Can a fly-drive campervan hire adventure change your life? Practical Motorhome reader Paul Welding thinks so – read on and prepare to be inspired!

About two years ago, my daughter Fiona announced she was taking a career break (three years extendable to five) and travelling the world. Her plan was to start in Australia, where she had been before.

After a bit of sightseeing in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland she worked at various jobs, some involving travel, and she made sure that she did enough days’ farm work to qualify for a second year working visa.

I decided to visit, since it looked like Fiona would not be coming back home any time soon (I thought).

I planned to meet up with her in Sydney for a while before venturing out touring on my own, and then I would see Fiona again before I flew home. While speaking to her on the phone I was pitching my idea when she said: “It depends on what you want to see and do but we could hire a camper for a while if you like”.

Campervan hire hadn't occurred to me, but her excellent idea took hold and the next time we spoke, I said: “If I hired a camper do you think we could get from Sydney to Perth in say, three weeks?” She paused and then said: “Yes that’s easily possible, and we could also take in a lot of sights along the way.”

I hired a Nissan El Grand. Fiona slept in the roof, which was accessed by a ladder pitched over the side access door. We loved it. The El Grand has a powerful engine and sits sturdily on the road. The Australian climate is definitely suited to the outdoor lifestyle that a van conversion lends itself to. I felt cold just once (in Albany in late March) on the continent’s southwest tip.

By the time I took the El Grand into the depot in Perth on the west coast we had driven more than 7000 kilometres around the south coast in three weeks. Fiona flew back home to England (would you believe?), and I flew to Cairns on the east coast. I was hooked on the campervan life and hired a Toyota Hiace for another three weeks, touring the east coast and the Great Barrier Reef.

It changed my life. Not only do I view motorhome life as possible, it is now highly probable. Just think of all those places to explore and experience. I can’t wait to take delivery of my El Grand/Hobby Van/Alphard. Who knows which one I will pick for the next chapters of my life and whereabouts on the globe that I will be this time next year? And Practical Motorhome even has a handy guide to motorhome hire to help you out!

Share with friends

Follow us on

Most recent motorhome reviews

Nomad Ranger


The Practical Motorhome Nomad Ranger VW campervan review – 1 - The Kombi-based Nomad Ranger costs from £44,135 OTR – the campervan pictured is £49,985 (© Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Bailey Autograph 75-2 review – 1 - Priced from £50,995 OTR, the Peugeot Boxer/Al-Ko-based Bailey Autograph 75-2 has a 3500kg MTPLM (© Phil Russell/Practical Motorhome)

Autohaus Ashton


The Practical Motorhome Autohaus Ashton review – 1 - This T6 VW campervan costs from £37,950 with lots of available options – this model is £46,995 as tested (© Practical Motorhome)

Rapido 665F


The Practical Motorhome Rapido 665F review 1 - Read our Rapido 665F review – it costs £51,000 OTR, or £55,169 as tested (© Niall Hampton/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Rimor Katamarano 95 P Plus review – 1 - You get five berths and five travel seats yet still a 3500kg MTPLM, all for under £40,000 – read our review! (© Niall Hampton/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Hillside Leisure Birchover review – 1 - Hillside's Birchover costs from £41,995 for the long-wheelbase camper and from £39,995 for the short-wheelbase version – with extras, the featured model costs £46,749 (© Practical Motorhome)