Growing up with families who had us camping and out in the great outdoors all year, we weren’t strangers to the idea of not having our own toilet or washing with a portable shower. We were always ones to get a little bit grubby in the name of adventure and actually found ourselves feeling lost without it.

In 2013, we had our first taste of living the van life. We rented a camper van and travelled the east coast of Australia, exploring the rainforest and the stunning golden beaches. With the freedom, location independence and laidback lifestyle that came with this vanlife experience, we knew it was the thing for us.

For the next 6 years we knuckled down at University and in our job thereafter, scrimping every penny and spending every spare minute planning until we could make our dream a reality. In June 2019, we finally bought our own campervan to call home and have since learned perhaps the most important lesson of all..


“Home is where you park it”


This blog is a little more personal than what we usually put out there; a little diary for us to record our adventure and open a window for you to peer into our life on the road. It is not so much a guide for anyone planning a vanlife road trip, but more of a collection of stories for you to draw your own lessons and to tempt you into the freedom it brings.


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lessons from vanlife in australia pin1



Our Campervan Roxy – What We’ve Learnt from Vanlife in Australia


Our New Home on Wheels

After saving for a good amount of time over the years, we finally set off to Australia for our adventure of a lifetime. We arrived in Melbourne and spent the next few months in the big city, saving money for our trip to Southeast Asia and for our plans after we returned to Australia. After spending 2 months in SEA, we arrived back into Melbourne and decided to make our longterm dream a reality.

We decided to buy a van of our own.


We spent $5000 on our new home and we were happier than ever. She was a small Toyota Hiace van, with a bed and an outdoor kitchen area at the back. It was a very simple design that was clearly built by a backpacker on a budget. A few things were needing to be fixed up, but nothing too urgent and our minds were already flowing with ideas of how we could make her look like our own.

We named the van “Roxy” after Gemma’s late dog as her similarities were just amazing and this has suited her perfectly. She was small, cute, and shook when we tried to take her out on a cold morning.


roxy the campervan 2
Our new home for the next 6 months.



Roxy’s Epic Adventures

The Great Ocean Road Trip

We hit the road westwards from Melbourne, with our first adventure being a road trip along the Great Ocean Road. The sea was calling and we were craving the noise of the crashing waves and salty wind. Stocking up on supplies and saying goodbye to big city life, we began our epic road trip across Australia.

Whilst we were heading west, we quickly learned that driving at sunrise and sunset we would mean we were sharing the roads with many kangaroos. Even whilst driving carefully and slowly, we have multiple near misses with hitting these beautiful animals as they bounced around the road. The low light and the chilled atmosphere of the end of the day means they are especially susceptible to becoming road-kill. This is something to bear in mind when driving in rural Australia.


great ocean road
Exploring the rugged coastlines of the Great Ocean Road.



Nearing the coast, we began to experience our first taste of the real winter weather in Victoria as the temperatures dropped near to freezing. Thankfully, we were well prepared with blankets, warm clothes, and hot water bottles,  so we could still get out and about and enjoy the sites this beautiful road trip has to offer.

We soon found out that it can be difficult to free camp along the seafront on the Great Ocean Road as there are signs everywhere asking you not to. By leaving the seafront and heading 20-minutes into the forestry area, you will find plenty of little spots perfect for free camping. It was here we decided on the unwritten rule of free camping: As long as you arrive after dark and leave before it gets light, you should have no problem camping anywhere.


great ocean road twelve apostles
Sunrise over the 12 Apostles is the best time to visit due to the lack of tourists.



It was whilst hunting for a camping spot for the night that we experienced our first vanlife problem. Less than a week after owning Roxy, we were heading away from the sea to find a camping spot late at night, pitch black and pouring rain.

After turning into a spot off the road, we decided it wasn’t suitable for us to camp and we would head on further. On reversing back, Campbell somehow managed to get our back wheel in the edge of a marshy ditch.. and there was no getting out easily!

Getting out the van in his pyjamas, rain pouring all around him, Campbell decided to give Roxy a push back onto the road. The wheels were spinning and the van was going nowhere, so with Gemma behind the wheel, Campbell used all his strength to push Roxy out of the ditch.

It was a Success! Roxy stuttered free from the ditch and Campbell returned to the front of the van to celebrate with Gemma. As the lights turned on in the front cabin, we realised that Campbell was now covered head to toe in wet mud.. The wheels of the van had redecorated his pyjamas and he would be sleeping naked for the night.

It was hilarious looking back but I don’t think we’ll be making that mistake again too quickly.


Read more about the amazing sights that we visited along the Great Ocean Road in our full guide over here.


Great ocean road beach
Just a sample of what is to come on the Great Ocean Road.



Time for Farm Work

Once we finished up on the Great Ocean Road, we continued our path west towards the city of Adelaide. Gemma has family here and we were very excited to catch up with them and tell them all about our adventures. It was also time for us to begin our 3-months of regional work, which would allow us to stay another year in Australia once we completed our 88-days.

Our farm work came and went across 2 different farms in South Australia and we would honestly say that living in a van is the best way to do it. You will save a lot of money and it is much better than staying in the farmhouse accommodation.


farm work peake campsite
A birthday beer enjoyed outside our home for three months.



Our first job was a piece-rate (slave labour) job at an orange farm in the small town of Waikerie. Although our manager was very kind and helpful, we were still only earning about half the minimum wage in Australia for the amount of work we were doing. After 3 weeks of this, we decided enough is enough and went on a job application spree, which landed us a job on an olive farm about 3 hours south of Waikerie.

If you are looking for a farmwork job of your own, read our complete guide on how to land an hourly-paid job in Australia here.


farm work waikerie
A South Australian sunset is enough to make any job bearable. This was our nightly view from our campsite in Waikerie.



This second job was much harder work, sawing olive trees and picking up old tree roots for 9 hours a day, however, the pay was amazing. At an hourly rate wage, and living life on the cheap in our campervan, we were saving money like nobody’s business.

Anyway, the three months soon came and went and it was time to hit the road again and move onto the next chapter of our adventure:


Giving our old pal Roxy and good makeover. 


farm work peake silos
The tiny town of Peake, our home for 3 months.


farm work peake farm
Over 60,000 trees pruned and our farm work is over and done with.



Van Conversion and a New Look

Previous to owning Roxy, we had been using the social media app Instagram to network with other van owners and discuss tips and tricks of buying and owning a van.  One of the lovely couples we spoke with was Charles and Kate, also known as Us When Wandering, who had also recently converted a Toyota Hiace van in South Australia.

Luckily for them (and us), they had a family member in Adelaide who worked for the kitchen company, Cabware, and had agreed to fit the kitchen area of their van. The finished result was simply beautiful, a professional fitted interior that ticked all the boxes of what we were looking for. After showering them in compliments, they recommended we got in touch with them to help us out with a conversion of our own.


roxy the campervan interior 2
Cosy and comfortable, this was our home for 4 months.


roxy the campervan interior
Roxy’s old interior. It did the job and we love her for it.



The next week was spent ripping out the whole back end of the van, painting, insulating and planning.  With help from Gemma’s cousin, Ben, we drilled, hammered and glued our chosen walls, ceiling and floor into place. Roxy was beginning to look like we had always dreamt, minimal, beachy and very cosy.

The entire process of converting our campervan took about 2 weeks, during which we slept on a mattress on the floor. With two half days spent at Cabware, we now had van designed to suit our needs and the perfect little space to live and work in. All that was left was the interior design of the cushion covers and curtains, so after selecting the material and cutting up our mattress, we were ready to go.


roxy the campervan new interior
Comfortable, cosy and practical. Everything we could ever need.


roxy the campervans new interior
Roxy’s flashy new interior, perfect for remote work.


roxy the campervan
Waking up to views like this every day.



Adelaide – Beaches, Wineries and lots of Sunsets

As Cabware was doing us a favour by converting the van, we were only working on it at the weekends. This meant we had to hang around the Adelaide region for two weeks, exploring the many beaches, checking out the town centre markets and escaping north to the Barossa Valley for some wine tasting.


campervan in the barossa valley and bikes
This was the perfect cheap camp spot in the Barossa Valley



One thing I will say is if you are heading to Adelaide and are looking for a unique experience, head out of the city to Barossa and rent a bicycle for the day. This part of Australia is perfect for a wine tasting tour by bike as the wineries are so densely packed together you can cycle between them in 5 minutes.

Another highlight was at the locally known, hidden gem of Mt Osmond, where we caught one of the best sunsets over Adelaide we have ever seen. The wind was warm, the light was golden and the view over the city was spectacular.


gemma and campbell in the garden at Kalleske winery
The perfect way to spend the afternoon


mt osmond lying down
Adelaide’s best sunset point, Mt Osmond.



Amongst Nature on Kangaroo Island

Once the van was complete, it was time to head south of Adelaide, down the stunning coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula and across the small stretch of ocean to Kangaroo Island. It was here, on this remote and beautiful island, that Roxy experienced her first bit of off-road driving.

The roads on this remote and very isolated island were often no more than sand and rocks, making travelling faster than 20mph near impossible without shaking the roofbox off its support. We were in no rush, however, no real place to be and all the world to see, so we just kicked back and relaxed.


koalas in flinders chase
Up close and personal with the koala bears of Kangaroo Island.



The week we spent on Kangaroo Island was a highlight of our entire time in Australia, spotting countless different animals in the wild and visiting more beaches that we could have imagined. It may have been the most expensive ferry in the world (per metre travelled), however, if you are a nature lover and enjoy being outdoors we can highly recommend you take the trip.


Read more about our 7-day self-drive road trip on Kangaroo Island in our full guide over here.


kangaroo island brown beach
Setting up for some lunch by Browns Beach.



The South Australia Experience – Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas

After a week of wildlife spotting, beach bumming and falling in love with Australia all over again, it was time to head northwards again back onto the mainland for our next adventure. We once again drove north towards Adelaide and then swung left towards the open expanse of Western Australia, hungry for more spectacular coastal views.


During our trip towards the Eyre Peninsula, Roxy experienced her first long drive through the outback areas of South Australia, facing blistering temperatures and red-hot desert winds. As the winds gusted southwards from the wastelands of central Australia we quickly realised our worst fear.


They say that everything in Australia wants to kill you, from the wildlife to the sunshine itself. There is, however, one exception.

The Australian bush fly.

Although it does not kill you directly, the bush fly is so irritating and unrelenting that it makes you want to kill yourself.


australia bushflies
Australia’s most feared animal: the bushfly. Do you think this is bad? Now imagine it on your face..



Eyre Peninsula

On a lighter note, once the winds changed direction (which can happen in under 30-minutes) and we were gifted with a beautiful, Antarctic breeze our moods lifted and we felt like we were in heaven. We arrived on the starting point of the Eyre Peninsula at the small town of Streaky Bay and had never been so happy to see the open expanse of the Indian Ocean.

We spent the next two days chilling out here, swimming in the sea and jumping from the jetty, appreciating every minute of being by the seaside. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular and the cool air was comfortable on our skin. The remote coastal scenery and taking each day as it comes is the lifestyle we had been waiting for. We were happy.


streaky bay jetty
Words cannot describe how happy we were to see this sight. Spent the next two days jumping in and out of the sea.


streaky bay campsite
Our humble campsite for the night. Sunsets and whispering waves.



Waving goodby to Streaky Bay, we set off on our road trip along the rough and rugged Eyre Peninsula in search of Australia’s most beautiful beach. We pulled in at sights such as the mesmerising Talia Caves, the jaw-dropping Greenly Beach and eventually reached the southerly tip of the island, Port Lincoln.

This road trip down the Eyre Peninsula changed us. It tore out a chunk of our hearts and buried it deep in the soft sand, the crashing waves and the peaceful serenity of the endless South Australian beaches. Upon moving on from this peninsula we would never be the same, the sights and sounds were now a part of us and we would forever yearn to return to this awe-inspiring place.


greenly bay rock pools
If there is one thing the Eyre Peninsula has an abundance of, it is rock pools.


greenly duvet sunset
Sunset cuddles on the Eyre Peninsula.



One night, in particular, has stuck with me ever since. We were parked up not far from Port Lincoln at the small inlet known as Fishery Bay. It was a truly beautiful campsite, parked up high above the rock pools and crashing waves below, overlooking the long beach of the shore.

We were getting photos and videos as the sun began to set, yet another golden, orange cocktail of light across the sky. A South Australian classic. Whilst flying around the bay, filming Gemma playing in the rockpools below, Campbell spotted large shapes moving on the corner of the screen in the water.

Manta Rays

And a whole squadron of them, all out in force, playing and frolicking in the shallow waters of the bay. Upon noticing them, we immediately began to strip off and grab our goggles to swim after them, however, the waves on the rocks and the conditions of the sea were too dangerous. We would instead have to settle for a drone view of the beautiful creatures and what a view it was.

As much as we wished to stay in this beachside paradise forever, it was time to head up the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula and onto the next part of our journey.


fishery bay campsite
Just a sample of what vanlife in South Australia can offer.


fishery bay manta rays
An unbelievable highlight to our Eyre Peninsula Road Trip. We spotted manta rays swimming at Fishery Bay.



Yorke Peninsula

Heading north from Port Lincoln, the coastlines we found on the eastern side of the Peninsula did not hold a candle to those on the west. Easily accessible from the populated suburbs of Adelaide, this side of the peninsula was lined with neighbourhoods of beachfront villas, all elbowing for the best view of the sea.

The dramatic, isolated coastlines of the Eyre Peninsula were behind us and we were full steam ahead to the Yorke Peninsula.


As we drove south along the Yorke Peninsula, we discovered the same style of beaches as before. Hundreds upon thousands of beachfront villas lined the coasts, unwelcoming to share the incredible views of the sea they selfishly taunted as “property”. It was an unwelcoming sight to those in a more mobile home and we decided to keep moving until we felt more comfortable.

We eventually reached the southern tip of the peninsula on the eastern side and found the isolation we were looking for. Deep in the St Vincent Gulf, a lone wind farm sat on the edge of the coast, high above the flat and deserted cropland below. We followed the bumpy road as far as it would take us to the coast, eventually deciding on our campsite for the night at a hidden parking spot just off the beach.

As the skies began to turn the characteristic South Australian orange once more, we settled in for the night and began to feel at peace. The hustle of the suburban neighbourhoods left our bodies and we relaxed in our solitude, nothing but the gentle “whoosh” of the distant wind turbines to keep us company.


sultana point camping spot
Alone in the Australian outback with nothing but a view to keep us company.


yorke peninsula beach
South Australia has so many beautiful beaches if you find one is too busy just head along to the next.



The next day we drove west to the Innes National Park, the last remaining natural refuge on the Yorke Peninsula. We spent the day exploring this natural reserve, surfing the beaches and relaxing in the sunshine, on the hunt for some of Australia’s beautiful wildlife.

Although it was not as big as the national parks on the Eyre Peninsula, the Innes National Park was still a beautifully peaceful place to visit on a trip down the Yorke Peninsula.


innes national park
Stunning blue water is the norm in South Australia, especially at the Innes National Park.


innes national park rockpools
Cooling down in the rock pools in the Innes National Park.



As we left the Innes National Park and began to head north on our return to the civilisation of Adelaide, we experienced another set back of life on wheels. Driving through the deserted farmland of the southern end of the Yorke Peninsula, we heard a sudden bang from the back of the van. Immediately Campbell thought he had run over a tree branch or hit a rock, however, soon enough we heard the familiar sound of a flat tyre struggling along the road.

We got out to inspect the damage and found the culprit; the back left tyre had exploded and we were going nowhere until it was changed. We got the tools out and had a go at removing the bolts but to no avail. The bolts had been machine tightened and it would require a machine to undo them the same.

Luckily, after our previous near-miss, we had decided to purchase road-side cover and so after a quick phone call help was on its way. For now, we would have to take shelter from the high, Australian sun and try to stay cool with no air-conditioning. In less than an hour, the roadside assistance arrived, our tyre was changed and we were back on the road to Adelaide like nothing had even happened.



Mt Gambier and Some Late-Night Friends

After passing through Adelaide, catching up with Gemma’s relatives and quickly setting sail once more, we headed to our last stop in South Australia, Mt Gambier. Sitting right on the border with Victoria, the landscape of this geologically fascinating part of the world is a far stretch from the rest of South Australia.

Formed over thousands of years ago, the land surrounding Mt Gambier was heavily shaped by the sub-terranean activity of the region. Huge volcanos molded the magnificent mountains and sweeping valleys that you will see here today, and also created a rather unique feature that fascinated us on our trip to Mt Gambier.


mt gambier rock pool little blue hole
Enjoy a (rather cold) morning swim in the spectacular Little Blue Hole.


mt gambier lakes
Two of Mt Gambier’s largest sinkholes are actually the old craters of the volcanoes that shaped this landscape.


mt gambier view point
Mt Gambier’s best viewpoint.



The entire area of Mt Gambier and the surrounding countryside is littered with massive sink-holes. These sink-holes are a by-product of the volcanic activity in the region, where lava flow would harden on the surface yet continue to flow underneath and create massive pockets of air beneath the surface of the earth. Eventually, the roof of these pockets would collapse and open the chasm to the upper world.

The grandest of the sink-holes that we recommend you visit sits right in the heart of Mt Gambier and is known as the Umpherston Sinkhole. This reclaimed cave has been used as a recreational area for hundreds of years, originally privately owned and later opened up for the public to enjoy too.

The deep cave is a peaceful place, removed from the noisy high street that sits above it. The park at the bottom is lush with plant life and the towering walls have been decorated with vines and trees, creating a 3-dimensional and encapsulating green space experience.


mt gambier sink hole
Lose yourself in nature in the Umpherston Sinkhole.


mt gambier umpherston sinkhole
Reclaimed by nature, the Umpherston Sinkhole is far removed from the busy town centre just 2 minutes away.



The highlight of this park, however, is what happens here after dark. As the stars begin to shine above and the sinkhole sits in almost complete darkness, the wildlife of Mt Gambier come out to play. Dozens of human-friendly possums descend on the depths of the sink-hole, playing with each other and feasting on the treats left by the visitors.

It is common to come here with a bag of carrots to feed the possums, however, even if you don’t have any food they are still very inquisitive. It is very common for them to come right up and say hello, most likely sniffing around you for treats. Sadly, this daily feed has become a daily necessity for these animals, as there is no other way for them to get food.

It is yet another example of why we shouldn’t feed wild animals, as they will eventually become dependant on humans to continue to do so. The damage is already done here, so if you want to feed cute wild animals, this is the place to do it. All we ask is that you please don’t feed other animals in the wild or they may end up the same.


mt gambier possums
The furry friends you will meet in Mt Gambier’s sinkholes.



As for the rest of Mt Gambier’s many amazing sights, the main highlights are all around the city centre. The Blue Lake sits high up in the mountains by Mt Gambier and is, alongside Valley Lake, the remains of an ancient volcanic crater that helped shape the region. The water is so clear and clean here due to the way it filters up through the volcanic rock, clearing from it all contamination.

Head up to the top of the mountain for a stunning view over the two lakes and get a true feel for this incredible part of the country. Not only is Mt Gambier unique to this area of Australia, but it is one of the most fascinating geological phenomenons in the world. Definitely worth a stop.


mt gambier blue hole
The Blue Hole in Mt Gambier.



Chasing Waterfalls to Melbourne

As we continued on our path back to Melbourne, we decided to swing by the Great Ocean Road one last time. How could we not after all? The rugged coast was calling our names and we wanted to retrace the steps we took on this epic adventure.

Our visit to the coast this time was mainly focused on chasing the many beautiful waterfalls that are spread out along the National Parks of the southern coast of Victoria. We spent the next couple of days jumping from hiking trail to hiking trail, soaking up the atmosphere and serenity of Victoria’s ancient forests and thinking of what other adventures lay ahead.

A highlight of our trip was one of the best waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road, the Lower Kalimna Falls. Arriving at the waterfall, we were the only visitors there and had the entire, sheltered area to ourselves. It was a fully immersive waterfall, complete with a path leading behind the waterfall itself.

Hiding behind the falling stream of water, an echoing roar blocking the noises of the outside world, this was a peaceful place to unwind and enjoy existing in the Australian nature.


lower kalimna falls view
Chilling out beneath the Lower Kalimna Falls on the Great Ocean Road.



Wild Camping in Melbourne

One thing I should probably have noted before now is that the reason we were racing back to the city of Melbourne was to catch a flight on to our next destination: bonnie auld Scotland. After months of planning and stressing, we were finally on our way home to surprise our friends and families, none of whom had any idea that we were coming.


If you want to hear the full story, check out our going home vlog below.



Anyway back to our story, we were happily on our way back to our favourite city in Australia, excited for what the future had to hold. With Gemma part of a nursing agency based in Victoria, we planned to stay in the city and top up our bank balance until it was time for our flights home.

The only downside of this plan was that we would need to go from camping in the outback of Australia to trying to camp in the suburbs of Melbourne. Not an easy task.


melbourne fruit bats
Melbourne’s best-kept secret is the daily migration of flying foxes. You can see these in the northeastern suburbs of the city.



Luckily, another lesson that we learned from the last 6 months of vanlife came in very handy: arrive after dark and leave before light. This was a vanlife hack that we discovered when we were converting Roxy and camping around the city centre of Adelaide.

Choosing an isolated location around the suburbs of the city and arriving at that location at around 10pm at night, we would then simply jump into the back of the van and go to sleep. We also realised that the best places for this were football ovals in the suburbs that were large, dark and very quiet throughout the week.


Our last lifesaving tip for anyone wishing to brave wild camping in big cities in Australia is that McDonald’s is your toilet friend. There are McDonald’s restaurants everywhere in cities such as Melbourne, the majority of which are open late if not 24hrs. These are always a perfect place to use the bathroom both last thing at night and first thing in the morning.



Goodbye Roxy

So with that, it is time to say goodbye to our beloved Roxy. We have had an amazing, unbelievable and unforgettable 6 months of vanlife in this old girl and we cannot wait to get back out here and continue where we left off. That’s right, it’s a “see you soon” and not a “farewell for good” to our little baby.

In the meantime, a dear friend of ours is going to take amazing care of Roxy whilst we are back in the UK, keeping her warm for us when we return to Australia.


See you soon old girl. 


greenly picnic sunset
Our setup for the night by Greenly Beach, one of our favourite spots on the Eyre Peninsula.



What has Van Life Taught Us?

It is quite crazy to learn how little we need in life to make us happy, we have each other and a cosy little home that can take us wherever we want, whenever we want. The sense of freedom that comes with not knowing where you will wake up each day is quite magical and we wouldn’t change a thing about this lifestyle we have created.

What starts off feeling like a dream that’s a lifetime away or a dream that will never happen can become a reality. We just need to reach for them and do whatever it takes to get there.

We may not have our own toilet or a lot of possessions, but we have created a lifestyle of happiness that allows us to travel around one of the most beautiful countries in the world, creating memories and inspiring others to follow suit.


If you do one thing today, take that first step to make your dream a reality.



Get Roadside Cover

If there was ever any doubt in our minds that we would need roadside cover for our road trip around Australia, these were quickly squashed when Campbell’s pyjamas were decorated in the mud trying to push Roxy out of that ditch. From now on we will always be ensuring we are well-covered and well-protected for any and all future tours across the barren wastelands of Australia.



Know Your Bushfire Plan

After the devastating events of the summer of 2019/2020, the dangers of bushfires should not be a foreign topic to anyone. Although this was an extraordinary year for bushfires, the need for an action plan when you are in Australia is important every year. Where will you go if you are in danger? What will you bring with you? How will you keep track of where is safe and where isn’t?


As we were heading west on our return leg to Melbourne, we spent a night on the southeastern tip of the Yorke Peninsula. Miles from anyone else, we spent the night parked up by the beach in the middle of farmland with no cell reception and no contact with the outside world.

Upon this visit, there was no drama. There were no bushfires and there was no need to even think about emergency evacuation plans. However, just one week after we left this camping spot, the bushfires of SA began to appear on the Yorke Peninsula. In just 2 hours, the area that we were camping on turned from a “Watch and Act” to an “Immediate Danger, Do Not Leave” level warning.

Can you imagine we had still been there, with no cell reception to warn us of the incoming danger or the need to evacuate? Our only refuge would have been the sea and the prayers that someone would eventually find and save us.

This is why a bushfire plan is critical if you are touring ANYWHERE in a campervan.



Anywhere Can Be a Shower

A common question we always get asked is “how do you shower when you are living in a van?”. Our little Roxy isn’t a sophisticated motorhome. She doesn’t have room for a bathroom or a shower. Instead, we need to make do with the great outdoors, and luckily for us, Australia has a lot of that.

When it comes to using the toilet, one thing Australia is great for is free, public bathrooms. They are literally everywhere across Australia and can be easily found using Apps on your phone (ie. WikiCamps, Camopermate, Park4Night). Some of these free services even have warm showers that you can use, normally in exchange for a trusted purchase from the service station.

However, if you find yourself nowhere near a service station and desperately need a shower, your best friend is going to be a pan of boiled water, a large bucket, and a simple, electric shower. During our 3-months of farmwork in outback Australia, this was our daily routine once we were finished on the farm.

We would boil two pots of water, top the bucket up with another two pots of cold water. We would then head into the truck-stop toilets for some privacy and wash the day off of us, freshening up for a chilled out night in the van.



Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The ability to go wherever you want, whenever you want is an amazing freedom that not everyone can experience. It can, however, become a daunting and worrisome curse if you do not manage it correctly.

When you have a campervan, it becomes very easy to start dreaming of more and more places, wishing to do more and more adventures, until you reach the stage that you are not even living in the present anymore. It is easy to find yourself always rushing onto the next location, unable to justify sitting still for the night as you have the whole world still to see.


Be mindful whilst on the road. Take your time and appreciate every location you visit. Remember why you bought your campervan in the first place; to allow you to travel at your own pace and see sights that you would otherwise not see.

Take it easy.



Social Media is Your Best Friend

There is a common stigma when it comes to social media these days, with people constantly highlighting the damage to social and mental health it can cause. It can, however, also be used for great things if done properly.

Over the last 3 years, since we quit our jobs and hit the road, we have made countless meaningful and lifechanging connections and friendships thanks to social media. From gaining insight into how we can travel full-time and earn an income to gaining contacts who were able to professionally convert our Roxy at a very reasonable price, social media has changed our lives for the better.

If I was to choose the most important piece of advice I could give to anyone in life it would be: Do not shy away from chatting to strangers online, it might just change your life.



Arrive After Dark and Leave Before Light

As we already said before, this was a crucial lesson for us to learn for wild camping in Australia (and all around the world). One of the main reasons wild camping is so frowned upon is because of the impact it has on communities. Locals are not happy when they find strange vans parked up in view of their property for days on end, and are even less pleased when this van leaves a mess behind them.

Wild camping can, however, be done sustainably and sometimes even unbeknownst to the locals in the area. If you arrive at a location after dark, usually around 10pm when everyone has gone to bed, and leave before the sunrises again at 6am, no one has to know you were ever there.

Combining this with the Golden Rule of wild camping, “Leave No Trace“, we were able to camp around the city of Melbourne with no problems for 3 weeks.



The Best Wild Camping Spots are Football Ovals

Following on from this previous lesson, if you are wanting to camp in an Australian city and not be disturbed, the best locations are football ovals. The large car parks, quiet neighbourhoods and lack of street lighting make it very easy for you to hide away in the corner. If you have a disguised campervan, like ours, most people will simply think someone has left their car there for the night after a couple of beers in the clubhouse.

In the more rural communities, it is also very common for football ovals to offer free toilets and even shower facilities in exchange for a “gold coin” donation to the club. This info can be found on the same phone apps as before (ie. WikiCamps etc.).



So there you have it, our most important lessons from vanlife in Australia and all of the reasons why you should do it too. This is going to be a constantly expanding diary of stories and lessons from our vanlife saga in Australia, so make sure you stay tuned and swing by every now and again for more. Whenever we add more lessons and stories to this blog we will update you on our social media, so follow us on Instagram for more epic adventures.

If you found this article useful be sure to share it with your family and friends to inspire them to take a vanlife adventure of their own. Sharing is caring and we really appreciate your support. If you have any questions, comments or #vanlife lessons of your own, let us know in the comments section below. We love to chat!

If you want to read more stories about our time in Australia or see what other Camping Hacks we have for you, check out these sections on our website. Catch up with us on social media to see where we currently are and tag us in your vanlife photos so we can share them with our community.



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