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Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: AU Blog

A Guide to Responsible Campervanning in Australia.

More and more people are opting to rent a van to travel around Australia. And as van travel rises in popularity, so does the search for responsible and sustainable travel tips – ensuring we savour these culturally and naturally rich regions so they can be explored for generations to come. After all, a campervan journey across Australia promises adventure at every turn – and with great adventure comes great responsibility. 

Rest assured, responsible campervanning is possible! From choosing the right campervan, crafting the ideal Australia road trip itinerary, and selecting eco-friendly camping spots, there are plenty of ways to ensure your Australia road trip is up to scratch with sustainable travel best practices! To help, we have put together this guide of our top tips for responsible and sustainable campervanning to consider when planning your road trip around Australia. 

 

Choose the Right Campervan

Whether you are preparing for your first-ever campervan adventure or you are a seasoned pro, your campervan is more than just a vehicle; it’s your home on wheels as you traverse the Australian Outback, coastlines, and everything in between. Best of all, modern campervans are designed with sustainable travel in mind. With eco-friendly facilities like water storage, as well as an onboard toilet, kitchen and bin, you can rest easy knowing you won’t be caught out without the proper campsite facilities.

That being said, it's pivotal to select a campervan that’s a good fit for your journey. Opting for a vehicle that’s the right size for your needs, and planning your journey can mean a more fuel-efficient trip, reducing your carbon footprint. 

 

Plan Your Trip

The thing is, responsible campervanning starts long before the ignition turns. Planning your Australia road trip is not just about avoiding travel blunders but curating an itinerary that avoids extraneous driving, ensuring you have all the right permits and more. 

 

Itinerary

Crafting a sustainable travel itinerary is more than just plotting points on a map (although there is a bit of that, too). Planning your Australia road trip route in advance ensures you’re taking the most direct paths, reducing unnecessary driving and, subsequently, fuel consumption. It’s not only eco-friendly but economical (win-win!). 

While Australia is brimming with popular tourist attractions, there are countless hidden gems waiting to be discovered outside of the major cities. Be sure to consider incorporating a mix of both into your campervan journey. Not only does this make for an unforgettable road trip experience, but exploring these lesser-known attractions means that you won’t be idling in inner-city traffic for too long, while also supporting the local economy.

 

Caravan Parks

Choosing where you rest for the night is equally crucial, as not all caravan parks are made equal. Luckily, with a rising emphasis on eco-tourism and responsible travel, there's a slew of eco-friendly campgrounds and caravan parks that prioritise sustainability. Things like solar water heating, LED lights and on-site water tanks are a few great things to look for when searching for an eco-friendly camping spot. When in doubt, a bare-bones caravan park with a water fill-up, dump station and a place where you can refill your batteries for more off-grid adventures is a perfect choice. Opting for such sites ensures you're skipping spending dollars at the big parks (with their big energy, land and water requirements) and leaving a minimal environmental impact as you travel. 

Beyond that, abiding by the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles is a great way to ensure that nature remains undisturbed and the campsites remain pristine for future campervan travellers. 

 

Permits and Regulations

Lastly, every region has its own set of rules. While the idea of parking by a beach or deep within a forest might sound enchanting, it’s essential to be aware of the local regulations. Many regions in Australia require permits for campervanning, and these rules are in place to protect both the environment and travellers. Adhering to local camping regulations ensures that we maintain the ecological balance of these beautiful spots, making our travel experiences truly responsible and sustainable. 

 

Being Sustainable While Travelling in a Campervan

Sustainable travel is more than just a buzzword; it's a commitment to preserving the incredible landscapes and ecosystems we explore. Let's delve into the nitty-gritty of responsible campervanning so that you can make informed choices that champion sustainable travel during your Australia road trip adventure. 

 

Waste Management

Frankly, waste can accumulate quickly on any road trip, let alone a road trip around Australia. A packet of chips here and a water bottle there all add up! Here are a few of our top tips for waste management when travelling in a campervan:

  • BYO bin bags: Pack your own bin bags and make a point to segregate waste and recyclables. 

  • Make use of campground bins: Most towns and campgrounds are equipped with designated bins, making it easy to dispose responsibly 

  • Pack it out: If you’re staying in a national park camping spot, ensure you carry your trash to the closest town and dispose of it conscientiously. 

 

Leave it Better Than You Found It

Australia's natural beauty is unrivalled, and small conservation efforts go a long way: 

  • Tread lightly: Refrain from walking over fragile sand dunes and be watchful during nesting seasons on beaches. Many beaches have nesting birds, so be mindful of this depending on the time of year you're visiting.

  • Admire from afar: Maintaining a respectful distance from wildlife so as not to disturb their homes

  • Make note of seasons: Do a little research before setting off so that you are aware of the flora and fauna unique to that season. This will help you tread more carefully, but also give you the chance to see these first hand!

 

Conserve Water and Energy

Water and energy are precious resources at the best of times. On an Australia road trip, with only what you can carry on board and batteries for power, you become aware of just how precious! Here are a few of our top tips for conserving water and power to ensure you get the most out of your tank and battery banks: 

  • Do dishes in bulk: Conserve water by using it judiciously when doing dishes in your campervan

  • Short showers: Easier said than done, but this goes a long way to conserve water

  • Swim in nature: One of the best ways to get that sparkly-clean feeling when renting a van to travel Australia is to go for a dip in a lake or natural pool. This is a good way to extend the need for a daily shower – just be sure not to use soap, as these can pollute our waterways!

  • Keep an eye on power: Monitor your energy consumption. Turn off lights when not needed and avoid excessive use of heating or cooling systems. It’s these small acts that cumulatively create a significant impact on sustainable campervanning.

 

Follow Road Etiquette

To ensure your campervan journey is smooth, it's essential to be well-acquainted with Australian road rules. Things like taking regular breaks help combat fatigue and ensure you stay alert and make safe driving decisions. Beyond that, practising patience, giving way when needed, and understanding that the road is shared ensures a smooth journey for all. 

Top tip: Be sure to brush up on your Australian road rules, including any campervan-specific rules, before setting off in your campervan hire!

 

Respect Local Culture

While the vast landscapes and picturesque beaches of Australia are undeniably alluring, the heart of this vast country truly lies in its rich regional and ancient Aboriginal cultures. When you rent a van to travel Australia, engaging with locals can be a great way to garner some deeper insights – going beyond what meets the eye. Their stories, traditions, and ways of life offer a deeper insight into the places you visit. 

  • Taste the local favourites: Whether you are curious to explore the regional cuisine or traditional Aboriginal food, there are plenty of opportunities when you rent a van to travel Australia.

  • Support local: When in doubt, support local eateries over chains. This is a great way to respect the Aussie culture and people.

  • Visit local markets: When in a new town, visit local markets. Not only do you get fresh produce, but you also have the chance to support the local economy and chat with the people who grow the food – a perfect way to promote sustainability.

  • Check out festivals: If your road trip itinerary planner aligns, attending cultural events and festivals can offer an unfiltered view of local life and traditions.

  • Respect sacred sites: When it comes to indigenous sacred sites and cultural practices, tread with utmost respect. Always seek permission before entering sacred spaces and listen to the local Aboriginal guidelines. These sites are not just tourist spots; they are integral to the cultural fabric of Australia.

 

Download the thl Roadtrip app

In today’s digital age, the key to a seamless and sustainable Australia road trip might just be in your pocket. The thl Roadtrip App is a must-have for anyone looking to road trip responsibly. Ever been in a fix trying to locate the nearest petrol station or dump station? With the thl Roadtrip App, all this information (and more!) is at your fingertips. With a huge database of campsites and camping spots, it makes navigating unfamiliar terrains a breeze. Plus, with real-time road alerts and an offline road trip itinerary planner, you can avoid those pesky detours and re-routes. If that wasn’t enough, one of the standout features of the app is its community-driven approach. This allows travellers to join conversations and share tips on responsible campervanning and more. 

 

Be Prepared for Emergencies

A road trip in Australia is all about letting your hair out, embracing wild terrain and experiencing new things. However, when it comes to responsible campervanning, it is also essential to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Preparing for emergencies is not just about ensuring personal safety but also about safeguarding Australia's natural environment. 

  • Emergency essentials: Having essential safety equipment on board is non-negotiable. This includes basics like a first-aid kit (available for hire) and a fire extinguisher (comes with every rental.) For those more remote adventures, consider adding items like a satellite phone, extra water jugs, and perhaps even a snake bite kit (Australia's stunning landscapes do come with their fair share of slithering inhabitants, after all). For more ideas, check out our summer road trip essentials.

  • Share your plans: One often overlooked yet vital aspect of safety is communication. Always ensure that someone, be it a friend or family member, knows your planned van travel route and itinerary. With such a huge landscape and endless camping spots in Australia, it's easy to venture off the beaten path. Letting someone know where you're headed ensures that, should anything go amiss, help is always informed and on the way.

  • Stop safely: In case of emergencies such as vehicle breakdowns, always stay within designated roadside areas and avoid trampling on sensitive ecosystems.

 

Ready to Travel Australia?

Whether you're seeking the thrill of coastal highways or the serene beauty of the Outback, Australia awaits with its open roads, breathtaking vistas, and diverse cultures. And now you're armed with plenty of tips to ensure that your campervanning adventure is memorable and ticking the boxes of sustainable travel. 
Ready to book your home-on-wheels and travel Australia in a campervan? With an Apollo Camper, the process is seamless. Simply book your campervan online, and then all that’s left is to pick it up from any of our 10 branches. Before you know it, you'll be on your way, embracing the spirit of the open road and the joy of sustainable travel.

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