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Young man and women sitting on beach in front of Apollo rental campervan

Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: AU Blog

Top tips for a solo road trip in Australia.

In this guide, we have covered the best solo travel ideas and tips to ensure your van travel adventure is unforgettable (in all the best ways.) From designing the ultimate road trip itinerary planner to choosing the best campervan for solo travel, we've got you covered. Whether you're looking to camp under the stars and drive through rugged terrains, or enjoy a beachy coastal solo travel adventure, a motorhome trip is easily the best way to see Australia. With the right tools, your Australia road trip is bound to be the journey of a lifetime.

Here are some of our top tips on how to plan the perfect solo campervan road trip:


1. Plan your van travel ahead of time

Australia is massive, and its road network is just as expansive. Before you rev up your campervan and embark on your solo travel journey, there are a few things to account for:

  • Consider the time of year of your solo travel: Planning an Australia road trip in peak seasons or in Australia’s school holidays will be markedly different than planning a trip during the shoulder seasons. If you want to avoid the crowds and minimize campground fees, its worthwhile doing your research and booking ahead of time. 

  • Research Australia's vast road network: Ensure you're familiar with road conditions of the regions you are travelling through. When traversing through expansive Outback regions, always have a plan for your next fuel stop.

  • Create an itinerary based on your interests: Take advantage of the many road trip itinerary planner tools available online and craft a journey that resonates with your soul. Need some inspiration? Check out our extensive list of customized campervan holiday itineraries

  • Utilise GPS and navigation apps: When on a solo travel Australia expedition, GPS and navigation apps are the ultimate travel companion. When travelling in remote regions, just be sure to download offline maps or have a printed version handy! 

  • Embrace spontaneity: While planning is part of a great trip, sometimes the best camping spots or unplanned activities might just be around the bend. So in spite of your plans, don’t get too bogged down in them. Be open to the unexpected.


Image: Instagram - @scotthowes


2. Choose the right campervan for your needs 

Picking the right campervan can make or break your solo travel road trip experience. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on the best campervan for your solo travel adventure:

  • Size, amenities, and budget: From compact vehicles perfect for solo travel to luxury rigs equipped with the best self-contained facilities, there’s a huge range of rental vehicles at Apollo to choose from. When choosing, be sure to consider size, the types of amenities you will need and your budget. 

  • Ensure your campervan hire is top-notch: When you rent a travel van, ensure you are renting from a reputable brand like Apollo, who assure quality with a well-maintained and reliable fleet of campervans.

  • ​​Test all equipment and familiarise yourself with its features: Before hitting the road, spend some time getting acquainted with your vehicle. It's crucial to understand its quirks, capabilities, and features.  

  • Watch the vehicle how-to video: With an Apollo campervan hire you get the thlRoadtrip App with expert advice at your fingertips. Within it you will find handy how-to instructional videos that are a must-watch before setting off. 


3. Safety first

When embarking on your solo travel Australia journey in a campervan, safety should always be paramount. Venturing into the vast landscapes and camping spots of the country is a dreamy prospect, but a few precautions can make all the difference:

  • Share your details: Before you set off on your Australia road trip, ensure a close friend or family member knows your travel itinerary. This adds an extra layer of security, so someone is always in the loop about your whereabouts.

  • Equip your campervan: Whether you rent a travel van or have your own, ensure it’s equipped with essential health and safety gear like a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher (included in your Apollo campervan hire) and an emergency contact list. 

  • 24/7 support: Having roadside assistance can be the difference between a minor hiccup and a ruined trip. With a reliable service like Apollo’s on-road care team, help is just a call away, ensuring your van travel experience is hassle-free.


4. Packing essentials

Australia's diverse landscapes demand varied packing essentials. From scorching deserts to chilly coastal breezes, preparation is key for an enjoyable van travel experience:

  • Check the weather: Ensure you pack clothing suitable for Australia's range of climates. Whether you’re exploring the Red Centre or the Great Ocean Road (or a mix), it's worthwhile to do a little research on what weather to expect during your trip so you can pack accordingly. 

  • Personal items: Don’t skimp on personal items, toiletries, and entertainment for those quiet evenings. After all, your campervan becomes your home on wheels during your time on the road. For a detailed packing guide, check out Apollo's summer campervan road trip essentials.


Image: Instagram - @overlandtravellers


5. Campsite reservations

Australia boasts a host of incredible campgrounds with campervan-friendly campsite facilities, but to ensure a spot (especially during busy periods!), planning is essential:

  • Book in advance: Australia's beauty is renowned, and its most popular campgrounds and powered camping sites are in high demand, especially during holidays and festivals. Booking in advance ensures you get one of the prime camping spots without the hassle of searching last minute. Plus, it can often be more cost-effective. 

  • Know your stay: Before you click the 'book now' button, do a bit of research on the campgrounds or campsite spots of your choice. Look into their campsite facilities, amenities, and guest reviews. Some sites, especially powered camping sites, offer more than just a plot of land, including BBQ pits, communal areas, and even swimming pools. 

  • Free camping: While Australia has plenty of designated campgrounds, there are also areas where free camping is permitted. These can be a haven for the budget solo traveller. Do remember to check local regulations, though, as free camping isn't allowed everywhere. 

  • Stay flexible: Even with reservations, sometimes things change – weather, road conditions or simply a newfound desire to explore a previously unknown area a little longer. It’s always a good idea to have some wiggle room in your road trip itinerary planner, just in case.


6. Stay connected

On an Australia road trip, it’s crucial to stay connected not just for safety but to share those jaw-dropping solo travel moments:

  • Stay online: Whether you're updating your journey or checking out the next camping spot, investing in a reliable mobile hotspot or SIM card ensures you’re always connected during your van travel adventure. 

  • Old-school navigation: As much as technology can be a game-changer for solo van travel, having a paper map on hand, especially when travelling to remote camping spots and campgrounds, is an important back up. 

  • Power up: When staying at powered camping sites, you can easily charge your devices directly from your campervan when plugged into mains power. If you plan on free camping in between your powered campsite days, however, a portable power bank can be a worthwhile addition so that you're always able to charge your phone/maps and so on. 


7. Respect local wildlife

One of the charms of solo travel in Australia is having the chance to spot our mesmerizing wildlife. From the iconic kangaroo and cuddly koala to the elusive platypus, it's a solo traveller's dream to encounter these animals in the wild. But it's crucial to interact with them responsibly. To ensure their safety and yours:

  • Admire from afar: While it’s tempting to get that close-up shot or marvel at the unique creatures, always admire wildlife from a safe distance during your road trip around Australia. 

  • Respect their wildness: It’s crucial never to feed or approach wild animals. Not only can it alter their natural behaviours, but it can also be dangerous. 

  • Adhere to wildlife guidelines: Different areas have specific guidelines, especially in national parks. These rules are there for a reason, ensuring the protection of both wildlife and visitors. So, always be on the lookout for signs and advisories.

  • Nighttime driving: Some of Australia's wildlife are nocturnal. If you're driving in the evening or early morning, be extra cautious. Slow down and use high beams when possible to spot animals on the road.


Image: Tourism and Events Queensland


8. Travel sustainably

As more and more solo travellers and families choose the freedom of van travel, sustainability should be at the heart of our adventures. Leaving a minimal footprint ensures future travellers can enjoy the same pristine beauty of Australia for years to come:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The three R’s are just as relevant on the road. Minimize your waste by opting for products with less packaging. Carry reusable water bottles, containers, and bags. And always ensure you dispose of waste correctly, using recycling facilities wherever available.

  • Conserve precious resources: Australia, with its diverse climates, can sometimes face water shortages. Whenever you’re at a campsite, be mindful of water usage. Quick showers and turning off taps while brushing your teeth can make a significant difference.

  • Follow the 'Leave No Trace' principle: Nature's beauty is best left untouched. Whether you're setting up camp in a bustling campground or a secluded camping spot, ensure you leave the site as you found it – or even better!

  • Support local: Buying from local markets and artisans not only gives you a genuine taste of Australia but also reduces the carbon footprint of transported goods. Plus, it's a fantastic way to support the local economy.

  • Mindful driving: Believe it or not, how you drive your campervan can impact sustainability. Maintaining a steady speed and avoiding unnecessary idling can reduce fuel consumption (and can be a great way to save on fuel as a bonus!)


9. Follow road etiquette

Driving in this expansive country comes with its unique set of rules and etiquette. Before you get behind the wheel: 

  • Know the rules of the road: Whether it's your first solo travel Australia adventure or you're a seasoned campervan enthusiast, ensure you're up-to-date with the Australian road rules. For an in-depth guide, check out Apollo’s safe driving tips.

  • Stay sharp: The long stretches of Australia’s highways can be hypnotic. Ensure you take regular breaks, both for your safety and to soak in the surroundings. 

  • Courtesy counts: Sharing is caring, especially on the road. Whether you encounter another campervan or locals commuting, approach with patience and courtesy.


10. Embrace local culture

Beyond its stunning landscapes and iconic wildlife of Australia lies a rich tapestry of cultures and traditions. A few of the best ways to embrace the local culture include: 

  • Enjoy a conversation with locals: The best travel guides aren't always found in books. They're the cafe owner in Melbourne, the Aboriginal elder in the Northern Territory, or the farmer in rural New South Wales. Their stories, tips, and insights can enrich your Australia road trip in ways you'd never imagined.

  • Taste the local flavors: Every region in Australia has its own culinary prowess. From the fresh tropical fruit of Queensland to the vineyards of South Australia, there's a smorgasbord of flavours waiting in every corner. Make it a point to try local dishes, visit farmers' markets, and maybe even attend a cooking class during your trip. 

  • Traditional events & festivals: Australia boasts a calendar packed with cultural events, from indigenous celebrations like NAIDOC Week to the multicultural vibes of Sydney's Lunar New Year festival. Aligning your road trip itinerary with such events can be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in local customs.

  • Local arts & crafts: Art tells a story, a narrative of a place and its people. Whether it's Aboriginal dot paintings, handcrafted souvenirs, or contemporary Australian design, supporting local artisans not only gets you a unique keepsake but is also a great way to get an understanding of our culture.


11. Document your journey 

Your solo travel adventure around Australia is bound to be filled with moments worth capturing. Here are a few ideas on ways to document the experience:

  • Pen your thoughts: Keeping a travel journal is the perfect way to reflect on your experiences and serves as a tangible memory of your solo campervan adventure.

  • Capture the moments: In this digital age, photos and videos are a great way to transport yourself back to those moments sinking your toes into white sandy shores or standing beneath ancient forests. 

  • Share and connect: Starting a blog or social media account dedicated to your travels can be a rewarding way to document your journey and connect with fellow travellers. Who knows? Your thoughts and solo travel ideas from your trip around Australia might inspire someone else’s journey.


12. Download the THL app

In the age of technology, even the free-spirited world of van travel gets a techy upgrade. The thlRoadtrip app isn’t just another app on your phone; it's the perfect companion for your solo travel Australia adventure. Here are a few ways this app can enrich your adventure:

  • Join the conversation: Connect with other travellers, share experiences or ask for advice. As a solo traveller, this community can be a comforting space to be in.

  • Never run out of fuel: One of the key concerns during any campervan journey is the next fuel stop. With the thlRoadtrip app, you can pre-save petrol stations as part of your road trip itinerary planner, so you're always ahead of the game.

  • Find your night's rest: Discover camping spots, both popular and hidden gems, making your nightly stays as adventurous or peaceful as you wish.

  • Maintain your camper: With information on local dump stations and campground facilities, you can ensure your campervan stays in top shape throughout the journey.


Ready to book your solo adventure?

Ready for your solo travel campervan adventure – with the allure of the open road, the promise of unexpected discoveries, and the freedom to explore at your own pace? Booking your trip is simpler than ever. Select, book, and get all set for your camper adventure online, then pick up your chosen Apollo camper from the nearest Apollo Campers branch in Australia. The open road awaits!

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