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No matter how well you think you have your head wrapped around the sheer size of Australia, trust us, the distances are greater than you could ever have imagined. Having the flexibility to pull in, cook and sleep wherever you are will enhance your Australian road trip experience like nothing else. In between major cities and landmarks, there is often very little, but armed with all of your creature comforts on wheels, you will have no problem finding comfort wherever you go. And, of course, that will lead to a more enjoyable, more fulfilling and altogether better experience on your adventure.
This applies more to the rugged, rural and isolated outback regions of Australia than any other part of the country. Driving through sparse desert landscapes, you can often be the only vehicle on the road for miles, with nothing around to rely on but you, your travel partner and your trusty steed. It’s in these situations that the advantages of travelling by camper really come to the fore. Here are just some reasons, that travelling outback Australia is best done by campervan.
1. Freedom to Explore
Without a doubt, the sheer freedom of driving yourself, carving your own path and taking the road less travelled is undeniably the greatest thing about self-driving in the outback. Feeling tired? Pull in and make yourself a cup of tea and get lost in the immense surroundings. Stop to camp wherever you feel like it and linger in the places you love the most. Create your own adventure and see where the road takes you.
2. Better Access to the Outback
Driving yourself through Australia’s Red Centre, you have the ability to reach areas you simply would not go on a tour bus. If you want to go on a bush walk early at dawn, drive to the trailhead the night before and walk out of your camper at first light, straight onto the track. Want to photograph the night sky with no light pollution for miles and miles? Just pick your spot, pull up and enjoy the sunset before getting your perfect night sky shots. Having this kind of access to locations throughout the outback is an incredibly freeing feeling.
3. Unparalleled Flexibility
Don’t rely on some tour company to organize an itinerary for you, instead pull out the map and create your own itinerary, day-by-day. Two days at Uluru can quickly turn into three or four; you may decide to hike more in the MacDonnell Ranges or explore some of the outback’s more off the beaten track sights. Having the flexibility of your own accommodation on wheels allows you to plan on the fly, spend time in the places you love the most and move on from those that don’t do it for you as much.
4. Never Go Hungry
Exploring the desert can be hungry work but with your very own kitchen on wheels, there’s no fear of you ever going hungry! Whether you have a fully equipped mod con camper kitchen or a simple one-burner gas stove, eating a home-cooked meal in the outback, under the stars is an experience like no other. Who wants roadhouse and campsite food when you can cook up your own outback menu from the back of your camper? And, if you have any dietary requirements or like to follow a particular diet, your roaming kitchen might just be your favourite part.
5. Incredible Photo Opportunities
There’s nothing worse than sitting on a bus flying through a beautiful landscape and missing 1,000 photo opportunities. Worse again is when you do pull over for a photo opp and every other passenger on the bus is in the background. With your own wheels, you can stop anytime you want, get those empty backdrops, spend as much time as you like setting up your shot and make sure you get it right. Pose alongside your camper with your Crocodile Dundee hat on and boomerang in hand, get that classic mid-air jump shot or whatever other Aussie road trip snap you’ve been dreaming of without any interruptions.
6. Really Experience the Outback
If you want to experience the outback, and I mean really experience the outback, you must travel by camper. Parked up in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but the sounds of the desert for company gives you a whole new perspective of where you are. The desert has a way of humbling you – you can feel very small, very quickly. This is adventure, this is real and this is why travelling independently is always the best way to go. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Red Centre, pay attention to the smallest, intricate details, listen to the creatures move through the sand and really experience the outback.
7. Save Money!
Travelling by campervan is not only more fun and gives you a better outback experience, but it saves you money too! Your camper is your transport and your accommodation all rolled into one. As well as that, you can set your own food and drink budget, spending as much or as little as you want. Boil up lobster and drink champagne or have jam sandwiches; cooking for yourself, it’s up to you what you spend. Either way, it’s always much cheaper to do groceries and cook than it is to eat out three meals a day.
8. No Stress
Contrary to what you might think, travelling by camper is less stressful than travelling on a tour or by public transport. Forget about checking bus timetables and booking a room for the night, hoping that that hostel you wanted to stay in has a bed free tonight. No more putting up with tour guides herding you from location to location. You’re no longer on someone else’s time; your time is yours again. Being in a position to be flexible and adaptable means you’re not held to any itinerary, leaving you in a state of stress-free bliss.
9. Less Packing
Nobody likes packing. Touring around from place to place, having to pack and unpack every night is the worst part of any trip. Leaving your hotel room in some remote part of the outback, hoping you didn’t forget anything is a terrible feeling, because, let’s face it, you’re not going to be back there for while! As well as being your kitchen, home and bedroom on wheels, your camper is also a mega suitcase on wheels. Chuck your stuff in when you pick up the van and don’t worry about fitting anything back in your bags until you're handing back the keys. How much of a relief is that?
10. Get to Know Your Travel Partner(s)
Travelling as a couple or with a group of friends, one of our favourite things about travelling by camper is the time you spend with your travel mates. Long distances means lots of time to catch up, chat about the next destination, where you’ve just been or the places you would love to go. Sing along to the radio, reminisce, be silly; whatever does it for you, just have a good time. After all, that’s what camper trips are really all about: having the time of your life, driving through the most incredible places and making lasting memories with the people you love the most.