Campervan Rental Australia

So how would you best go about campervan rental Australia?

Most Australians do their Cape York trip in their own four wheel drives.

But if you are from overseas and want to do Cape York, your options are to buy or rent a four wheel drive vehicle.

Even if you are an Aussie, and have no reason to own a four wheel drive, for a Cape York trip you may want to rent one.

But how would you go about it, and how would you choose the company?

Two or Four Wheel Drive? 

Firstly, be assured that a two wheel drive is not an option on a proper Cape York trip.

You are fine with a two wheel drive rental car or campervan if you only plan to go up to Laura or (the inland road to) Cooktown.

Any further north the roads are unsealed, corrugated, and even if you do see some locals doing these roads in their two wheel drives, it does damage the vehicle.

That means the rental companies do most likely not allow you to take their two wheel drive vans to these roads, and if you still do, it can cost you dearly if something happens - because by breaking the contract you would have no valid insurance.

A 4WD Vehicle vs a Campervan?

But even four wheel drives come as just vehicles, as well as campervans.

What international travellers often don't think about, is that you can rent both kinds, and that renting just a 4WD vehicle is much cheaper than renting a van, while renting a van is obviously handier since you have a bed and a kitchen in the back, all gear included, and no need to set up a tent.

Read here about renting a four wheel drive vehicle (as opposed to a van) for your Cape York trip.

Campervan Rental Companies

maui van

wicked van

wicked vans

Let's start with the large Australian companies and see what they have.

Maui, Kea and Around Australia Motorhomes have mostly larger vans, however none has four wheel drives (Maui and Kea used to, and they are now selling them).

, Apollo and Mighty have small vans, as well as larger. The first two have also four wheel drives.

Jucy and Spaceship have smaller, colourful funky vans but they are not four wheel drives.

Camperman and Travellers Autobarn also are the same small size, and not 4WDs.

Hippy and Wicked are brightly painted, often in graffiti style, a bit older vans and cheaper, popular with backpackers. They never used to have 4WDs, but Wicked has started, so far only in Broome and Alice Springs (as of early 2014).

Four Wheel Drives

Since Maui and Kea no longer have four wheel drives, right now (early 2014) you are left with Britz and Apollo (this can change so read on).

rent a 4wdkea camper

Apollo has both larger 4WD vans and small ones.
   apollo van

Britz has small vans (which are the best ones for a Cape York trip).
   britz van

The question still remains, and you have to ask them - where do they allow you to go?
   apollo camper

It is one very important question in Cape York
, because it may just mean that you book a great van you think, and end up not being able to do the best tracks.

How to Choose

So how would you choose the company?

Obviously by comparing things, and by far the best place is the internet.

That's where you can read the facts and take your time to think, instead of listening to a nice sounding company worker who is trying to sell.

There are obviously the company websites, but things change and while I do my best to update things they may sometimes just change quicker than I manage - at the time you are looking there may well be more choices than Britz and Apollo.

To find out about them all quickly, the best thing to do is to use one of the many independent websites where you can compare prices and vans between different companies.

There are around 10 of them in Australia, and I have checked them all.

After comparing prices, how responsive they were to my enquiries, and what the whole presentation looked and sounded, the best one was
Drive Now.

You can make searches with them here
(four wheel drives are towards the end of the page where you land):

Compare, Choose and Book Your Van, Including 4WDs

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Plan and Bring to the Trip... the full Destination Cape York Travel Guide

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This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my vehicle-recovery-guy partner). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)

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