Tasmania – Breaking the Budget

Tasmania is the best place to find your feet in the caravan, roll with the punches and just live. The budget is not what its about, its the attractions and experiences.

Our second month in Tasmania can be labelled the spending month! We have been spending left, right and centre. When we left on this adventure we agreed that we are not living to a struct budget, we are just LIVING! We are going to enjoy ourselves, and rein in the purse strings when we need to. That being said this month we have spent way more than anticipated on many things. But you know what, we have had the most amazing time. Tassie is the best place to find your feet in the caravan, roll with the punches and just live.

Polarsteps App – This is what month 2 looks like in our tracking app. We love this app for tracking exactly where we go, and also to give our families access to and piece of mind we are OK. You can also order a printed book at the end of your trip.

Campsites

During the month of April we have stayed at 7 different campsites, mostly being a mix of low cost and caravan parks. We really enjoyed all our campsites for many different reasons and here they are;

  • Scottsdale – Free Camp – water and toilets, flat sites close to town and beautiful park with platypus in the waterways.
  • Old Mac’s Farm – Launcestion – We really enjoyed this location for its convenience to Launceston for shopping (the bank account didn’t though), for the beautiful surrounds, the animals for the kids to feed and room for the kids to explore.
  • Longford Caravan Park – Although a little more expensive per night the park is beautiful, has an awesome skatepark next door and amazing park down the road.
  • South Arm RSL – Low cost at only $10 per night for access to lovely toilets and showers during opening hours. Lovely locals and they do a great meal. Mostly though we loved how close it was to some awesome fishing spots where Dean got to try out his new spearfishing gear.
  • Arthur Lake, Pumphouse campground – Low cost, amazing inland fishing spot, and the best smelling pit toilets you will ever visit thanks to the amazing caretakers.
  • Gowrie Park Wilderness Village – We stayed here over the easter weekend with friends and it was the perfect place to explore the area. Mount Rowland, Devils Gullet, Tazmazia, Sheffield town of murals, and Cradle Mountain – so much to do that we ended up expending our stay.
  • Strahan Golf Club – Although we had really average weather on the west coast we made the most of it. The campsite at the Golf club is quite basic with access to water and basic gravel sites but you cant expect much for for $40 for the week. So so cheap.

Attractions

We have ticked off some really big ticket items this month. We have feel like we have really explored all the area’s we visited thoroughly. But here are the epic attractions that we think are must sees;

Jacobs Ladder – Ben Lomond National Park – One hour from Launceston, and best visited in the warmer months, unless you want to ski!
Supercars Tyrepower Supersprint – Symmons Plains Raceway – super affordable for families compared with many other Supercars races, especially with the Park and View upgrade.
Cateract Gorge – Launceston – Chairlift is amazing fun, kids loved the park, and the parents enjoyed the quiet coffee taking in the surrounds.
Devil’s Gullet – Super easy walk for an epic reward. No photo could convey how high these cliffs are! We visiting this one from Gowrie Park.
Trial Harbour – The wild west coast, We traveled here from Strahan.

Montezuma Falls – Oh what an adventure this one was. It is the highest waterfall in Tasmania and we were getting there. Check out our Facebook post to find out how – click here

As you can see we have really mixed it up with the costs of our attractions. We are really picky on what we spend our travelling dollars on and we are not big on touristy attractions. Although the World Heritage Cruise cost us a couple of hundred dollars we felt it was well worth the money, especially with the discount we got through NRMA and the absolutely amazing lunch provided as part of the cruise.

The day out getting to Montezuma Falls was also one of our favorites, showing the determination of our family to get there in the end. But the outing we are most proud of this month is getting to Marions Lookout in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair Nation Park. For those who have walked it know it is quite a hike, and the kids didn’t whinge a bit . . . well maybe only a little bit! But we made it as a family, and the kids proudly called Grandma from the summit.

Budget

We have made some big purchases this month and which has lead to an increase in our overall weekly spend. We have also had to do some unscheduled maintenance on the caravan.

This month we have traveled 2567km resulting in 4 fuel ups to keep us moving. We have been able to save on fuel by shopping around using the FuelMap app and have paid between 155.9 and 157.9 c/L. Compared with last month we have driven about 1000km more, leading into a significant increase in fuel costs. We have also paid for accomodation more often with Easter and school holidays.

We have put new tyres on all 6 rims for the car costing around $1600. This was to ensure that the correct rated tyres were on the car for its specifications. We also set ourselves up for snorkeling and spearfishing resulting in a small purchase coming to $1125. Hopefully this will pay us back a little with fish in the freezer!

For the caravan we have had to replace the thermostat in the fridge, the pressure release valve on the hot water system and a new battery charger pushing up maintenance costs. But these costs will arise when we have a 15 year old caravan.

Budget Breakdown

MonthPer week
Accommodation$468.00$105.67
Food$1072.12$242.09
Fuel$912.00$205.93
Alcohol$388.85$87.80
Eating Out$424.90$95.94
Experiences$265.00$59.83
Other (phone, internet, other bills and spending$5830.47$1316.55
Total$9361.34$2184.31*
*1548.47 per week taking out the big purchases

In conclusion, with our everyday costs we have saved dollars on food shops and only spent slightly more in eating out. Alcohol is slightly up reflecting the “settling in period” for caravan life and distance schooling. To be honest I don’t think we had a dry day in April. Oooops! But overall we are happy with the fact that our everyday costs on the road are actually comparable to living at home.

If you have any questions for us please put them below. We want to encourage other families to do what we are doing, and experience this amazing country.

North East Tasmania – Budget, Campsites and Attractions

Spirit of Tasmania I – Day crossing

We have now been on the road for about 6 weeks and there have been some lessons learnt, amazing experiences and most of all some awesome memories made.

So far we have traveled at a lazy pace exploring the North East of Tasmania. We have stayed at 9 different free or low cost camps since hitting Tassie shores. This state is the king of free camping in Australia, and we are taking advantage of this fact. There are over 200 free camps throughout the state, with over 150 of them accepting your four-legged pals! This month we have stayed 20 nights at free camps, and another 10 at low cost/donation camps costing us a total of $36. Our budget for camping comes in at a huge $71 or $2.20 a day. We set out on this trip with all the facilities in our Bushtracker Caravan to free camp as much as possible, allowing us to travel for longer periods of time on the money we have saved. 

Over 200 free camps throughout the state, with over 150 of them accepting your four-legged friend

Favorite Campsite

Our favorite campsite this month would have to be Swimcart Beach in the Bay of Fires. We were able to fluke a beachfront spot and during our time there enjoyed stunning days in front of the turquoise waters, but we also endured the windy afternoons and one freezing cold day (where is snowed in other locations in Tasmania).

The kids loved this site having the beach at their disposal each and every day. There were so many sand castle, fortresses and tunnels built in this time they should have achieved their engineering certificates. This location allowed us to explore the Bay of Fires region including Binalong Bay and St Helens, the Blue Tier Giant, Pyengana Dairy and St Columbia Falls.

Other than the wind there were a couple of other downsides including the smelly pit toilet, the popularity (it was packed most days) and the black feet! We will leave this one for you to experience yourself. The negatives were well outweighed by the amazingness of this place. It needs to be on your Tasmanian Itinerary.

Favorite Attraction

This month we have paid out $311 in attractions (this includes the tickets to attend the Simmon’s Plains Supercars Race in the first week April). Of the experiences that we have attended the kids most enjoyed Seahorse World at Beauty Point. The learning from this attraction well outweighed its cost. The kids learnt about many different Australian and international breeds of seahorse, which ones are endangered, how they breed them, how they are shipped all over the world as pets, and  the most exciting part was being able to hold a seahorse at the end of the tour. This is a well worthwhile learning experience.

“The learning from this attraction well outweighed its cost”

Tasmania is also abundant with wildlife. We have encountered countless wallaby’s and bird species. Most notably we have been excited to encounter 2 echidnas, a wombat, 2 stingrays, a Tassie devil and a platypus. The shy platypus was the most excited due to how rare they are in the wild.

Feeling privileged – Scottsdale, Tasmania

We are on the hunt for big things on our travels too, and this month we have encountered 2 big things, one natural and one man made. We hiked into see the largest living tree by girth in Australia. It measures a 19.4 meters around and was big enough for ours and the Barravanning Oz families to be photographed in the hollow of its trunk. It soars to over 60 metres tall and is estimated to be over 150 years old. Defiantly worth the walk through the rainforest to visit this epic site.  The man-made big thing we found this month is the Big Thumbs Up in Scottsdale. Carved from a tree that was knocked down into the driveway of Joshie Janoschka’s, a local Scottsdale cabinet maker. Joshie could have just cut the tree up into firewood, but his quirky sense of humour prevailed the big thumb was gift to the town.

We are enrolled in distance education through NEPSODE (See our reason why here). For us this way of schooling is working well for us. We are in the roll of it and it isn’t impacting on our exploring. The kids are doing on average about 2 hours work 5 days a week, plus a half hour online lesson each a week. Hit us up if you have any questions. We are happy to answer them.

This Month’s Learnings

So what have we learnt from our travelling experiences this month. Many many things, but here are the key ones;

  • Food in Tasmania is a little more expensive with only small IGA supermarkets available in most towns. Coles and Woolworth are only in major cities and towns.
  • The landscape in Tasmania is hilly with many dirt roads and we have found it best to camp somewhere central and explore out like spiders legs, saving yourself money in fuel as your not towing the van so often.
  • The above also means less pack-ups and set ups.
  • If you put yourself out there you will meet amazing people, and maybe make new friends. The kids met many new friends to play with in our travels. Whether it was a quick play at a park or at the campground. We also met up with 2 other travelling families (Barravanning Oz and Trekking Downunder) purely by connecting with them via social media. We also met Michelle and Gary at one of our campsites, and have kept in contact.
  • Learn what everyone’s triggers are and how best to calm them down. Is it music, a walk or going fishing. No matter what it is everyone needs to recognise when each other needs space.
  • Girls, your skin will get really really dry from being outside all the time. Prepare for this before you go!
  • You will initially stress about water fill ups and dump points, but it will become part of normal life!
  • Make sure you replace your spare gas bottle as soon as it runs out, because your 2nd gas bottle will run out at the most inconvenient moment – like at 8pm on a Sunday night when you want a shower after a day of fishing!

Budget

Here is a quick overview of our budget. Please remember that all families travel differently and this is just OUR budget for the month of March. In March we have only travelled 1,688 km.

  Month Per week
Accommodation $71 $16
Food $1439 $325
Fuel $503 $114
Alcohol (liquid sanity) $342 $77
Eating Out $381 $86
Experiences $311 $70
Other
(phone, internet, on road bills,
at home costs, maintenance, medical, permits)
$1870 $422
Total $4917 $1110

We are pretty happy with our budget. We were hoping we were going to be living on between $1000 and $1200 per week. But for us we aren’t going to limit our experiences not only because of money. This is our life for the next 3 years, and we are going to enjoy it!

Got any questions about our travels or our other must sees . . Comment below and we will get back to you.