So… you’ve decided that you want to hire a campervan to travel Australia – congratulations! You’re already ahead of millions of other travellers. We are HUGE ambassadors for self-drive tours in Australia. This is big country and everyone here drives. The country is set up so that the best places (eg. Cape Hillsborough, Finch Hatton Gorge) can only be reached by car. All the travellers who are touring Australia via the Greyhound or Premier Bus system are missing out big time! This is not Europe where the trains will get you to most places you want to go (have you seen the condition of trains in Australia?!). This is not Asia or South America where a large percentage of the population rely on good regional public transport to take them to and from work, the market and school. This is Australia, where everyone has a car and tour companies will charge you royally for the pleasure of being taken off the Greyhound route.
But how do you choose which campervan to hire? You’ve probably searched campervan hire Australia or some similar search term in google and are not feeling totally overwhelmed by the shit-tonne of options, companies and styles that are on offer. We get it man, it’s confusing. We were just as dumb-founded by the situation the first and second time we hired a campervan. However, we have learned by making our own mistakes and are here to make sure that you do not make them too!
The major players in campervan hire Australia
As far as we are concerned, the major players in the BUDGET campervan hire industry in Australia are Wicked Campers, Juicy Campas and Travellers Autobarn. These are the three you want to focus on, with a few more mentioned below just so you are aware of all your options.
Wicked Campers are the budget end of the scale. They come in all shapes and sizes and are very affordable. Click here for a quote and find out just how cheap they can be. The cheapest of the Wicked range is the Iconic 2/3 seater. These are the the gratified vans – like Chilli is modelling on your left here – that comfortably fit 2 people for drive and sleep. If you took three people you would want to be good mates (of have a tent to chuck the third traveller in if you want to keep your costs low – see our article “Ways to make hiring a campervan in Australia cheaper” for more info and tips). They are perfect for the budget conscious traveller. The next step up for those who like a little luxury is the Premium 2 seater van (below). These vans are newer and cleaner. If we had our time again, we would have opted for one of these. Just a little more luxury than the Iconic vans offer. Wicked also offer larger busses and vans for bigger groups. All Wicked Campers come with the following:
- Internal table and lounge
- Gas Cooker
- Plates, Cups & Bowls
- Saucepan + Pot
- Kitchenette, camping stove
Prices for Wicked Vans (all vans in general actually) vary greatly depending on the time of the year you book them and how far out you are able to book so be sure to pick your dates well. The best ploy is to avoid public holidays and school holidays if possible. For example, a search for hire on the following dates – all return to Brisbane over 14 days, search made on 24 Feb – showed the following prices.
14 days in March = $700 for the iconinc 2/3 seater or Premium 2 seater
14 days in April or May = $330 for the iconinc 2/3 seater or Premium 2 seater
14 days in September or November = $550 for the iconinc 2/3 seater or Premium 2 seater
Does this sound like more than you wanted to pay? Just remember that once you hire your van your accommodation costs will drop dramatically. Other bloggers tell us that the average price of dorm room accommodation in Australia is 15GBP, or $27–35AUD per night. With a van, you can easily knock that down to $0, $6 or $10 per night.
Britz, Mighty, Camperman, Cruisin, Jucy Campas and Travellers Autobarn campers can all be booked through Drive Now, or Discovery Campers These sites bring all the info about these six companies is brought together under one roof, making it easier for you to compare the deals! If you hate reading (or just can’t be assed right now) then use the search widget below to look at your pricing option. For those who like to be a little more informed, read on…
Screw reading, just get me a quote
No worries mate, just enter your trip details in the box below.
Britz are the pricier end of the scale. They are newer and slicker vans. You are most likely to see these guys being driven by middle-aged Europeans- they are not at all a backpacker’s van. If you want to travel in LUXURY, then look into these guys, but you best have the bank account to back it up. The only campers fancier are the Mauis. Most Britz vans started their life as Mauis and after 3 years they are re-branded. Similarly, don’t bother with the Maui’s unless you have recently won the lottery. (Click here for a quote if you’re a sadist who likes to look at things they cannot afford)
Camperman is becoming a very popular choice. Much of their marketing is aimed at travellers in their thirties or maybe older, but this is a very good option for younger backpackers also. They rent cars to anyone over 18 with a full license. Unlimited kms, kitchen equipment, bedding and linen kits are included in the hire price. All of the camperman fleet are hightop vehicles, meaning that you can actually stand up in the campervan! That is very exciting for me, as I hate nothing more than crouching around all day.
Most of the Mighty budget range of vehicles are over 6 years old however well looked after and come with 24 hour vehicle assistance. Mighty specialise in 2-3 berth Campervans, all of which come with a gas stove to cook on. The vans come in ranges that sleep 2, 3 or 4 (the larger the pricier and newer) however the 2 berth vans are becoming more popular and are very similar to the Camperman or Travellers Autobarn in setup and appearance. Click here for a quote.
Cruisin and Around Australia are not a brands that we have had much to do with and only saw them once we reached Queensland. The lowdown is that both of these are smaller companies who offer large motorhomes primarily and have a small range or budget campers also. Depending on availability, you maybe able to get them at a decent price. The regular price is much higher than that of Juicy, and whilst the products are nicer, they’re not that much nicer. Click here for a quote.
Juicy Campas are by far the most popular of the bunch. We have seen more Juicy vans on the road than all the others put together. They are clean and new. Their marketing is slick. There is a reason they are so popular. Juicy claim that “Vehicles are put through a rigorous pre-hire inspection and on post-hire are “Quality Checked” by two or more members of our team so you can drive with confidence as you see Australia!” – as we believe them. All the Juicy’s we have seen on the road are very clean, well equipped and cosy. To give you a comparison on pricing, we ran a quick search and were quoted the following:
14 days in March = $532 for either the El Cheapo or Crib vans (see the video below)
14 days in April = $460 for the El Cheapo or $532 for the Crib
14 days in May = $435 for the El Cheapo or $495 for the Crib
14 days in September = $523 for the El Cheapo or $602 for the Crib
14 days in November = $672 for the El Cheapo or $728 for the Crib
The vans come with everything that the Wicked vans do. When compared to the Wicked Van prices above, you can that overall the Juicy vans are slightly more expensive, however they are a more luxury product also. Don’t nee the luxury? Great, opt for a Wicked Van. Like to be as cosy as a snug bug in a quilted rug? Then the Juicy is for you. Click here for a quote.
Like everything in life, there are certain ways to make hiring a campervan a cheaper affair. Let us tell you everything that we have learned about how to get a cheaper car or campervan hire rate. We have done all this before, so please head over here and read about all the hidden costs and extras that you are being charged, and how to avoid them with a few simple travel hacks.
Travellers Autobarn are also another popular brand we see on the road. They are somewhere between the Wicked and Juicy vans. More clean cut than the Wickeds however not as well-presented as the Juicys. They are more expensive than both the Wicked and Juicy vans, unless you get get them on a special. Well worth considering if the price is right. Where Travellers Autobarn really excel are in van sales, and their buyback guarentee. If you’re travelling for more than a month you might want to consider buying a van, then reselling it at the end of your trip. The Travellers Autobarn buyback guarantee means that the team will let you know exactly how much they will buy your van for at the end of your trip – taking the hassle and stress out of needing to sell the van solo. If you do happen to sell it yourself to a private buyer, no worries mate. Just let them know and no harm done. This is a nice backup plan for long term budget travellers, note that you will not get as much as if you were to sell privately, but you will get more back than if you were to rent it! Click here for a quote.
Indie campers and the little guys
Hippie are a well-known camper brand that you should certainly check out too. They vans are old, some are older than Wicked’s even, but they can be very cheap also. Their standard prices are higher than Wicked, however if you can get them on a special deal then it’s well worth checking it out. You will see a few of these vans on the road and generally the occupants are young and eager. They are not luxury vans, but they are reliable.
We hired a Spaceship van in Victoria a few years ago and were really unimpressed with the quality and service. We have since been told that the Spaceships in New Zealand are great, as the company is based there, however the vehicles in Australia are administered by another company who preference their own, so the Spaceships are not given priority. We selected them based on price and the pictures on the website, they looked a little cleaner than the bad Wicked van experience we had had. However with the benefit of hindsight, we would hire a Premium 2 seater Wicked over a Spaceship in Australia any day.
You may have noticed that we did not buy a campervan to travel Australia, but we toured in a car and tent combo. There are a few reasons for that, but the main driving factor (no pun intended) was the price. The car and tent together cost a lot less than a campervan to buy. You can check here to see how much we spent on our camping set up or here to see how much cheaper it could be for you to hire a car and buy a tent, rather than hiring a campervan.
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Important things to know when hiring a campervan in Australia
- most, if not all companies will have a ‘one way fee’ that will apply if you return your van to a different location than where you picked it up. This fee is normally around the $200-$300 mark.
- in some cases, the longer you have the van for, the cheaper your daily rate will be, or a ‘long-term hire discount’ maybe applied to the booking. This means that you should search a variety of dates and durations for pricing and not just assume that it is a set daily rate that will apply for every day of the trip, regardless of its length.
- there will be an administrator fee of around 3-5% of the total price that is added onto your bill. This is standard for most/all van rental agencies.
- If you are under 21, there maybe some restrictions on what types of vans you can hire, or you maybe charged a premium rate.
- These vans come with almost everything that you need for your trip. This can include bedding, kitchen utensils and a cooker, a table and chairs. Be sure to check with your chosen company exactly what is included in the package but chances are all you will need to bring are your clothes, a towel and sunscreen!
Campervan relocation special deals
If you want a small adventure but don’t have the cash or time to spare, then this just might interest you. You can hire a campervan for as little as $1 per day, but there is a catch. You have a set location to pick the car up form and deliver it to and usually a short timeframe. For example, the company may need cars relocated from Adelaide to Sydney. The will set an earliest pick up and latest drop off date. You are welcome to use the car as you wish between these dates. generally there will be a fuel rebate to a certain amount (maybe $50 or $100 cash back if you provide fuel receipts) and a daily rate that you will have to pay. The daily rate is generally between $1 – $10 per day. Cheap as chips mate! All this sounds too good to be true right? Well it kind of is. You have quite a short timeframe to get from one point to another. For example, at the time of writing on offer was Adelaide to Sydney in 4 days, Alice Springs to Melbourne in 5 days, Brisbane to Melbourne in 4 days and Sydney to Brisbane in 2 days.
You can get your grubby little hands on these relocation offers via Imoova or Coseats. We would recommend these relocation deals as a great way to gt form one place to another, without playing for pricey bus or plane fares, however they are not great for big adventure.
Now that you have decided how you will travel and how much that will cost, you can start to compile the rest of your travel budget. Not sure how to do that? We have you covered. Head to How much money do I need to travel Australia here.