Most people think you need a Toyota Hiace with fairy lights or a Mercedes Sprinter with a built-in shower to travel around Australia. Or – if you don’t think that – you probably think a 4WD (or at the very least, a station wagon) is the bare minimum (admittedly, station wagon and SUV camping can be a great option).
But Chiara Hocking has just proved otherwise. The TikTok user recently shared a video with followers which shows how she did a lap of Australia, starting in Victoria, in a Nissan Micra.
Hocking told followers she camped inside the car for the majority of her trip (but also had a swag tied to the roof, and on occasion stayed in hostels or with friends who have vans).
In doing so she put those of us who postpone our plans to travel year after year to shame.
She’s not alone either. Another TikTok user wrote: “People really underestimate small cars. I put a mattress in the back of my Mazda 2 and take it on every road trip. No issues yet.”
Intrigued? Here are some of Hocking’s insights from her trip, which she says she “started end of March and finished in November” while stopping to work at times.
Tip number one? Starting with a super reliable vehicle is crucial. As Hocking wrote in the comments: “Mine survived everything – still never been serviced even after the trip.”
She also said doing the Nullarbor in such a small car was tricky, sharing: “I was literally empty for like 50 mins before the next servo, everytime!! not sure how I made it as far as I did.”
Fuel can also be pricey, with Hocking explaining: “Fuel was definitely the biggest expense especially through [the] middle and [the] Nullarbor.”
This isn’t the first time someone has taken to the internet to inspire others to circle Australia by hatchback (or 2WD). Forums are full of people asking if it’s possible. And in the r/hondafit Reddit community in 2021 one community member (user u/ihatefuckingwork) came at us with an answer, showing off their remarkable hatchback camping set up in the process.
“I, with the help of a friend, built a bed in the back out of an old pallet,” Reddit user u/ihatefuckingwork wrote. “Cost $20 in materials cause I put hinges on the head part. Means I can take a passenger and fold out an extra part when I push the seat forward at the end of a days drive.”
“So far I’m loving it! 2006 Honda Jazz going strong! 68+ hours driving, something like 5000 k’s or more. Still got to go down the guts and back home but I feel comfortable knowing I can get around 500k’s per tank if I’m not going too fast.”
“Sure, it’s not a sick vanlyf set up. But it works.”
As I discovered last year, sleeping in your car isn’t as easy as it looks on Instagram and Youtube (and neither is building a bed in your car). But hey: practice makes perfect.