In Australia : Good Caravan Parks - Cheap Fuel - Places I like

In Europe - Maps, Photos, Blog Texts - Jazclass Links

Down - Top - Jazclass Links)

AA 1 - Introduction

It is quite a few years since I travele around Australia (2002-03) and my annual car trips between Darwin and the Sunshine Coast are also adventures from the past. But much of the observations I have made on these pages are still relevant to tralers these days (2012).

Camping by tent, campervan, camperhome or caravan is still the great leisure activity in Australia. Unfortunately since the 90s the prices of car fuel and caravan parks have risen strongly, making camping now more and more expensive.
I therefore decided to place some of my travel experiences online. My tips focus especially on good places to tank up, good caravan parks to stay and places to eat out.
I also include info and photos on some special features. Not the obvious well known tourist attractions, but lesser known (and some quirky) things which interest me, such as artesian spas, local art (such as murals), old country town pubs and buildings, or just nice places to stay, away from the usual tourist centres.

Also check out my more recent experiences in Europe in case you are planning a trip there.
I now spend every 2 years a good 2 months there, visiting my sister in the Black Forest (S.Germany) and doing various walks and cycling trips in Spain, Germany and The Netherlands.

Down - Up - Top - Jazclass Links)

AA 2 - Good Caravan Parks

The combined effect of the new goods and services tax (GST), increased insurance (since 9/11) and higher council rates (due to sky-rocketing land prices) the prices of caravan parks have risen considerably since the late 90s. Best prices are in the lesser known towns and villages and in country Australia.

If you are camping for an extended period of time it is a good idea to join as a member with one ore more of the three main caravan park groups

Top Tourist Parks     -     Big 4     -     Family Parks of Australia (FPA)

Membership costs about Austr.$30 for 24 months, which gives you a discount (usually 10%) on accommodation charges.

My camp setup at the Darwin Boomerang Park

I personally find the Top Tourists parks at many places especially good. They are usually conveniently located near town centres, or close to local shops, hotels etc. There are also many small independent caravan parks which are great to stay at and good value.
There are of course hundreds of great caravan parks around Australia. Here is a selection of parks where I have stayed and like to come back to. (They all have powered sites, unless otherwise indicated.)


Down - Up - Top - Jazclass Links)

AA 3 - Lowest Fuel Prices

Fuel prices vary widely throughout Australia. The lowest prices are generally in and near the Capital cities and in the larger towns along the East coast. Fuel in some states is cheaper than in others. Queensland is generally the cheapest.

Inland prices increase quite substantially, and it is therefore useful to have knowledge of the cheaper towns and/or petrol stations. On long trips you can easily make a saving on your fuel cost of 10-20% by knowing where to fill up.

The larger your travel range on one fuel tank the better savings you can make. For long inland trips a range of 700 km or better is ideal. If your range is less than that it is advisable to have a spare can of fuel on board to increase your range to at least 600km.

Also by shopping at Woolworth or Coles supermarkets you can take advantage of their 4 cents per litre discount vouchers (through buying $30 of goods at their stores). This makes the Caltex - Woolworth Petrol Plus and Shell - Coles petrol stations very competitive price wise.
United Discount fuel and the old Ampol petrol stations (especially depots) are also often cheaper than other outlets.

I have outlined recommendations for fuel stops on a few major routes based on my own experiences.
If you have any useful tips in this regard please let me know.

  1. Nullabor Plain (WA - SA)

  2. Brisbane - Roma - Darwin (Qld - NT)

  3. Brisbane - Cairns (Qld)

When traveling in the Australian outback be aware that on the large flat plains strong winds are common. A combination of strong headwinds and your air condition at full blast to combat 40°+ C outside temperatures can have a huge effect on the mileage you get from your fuel.

Down - Up - Top - Jazclass Links)

AA 4 - Places I like

Here is a list of places I personally like especially.
On the whole they are away from the obvious main tourist centres.
I don't have a 4-wheel drive car, therefore all places below can be accessed on sealed roads.

NSW - NT & SA - Qld - WA

Down - Up - Top)

New South Wales

  1. Forbes (NSW) - 400km W of Sydney, 650km N of Melbourne on the Newell Highway   (map)
    Lovely Caravan park on bank of Lachlan River - great pubs - very cheap food - Trad Jazz Festival each January

  2. Inverell (NSW) - 400km SW of Brisbane, 500km NNW of Sydney on the Gwydir Highway   (map)
    Lovely town centre - beautifully restored old buildings - sapphire mining - meat factory - olive oil factory - good pubs - cheap meals

  3. Moree (NSW) - 500 km SW of Brisbane, 650 km NNW of Sydney on the Newell Highway   (map)
    Artesian spa baths - Spa Capital of Australia

  4. Narrandera (NSW) - 600km W of Sydney, 450km N of Melbourne on the Newell Highway   (map)
    Lovely quiet town along the Murrumbidgee River - old pubs - cheap meals - swim in Lake Talbot adjacent to Caravan park

  5. Urunga (NSW) - 25 km S of Coffs Harbour, 550km N of Sydney on the Pacific Ocean   (map)
    Very pleasant town - good hotel - Caravan Park on lagoon opposite great hotel - 600m long footbridge across lagoon to remote ocean beach

    Down - Up - Top)

    Northern Territory & South Australia

  6. Adelaide River (NT) - 100km S of Darwin on the Stuart Highway   (map)
    Pay Charlie (famous buffalo from the film 'Crocodile Dundee') a visit in the Adelaide River Inn.

  7. Darwin (NT) - 3400km NW of Brisbane, 3000km N of Adelaide   (map)
    No words can describe this place : I just love it and the people who live here.
    Parap markets each Saturday morning, Nightcliff and Rapid Creek markets each Sunday morning.
    Don't forget to drop in at the Darwin Sailing Club and watch the magnificent sunsets over Fanny Bay between 6pm and 7pm.
    Stay at the lovely Boomerang Caravan Park (Top Tourist) just 25km out of town.

  8. Coffin Bay (SA) - 50km NW of Port Lincoln on West coast of the Eyre Peninsula   (map)
    Already becoming too popular, but try here the beautiful fresh oysters in the restaurant right opposite the oyster beds.

  9. Tumby Bay (SA) - 300km SW of Port Augusta on East coast of the Eyre Peninsula   (map)
    Great quiet place to stay - Top Tourist Caravan Park right on the beach - art along Esplanade - roses - good pub - King George whiting

    Down - Up - Top)


  10. Atherton (Qld) - 100 km SW of Cairns   (map)
    Pleasant small town on the Atherton Table land, about 400m above sea level

  11. Bowen (Qld) - 1160 km N of Brisbane, 200km SE of Townsville on the Bruce Highway   (map)
    24 large (one story high) murals depicting the town's history - great pies shop

  12. Charters Towers (Qld) - 130km SW of Townsville on the Flinders Highway   (map)
    Old mining town - many old buildings preserved - good pubs - cheap meals

  13. Mitchell (Qld) - 480 km WNW of Brisbane on the Warrego Highway   (map)
    Artesian spa baths - murals - art - boab trees

  14. Woodgate (Qld) - 40 km E of Childers, 350km N of Brisbane   (map)
    Quiet ocean village - cozy caravan park - cheap meals - away from it all

    Down - Up - Top)

    Western Australia

  15. Albany (WA) - 410 km SE of Perth on the Southern Ocean
    Lovely historic town centre, great atmosphere - historic pubs - good Caravan parks on sea frontage

  16. Broome (WA) - 2000 km N of Perth on the Indian Ocean
    Rather touristy, but still with charm, worth a visit - Palm Grove Caravan Resort is near Cables Beach

  17. Busselton (WA) - 200 km S of Perth on the Indian Ocean
    Very pleasant town, away from the Perth urban sprawl - Kukaboorra Caravan Park and great Hotel on the Esplanade - close to Margaret River region

  18. Eucla (WA) - 1450km E of Perth, 950 km W of Port Augusta on the WA/SA border
    Magic place in the middle of nowhere - magnificent ocean views from caravan park on top of escarpment - good restaurant - cheapest fuel

  19. Kalgoorlie (WA) - 500km E of Perth
    A must see place. Old mining town, still going strong.

  20. Kalbari (WA) - 180 km N of Geraldton, 600km N of Perth
    Great place to stay (Murchison Caravan Park), where the Murchison River enters the Indian Ocean - cray fishing centre - national park - wild flowers

  21. Wyndham (WA) - 1000 km ENE of Broome, 610km W of Katherine
    Magic countryside - lots of boabs - art gallery in Port Wyndham - Jane Dennis lino cuts

(Up - Top - Jazclass Links)

© 2004 Michael Furstner (Jazclass).
All rights reserved.