6 Months on the Road!
~2 weeks Queensland
~1 month Northern Territory
~2 months Western Australia
~1 month South Australia
~3 weeks Victoria
~1 week New South Wales
~3 days Australian Capital Territory
This was consistent with our general plan to spend most of our time in the states furthest from home, which we can not easily visit during normal annual holidays. We explored very little of QLD and NSW, due to living close by and having already seen many of their attractions. So for any overseas readers, these two states have a huge number of beautiful places and attractions that are not even mentioned in this blog. We did not visit Tasmania due to time constraints, and ferry availability and costs. Tasmania is on the list of places to visit sometime.
I’ve sketched our route in the map below (very approximate!).
Distance travelled: 29,842km’s My original estimate of 30,000k’s was spot on!
Diesel used: 4,372L (roughly – without a final fill)
Total Fuel Bill: $7,463 (less than forecast, due to cheaper average price than assumed)
Average Fuel Consumption: 14.8L/100km
We found that speed on the open road had a significant affect on fuel consumption. After 3 months, having seen poorer fuel efficiency than expected, we decreased cruising speed from 100-105kms/hr to around 90-95kms/hr. As you can see in the figures below, that resulted in a noticeable difference in fuel consumption. Another factor I noticed is the grade of Diesel. ‘Truck diesel’ results in significantly poorer efficiency than higher grades of diesel that cost around $.04/L more. The first half of the trip was more remote, and would have been mostly truck diesel, so that may also be playing an important role in the difference seen. Not sure which had the bigger effect – speed or grade of diesel.
First 3 months: 15.6L/100km’s
Second 3 months: 13.9L/100km’s
Dearest Diesel: $2.35/L (out at Kings Canyon I think)
Cheapest Diesel: $1.37/L (east coast coming back home)
Gas bottles used: less than one 4.5kg bottle!!!!
The motorhome has two gas bottles, but we are still on the first! Gas is used by the hot water system (used only a handful of times), and the internal gas stove (used maybe 1.5 – 2 dozen times). We rarely ‘ate out’, preferring to cook our own meals. This really highlights that most of our cooking was done outside (the best place to be!) on the dual fuel camping stove.
Longest period without driving the motorhome: 3 days, whilst free camping at Quondong Point. Yes, we were on the move most days! We were based at some places/towns for longer, such as at Kununurra, but we were moving about and doing trips from the town.
Longest period without rain: the first 3 months!!! We had great weather this trip. Beautiful sunny days and lovely temperatures (mostly!) for 3 months straight had us looking nice and brown. Then some rain and drizzle caught up with us (in places) across the bottom of Australia, but it didn’t prevent us from seeing anything. We missed the hail storms, and experienced no bad fire hazards/weather like what they are currently seeing down south.
Most expensive caravan park: $65 per night (two adults and two kids). There were several stays at that price (or very similar).
Cheapest accommodation: Lots and lots of free camping! Cheapest paid accommodation was $5 at tiny Barrow Creek on the Stuart Hwy in the NT. It consists solely of one fuel station, one pub and a mobile phone tower!
Overall Expenses: We did not set out with a firm budget, but had calculated roughly what we thought it would cost us. We weren’t concerned if we went over or under that, which is just as well as I’ve just done the calcs! We spent around $5-10k more than expected! Didn’t keep a detailed record of expenses (this was a holiday, not an accounting exercise), but memory and intuition suggests my forecast was out on the following:
- Whilst we did a lot of free camping, there were also plenty of times when it was easier to just pull into a caravan park. I think we spent more than expected at caravan parks. Some places, such as Uluru, you have no choice. Tip: lots of caravan parks, reserves etc will give discounts if you just ask.
- There are so many tourist attractions and activities available, and many of them look great, but you have to control spending on these things. I suspect we spent a fair bit more on these than expected. Looking at the CC statements, the spending on such activities tended to be earlier in the trip, and continued to decrease as time went on. For example one camel ride is enough (and is all we did), especially when it was in a beautiful place such as near Uluru at sunset! 🙂
- We definitely spent more on jewelery than I had expected – didn’t even think of this one prior….!! These have lasting value/utility though, so I guess its questionable that they should even be included in the above figures.
- We used more mobile data than I had expected – probably spent over $500 during the six months. If we were setting off again I’d research mobile data options first.
- Mechanical servicing for the motorhome totaled around $2145, which looking back seems reasonable, but is a little more than I had expected. 3 standard services, plus a couple of issues that had to be fixed (nothing major – blown turbo hose and ants in air flow sensor connector), and it also includes 3 new tyres installed in Perth. Mechanical services in Darwin (in particular) are expensive.
- Hire of a 4wd to get into The Bungle Bungles for a few days wasn’t cheap, though we got out of the punctured tyre cheaply! 4wd hire wasn’t included in my initial numbers, though we were aware we might want to hire one – it was that option/possibility that made us willing to buy a standard (rather than far more expensive 4×4) motorhome.
- Food costs seemed high. Not sure if this was a case of me being unaware of how much Nicole normally spends, or that some things did cost a little more in remote areas. Then there is the issue of buying treats etc because we were on holidays, not to mention the many gourmet attractions. It would be time consuming to determine how much we spent on food; it was probably a significant factor in overall costs.
Blog posts written: 100 so far! Full list is here. Wow, didn’t realise it was that many! It’s amazing that there are still people subscribed…
Photos taken: 29,673 saved on the computer. Roughly equates to 1 photo per kilometre driven!! That number will be a little inflated due bracketed exposures for some of the earlier pics, but I stopped doing that after a little while – too much work to sort through and work out which ones to post! Ended up deciding I had to take more care and take fewer better photos, rather than just taking heaps hoping some of them would be good (though I obviously still took heaps….). This reminds me that I need to finish backing them up….
Are there other facts/figures that anyone would like me to report on?
(note: there are more summary posts to come on other topics)