I did a 3 month road trip in Australia and can tell you that living on the road is awesome! You don’t have to worry about whether you’ve forgotten anything as everything you own, is in your car. Get out of your bed to nature and the call of birds. It’s also free to camp most of the time in Australia, if you don’t mind basic bush camping amenities. It’s even much cheaper than you probably think! See my costs in this post. If you plan to be living on the road for a longer period of the time though, there will be things that are bound to drive you mad eventually.
Here are a few things to know before embarking on your journey living on the road in Australia.
It’s Hot in the Summer
I road tripped during the Feb – May months and can testify that it gets bloody hot. During the day, it is expected and you can spend your day by the beach, enjoying the hot weather. On the contrary though, during the night, especially on the East Coast it can get pretty unbearable. Sleeping in a tight car can get quite uncomfortable.
My advice would be buy some mesh material and magnetise it to the back windows to act as a mosquito net. Opening the window will allow some ventilation and prevent the car from steaming up too, whilst preventing those dreaded mozzies getting you. You can get all this from Bunnings Warehouse.
I also passed on buying a camp fan too as it was around $30-$40. It was a worthy purchase as it probably saved me from many sleepless nights. You shouldn’t need it every night, so won’t need to go through too many sets if batteries.
There are a tonnes of mosquitos that come out, as soon as the sun goes down. They can be quite vicious. Prepare by buying some mosquito spray and apply liberally. Keeping the doors and trunk closed will keep them out of your car as much as possible. This will also prevent them from surfacing during your sleep and eating you alive. And as mentioned above, get a mesh and magnetise it on the car door over the window to act as a net.
I encountered so many ants whilst living on the road in Australia. It seems to be a bit of a problem across the country. It’s not so much of a problem most of the time. However, when you park your car on a spot that is near a nest, the ants will get into your car and start laying eggs. Next thing you know, they are under your bed and in all the crevices in your car. It was like something from a horror movie.
This happened in my car twice, both in Northern Territory, so watch out for those little bastards. Buy some ant spray just in case. And watch where you park your car in the camp site.
Decent Kitchenware and Stove
As you are literally living on the road, make sure you have a decent kitchen. There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at your camp site after a long day and waiting an eternity before your food is cooked.
I found that getting a decent stove with dual burner is great as you can boil pasta or rice whilst also cooking something else. The LPG Swap N Go cylinders, which connect to the camp stoves are much better than the little portable ones with the butane cans. I used those in New Zealand and found them to be weak and inefficient when consuming the gas.
A food cover is also great. Protect your food from insects whilst you wait for the rest of the food to be finished cooking.
Insect Head Net
In Northern Territory and South Australia (and for some reason in Dinner Plain, VIC), during the hotter months there are flies from late morning till sun down. I’m not talking just some standard flies who mind their own business. I’m talking thousands of them. And they all want to nest in any and every cavity of your human body. It becomes unbearable pretty soon and you will trade fashion for function by putting on your head net. This is basically a mosquito net for your head. It prevents them flying into your nose, ears, eyes and mouth.
Wet Wipes are your friend
If you are budget conscious like me, you will be staying in the free camp sites most of the time. This means no showers and no toilets. Clean yourself with wet wipes. There is also no toilet paper at most camp sites so the wipes are also good for your arse.
If you are predominantly on the east coast, then you won’t struggle to find a shower. They are everywhere as you are never too far from the beach.
Water and lots of it
Living on the road in Australia, sometimes you will be driving for hours with no sight of any civilisation. Therefore, it is so important to be prepared. Carry lots of water. You will need it to drink, boil food and wash your dishes. I would recommend buying the water tanks from a hardware store. Make sure it’s the ones that you can attach a tap to. This will make your life much easier. I carried three of these tanks which were 15L each. There isn’t drinkable water at all the camp sites so it’s better to be prepared.
Buy a brush
I know it sounds like a strange tip, but the brush was one of the items that kept me sane. Perhaps because I like to keep the car clean. You can brush all the mud and rocks that get into your car. You can brush the bed down each morning, which gets dirtier than you think when you haven’t had a shower for a few days.
Keeping the car clean just makes sense. The mess will drive you mad in such a confined space. Tidy car, tidy mind.
You must download this app. It costs around $7 or so but is so useful in helping you find decent campsites, shower facilities, drinking water and tourist sights. All packed with user reviews and user photos to give you a sense of the site. You can filter by paid and free sites too, which is essential. If you buy one thing on your trip, make it this. Pretty much everyone uses it on the road. See my 7 favorite Australia Campsites here in this link.
I know there are probably lots of tips about living on the road, but these were just a few that I thought would be useful and not so obvious. Let me know if you have any more.