Ever wanted to embark on the big lap? Here’s how to get the ball rolling! 

To hit the road and complete the big lap around this great land we call home is truly the pinnacle of Australian adventure. It’s the great Aussie dream for anybody who loves to wonder, but part of its allure is the challenges that it presents. It takes planning and plenty of dedication, but if you manage to make it happen it will no doubt be a once and a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget. 

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to make this fantasy trip a reality!  


Naturally, an adventure of this nature requires plenty of planning, and it goes beyond just deciding where to go. Yep, you’ll need to consider your budget, which ultimately decides how much time can you afford to be away from home or work. You’ll need to determine what kind of touring set-up is going to cut the mustard the best and ff you’ve got kids, some extra thought needs to go into how time on the road will affect them too. 


The best way to start planning your itinerary is to mark all the “bucket list” locations you want to visit on your map of Australia. Then, connect the dots and research what attractions and campsites are along the way. Be sure to allow plenty of extra time in your planning for unexpected side trips as you’ll find a heck of a lot of awesome places along the way to explore!


Working out an exact budget can be difficult, but one of the most popular methods is to essentially break down your trip expenses into three main categories, these are accommodation, food and of course, fuel. Let’s break it down, shall we?  

ACCOMMODATION: Naturally, the cost of a place to call home for the night can vary significantly. Commercial campsites can be upwards of $40 per night for an unpowered campsite, especially during peak season. To save a few bucks, there are plenty of free campsites available, which you can source through applications such as Wiki Camp, Hema Maps and a whole host of specialised websites and publications. 

FOOD: Theoretically, your weekly tucker budget should be quite similar to your budget back at home. However, you do need to account for increased grocery prices if you wind up shopping in smaller, isolated locations. Make sure you account for a good splurge here and there on takeout meals, especially in those more iconic locations too. 

FUEL: The biggest cost of your adventure will be fuel, and it’s hard to put an exact dollar figure to the amount you will need. The best thing to do is plan out your route by listing all the main places you want to explore and crunching the numbers on number of kilometres you’ll need to travel to get there. If you’ve got a good idea what your fuel consumption will be, you can then determine how much money you’ll need for fuel, roughly. Make sure there is plenty of fat on the bones for unexpected side trips and increased fuel consumption due to headwinds, long and hilly climbs, and low-range adventures.    


Once you’ve worked out where you’re going, how long you are going for and how you will be doing it set-up wise, your budget will start coming together. For example, if you budgeted $200 per week for accommodation ($28.60 per night), $250 for week on groceries, $350 per week on fuel and $200 for splurging on tourist attractions here and there, you’ve got yourself a $1000 per week budget. Multiply this by the number of weeks you’ll be away, and you’ve got your basic trip expenses budget to aim for. Of course, you’ll need extra money in the kitty for things like vehicle registration and insurance, breakdowns, maintenance and repairs, any lingering financial commitments on the home-front and emergencies.  


Your chosen camping set-up will play a massive part as to how your adventure pans out in the long run. You may already have a camper trailer, but is it going to be the best design for the job? Is it going to be easy enough to erect the tent for quick overnight stops between destinations? Will it be economical to tow over long distances? Will it handle with the punishment of off-road touring? These are the questions you will need to ask yourself before you commit to a particular camping set-up.  


Being away from home for a long period of time means you will need to make a few important decisions. For example, do you quite your job or is long-term leave a possibility. If you own your own business, should you sell it, close it down or could it be operated remotely? Similar decisions will need to be made if you own your own home. Can it be rented out? If so, will the rent you receive cover the mortgage repayments? Or are you better off selling your home altogether? There’s even the option of finding a house sitter who can help keep the property maintained and pets looked after while you’re gone. 

Then there is some general organising to do, with things like arranging direct debits for ongoing financial commitments. And don’t forget to arrange for your mail to be sent to family, friends or a local post office if it can’t be sent electronically.    


Deciding what to do with your pets can be a hard decision. If you do decide to bring them along, expect to be quite restricted with where you can explore and camp. You may need allow some extra money in the budget for pet boarding kennels along the way in order to still see the more iconic attractions. The alternative is to find a new home for them or ideally leave them with family and friends to ensure they are well-looked after until your return.    


It’s worth noting that your children will learn a heck of a lot on the road, and it’s the type of stuff that they could never learn in the classroom. In saying that, if you are travelling long term, you will be required to enrol in distance education or immerse yourself in home-schooling. 

What’s the difference? Well, distance education is run via the Department of Education. The curriculum is set by them and is sent to the family regularly, meaning you will need to make allowances to send and receive schoolwork and connect via internet with teaching staff. 

Home schooling is where the parent set’s the curriculum, which allows much more flexibility but is a bit more hands-on for your part.     


Give your kids a map of Australia so they can follow their trip. It will give them a much better idea of where they are, along with a real-world understanding of distances and geography. 

Don’t forget to encourage reading during your travels too. Brochures and books are often exciting to read for the little munchkins, as are information signs in National Parks and the like.