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How much does it cost to drive around Australia?

Download our 'Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet' to help you calculate the cost of your trip around Australia

If you’re thinking about doing The Big Lap then one of the first questions you’ll probably have is “How much money will we need?”.

People who have done the trip will have their own ideas – ‘$1000 a week’ or ‘$1.00 per kilometre’ are common responses.

But it’s a difficult one to answer because everyone has their own ideas about how they want to travel.

Some want to bush camp all the way and others prefer cosy caravan parks. For some it’s about trying as many restaurants as possible while for others it’s about keeping it local, simple and affordable.

A young couple bush camping in their Troopy will spend a fraction of the amount that a family of 5 towing a big van and staying in Big 4 caravan parks all the way will.

The Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet

There are a lot of variables that will ultimately determine how much money you’ll need, so in order to cater to everyone I’ve created an Excel Spreadsheet which I’ve called my ‘Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet’ that will take all of the variables that are relevant to you and the way you see your trip unfolding then show you how much money you’ll need.

For example, these are some of the variables you can adjust:

  • How long you plan to travel for
  • How many nights you expect to stay in caravan parks, hotels, national parks, free camps
  • What mileage your vehicle gets
  • The cost per litre of fuel
  • How much cash you have to start with
  • Any other income (rent, government benefits, interest etc.)
  • Any other expenses (mortgage, insurance, health cover etc.)

. . . . and numerous others.

Download our FREE Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet

Enter your details and we’ll send you a link to download the Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet and our other free resources plus subscribe you to our Newsletter.

The spreadsheet will open in any version of Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Apple Numbers or virtually any other spreadsheet program. Read our Privacy Policy for more information about how we handle your information.

Watch this quick video where I show you how The Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet works

The Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet is simple to use but incredibly useful when trying to get a sense of the sort of $$$ it’s going to take for you to make your dream trip a reality.

Best of all, you can keep ‘massaging’ the numbers until they work!

The Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet has been downloaded [mbr_contact_count tag_id=’4601′] times since I first created it and helped thousands of road trippers plan their trips and it will help you too.

Here is some recent feedback:

Hi Steve

That is a fantastic spreadsheet.
Thanks Steve for being so generous and providing this for free… you don’t see much ‘free’ these days.
We are about to leave on a 4 month trip to do the Kimberley’s, Canning Stock Route and a lot of other stuff.
Once again, thank you


Travelling around Australia need not be an expensive exercise and in fact it can be far cheaper than living at home, except for the lack of a steady income. That said, you probably want to work to a budget to stretch the funds as far as possible and make sure you maximise what may well be the trip of your lifetime.

I’m by no means a financial expert nor a financial advisor so please use this spreadsheet as a simple guide and not an absolute precision tool.

The spreadsheet is in Excel .xls format which will open on Mac or Windows versions of Excel and it will also open in most other spreadsheet programs like Google Sheets and Apple Numbers.

Good luck with your trip planning.

Steve Baile

Download our FREE Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet

Enter your details and we’ll send you a link to download the Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet and our other free resources plus subscribe you to our Newsletter.

The spreadsheet will open in any version of Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Apple Numbers or virtually any other spreadsheet program. Read our Privacy Policy for more information about how we handle your information.

Affiliate Links: Some of the links on our site are affiliate links which means that if you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission. This helps us to run the site and keep the wheels turning and adds no cost to your purchase. We would never recommend a product or service that we don't use ourselves or trust.


Steve Baile
Steve Baile
Iโ€™m the founder of Expedition Australia, a writer, filmmaker & adventure travel junkie. Passionate about my family, health and fitness, hiking, 4WD touring, adventure motorbikes, camping and exploring as much of the planet as I can.


  1. I have travelled during 2 winters pulling a 20′ van and have now purchased a motorhome on diesel. Would love to see your DVD’s/videos when released and will work out a budget for another trip next week year to complete the lap.

  2. Hi Steve,

    We are starting to plan our trip around australia .We are going in 5 years time i know thats a while off but we need to save .We live in Bibbenluke Nsw .Do you have a rough estimate on how much it costs all up for this adventure.Would love to hear from you.Michelle and Steve

    • Hi Guys,
      Don’t stress about it being 5 years away – took us 7 years to get to the start line. The best bet is to use the spreadsheet which you can get from this page. It’s pretty simple and straightforward and you can put in all of the variables that relate to your trip. For example, how many months you expect to travel for, how much a week you spend on food, what sort of mileage your car gets, how many nights a month you expect to free camp VRS pay for a caravan park or National park etc. You can then put in the amount of money you’ll have in the bank at the start and how much you expect to earn along the way and see if you’ll have enough or need more.

  3. Hi We are starting to think about what we would like to do once we sell our business (not happening yet, but will eventually) and this spreadsheet is just perfect as I have been worrying about how much it will all cost. Would also love tips on how do you manage your physical mail when you’re away! Thanks!

    • Hi Jane, we changed our official address to Jen’s dads place and had our mail sent there. He’d open anything that looked important. Every month or so her Dad would bundle everything up into an Express Post bag and mail it to us c/- a post office in a town we were heading to. There are services that do this for you and they’ll scan and email it all to you.

  4. We are doing this very differently to anyone else that i have seen on the web. I work as a building designer and as most of my work comes via email, we have decided to travel around Australia in a Van with an office on board,with theidea being that i will work from Monday to Friday and then do the tourist thing on the weekend or during the week depending on how much work i have. Have ordered the van which should be ready by end of November and then we are on the road! Can’t wait!

  5. Hi Steve,

    Rob and I are planning a trip round Australia starting next March. We plan to fly to Sydney and buy a camper van. Any tips on who we could speak to for advise on where to buy.
    SO excited. Taking our gap year in our 50’s!
    Cheers, Nikki

    • Hi Nikki, glad to hear your taking the year off. Why not take 2 or 3? Sorry I can’t help you with any contacts for campers in Sydney. You’ll just have to Google it ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi, looking forward to doing the lap. I took my wife and 3 kids, to Cape York from Newcastle NSW this year for 7wks. Up along the coast and back through the outback. Approx 9500kms and $3400 in fuel (towed a camper trailer). We drove a GU patrol petrol/gas. Highest gas price was Cooktown at $1.34/L and petrol was at Seisa at $2.36/L. Actually found it cost us approx the same tralleing as it would staying home. Thank God for long service leave.

  7. Hi Steve,
    Thinking about taking an extended trip next year and would love some help with a spreadsheet, would appreciate having a look at your Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet if possible, money will be tight so every bit of help would be greatly appreciated
    Cheers Jean
    ps, haven’t had a chance to have a good look at your website yet, but it looks really interesting what I have seen of it.

    • Hi Jean, click on the ad in the right sidebar an it will take you to the download page for my Big Lap spreadsheet.

  8. I live in envy of every one that is and has traveled oz and it is on my bucket list,
    But in the mean time i am loving doing smaller trips and reading your site for all of my future planing.

    • Nice work Bryce, keep focussed on that bucket list and it will happen. Took us 7 years to get to the start line!

  9. Hi we are thinking of traveling working round Australia with our 2year old but are unsure on things and where to start, costs and if there is employment out there to b able to do it. we are both basically jack of all trades… Wondering if you coild give us a start point cheers

    • It’s a big question, but start with my Budget Spreadsheet which you can get from this page to give you an ongoing budget for how much it will cost while your travelling. This will then help you to work out how much you’ll need to earn along the way to cover your costs. You can fine tune it. MAny caravan parks, especially in remoter areas welcome casual labour in exchange for a free campsite as they need work done but don’t want to employ people full time. Jobs like admin, grounds keeping, bar work etc. You could also phone the vistors centres in areas you’re thinking about heading to and they should be able to at least give you some ideas of who to talk to re: seasonal work, eg. fruit picking.

  10. For far too long now, we have been thinking about our own oz adventure. this will most definately ease our past concerns on exactly how to effectively budget everything, which until today has been our only anchor. Now just need to decide on what is good to tow. Our plan is to start with a few short stints to work out what is and what is not a necessity to take with us. Thank you so much for making your big lap spreadsheet available.

  11. hi there
    i want to start a road trip around australia however id like to work along the way to support myself. how should i go about it and can you give me any tips?

  12. It’s a great little spreadsheet Steve. Thanks for sharing, we are at the planning stage and something like this is invaluable. Cheers

  13. hi steve, im planning a trip around aus in a bus, no end date set. id love to check out your budget, for some reason its not working for me though. its not showing up in my emails. any help at all would be great.
    cheers mate ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Hey Steve, I am planing a trip around Oz for my school work I was wondering if you could give me a rough idea on fuel is and to stay in camping grounds.


    • Hi Zac, download my budget spreadsheet which will help answer these questions. Generally fuel will be up to 60 cents per litre higher initial remote areas and probably average 30 cpl more than city prices for your whole trip. There are a lot of free and cheap campgrounds and roadside stops – national parks are your best bet for consistently low camping prices with some facilities.

  15. Hi Steve
    My wife, kids and I are embarking on the big lap on Australia Day 2015 for a two year period and was wondering if you could advise me on our choice with our vehicle. We currently have a Subaru Liberty 2.5 which will be towing a camper trailer. The weight balance is alright as the trailer will be around 800kg and the towing capacity of the car is 1200kg braked. My question is will the car be suitable to get to all the good places that are available around Australia? I understand that it will not be suitable for the real rough stuff, but I don’t want to shell out for a 4wd if I can avoid it. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks, and love your blog! Simon

  16. Steve
    I meant to add in my earlier question that the Subaru 2.5 Liberty is an AWD and is a 2002 model. Thanks. Simon

  17. […] simply sell it upon your return for a slightly lower price than what you bought it at. According to Expedition Australia, the average cost of staying in a National Park per night is $12 and the average cost of a caravan […]

  18. You bewdy Steve…
    As I have been searching on various website til today of your website is far out & more clearer with appreciate thanks.
    So our dream can meet on this with soon future as has still planning on this for after few years with working out & searching out with more visaul maps of course with travel budget.

  19. Hi Steve,
    i was thinking of travelling around our great land with my daughter, mother daughter style, and was wondering what are some tips you can give us?
    we are tossing up between a campervan to camp along the way, or car (4×4?) and stay in motels/campsites along the way … i think i am going to have to do a lot of research between now and then ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. […] cost too much. This page will email you an excel spreadsheet which lets you calculate costs. How much does it cost to drive around Australia? | Expedition Australia I did a few trips as a kid with my folks and loved it. Never more than a few months at a time […]

  21. We just got back from 6mths, I wish we had that this time last year when we left, best tip – Get wiki camps app and Camps 7/8 book.

  22. We did 100 days up north last year- broome, cape levique, gibb river rd, Darwin, Kakadu, Litchfield
    Total of 20,000 Kms from melbourne
    Costs were approx
    $6’000 fuel ( diesel, landcruiser 200 series towing 3.5 ton van)
    $5’000 caravan parks, camp spots
    $4,000 food
    $6,000 tours and sight seeing which included 5 day cruise from broome
    Best holiday ever, well worth it

  23. Traveling by camper van is definitely a great way to save money on travel expenses in Australia, especially for long-term travel. Another great way to save money on accommodation is house-sitting. While I havenโ€™t had any personal experience, so far, I am really keen to try it out on my next road trip around Australia. Have fun..

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