Our Top 10 Australian RV Apps
Ranked in a subjective order of how likely they are to save a life.
Click on an app image to go to the app's download page.
Emergency + (Free)
An app that, if used to call 000 in an emergency, automatically sends exact GPS data to the emergency services about your location. Developed by Australia’s emergency services, it saves having to explain exactly where you are whilst potentially stressed after an accident and possibly in an unfamiliar location. Download it now onto all of your mobile devices.
St John First Aid (Free)
Another potential life saver. Simple, clear, step-by-step instructions on what to do in a range of medical emergencies. Every traveller with a mobile phone should have this app. Better still if you have also
attended a first aid course.
Fires Near Me (Free)
Created by the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fires Near Me lists all active fires in NSW and the ACT. It shows these on a map along with fire type, size and status. Status is divided into three categories – ‘Advice’, ‘Watch and Act’ and ‘Emergency Warning’.
A similar app – VicEmergency – is available for Victoria covering all emergencies in that state. There are also some apps that re-publish state and territory bushfire information across Australia such as Emergency Aus and Fires Near Me Australia.
Bureau of Meteorology (Free)
An essential app for checking weather conditions and the rain radar across Australia. Detailed, clear, location specific weather forecasts that includes both short and long term forecasting. Essential when in tropical zones during cyclone season to learn of cyclone conditions and warnings and useful for checking likely weather conditions during your trip and at your next destination.
Wikicamps Australia (A$7.99)
Probably the most popular app today amongst Australian RV owners, Wikicamps Australia provides a wealth of information on over 22,000 caravan parks, camping grounds, dump points, rest areas and points of interest. There are extensive lists of features and prices for each site. Its greatest strength is its community-driven database, which provides up-to-date user reviews and photos of most sites, giving the latest situation at a particular site.
As with many community-driven apps, reviewers can be both unforgiving and price sensitive, so take this into account when reading reviews. Also keep in mind that ‘Lonely Planet Syndrome’ applies here – anywhere mentioned (especially positively) in a guide will be visited proportionally more than anywhere not mentioned (or mentioned negatively).
Camps Australia Wide (A$5.99)
Extensive caravan park and campsite information across Australia brought to you by the publishers of the widely used Camps Australia Wide books. Crowd sourced reviews as well as extensive site information collected by the publishers. Covers free camping areas and station stays as well as established sites, national parks and rest areas. Offline maps and photos available. Updates can be downloaded with a subscription.
National Public Toilet Map (Free)
Shows the location of more than 14,000 public toilets across Australia. Includes details of opening hours, accessibility and parking (take your own loo paper!).
Trip Advisor remains the leading free resource for travellers worldwide looking to find a good place to stay, eat and explore. Caravan parks and campgrounds will generally be mentioned in the ‘Other Accommodation’ section of the app. RV owners will find especially helpful Trip Advisor’s café and restaurant reviews when looking for a good coffee or meal in an unknown area.
Because of its international recognition, most international travellers will post their reviews here. Much has been written about non-genuine reviews on Trip Advisor (e.g. by a competitor), but this practice has now been largely weeded out by the site’s owners. Nevertheless, give greater weight to reviews written by those who have posted a large number of reviews. The ‘Lonely Planet Syndrome’ (see the Wikicamps Australia entry above) applies here too.
Animal Identification Apps (Various)
It’s always satisfying to know what kind of bird or animal you’re looking at when camping or bush walking. Museums in each state and territory have produced a suite of eight excellent fauna field guides that are available separately. These are complemented by national guides on birds, snakes, frogs, mammals and even dangerous animals.
The Morecombe and Stewart Guide to Birds of Australia (iOS, A$29.99) is worth a special mention for its comprehensive set of images and bird calls covering almost 800 birds.
Stargazing Apps (Various)
There are a dozen or more apps, both paid and free, that help you interpret the sky at night. Stargazing is one of the best activities you can do in remote areas at night, particularly with families. The latest of these apps use the augmented reality capabilities of smart phones to superimpose star constellation names and information over what you are seeing with the naked eye. You don’t always need to be connected to the internet for these to work. A good example of how smart phone technology can be used for educational purposes whilst being fun at the same time.
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