How to Overland Australia, Sydney to Perth

Overland Australia Route Map

How to Overland Australia, Sydney to Perth is a recap of my 6 month visit to Oz. I provide details that include maps, costs, logistical requirements and facts as well as links to additional details, photos and videos. This is a self-guided adventure on a shoestring. Follow the links to dig deeper into the adventure.

easyThe actual travel time on this road trip was around two months. The additional time was spent visiting relatives in the Sydney area, finding, purchasing and preparing the car and even a side trip to Nepal for the spring trekking season. This post will focus only on the overland travel part of the trip.

This the second segment of my Overland Oz set. The prior segment is “How to Overland Australia Sydney to Cape York.”

purchased car in sydneyOverland Australia, Transportation – Buy/Rent

Backpacker driving options in Australia are plentiful. I purchased my car in the Sydney Backpackers Market (a city garage where Backpackers buy & sell with the local authorities approval) and sold it in Perth using Gumtree (a Craigslist type of Internet service). It wasn’t difficult, but I had lots of time on both ends of the road trip.

Registration (rego) in Oz depends on state, but unlike Europe, you don’t need to be a resident of Oz to register a vehicle for road use. Rego on the vehicle lasts one year, so a vehicle with lots of months left is worth more than one with fewer months since at the end of the term you will have to pay for the new rego in the state of issue or transfer it to the state your in. Rego also includes very limited insurance (enough to get you on the road driving). You can optionally buy additional insurance. If the vehicle has a Western Australia rego you don’t need to have it officially inspected by a mechanic on transfer. If a NSW rego you will need an inspection. It varies so check out the rules before you buy.

The Video

Combined Video

For those with less time, there are lots of rental or buy-back options available. I’m not talking about rental car agencies, I’m referring to agencies that are backpacker travel specific.

cost range

Total Cost Range of this Activity is: $$$

Rather than giving details here, I will simply say that Australia is NOT cheap. The average dorm night stay in a hostel was around AUS $25 pp and doubles around $75. Camping was around $30-45 per night. The must-have tool for overlanding in Oz is the WikiCamps app. It includes paid and free campsites with details and user reviews (very important since some places are dumps).

Overland Australia, Youth Hostels Australia

Join YHA if you want discounted hostels that are clean, cool and fun (but not crazy). There are two types of hostels in Oz. YHA (with dorms, singles, doubles and family rooms) and the others. The others are private and generally accommodate long-stay backpackers. Because Oz is full of 1-2 yr backpackers on the work-as-you-go VISA’s there is a need for long but cheap(er) accommodation. Hence the other hostel option. Unfortunately, this crowd generally wants to party like rock stars. So forget about a quiet night of sleep or anything related to clean if you stay in a non-YHA long-stay hostel.

Note that Australians love to BBQ, so facilities for BBQing (and public restrooms) are in almost every town center, roadside rest area, camp ground, etc.

Auto fuel is also not cheap in Australia although GPL is available in and around most cities for those that manage to find/rent a converted vehicle. The Mitsubishi that I purchased was a conversion, so ran on both GPL and regular petrol. I recommend the GasBuddy app to help you find local and cheap options.


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Sydney to Melbourne

Overland Australia Trip Itinerary

Date Location
11/14/2015 Arrive Sydney, Visit & Prep
12/10/2015 Leave Sydney – Bulli/Thoroa
12/11/2015 Wollongong (Don’s)
12/12/2015 Bream Beach Caravan Park (edge of Borderee NP)
12/13/2015 Jarvis Bay – Borderee NP
12/14/2015 Green Patch Camp
12/15/2015 Bega Backpackers to Koz
12/16/2015 Kosciusko – YHA Thredbo (SM NP)
12/17/2015 Thredbo hike to summit Mt Kosciusko.
12/18/2015 Mountain biking Thredbo
12/19/2015 Lakes Entrance – Campground – Victoria
12/20/2015 Wilsons Promontory NP
12/21/2015 Wilsons Promontory NP
12/22/2015 Wilsons Promontory NP
12/23/2015 Wilsons Promontory NP
12/24/2015 Philip Island San Remo
12/25/2015 Philip Island San Remo
12/26/2015 Philip Island San Remo
12/27/2015 Philip Island San Remo
12/28/2015 Philip Island San Remo
12/29/2015 Melbourne
12/30/2015 Melbourne
12/31/2015 Melbourne
1/1/2016 Melbourne
1/2/2016 Melbourne
1/3/2016 Melbourne
1/4/2016 Melbourne
1/5/2016 Melbourne
1/6/2016 Great Ocean Road
1/7/2016 Great Ocean Road
1/8/2016 Melbourne
1/9/2016 Melbourne
1/10/2016 Melbourne to Apollo Bay
1/11/2016 Melbourne to Apollo Bay
1/12/2016 Port Campbell – Twelve Apostles
1/13/2016 Port Campbell – Twelve Apostles
1/14/2016 Port Fairy – Twelve Apostles
1/15/2016 Tower Hill Reserve – to Grampians
1/16/2016 Grampians – Aborigeni Art
1/17/2016 Grampians – Aborigeni Art
1/18/2016 Port Elliot
1/19/2016 Mc Laren Vale wine tasting
1/20/2016 To Adelaid, Glenelg
1/21/2016 Glenelg
1/22/2016 Glenelg
1/23/2016 Glenelg
1/24/2016 Flinders Range – hike
1/25/2016 Flinders Range
1/26/2016 Streaky
1/27/2016 Western Australia Border (free camp)
1/28/2016 Esperance
1/29/2016 ocean drives
1/30/2016 Frenchman Peak, Cape Le Grande NP
1/31/2016 Albany
2/1/2016 to Margaret River, Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
2/2/2016 Leeuwin NP – Lake Cave – Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
2/3/2016 Surfers Point – Bunbury
2/4/2016 Bunbury – Discovery park, Dolphin Experience
2/5/2016 to Fremantle (Sundancer)
2/6/2016 Perth Center
2/7/2016 Cri Departs for Kathmandu
2/8/2016 Freo – Perth
2/9/2016 Rottsnest Island – Coco
2/10/2016 Snorkeling
2/11/2016 Cycle to Seals
2/12/2016 back to Freo
2/13/2016 Freo
2/14/2016 to Rockingham
2/15/2016 Rockingham – Penguin Island
2/16/2016 snorkeling
2/17/2016 snorkeling
2/18/2016 Freo to Lanclin
2/19/2016 Lanclin
2/20/2016 Perth – park the car
2/21/2016 Perth City Center
2/22/2016 Flight to Kathmandu, Nepal
4/1/2016 Flight back to Perth
Sold my Car
4/13/2016 Perth Flight to Brisbane
Hang out Brisbane & prep for Morton
4/17/2016 Moreton Island-ferry 2:30pm to Comboyuro
4/18/2016 Moreton Island – Blue Lagoon
4/19/2016 Moreton Island – SE island
4/20/2016 Moreton Island – SW Island
4/21/2016 Moreton Island – Wrecks on W coast near resort
4/22/2016 Moreton Island ferry 11am return to Brisbane
4/23/2016 Brisbane
4/24/2016 Brisbane to Sydney train
5/1/2016 Flight Depart Sydney

Visit the Moreton Island blog post for details about the hiking circuit of the island.

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Melbourne to Adelaide

Overland Australia GPS

Australia is huge and mostly empty so basic paper maps are fine but to find places in towns and cities a GPS is a must. Yes, Google maps works, but I purchased an old fashion dash mounted unit and it was a relationship saver. Large and easy to see, had alternative route options and showed places of interest (gas stations, supermarkets, etc).

Adelaide to Perth Photos

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Overland Australia Healthcare

Australia has great public healthcare, so they don’t turn you away. However, travel insurance is recommended for those who like to avoid paperwork and risk. Note that Australia has a healthcare agreement with Italy. So if you have an Italian passport simply go to any government office that handles healthcare and get a fully covered Australian health card that will cover you for the length of your stay. No fees and no hassle. Additionally, exploring resources like Invest Diva reviews can offer valuable insights into financial strategies and planning for your travels.

Overland Australia Other Adventures posts:

4×4 Fraser Island Queensland

Hiking Around Moreton Island Queensland

Noosa Everglades Canoe Trip Queensland

4×4 Cape York Ride Queensland

Kosciusko Summit & MTB Thredbo, NSW

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