 – $10 / hour. Taking the vehicle to Tasmania cost $79 each way – but passengers (and you need at least one with the vehicle!) cost at least $110 each, each way.