Van Life Australia: An Explorer’s Paradise

van life australia edited

It took 15 years before my childhood dream would come true of visiting Australia. This was a dream of kangaroos, white beaches and the largest monolith in the world. But little did I know that dream would include actually living in the Land Down Under, a handsome Australian man named Mac and a mustard yellow 1985 Volkswagen van. And that’s the start of my van life Australia.

A few months before my arrival into Melbourne, Mac and I were discussing living options, jobs and what we were going to do when I got there. It was a little stressful but very exciting as we talked about our future plans and all things that come with a move and a relationship. Having both recently left a very stressful and unfulfilling job, we very quickly came to the decision that we weren’t ready for the 9-5 gig that most adults follow. Our alternative? Van life.


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van life Australia sunset

Van Life Australia – Is it for everyone?

Now I’ll be the first to admit that van life isn’t for everyone. Living in a small van with limited clothing and other miscellaneous items can be, well, interesting and take some getting use to. However, that’s the beauty of it.

Van Life Australia – Unlimited Freedom

With all the weight of everyday items eliminated, there’s happiness in enjoying life’s simple treasures. Drinking a coffee on a chilly day in the forest. Watching the sunset on the beach. Listening to the wallabies hop around outside our van, looking for any remains from our dinner. It’s liberating. By not worrying about what I’m going to wear or whether I’m partaking in the latest trends, my mind has been freed up. Free to focus on growth, experiences and living life with my partner. I can look out the window and see, smell, even taste the ocean knowing that I’m 100 percent there.

van life Australia uluru


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Additionally, you aren’t tied down or restricted on where you can go and what you can do. Unless you’re a 2WD restricted by 4WD roads – that’s a different story, and one we came to know a few times. You want to go west and snorkel the Ningaloo Reef? Go west. Or maybe you’re more interested in walking the base at Uluru, then head toward the center. Other than occasional corrugated roads, there’s no stopping anyone who wants to travel around Australia.

Van Life Australia – National Parks

If there’s one place Australia isn’t lacking, that’s national parks. I’m use to stunning and diverse national parks in the United States, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I’ve got to say Australia has vastly exceeded all expectations.

Before I moved here, anytime I thought of Australia I thought of red dirt, Uluru and gorgeous beaches. But this country has so much more to offer. So far on my journey I’ve been to 31 national parks, but with over 500 in total, I’ve barely scratched the surface. 500!! Literally I’ve seen what would be the tip of the iceberg.

van life Australia hiking

See why I saw Australia is perfect for van life? Just hop in your van and drive to the next park. And if you’re anything like me, that’s the dream.

Another great thing about the national parks is that camping and caravan parks within the national park offer amenities such as hot showers, camp kitchens and laundry that you don’t get from free camping.


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Van Life Australia with wallaby

Out of the 31 parks I’ve been to, these are the 5 national parks Mac and I absolutely loved and highly recommend:

  1. Cape Le Grande National Park
  2. Karijini National Park
  3. Litchfield National Park
  4. West MacDonnell Ranges
  5. Uluru-Kata Juta National Park

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Van Life Australia – We owe it to Colonel Mustard

The only way this trip was possible was because of our trusty steed, Colonel Mustard. He took us 21,000 km in 3 months and despite a few mechanical issues along the way, he was the best introduction into this life style.

van life Australia van

Colonel gave us the opportunity to travel and see the things we wanted to see without having to save up for years. The future is unpredictable and this was our chance. We wanted to experience everything that big-budget-holiday goers get to experience while on a financial plan more suited to us. And the answer to that was Colonel. The answer was van life.

About the Traveler

Chelsea is a 24-year-old Texas native currently living in Melbourne, Australia with her partner. After graduating from Texas State University with a double major in journalism and sociology, she worked as an event coordinator in Austin, Texas. It is there where she met her partner and fellow adventurer, Mac. Chelsea has traveled across three continents, and with her recent move to Australia, is changing that number to four. She and her partner are currently exploring the land down under in a 1985 Volkswagen van as they were both keen to experience van life.

You can follow Chelsea’s travels by following her on Instagram at @chelseaseifert

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