Tips from 6 Australian Road Trips


Over the past year Portia and I have been asked a lot of questions from people like; how do you afford to travel so much? Why don’t you explore your own countries? How do you live in such a small space? And don’t you need to get a career and settle down?

So I decided I’d write a blog to answer these and hopefully show and inspire others that it can be done!

How do we afford to travel so much?

Over the last few years we have been lucky enough to only work 6-8 months at a time. During those working months we set goals for our next adventures and save as much money as we can. There is no secret answer to this one, we just really tightened our belts by cutting down on things like going out for dinner or drinks and buying things that aren’t necessary. Our philosophy was ‘If it can’t fit in the van then we don’t need it’.


Our tips for saving

Write it down! As well as writing your goal savings amount, write down your spending, that way you can see where you go right or wrong each week. We just use our Notes App on our phone. We do this all the time, even when we’re not travelling.

Plan the trip! It’s important to have a plan. Where are you going? How are you getting there? What items do you need? Write a list of the things you need and start gathering them well before. Try finding second hand items if possible. Take Macklemore’s advise – thrift shops are perfect!

• Before you buy it, ask yourself do you really need it?  That shirt sitting in your shopping cart that is just like all your others, do you really need it? When instead that money could be buying you a days ski lift pass in Revelstoke or a beer in Austria. Be conscious of all of these decisions. Having said that, keep in mind that you still need to live and a treat yo’self every now and then, just make sure you’ve allowed for it in your budget.

• Save extra for the unexpected or for loans etc. Don’t let that car or house hold you back. I still have my house in Australia. I just saved money to put aside for it as the rent doesn’t fully cover the mortgage. It’s not an ideal situation, but I really wanted to travel so I’m making it work. It’s also a great idea to have money put aside in case of a rainy day, such as when the van breaks down, you get sick, you need to fly home for a family emergency, and so on. Saving over and above on those items will make a huge difference.


Why don’t we explore our own countries?

We have. Well Australia anyway. I guess it did take a few trips overseas to realise how amazing my own country was. So when Portia came to live in Australia, it really motivated me to not only show her, but see it for myself. And it’s definitely something I’ll never regret! We’re actually moving to the UK mid-2018, and then it will be time to go explore Portia’s home land!

Below I’ve put a map and breakdown of our Australian road trips to give you an idea of the cost and some do’s and don’ts. Note: some of the stops on the maps we didn’t stay at, I added some just to show the route we took.

Our first Aussie Road Trip

Portia had always wanted to see Uluru so we planned the trip around that. We had 5 weeks on the road, drove over 12,000km and tackled 2 of Australia’s worst dirt roads! We even flew to Weipa from Cairns for a week to surprise my sister (We wanted to drive but the wet season was looming).

Australia couple

Cost: $5000

Biggest expenses: Fuel, Groceries, Caravan Parks, Flights to Weipa

Distance: 12,235 km

Time: 5 weeks

Favourite Spots: Uluru, Tanami Desert Road, Broome Area, Lake Argyle, Litchfield NP, Mission Beach, Weipa and West MacDonald Ranges

road trip north Australia

Road Trip 2

We had just arrived back in Australia after another ski season in St Anton, Austria and my eldest sister was about to have her awesome baby boy Harrison in Cairns, so we road tripped up North to be there for Harrison’s arrival.


Cost: $650

Biggest Expenses: Petrol and a big night out in Airlie Beach of course

Distance: 2,325 km

Time: 2 days each way & 5 days in Cairns

Favourite Spot: Cairns and Airlie Beach!


Road Trip 3

Work dried up on the East Coast so we decided to move to Perth to look for work. What a perfect excuse for a road trip to check out the Nullarbor and the West Coast!



Cost: $2200

Biggest Expenses: Fuel and food of course. Oh and we had to buy new springs in the car to carry all of Portia’s clothes!

Distance: 5,496 km

Time: 8 days

Favourite Spots: Nullarbor, Streaky Bay, Mason’s Bay, Esperance, Margaret River and Fremantle

south Australia


Road Trip 4

So the West Coast was short lived. I scored a good gig up in Darwin, so once again we packed the car and drove up in 4 days – 1,000km a day!


Cost: $700

Distance: 4,294 km

Time: 4 days

Favourite Spots: Broome


Road Trip 5

When work finished up in Darwin, we sold our beloved 80 Series Landcruiser ‘Teddy’ and flew to Gladstone where I bought another 80 Series off my best mate Luke and put a bed in the back. With Christmas approaching and the move to Canada coming up quick, we decided to head to Tasmania for Christmas to see the extended family and of course introduce Portia to everyone.



Cost: $6000

Biggest Expense: Zeike’s flights from Darwin to Brisbane, Ferry to Tassie, Fuel and Christmas/NYE drinks!

Distance: 8,210 km

Time: 3 weeks

Favourite Spots: Lorne, Great Lakes in Tas, Hyam’s Beach, Byron Bay, Bermagui Blue Pools


Road Trip 6

Our final big trip was from Tannum Sands in Central Queensland back up to Darwin to take Zeike up to my parents, sell the new 80 Series and get ready to fly to Canada! Another short but epic road trip, this time we had no camping gear or bed in the back so we had to stay in hotels.



Cost: $700

Biggest Expenses: Hotels, Food (eating out) and Fuel

Distance: 3,049 km

Time: 3 days

Favourite Spots: Daly Waters Pub



• 4×4 with good off-road tyres – you can’t beat an 80 Series with Mickey Thomsons ?

• Car fridge – we went for a budget $350 one off ebay which done the job nicely

• Carry Dual Batteries and Jump Starter pack and leads

• Awning- must have in the Aussie heat

• Tools, spare oil/parts etc

• Spare jerry can with fuel in it

• Free camp wherever possible

• Cheap tin food as a backup

• Use wikicamps every day!

• An axe and a shovel are a must

• Take as many photos as possible! You never know if you’ll get to see that place again

• Stay with friends and family as much as you can, and whilst you’re not, try make friends with other travellers, it’s a great way to find new spots to explore that place you never knew about!



• Buy food from petrol stations etc (adds up quick)

• Never buy a throw up shower tent. It took me 2 hours to pack it up!

• Try and hike in 40+ degree weather

• Stay in caravan parks, free spots can always be found

• Do not leave rubbish anywhere, there’s already way too many free camps being taken away from us. Pack it in, Pack it out. Simple.

We also save every location on Google maps that we spend a night together all around the world. It’s a pretty cool way of tracking where you’ve been! See below our Australian ones below


How do we live in such a small space?

Not gunna lie, it has its moments! But you do learn to be a lot more patient and forgiving. We also try to get out and do things as much as possible so we’re not cooped up in the van all the time. Our new year’s resolution for 2018 was to walk 10,000 steps a day and we’re currently a month in and haven’t missed a day yet! Even after a month we’re really feeling the benefits.


Don’t we need to get a career and settle down soon?

No. Not everyone has to do the 9-5. We do have careers, I’m a fully qualified Diesel Mechanic and Portia’s got a degree in Equine & Agriculture Business Management. I’ve been lucky to get work in my field most places I’ve travelled but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done my time cleaning and doing dishes.

Portia hasn’t worked in her field but she’s had an amazing time travelling and working whatever job pops up for the past 6 years. Jobs like; farming, horse riding, bartending, barista, cleaning and waitressing can still earn you pretty good money. At the end of the day, the world wouldn’t run without those jobs so someone’s got to do it, plus you get to explore the world and meet so many amazing people! She’s even done admin and now hoping to try get some work in Photography.


At the end of the day, we understand travelling isn’t for everyone. We just want to encourage and inspire people that if you’re not happy, do something about it; you’re the only one that can change it!

We hope you are all enjoying our adventures and if you have any other questions feel free to drop us an email!

Happy Days, Joel & Portia

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