Apollo Campers All Over Australia
Whilst driving in Australia, you are probably going to see more Apollo branded vehicles on Australian roads than any other campervan rental company. Currently they have over 4000 vehicles with plans to add another 1500 vehicles to the fleet. Established in 1985 in Australia, they now also operate in New Zealand, USA and Canada. Whilst the Apollo brand is probably the most famous of the brands operated by this company, they also own Star RV, Cheapa Campa and Hippie Campers, which satisfy the higher, middle and lower priced segments of the market. Within the Apollo branded vehicles you will find Campervans, Motorhomes and 4wd campers.
By far the most complained about aspect of Apollo is the time it takes to return the safety deposit that you give when you commence hire. All campervan and motorhome rental companies will take a bond of some sort – Apollo seems to be lagging the most in getting it back to you. In the mean time it can leave a big hole in your credit card that may rack you up some interest charges with your bank. Considering the amount of complaints about it (see the comments below) I can only assume they are stashing it away in a short term high interest account. There is nothing you can do to speed it up so be prepared.
Apollo is aimed at those travelers with just a little bit more money and more care for quality. Their cheapest camper is still of pretty good quality and is a Hi Top camper with all the modern conveniences. From there the vehicles just get bigger, better, nicer and pricier.
Competitors most similar to Apollo:
Similar competitors that you might not have heard of:
Being one of the biggest campervan and motorhome hire companies in the country they have branches is plenty of places:
- Alice Springs
Campervans and Motorhomes running under the Apollo brand in Australia are a maximum of 3 years old. After that they sell them or pass them on to their cheaper family of campers under the brand of Cheapa Campa.
Like pretty much all the campervan hire companies you are charged by calendar days used, not time of day picked up like car rental. So it pays to pick up early and drop off late as you are paying for whole day regardless.
If you rent a motorhome with a toilet you will have to get used to the idea of emptying it as if you return it full, you will be paying a fee. Which begs the question – where is the nearest dump point to the location you are returning to. There are not many dump points inside major cities. Check out http://www.dumppoints.com
Reviews of the Apollo Campervans:
Apollo Hi Top Campervan
- 2ppl only
- Base model so has less inclusions
- Bed set up across the bench seats
- Half size fridge
- Manual pump water
- Storage above driver
- Fully stand up
- Pillow and case, sleeping bag, sheet, bath towel cooking gear
- Expect to pay at least $63pd
This is the base model vehicle for Apollo keeping bells and whistles to a minimum. Whilst it could sleep 4, it can only seat 2 as the kitchenette is directly behind the driver, meaning other passengers would have to sit sideways on the bench seats and this is not allowed. All the necessities are there for driving, sleeping cooking eating and cleaning but that’s about it. It’s good to know, however, that all Apollo branded vehicles are no more than 3 years old so you will still be getting a good quality base model.
Looking for a cheaper, older model? Try their mid range company Cheapa Campa
Good: can stand up, will be under 3 years old, expect simple and you’ll be ok.
Functions well to get from place A-B, cook and sleep, but not much else.
Storage above driver cabin not entirely taken up bedding and mattresses.
Bad: still got to find public toilets and showers regularly (for toilets, download Show the Loo app)
Small gas cylinder of 2kg
Sleeping bags supplied: who want to be sleeping in a bag 100 other people have been in.
Ugly: Manual vehicle
Apollo Euro Tourer Campervan
- 2 ppl
- VW base
- Shower, toilet
- 3 burner stove
- 3/4 size fridge
- TV & DVD player
- Air con whilst parked (mains power)
- Double bed made from the lounge area
- expect to pay: $123pd
Why the Euro name? – because it is based on a European model vehicle – in this case a VW rather than the Australian built Hiace used for the other 2 campervan models (used to be Mercedes Sprinter so don’t be surprised if you get a Merc model). With total shut down of all vehicle manufacturing taking place in Australia, pretty soon Apollo will have to name all their vehicles after other parts of the globe.
The Euro tourer is the luxury model of the campervan class. Significantly bigger than the Hiace model that is used for the HiTop and Endeavour models, it could easily fit 4 people, but Apollo have decided it is better suited to 2 people traveling in style. This vehicle is when you are really starting to get to hotel-room style on wheels. Electric pump water, TV, DVD, air con (when on mains power), 3/4 sized fridge bigger than many hotels – shower and toilet. If connected to mains power, this has all the facilities of a decent hotel room minus the carpet. When not on power you will lose the air con and microwave and the use of any power sockets however, this is the same for all campervan and motorhomes that carry those items. A normal powered site at a caravan park will set you back $30. Some will be more in high season, some will be less in some towns. (if you are interested in comparing campervan hire using caravan parks VS car hire and hotels, read this article )
Of course, like all things luxury, there is an additional price to pay. In this case it is basically double what you will pay for the HiTop and 50% more than the Endeavour, but if you are the kind of person that likes to glam it up when traveling, this is the unit for you.
Good: Well appointed inside makes it a plush ride.
Doonas and sheets rather than sleeping bags and sheets.
Got to empty toilet casette before return which can be a smelly job.
Interior heigh only 1.9mtr (other models 2m)
Ugly: They don’t even throw in some camp chairs for free when you rent this higher priced vehicle, still got to rent them separately.
Apollo Endeavour Campervan
- 4 ppl – indicated to be 2 adults sleeping below and 2 kids sleep above, however I checked with Apollo about having 4 adults and it is fine to do. The maximum weight rating for the upper bed is 200kg. The average weight of an adult is 75kg so just be sure to sort your sleeping out accordingly.
- Can fit child seat – forward facing only from 9kg/70cm upwards.
- Auto transmission
- 1/2 size fridge
- Little storage as the compartment above driver full of bedding
- Expect to pay at least $78pd
Good: 4 peeps
baby seat capability
Bad: Not going to be a lot of storage for 4 peoples gear
Ugly: Child seat is $30pd – only about $11 when you rent a car.
What’s the difference between…
Hi-Top and the Endeavour Campervans?
Endeavour – Auto transmission; HiTop – Manual
Endeavour – baby seats OK; HiTop – nope
Endeavour – water tank 55 litres; HiTop – 31 Litres
Endeavour – Doona and sheets; HiTop – Sleeping bag and sheets
The rest is the same.
Reviews of the Apollo Motorhomes:
Apollo Euro Camper Motorhome
- 4 ppl
- Manual transmission
- Baby seats available
- Shower toilet etc
- Air con in the main cabin when on mains power
- Expect to pay: $145pd
Motorhomes are bigger, plusher and more expensive than campervans and generally have walk through access from the front seat. The base model of the motorhomes for Apollo is the the Euro Camper. As we have moved into the more luxurious category, TVs, DVDs, Microwaves, showers and toilets all become standard and this motorhome is no exception. This model is perfectly acceptable and being less than 3 years old will have all the mod cons that you are after. You can expect a higher level of quality of appointments, but one of the biggest complaints about motorhomes is that the shower/toilet area is “smelly”. Everyones tolerances are different but keep this in mind for all motorhomes with those facilities.
Good: Comfy for 4 peeps
Baby seat available for family friendly
Cheapest motorhome model
Bad: Mileage on motorhomes is poor at 14ltrs per 100km
Ugly: emptying toilet cassettes can be bad news for the squeamish
Apollo Euro Star Motorhome
- Auto transmission
- Reversing camera
- Side awing
- Microwave and gas oven
- 2 gas + 1 electric hot plate
- 3/4 sized fridge
- Outdoor stereo and speakers
- Double bed over cabin
- Double bed with electric lift/lower
- Expect to pay at least: $156pd
This is just a slightly upgraded model of the Euro Camper. The swanky thing about this model that sets it apart from many others is the electric raise and lower of the double bed at the back. Very handy at the end of the day when it comes to bed time – no moving of boards and cushions to make the bed. The only concern is what if it gets stuck? I hope there is a manual override. Generally the more moving parts a thing has, the more things there are to break down. There is also a slide out cooker come BBQ from the side of the motorhome. Australia loves to BBQ so this is a welcome addition to allow for smokey outdoor cooking under the expansive awning.
This is a really homely unit. It has luxury and comfort and will be just a like a plush hotel room on wheels for those who want all the creature comforts when they travel.
What’s the Difference Between…
Euro Star and Euro Camper Motorhomes?
Euro Star: automatic – Euro Camper: manual transmission
Euro Star: fridge 150ltr – Euro Camper: 110ltr
Euro Star: cooktop 3 (2 gas 1 electric) + oven – Euro Camper:3 gas
Euro Star: gas 9kg – Euro Camper: 4 kg
Euro Star: water tank 150ltr – Euro Camper: 100ltrs
Euro Star: Electric life bed – Euro Camper: no lift. smaller 2nd bed
Apollo Euro Deluxe Motorhome
- Manual transmission
- 2 dining areas
- Side awning
- Reversing camera
- Air con
- Toilet and Shower
- 3 gas burner and microwave
- 1/2 size fridge
- Baby seat OK
- Waste water tank
- Expect to pay: $156pd
This is the largest model Apollo offers with 3 double beds for 6 people. The fridge is a little small to cater for 6 people I think, but there is a lot to fit in to this motorhome. Something else to keep in mind is showering for 6. The hot water system can be slow to heat up and quick to run out in motorhomes, so don’t plan on all 6 people showing one-after-the-other. You should spread it out between mornings and nights – and keep the times to a minimum, 100 litres of water won’t go far when there are 6 showers in a day. On the up side, this model has a grey water waste tank making the vehicle entirely self enclosed. This is handy for some council parking rules that only allowed self contained motorhomes to park legally overnight on the side of the road.
There are actually a tonne of little things in this motorhome that make it a sweet ride, not the least of which is the separate dining area for kids, the awning and the outdoor speakers so make sure you sit through a walkthrough video for this motorhome before you drive away in it.
Good: 6 people
Bad: small fridge
1 bed a little small
Ugly: Changing a flat tire is a REAL pain
Apollo Euro Slider Motorhome
- Auto transmission
- Slide out wall
- Side awning
- NO child seat allowed
- Full size fridge
- walk through access
- 4 stove cooker
- Full oven 4 cooker stove, range hood, microwave
- Reversing camera
- Air Con
- Expect to pay: $173pd
Apollo are stepping up a notch with this motorhome being the only one that has a slide out wall to expand the living and cooking area when parked. If you are looking for a hotel-room-on-wheels, then you have found it here.
With all the modern conveniences for both cooking and relaxing, it will be hard to find a motorhome flasher than this when you turn up to a caravan park. Please keep in mind the motorhome must be parked on a flat stable surface to be able to side out, this is not always the case with roadside stops. Roadside stops are normally in great condition along the main Australian highways, but if you want to be get off the beaten track and on the the B roads and C roads, the spots are less maintained. You shouldn’t let this stop you from renting this motorhome, just something to keep in mind. Like the Euro Deluxe, this motorhome has a grey water tank so is completely self contained – very handy if you find yourself pulling up to a road side stop that only allows overnighting in fully self contained vehicles.
It is a little pedestrian and long but I really advise you watch it all before renting it or heading out in it.
Good: Luxury and space via the slide out wall
Fully self contained
Decent amount of gas for hot water and cooking
Bad: Get to 2nd bed via a ladder
Must be parked on flat solid base to open slide wall
Ugly: Changing a tire will be a bitch
If looking for something even more luxurious than the Apollo Motorhomes, then Star RV campers start at $244 and go up from there.
Review of the Apollo 4WD Campervans
Apollo are offering 3 models of 4wd (4×4) campervans. A low-level model for 2 people (Adventure Camper) and low-level model for 4 people (Outback Camper) and a hard-core, go anywhere for 2 people (Trailfinder Camper).
What do i mean by low-level and hard core?
Low Level – Dirt roads that are graded or slightly washboard roads, creek crossings, grass fields, flat-lands.
Hard core – Desert tracks, deep ruts, severe washboard roads, steep incline/decline, forest track bush bashing.
Both the Adventure Camper and Outback Camper are built on the concept of building turtle shell accommodation on the back of a ute (flat bed vehicle). These utes are mainly used by tradies to carry tools and get into muddy places for work. Strictly speaking they are full 4wd vehicles (not AWD) including Hi and Low range gears but are not great for high ground clearance and steep terrain.
The Trailfinder Camper, built out of the Toyota Landcruiser is in another category. If you are looking to go to those places in Australia that only the few get to go to, this is the 4wd campervan for you. It will go places the other models won’t go due to it’s high ground clearance, whopping V8 turbo diesel engine, all terrain tires and it’s pure engineering to survive no matter what you throw at it.
Don’t get me wrong, you can go plenty of places in Australia with the Adventure and Outback models, but quite honestly, there will be a nagging feeling in the back of your mind – will we make it to the end of this track? No such feeling with the Trailfinder. It’s more like – that track was killer fun, where is the next one.
The Trailfinder is also better appointed for outback adventure. 2x 90ltr tanks not only gives you more fuel, but a safety in case once gets a puncture. The water tank is nicely tucked under the chassis keeping it safe but not getting in the way of day to day use. In the other 2 models, water and extra fuel all come in jerry cans.
If you have kids and you must go with a 4 seater, then obviously the Outback Camper is the model for you, but if you are a couple looking to see the wilds of Australia, you can’t go pass the Trailfinder the hopefully will get you into a little trouble but will also be able to get you out of it too.
BTW if you can grab an air compressor from an auto store it is well worth it on long off-road trips. When driving on long dirt roads you should let air out of the tires, the compressor will let you blow them back up once you get on the bitumen.
Huge company with massive fleet.
A quality company
Plenty of depot locations
Can book out in peak periods due to popularity.
Mid to high price range
People complain about how long it takes to get deposit back.
SUMMARY: This is a benchmark company that the others measure themselves against. You will almost certainly find a vehicle style to suit you but they book out quick in high season because of their popularity
By Tim Ahern