Van Life Australia Monthly Budget Report – January 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 January, 2021.

Woohoo, it’s a new year and a new month of doing van life in Australia! And that means we have another monthly budget report for you, where we share exactly how much we have spent on the road living out of our campervan full-time.

If you’ve been wondering, “How much does it cost to do #vanlife in Australia?”, you’ve come to the right place.

Here at Van Life Theory we’re all about helping you get out there and enjoy the freedom that comes with this incredible lifestyle, and one way can help is by sharing our inner-most secrets, such as how much we spend on laundry, so you can plan for your own adventures.

This has led us to creating our Van Life Australia budget series, and we’re excited to bring you our eighth edition from full-time van living.

You can read our last monthly budget posts here:

Want to know what we spent in January 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
Marlee with the Stanley coast in the background.

Van Life Australia Budget – January 2021

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

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.
Walking Down the Nut in Stanley
Jarryd up the top of the Nut in Stanley


Happy New Year everyone. Now that 2020 is finally behind us, we are ready and excited to see what 2021 brings our way.

At the end of 2020 we decided to take Marlee over to Tasmania. This was the last state in Australia we had not been, and we had heard so many amazing things about it.

So after we left Queensland we started driving south and booked a ticket on the Spirit of Tasmania from Port Melbourne to Devonport.

At the beginning of January though we had some delays as the borders closed between New South Wales and Victoria.

To get to the Spirit of Tasmania ferry we need to drive through Victoria. This was obviously a bit of dilemma, but all we could do was wait on the border.

We waited for a week and after chatting to officials every day with different answers being given to us, we were eventually granted a transit pass.

This was on the condition that when we cross the border into Victoria we drive straight to the ferry port with no stopping along the way.

We changed our ferry tickets to be the next night crossing, entered Victoria early, drove straight to the port and waited until we could board. Once we parked Marlee on the ferry we headed up to the general seating area, grabbed our spots and settled in for the night.

It was about 9.5 hours to get to Devonport and we woke up to the most spectacular sunrise. Welcome to Tasmania!

This first month in Tassie was massive, and we won’t go into everything we did there during January because that would be an entirely new blog post in itself.

But it’s safe to say that Tasmania quickly became our favourite place in Australia for van life, especially with all the free camps you can find.

We camped on the beach at a town called Penguin (and yes, fairy penguins came right up to Marlee), photographed the Bridestowe Lavender Farm and visited a bunch of awesome waterfalls.

Marlee Surrounded by Lavender
Marlee with all the lavender

We then headed to the wet and lush West Coast, a region not as many visitors get to, and absolutely loved it (despite the weather).

This side of Tasmania is raw and rugged, and we visited a lot of beautiful old-growth forests, quaint fishing villages and wild beaches.

Then it was back to the north coast and onto the stunning Tarkine region, home to the some of Australia’s oldest temperate rainforests and coastal heathland, with strong links to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

Sadly the Tasmanian government is clearing most of this amazing rainforest for logging, because they are a bunch idiots and only care about money. So if you’re in Tasmania make sure you visit this stunning region before there is nothing left.

Alesha in the Trowutta Arch in Tarkine Area
This is one of the treasures you will find on the Tarkine Drive

Our last stop on the east coast was Stanley before heading to Cradle Mountain National Park.

We loved exploring this historical fishing village. It was such a picturesque town, and not to be missed if you are visiting Tasmania.

Finally it was time to end January with a real adventure!

We booked ourselves on the legendary Overland Track that goes from Cradle Mountain National Park to Lake St Clair, and gave ourselves 8 days to hike 113km through the Tasmanian alpine.

We both were so excited for this hiking adventure. We left Marlee at the Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre and took off with all of our gear and food on our backs.

This hike was both amazing and very challenging, especially for me (Alesha). We hiked up mountains of 1600m to get amazing 360 degree views of the area.

The official trail is 65km, but with all the side trips we fit in we clocked 113km.

If you want to read more about it, you can check out our guide on hiking the Overland Track over on our other blog, NOMADasaurus.

The Overland Track ended our month of January and we are looking forward to exploring the east coast of Tasmania next month.

Total Kilometres Driven: 2824km

Cradle Mountain National Park Views
Hiking the Overland Track in the Cradle Mountain National Park

WHAT WE SPENT – January 2021

Let’s dive into the breakdown of everything.

Note – All prices are in AUD.

Fuel / Transport$782
Food (Groceries)$916
Food (Dining Out)$44
Accommodation (Campgrounds)$90
Coffee (Take-Away and Aeropress)$91
Phone Bills$103
Van Maintenance/Items$221
Entertainment (Spotify, Netflix, etc)$12
Attractions / Activities$576
Total Cost$3204
Van Life Australia Budget January 2021 Pie Chart

So there you have it! For the month of January 2021, we spent $3204 on van life in Australia, or $1602 each.

This month was over budget for us, but that’s mainly due to how many kilometres we drove and all the fun activities we did (plus getting ready for the Overland Track).

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


The month we spent $552 on fuel, and $230 on changing our ferry ticket for the Spirt of Tasmania from a day crossing to a night crossing due to border closures.

Fuel in Tassie is expensive and we drove a lot of kilometres, especially considering how small the island is.


We spent a hell of lot on groceries this month. The groceries are more expensive in Tasmania than the mainland and we definitely noticed it.

We always cook our own meals and we like to enjoy things like nice cheese and snacks in the afternoons.

In addition to this we also bought all of our food for the Overland Track, which was about $200 worth.


We dined out once this month. We do try and go on date night to balance our relationship.


We only stayed at three paid campgrounds this month. These three were in Jindabyne in NSW. Tasmania is amazing for free camps and we didn’t pay for any nights there in January.

  • Paid Camps – 3
  • Free Camps – 27
Penguin Tasmania
This was the view from our camp just outside of the town Penguin.

COFFEE – $91

We found a great coffee roaster place in Burnie and bought a lot of beans off them.

We took 500g of grounded beans for the Overland Track and 1kg of whole beans for afterwards.

ALCOHOL – $169

We caught up with a few van lifer friends that we had been following and connecting with on Instagram. It was great to finally meet them.


Our phone bill is the same price every month. We are so glad we swapped to Telstra last month. The Optus and Telstra service was in and out all over Tassie.

Sometimes the Optus service was better and sometimes the Telstra service was better.


We did a few loads of laundry this month. The machines were more expensive at $5 a load. We found a free washing machine at one of the free camps though which was awesome.


I stocked up on sunscreen, bug spray, lotion and face creams for Tasmania. When we find a Chemist Warehouse we tend to do this.


We stopped by Bunnings and got some things for the van. We fixed a few minor things in Marlee that we have been putting off for a few months now. I got myself a salt lamp for the van too. Gotta love the vibe!


We pay for Spotify every month and use it daily. We love it and are glad we pay for it.


This was for the Overland Track. We paid $200 per person. We bought an Overland Track map, hired a PLB and paid for a year national park pass. This hike was on our hiking bucket list and were stoked that 2 positions come available for us. It was not a cheap hike that’s for sure.

Total Cost – $3204

Liffey Falls Tasmania
There are so many beautiful waterfalls in Tasmania. This is Liffey Falls


There you go everyone – our eighth monthly van life budget.

After having a few high months, it is good to get the budget back down again. We did spend a lot on the Overland Track this month but it was worth it. It was an amazing hike.

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 = $4817 (October)
  • 6th month total = $6277 (November)
  • 7th month total = $3518 (December)
  • 8th month total = $3204 (January)


And here’s our February 2021 budget report!

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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