Car Math

Now that the road trip has come to an end completely I want to see how much travelling with a car cost me in total. It got way more expensive than expected because of the low price I got for the car. The latter probably being caused by a bad market (for sellers) and a QLD registration that is more difficult and expensive to transfer than those from other states.

Anyway, here’s the numbers. First the fixed costs over the last six months.

Purchase price: $500
Initial repairs: $600
6 months registration and insurance: $380
Repair fuel pump: $150
Repair alternator: $230
Tow trucks: $70
New windscreen: $200
New tyre: $60

Subtotal: $2190
Sale price: -$500
Total: $1690

In addition to that I’ve burned a considerable amount of fuel on the roughly 13,500km I travelled with the car.

Fuel consumption: ~10l/100km at ~$1.30/l
Fuel costs: $1755 (1350l) (nice carbon footprint)
Fuel paid by fellow travellers: ~$400
Fuel total: $1355

My estimated overall cost for travelling 13,500km in six months: $3045 ($0.23/km)

Expensive? Maybe. Was it worth it? Totally.

As a comparison, travelling from Cairns to Melbourne with a three months traveller pass on a Greyhound costs around $430.

Had I to choose again between car and bus I’d take the car every time. It is expensive but it takes you to places no bus tourist ever gets to see and allows for very flexible travelling.

Back on the Road

On Tuesday morning I went to talk to the mechanic about the broken alternator. The shop is specialised in car electrics and car audio and the show room looked accordingly. Unfortunately they had no mechanics on service because of another public holiday. Getting one would have cost a $80 call out fee so we decided to wait another day. The place where the tow truck dropped the car off was ok to stay, we had a gas station with toilets and even showers around the corner and a nearby park to spend the day.

This morning we drove the car to the garage and let the mechanics do their magic. They didn’t have an alternator in stock but repaired mine instead. They gave me a 12 months warranty but I reckon I won’t be near their shop should the part fail again.

The repair cost $230 which is roughly one third of what a new part would have cost. Even though the repairs have been rather cheap so far I’m not sure if I’ll keep the car till the end of my stay in Australia.

Right now we are back in the Flying Fox in Katoomba to spend some hopefully calm days till New Years.


I wanted to write a bit about Christmas in the Blue Mountains, Christmas Eve around the log fire and late night BBQ but that has to wait for a while.

We left Katoomba yesterday without a real plan on where to go and what to do. All we knew was that after two weeks of partying around the log fire we needed to get our asses up.

Today we wanted to spent the night at a camp site in the mountains. Unfortunately halfway up the road the “check battery” light went on. Not a good sign. I pulled the car over and called my friends from the NRMA.

Not even half an hour later roadside assistance arrived (have a look at the license plate) and after some checks we were told that the alternator had quit his service.

Being basically between two towns with dangerous winding roads each way we decided to have a tow truck take the car back to the coast. Craig, the NRMA guy, led us into the next settlement called Robertson and to the local hotel/pub/bistro.
To warm our cold bones up we ordered tea and coffee. No luck for us, the coffee machine was broken. Yet after we mentioned that our car broke down they organized some tea bags and hot water from the depths of the kitchen. They even refused to charge us because we had such a bad day. I love Aussies.

A mere four hours later the tow truck arrived. It’s a public holiday in Oz and everybody is travelling and breaking down. At 9pm we arrived at a mechanic in Albin Park. We’re gonna spend the night in the car in the backyard hoping that he can organise a second hand spare part for us in the not so far future.