How much does it really cost to travel The Savannah Way from Cairns to Broome?
I have written this blog because when I was planning our trip I searched the web in vain for someone to tell me exactly how much it costs out there on the road to help me with my savings plan. Everyone was very elusive so here I am very upfront with our dollar cost.
It has taken us 8 weeks to do the complete Savannah Way Route from Cairns to Broome, including a detour up to the top of the Northern Territory and Cape Leveque, north of Broome.
It’s an extraordinary road journey right across the top of Australia with such diverse, magnificent scenery and the weather has been warm enough to swim everywhere. That’s the joy of being in the North while the Southern States are freezing cold.
We took our time across the route but swayed more toward the natural scenic attractions that we could access ourselves by 4WD. We didn’t do any tours or go to attractions aimed at reaping in the tourist dollars so you won’t see those expenses here (like Horizontal Falls which would have cost us $1800 for a day tour).
We have discovered with the right set up, travelling around Australia is completely do-able on a limited budget. You can go for days at a time without spending a brass razoo in the most idyllic locations.
So here are our financial stats for The Savannah Way – Cairns to Broome over 8 weeks.
TOTAL AMOUNT SPENT $6769.97
Over 8 weeks this equates to an average of $850 per week and covers absolutely everything, including almost $1000 on car maintenance and repairs.
The exact breakdown is as follows…………
- FUEL: $1643.03
We have travelled 7793 kilometres and most of that on rough dirt roads. The most expensive fuel was at Drysdale Station and Mt Barnett Roadhouse on the Gibb River Road at $2.05 per litre and the cheapest $1.26 in Darwin.
- ACCOMMODATION: $ 1084.40
Broken down into the following categories
Free Camping: 23 nights $0
Caravan Parks 10 nights $ 417
National Parks 17 nights $ 289.40
Private or Stations 8 nights $ 301
Motel (Darwin) 1 night $ 77
We saved a lot of money on accommodation by choosing to free camp more often and there are some amazingly scenically attractive free camps out there still. Take advantage of these places while you still can.
- FOOD and DRINK: $2106.36
We could do better here as we tend to go a bit silly when we reach civilisation after spending a couple of weeks in the bush eating camp tucker. We eat really well because we carry a fridge and a freezer but it’s still nice to have a pub meal, some nice café style breakfasts and coffees and a little bit of takeaway. Let us remember we are on holidays after all. A carton lasts Kevin a whole month so we can’t even blame alcohol. Our food tally may even decrease a little now that my hunter and provider is catching fish (grin).
- MISCELLANEOUS $973.18
This includes everything else – the four moo moo’s I had to buy in Broome because we are eating so well (chuckle – oh dear many a true word is spoken in jest), gas refills, haircuts, chemist purchases, clothes, fishing gear, market purchases etc. It doesn’t take long to add up.
- CAR MAINTENANCE $963.00
Two flat tyre repairs in Katherine, a 5000k service in Kununurra and the two front wheel bearings needed replacing in Broome (no wonder after the Gibb River Road). We still believe prevention is better than cure in respect to our vehicle. It is our home and lifeline so a few hundred here and there is better than thousands down the track.
So, in terms of dollars it has cost us just under $6770 thus far to have an experience that is beyond value and absolutely priceless. It’s a low enough figure that makes it possible for us to survive without an income, live off our budgeted savings and know that giving up our jobs (or putting our jobs on hold) to do this was the right thing to do. The value of this trip can’t be measured at all in monetary terms, it’s in the breath-taking moments that leave an imprint on the soul. In big moments like gazing at Mitchell Falls or small moments like last night when I was cooking dinner in our camper. I look out the left window to see the sun sinking in a blaze of fiery brightness in the Indian Ocean and I look out the right window to see the giant white orb of the full moon rising just above the glowing red cliffs. Phenomenal moments worth a million dollars over and over again. That’s what it’s all about. I wish I could capture these moments in a bottle to use as an elixir later on when we do go back to working class reality; transport me straight back to that moment. But alas, I know it cannot be and we just have to enjoy each and every precious moment here and now.