This review was written in exchange for a complimentary rental of the JUCY Coaster campervan. All views expressed however are my own.
I just got back from the most epic 10 day New South Wales roadtrip with the campervan rental company JUCY! I was lucky enough to have one of the latest additions to the JUCY family for my trip – the JUCY Coaster! And it was a total dream, not only to drive but to live in as well! Here’s all the info about the JUCY Coaster that you need to know!
Check out these tips for planning the best road trip!
JUCY is one of the most popular car and camper van rental companies in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. When the holidays and warm weather kicks in you’ll regularly see the iconic JUCY campers out and about on the road. Just one look at JUCY’s campervans will bring a smile to your face with their red-headed JUCY Lucy logo, vibrant colours and cute phrases often on the side of the vehicle.
JUCY has several pick up and drop off locations around the country, meaning you can pick up your rental vehicle in one city and drop it off in another if you wish. This is perfect if you want to do a one way road trip (and save a lot of time by not having to drive back on yourself!), or alternatively you can do a loop and start and end it in the same location like I did – my trip started and ended in Sydney.
JUCY’s Campervan Fleet
JUCY has several different types of camper van so you can find one perfect for your budget and needs. Ranging from converted people carriers such as the El Cheapo Sleeper that starts at a very reasonable $25 a day (slightly more during peak seasons) all the way up to the Condo, Compass and Coaster vans that are roughly double the price but offer much more space. All JUCY campers come with 24/7 roadside assistance, bedding, curtains, bath towels, a kitchen at the back (sink, gas stove and fridge), unlimited mileage and more!
Picking up my JUCY Coaster
Sydney’s JUCY Office is located in Botany – both close to the airport and convenient to reach by public transport. A 45 minute bus ride from Sydney’s Central Station will take you down to Botany Road and from there it’s just a short walk to the JUCY Depot. You’ll know you’re there when you see a sea of green camper vans outside. Alternatively JUCY offers a free shuttle service to and from the airport if that’s the way you’ll be arriving!
The staff were so friendly, helpful, fun-loving and efficient! My vehicle was ready and waiting for me when I arrived, they explained everything really well, checked the vehicle over with me, gave me a few handy tips and took the time to show me how to convert the living area into a bed.
They also showed me how to change the water tanks, how to use the cooking equipment and what to do if the van brakes down. I really appreciated that, especially seeing as I was on my own and so needed to know how to do everything by myself! Honestly, they were great and I could not fault their service.
And boy was I excited. The Coaster looked epic – I just couldn’t wait to get on the road!
The JUCY Coaster is a converted Toyota Hiace van that comfortably sleeps two people. It has a double bed and a kitchen in the back, complete with gas cooker, sink, shower hose, fridge and cupboards.
Unlike the majority of the JUCY campervans that are bright green and purple with cute sayings written on the side (they are definitely not hard to miss!), the JUCY Coaster is white with just a small JUCY logo on each side of the van. JUCY is also written across the bonnet and the driver and passenger’s sear doors, and there’s a little logo at the back. Nothing too in your face at all. It almost looks like a regular white pick-up truck.
I loved that as it felt like I kind of just blended into the background when out on the road, and it wasn’t super obvious I was in a rented camper van.
Shower and toilet included!
The JUCY Coaster is a self contained vehicle which is great when you want to go off the grid! There is a shower hose which can be used to have an al fresco shower or do the washing, as well as a portable chemical toilet – how about that for glamping! Perfect for those times when there is no public toilet around and there are no bushes to hide behind, or when it is raining and you don’t want to get wet running all the way to the toilets! You will need to clean the toilet out yourself though FYI so most people tend not to really use it. But it’s definitely great to have as a last resort. It is stored underneath the table behind the fridge and takes up minimal space.
Kitchen out the back!
At the back of the van there is a portable gas cooker complete with spare gas cylinders, a sink, hot plate area, all pots pans utensils and cleaning equipment, as well as a 50 litre fridge with a freezer section – this size fridge was enough to be able to store food for a whole week for me which was great! I only had to go food shopping twice during the whole trip, and having a fridge was a lifesaver as it meant I could have lots of healthy, fresh food on my trip and not have to resort to packaged and processed food.
Some evenings I would cook kebabs or a burger on the free barbecues you see all around Australia (tip: remember to pack some tin foil so there is less cleaning at the end!). Other nights I would whip up a nice stirfry or something similar in the pan on the camper van stove. In the mornings in my van I would boil the kettle, have a cup of tea and make hard boiled eggs (and bacon the odd time for a nice treat!), and at lunch time I would prepare a sandwich or salad usually. I loved that you don’t need to change your diet and you aren’t restricted to just cooking basic repetitive recipes or stodgy meals in the camper van – you can still be creative with your cooking and make delicious easy camping meals and low-carb meals – just remember there is only one stove!
And of course it was great that all the kitchen equipment was included (all of it seemed very new too) as it meant I didn’t need to worry about bringing any of that on the trip! They even included cleaning products, a tea towel, strainer, a kettle, a giant sharing salad bowl, a can opener, a scourer and a dustpan and brush! Having all cooking and kitchen equipment available was great as it meant I could cook my own meals in the evenings and I didn’t have to eat out at all if I didn’t want to. Honestly if you are travelling on a budget or wanting to socially distance from people then a self-contained camper van is one of the absolute best ways to do it!
Easily converted into a double bed!
During the day there are wooden benches (with storage underneath for all your luggage!) and a table which is great if you want to have dinner, play a games of cards, work on your laptop or something inside the van in the evening. And at night it turns into a bedroom simply by lifting the lid of the wooden bench, securing it to the table and slotting another wooden plank into place – simple. The mattress (the giant seat covers from the benches) then goes on top, and there you have your double bed! The whole process including putting the bedsheet, doona (duvet) and pillows on took me over two minutes – it was super quick. And honestly, I could not believe how comfortable the bed was. I slept like a baby in that thing! There were even conveniently placed USB and cigarette lighter charge points right next to you on the bed as well as in the front of the van so you can charge your phone overnight but still access it easily.
When I started out on the trip I thought I would convert the bed back into a table and chairs every morning. As it turns out I kept the bed made up for pretty much the whole trip – I didn’t really see the point in converting it back every morning when I would always be using the outdoor table and chairs for dinner! Keeping the bed made up was just more convenient and time efficient, especially if I wanted to have an afternoon siesta!
Magnetic curtains were also included for the back and side window. You just place them on the frame of the van around the window and they stick extremely well. They did a really good job of blocking out any outside light, and as they were so quick and easy to put up, it meant if ever I needed a quick mid-morning outfit change I could do it. There was then a roll down curtain between the sleeping area and the driving area, which you just unclipped and it rolled down. Again that was super easy to put down and roll back up and offered complete privacy, which as a solo female traveller I was super happy about.
Lots of space!
There is so much space inside the Coaster for all your luggage. Along with the two benches either side of the table, there is another bench just behind the driver and front passenger seats. The space in between is very generous, meaning even if all your bags don’t fit in the two benches (the third one is where the water tanks are stored) then there is plenty space for them on the floor without you tripping over things. Granted I was on my own and not sharing with someone, but I honestly couldn’t get over the amount of space. Even with two people and several big suitcases there is more than enough space for two people to comfortably live in this camper van. With some of the smaller camper vans such as the Crib or the El Cheapo you may have to put your luggage in the front seats to make space for you to sleep, but this certainly isn’t the case with the Coaster. You can really make yourself at home in this van!
Really comfortable to drive!
I used to drive a Toyota Hilux ute so I am used to driving pick-up trucks, so driving the Coaster (a Toyota Hiace) was totally fine for me. At just under 6 metres long though, I can see that it might be a bit daunting if it is your first time driving a big vehicle, but you soon get used to it! My van was in really good condition and was an automatic which made things SO much easier when I had lots of winding roads to navigate! Plus having a reverse camera was great for when I had to reverse and manoeuvre into tight spaces seeing as I was travelling alone and had nobody to get out and help me park! There were also sensors that would alarm if I came near anything, and a light on the mirror would flash if a car was overtaking me (very high-tech!). There was a cruise control option too, which I found myself regularly using as I know just how hot NSW is on speeding! It was certainly a very modern vehicle and it was so pleasant to drive.
The Coaster is a diesel which is great as it is more fuel efficient than petrol. Diesel uses up to 20% less fuel, which means cheaper running costs yay! To fill up a full tank cost me around $70 (diesel was priced at around 127 cents per litre during my trip), and when full the tank had about 630km in it which was great.
No need to hook up in the evenings!
What’s also great is that unlike many camper vans you DON’T need to hook the Coaster up to a powered site to charge overnight as it charges itself when it is driving! So you can stay in unpowered sites (which are cheaper than powered sites) or go freedom camping for extended periods of time! Most other campervans will need to be connected to power every 2 or 3 nights to recharge, but this isn’t necessary with the Coaster as it is totally self sufficient which is great. As long as you drive the Coaster each day it will remain charged.
It works on a smart dual battery system (one for the engine and one for the appliances) so electricity is always available, meaning the fridge is always on and you can charge your electronics overnight. The only thing you may need to do is top up the fresh water tank if it gets low, and empty the grey water (water used in the sink) tank if it gets full. But even on the whole of my 10 days I didn’t need to do either of these once. Both tanks hold 49 litres of water each, so that’s a lot of water!
You’ll probably only have to empty the grey water, or add fresh water if you’ll be free camping for several nights and will use a lot of water washing the dishes or having a shower. However I mostly stayed in sites with facilities (sinks and showers) so I would use their water instead of my own. I mainly just used the water tank in the van to refill my water bottle if a water refill station wasn’t available, as well as to wash any sand off my feet before I got in the van, and wash up if I made lunch whilst I was out. Refilling and emptying the water tanks is very easy though as the staff at pick-up showed me how to do it should I need to.
JUCY also offers additional items for you to rent during your trip, such as camping chairs and a folding outdoor table. At just $8 for an outdoor chair, and $25 for an outdoor table, it’s definitely worth renting them out as you’ll be using them every day! They fold away easily and can be stored underneath the table when you are not using them.
You can also add an additional driver for just $2 a day – bargain! Perfect if you are travelling in a couple and want to split the driving.
JUCY also offers GPS Sat Nav for $10 a day if you need it, but most people tend to use the maps on their phones these days for navigation (just make sure if you do this that your passenger is holding your phone, or that you place your phone in a phone holder in the car as NSW has phone detection cameras – you can be fined if you are holding your phone whilst driving!).
When you do your booking you will select which excess package you want (you can always upgrade when you are at the office). You can go for the free basic cover (the risk taker), the standard cover at $40 a day, or the premium cover at $55 a day. Totally up to you which one you feel comfortable taking.
You can also buy some products at the JUCY office that you might have forgotten to buy, such as a cigarette lighter adaptor plug for charging your electronics which you will definitely need! I bought mine beforehand so was sorted and was able to charge my camera batteries each evening, and I used the USB port to charge my phone. The only thing I couldn’t charge in the van was my laptop but I barely used it, and if I needed to charge it I would just use one of the plugs in the caravan parks I was staying in.
Another thing I would suggest to buy is a torch for the evenings! A couple of lights are included with the Coaster but they aren’t bright enough to light up the whole campervan. Plus you don’t want to be walking to the toilet in the pitch black! I used my phone torch but this wasn’t strong enough so I would advise you to buy an additional torch too. I guess if you are travelling in the heat of the summer you may also want to buy a little fan to keep cool. The air con in the van is great but I certainly wouldn’t advise you to keep that running all night as it will drain the car battery.
Other reasons why I loved the JUCY Coaster:
I did my roadtrip in the start of spring (September time in Australia). I was worried it may be cold overnight in the van, especially when I was up in the highlands at over 1000 metres above sea level, but I was never too hot or too cold at night which was amazing. Certainly a change from the freezing cold houses in Australia in the winter!! As the van is white it means that even when the daytime temperatures are really high the van never gets too hot inside which is definitely another bonus!
I loved that I could just about stand upright when in the back of the van (I’m average female height at 166cm/5’4). The height of the vehicle gave it a sense of feeling really big inside, and it just meant simple things like being able to sit in the bed to read a book, or being able to get changed standing up properly and not crouching were a lot more pleasant than if you were in a smaller vehicle.
Did I feel safe as a female solo traveller in JUCY’s Coaster?
At all times during my trip I felt safe inside the JUCY Coaster. If you are a female solo traveller who wants to experience vanlife, the Coaster is JUCY’s best hire vehicle to get as it doesn’t look so obvious as a campervan compared to the other models.
There aren’t windows in the van on one side, and there is only a small JUCY logo on the sides of the van and bonnet and doors, which as a female solo traveller made me feel really safe as it wasn’t drawing attention to me and the fact I was travelling alone.
Having few windows also meant I could get changed quickly without having to put up the curtains each time.
Safety precautions I took:
- Always lock the vehicle. Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised that some people can forget to lock their campervan at night when they are sleeping inside. As soon as I was settled in the campervan for the evening I would lock the van. And of course lock it during the day when you are out.
- Don’t leave any items on display. There is plenty storage space in the Coaster so there is no excuse to have things out, especially any valuable items. If you are a bit messy, at least put the curtains up when you are parked during the day so nobody can see inside. There’s just no point tempting people, even if it is just mostly clothes. Especially don’t leave things on display such as phone charging cables in the front, and anything the could indicate you are a female travelling alone such as the JUCY agreement where your name is printed on the sheet or things like makeup bags, bras etc. It sounds silly, but as a female solo traveller you need to learn how to travel without drawing attention to yourself.
- I always brought all my valuables (except my laptop) with me in my day pack whenever I left the van for the day. All my money, cards, phone, passport, camera, chargers and my external hard drive. At least if there was a break-in I would have all my essentials and valuables. Anything on my laptop is backed up onto my hard drive so at least if my laptop got stolen at least I wouldn’t lose any of my files. Make sure anything valuable you do need to leave in the van you hide in a hidden place.
- If you meet people when you are out for the day or the evening, try not to advertise the fact you are travelling alone in a campervan. Or at least don’t say in a JUCY campervan (incase you’re the only one in town) or where your van will be parked for the night. You just don’t know who you are talking to. Of course you might meet some lovely people and get along really with them and feel totally fine to tell them, in which case that’s great. But if you ever meet someone you have a strange feeling about, try not to disclose too much information. If you want, you can always say you are staying in hostels, or say a different caravan park to where you will be staying, or say your boyfriend is back in the van catching up on work. It isn’t common but the odd bad thing can happen, so always remember you need to put your safety first.
- If you are anxious about free camping, just stay in caravan parks. They are quite secure and most will have CCTV or at least a gate with a code you need to access the park. Some of the free camping sites can be quite secluded and quiet. I did freedom camping for three nights and there were always several other campervans around so I always parked right next to one of them and never felt scared, but if it’s not for you just stay in the caravan parks or paid camp sites – usually they are around $35 a night along Australia’s East Coast.
- When parking in the day, try to park near other cars or in busy places so that your campervan isn’t in a secluded place, which could make it a target for people looking to break in.
Who is the JUCY Coaster perfect for?
The JUCY Coaster is perfect for:
- those who want to camp but don’t want the hassle of having to pack everything you need for camping such as bedding, cooking equipment and utensils.
- those who want to camp but want the additional security of being in a locked vehicle as opposed to just a tent (whether for safety reasons, animals or weather reasons).
- people who want to camp but in a bit of a more glamorous way to basic camping.
- people who want to socially distance from others whilst travelling.
- female solo travellers who don’t want to draw attention to the fact they are travelling alone.
- couples travelling with lots of luggage and who still want lots of space in the campervan.
- those who want to travel in an economic but fun and luxurious way!
Starting from $59 per day, the JUCY Coaster is very reasonably priced and is the perfect camping option whether you are travelling alone or with a friend or partner!
How to save money on fuel with the JUCY Coaster:
- It is actually wise to not travel with a full tank of water as this will reduce fuel consumption and make it lighter to drive (especially if you are going uphill a lot). You can always empty the fresh water tank so there is just a few litres inside to keep you going if you will be staying at campsites where you will easily be able to refill water if you need. Definitely never fully empty the water tank though incase you need some!
- Some supermarkets such as Coles offer discounts off fuel on their receipts so always check! You’ll also probably want to pick up a free loyalty card from one of the gas stations to save some money on fuel.
- The price of fuel can greatly vary even in the same town so check the prices at the gas stations instead of just heading to the first one you see. I saw two petrol stations less than 100 metres apart from each other and one was charging almost 15 cents more per litre than the other one!
- Avoid refuelling in petrol stations close to airports, or in very touristy places (Byron Bay that’s you) as the prices are always more expensive.
Why is a camper van the best way to travel round Australia?
- You don’t have to plan your itinerary out so much as you would if you were staying in hotels or hostels each night.
- You can be flexible with your itinerary and stay an extra day somewhere if you like, without having to worry about accommodation you booked somewhere as you know you’ve always got your bed for the night sorted.
- You stay in the campervan every night so you don’t have to pack up your belongings each time you move to a different place – hooray for those people who always need to empty out their whole suitcase!
My JUCY NSW Itinerary
Before my trip I planned my itinerary – there were so many places I wanted to see and so my itinerary was jam packed – over 3000km to cover and just 10 days to do it! But my JUCY Coaster delivered and I got to see everywhere I wanted to see without any hiccups along the way.
How to know where to park your camper van overnight
Make sure you download either Wikicamps Australia or Campermate on your phone before your trip. These apps will show you caravan parks as well as free camping spots.
Both these apps are really helpful and easy to use and best of all they are free (Wikicamps is free for your first two weeks only). They also work offline so you can still use them even without any signal or service! They will show you not only caravan parks and camping areas, but also the price it costs, what facilities are available such as whether there are hot showers or not, and people leave really helpful tips and reviews on places.
During the current global situation this was most definitely helpful as some campgrounds are still closed so people would let you know if they tried to visit and it was still closed. You can also narrow down the search with filters to match specific requirements you are looking for.
Australia is quite strict on overnight camping and if you park in an unauthorised place overnight you could land yourself a big fine so it is crucial you have one of these apps downloaded so you know where the official spots are if you plan to freedom camp. Always double check any signs around if you aren’t sure.
It’s best to have a rough plan of places you want to stay at, especially if they are popular locations (hey Byron Bay that’s you again) or it is the school holidays when places can book up quickly. However it is still perfectly doable to have no plan or itinerary and just pick a location that evening!
Returning the JUCY Coaster
Even though it was only 10 days, I grew really attached to my JUCY Coaster and loved my little home on wheels! Returning it was very easy and hassle free – just make sure you have topped up the fuel and have the van fairly clean. Make sure all the kitchen equipment is clean, the fridge is empty, and any grey water is emptied.
The staff on my return at the Sydney branch were again super friendly and laid-back. I had an amazing time with JUCY, cannot fault the service and the experience and would definitely recommend JUCY as the campervan company of choice when choosing to travel around Australia, New Zealand or USA!
This post is sponsored by JUCY. All views expressed however are my own.
If you are interested in comparing other campervan rental companies then check out Spaceships Campervan Hire – another campervan company in Australia I also recently got to do a road trip with!
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