Mar
19
2017

The A-Z of booking a Self-Drive Campervan Rental in Australia

By

What to Hire, from Who and How?

Introduction:

The first thing to say about self-drive holidays in Australia is that you have a wealth of choice to select from as well as a vast country to explore. Given that Australia is roughly the same size as continental USA with a population less than Texas there is plenty of empty space and a country widely diverse in climate and terrain to discover.

Australia is fortunate to be home to some of the World’s leading Campervan rental companies offering a wide range of vehicles from adventurous four wheel drives to luxurious Motorhomes.

Long gone are the days when a Campervan holiday involved cramped beds, awkward bathroom facilities, limited cooking options and generally a step away from home comforts. Today’s vehicles have evolved to offer European styled kitchens, spacious air-conditioned living areas with audio-visual equipment, large double beds and well-equipped bathrooms. What’s more they are surprisingly easy to drive with no special licensing requirements other than holding a full driving license and over the age of 21 (with some exceptions).

Power steering, automatic transmissions and modern design have taken the hard work out of travelling in a vehicle larger than most of us regularly drive.

Campervan at night

Photo by Eugene Quek on Unsplash

Finding & Booking … How?

Most of the leading rental firms have online booking facilities and in some instances reservations can be made through your local travel agent. However as alternative option, we would suggest visiting drivenow.com.au, a website dedicated to pulling information together on the top Australian (and New Zealand) rental suppliers. In addition to being able to compare rates and vehicles from competing rental companies the website also offers:

  • Latest Discounted Rate Comparisons
  • Early Bird and Long Term Rental Discounting
  • Vehicle Rental Company profiles
  • Rental branch locations and services provided
  • Detailed Vehicle descriptions and specifications
  • Fleet comparisons
  • Insurance detail options
  • Travel information

DriveNow is focused on doing all the leg work for prospective road travellers in Australia and New Zealand to ensure that you have all the information required to compare and select the vehicle that most suits your travelling needs.

Rental Companies … Who to use?

There are many high quality rental companies in Australia, some are highly specialised and offer services in particular states or cities whilst others are national and operate across all states and territories. The top 5 in terms of size, range of fleet, widest choice of branch locations and quality of service are:

Vehicle Definitions … What’s in a Name?

The term Campervan, Motorhome, RV (Recreational Vehicle) and even 4 WD Campervans are all often inter-used to describe the same vehicle. Whilst there are exceptions a set of rule-of-thumb definitions could include:

  • Motorhome
    Generally top end luxury vehicles on a long-wheel base and provide the most generous living space and facilities.
    These range from 2 to 6 berth vehicles and come equipped with European styled kitchen appliances, comprehensive bathroom facilities, full reverse cycle air-conditioning, LCD televisions, DVD players and in some instances even Playstations.
  • Campervans
    Campervans cover largely 2, 2.5 (2 adults & 1 child) and 3 berth vehicles. Today many of these are equipped with bathroom and complete kitchen facilities and often TVs & DVD players. Most have air-conditioning and heating in the Driving and Living cabins.
  • Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
    North American term to describe both the above sets of vehicles, although in the US the size of RVs can far exceed Australian models.
  • 4WD Campervans
    4 Wheel Drive Campervans are designed on their namesakes, the most popular of which is the Toyota Land-Cruiser. Whilst limited in internal features (generally bedding for two) these often provide additional external sleeping through tent extensions and some can accommodate up to 5 travellers. Vehicles are all Diesel with manual transmissions and generally long-range fuel tanks.

Campervan Classes … What’s the difference?

  • 6 Berth Motorhome6 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Top end luxury vehicles, generally largest in a suppliers fleet with 3 double beds, comprehensive kitchen, onboard shower & Toilet facilities and Air-Conditioning/heating. Large entertainment area and audio visual equipment often includes LCD TV & DVD players. Turbo Diesel engines with manual and auto transmissions depending upon supplier. Examples include the Britz Frontier and Apollo Euro Deluxe Motorhomes.
  • 4 Berth Motorhome 4 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Luxury vehicles with 2 double beds comprehensive kitchens, generous entertainment area, Air-Conditioning/heating and onboard shower & Toilet facilities.Often equipped with LCD TV & DVD players. Turbo Diesel engines with manual and auto transmissions depending upon supplier. Examples include KEA Campers 4 berth and Maui Motorhomes Spirit 4.
  • 3 Berth Motorhome3 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Luxury 3 berth (1 x double & 1 x single) with comprehensive kitchen, onboard shower & Toilet, Air-Conditioning/heating and audio visual equipped. Turbo Diesel engines with manual transmission. Examples include Apollo’s Cruiser.
  • 3 Berth Campervan3 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Accommodation for 2 adults & 1 child, Cooker, Fridge and sink (hand pump), no onboard bathroom facilities, Air-Conditioning/heating in Driver’s cabin. Unleaded Petrol engines with manual transmissions. Examples include Backpacker’s Nomad and Apollo’s Hitop campervan.
  • 2 Berth Motorhome2 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Luxury vehicle, 1 double bed, comprehensive kitchen and onboard shower & Toilet facilities, Air-Conditioning/heating and often equipped with LCD TV & DVD players. Turbo Diesel engines with manual transmissions. Examples include KEA’s ST/TV and Maui’s Spirit 2 T/S.
  • 2 Berth Campervan2 Berth Motorhome Rental Comparisons
    Widest choice of vehicles, 1 Double Bed, well equipped kitchen, usually with onboard shower & Toilet facilities. Turbo Diesel and unleaded Petrol engines with manual transmissions depending upon supplier. Examples include BackPacker Wanderer and Britz Elite.
  • 4 Wheel Drive Campervans4 Wheel Drive Campervan Rental Comparisons
    Often equipped with sleeping accommodation onboard for 2, 4WD Campervans also supplement their sleeping quarters with tents. In the case of the Britz Toyota Adventurer this takes the form of the quirky Dome tent that sits atop of the vehicle. Vehicles largely based on the Toyota Land Cruiser short and long wheel base, Turbo diesel engines with manual transmission and often equipped with long-range fuel tanks – 135 litres. Examples include Apollo’s 2 Berth Adventure and the KEA Camper 3 Berth Pop-Top 4WD Campervan.

Selecting a Vehicle … What’s right for me?

In selecting the right vehicle for your holiday there are certain key considerations to make including:

  • Number of Travellers
  • Age of Travellers
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Budget
  • Time of Year
  • Style of Holiday

Obviously the number of passengers is going to dictate the type and size of your vehicle. But it’s also worth checking out the sleeping configuration of each vehicle.  For instance in many instances the 6 berth luxury Motorhomes have 3 x double beds and whilst perfect for 3 couples or young families it would not necessarily work for a group of friends or family with large number of adolescent children.

For those looking to have all the mod-cons whilst on the road then the Motorhome range of vehicles will fit the bill with accommodation starting from 2 berth up to the aforementioned 6 berths. These will provide the most leg-room, fittings, furnishings and bathroom facilities. Remember that many of the electrical appliances (including auxiliary Air-conditioning/hearting) will only operate when the vehicle’s power cable is connected to the mains (most Holiday Parks in Australia will offer this facility).

For those who are happy to live without some onboard facilities then the range of Campervans, of which the most popular and widest choice are the 2 (+1 child) berth will be ideal and easier on the pocket.

If you’re travelling on a budget and require 2 or 3 berths look for the Cheapa Campa from Apollo and Backpacker Campervan Rental options. Though often you will be surprised at the prices and deals available so comparing all your options is highly recommended.

If you plan to take your vehicle off the bitumen then the 4 Wheel Drive is the only option to look at and you must let the rental company know of your plans when you pick up the vehicle. In parts of Outback Australia you are required to have a permit to enter Aboriginal Lands and depending upon the season some areas are closed due to climatic conditions. The 4 Wheel Drive option caters for 2 travellers through to parties of 5 with tents – so very flexible.

Depending upon the time of year and where you wish to travel, it’s worth booking well in advance. In the Southern states in summer, particularly around Christmas, Motorhomes book out fast and well in advance. Conversely in the Winter period – June through August – Northern Queensland and the Top End – Darwin and the Northern Territory become popular.

If you have younger children or infants that require booster and/or baby seats check on the DriveNow website as to whether your vehicle of choice accommodates them.

DriveNow allows you to book well in advance so once you have your travel dates locked in it’s highly recommended to lock in your vehicle of choice to avoid disappointment and higher rates that generally come around the closer you get to popular travel times. Another advantage of booking early are the Early Bird rates. Most of DriveNow ‘s Campervan partners offer aaded discounts to rentals that are booked 6+ months in advance.

ChrisC
DriveNow Partner and sometime Blog Contributor

Oct
14
2014

Campervan Hire in the Top End – Travel Tips

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

If you are planning a campervan holiday in the Top End of the Northern Territory and exploring more remote locations, here are some tips from our experience on the road. Much of this applies to travel any way in remote Australia. If you have ideas and tips you’d like to share, please send them into writeabout@drivenow.com.au.

Tips:

    • Walk round and thoroughly check your Campervan rental before you leave the branch. Take photos of any existing external scratches or damage. Check inside that everything is working. Your campervan supplier will be helpful and will work with you on this but photos are the easiest and clearest way to document and record

 

    • If your Campervan comes with a TV you may need to use the auto-tune feature when you move between locations to pick up digital signals. In the Top End these appeared to change between Darwin, Jabiru, Katherine and Batchelor

 

    • If your campervan has a toilet cartridge you will find sewage dump points close to most caravan parks

 

    • Whilst you’ll find Supermarkets in most locations stock up with food before leaving Darwin – cheaper and easier

 

    • Purchase multi-packs of water bottles and keep the Campervan’s fridge well stocked with them for daily excursions

 

    • Tap water at campgrounds may be unsuitable for drinking water – best to use your own

 

    • Fuel in the Top End is expensive – that is a fact. Top up whenever you can and expect to pay up to $0.40 more per litre in remote locations. Cheapest location we found was the BP in Katherine, cheaper than even Darwin

 

    • You’ll get mobile phone reception near most locations but on highways such as the central stretch of the Kakadu Highway between Jabiru and Pine Creek this will drop out

 

    • Avoid driving at night or sunrise and sunset when animals are at their most active and more likely to stray on the road

 

    • Never take your Campervan off sealed roads other than short distances (sub 5kms) to designated campervan parks. To do so will void all your insurance cover and make you liable for the cost of any damage. This rules out Jim Jim Falls and twin Falls.

 

    • Road Trains – for those new to Outback roads, Road Trains are trucks with multiple trailers up to 53 metres (174 feet) long and are a common site on Northern Territory highways

 

    • Observe the warning signs about not lingering around water holes or fishing – crocodiles may be present and you don’t want to become lunch

 

Oct
12
2014

Travel Top End Loop – Litchfield Park – Marines on Falls Day 7 & 8

By Australia / Northern Territory /

Batchelor, Buley Hole and Wangi Falls

The Final destination in our loop through the top end in our Maui Motorhome was Litchfield Park. Just 80 minutes south of Darwin, close enough for a day-trippers and 244km north of Katherine straight up the Stuart Highway.

14kms off the Stuart Highway the small township of Batchelor is the gateway to Litchfield Park. Made up of a couple of pubs, a Best Western Hotel, small supermarket, fuel, Post office and 3 holiday parks, Batchelor is also home to the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education . The Batchelor airport, a former World War II airstrip offers scenic flights of the Park starting from $99 for a short flight.

As is the way in remote Australia there’s always an unexpected surprise to be found in the most extraordinary of locations and Batchelor is no exception. At the heart of this small township you’ll come across a model of Karlstein Castle, the original which still stands in Bohemia. Built by a former resident, Czech born Bernie Havlik, the model castle sits atop a large rocky outcrop that Bernie’s gardening crew found difficult to maintain and keep tidy so Bernie came up with an alternative solution which still stands over 25 years later.

For our Litchfield Park base we chose the Big4 Batchelor Camper Park. This lush picturesque campervan park is set amongst shady gums in the heart of Batchelor and guarantees you awake in the morning to a cacophony of bird song. Recently taken over by new owners, the rejuvenation of this Big4 park is a work in progress but all the basics are covered with pool – all be it a bit basic and plastic, good showers and washing machines. Shame you required a dollar coin to operate the BBQ however perhaps Jabiru and Katherine spoilt us.

A concrete pathway leads from the holiday park across to the Best Western Hotel which offers accommodation, bar, bottle shop, bar-bistro and restaurant, giving the chance for a chef’s night off.

We headed into Litchfield Park early the next morning, first stop was the Magnetic Termite Mound fields. Looking like Antony Gormley sculptures, these termite mounds stretch into the distance in both directions and offer a great photoshot.

Next stop was Buley Rock Pool. BIG Tip here is to arrive as early as possible – this is a beautiful series of rock pools, deep enough to bomb and jump into but popular and can become quite busy. These pools are all safe to swim in during the Dry Season being Salt water crocodile free.

You can continue down the road to Florence Falls for more swimming – we toured the car park there and decided the number of coaches, cars and campers meant too many people and headed on to Wanggi.

If you needed just one reason to visit Litchfield Park Wangi Falls is it. 64kms from Batchelor, the Falls cascade down 51 metres into a huge deep pool surrounded by lush trees full of bird life and sleeping flying foxes. The Pool is totally safe to swim in during the Dry season and thoroughly checked by Park Rangers for salties at the end of the Wet Season in March/April before being open to the public.

Despite its popularity the sheer size of the pool ensures there is room for everyone. During our visit US Marines on leave from training in the Territory explored the Falls in their own way by scaling the cliffs and jumping 10 metres into the Pool. Not recommended and much against the Park Rules.

We spent much of the afternoon at the Falls before heading back to Batchelor for our final night.

The drive back to Darwin was quck and easy with a coffee stop and top up with diesel (rental companies charge a premium if you return a vehicle without a full tank). Other things to remember to do prior to dropping of your campervan is to empty the toilet cartridge and waste water. The drop-off process was all done and dusted in 15 minutes and we were in a taxi for the airport before we knew it.

We elected to fly home with a grown-up airline, Qantas, great service, seats, leg room, food and drinks you didn’t have to pay for and entertainment. Cost more but worth every cent.

Great time, great trip, big country!
Nancy L

We travelled the Top End at the end of the Dry Season in September with a 6 berth Motorhome from Maui. You can discover more about renting a motorhome in Darwin and the Northern Territory on the DriveNow website.

Aug
22
2014

A visit to Mossman Gorge – Daintree Rainforest

By Australia / Cairns / Port Douglas / Queensland /

SITTING on the edge of the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge is part of the world’s oldest rainforest tracing its origins back over 130 million years and home to an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna.

If you are visiting Far North Queensland take time out to spend a half-a-day visiting Mossman Gorge. Located just over an hour’s drive north of Cairns and 20 minutes from Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge is easy to reach with sealed roads and plenty of parking available at the Gorge Centre. DriveNow can help with car hire in Cairns and there are also rental locations in Port Douglas.

The Mossman Gorge Centre is staff and managed by the local indigenous Kuku Yalanji people and through its Art Gallery showcases artwork from artists based locally and from across northern Queensland. There’s a retail shop with gifts and souvenirs designed by the local community and the Mayi Cafe allows you to experience locally sourced bush ingredients with light snacks and full meals.

To help protect the Gorge environment travel from the Centre up to the Gorge (2kms) is via shuttle bus that runs every 15 minutes and the entry fee is $8.50 per adult, $4.25 for children (free under the age of 4) and family of 4 passes cost $21.25.

Explore the Gorge yourself or join a guided tour with Dreamtime Gorge and Legend Walks that give you the opportunity to discover more about the culture and traditions of the Kuku Yalanji people with an experienced local guide. Tours operate daily running for between 1.5 and 2.5 hours and can be booked at the Mossman Gorge Tour desk.

Useful things to take with you – if you are going to swim in the Mossman River – bathers and towel, hat and sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes – thongs may not be the go over the paths, insect repellent – although visiting in July we found this not a requirement, water bottle and light clothing (being in North Queensland this is likely a given!).

For further information visit the Mossman Gorge Website .

DriveNow Reservations Team

 

 

 

 

Aug
02
2014
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Early Christmas Tip #1: Booking a 7 Seater

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If you are in the market to hire a people mover for Christmas, here’s a hot tip ….. book now. Get in early and get a cheaper rate and more importantly secure a vehicle.

Of all rental cars in Australia, 7 seaters and people movers sell out more quickly and earlier than any other at Christmas. Every year DriveNow has to turn away travellers looking for these vehicles as suppliers across the country book out.

There’s no deposit required and with no booking or cancellation fees charged by DriveNow you’ve nothing to lose by booking now and locking down a 7 seater for your Christmas holiday.
DriveNow Reservations Team

May
07
2013
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Splendour in the Grass Campervan Accommodation

By Australia / New South Wales /

Heading off to Splendour but don’t want to sleep in a tent? Why not try luxury camping and book a campervan with DriveNow instead? In conjunction with Britz and Mighty Campers we have a number of campervan accommodation packages designed specifically for those attending the 2013 Splendour in the Grass festival, held for the first time at North Byron Parklands, around 20kms north of Byron Bay.

Below is a quick snapshot of what to expect – for more information visit our Splendour in the Grass Accommodation page.

Special 4, 5 or 6 day packages from Bryon Bay or Brisbane.

Book today, no deposit or payment required until June 13th.

4, 5 or 6 Day Mighty Packages:

  • Mighty LowBall 2 berth – $222(sold out)
  • Mighty HighBall 2+1 berth – $669
  • Mighty Jackpot 2+1 berth – $754
  • Mighty Deuce 2 berth with toilet & shower – $975
  • Mighty Double Down 4 berth – $600 (sold out)
  • Mighty Double Up 4 berth with toilet & shower – $1,044(sold out)

4, 5 or 6 Day Britz Packages:

  • Britz Hi-Top 2+1 berth – $760
  • Britz Voyager 4 berth – $894
  • Britz Venturer 2 berth with toilet & shower – $1,025
  • Britz Explorer 4 berth with toilet & shower – $1,285
  • Britz Frontier 6 berth with toilet & shower – $1,714
  • Britz Renegade dual cabin 6 berth with toilet & shower – $1,814

All vehicles include the following items:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Bed sheet
  • Pillow
  • Pillow case
  • Towel
  • Kitchen equipment (crockery, cutlery, cooking equipment & utensils)
  • Local tourist information and maps
  • Magazine with discounts to tourist attractions

 

DriveNow makes finding the best prices and booking a campervan easy.

Apr
18
2013

The Kiwi classic road trip game – Car Cricket

By New Zealand /

Hiring a car with your mates and road tripping to some outrageously fun campsite or batch is basically a rite of passage for Kiwis, and a no-arguments, no-excuses must-do for tourists.

But as they say, life isn’t all about the destination.

Once you’ve run out of ideas for eye-spy (or your mate gets a little too ambiguous on what he spies), give this Kiwi classic a try.

You will need; a bag of lollies (for prizes, and sneaky nibbling). The sweets will be preferably something intrinsically Kiwi like pineapple lumps, snifters or jaffas – especially if your journey kicks off picking up or dropping off your rental car in Auckland.

Rules of the game

Each member of the car gets a turn as the ‘batter’.

For every car that passes you from the opposite direction, the batter gets one run.

If a car is towing a trailer, the batter hits a four.

And if the car is towing a caravan, the batter hits a six.

However, if something other than a car passes you – i.e a motorbike, truck, bus, campervan or batmobile – then the batter is out and the next batter gets a turn.

You’ll have to be the judge on the candy distribution, or decide on prizes of your own.

You can also divide road-trippers into teams and combine scores for an all-out battle.

For kids it’s a great distraction from the hours spent on the road – let’s face it, they’re probably not quite ready to appreciate the rugged beauty of New Zealand’s landscape – and keeps their brains ticking over adding up all their runs.

For the older (wiser) group, dangle a prize like one team buying a round at the final destination for the whole group, and you might find the trip gets that much more exciting.

So get your New Zealand car hire sorted so you can enjoy the journey, wherever you’re headed.

Mar
30
2013
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Shush don’t tell Destination Secrets – Victoria – Bellarine Peninsula to the Great Ocean Road

By Australia / Great Ocean Road / Victoria /

If you’re visiting Victoria or just looking for a great day or weekend away from Melbourne there’s plenty of places to visit just a stone’s throw from the city. Here’s our collection to tackle with your Melbourne Car Rental from the Bellarine Peninsula to the Great Ocean Road…..

Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale

How Far: 105km south-west of Melbourne (90 minutes)
Getting there: Across the West Gate Bridge on the Geelong freeway and continue down the B110 Bellarine Peninsula Highway
Point Lonsdale sits at the head of Port Philip bay on the edge of the Rip, the Bay’s narrow entrance. This quiet unassuming seaside town, has family friendly bayside beaches whilst on the surf back beaches there are amazing rock pools to swim and explore in and miles of empty beach to get lost on. Off-beach there’s plenty to do including tennis courts and a shopping strip with cafes, super-market, surf shop and restaurants.

2 Holiday parks in Point Lonsdale offer casual visitor accommodation. The Royal Caravan Park sits snugly beside the bayside beach and offers powered sites and camping facilities. The Beacon is listed as a Queenscliff Caravan Park despite sitting beside the roundabout immediately adjacent to Point Lonsdale. This multi-awarding winning park is superbly equipped to keep the kids occupied and parents amused. Accommodation on offer includes 2-3 bedroom chalets, powered sites and camping areas. Campervans are very welcome.

A mere 3km further down the road is Queenscliff. The ultimate holiday destination for the well heeled of early Melbourne society, Queenscliff grew up first as a military and fishing centre into an favourite Edwardian summer retreat with it’s wide streets and ferry connecting directly with Melbourne. Today Queenscliff offers fine cuisine, arts and crafts and a newly modernised marina located close to the cross-bay ferry terminal that takes you to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. A 60 metre tower offers commanding views of not only the Rip, the bay and on a clear day across to Melbourne.

Visit the marina when the fishermen return and you’ll likely see 2 giant sting-rays that cruise beneath the boats to pick as the catch is gutted and boxed. Enjoy a coffee or lunch at 360 Restaurant at the base of the tower or browse through the growing number of shops located around the marina.

Portarlington

How Far: 110km south-West of Melbourne (95 minutes)
Getting there: Across the West Gate Bridge down to Geelong on the M1 freeway, follow signage for the C123 Portarlington road.
Sticking with the Bellarine Peninsula another great seaside town with a vibrant working harbour is Portarlington. Home of the Port Philip Bay Mussel industry Portarlington hosts one of Australia’s largest Sea food festivals each January with the Mussel fair. This food fest is supported by a range of food varieties, live music, street performers and amusement fair ensuring that there’s fun for the entire family. Wander down to the harbour and purchase the freshest mussels in Australia straight off the boats.

Come winter time Portarlington turns its attention to music with the National Celtic Festival, Australia’s largest Celtic celebration that’s turning 11 in 2013. With Celtic music talent from around Australia and international acts from Ireland, Scotland and Canada the Portarlington National Festival has grown into the biggest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Check out the Iron Duke Hotel for some great food.

Great Ocean Road

How Far: 125km south-West of Melbourne (105 minutes)
Getting there: Across the West Gate Bridge on the Geelong freeway, jump on the recently opened Geelong by-pass and on to Torquay and Anglesea
There’s so much to take in on a journey down the Great Ocean Road that the only true way to explore and give it justice is over a long weekend. Pickup a rental car in Melbourne and head out across the West Gate bridge on the M1 freeway to Geelong and on to Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, the official gateway and start of the road.

Much has been written on the Great Ocean Road, this 243km journey carved into the cliff tops by returned World War I soldiers that snakes its way from Aireys Inlet down to Port Campbell and on to Warrnambool along some of the most stunning coastline in Australia. So popular is this road with overseas visitors that signs regularly remind drivers to keep to the left along the road.

There’s plenty to see and do. Lorne is one of Victoria’s most popular holiday destinations and for those looking for a quieter Ocean Road adventure it’d best to avoid visiting this seaside resort at Christmas, January and over Easter.
Lorne offers a feast of eateries, for us it’s breakfast at the Arab café with plenty to keep the kids occupied on the sea front with trampolines, whilst 10kms inland there’s the 30 metre Erskine Falls surrounded by a beautiful fern tree filled gully.

Don’t go past Cape Otway lighthouse without a visit. 14kms off the Great Ocean Road beyond Apollo Bay where it cuts inland through the Otway Forest the lighthouse is worth a visit on its own with the added bonus of kolas aplenty sitting in road side trees particularly around the cattle grid close to the lighthouse entrance.

Of course the star attraction along the Great Ocean Road is the 12 Apostles. Set in the Port Campbell National Park these sandstone stacks continue to be one of Australia’s most popular tourist destination despite having suffered much in the way of erosion, the most recent being London Bridge falling down leaving a couple of lucky and surprised New Zealand tourists stranded on the wrong side of the collapse. Whilst there may no longer be 12 Stacks, the 12 Apostles are a photographer’s delight and helicopter rides available at the rear of the visitors centre provide a whole new aspect to shot from. What are less well known are the Fairy Penguins living at the base of the 200 feet cliffs that front the stacks, Arrive at sunset or first light to view these uniquely Australian little creatures and the opportunity to photograph the Apostles in amazing Light.

Port Campbell is just a few kilometres up the road. There’s motel accommodation and holiday parks for those with caravans or who have rented a campervan (check out DriveNow’s latest Melbourne Campervan Hire deals). The local pub serves a great ‘catch of the day’ and sea food platter – hot or cold.

Continue down the coast to Peterborough through the Bay of Island coast Park to Warrnambool or cut inland up to the Princess Highway for your return leg back to Melbourne.

Mar
19
2013

What is Car Hire Excess Insurance?

By

One of the most common issues raised with us is that of Excess Car Insurance.

How much am I liable for in the event of an accident?

How can I reduce my liability and how much will that cost?

Does my travel insurance cover me?

To answer these questions and explain how excess car insurance works the DriveNow Res team put together a quick guide.

 

What insurance comes as standard with a Rental Car?

All car hire companies supply vehicles fully insured with a standard amount that you are liable for in the event of an accident or damage to the vehicle whilst in your possesion. This amount varies between companies and type of rental vehicle. Small and Standard size vehicles attract an excess of around $3300 whilst for luxury and 4 wheel drive rentals this figure can be as high as $5700.

If you choose not to take out an excess insurance reduction option then the standard excess amount is charged to your credit card. This is reimbursed when you drop off the vehicle once it has been checked for any damage.

 

How does Excess insurance work?
In a perfect world and in the case of the vast majority of car rentals there is no need to fall back upon insurance. However here’s what happens where that perfect world is not so perfect.
If the rental vehicle is damaged whilst in your possesion irrespective of who was responsible the rental company will retain the full excess insurance amount. Once the cost of repairs has been established and should those costs be below the excess amount the rental company will reimburse your credit card with the difference. One thing worth remembering is that the time between your rental drop off and the repairs being completed may fall beyond your credit card billing cycle so you may have to pay for the full excess insurance amount and wait to be reimbursed by the rental company.

As you can see standard excess can be painful in the event of an accident.

 

So, What are Excess Reduction Options?
There are ways of reducing this exposure and potential pain. Some commentators call excess insurance options the hidden cost of car rental. This is slightly unfair on the rental companies (and yes we may be a little biased) given they are renting their fleet out to different drivers every day and in order to keep their costs competitive they need to optimise their insurance options.

By paying a daily fee you can reduce the amount you are liable for and the amount debited against your credit card.
These reduction fees vary between companies, type of rental vehicle and even location. Expect to pay $25-$28 per day for a small or standard sized vehicle, $30-$36 per day for luxury and 4 Wheel drives. The amount these fees reduce your liability also varies from aroung $350 for small vehicles to $1600 for some of the 4 wheel drives.

 

How can my Travel Insurance help me?

There is another option which can cover your entire excess liability albeit with a couple of strings. Travel insurance and Credit Card agreements. Many travel insurance policies and credit cards include car hire excess insurance cover. However the catch (as such) is that you need to claim back from the insurance company after travelling and therefore your credit card will be charged the full excess insurance amount and processed as if no excess reduction option had been taken. It is critical that you have all documentation relating to the vehicle damage and circumstances (a police report even in minor single vehicle accidents is essential). So whilst this option will see you reimbursed that may not occur until after your trip.

With the prevelance of camera equipped phones a great tip is to take photos of any internal or external scratches, markings or signs of damage when picking up your vehicle and before leaving the rental branch. In addition bring this to the attention of rental staff and ensure a written record is agreed upon.

Ultimately the decision to take excess insurance options or not is a personal one, weighing up the risk against the cost of the additional premiums and the impact upon your credit card of the standard excess charge during youre rental. The travel insurance option offers one of the cheapest paths taking into account that there may be a delay before you receive reimbuserment from your insurance company in the event of an accident.

Explore your options when you pick up your vehicle or with your insurance company before travelling.
DriveNow Team

Jan
05
2013
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Let’s keep Easter at Easter and Christmas in December

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Christmas in July is one thing but Easter in January?

Santa has no sooner garaged the sledge, turned Rudolph and friends loose for another 11 months of frolicking in the ice fields and put the kettle on when Easter has arrived.  No long hot antipodian summer, no frenzied Australia Day celebrations nor excitement of the first term in the new school year. No, it’s official, Easter is here – just visit your local supermarket where time beats to a different tune and you’ll find yourself thrown forward to Easter in January.

Our local Victorian seaside purveyor of all things fresh and wonderful was offering Hot Cross buns on 28th December with Easter Eggs, so I was assured by Mr Checkout, to be on the shelves from this Monday, the first in January.  Is it just me or is this a wee bit early? Do they really believe that as we rush out to stock up on summer goodness that we”ll be struck by the need to beat the rush and pick out our Easter eggs whilst the mercury is hovering in the thirties, cricket is on the beach and TV and tennis is yet to come?

It seems today that Easter snaps on Christmas heels whilst Christmas itself kicks off during those last weeks of footie finals in late September and early October. Whatever happened to the great December Christmas countdown? That last mad cap week when we charge around attempting to find presents before the shops close at 5pm on Christmas Eve. Surely having put up with the extended family Christmas lunch, spent Boxing Day recovery with the start of the Sydney to Hobart, cricket at the G and survived NYE’s fireworks, celebrations and resolutions, we all deserve a bit of quiet respite? I know the Easter Bunny is a busy chap but I’m betting his egg supply will not run dry. Please, can we have January back?

On the other hand …………… there’s one thing the Easter Bunny cannot control and most definitely does run out and run out fast and that’s Easter rental cars! Well you knew there was going to be car rental angle somewhere didn’t you?

Easter and Christmas are the peaks of peak when it comes to renting a car or campervan. Unlike Easter eggs not only do vehicles sell out quickly but as they do what’s left rises in price. Note to those needing People Movers – book now – don’t wait and be disappointed – these are always the first to go.

There is a simple solution to this dilemma. Book Early.

These days you can book a car without supplying any credit card details and campervans require no payment until 6 weeks out from travel. So booking now for Easter costs you nothing, ensures you of the vehicle of your choice and most importantly you get the best price. There’s nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

So when you visit Mr Coles or Mrs Woolworths, pass on the Easter eggs and hot cross buns by all means, but perhaps whilst you laze away those summer days find 5 minutes to jump onto www.drivenow.com.au and book up your Easter wheels without burning a hole in your pocket.
Happy 2013 and Happy Easter!!

 

Aug
02
2012

Campervan of the Month: August – 3 Berth Cruiser from Around Australia Motorhomes

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A relative newcomer to the DriveNow family, Around Australia Motorhomes offer a great Campervan for every road trip right Around Australia!  For August’s Camper of the month we’re focusing on small families and Around Australia Motorhome’s 3 Berth Cruiser

Vehicle Around Australia Motorhomes 3 Berth Cruiser
Style Mercedes or Volkswagen 2WD
Engine 2.3L Turbo Diesel
Fuel 11 litre per 100km
Specifications 6 Speed Manual, Power Steering
Bed  1 x Double & 1 x Single (linen included)
Kitchen  Gas Stove with Grill & oven, Microwave, 90 Litre Fridge
Bathroom Toilet & Shower -pressurised hot & cold water
Storage Lockers in rear of cabin
Features  TV, External Awning, Outdoor table and Chairs, CD/Radio, Road atlas & Camper ground guide
Included Fly screens, 95 litre Fresh water and 65 litre waste water tanks, 4Kg Gas bottle, All Cooking & dining utensils, Power supply 12v & 240v mains
Optional 1 x Booster & Child Seats (pre book)

Ideal for small families, the 3 berth Cruiser keeps everyone together up front for the best views when driving with 3 seats across the front cabin and anchors for a single child or booster seat.

Around Australia 3 berth Cruiser Down the back maximising the use of space is the secret to the success of the Cruiser with features more commonly found on larger Motorhomes cleverly incorporated into the modes footprint.

Enter the rear of the vehicle from the side sliding door and you’ll notice the TV mounted on your left behind the front passenger seat along with storage space running behind the front seats. Tucked in right immediately behind the Driver’s seat is the bathroom with shower and toilet supplied by pressurised hot and cold water from by a large 95 litre fresh water tank (shared with the kitchen sink).

The kitchen ticks all the boxes with a gas stove including grill and oven ( the 4kg gas bottle is slightly on the smallish size), plenty of cold storage space with a 90 litre fridge and microwave tops off the white goods. The fridge is powered through the vehicle whilst the microwave operates only when you’re hooked up to the mains.  Sink with hot & cold water and all your cooking and eating utensils round of a compact but comprehensive kitchen.

3 Berth Cruiser Bee viewDown the back the dinette offers plenty of seating and converts to a double bed with the optional single fold down bed above and rear double doors . There’s not a huge amount of room between the fold down bed and the double bed below however as the fold-down sits above the bottom of the lower bed this doesn’t offer any real inconvenience.

The built-in awing allows you to eat and entertain externally and there’s no added cost if you want to include an outdoor table and chairs. As with the booster or child seat it’s best to book these added items when making your campervan booking and don’t leave it until the day of pick up.
3 berth CruiserCampervan View - Night and Day

All in all this is a great vehicle for a small family – it certainly is compact but that’s the beauty of it – the clever use of space for living equipment maximises space for you.

Further details can be found on the DriveNow Around Australia Motorhomes Cruiser details page. If you are interested in comparing Campervan rental pricing DriveNow can help you research and book your Campervan holiday with impartial advice. For the latest rates and vehicle availability check out our Campervan Hire home page.

 

 

 

 

Jul
08
2012

Campervan of the Month: July – Mighty Campers Double Down

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The Mighty Double Down 4 berth has everything you need to get on the road with the essentials and all at a great price.

Vehicle Mighty Campers Double Down Campervan Rental – 4 berth
Style Toyota Van 2WD
Engine 2.6L Unleaded Petrol
Fuel 13 litre per 100km / 70 litre tank
Features Automatic, Power Steering, Driver & Passenger Airbags
Bed  2 x Double bunks (linen included)
Kitchen  2 Burner Gas Stove, Microwave, 80 Litre Fridge, Cold Water Sink
Bathroom None
Storage Lockers in rear of cabin
Features  Cooking, crockery & Cutlery Utensils, CD/Radio
Included 31 litre Fresh water tank, 3.3Kg Gas bottle
Optional 2 x Booster & Child Seats

The Double Down Campervan from Mighty Campers offers compact comfortable space for 4 with 2 double bed bunks down the back and all the essentials for a great road trip.

Formerly known as Backpacker Campervans, Mighty Campers has recently been launched with new branding and new vehicle names across the fleet delivering the same great set of options and service for all your campervan needs.

Previously named the Backpacker Warrior, the Double Down is ideal for those looking for affordable accommodation on the road without all the bell and whistles associated with larger, more expensive vehicles. All the basics are covered with a kitchen equipped fridge freezer, 2 burner gas stove, microwave (when hooked up to the mains power) and cold water supplied sink. Sleeping comes by way of the afore-mentioned double bunk beds and bed linen is included in the price of the rental.

So, what does it lack? The obvious area is bathroom facilities, meaning you are likely more dependent on staying in Holiday Parks, although fortunately these are plentiful around Australia and New Zealand. In addition internal living space is less generous than found in larger and more expensive vehicles and other features such as TV, DVD players and external awnings are also not present. However these come at a price and that’s what makes the Double Down such an attractive option for the budget traveller.

Under the hood there’s a 2.6 litre petrol engine with automatic transmission, power steering and a 70 litre fuel tank giving a range of around 900kms depending upon driving conditions and terrain. Upfront there are driver and passenger airbags, Air-Con and CD Player (but no MP3 adaptor) to keep you safe, comfortable and entertained on the road.

If you’re travelling with little ones child and booster seats can be fitted to the rear forward facing seats, but remember to book these in advance.

The Double Down is perfect for those looking to take their beds on the road without the need for the extras and additional space offered by more expensive and larger campervans.

For further details visit the DriveNow Mighty Double Down Campervan page. if you are interested in comparing campervan rental pricing, DriveNow can help you research and book your campervan holiday with impartial advice. For the latest rates and vehicle availability check out our Campervan Hire home page.