When backpackers come to Australia for a gap year, taking a road trip is often right up there with walking across the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, meeting a kangaroo, and diving the Great Barrier Reef. What with the country's wide open roads and long distances between major cities, renting a vehicle is a great idea.
Of course, you'll still need to decide exactly what kind of vehicle would be best, and anyone looking to save money on accommodation will probably put a campervan at the top of their list. This might sound like the obvious choice, but here are just four reasons why stations wagons often make a better one.
1. Stronger Versatility
A station wagon lets you sleep inside the vehicle since their cargo areas are extremely long and spacious. That's part of what makes them such classics for touring Australia. Sure, you could also sleep inside a campervan, but the longer cargo area of the station wagon means that you can cram in more stuff. You'll also be able to take advantage of different seating configurations.
2. Improved Handling
Station wagons sit much lower to the ground than most campervans, so you'll be able to benefit from driving with a lower centre of gravity. That might not sound like something that is particularly important, but you'll find that a station wagon will handle significantly better than a ponderous camper. This doesn't just make for a more enjoyable drive – it could even help prevent an accident.
Campervans can be found with four- or all-wheel drive (AWD), but they'll always be a little tricky to take down bumpy, unpaved roads, and there are plenty of those in Australia. A station wagon will be much easier to drive across such terrain, and many of them will come with an AWD system. Additionally, you won't need to worry about the added height of a campervan.
One of the major disadvantages that comes with driving a campervan is their poor efficiency scores. A station wagon is never going to rival a subcompact when it comes to mileage, but you're going to make many more kilometres per litre than you would with a campervan, which are generally much heavier. Considering the fact that you're likely to be taking very long journeys, poor efficiency ratings can really start to eat into your budget.
Just like campervans, station wagons allow you the flexibility to sleep inside the vehicle; however, they're also more efficient and more versatile. If you're going to be taking an Australian road trip, you're probably best off with a station wagon. Check out cars for rent in your area to pick one out.