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Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

Singapore, Singapore
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Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

Hi All!

My friends and I (4 of us) are planning to go on a road trip during early July period for 9 days. I understand that it is school holidays as well as winter period but i have a few main concerns about my trip.

We will first be landing in Sydney, then driving down straight to Melbourne to experience the Great Ocean Road, then straight up to Gold Coast theme parks and attractions before heading back to Sydney. We will be spending 6 days on the road and last 3 days in Sydney but I need some advice whether it is a wise choice for the following:

1. Because we are on tight budget, therefore we are wondering if renting a Campervan or renting normal cars to hit the road and crashing the nights in motels/hostel?

2. Are hostels/motels widely available in Aus with affordable prices (appx <40AUD/night)?

3. IF we were to rent a campervan, campervan parks for powered/unpowered sites are only available for restricted hours (check-in timings?) or 24hrs access? Because we will only land in SYD at around 1330hrs and est timing to drive to MEL takes about 9hrs, so we will only reach Mel at night.

Thanks guys!

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
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26,694 posts
75 reviews
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1. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

I think you are wildly optimistic with your planned driving schedule. It may be possible in a car, but you won't have time to actually see and do anything. It would be impossible in a van.

Motels outside the main cities are widely available. They cost around $100, but do not accommodate four people. You would probably need two rooms or a family room.

Best of luck.

Luigi

Singapore, Singapore
5 posts
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2. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

Thanks for the promptly reply

I am aware of the tight schedule but what about the campervan parks? Are they 24hrs accessible or there is a specific timing to "check-in" for their unpowered/powered sites?

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
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26,694 posts
75 reviews
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3. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

Every van park and motel will have its own policy on when it closes for the night. Big hotels/motels may have night staff, but outside the big cities most are run as family businesses and they will close either when all rooms/spaces are rented for the night or at about 8 30 to 9pm. They may stay open later on busy travel nights (Fridays). Your chances of finding things open after 10pm would be very slim.

Turning up at a van park and trying to get yourselves organised in darkness will win you no friends. Someone is bound to explain it to you if you try.

Gungahlin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
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15,037 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

>>My friends and I (4 of us) are planning to go on a road trip during early July period for 9 days. __ We will first be landing in Sydney, then driving down straight to Melbourne to experience the Great Ocean Road, then straight up to Gold Coast theme parks and attractions before heading back to Sydney. We will be spending 6 days on the road and last 3 days in Sydney but I need some advice whether it is a wise choice for the following __ Because we will only land in SYD at around 1330hrs and est timing to drive to MEL takes about 9hrs, so we will only reach Mel at night.<<

Getting off an international flight in Sydney and driving late into the night to reach Melbourne and then having, what, 5 days to do the GOR and get up to the Gold Coast, and in mid-winter, and on a budget? Really, no.

Edited: 23 April 2014, 15:13
Singapore, Singapore
5 posts
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5. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

Thanks for the advise @MacKnee @luigi A

Just to clarify a few queries. If we were to visit the theme parks in this period would it be very packed? Because our main aim to visit gold coast is for the theme parks, nothing else if not we would not head there.

And is it really that risky as what i've seen from other threads saying that renting Campervans with poor conditions and ended up paying for all the damages which were already there?

Gungahlin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
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15,037 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

cheap campervans = bad

ridiculously tight schedule on unfamiliar roads in winter = bad

cheap campervans + ridiculously tight schedule on unfamiliar roads in winter = doubly bad

Yes, people really have bad experiences with cheap campervan rentals, and some even admit they had read the poor reviews but they thought they'd be the ones to avoid the pitfalls and somehow achieve the contradictory combination of 'cheap and good'.

Are you really planning to fly into Sydney and drive to Melbourne that night? So why not fly to Melbourne? That's just one of the questions I have about this thread, hmm.

Edited: 23 April 2014, 16:08
Singapore, Singapore
5 posts
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7. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

@Macknee:

Yeap, thought of that before but flights do not accommodate for us so we had to fly in and out via Sydney.

Probably not going for the cheap range ones, i'm looking at those Mighty is offering and might be changing our itenaries to leave Sydney next morning upon landing instead.

Sydney
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1,201 posts
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8. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

This is a nightmare trip.

Just an accident waiting to happen.

RETHINK!

australia
Destination Expert
for New South Wales, Noosa
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3,264 posts
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9. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

Did you look at the flyscoot Gold Coast flights in one direction.

The theme parks will not be horrendously crowded during July winter holidays. Busy yes but not impossible.

Winter it could rain anywhere any or every or even no day. Not the best time to be setting up camp in cold unpowered camp sites especially in the southern states. Given you time constraints a choice between GOR and theme parks would seem prudent.

Hostels at $40 per person per night would be possible. A cabin for four (might be one double bed plus bunks) in some parks for $160 could work. You may find some cheaper motel rooms on or near Gold Coast could come close to that. Look at sites like wotif and hotel club. Hostelbookers.com for hostel options.

Melbourne
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1,554 posts
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10. Re: Campervan or Car rental + Motel/Hostels ?

Ok, where do I begin?

1. You do realize that the drive from Sydney to Melbourne is not the GOR? You will need to spend 1 full day driving from Sydney to the start of the GOR, then it takes 2 days to drive the length of it and back.

2. You will then spend 3 days driving from Melbourne to Gold Coast.

3. There are 4 main theme parks in GC, you need 1/2 day to a full day at each.

4. It takes a full day of driving to get back to Sydney.

So out of 9 days, you are spending 5 full days just driving between destinations, and 2 full days driving the GOR. That leaves you 2 days to see theme parks and Sydney, which both need about 3 days each to do justice. So as you can see you don't have time to do everything. You only option would be to fly between destinations, this giving you driving days back to spend sightseeing. It's still a very tight schedule though, particularly in winter when the weather is bad and the daylight hours are short.

Your current idea is impossible to achieve and needs to be rethinked.