Van Life Australia Monthly Budget Report – February 2021

Welcome to another Van Life Australia Budget post, where we open up completely about our expenses while travelling and living in our campervan full-time. This is our monthly breakdown for February, 2021.

We have now been travelling around Australia in our gorgeous campervan Marlee full-time for 9 months! Where does the time go?!

It’s interesting putting these posts together every month. We’ve always kept track of how much money we spend when we travel, and we can look back on just about any country and see just how much it was costing us to explore it.

But we’ve always been broke backpackers, hitchhiking our way through Mongolia or bumbling around on chicken buses in South America.

Even though we lived in a van in Canada from 2008-2011, and again in Australia throughout 2012, it was only last year when we hit the road with Marlee that we started tracking the cost of van life.

When we launched this site we thought it’d be fun to share those expenses with you, and that has led us to creating our monthly budget series so that we can help other people figure out just how much they’ll need to explore this country in a van.

And so here we are with our ninth edition!

You can read our last monthly budget posts here:

Want to know what we spent in February of 2021? Read on…

Don’t forget to follow us on social media, where we share the real story of what it’s like travelling and living in a van full-time!

Marlee in Stanley Tasmania
Marlee with the Stanley coast in the background.

Van Life Australia Budget – February 2021

What you’ll find below is just how much we spent living in a van full-time for the entire month of February.

First up, a few notes:

  • This budget does not include any of our business expenses or income.
  • Some things in here are not necessarily van life-related, but we decided to include everything anyway in the interest of being transparent.
  • We don’t splurge, but we definitely don’t try to live as cheaply as possible.
  • We are vegetarians, so we save money on meat, but we also eat healthily, so our food costs are higher than some people might spend living on the road.
  • This is the cost for two people.
  • The budget doesn’t include things like car registration and insurance, which we pre-pay yearly, unless it falls into the current month we’re documenting.


February was an interesting month for us, with a good chunk of it spent sitting by the beach working 14-hour days, and the rest of it spent adventuring, exploring and hiking. Just the way we like it!

After finishing the 8-day Overland Track we got a lift back to Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre to collect Marlee and headed east.

Our friend Ale (Alejandra, from Colombia) was parked up at the free camp in Swimcart Beach in the Bay of Fires and had saved us a spot. We met Ale all the way up in Magnetic Island in Queensland and couldn’t wait to see her again.

Waves Breaking on Swimcart Beach in Bay of Fires
This was the camp at Swimcart Beach. It was amazing.

The spot she had saved us was incredible! Right on the beach, a short walk from the toilets, and best of all it was FREE and had decent phone reception.

Ale took off after a few days and we decided to stay put for another week and smash out some work and enjoy a bit of personal down time too.

Our spot was incredible, and we could hear the waves lapping on the beach all day and night. It was by far the best campsite we stayed at in all of Tasmania, and it was pretty hard to leave.

Swimcart Beach is a very popular campground, so you need to get in quick to get a position.

READ MORE: Check out our detailed guide on how to free camp around Australia!

After Swimcart Beach we backtracked up to Derby to meet up with some other friends of ours, Jake and Claire from Road to Thriving, and to go mountain biking!

Jake and Jarryd went out riding on the famous Blue Derby Mountain Biking Track, which Jarryd loved.

The next day he took me out on some mellower runs, and it was nice to be back on the bikes again.

Once we left Derby we headed out to Blue Lake to check it out. It’s an old mine and the water is turquoise from the minerals in the dirt.

Next we head down the east coast towards Freycinet National Park, stopping off at some breweries and wineries to do some tastings along the way which was lovely.

We made it to Freycinet National Park and stayed at a free camp just outside of the town for a few days to do some hiking.

During our time we hiked up Mt Amos for sunrise, as well as doing the Hazard Beach and Wineglass Bay Circuit.

Both of these hikes were incredible, so make sure you set some time aside to tick them off when travelling the east coast.

Next we moved on to the town of Triabunna to head over to Maria Island. This was another highlight of our trip.

We stayed on the island for 2 nights and camped in our tent. This island amazed us with its history, the hikes with stunning views and lots of furry animals.

There are so many wombats here! Too many to count.

There are also Tasmanian devils but we never saw one, only heard them in the night.

What a way to end our February.

Total Kilometres Driven: 1093

What We Spent – February 2021

Let’s dive into the breakdown of everything.

Note – All prices are in AUD.

Food (Groceries)$634
Food (Dining Out)$90
Accommodation (Campgrounds)$40
Coffee (Take-Away and Aeropress)$54
Phone Bills$103
Van Maintenance/Items$0
Entertainment (Spotify, Netflix, etc)$12
Attractions / Activities$0
Total Cost$1707
February 2021 Van Life Australia Monthly Budget Pie Chart

So there you have it! For the month of February 2020, we spent $1707 on van life in Tasmania, which works out to be $853.50 per person.

Now let’s break down each part for you guys.

FUEL/Transport – $494

Our fuel costs were only $169 this month as we didn’t drive many kilometres.

The rest of our transport budget went on the Overland Track transport to get us back to Marlee at Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre ($205) and the ferry to Maria Island and back with our luggage and bikes ($120)


We love our food so this part of the budget is always pretty high. For February, it was our biggest expense.

We like to eat well and we don’t really hold back on groceries. If we want some nice cheese to have a treat in the evening, we get it. We rarely go out for meals so we put that money in this category.


We caught up with a few new friends and went out for lunch a couple of times. This is the main reason we eat out, when we’re catching up with people.


As Tasmania has so many free camp we didn’t actually spend any more on parking Marlee overnight. That’s one of the benefits of being an off-grid campervan 🙂

The are free camps in beautiful rain forests and free camps right on the beach. You can stay at these camps anywhere from 48 hours up to 28 days for free. How good is that?!

The two nights we paid for were for the pitching our tent at the main campground on Maria Island.

  • Paid Camps – 2
  • Free Camps – 26
Aerial View of Free Camp in Derby Tasmania
There are so many great free campsites in Tasmania

COFFEE – $54

Other than making coffee in the campervan with our Aeropress, we also like to go out to nice cafes for a drink sometimes.

ALCOHOL – $251

Alcohol was high this month and something every month we say we need to watch. With van life you get caught up in meeting new people and a way to socialise is to take a drink and sit around the fire and have a chat.

So on one hand we blew the budget on alcohol, but on the other hand we had lots of fun. So was it worth it? You tell us…


This is the same for us every month. Jarryd did transfer his phone plan to Telstra a couple of months back which was a little more expensive, but it is worth having 2 different telecommunication plans in Australia. When one doesn’t work, the other usually does.

For us working online, we are glad we have both to bounce off. I have 500gb for $48 and Jarryd has 180gb for $55.


We did a lot of laundry this month. After the Overland Track our clothes were absolutely filthy. And because the weather was bad we had to end up using dryers in addition to the washing machines.

We were in a rush when we found a laundromat (in the town of Ulverstone), and a wash was about $5 per load and you pay by the minute for the dryer. We could have found a cheaper place, but we wanted to get to Swimcart Beach.

We did find one campground later that had free laundry so we did another load before heading to Maria Island.


No health or medical spending this month. We topped up on the mainland so we don’t need anything for a while.


After those previous months of expensive maintenance bills, this month we spent nothing on our dear Marlee because she is perfect.


We only have Spotify now which is what we listen to daily. We do not mind paying for this. It is worth it.

Activities and ATTRACTIONS – $0

We did a few activities with the Overland Track and heading over to Maria Island, but these expenses technically fall under ‘Transport’, so that’s why it’s $0 this month.

Total Cost – $1707

Us, Marlee and the Blue Lake
This was Blue Lake just outside of Derby. Well worth visiting.


There you go everyone – our ninth monthly van life budget, and it’s the cheapest month yet!

Even though February is a short month, the real reason our costs were down was because we didn’t travel that much and instead did lots of free activities like hiking.

It was getting a bit crazy watching our spending going up and up last year, so it’s nice to finally be getting down to something more realistic and manageable, especially for long-term van life.

This is the tally of our monthly costs so far on the road. All amounts are in Australia Dollars:

  • 1st month total = $2369 (June)
  • 2nd month total = $2675 (July)
  • 3rd month total = $3460 (August)
  • 4th month total = $4338 (September)
  • 5th month total = $4819 (October)
  • 6th month total = $5447 (November)
  • 7th month total = $3518 (December)
  • 8th month total = $3204 (January)
  • 9th month total = $1707 (February)


If you found this helpful at all please leave a comment below, share it with anyone you think will find it useful, and make sure you follow our journey on Instagram and YouTube!

Happy travels!

Alesha and Jarryd

About the Author - Alesha and Jarryd - Van Life Theory

Hi! We're Alesha and Jarryd, the founders of Van Life Theory! We're currently travelling around Australia in our 2008 Mercedes Sprinter campervan and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow along on our Instagram and YouTube!

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