Around Half Oz cost estimate help needed

Submitted: Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 21:54
ThreadID: 55308 Views:3213 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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Our family (2adults, 2 kids) are planning to travel from Adelaide up to Darwin down the WA Coast and back to Adelaide from May this year. We don't know how long we will be gone as we intend for it to be a "working holiday" (my husband is a carpenter & I have accountancy experience) & will just see how we feel.

I'm starting to panic a bit that this trip is going to cost us a lot more than I originally thought & we hear about all this fantastic money my husband can earn in the mines & outback towns but not sure how realistic it is. I'd like to hear from other people who have done the same trip recently (especially families) to help with my budget.

- What would be the average figure of diesel per litre at the pump?

- How much for a weekly food budget? I read somewhere $300/person/week but this seems quite high. I thought about $300/week for the whole family!

- Approx cost of services for car (3.0L manual Patrol) & caravan (Jayco 18ft Expanda Outback)? Is it alot more expensive in places like Darwin & northern WA than somewhere like Adelaide or about the same?

- Average cost per night for Caravan Park for 2a & 2c? I estimate $50/night but read somewhere to estimate $80/night which seems quite high to me. I have a Lemair washing machine so I don't have to worry about extra laundry costs & we will try to bush camp but would like to work out the budget as if we wouldn't to cover the "worst case senario".

- If anyone has any idea (approx of course) how much a carpenter/formworker/truck driver (my husband can do all these) or accounts/bookkeeper etc can get per week that would also help me greatly :)

Can't wait to hear from everyone's experiences & thanks in advance for your replies.

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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 22:36

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 22:36
Hi leeb1973, sounds like a great holiday, as far as your food budget is concerned $300 pp per week does sound a little high to me too, however there are a few areas to be factored in,

How old are the children?
Do you eat much take away?
How much do you cook yourself and how much processed food do you use?
When hubby and I go away it costs us half as much in the food department as it does when we are at home.

As far as the caravan park costs are concerned I would say that $50 per night would be ample. There is a website that I use for checking on prices etc and that is: "Caravanning - Go See Australia". Another suggestion would be to become members of a couple of the parks as you will get a discount (usually 10%) when you use those Parks, we are members of the "Big4" parks and "The Tourist Parks" about $20 each for a couple of years, can't go wrong if you are going to be away for a while, find out what parks are most predominate on your route and become members of those.

Hope this helps with some of your queries

Enjoy your holiday



Simba, our much missed baby.

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Follow Up By: leeb1973 - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 23:07

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 23:07
We've got 8 yr old twin girls. Not into take away much - especially if the budget is tight :) We intend to cook & prepare our meals ourselves.

It's funny but the website you mentioned is where I saw the "$300/person/week" and "$80/night" figures!! It was an article in answer to a retired couple looking for advice about travelling around Oz.

Where on the site do you check for prices etc? I find you have to dig a bit to get info on that site.

Thanks for your reply.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 23:26

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 23:26
Hi Leanne, go into the website, on the left side of the home page, (opens up to home page) double click on the "caravanning" in the blue list on the left side of the page, that will bring up a page with a coloured map of Aus, double click on which state you are interested in, in your case NT & WA, and that will give you a list of town names, click on the town you want and that will give you the list of parks in that town.

I personally think that the person who suggests $300pp per week for food probably was dining out on Lobster and champers. LOL

Hope that makes sense



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Follow Up By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 07:33

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 07:33
How much does it cost per week to live now??? Id be going off that minus a bit......Id be buying food that I would normally buy...normal fruit, veg, meat etc....except if we are going to go remote then its the canned stuff etc...

wish we were doing half a lap!!

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Reply By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 22:54

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 22:54
The wife and I + 1 did 1/2 a lap, 14 months ago.

Darwin to Cairns East coast to Adelaide up the centre to Darwin again.

6 weeks mostly camping we did 14000 km and spent about $14000.

We did as much as we could.

Cheers Steve
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Follow Up By: Member - Bucky (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:45

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:45
We are planning a trip from Wonthaggi, to the Kimberley's Gibb river Road loop, and then down the CSR, to Wiluna, then back along the Great Central Road (Highway) to the Surveyor General's Corner, and back to Uluru, and back south to Wonthaggi
Have some friends coming wiith us, namely Kiwi & Mahindra and Vivien Coffe & Ray,,,and a few others as well, including some tyre kickers.
Expected KMs 13,500, fuel 2700 lts ( could go 3000 lts )
Expected cost approx $12-13,000
Expected time 3 months
leaving late july, next year

Can't wait, but a lot can happen in 16 months, ie fuel costs, vehicle changes, health, so we will have a little extra put aside.

All bush camping ! the occasional caravan park !

Powering into research now ..

Any advice would be greatly accepted !

Bucky & Lyn

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Follow Up By: Member - Leave_enough_space - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 09:43

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 09:43
Damn! that's nearly $2500 per week! ie $75000 per annum

I'm not sure the super will stretch to that, especially after buying the tug and caravan!
Based on a 6 week trip
3000l @ $1.50 = $4500 for diesel

42 nights in a CP @ $40 per night = ~$1600

Food and DRINK 42 days @ $50 per day = $2100

Some money spent on sightseeing
Where does it all go??? I might have to reconsider what I do in retirement - we had planned to go on the road full time!

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Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:54

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:54
When we go on holiday, Its a holiday meaning I don't care how much it cost.

Our fuel bill was more like $7000 as we did a lot of side tracks, I have said in another post I don't mind paying a entry fee for N.Parks either, so we visit a lot of them as well.

In comparison my Grey nomad parents spend a lot less EG: it took them 12 months to leave FNQ.

We are going to Europe at the end of next year for 6 weeks I would expect to spend between $15 to 20 grand.

Cheers Steve.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 12:17

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 12:17
Leave enough space - what you spend on a trip depends on a lot of things including what you have available to spend. If you are living off your super you will probably spend less than if you are in a highly paid job. Also there is a big difference in being on the road full time where you tend to travel shorter distances, more slowly, and being on a holiday from work and trying to cram a lot in.

Also depends on how many extras you have - things like flights over scenic areas, restaurant meals, etc will add up pretty quickly. Work out what your living costs are at home, plus vehicle costs and go from there.

It is certainly possible to travel on your super and have a great time. And remember that the quality of your experience does not equal the $$ you spend!

HTH, Cheers,

J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Follow Up By: Member - Leave_enough_space - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 12:28

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 12:28
Thanks for the view, Val!

Unfortunately we already spend all our super when we're at home, so being 'abroad' is a bit of a daunting prospect at the moment!

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Reply By: Grungle - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:46

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:46
Hi Leanne,

I wouldn't rely on work within the mines. We see a lot of people coming to Mackay expecting to get a $120K job in the mines because they saw it on ACA but in reality only certain skills are in demand so they can't get a job and many are left desperate for anything but are faced with $500 a week rents and an accomodation shortage.

My suggestion would be small towns that are enjoying a building boom such as those that support the mines. In reality if you are hard working, motivated and don't mind doing anything, then you will not have any problems finding work. You are extremely lucky in that you can just move along to somewhere else if work is scarce or you don't enjoy the work.

As for a travel budget, we always work off $1000 a week for everything including fuel, food, some siteseeing and some accomodation (2 adults and 2 kids). We have a camper trailer so like to bush camp and avoid caravan parks where possible except to wash and reorganise. This is pretty close to what we always spend on our 2-6 week trips covering approximately 1000km per week.

I would like to take around 18 months off at some stage and travel Australia. I sat down and worked out an itinerary and budget so just need to get the time (its still a work in progress). I worked on the best place to be for the season (within reason), towing a camper, consumption at 20L/100km and $1.70/Litre, $200/week food (which is what we spend now), $300/week miscellaneous and free camping where possible. With all this in mind and trying to be budget conscious, We figured we could travel for around $750/week for everything.

We find that our eating habits change when camping where we eat a lot more snacky meals and less main meals. As a result we tend to have lots of leftovers so we always come back with extra meal ingredients (meat, veg etc). However what you spend per week now is pretty damn close to what you spend out bush (except for beer/wine which we tend to enjoy more of when camping). BTW this is what we found for ourselves so others may be different.

My kids are 7 and 10 so we would like to do it before high school or after but I have a great job which I am enjoying so it may be later rather than sooner.

I have uploaded the basic Excel spreadsheet to my website if interested (remember its a work in progress and not flash) -> Around Oz

AnswerID: 291572

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:40

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:40
Hi Leanne, below is a summery of our costs from our similar trip in May -Aug 2006 but start and finish in Perth. I've got a V6 but I presume your Diesel towing a van would give similar consumption rates. BTW in the Kimberley you get about a 20c/L fuel subsidy for diesel.

16,600KM & 10 wks

Groceries - $892
Meat - $181
Take always - this included the occasional restaurant meal, and any other food snack bought along the way that we didn't cook ourselves - $1059
Fuel - 2773 Litres - $4257
Tours - $1577

Total all up - $13,314 or $190.20 per day.

We tented but had powered sites in the van parks, so the same as a van. Stayed in Pk cabins for 12 nights over the period so costs for accommodation sky-rocketed. But with you having 2 extra the price would average out pretty comparable I'd imagine.

Suspect that prices in the Pilbara will have risen dramatically and getting a spot for your van may be an issue in places like Pt Hedland and Karratha so book ahead.Broome can also be an issue in June and July.Kununurra was booking out very fast in June and there is 11 parks there to pick on. A Big 4 membership card is well worth the expense if you don't already have one. Parks are usually a bit more expensive but the discount with being a member brings the cost down to level or just below the others. Big + is the level of amenities in these parks.

Van Pks in the NT in particular really look after their guests with many having nightly family entertainment either free or for a very nominal fee.

Enjoy yourselves it will be a trip you'll talk about for years.
Make sure you give back more than you take

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Reply By: HGMonaro - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:14

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:14
Here's a break down of what we spent on our 98 night, 20,000k 1/2 lap.

Category Amount
Accomodation $3,052
Petrol $5,256
Car service $300
Clothes Washing $89
Correspondence $164
Equipment $392
Evening Meals $953
Groceries $2,543
Ice $40
Internet $41
Lunches $506
Miscellaneous $674
Park Entry $99
Presents $157
Snacks $315
Souvenirs $662
Tours $2,530
Total $17,772

Our accomodation was about 88 nights at van parks and the rest at Nat Parks or bushcamps (which drags the average down a little bit). Sounds like a fair amount but we calculated we would have spent around $12,500 if we're at home in the same time (kids creche and sport cost a lot!!) so we actually spent $5.5k for a 3mth holiday! Not to bad! :)
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