Pros & Cons of Owning a Motorhome in Australia

The motorhome life is like being a snail, carrying your home on your back, except with less slime and more style. But before you swap your stationary abode for a set of wheels and a sense of adventure, let’s discuss what this lifestyle really entails.

You’re probably dreaming of uncharted territories and spontaneous weekends, right? Well, you’re spot on, but there’s a bit more to the story. In this blog, we’re diving into the nitty-gritty of motorhome ownership down under – the good, the bad, and the quirky. From the freedom to chase the sunset to the reality of maneuvering a vehicle the size of a small whale, we’ve got you covered.

We’re not just here to sing the praises of this nomadic lifestyle; we’re also here to hand you the magnifying glass to inspect the finer, often overlooked details.

Pro #1: Ultimate Freedom

Have you ever thought about just packing up and hitting the road, with no return ticket in sight? Owning a motorhome in Australia gives you just that – ultimate freedom. It’s the kind of liberty where the only question you face each morning is, “Where to next?” From the sun-kissed beaches of the East Coast to the rugged, unspoiled beauty of the Outback, your travel itinerary is as limitless as your fuel tank.

Australia is crammed with roads less travelled that are practically begging to be explored, and many of these hidden gems are best accessed by motorhome. Take the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, for instance. It’s a dusty, untouched paradise that many travellers miss. Here, you’re not just a visitor; you’re part of the landscape, free to roam where traditional tourists can’t.

And let’s not forget the bonus – no more dealing with that neighbour who always mows their lawn at 7 am on a Saturday. In your motorhome, neighbours are as temporary as your current view. One day you’re waving hello to a kangaroo, the next you’re parked beside a fellow traveller with tales as long as the Nullarbor Plain.

Pro #2: Home Comforts on the Road

Ah, the sweet, sweet luxury of having your own space. Think about it – your kitchen, your bed, your tiny yet mighty bathroom, all tagging along with you wherever you venture. There’s something inherently comforting about having familiar surroundings in unfamiliar territories. And let’s face it, who isn’t a fan of a kitchen where you can make a sandwich at 2 AM without tiptoeing around a hotel room?

Now, let’s talk customization – the secret sauce that makes your motorhome not just a vehicle, but a reflection of you. You’re not just buying a mode of transportation; you’re crafting a movable abode. How about solar panels for the eco-conscious traveller in you? Or a custom-built outdoor shower to rinse off the beach before stepping into your living area? These aren’t just fanciful add-ons; they’re game-changers in enhancing your motorhome life.

Pro #3: Cost-Effective Adventures 

Let’s talk about the wallet-friendly aspect of motorhome travel in Australia. You know, the part where you get to save your hard-earned cash for the really important things in life – like mastering the art of the perfect Australian barbecue. But first, let’s crunch some numbers and see how owning a motorhome stacks up against those traditional holiday expenses.

Think about your last vacation. You probably shelled out a pretty penny for flights, hotels, restaurants, and maybe even those fancy little umbrellas in your poolside cocktails. It all adds up quicker than a kangaroo on a trampoline, doesn’t it? Now, let’s switch gears to the motorhome scenario. Yes, there’s the initial cost of the motorhome, but after that, your holiday expenses start doing a remarkable vanishing act.

Here’s the deal: with a motorhome, you’re cutting out the need for expensive hotel stays – your bed is always with you, and it’s free. You’re also saving on dining out because you’ve got your kitchen on wheels. And let’s not forget the reduced airfare costs – your flights of fancy are now road trips with endless views and no baggage fees.

But wait, there’s more – the long-term savings. Owning a motorhome is a bit like having a piggy bank on wheels. Every trip you take is money saved from traditional vacation expenses. Over time, these savings can be significant. It’s like giving yourself a holiday bonus every year. And who wouldn’t want that?

Now, we’re not saying you’ll be able to retire on the savings, but you’ll definitely have a bit extra for splurging on the finer things in life. You know, like upgrading your barbecue skills from ‘beginner’ to ‘grill master’, or finally trying that boutique Australian wine you’ve been eyeing.

Con #1: The Investment

You see, jumping into motorhome ownership isn’t like splurging on a fancy dinner; it’s more like adopting a hefty baby elephant. Why an elephant, you ask? Well, they’re big, they’re lovable, and they definitely don’t come cheap. And, just like our trunked friends, your motorhome needs ongoing care and attention.

The Cost of Freedom

First things first, the price tag. Buying a motorhome is a significant investment, and we’re not just talking about the upfront cost. You’re signing up for insurance, registration, and probably a few fancy gadgets to make life on the road a bit smoother. Think of it as a long-term relationship with your bank account – it needs constant nurturing.

Keeping It Running

Maintenance – a word that might as well be synonymous with motorhome. Regular check-ups aren’t just a good idea; they’re essential. You’re driving a house on wheels, after all. From engine care to tyre checks, keeping your motorhome in top shape is crucial for those dreamy road trips. Remember, a well-maintained motorhome is like a reliable travel buddy – always ready for the next adventure.

Budgeting Like a Pro

Planning is your new best friend. Start by outlining all potential costs – think long-term here. Then, compare prices, models, and don’t shy away from considering pre-loved motorhomes. They can be just as charming, and your wallet will thank you. And here’s a little insider tip: timing your purchase can make a world of difference. Dealers might be more willing to negotiate at the end of the financial year or during sale periods.

Smart Spending

Alright, you’ve got your budget – now what? It’s all about making cost-effective choices. Research is key. Dive into reviews, join forums, and maybe even chat with a few seasoned motorhomers at your local campsite. They’re often treasure troves of wisdom and can give you the lowdown on what’s essential and what’s just marketing fluff.

Con #2: The Learning Curve

Handling a motorhome isn’t exactly like zipping around in a hatchback. It’s more like steering a small house through traffic and narrow campsite entrances. And if you thought reverse parallel parking in the city was a test of patience, wait until you’re trying to back this beast into a cosy spot by the beach.

First off, let’s address driving this mobile behemoth. 

If you’re accustomed to smaller vehicles, the first time behind the wheel of a motorhome can feel a bit like piloting a spaceship. The dimensions alone are enough to make you hyper-aware of every turn and overhead branch. But don’t worry, you’re not expected to be a pro from the get-go. There are specialised driving courses available that cater specifically to new motorhome owners. These courses cover everything from basic maneuvers to advanced driving techniques, ensuring you’re not just legally fit to drive, but also confident and safe on the road.

Maintenance is another ball game. Unlike your standard car, motorhomes come with a few extra bells and whistles – think plumbing, electrical systems, and sometimes even solar panels. Keeping everything in tip-top shape is crucial, not only for comfort but also for safety. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of information out there. Many communities offer workshops, and there are plenty of online resources and forums where experienced motorhome enthusiasts share their knowledge. These can be goldmines of information, helping you understand the ins and outs of your motorhome’s maintenance needs.

Now, about that reverse parking. Remember your first attempt? It probably felt like a scene from a comedy show – inching back, second-guessing every turn of the wheel, and the occasional “helpful” advice from onlookers. But, as with any skill, practice makes perfect. And the sense of achievement when you finally nail it? Priceless. Some motorhome owners even make a game out of it, challenging themselves to get it right in fewer tries each time. It’s all part of the journey, learning to laugh at these moments and enjoy the process.

Con #3: Storage and Security

Let’s face it, your motorhome isn’t a pocket-size gadget that you can just slip into a drawer when you’re not using it. It’s more like a lovable elephant that demands its room. And with great size comes great responsibility – specifically, the responsibility of finding a safe place to park this behemoth when it’s not roaming the great Australian outdoors.

The Storage Conundrum

You need to think about where you’ll store your motorhome. Not everyone has the luxury of a spacious driveway or a giant garage. And let’s be honest, leaving it parked on the street isn’t exactly ideal. It’s not just about space; it’s also about safety and protection from the elements.

So, what do you do? Well, you might want to look into storage facilities specifically designed for RVs and motorhomes. These places are not just a parking spot; they’re more like a five-star hotel for your home-on-wheels. They offer protection from harsh weather, security from mischievous hands, and sometimes even maintenance services.

Security Matters

Motorhomes are quite the investment, and the last thing you want is for yours to become someone else’s impromptu getaway vehicle. You’ve probably already thought about the basics like sturdy locks and perhaps a steering wheel clamp. But why not take it up a notch?

Consider investing in a good quality alarm system, and maybe even a GPS tracker. This way, if your motorhome decides to go on an adventure without you (rude!), you can track its escapade and inform the authorities. 

A couple of practical tips for you:

  • When choosing a storage facility, consider its location and accessibility. You don’t want to drive for ages just to pick up your own vehicle.
  • Regularly check on your motorhome, even during storage. It’s like visiting an old friend – it maintains the bond (and ensures everything’s still in tip-top shape).
  • Insurance is your best friend. Make sure your policy covers your motorhome in storage and consider additional coverage for peace of mind.