Top Questions about our “Hobohome Lifestyle”

A list of some of the questions we often get asked about our Hobohome lifestyle…

Where do you get your drinking water from?

In most part of the country, drinking water is not difficult to obtain. Many parks and public toilet blocks have taps. If you ask at a petrol station (normally when buying fuel) you will normally be allowed to fill both drinking and freshwater tanks.  In some parts of the country water is very scarce – and you may be asked to pay for it. It is normally only a few cents per litre and so not really a big deal. Some outback pubs will allow you to fill tanks if you ask them “over a beer”.  Many information centres provide water for a small donation.

Where do you get your fresh water from?

Of course fresh water (non-drinking) is available from all the same places as above – but it is sometimes possible to pump water from streams and creeks (we never drink water from these sources [see article on drinking water]  ). Many free/low cost camps are near rivers, so fresh water for washing etc is generally not a problem.

Where should I buy my bus from? How will I know it is the right one?

I recommend looking on-line – there are a number of places that allow private sellers to advertise their motorhomes. members market is perhaps one of the better know places to look. I always recommend that people do not try and do a “from scratch” conversion.  [see article “build or buy” ]  This is almost always doomed to failure with very few people realising the cost both in terms of dollars and man hours. Do yourself and your dream a big favour … buy a motorhome that is already a motorhome.


You will never find the exact motorhome for you. You should however be looking for something as close as you can get to what you want. Of course the first thing to do is to write down what you need … size, water capacity, layout, battery capacity, solar, generator, etc. Send that list (along with an explanation of why for each item) to somebody who know about travelling Australia in a motorhome and ask them to critique it.  Now, take as you need to get something close to what you wrote down. When you are looking at motorhomes, consider what it is going to cost to get it to your specifications. Buying a motorhome that is already a motorhome means that you can start using it almost immediately. This allows it to be a useful asset and you can learn about what needs to be done before you start spending more money.

How do you decide where (and when) to go?

We generally follow the weather. We have no heating and no air conditioning (solar power supports neither of these). So north in winter and south in summer is the general pattern. We never seem to get this exactly right, work and other issues seem to interfere with this plan more often than we would like, but it is generally not too bad. We enjoy diving and fishing – so the coast is always high on the agenda. This year we would like to visit some more remote West Australian places – [see a map of our travels here]

How much does it cost to live and how strictly do you have to budget?

This is a difficult question to answer. We do live by a budget and we have tracked almost every dollar spent since moving into the bus.

The first year that we lived in Hobohome, we were extremely careful (not knowing if or when we would be able to find work). After analysing our spending we found that we had spent a little over $20,000 in that year. But … it had not been as much fun as it could have been. At that point we decide to loosen the purse strings a little and not be too afraid to “do stuff”. The current feeling is that (within reason) it costs money in fuel to get to a location, so we might as well see and enjoy what there is to see while we are there … we may not ever get back there!


We also tend to keep our spending in line with our earnings. Our current spend rate is about $32,000pa. In reality we could cut this down quite considerably. With extreme care, we could live on less than $20,000.

Many people ask about the impact of fuel prices – in reality, fuel is not one of our major expenses. Food is the number one cost.

What does it cost to buy a bus like Hobohome?

Hobohome cost us nearly $50k back in 2002 (including the Moke). We feel that was a good deal (and I hope the sellers felt so too). Motorhomes are difficult things to put a value on – they cost a lot of money and time to build and most people will never recover what they spend on building a motorhome (if they ever finish it). We have spent perhaps $80,000 on Hobohome since purchasing it about half of this could be called maintenance and the other half, improvements. Have a good look around – there is the odd bargain to be had – but in general, you get what you pay for.

Do I need an emergency fund – how much?

We firmly believe that you need a good emergency fund – money that is just to get you out of trouble. Consider that a replacement engine for Hobohome cost us nearly $16,000 (fitted) – what are you expected to do if an engine dies badly out the back of Tennant Creek?

Now, there are many people we know who live from week to week on the road, not knowing where the next weeks food money will come from – some of them are even comfortable living like this, but I like to sleep comfortably at night knowing that I am unlikely to be stuck in the back of nowhere with two blown tires or a dead engine (this might be just a “getting older thing”).

How do you deal with mail?

Well we try not to. We do everything we can to reduce the amount of mail that is sent to us, but of course there are some things that just have to be mailed (registration stickers, insurance documents etc). These can be sent to a Post Office and will be held for collection. We do almost everything on-line and this has a huge impact on the amount of paper mail we receive. How did we ever survive without the Internet?

Do you have a question? Email it to me and we will be happy to answer it by adding it to this list.



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8 Responses to “Top Questions about our “Hobohome Lifestyle””

  1. Motorhome and Caravan Info Australia » Blog Archive » Top … | australianews Says:

    […] the original post here: Motorhome and Caravan Info Australia » Blog Archive » Top … Share and […]

  2. Jay Says:

    Thanks for sharing this info, we are seriously on the path of making a dream a reality. Its difficult to get these questions answered from browsing the net, its better to have the insider information direct form a source.
    I will have a few more question soon as the plans unfold.

    Happy travels
    Jay and lil

  3. Denise Says:

    G’Day Gavin and Tracey,
    How often do you and Tracey actually actively look for work? Is it just if you need to pick up extra money if there is a problem with say the bus engine etc?
    How do you go about looking and do you head for a bigger city maybe. I note Tracey is a OT Nurse like myself and there isn’t a lot of call for out specialty out in the remote areas.
    We are trying to get away mid to end of next year but with having to budget for extra things, like house rates, insurance, landlords insurance etc as well as on the road bills, rego, insurance, health insurance it is a bit daunting how much or should I say how little – you actually have left in the hand every fortnight to play with.
    Any words of wisdom would be most welcome from you both as you are out there doing what we want to be doing, but are procrastinating because we are a little uncertain as to whether we can actually afford to do it. We are only 51 and 52 and both have good jobs as good jobs go and there is always the uncertaintly of leaving in case it doesn’t work out and we have then both done our jobs and may not find ones like them again.

  4. Hobo Says:

    After years of a fairly up hill battle, we now have a reasonable income from our web design/hosting business. The income is a bit inconsistent and I do put a bit more effort into marketing it when we need some extra money. We really focus on serving our existing customers (it is hard to maintain any real credibility when you run a business on the road from a motorhome) – this means that when they want something done, we generally do the job immediately (no matter what time of the day or night). This of course sometimes interferes with what we had planned – but this is a small price to pay for a great lifestyle and a mobile office.

    I guess that does not really answer your question…
    Tracey says – “nurses are in very high demand in remote areas – you may have to turn to general nursing (and in some cases you get to name your price)”.
    I very much doubt that two people who are willing to work, would EVER have difficulty finding work in Australia. Most stations and outback towns are screaming out for reliable workers and particular people of the older generation who have a good work ethic. My advise is procrastinate no longer – get out there and do it. Opportunities present themselves all the time. Do it NOW before you are too old to enjoy life on the road. Remember “You are a long time looking at that lid!”

    I guarantee that in 1 years time you will be saying “why the hell did we not do this 5 years ago?”

  5. Denise Says:

    Thanks for that guys.
    It is nice and reassuring that what we want to do is doable.
    So good to be able to talk to people around our own age, actually out there doing it and having first hand knowledge what it is all about and what is out there.
    I think we will have to do all those little things that we want to do on the car and van over the next 6 months and then start saving like billio for that little nest egg for “emergencies” once we head off.

  6. Warren Says:

    Hi guys, for the last 20 years I have debated whats best, motorhome? large caravan? motorhome? off road camper? caravan? motorhome, round and round in circles never coming to the answer I need / want. My works crap stressfull ! wife has already quit once and stressed out threating to leave again we are both 55 and now the time has arrived and we find ourselves looking / talking more and more about going. I guess what I’m saying is please keep this site going so I can get all the info I need. Questions keep on rolling around in my mind and I try to refer to caravan parks and towns in my area and visualise us in a large motorhome. Like
    1. parking in towns ?
    2. Caravan parks catering to motorhomes ?
    3. in general how do councils look on motorhomes spending the night on foreshores?
    I guess these and many more are the usual questions but hard to find answers for which makes that first step both daunting and bloody hard.

    Cheers Warren & Janet

  7. Hobo Says:

    Hi Guys,

    You need to get out there and do it – it sounds like you have been dreaming about it for way too long. I have no doubt that you will have no regrets.

    Parking in towns is fine – most places provide areas for large vehicles. lots of towns are trying to attract the gray nomads.
    Caravan parks will take anyone that pays – the exception is some very busy places at busy times – trust me, you don’t want to be there anyway.
    Different councils have very different approaches to motorhomes. We have generally that if you follow a few simple rules and behave responsibly, you have very few hassles.

    Trust me – the hardest part of the whole process is making up your mind and actually doing it – from then on it is easy.

  8. john Says:

    hi gav tracey

    pk just back from 2 weeks away trial with bus
    cant fault the issuzu turbo
    ye a bit slow
    so what
    thimnk its the aoto and diff gearing
    sits on 85km fine

    fuel 3.8 to the ltr

    but there was lots hillss where we went
    sooooo slow going down and slower going up

    few minor brobs

    brand new 24 v water pump shhhhhhh it ssself 3 days into holidays
    wellll leaked
    lucky i had already installed switch.. so just turned off and on ass neeeded

    and last day mixer tap sprng leake

    alll minor

    i think harderst for ppl is leaving there family
    not the fact off going

    spoke to lots doing same and seems to be common responce

    met nice couple at mallacoota.. with bus
    7 weeks into it
    full timers
    and sue said same
    cried for a week

    i thinks its about time i made mind up to
    bus ready … wife nottttttt

    same … grand kiddss etc
    but its going to happen

    found plenty free places to go
    and some veryy exspencive parks

    one wanted $80 a night over easter for power site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    as iffffffffffff

    any ways its gonaa happen sooon

    note to warren and janet

    do it
    i dont really give a crap about work any more
    lifes to short

    whats the worst??
    go back to way u are???

    6 months i bee out here
    hardest is sorting what i cant take lol

    kk enought from me

    cheers john

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