See The World

Full-Time Truck Camping In Australia

Warren and Christine Alder share their full-time truck camping adventures in Australia and Tasmania. Load up the Isuzu NPR 400. Pack the Palomino SS-1251. We’re going Down Under!

Full Time Truck Camping In Australia

I’d bet a stack of Stones LPs that if I asked our readers in the United States and Canada about their interest in truck camping in Australia, a good number would say, “Heck yeah! When do we go?” I’d bet that same pile of vinyl that if we asked our readers in Australia about their interest in truck camping in the United States and Canada, they’d say the same.

The shared language, affinity for truck campers, and relatively similar cultures and continent sizes help to explain this mutual interest. It’s hard to believe that driving from New York to Los Angeles is about the same distance as Sydney to Perth, but it’s a fact. Sure we drive on opposite sides of the road and Australia’s population is about the same as the state of Texas, but mostly our differences are fun and interesting rather than challenging.

Whether or not you’re in the United States, Canada, Europe—or even Australia—you’re in for a treat if you ever dreamed of exploring Australia by truck camper. And let it be known that the Founders of these fine electrons are definitely in that camp.

For the past six years, Warren and Christine Alder have lived full-time in their Isuzu NPR 400 and Palomino SS-1251 pop-up truck camper rig as they explore Australia and Tasmania. Warren and Christine popped-up on our radar when they submitted an entry to the 2025 Truck Camper Magazine Calendar Contest. We took one look at their truck camper rig and its location and thought, “We need to talk to these folks!”

In the following interview, Warren and Christine share their experience and recommendations on where to travel throughout the Australian continent. They also give tips about taking a ferry to Tasmania and a number of other details for exploring Down Under. Get ready to update your passports. We’re going to Australia!

Warren And Christine

Above: Warren And Christine Alder

How did you first get into camping?

We both camped as kids. It was a bit different though as it was either in a basic canvas tent or a small caravan. A tent was nothing but four walls and a roof. We slept on canvas stretchers, cooked on a fuel stove, and our refrigeration was an ice box filled with block ice that we bought every morning.

The caravan had a small table with a seating area that was disassembled at night to form a double bed. The back of the caravan had either two lounges that converted to two single beds, or a divan—a sofa without a back or arms—which was used as lounge seating during the day and converted to a double bed for sleeping.

The caravan had cupboards for storage and a refrigerator that ran off gas or could be plugged into electricity, if available. We lived outdoors most of the time, amusing ourselves by playing games or swimming.

We replaced our tents with a camper trailer. Again, it was pretty basic but was quicker to set up and offered more storage and comfort.

West Point Magnetic Island Queensland

Above: Their first truck, a Nissan GQ patrol ute, with their Palomino SS-1251, West Point Magnetic Island, Queensland

It’s a big decision to go on the road full-time and a different lifestyle than living in a house. How did you make the decision to go full-time?

We have always had the travel bug and ventured overseas on several occasions. However, traveling full-time to see all our country had to offer was a dream we’ve had for a long time.

The planning started in early 2017; looking at caravans, motorhomes, slide-on campers, and suitable four-wheel drive vehicles. By early 2018 we had decided on a Nissan GQ patrol ute (see photo above) and a Palomino SS-1251 slide on camper as our preferred combination. We proceeded to purchase both second-hand.

“Some people called us bold, irresponsible, and crazy, but it was right for us. Nearly six years later we are still enjoying this great lifestyle.”

At this point, in March of 2018, we looked at each other, reflected on our jobs and current financial situation, and took a giant leap into the unknown. Some people called us bold, irresponsible, and crazy, but it was right for us. Nearly six years later we are still enjoying this great lifestyle. We didn’t want to be the couple who waited too long to start our adventure and then have health issues intervene.

Lake Wyangan, Griffith, NSW

Above: Lake Wyangan, Griffith, NSW

Tell us about the transition from living at home to going full-time. What was that like?

We sold or gave away our household possessions to our family keeping only those items of great sentimental value. Once we both finished work, we set about upgrading our camper for full-time living on the road. The 12-volt charging system, battery capacity, and solar capacity were all upgraded. We found the transition quite easy but this was no doubt driven by our enthusiasm to get on the road.

Do you have a home base?

We no longer have a home but use Brisbane as a base as we have family there. We normally catch up with them at least twice a year. Aside from that, we spend the rest of the year traveling. During busy times, like holidays, we house or farm sit. This saves us on accommodation costs and gives us our animal fix. We are both passionate animal lovers.

Port Gibbon, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Above: Port Gibbon, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Why did you choose a pop-up truck camper for your lifestyle on the road?

The Palomino pop-up truck camper fulfilled our needs for a compact go-anywhere package. We weren’t keen on towing a caravan or having a motorhome that was more at home on the blacktop. The Palomino also offered superior storage space compared to other models we looked at and had an onboard shower/toilet combination. The onboard shower/toilet allows us to be self-sufficient and take full advantage of off-grid camping. I think this is what you call boondocking.

We have a significant number of campsites in Australia that are restricted to fully self-contained campers. That means you must have an onboard toilet, shower, and grey water tank. The Palominos don’t come with a grey water tank but we have utilized a thirty liter plastic drum and plumbed it in so that we are compliant. An ever-increasing number of our national parks are instigating similar requirements.

Why did you get an Isuzu NPR 400?

The Isuzu NPR 400 solved the ongoing weight and space issues we had. We started with a one-ton Nissan Patrol GQ ute which carried the Palomino with ease but was overweight and not correctable with suspension modifications.

Ellis Beach Far North Queensland

Above: Their Nissan Navara and Palomino, Ellis Beach far North Queensland

Then, we migrated to a six-wheeler Nissan Navara which solved the overweight problem, but didn’t allow for any expansion and continually had suspension and chassis issues.

In March of 2023, we made the decision to migrate to a full-blown truck as I already held a license to drive rigid vehicles up to 16 tons. The truck alleviates any weight issues as it has a GVM of 7.5 tons. We are currently only at 5.7 tons gross.

This provided the space for us to purchase and fit out a canopy (garage) to store additional equipment should we want to venture off without the camper. The Isuzus have a great reputation for reliability and longevity as well as a huge dealer network around Australia. Given the remoteness of some of the areas we travel into, this was an extremely important consideration.

Palomino On Flatbed Isuzu NPR 400 Truck

Did you have any fitment issues with the Isuzu and Palomino?

We put a lot of thought and planning into the truck purchase to ensure the tray width (2.150 meters) and the tray length (4.150 meters) would accommodate the Palomino and the canopy we had purchased. The litmus test was loading the camper. Once we were satisfied that we had all our measurements correct, it was then just a matter of securing the camper to the truck and hooking up the 12-volt charging to the camper.

Having done this with two previous vehicles, we were reasonably confident in our ability to manage this part of the process. We took our time and made some improvements and alterations throughout the process. We can happily report that after fifteen months of travel over all sorts of road conditions, the truck and camper are rock solid.

Side View Isuzu 400 And Camper

What kind of tie-downs and turnbuckles do you use on your rig?

We use rated stainless steel or galvanized turnbuckles in conjunction with 16-millimeter stainless steel or galvanized eye bolts. We use four eye bolts and four turnbuckles on each side.

Palomino With Awning Out

A pop-up seems kind of small for full-time living. Is that why you have the garage?

The Palomino SS-1251 provides an amazing amount of storage space; much more than the current models. We have also learned to be minimalistic in what we carry and regularly cull items that don’t see regular use.

Having said that, being on the road full-time, we carry more tools, spares, and equipment than the average weekend camper. We also have installed a 270-degree ostrich wing awning which greatly improves our undercover area on the passenger’s side of the camper.

Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Above: Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

We have a 3×3 canvas sail track awning on the driver’s side which also offers great shade and weather protection.

Modification To Internal Seating For Comfort

The one significant drawback the Palomino has is a lack of comfortable seating to relax and read or watch television during times of inclement weather. Sometimes being outside is not an option. We have partly solved this issue with the installation of bucket chairs and cushions.

The canopy (garage) has given us more space and has allowed us to store our equipment in a neat and orderly fashion with easy access. It has its own independent 12-volt charging and battery system. This allows us to go off camping without the Palomino and to also run an additional refrigerator.

Coffin Bay National Park, Eyre Peninsula, S Australia

Above: Coffin Bay National Park, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

It looks like your center of gravity might be a little far back with the garage.

The truck travels just fine with the camper positioned back on the tray. The rear axle has a load rating of 6.0 tons and the spring pack is rated at 6.015 tons. The combined weight of the camper and the canopy (garage) is approximately 2.2 tons, so we are well within the vehicle’s rated carrying capacity.

The access to the camper is also via the rear door, so placing it anywhere else would make the fitment of the stairs problematic. The placing also allowed us to utilize the space under the luton peek for the canopy and additional water storage.

Painted Silo, Bute, South Australia

Above: Painted Silo, Bute, South Australia

How does the rig perform for handling and fuel economy?

The truck is a single cab three seater. It’s reasonably comfortable and easy to drive. Long distances are easily achieved without significant driver fatigue. Fuel economy is good with an average between 17.5 and 18 liters per 100 kilometers (13.4 to 13 mpg) which gives us a cruising range of around 600 kilometers (372 miles).

The truck is fitted with two constant rear cameras displayed through a 7.5-inch high-resolution monitor with one-way microphone comms; one on the truck and one on the camper. The truck camera is invaluable when putting the camper back on. We also have a tire monitoring system covering all six tires and a UHF radio for communication with trucks and other heavy vehicles. The UHF radio is for safety and general highway communication.

These are the truck specifications:
GVM: 7.5 tonne
GCM: 11.0 tonne
Engine Type: Isuzu SiTEC 150
Displacement: 5.2 liter 4 cylinder, 16 valve SOHC direct injection diesel. Turbocharged and air-to-air intercooler
Power: 110 kW @ 2,600 rpm
Torque: 404 Nm @ 1,500 – 2,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual all synchro
Brakes: Auto-adjusting front disks and rear drum brakes with dual circuit hydraulic control, hydraulic pressure assistance and load sensing proportioning valve.
Standard: ABS, ASR traction control and HSA hill start assist.

Basically, it’s as easy as driving a car. And because of its length (6.05 meters), we fit into a normal car space. The turning circle is better than some of our one-ton pickup trucks.

Australia Inside North America

Being that you’ve been on the road full-time since March of 2018, have you seen all of Australia?

Technically, we’ve been full-time on the road since July 2018, and still have much more to see. Once you start traveling in Australia, particularly the bigger states, you soon realize how vast the country is. We could travel another ten years and still not see it all. Every new destination or area still imbues excitement and enthusiasm for what it has to offer and we love taking the road less travelled.

Dolphin Cove Cape Arid National Park Western Australia

Above: Dolphin Cove Cape Arid National Park, Western Australia

What kinds of places do you typically camp?

We love camping in national parks that offer bushwalking, swimming, great scenery, and serenity. We also gravitate to out-of-the-way places, particularly if they are by a river, lake, or beach. We are well set up for off-grid camping and normally carry enough essentials for three weeks.

Mission Beach, Far North Queensland

Above: Mission Beach, Far North Queensland

We use caravan parks when they are in great locations, or we need to do our laundry and have a break from the road.

We also augment our camping with house sitting where we look after people’s houses and pets while they are on holiday. This is a great way to explore an area and cut down on accommodation costs during the busy holiday periods. We have stayed in some great locations, looked after the most adorable pets, and made lifelong friends from house-sitting. It also provides us with some of the luxuries (long hot showers, comfortable lounges, caring for pets, and immersing yourself in the local community) that you miss living on the road.

Lake Kepwari, Southwest Of Collie, Western Australia

Above: Lake Kepwari, southwest of Collie, Western Australia

Where have been some of your favorite places to visit and explore?

We are currently in Western Australia exploring the southwest area. The area offers some great camping options, mainly national parks and council-run facilities. We have explored most of the coastline between Cape Arid and Perth.

Our favorite places so far would be Cape Arid, Cape Le Grand, Busselton, Augusta, Margaret River, and Mandurah. We plan on being in Western Australia until at least the end of 2025 as there is just so much to explore. It is also over 4,000 kilometers from our base in Brisbane, so traveling to and from is not an option.

The highlights of our travels so far would be (in state order):

Ellis Beach, Far North Queensland, Hammock

Queensland: On Ellis Beach FNQ (pictured above), you are camped literally right on the beach among the palm trees. Cape Tribulation, Mission Beach, Birdsville, Gregory River, and most of Outback Queensland is just fantastic.  There is so much scenery and history.

Lightning Ridge, Opal Mining North West New South Wales

Above: Lightning Ridge, Opal Mining, North West New South Wales

New South Wales: West Kunderang in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park near Armidale, Clarence River, Nymbioda River, Port Macquarie, Lightning Ridge (pictured above), Warrumbungles National Park, and Mount Kaputar National Park.

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Above: The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Victoria: The Great Ocean Road is magnificent. There is so much rugged coastal scenery interspersed with seaside towns offering a plethora of dining and accommodation options.

The Murray River, South Australia

The Murray River (pictured above) offers great river camping, kayaking, and fishing. Grampians National Park has beautiful scenery and plenty of bushwalking. Wilson’s Promontory National Park has a rugged coastline, beautiful scenery, and wildlife.

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Tasmania: The rugged west coast of Tasmania is remote and beautiful. It has limited access but is dotted with little fishing beaches and coastal camping opportunities. Cradle Mountain National Park (pictured above) is magnificent; a pristine environment with plenty of wildlife and hiking opportunities.

Gordon Tasmania On The D'Entrecasteaux Channel

Above: Gordon Tasmania on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel overlooking Bruny Island, Tasmania

Stanley and Smithton are also favorites along with Mount Field National Park. Unfortunately, our visit to Tasmania was cut short by the Covid pandemic.

Lake Geitz, The Pink Lake Trail, Yorketown, South Australia

Above: Lake Geitz, The Pink Lake Trail, Yorketown, South Australia

South Australia: We spent twelve months in the state and did all three peninsulas; Fleurieu, York, and Eyre. The Eyre peninsula was our favorite, particularly Port Lincoln National Park.

Streaky Bay Eyre Peninsula South Australia

Also high on the list is Streaky Bay (pictured above), The Flinders Ranges, and of course all the magnificent wine regions; Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, and Adelaide Hills.

Katherine Gorge Northern Territory Australia

Northern Territory: We have only traveled about a third of the territory but there are highlights everywhere. Mataranka Hot Springs, Edith Falls, Katherine Gorge (pictured above), Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, and Dundee Beach are just a few. Darwin is also iconic with a beautiful harbor area, lots of eateries, and sunset harbor cruises.

Stokes National Park Western Australia

Above: Stokes National Park, Western Australia

Western Australia: As mentioned earlier, we have been here since February and it has certainly lived up to its reputation of pristine beaches, sublime coastline, and great camping options. We have seen a little of this huge state, but we are sure the best is yet to come.

What is a typical day like for you?

We are meanderers. We love having the freedom to take our time and enjoy what each area has to offer. We try to avoid pre-booking campsites (when possible) so that we are not timetabled.

Woolshed Cavern, South Australia

Above: Woolshed Cavern, South Australia

Our day always starts with coffee, but then it depends. We have days where we just relax and enjoy our surroundings. Other days we have a big bush walk planned or a bike ride. Some of the best views and swimming holes can only be reached on foot. As we get older, we love to challenge ourselves on the more strenuous walks. Other days we plan our next destination, potential campsites, and points of interest. Every day for us is different and the lifestyle allows us to change our plans as the mood takes us.

Adele's Grove, Lawn Hill National Park, Queensland Near The Northern Territory Border.

Above: Adele’s Grove, Lawn Hill National Park, Queensland Near The Northern Territory Border

What have been some challenges of being full-time on the road?

We have adjusted pretty well to life on the road. One of the hardest lessons is to learn to slow down. The other is living in the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened.

“One of the hardest lessons is to learn to slow down. The other is living in the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened.”

Probably the most difficult thing to deal with is inclement weather; rain, wind, and cold temperatures are not great bedfellows for full-timers. However, it’s a fact of life that you have to deal with. To combat the elements, we have a full set of walls for our awning which gives us good wind and rain protection. We have a wood-fired potbelly stove for outside warmth and a diesel heater for warming up the camper. We also have a range of jackets and thermals for cold winter nights.

Repairs and maintenance for both the truck and the camper can also be problematic. We have been able to build a network of trusted repairers over the years across most states. We travel with a satellite phone, EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio), and a good first aid kit. We always have all three with us when out hiking.

Sheringa Beach, Eyre Peninsula, S Australia

Above: Sheringa Beach, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Those are good safety precautions. What have been some of your most favorite moments since being on the road full-time?

Every day we make memories just being together as we are genuine soulmates. Even with our slim budget, we miss out on very little and enjoy (in our opinion) a fantastic lifestyle. We have met some amazing people in our travels some of which remain close friends. We have visited and explored some amazing places.

Spirit Of Tasmania

How do you get from Australia to Tasmania?

The Spirit of Tasmania is a vehicular and passenger ferry that makes traveling across the Bass Strait flexible, convenient, and easy. Twin ships depart both ports in Geelong, Victoria, and Devonport, Tasmania nightly, as well as daily in peak season.

Onboard there are excellent facilities, comfortable cabins, and plenty of space. On the decks, there is plenty of fresh air and unparalleled views. The return cost for our vehicle staying in a port hole cabin is $1,209 AUD (approximately $805 USD). The sailing time is eleven hours and a full food and drinks menu is available.

Caravans, because of their length, are more expensive. You can save money by opting for a deck chair instead of a cabin. Because of the cost, it’s important to maximize your time in Tasmania. You could quite happily spend three to six months traveling and exploring there.

Do you plan on taking your camper anywhere outside of Australia?

We have already explored the New Zealand north island in a hired motorhome. We will probably do the South Island at some point, but also in a hired motorhome as it’s just cheaper and easier. If the costs weren’t prohibitive, we would love to take our rig to the States and tour the country. What an experience that would be.

Sunset Over The Gulf Of Carpentaria From Karumba, Queensland

Above: Sunset over The Gulf of Carpentaria from Karumba, Queensland

How long do you see yourselves traveling full-time in your rig?

We have no end date in mind. As long as we stay fit and healthy, we will continue exploring and enjoying our great country. However, if the need arises, we will look at migrating to a motorhome that offers a little more comfort and ease of setup. We will eventually settle back into living in one place, but we haven’t yet determined where and when that will be.

“We have no end date in mind. As long as we stay fit and healthy, we will continue exploring and enjoying our great country.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share that I didn’t ask about?

Just for those who are curious about our camper, here are the specifications. We have upgraded from the standard and continue to upgrade as necessary:

2014 Palomino SS-1251
210 Ah of lithium batteries
800 Watts of solar
200-watt foldable solar panel (connected through an external Anderson plug) which we use if the camper is in the shade or to boost input on a cloudy day.
Redarc 40 amp DC to DC dual input charger handling both the alternator and solar input.
Victron BMV 712 battery management system
Kings 1500 Watt pure sine inverter
Victron 30 amp (hard wired) 240 Volt charger which takes over charging requirements when plugged in shore power.
130-liter compressor fridge
DC power to both forward hatches
Various additional USB and cig lighter charging points
Sirocco fans, and probably much more that we have forgotten
We also travel with two inflatable kayaks and two bicycles.

Canopy (Garage):
Two draw system
Fridge slide
40 liter Engel fridge/freezer (which we primarily use as a freezer)
LED lighting throughout
100 Ah Projecta lithium battery with Bluetooth
Power distribution box with Anderson plug, cigarette plug, Engel plug, and various USB outlets
25 amp Projecta DC to DC charger including solar input
15 amp Victron 240 Volt charger
Two sets of Maxxtrax
Various camping equipment


Truck Camper Chooser
To Top