Christmas In New Zealand: How To Do It Right

Whether you’re looking for thrilling adventures or a chance to just put your feet up and relax, you are definitely spoilt for choice in New Zealand. Whether you’re spending time in the North or South Island, you won’t run out of things to do and places to go.  Continue reading “Christmas In New Zealand: How To Do It Right”

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First Time Traveller’s Guide to the Northern Territory Outback

You can’t really say you’ve been to the “Land Down Under” until you’ve experienced the Northern Territory outback firsthand. And what an experience it would be! Imagine driving your camper van rental and setting up camp in the vast desert inland of Australia; a region teeming with life, surrounded by mountains, deserts and savannahs. Continue reading “First Time Traveller’s Guide to the Northern Territory Outback”

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10 Campervan Rental Must-Haves

There’s no better way to welcome spring season than going on a road trip to Australia’s many scenic destinations with your friends or family. Whether you’re off to the beach this year or planning to drive your campervan rental to a national park and stay for a day or two, we’ve listed some motorhome travel must-haves to ensure a comfortable, stress-free spring holiday. Continue reading “10 Campervan Rental Must-Haves”

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From Perth To Broome: Your 14-Day Campervan Itinerary

The Pinnacles. Jurien Bay. Cape Range National Park. These are just some of the breathtaking natural tourist attractions that await you on your ultimate campervan adventure through Western Australia. Considering the amount of ground you have to cover, planning an itinerary from Perth to Broome can be very overwhelming, especially if you’re campervanning through the state for the first time. Continue reading “From Perth To Broome: Your 14-Day Campervan Itinerary”

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5 Kid-Friendly Activities In Cairns

Cairns is a great place to take your kids to for a much-needed holiday. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to ensure the family will have a great time. After all, the city is home to several tourist attractions and activities the entire family will enjoy. Continue reading “5 Kid-Friendly Activities In Cairns”

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Should You Visit Whitsundays In July? Here’s 5 Reasons You Should

In the heart of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef lies 74 breathtakingly beautiful islands amidst year-round tropical weather. With pristine, powdery sands and sparkling waters, it’s not surprising that the Whitsundays remain to be one of Australia’s top tourist destinations. Continue reading “Should You Visit Whitsundays In July? Here’s 5 Reasons You Should”

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Wildest New Zealand Destinations To Visit With Your Campervan Rental

Big things come in small packages. This adage sums up the experience you’re in for when you go on a thrilling tour of New Zealand’s wildest destinations on campervan rentals. It may be a small country, but it truly packs a wallop! Continue reading “Wildest New Zealand Destinations To Visit With Your Campervan Rental”

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5 Legendary Northern Territory Destinations

The Northern Territory is as cosmopolitan as any of the states of the commonwealth. Despite having certain areas of this state possessing an arid climate, it undoubtedly has something distinct to offer to both regular tourists and new visitors who bring their hired campervans to its brave frontier. Although the state is mostly desert and badlands, it also has oasis prepared and ready for those who know where to look.

For first time visitors of the Northern Territory’s wild country, here is a list of some of the best destinations for your family and friends to enjoy. So before you look out for campervans for hire, read on to learn more about the legendary locations in this rugged northern retreat.

Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park

Perhaps one of the most iconic natural rock formations in the Northern Territory is the Uluru or Ayers Rock. It is a sandstone monolith which has a spiritual and cultural significance to the indigenous people who are steeped in tradition. These tribal communities consider the massive immovable mound and its surroundings as the abode of their ancestors.

What’s fascinating about this area is that the Uluru has a twin. The Kata Tjuta sits firmly parallel on the northwestern side of the Uluru. The Kata Tjuta, which is also dubbed as the “Valley of the Winds,” is a collection of sandstone facades that form a small valley in the middle of the vast desert plain. The name Kata Tjuta literally translates to “many heads,” which somehow accurately describes what these giants looked like to the ancestors of the indigenous people who have marked these solitary giants their home.

Although this area is considered sacred ground, it is also one of the most remarkable national parks of the Northern Territory. The management lets people in the park roughly 30 minutes before sunrise and closes that area by sunset. The reason behind this could be the magical sunrise that can be witnessed as the sun’s rays hit the curves and cuts of the Uluru.

As the sun climbs up the sky, the entire desert plain starts to turn into gold. It was as if the ancient gods have given the Uluru a Midas touch, infecting everything with a shimmering yellow-orange glow. This scenery might even remind a visitor of the adage that “not everything that glitters is gold.”

Darwin City
"Darwin” by Sarah Stewart available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmstewart/3914405500/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"Darwin” by Sarah Stewart available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmstewart/3914405500/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Sarah Stewart

Darwin is the state capital of the Northern Territory. Apart from being the state’s metropolitan centre, it is also a city that has a very significant part in history, particularly in World War II. On 19th Feb. 1942, Darwin’s harbour was bombarded by the Japanese imperial fleet. The enormity of the attack, as well as the devastation, was second only to that of Pearl Harbour.

Apart from that, there are several markers and memorials that were erected in Darwin to commemorate the country’s participation in both World Wars. Among these memorials is the Darwin Cenotaph, which celebrates the bravery of all the men and women who fought in the wars where Australia participated – World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the conflict in British Malaya and Borneo, and the Vietnam war.

Today, the shadow of war’s atrocities have long dissipated. Darwin is brimming with life and the locals’ youthful refreshing glow provide a sharp contrast to the melancholy shades of international conflict. The city is also considered as one of the best fishing locations, not only in the state but in the entire continent, as well.

Truly, Darwin is a model of resilience as it was able to bounce back from war’s bitter blows. The city was able to build from the lessons of the past, turning the metropolis and its surrounds a globally competitive city with a laid back charm.

Katherine Town

A few miles down south, the town of Katherine is a quaint and progressive community that also offers some of the most amazing tourist attractions in the Northern Territory. Nitmiluk (Katherine) National Park is among these popular destinations in Katherine Town.

At the national park, tourists can gaze in amazement at the ancient rock art spread throughout the Nitmiluk Gorge. Nitmiluk has other natural wonders, which would turn a day in Katherine worthwhile. For people who would want to take a dip at warm waters of a hot spring, try Katherine Hot Springs and Mataranka Thermal Springs.

"Katherine Gorge, NT” by Daniel Alexander-Head available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielalexanderhead/4687974550/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"Katherine Gorge, NT” by Daniel Alexander-Head available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielalexanderhead/4687974550/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Daniel Alexander-Head

Apart from the gorge and the hot springs, the national park also has wonderful bush paths and picnic grounds where families and friends can bond and appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings. After a wonderful lunch, you can try your paddling power as the gorge links 4 rivers – Daly, Flora, Katherine, and Roper Rivers.  You can paddle the entire afternoon or simply let the lite current carry you away.

If you plan to visit in May, July or August, you can end your tour at Katherine by joining in the festivities. The locals are known for orchestrating magnificent parties and festivals that bring out the best in their deceptively sleepy suburbs.

Alice Springs

As you move deeper into the heart of the Northern Territory, visit Alice Springs for an immersion to more festivities! The town is known to host several local events all year round. This could be due to the climate that the town experiences most of the year. That’s what gives them a sunny disposition! The town is also the “most popular outback town” in Australia, perhaps to their jovial nature.

Apart from the festivities, Alice Spring is famous for their art galleries. These centre’s of culture and the arts feature pieces made by contemporary artists and even ethnic people from a distant past. Marvel at the diverse collection they present on display to regular tourists as well as first-time visitors. Even the buildings feature modern to contemporary architectural design.

The town is home to gorges and waterholes that would tell you that this is certainly the outback Australia is widely known for around the world. Of course, certain wild endemic species in the country could also be observed in a safe distance at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

After around at the town, you could have dinner in any of the fantastic restaurants in the community as Alice Springs is home to a variety of cafés, bars, restaurants and even casinos that would certainly make your tour even more memorable. Surely, you would never run out of luck, when you’re in Alice Springs.

The Old Ghan

"The Ghan” by Roderick Eime available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodeime/7559529708/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"The Ghan” by Roderick Eime available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodeime/7559529708/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Roderick Eime

Perhaps one of the best ways to explore the rugged beauty of the entire Northern Territory is through the epic Old Ghan. The railway service stretches from South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, up to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The train service, fondly called by the locals as “The Ghan” has been making stops to these destinations since the 1980s.

The legendary train service was named after the cameleers who resembled Afghan caravan riders who opened the country’s Red Centre to trade and commerce. Eventually, communities grew in this arid countryside; much of it development being owed to these cameleers. Thus, the Old Ghan even takes the camel with a rider as its official seal in honour of these original frontiersmen.

The Ghan offers several packages that would certainly fit the budget of any tourist wanting to take a memorable ride to one of its carriages. You can book a dinner at the train and take pictures at the brilliantly restored 1930s themed railway station in Alice Springs to cap the fantastic evening. The station also has several souvenir shops opened as well as tea rooms for people who simply want to take in the aged elegance of the railway that once served as a commercial artery of the country.

As we wind down this list of places to visit in your first tour of the Northern Territory, put into mind that it’s always up to you where you’d wish to begin your journey at one of Australia’s most rugged and arid terrains. Many unexpected treats await you in all of the amazing destinations mentioned earlier.

These are the oasis the would quench your wanderlust while you’re in the Northern Territory.

Hire a campervan to complete your journey to the vast outback. Always remember that at each destination, communities bursting with life are ready to greet you as you complete your tour in the continent’s legendary heartland.

Where do you plan to go first in the Northern Territory? Share your itinerary on our Facebook and Twitter pages and connect to other travellers in Australia and the world.

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South Australia Camping on a Budget

Are you stressed by the fast-paced life of the city? Then, it’s time to go file that vacation and go camping on a budget.

When it comes to taking a break in the wilderness, one place  stands out: South Australia (SA). The region has more than 100 camp grounds, situated mainly in vast national parks, rolling mountains, lakes and rivers.

The activities you can do is almost limitless- from hiking  the rugged trails of Flinders Ranges, boating on the tranquil Murray River, to simply stargazing while you’re in the Outback. All of that sounds nice, but what if you are short on cash? Here is a guide to help you plan a South Australia camping on a budget on board a campervan or motorhome.

Choosing Where To Camp in South Australia

Park Entry Fees in SA

Almost 90 percent of South Australia’s parks are free if you enter by foot or bicycle. The remaining 10 percent requires entrance fees. A few charge on a per person, per day basis like Kangaroo Island.

On average, national parks in South Australia charge $10 per vehicle. If you are a regular park visitor, use your Park Pass to save time when paying your vehicle and camping fees.  Most camp sites allow online payments.

Kangaroo_Island_Camp

"Remarkable Rocks and heath" by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/pauljill/8272357867 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble

South Australia Camping Fees

Camping sites charge anywhere between $45 to $100. This fee covers the use of basic  facilities like running water, toilets, rubbish disposal, and barbecue and picnic areas.  Camping sites in SA are on a first come first basis.

Remember to secure  a permit before you set up camp. You get this document at the park information office and pay for it together with the entry fees.

Below are some parks that accept online booking:

  • Lincoln National Park (Memory Cave)
  • Flinders Ranges National Park (privately operated campgrounds)
  • Belair National Caravan Park
  • Brownhill Creek Tourist Park

Most national parks allow a campfire, with the exception of summer months. Before leaving your camp, extinguish your fire properly. About 6 percent of all bush fires in South Australia are linked to camp fires that weren’t properly put out.

Campgrounds_in_South_Australia

"Camping at Cervantes" by Michael Theis available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/huskyte/7220586098 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ BY Michael Theis

Free Camping Sites In SA

If you are really cash-strapped there are free camping sites all over SA. The following are just some examples:

  • World’s End Gorge Campground (Worlds End Highway, Burra)
  • Terowie Railway Yard (1 Telford Ave., Peterborough)
  • Murtho Forest Landing/ Headings Cliffs (Murtho Forest Reservation)
  • Kingston SE Jetty Parking Area (34 Marine Parade, Kingston)

Camping On A Budget: What You Can Do

After you have chosen where to camp in South Australia, the next step is to find ways to save money on this trip. If you live far away from SA, we understand how this can be a challenge so we have compiled some tips on how you can raise money for your trip and be as thrifty as possible when you begin your camping adventure around South Australia:

Invite More People

As they say, “the more, the merrier.” Invite your friends or close associates to go camping with you. This way you can share expenses such as food, gas, camping fees and tents. Plan group meals depending on the number of persons with you, or ask everyone to bring or cook a dish during the trip. This way you can save on ingredients and enjoy tasting someone else’s cooking.

Opt For Used Camping Gears

Don’t even think of buying brand new camping gear. They are expensive, especially when you buy from retail outlets. Instead, shop at local garage sales or online stores.

Websites like Craigslist, eBay and even Facebook groups post pre-owned camping gear like tents, sleeping pads, backpacks, and even outdoor cooking equipment. Not fond of buying items online? Check your attic and you may find durable items sitting around. Who knows? You may find some old camping tools of your parents’ or grandparents that are still usable.

If you are still missing some of the essential camping equipment, then it’s the only time to buy the rest. Check discounts on websites like Wildearth, Anaconda Stores, and Discount Camping. Another option is to buy from fellow camping enthusiasts, just make sure you return their stuff on time.

Stocking Up on Food and Warm Clothing

If your vehicle still has extra space, fill it up with food. You don’t want to go hungry while camping do you? And don’t forget the s’mores!

When packing food, make sure you have planned a menu to avoid missing ingredients. Shop in bulk for dehydrated items like beans and fruits. Instead of buying condiments, bring the ones currently in your kitchen. Wondering where to store them? Tic-Tacs and film containers are great storage for condiments, while you’re on the go.  

When it comes to clothing, bring clothes that can keep you warm during those cold nights in the wild. Don’t bother matching colours or styles. You will be in the wilderness, and no one (maybe a few) will criticise you for your fashion choices.

Warm_Clothes_For_Camping

"Smores were eaten before this photo." by yosoynuts available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/yosoynuts/5297944207 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at hhttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ BY yosoynuts

Roughing It Out

There are many styles of camping. You can camp in comfort with all the amenities including a hot shower, powered sites, electric barbecue that are all accessible while you’re in the camp site. Or you can choose more secluded camps, like Memory cove near Lincoln National Park, where you can have the place all to yourself.

But if you really want to have the ultimate camping experience, roughing it out with just the basic equipment and no facilities is the way to go. Not only will you save money, it will also bring out your resourcefulness.

If you are ready take this challenge, head on to Mount Remarkable National Park in Wilmington or the Simpson Desert in Oodnadatta. Don’t forget to bring extra supplies for cooking and remember to follow these simple tips when you’re out camping on a budget in South Australia.

When going with a group,  hire a campervan or motorhome. Travelling with a vehicle is more convenient and time-saving. To get the most affordable rentals out there, check out Cheapa Campa’s fleet by visiting our website today!

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Everything You Need To Know About a Motorhome Holiday in WA

If you only have been to Australia’s East Coast, you are missing half the fun of your visit in this awesome country. So, this year, go instead to the lands of arid outback  and magnificent sunsets: Western Australia (WA).

With a land area of 2.646 million square kilometres, Western Australia is recognised as the second largest state in the world. How big is that? About half the size of Europe. Getting around this state is challenging, even if you have your own vehicle. To help you plan your motorhome holiday in WA, we’ve put together a few tips for y0u.

Going North or South

Exploring the entire WA landscape will take you months. If you only have a few days or a week of vacation the best option is to choose whether to go north (Monkey Mia, Exmouth, Shark Bay, etc.) or south (Albany, Margaret River, Esperance, etc.).

Perth is the usual starting point of motorhome or campervan renters, because of the city’s many attractions and accessibility to more remote tourist areas. Visit great spots in the city like the underground tunnels of Fremantle Prison, the 82.5-metre Bell Tower, and the relaxing Rottnest Island.

Once you have chosen which direction to go, plan your trip carefully by visiting tourist spots that are near each other. For example, you can do The Indian Ocean Drive, by travelling from Perth to the Abrolhos Islands, and back in four days.

Esperance_Bay

"Esperance. WA. Views of Observatory Beach." by Amanda Slater available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/pikerslanefarm/3413430227 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Amanda Slater

When is the Best Time to Visit WA?

Western Australia has three climate zones: Perth, South West and Margaret River, and North West and Broome. The state has a generally sunny climate with an average of 3,000 hours of blue sky a year. From the south’s Mediterranean climate, the east’s desert-like environment and the north’s tropics- WA is renowned as a year-round holiday mecca.

Perth is bathed in sunshine nine hours a day, making it the sunniest capital city in Oz. Average summer temperature is 29 °C, but can climb up to more than 40 °C in February. Winter temperature averages 12 °C on the months of June to August.

The south-west region has a Mediterranean climate which contributed to the biodiversity of the region. Margaret River’s mild weather has made it one of the best surfing capitals and a distinguished wine region. The best time to visit the beach is in December when the temperature is between 25 and 35 °C.

Broome and Kimberley are top spots for winter sunshine. Temperatures during April to September dry season peaks at only 29 °C. Green season in the region (October to March) are very humid and brings tropical rainstorms.

Getting a Good Motorhome

Motorhomes and campervans are the most convenient way for non-locals to go around Western Australia. You can easily book a vehicle online and pick it up in the rental company’s branch. In WA, it is likely in Perth.

When you walk in to get your vehicle, check if it has an up-to-date log of mechanical work to ensure that it is in good condition. Don’t accept a unit that has maintenance and repairs carried out without receipts or records. Examine the most crucial parts of the motorhome as they are often subject to damage. These are the engine, brakes, gears, steering wheel, instrument panel, windscreen and coolants.

Cheapa Campa motorhome

Motorhome Fine Prints

Advise your motorhome or campervan hire company of your itinerary in WA. Some may not allow you to travel on off-road tracks and non-national highways. Check their terms and conditions first before booking a vehicle.

Driving Around West Australia

Limit your driving mileage to 400-kilometres and take a break every few hours. Stop driving before 4 P.M. if you want to take an uninterrupted view of WA’s magnificent sunset.

Set-up your campsite two hours before dark. For foreigners, Australia’s vehicles are left-hand drives. If you are from a country that has right-hand drive cars get yourself familiar first with the vehicle you rented before driving long stretches.

Fuel Price Range

The price of oil is down for quite a while. Here are the latest fuel prices around Western Australia:

Town or City Price of Petrol per Litre Price of Diesel per Litre
Albany $1.24 to $1.26 $1.21 to $1.24
Bunbury $1.20 to $1.23 $1.13 to $1.16
Kalgoorlie $1.32 to $1.35 $1.30 to $1.32
Mandurah $1.17 to $1.18 $1.18 to $1.19
Rockingham $0.99 to $1.0 $1.15 to $1.18
Perth $1.15 to $1.20 $1.24 to $1.26

 

**Based on WAFuelFinder.com fuel price tool (February 10, 2016)

Caravan Parks

Research the available campervan parks on your planned route and mark them on the map. Some campervan parks allow online booking, but others implement a first come first serve policy. On average you will spend $35 to $60 a day for unpowered sites and $75 to $ 120 per night for powered sites, depending on the park’s location, season and the number of people in your group.

You can also ask the locals or other travellers if there are cheap caravan parks or free camping sites in the area you are currently in. See locations of caravan parks in Western Australia.

Motorhome_Campground

"Arrowtown Born Of Gold Holiday Park" by studio tdes available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedailyenglishshow/5585764500 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY studio tdes

Cutting your Expenses

More features and equipment for your motorhome means more expenses. To cut down on spending, choose a unit depending on your priorities. For example, you can replace a $20 solar shower bag for a built-in shower. If you need entertainment during the trip, instead of a DVD player or TV, go for books, a music player, a deck of cards or even a guitar.

If you don’t want to re-charge your motorhome hire in a park, carry your own solar panel which will allow you to charge your gadgets without stopping in any city and paying for more fees.
This pretty much sums up the things you need to know about a motorhome holiday in Western Australia. Make sure you do your research before coming to this vast tourist hub. For more travel tips and other resources, keep on reading Cheapa Campa blog.

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