Sep 14th, 2004, 01:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2

hi there,
My girlfriend and I are travelling australia
next june and plan to use a campervan to do the majority of it. Thinking of buying one in
Cairns after flying from darwin?? Is this the best place to buy? What is a reasonable price to expect to pay bearing in mind that we want to spend as little as possible on it?
Also what kind of time period would be expected to travel to sydney from cairns by
help please anyone??
mikeyc is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Hi, mikeyc!

This is far from my strong suit, but I wlays like to take up the challenge when someone asks the price of something. I'm in New South Wales, far from Cairns, but I would imagine that what is true of costs here would be equally tue up there, so I looked up our local website for second-hand goods (; capervans on that site range from $AUD500 for a 1980 model to $AUD32,500 for a 1997 model. So you have a large range to consider! If you check that site, it might at least give you an idea on what you might be asked to pay.
I guess Cairns would be as good a place to buy one as anywhere.

Cairns to Sydney is a long way, and there are lots of tasty stops along the way. You wouldn't want to allow less than a week, although as a straight drive you could probably do it in half that time. I presume you will sell the Campervan in Sydney; a good place to do this might be the Sunday car market at Flemington.... it's like a swap-meet of car buyers and sellers, not always the way to get the highest price, but useful if time is short and a successful sale is of paramount importance. If you sell to a dealer, you know you will get a rock-bottom price, especially if he can tell by your accent that you probably have a plane to catch tomorrow.
Alan is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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australian message board at the thorn tree
johhj_au is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 76
in darwin, cairns, brisbane, sydney, melb and perth you'll find plenty of other travellers desperate to offload their vehicles to fund the next leg of their trip .... check the notice boards of the main backpackers/hostels.
But i think campervans are not commonly available.
Are you only travelling for the month of June - maybe you could consider another kind of van or hire for the month ?
Boyfriend and I spent 8 months travelling around Australia, about 3 yrs ago, in a 1976 Renault 12, 5 door- was an amazing trip, (we camped everywhere) - even though the ol girl could only reach a top speed of 95 klm per hour the only time she let us down was after crossing the Nullarbor (over 4 days mind you) we needed to change the fuel lead, cost us 7 bucks .... funny thing was we passed broken down 4WD's, Ford Falcon's (and the occassion combie !) all along the way .... but our trusty 25 yr old Reno did us proud. With this in mind don't compromise reliability for price when buying yr van - breaking down in the middle of nowhere is no fun.
try and to get an idea of whats available.
Have to say the drive from Cairns to Brisbane was the least interesting. Loved the drive from Darwin into the Qld outback though, if you get the chance do stop at the Blue Heeler pub in Kynuna ... and up the coast from Perth to Broome was the absolute highlight ... but now i'm getting carried away.
leisa is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 31
Please carry on I would love to here more about your trip.
My hubby and I are flying out from UK to Melbourne on the 28th of this month. Hopefully buying a camper van!! Then setting out clockwise to Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbaine, and back to Melbourne to fly onto NZ in March 2005.
What time of year did you travel? Do you think what we are planning is possible in 5 months?...and tell us more about the West coast.

Louy is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 76
hi louy, i think you're trip is totally do-able in 5 months. we started out in November from Brisbane, down the coast to Sydney, then inland via Canberra and the Snowy Mnts arriving in Melbourne by the end of January, we stayed in Melbourne for 2 months, (had to replenish the piggy bank) headed off again in April, stuck to the coast to Adelaide, across the Nullarbor, down to Esperance, thru the SW of WA, Perth, then up to Broome, over to Darwin, then came back to Brisbane thru the Queensland outback by end of June. 6 months travelling, 8 months in total. think it was about 15,000 klm's, maybe more.
We started out with no set itinerary, just that we'd follow the coast, deciding to stop wherever took our fancy, i picked up brochures from the tourist information centres in each region.
WA and NT was the absolute highlight. The east coast is very beautiful, but the rugged west just blew us away.
By the time we'd crossed the Nullarbor our 'holiday' was fast becoming an ADVENTURE ! I think the fact that we were in our beloved Renault (not yr typical choice for a round australia trip!), and that we were camping, making do for all those months with the absolute basics, on a tight budget, made us feel very much in touch with the land. I can't really describe the feeling.
Can really recommend Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance ... stunning beaches, an abundance of wildlife.
The SW corner of WA - on our next trip we will spent a lot more time here, had no idea how lush this area was ...
some highlights were the Karri forests near Denmark - climbing the Gloucester Tree - Albany and Torndirrup National Park ... we wished out budget had of allowed us to indulge in all the Margaret River region has to offer. We had to resist temptation though, do the food and wine thing another time.
Rottnest island was lovely, those cute little quokkas and fab snorkelling.
Heading north from Perth we went to the Pinnacles, a very weird sight ... but a little further north on a tip we took a detour to Jurian Bay and Greenhead - got to snorkel and play(just the two of us) with a colony of sea lions - ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE !
Kalbarri was stunning - did a really enjoyable days trekking and canoeing thru the National Park with Kalbarri Adventure Tours.
We figured our experience with the sea lions could not be topped, so we didn't bother with the dolphins at Monkey Mia, lots of other people were telling us they were so impressed with the way it was arranged ....
Now, back in Albany i picked up a Guide to Free Camping sites in WA - it really came in handy for the next stretch up to Exmouth and beyond. We tried to limit ourselves to driving no more than 500-600klm's at a time - and we always made sure we set up camp long before sunset (something you learn from experience, that's another story!). Some days we'd be driving for hours and the scenery just wouldn't change - flat and red and HOT - then all of a sudden we'd come to a river crossing, and a campers oasis - sounds strange but we camped for days at a time at these sites, you'll see little tracks leading off from the main highway before and after a bridge. Swimming holes, open fires, shady trees, just beautiful. And can you imagine the night sky out int he middle of nowhere, AWESOME.
Made it to Coral Bay - lovely snorkelling off the beach.
At Exmouth we stayed in Cape Range National Park, again more snorkelling at our doorstep, did a snorkelling trip with the Whale Sharks and Manta Rays WOW! You might be there in time for turtles laying eggs.
The funniest thing happened to us about a 100klm's outside of Broome, we came across an injured Euro (a Wallaroo) and decided (it must have been the heat !) that the right thing to do would be to bring it with us into Broome, and take it to the Animal Rescue people .... well ... it was so stunned by it's injuries that it was no problem to wrap up and get in the car, boyfriend held it in his lap, then i belted him in .... of course it started coming round about 20klm out of broome, wriggling about, i was driving so fast, 100k/hr ( !!) in the Renault that the engine started to overheat .... AND THE SMELL ! The police thought we were mad, but escorted us to the nearest animal rescue .... well, it was like visiting the zoo ... another highlight ! Gorgeous baby and rare aussie animals.
Broome was quite nice, but not what i expected, we didn't stay long.
Then we headed over to the NT ....
we avoided towns as much as possible and stayed in the National Parks instead .. don't miss Edith Falls.
Some practical advice - be prepared for higher fuel costs across the Nullarbor ($1.30AUD/litre) and into WA.
Watch out for the massive road trains, the longest trucks in the world basically - you'll see signs on the roads warning you to allow 1klm to pass - passing a road train in the Renault become a most exciting venture!
At dusk the roads become very dangerous because of wandering wildlife, we were shocked by the amount of roadkill ! This was the main reason we decided to always be set up or back at camp before dusk.
Don't be tempted to use 4WD tracks unless you're in a 4WD - we heard horror stories of silly backpackers taking their vans and cars off road and having near disasters.
We always carried water, and a few basic spare parts, but nothing too over the top.
Ah look, doing this kind of trip, camping or in a campervan, is just the perfect way to get a really good feel for what Australia is all about - it's just SO diverse.
leisa is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 76
of course, that's supposed to read - in reference to skipping Monkey Mia - that other people were NOT so impressed with their experience there ....
leisa is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 02:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 31
Thank you Leisa for your reply. You have given us hope! Your trip sounds exactly like what we want. I have printed it all out to take with us. The only difference I can see is that we are travelling more in the wet season when we are up north by Darwin.A family friend has said the whole area is cut off then for 4 months. We hope he is exaggerating and I intend to do some more research. Thank you again so much for your reply.
best wishes
Louy is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 05:52 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 76
hi louy, i've never experienced the wet season in the top end first hand, but i understand flash floods do happen and in that sense entire regions can be cut off .....
i've found these two website really helpful : and
i forgot to mention - along the Great Ocean Road out of Melbourne, if you want to stop a few days beside a GORGEOUS beach, look out for Johanna Beach, between Apollo Bay and Port Campbell, there are no facilities (just a public loo) so you'll have to rough it, but it stunning.
leisa is offline  

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