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How to Plan Your First Driving Holiday in Australia

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Driving holidays are a quintessential Australian experience and, hands down, one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Australia. Whether you’re craving a coastal getaway filled with ocean breezes or soaking up the red dirt of an outback adventure, Australia has it all.

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If you are planning your first Australia road trip, there are a few things to consider. From planning your route, choosing the right vehicle, and understanding the rules of the road, there is plenty to keep in mind. To help, we have put together this guide to planning your first driving holiday so you can get the most out of your driving holiday.

Why everyone should experience a driving holiday in Australia

Australia is the perfect country for a road trip. With over 7.6 million km² to explore, a road trip is the only real way to experience this sprawling and diverse country. Driving around Australia allows you the incredible opportunity to explore everything from the big cityscapes to the remote outback attractions and all the hidden gems in between. Whether you are chasing jaw-dropping coastlines, vibrant cities, or spectacular national parks - you can do all this and more on a road trip in Australia. No matter what kind of holiday you’re looking for, Australia has something for everyone.

What’s the best way to travel around Australia?

If you’re planning a driving trip around Australia, there is no better way than rent a van to travel around. Regardless of whether you are looking to travel with family or are looking for a quiet escape with your favourite person, there are plenty of reasons to travel by motorhome. Having a self-contained vehicle allows you to travel at your own pace, enjoy peace and quiet whenever you want, and travel with everything you need at your fingertips.

How to prepare for your first driving holiday in Australia

If you’re considering a driving holiday around Australia, we’ve got you covered. In this step-by-step guide we’ll tell you everything you need to know before your upcoming driving holiday. So, before you hit the road, read our top travel tips for your first motorhome adventure. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Decide the places you want to visit

First thing first, you’ll want to make a list of all of the places you want to visit. Dream big! Once you have your wishlist, then pull out a map and look at how close they are to one another. Overall, the number of spots you can tick off your bucket list will depend on how long you can/want to spend travelling. For example, if you are planning a month-long adventure, you may be able to explore a few states. However, if you are planning a week- or two-week trip, you may want to focus on one coastline or region to explore.

When deciding your destination, you also may want to consider the weather, and the time of year you will visit. For example, if you are planning a trip to some of Australia’s top summer destinations, you may want to get the most out of them in the summer months. Alternatively, if you are chasing a winter motorhome road trip, it’s worthwhile to consider the time of year and weather in those regions to ensure you are getting the road trip of your dreams.

Top tip: For more inspiration, check out our top Australian destinations.

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Step 2: Plan your route

Next up, you’ll want to plan out your route. In an ideal world, the places on your wishlist that you want to see will start to form your route. However, with so much beauty to explore in such a big country, this is not always the case. If you’ve narrowed down a state of Australia you would like to explore, and want some inspiration, check out some of the top routes available by state. If you have trouble deciding which region to explore and need some road trip inspiration, check out the popular Australian driving routes.

When planning your route, there are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • How many hours do you want to drive each day?
  • How many attractions/stops do you want to make each day?
  • What are your non-negotiables/must-do experiences for your trip?

This will help you further narrow down the right itinerary for you!

Step 3: Choose your vehicle wisely

Once you’ve outlined your route, it’s time to think about what kind of vehicle you want to be driving. Regardless of whether you are travelling along the coast or heading inland when deciding to rent a van to travel, it's important that your vehicle is roadworthy, reliable and meets your needs.

At maui, we have a range of reliable, modern campervans ranging from our compact 2-Berth Ultima to our spacious family-sized 6-Berth River. A few things to consider when deciding on the type of campervan hire for you:

  • How many people are you travelling with?
  • Will you be spending most of your time exploring? Or is it important to have a space to unwind at the end of the day?
  • Do you want the ability to cook outside with a BBQ?
  • Do you want an awning outside for shelter and shade?

For more information on the different campervans available at maui, check out our full range of campervans for hire.

Step 4: Choose your stops in advance

Before heading off on a driving holiday, it’s important to map out your stops in advance. You’ll want to pinpoint where you can refuel your campervan and stop to stretch your legs. Do your research to ensure there are plenty of petrol pumps along the way. This is particularly important if you’re driving in rural Australia.

Step 5: Pack like a pro

One of the biggest benefits of travelling in a campervan is that you can bring everything you want with you. Having the luxury of not having to cart luggage in and out of hotel rooms throughout your trip can make it easy to overpack. However, it’s important to pack sensibly. Space in the vans can be limited, and overpacking will clutter the space. Here are a few of our top things to pack for a campervan trip:

  • Seasonal appropriate clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Recreational gear (swimmers/hiking gear etc.)
  • Sunscreen (high SPF)
  • Sturdy footwear

For the full list, check out our guide on what to pack for your campervan trip.

Top tip: Ensure you check what is included in your motorhome, so you don’t double up.

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Step 6: Book your accommodation in advance

Remember to reserve your camping spots along the way. This is particularly important if you’re travelling in peak season. Holiday parks often book up in advance. Avoid missing out by organising this ahead of time.

Step 7: Sort out your hire vehicle

Another important thing to book ahead of time is your vehicle. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your starting point only to find out there is no availability. When booking your motorhome, we recommend organising to pick it up where you want to start your road trip. For more information on where to pick up your maui motorhome and drop it off, check out our branch locations and availability.

Step 8: Understand the rules of the road

It’s important that you familiarise yourself with the rules of the road before you rent a van to travel around Australia. This is particularly important if you’re not used to driving in Australia. Some local road rules to keep in mind:

  • In Australia, we drive on the left
  • Seatbelts are compulsory in Australia
  • It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving
  • The blood alcohol limit is 0.05, and there are frequent random police-administered breath tests on roads all around Australia
  • Australia uses the metric system, and all speed limits are in kilometres. The general speed limit in urban areas is 50 km/ph, and most highways have a max of 100 km/ph

Aside from this, our best advice is to take some time to practice driving in your motorhome. As these are bigger vehicles, it might take some time to get used to, so give yourself some time at the start of the trip to adjust, and you’ll be off in no time!z

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Step 9: Download the thl Roadtrip App

No road trip would be complete without a handy roadmap, and luckily we have come a long way since the old days of fold-out maps! The thl Roadtrip App is the ultimate road trip companion for a road trip around Australia. With offline maps, as well as information on campgrounds, water, fuel stations, caravan accommodation and more, it really is your best friend out on the open road.

Top tip: You can also use the offline feature to save your itinerary so that you will have your stops all planned out before you pick up your vehicle!

Step 10: Research road conditions

Ensure you research the roads you want to take ahead of time. This is particularly important if you’re hiring a motorhome to explore the outback, as you’ll only be able to drive on sealed roads.

Step 11: Create a driving playlist

Every great road trip needs a good soundtrack. To help pass the time on those long driving days, it helps to spend some time putting together a playlist of music you’d like to listen to. We recommend downloading this playlist to be able to be used offline. That way, you will have music to power your journey no matter where you end up!

Step 12: Ensure you have all the documentation you need

When you’re planning any trip, you’ll want to ensure you have all the correct documentation to hand. Things to consider when it comes to documentation:

  • If you are coming from overseas, ensure you have the appropriate visas to enter Australia
  • Driver's license
  • Passport
  • Insurance

If you are travelling internationally and are looking for more details on driving in Australia, check out the rules for visiting drivers.

Ready to book your next motorhome adventure?

Australia is a stunning country waiting to be explored by campervan. By following this step-by-step guide, your first Australian road trip is bound to be a trip to remember. Looking for more advice on choosing the right motorhome or tips for motorhome travel so you can plan your trip? Check out the maui blog for inspiration

Ready to book your first Australian road trip with maui? Book your maui motorhome online today and then pick it up from your nearest maui branch to start your adventure.