Australia The RV Friendly Country

Name a country where you can rock up to the snow country or a beach and park your RV for free and have a day on the slopes or enjoying the surf. If you are thinking about a country to live the RV life adventure, Australia has to be on your A-list. We have the weather; we have the beaches, we have mountains, the cities and the snow. Best of all, you can grab an RV and hit the road without hitting a wall of people. Our decided lack of people compared to our land mass size is part of Australia’s appeal and it is entirely unique in an ever shrinking world.

During a recent trip to the USA, for example, I noticed that all of the iconic places I visited were teeming with people. To be honest, I only visited areas around San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York which are populous areas but I’ve since watched enough videos from my U.S based RV friends to form an impression that there are a lot of people on the road over there.

The figures support this1. In the USA, there are precisely 30.16 square kilometres available for every 1000 people. Capricious compared to the United Kingdom’s 3.97 sq km /1000 people BUT paltry compared to Australia’s rather stunning 362 sq kilometres per 1000 people. Sure, much of our interior is blistering desert and full of bitey things that can kill, but if you steer clear of the desert and stick to the lush green band around the edges of the country, you still have 25,760km of spectacular coastline to explore. That’s 5,836 km more coast than the USA and six times more than the UK; which is to say, we have a heck of a lot of coastline and pristine beaches.

Speaking of the UK, when I lived in London between 2000 – 2003, I purchased an old Bedford campervan which I’m embarrassed to say I never really drove anywhere. I bought the van for just £250 all forlorn and covered in rust stains (well, rust actually). After a quick tidy up with a roller brush and some green house paint, I guiltily sold her on for a quick £100 quid profit and toured England and France on a pushbike instead. The bicycle option was a great play in Europe (what with everything being so close and connected), but I would not recommend it as an option down under. Otherwise friendly Australian’s seem to acquire almost homicidal tendencies when they spot a bicycle sharing the road. While detecting cyclists is not a strength of most Aussie drivers, this brings further risks to the unwary. When I was ten years old, I watched hopelessly as my mother inadvertently ran a cyclist off the road with our caravan. After a few slow light changes, the fellow caught up with us shaking his fist and yelling obscenities. My mother eventually noticed, and a quick twitch of the steering wheel almost wiped him out completely. Witnessing this behaviour from my dear, sweet mother is the reason I still don’t admit to wearing lycra in her presence.

RV adventures are a great tradition in Australia. Much of our backcountry is unchanged since it graced the TV screens of the shows like ‘In the Wild With Harry Butler’, ‘Malcolm Douglas – In The Bush’, ‘Ask The Leyland Brothers’ and ‘World Adventures with Alby Mangels’. These shows were on TV nearly 50 years ago with the guys mostly drove old Landrover four-wheel drives. These days, a 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter or VW transporter would get you very close to the action. Or an Iveco 4×4 truck motorhome.

After his first ‘World Safari’, Alby Mangels said ‘Travel hasn’t satisfied an appetite, it’s created one’.
That’s the great thing about RV life in Australia. Adventure is still on the menu, and it’s an all you can eat buffet.

Australia’s busiest airport, for example, is just 30 minutes drive to the Cumberland State Forest. Not precisely wilderness but the 40-hectare state forest on Sydney’s North Shore is a haven to 60 breeding species of bird, possums, sugar gliders and more and is an excellent primer to the bush you will find an hour from Sydney in any direction. There are few if any kangaroos in the park but these iconic Australians are abundant pretty much everywhere else.

Surprising news for many RVers is the fact that you can free camp/boondock, for up to four weeks in most state forests in Australia. No matter if you are in a motorhome, a caravan, a tent, campervan or four-wheel drive, you can explore Australia on a shoestring. Even our fuel is amongst the cheapest in the world.

When you do emerge from our forests for supplies, there is a special designation for towns that are deemed especially ‘RV friendly’ by the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA). These RV stand out destinations are everywhere and feature parking for small AND big rigs, excellent health amenities and very welcoming locals.

Australia is famed for our friendly and welcoming nature, and a big part of RV life is the RV nod or wave. I am referring of course to the hand signal or nod, shared between RV motorists as they pass each other on the roads of Australia. Some feel that these gestures have been on the decline in recent years but with the rising number of RVs on Australian Roads, more ‘waves’ are happening than ever before. So many ‘waves’ are being given that some RV owners are getting pains from waving too much. Not quite as worrisome as a snake in your shoe, but new RV travellers should do a little stretching before hitting the road each day, and if you notice someone does not wave back, they are probably just under doctors orders so give them your best smile too.

Aussie or international, you should get out on the road ASAP. RV life in Australia is just amazing.

Helpful links:

http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Australia/United-States/Geography.

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/campgrounds/lane-cove-river-tourist-park-caravan-park

About the author

Paddy McCann

Over the years, I’ve owned six motorhomes, two Caravans and three campervans so you could say I am a bit of an RV enthusiast. Chat with you soon in the comments area below. PaddyMac


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