Travel Australia by Van – How to Start Vanlife in Australia

Travel Australia by Van

Embarking on an adventure across Australia in a van isn’t just a means of travel; it’s a way to embrace freedom and explore diverse landscapes at your own pace. It all started with a random comment: ‘Ok, I’ll come to Australia and let’s travel together!’ This wasn’t just any trip—it was the beginning of my van life journey down under.

After years of planning to explore the globe, the perfect opportunity to take a break from work and embark on an adventure finally presented itself this year. The idea was always to see as much as possible in the shortest possible time, so as not to miss anything. However, life had other plans. My travel partner still had commitments in Sydney, which delayed our collective departure. I didn’t let this halt my plans, though; instead, I embraced the motto, “just go with the flow and see what happens.” This flexible mindset not only shaped my journey but led me to explore the vanlife in Australia. Are you also going on a journey through Australia and want to travel by van? Read our guide with all the important things to know.

Important things to know – travel Australia by Van 

  1. Deciding on Vanlife in Australia 
  2. Finding the Right Van in Australia
  3. The Van Purchasing Process in Australia
  4. Preparing for the Road – on the move 
  5. Technical Details to Consider when travel Australia by Van
  6. Things to figure out before looking for a Van

1. Deciding on Vanlife in Australia 

The big question that many travelers in Australia face is: “how do I afford weekly rent for an apartment or the hostel in Australia?“ and “Are there cheaper options?”

That was exactly our main concern, because my friend’s apartment was being rented out to someone else by the time I was supposed to arrive. Since I traveled all over Europe in a van, it seemed the most logical and reasonable decision, to choose Vanlife, based on my experiences. 

Why choose van life in Australia? The freedom to explore at your own pace and on your own terms is incredibly appealing. Facing the high cost of weekly rentals in Australia, vanlife emerged as the most economical and adventurous option. This section discusses the factors that influenced the decision to opt for vanlife over traditional accommodations. 

2. Finding the Right Van in Australia

“Where do we find already converted van’s?”

The largest used market for almost everything possible is Facebook Marketplace. It’s comparable to eBay in Europe. In general the Aussies use Facebook for quite a lot of stuff, such as job or apartment searches or in general meeting new people. They have groups for every situation you could imagine, like running clubs, swimming, or special finds at the beach. Accordingly, while I was still in my home country, I was able to look for used vans on the marketplace and send the ads to my friend in Sydney.

Groups like:

  1. Backpacker campervans for sale Australia

3. The Van Purchasing Process in Australia

“How do we buy a van?”

Before we could even think about buying, we had to clarify which model and what features should be included. We agreed on a small van with only the bare minimum of equipment, like solar, installed battery and a double bed. After arrangements, my friend and her partner visited the suggested vans.

“You’re just a girl!”

From stories of other solo female travelers, who wanted to buy a van by themselves, it turned out that you are definitely taken more seriously with a male companion. Even one traveler has arranged a date so that she could buy the van without being treated strangely. 

 4. Preparing for the Road – on the move 

“Is everything okay with the van?”

Because we’re not car specialists, we had our favorite vans put through the hedges at the mechanic’s just to make sure we didn’t get stranded somewhere in the outback and to be on the safer side. You need to count around 60$ for a pink slip (safety inspection report). The best way to find a good mechanic, is to ask locals for their recommendations, have a look at what’s nearby on maps and search for good recommendations. Of course it’s not a must, but it’s good to know what you’re buying because you can negotiate the price down if defects are found.

5. Technical Details to Consider when travel Australia by Van

“Let’s buy the van!”

After the second van was at the mechanic’s, we decided that the one found defect was not too bad, because the rest was optimal. The defect was a time belt change what costed us about 1000$. We payed cash and I transferred half to my girlfriend using an app named Wise, good for transfers all over the world. The van itself was 8000$, without the extras we bought on top, like roof racks(120$) or an awning (150$). 

Things to figure out before looking for a van:

  • Select model
  • Age
  • Mileage 
  • Price range
  • Equipment what should be included 
  • How to fix small defect 
  • Research vans Australia

“What now, after we bought the van?”

The last steps are to sign a purchase contract, both the buyer and the seller, so we could register the vehicle in our name at the NSW Service Office. And of course the insurance is necessary, we took the basic one, a CTP (compulsory third party/ green slip), it’s a must-have for NSW drivers. CTP Insurance covers costs like medical treatment and lost income for people who need it after they’re injured in a road accident, it doesn’t cover damage to your vehicle, other vehicles or property. There are offers online from different companies, just search what fits your needs the best.


Meet Melinda, our new guest writer! Hailing from Germany, Melinda left a steady corporate job to pursue a life filled with adventure and deeper purpose. With an unwavering curiosity, she explores diverse cultures, lifestyles  across the globe, seeking to understand if there is a higher purpose for the rest of her life. Whether it’s through the serene landscapes of Australia or European towns in her camper van, Melinda’s writings aim to inspire as many readers to look beyond the horizon and seek their happiness. Her passion is to show people how easy and affordable traveling could be. 

Stay tuned for Melinda’s insights and tips as she shares her ongoing adventures and learnings. This is just the beginning of a series of captivating stories and practical advice for fellow travelers on her journey through Australia and Asia. Want to know more about Melinda, visit our team page for more information. 

— Lisa, Founder Dutchbloggeronthemove


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