Cost of trips away in a Bush tracker

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 04, 2007 at 04:00
ThreadID: 123163 Views:4167 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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To BOG Forum members

My wife and I are in the throes of costing not only the purchase of a BT but also the rough costs of runing one on a trip.. We are on a fixed income in retirement and need to get some sort of idea of the cost of each trip.
My assumptions are as follows:
Running a 2006 Toyota LandCruiser 100 series 4.2 TD
19 weeks trip covering 10,000km
Fuel costs average $1.50 per litre
Caravan park costs $40 per night (I know this might be high plus we might be able to find some "free" nights, even with dog)
Food $150 per week (guesstimate)
Cost of rego,ins,of car,van,servicing etc for period poproported over 19 weeks
All other home costs for period eg, elec, rates, telep etc proportioned over 19 weeks.

Total cost estimate came to $16,400 for 19 weeks.

Does this sound excessive?? Or am I under costing?

I would appreciate any advice re costs as I am about to make a big decision re buying the tow machine.

Thanks for any hope

Phill and Jen
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Jan 04, 2007 at 04:12

Thursday, Jan 04, 2007 at 04:12
I cannot account for your figures, except for one part.... The whole idea of Bushtracker is self sufficient luxury, and away from the crowds and specifically caravan parks in general... I seldom go into them, maybe just once a week or so when traveling to do laundry and shopping.... Here are the ways I have specialized in travel besides the obvious National and State Parks:

In my travels in Oz, I have three favourites I have learned to spot. One is the Stock Route… Almost all small country roads were once or still are Crown Land style Stock Routes. You know you are on one when you see a fence along one side of the road and what?… The other side of the road a couple of hundred metres of Bush before the fence or gate starts?? That is or was most probably a gazetted Stock Route… Now I have learned that if the gate is unlocked or open, don’t bother anyone as it sees a lot of traffic. But if the gate is locked, it is usually not a lived in paddock or sees a lot of traffic… Ever notice the “fence inspection road” runs on the outside of the paddock? They are not silly, they are not going to rut up their own paddock, instead they drive down the Stock Route side… I often will pull up that dirt track until out of site or I find a place to turn around, and since 1988 I have never been bothered… Mind you no fires in a dry or restricted area, this is just for an overnight stop… And my rule is stay out of sight, so no one worries… And mind you, I travel on back country roads, and would probably not do this on the main coastal highway as much… AND MY NUMBER ONE RULE IS "OUT OF SIGHT OF THE ROAD".... Any way, this is a valuable resource that is underutilized...

My second favourite is quarry sites… They almost never truck in the road base, they mine it every 40 or 50 kms in many places. It is a long lonely looking dirt track to nowhere, that sometimes opens up into a beautiful open pit left with a with a hard graded and rolled flat bottom and shear sound proof rock walls one to three metres high. I have found some of them a hundred metres wide or more and longer yet. A great pastime would be to map some of these and I have often regretted I did not do so..

My third favourite is the abandoned highway stretches… The bonus of looking down the dirt tracks is sometimes seeing it hump up and over an abandoned highway section. They often do not build the new road over the old because of traffic problems, they often abandon it and build alongside, particularly in stock route areas… I have found them with bridges removed, a bid dirt jump up in place, or dug up every couple of km, but otherwise left intact. My one rule is always get out of sight, but what a wonderful camping area. I have found them in sheer rock cut away spots right along a major highway, only a hundred metres off the road but out of sight and soundproof. I have found them alongside but above the road where a dirt track access went up to the top where they started blasting their way down. I have found them at the end of a stretch of abandoned highway next to a nice creek with the bridge out… Some marvellous places, that again I wish I had mapped. But then, what is the adventure in that? Got to find them…..

But again, the important feature is to stay out of sight. And some of these places are so magic you are going to want to go back!!!

My major tip, always start looking about late afternoon, might take a while to find one. I always wait too late, get caught out in the dark, and have to look with a spotlight which is not as fun… Rule #2 is always stay out of sight, no sense worrying anyone or tempting fate. Rule #3, watch fires, no fire is better, or at least not in a fire area or dry area or when windy… And pour water on your fire if you do have one, when you leave…

Now I am sure I will catch H*** from some well meaning, greenie, bunny hugging Bureaucrat for not having attended to the mail in advance for "Surveyed Gazetted Canberra Approved Permit Application with combined Aerial Photos and proper registered survey of my proposed campsite and timetable with appropriate fee and dates reserved with associated Enviormental Impact Report attached in Triplicate...
But so be it, they haven’t caught me in 17 years of travel this way... And it is still a Free Country out there in my book..

Sooooo, be careful out there, and mind you don’t do it in Aboriginal Lands, but in the bulk of getting somewhere safe overnight spots, these are my three favourite ones that many people don’t know about… It comes from experience and many miles done.

Regards from the Ranger.... Out there doing it....

AnswerID: 570113

Follow Up By: F Troop - Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 00:45

Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 00:45
Love the quaries and road maintinance camps( disused of course)
FollowupID: 846847

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Thursday, Jan 04, 2007 at 04:49

Thursday, Jan 04, 2007 at 04:49
Phil and Jen, I am always reluctant to post actual costs, and copped a lot of flack for the high cost of our recent once in a lifetime trip to Tasmania on another forum recently. Fuel and food this time was not excessive compared to outback prices. Our trip of 19,000 kms did include 2 weeks on the mainland, 7 weeks in Tasmania, and 4 weeks coming home via the northern Flinders ranges and central SA. All up, it cost us around $15,000. This included costs of setting up extras and spares for the caravan; reversing camera, television etc (ours is an older model without the trimmings). It also included vehicle servicing and general repairs, 2 spare tyres to take, and one tyre purchased in Tassie. Costs included ferry to Tassie, trips such as boat tour of Macquarie Harbour, train trip Queenstown to Strahan, souvenirs etc. We usually travel much much cheaper. Most of our camping is bush camping (as per Steve's tips above, you get an eye for a good spot), and we generally don't eat out much.

Food is only a little more expensive when travelling, as we don't have the advantage of bulk buying and shopping can get dear in remote areas, but we do patronise them to keep the service they provide there. Likewise with fuel - you can stress over whether you should fill up completely or save room in case it is cheaper down the road, or just fill up where ever. At the end of the trip, the total won't be a lot different.

Looks like your budget is achievable.

Our costs at home were not included in the above.

Motherhen (trying hard to save up for the next trip)

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AnswerID: 570114

Follow Up By:- Thursday, Jan 04, 2007 at 22:07

Thursday, Jan 04, 2007 at 22:07
Hi Motherhen,

That is 13 weeks and $15,000 for 19,000 Km (with a lot of extras thrown in). I suppose some costs are pretty well the same wether travelling or staying home like food (maybe a little dearer) and certain vehicle costs, I would think that this sounds pretty good and not too high at all!

I was wondering if you felt it was high? Or did you feel that you worked at keeping the cost to as low as possible. Does the type of holiday and distance travelled make a big difference - I know that there are a lot of variables? I suppose if you were free camping and not driving then the costs would be much lower for that period.

Kind regards

FollowupID: 846848

Follow Up By:- Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 01:36

Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 01:36
PS. For me the 19,000 equates to about 4,200 litres of fuel which would easily represent one third of the total cost.
FollowupID: 846849

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 08:13

Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 08:13
Hi Theo - Yes, fuel was around $4,700, and we didn't keep the expenses down like i usually try to do. With so much more of Australia yet to see, Tassie was a once in a lifetime trip. And the "finance officer and catering department" had to keep the "bus driver" happy and well fed. It was a matter of just putting everything on the credit card and not worrying (we were getting away from enough worries).



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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 06:00

Friday, Jan 05, 2007 at 06:00
Phil & Jenny

You should have an email showing our 2006 travel diary and log of our caravan useage during 2006. This is not a typical cost sheet as we had a number of problems with the van that we haven't had during other years, but it may give you some idea of what you can be up for.

We have a 2001 21 foot bushtracker and towed it with a 2002 F250 with boat on top, so we were fairly heavy, for our 8 months away from home.

Your food estimate of $150 per week seems rather low considering current supermarket costs, which are usually a nit higher in remote areas than suburbia.

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AnswerID: 570115

Reply By: Mobi Condo - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 02:13

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 02:13
Hello Phil & Jen,
Add to all the info - we have just returned from a Tassie trip - hope to add a trip note entry soon.
Basically Adelaide to Melbourne and return with 13metres of rig (Tojo & Mobi) across on the Spirit of Tasmania & return (sit up over night one way & day trip the other - will do nights and cabins in future!) with just three nights of 17 in caravan parks cost us $4000.93. We had just over $1000 worth of extra costs with tourist type boat trips and museums and features etc etc. Boat fares return were $1686.00.
Total travel distance was 3568k with 2692k of that towing Mobi and an average of 4.21 KpL - or in old terms 11.64 MpG - fuel economy on Naturally aspirated (or NON turbo) 4.2l 1HZ diesel motor. Dearest fuel was at Derwent Bridge in Tas at $1.355 L and then at Keith SA at $1.339 L
Therefore without the ferry costs and luxury extras we could have had a great trip of 2692k for $1400 for 17 nights / 18 days or about $85 a day - which would include all our food & fuel etc
Hope this adds to your knowledge & decision making.
Cheers - Ian & Sally
AnswerID: 570116

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 02:52

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 02:52
Dunno, but that is cheap in my book.... Add a zero for a cruise ship and come home with nothing but fat...

Double that $85 to sit in an average unit on the coast somewhere getting bored....

Ten times that to get shot at in the Middle East for a Tour of the Biblical lands... Ha!

Dunno, dat looks like cheap retirement fun, to da Ranger...


Comes back to what I always say:
FollowupID: 846851

Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 06:14

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 06:14
Hey Big Spenders,

One thing to consider is your cost of living at home....there's food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, power, telephone, grog, etc etc. These are costs that are still going to be with you when you are travelling. The ADDITIONAL costs when you are on the road are some "extra fuel and vehicle maintenance costs" , some extra caravan park fees (if you stay in them) and some extra fees for entering National Parks. Otherwise, all the "costs of living" is the same as at home. SO, only look at the EXTRA costs, over and above what it would cost you to live at home.

Now Steve has it right. Look for the legal off-road, bush camping spots that your Bushtracker has been designed and built for. Steve mentioned Stock Routes and Quaries and disused roads. All correct!!....along Stock Routes are "Travelling Stock Reserves" (TSR's). They are all numbered and used to be signposted as TSR No._ . Some of the signs are still there and what Steve has described in the fencing clues is correct. [Steve is right a lot of the time, and this is one of he ever wrong? bet!!]

Here's another thing to look for.....At all major bridges, at either end approach, there will be a maintenance access track. Often this will lead to a magic little campsite, but.....walk it may lead to a "perfect" place beside the water under the bridge. An old timber-decked bridge may not have acoustic values pertinent to a good nights sleep!

Yes.... keeping out of sight of passing traffic is also a good idea. Don't light a Pollock style campfire.....just enough to cook your meal and sit by it 'til your eyelids start to drop as a result of an odd dram and serenity!

And don't just pour a little water on it when you retire.....bury it and then drown it.....No BT owner should ever be responsible for starting a bushfire!

Now, I've set a couple of traps here to keep a bit of humour going on the for the bites..........?

AnswerID: 570117

Follow Up By: Tellem Bugrem - Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 06:26

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 at 06:26

Perhaps some of this info should be restricted to the members forum. Don't want to find one of these magic spots chock-a-block full of non-bushtracker vans! AND,
Steve, your crack at the buraucracy regarding regulations is a gem! SPOT-ON!!

I'd like to see a response from the CEO of the NPWS!!

FollowupID: 846852

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