As you know, caravaners regularly talk with other travellers about places they have been, and places that are on their list. We have found the vast majority of people who would love to visit Tasmania are concerned about the cost involved in taking a vehicle and caravan over on The Spirit of Tasmania. Many of whom admit they couldn’t dream of outlaying that much, so unfortunately, they think they will never get there.
We give them our statistics and they are pleasantly surprised. I decided its about time that I make a blog with these comparisons so that the concern is put into perspective for everyone, not just those we meet on the road.
We look at our total spend for our 8 week stay in Tasmania, including Spirit of Tasmania cost, and compare it to our total spend for 8 weeks in Northern Western Australia. The results will surprise you.
Tasmania – 8 week total $8273.47
- $1487.26 – Fuel (total 7153km)
- $1351.01 – Groceries
- $1434.50 – Tours & Souvineers
- $267.80 – Campgrounds (25x low cost camps and 31x free camps)
- $878.40 – Pub meals, quick lunches & coffee.
- $408.00 – Alcohol
- $152.74 – Camping supplies, Hardware & Auto
- $73.48 – Gas refills
- $60.00 – National Park Pass
- $71.28 – Miscellaneous
- $2089 – return Spirit for car, caravan and a cabin both ways.
As you can see, our total spend for 8 weeks was around $8000 including ferry. At $1000 per week, it is higher than our weekly budget, but we always expected the ferry to contribute to a higher than usual weekly average. In saying that, when evened out over our lap of Australia, where we have had lots of weeks half this amount, the big picture is fine. Obviously, if you stayed longer than 8 weeks, the average would reduce.
The advantages of travel in Tasmania are very short drive distances per day, resulting in less fuel being used. Free and low cost camping is literally everywhere! We did not exceed our ideal maximum spend of $20 per night for a campsite. If you wanted to, you could “eat your way around Tasmania” with fresh produce, wine, cheese, vanilla slices, scallop pies etc etc in every town. We did splurge on coffee, cake and pies a little more than usual, but that did not make our expenses suffer, and there are plenty of lovely walks & hikes to help walk off those extra calories.
We found so many free activities in Tasmania. There are “Tasmania’s short walks” marked around the state, many include waterfalls, stunning scenery, bird and wildlife spotting. We managed about half of the listed short walks. A National Park pass is just $60 for 8 weeks and we certainly got our moneys worth there, visiting most National Parks including Cradle Mountain twice, once in 30+ degree heat and again in snow!
We were amazed by the wildlife. We saw platypus in the wild on numerous occasions, every time giving us a thrill. We also enjoyed camping amongst nature (often for free) every single night.
Northern Western Australia 8 week total – $10470.84
- $2719.02 – Fuel (total 9786km)
- $1769.34 – Groceries
- $2509.86 – Tours & Souvineers
- $1499.60 – Campgrounds (39x over $20, 9x low cost, 8x free camps)
- $541.35 – Pub meals, quick lunches & coffee
- $540.35 – Alcohol
- $568.60 – Maintenance, Camping supplies, Hardware & Auto
- $155.75 – Gas refills
- $102.00 – National Park Pass
- $64.89 – Miscellaneous
Our 8 weeks in Western Australia was only 2 months after Tasmania, so pricing comparison is not out dated. We entered WA from the North, so our comparison is based on 8 weeks in Northern WA. Everyone who travels Australia visits WA, it goes without saying, if you do a lap, you include WA. Not everyone includes Tasmania. We were definitely not expecting 8 weeks in WA to cost more than Tassie. This was a real “eye opener” for us.
To be fair, we included a tour of Horizontal Falls while in Derby. We knew this was expensive, but never considered going to WA and not paying to see this amazing piece of nature. So, if we remove the cost of the Horizontal Falls tour (not everyone wants this extravagance) our 8 week spend was $8546.84. Still above our 8 weeks in Tasmania including ferry costs.
Don’t get me wrong, Western Australia is breathtakingly beautiful, we loved every minute, but you just need to pay what it costs. And, boy, does it cost! Northern WA is remote, fuel costs are high and driving distances are large. Everything seems to cost more because of its remote location. We spent a fair amount on vehicle maintenance, hardware and auto with Glenn always checking car and van after long drives.
The cost that surprised us the most was camping fees. Free camps are minimal up north, we always stay in unpowered sites, but even unpowered farm stays, homesteads or campgrounds are often over $40. We paid $56 one night! Our aim of staying in campgrounds $20 or under was not usually possible in Northern WA, even National Park stays exceeded this.
All of Australia is worth seeing! Every part is amazing! We encourage people to include Tasmania in their lap of Australia, or even as a holiday in its own right. There is no argument that the cost of taking a caravan and vehicle over on The Spirit of Tasmania is not cheap, but it is unavoidable. If you are caravanning, stay a while. The cost is absorbed the longer you stay. Absolutely everyone we met while in Tasmania wished they had more time. The ferry is booked out months in advance, so it is best to book a return trip. We thought 8 weeks would be enough, but could have stayed 10. Others had booked 3 months and wished they had 6. There is something about Tasmania, even though it is small in area, you will never run out of things to see or do.
Northern Western Australia is breathtaking! The Kimberley is like nothing else. The red sand, the waterfalls, the cliffs! We absolutely loved it all. There is no point embarking on an around the country trip, and avoiding places because of cost. Admittedly, we do not have a money tree, and do need to consider which tours we really want to do. If you did every tour in every town, you would spend an absolute fortune. We are on a budget, but still visit most towns, we enjoy nature, walks, wildlife, and whatever free activities are available. Fuel is the killer, we spent almost double on fuel in WA compared to Tasmania. We live in a huge country, and fuel costs vary significantly but just learn to pay the price. Fuel is what gets us there, it is what keeps us traveling.
In short: Please include Tasmania in your travel plans. We all include Western Australia without thinking twice, it should be the same for our “Apple Isle” It really is not as expensive as we all think.