5 Things to Have to When Travelling Australia in a Van or Bus
Travelling around Australia can be one of the best experiences you will ever have. But before you set off in your camper, bus, van, pop top, or whatever your chosen chariot is, there are some things you really should know.
1. Road roadside assistance
Australia is a vast island continent with more than 10,000 roads! So if you’re going to travel around it, it really makes sense that you have some kind of roadside assistance. Roadside assistance in Australia is basically an insurance where you pay an annual fee upfront, and in return you can get help in the case of an emergency.
For example, let’s say you get a flat tyre or lock your keys in the car. You can call your roadside assistance provider and they’ll come to help and you won’t have to pay a cent! Depending on the level of roadside assistance you end up getting, you might also be covered in the case of a complete engine breakdown. In this case, towing fees, accommodation, and travel costs might be covered, which could save you thousands of dollars!
I’ve personally been a member with NRMA roadside assistance for many years and have had to use their services once for a major breakdown! (I was pretty happy to have had their support for this!)
As a member of NRMA you also get discounts on insurance with NRMA, caravan parks, mechanics, activities, etc… which can also help save a few bob at the end of the day!
But don’t just listen to me, as with anything in life do your own due diligence and research to make sure you get the product that best suits your needs. And no matter who you choose to go with, before you set off on your adventure around Australia in a van, roadside assistance should be a priority and for me is high on the top five things to have when you travel Australia in a campervan.
2. Soap to wash your hands
Australia is well set up for travellers with heaps of rest stop areas that are easy to find. These rest areas normally have toilets, rubbish bins, a place to sit and eat lunch, and maybe even enough room to stretch your legs and take a walk!
But, although toilets are aplenty, what you typically won’t find in those toilets is soap to wash your hands!
So my number two tip the travel in Australia is to carry your own soap.
The best and most practical type of soap we’ve found is the pump soap. We just keep a small bottle in our console of the car and bus, and that way, we have it whenever we need!
I’m not going to get into brands here, (although you could try to find one that’s gentle on the environment) that’s not the point!
The point here is to make sure that when you head off down the road on your driving tour of Australia, carry soap to wash your hands with you!
3. Mozzie repellent
Mosquitoes and flies!!
Yes, one of the certainties in Australia are the flies!! But somewhat more nasty than the flies are the mozzies (that is the mosquitoes).
Mosquitoes are everywhere and they can carry some not so friendly friends with them. We’ve recently recovered from Ross River Fever because of a bloody mozzie bite!! And let me tell you it wasn’t a very fun six weeks at all!
So make sure you do yourself a favour when you’re travelling around Australia and take some mozzie repellent around with you. There are plenty of options when it comes mosquito repellent, including some great organic repellents that are made with Sandalwood.
A quick search of your local supermarket or chemist and you should be able to find something suitable. So you have no excuses for taking some mosquito repellent with you on your travels around Australia.
4. Drinking Water
One of the basics to life is water, and Australia can be pretty dry (especially when you’re inland and not on the coast).
Whenever you’re travelling around Australia make sure you carry plenty of drinking water. We normally carry at least 40 litres of drinking water in addition to our everyday water tank that we use for showering and washing dishes.
If you prepare before you get too remote, it’s easy enough to get drinking water. Either by finding drinking water from a tap or buying it already bottled from your local super market. If you plan to get your water from a tap, you should carry a water filter and food grade hose. We use an inline water filter when we fill our water bottles to clean our drinking water and take away any metallic or chlorine tastes.
So my number four thing to take with you when travelling around Australia is drinking water. Make sure that every time you leave a town, you fill up your water bottles so you’ve got some reserves in case you don’t come across another town for a few days!
Internet is essential to our modern day life even as a van, bus or nomad lifer.
We personally rely on Internet for work (which includes making great video interviews), and we find it really tough when internet coverage is limited.
We use Telstra as we’ve found they generally have the best coverage around Australia. We’ve travelled up and down the East Coast, across to South Australia, Victoria, parts of rural QLD, and using their mobile broadband service most areas that we’ve stopped have had pretty solid internet coverage. Of course there are some blackspot, but they are easily avoidable if you take a quick look at the coverage map and plan around it!
So that’s our number 5 tip before you set out on your travels around Aussieland – make sure you get yourself a mobile broadband package so that you can continue to work, stay in touch with friends and family, or just enjoy Netflix while you’re on the road. We recommend using Telstra and data sharing between your mobile broadband dongle and mobile phones if possible.
So there you have it, five tips for travelling across Australia in a van.
Make sure that you have as comfortable and memorable trip as possible by including the above list of must have’s in your travelling Australia checklist.
If you want to read more about travelling around Australia in a campervan, download our free e-book. The e-book describes common types of vehicles that can be used to travel around Australia, has some other tips for travelling around Australia, and it also reviews two great free camp spots in New South Wales.
Or if video is more your thing, check out our van and bus tours and interviews of nomads who live on the road in their van, bus, truck, etc…
They’re a great way to get ideas for your conversion and an inside look into how people from all walks of life are living on the road!
The van and bus tour videos can be found at www.NomadsAroundAustralia.com or our YouTube channel – Nomads Around Australia.
We hope this helps and safe travels!!!
If you are going to recommend products, heads up cheap but good quality will grab attention. Most people research before running out and buying, l follow American and European small bus designs and what works and doesn’t to see what will suffice instead in Aus. As most people in Aus do, seeing a lot of the builds here. Problem we have is the larger vans are so exorbitantly over- priced. We make do with what we can, thats what Aussie’s do!