What Size Motorhome You Can Drive In Australia

Choosing a motorhome size

What Size Motorhome You Can Drive In Australia

Thinking about buying a motorhome? One of the first considerations you may have is around its size. If you’ve started looking at motorhomes for sale, you’ll have noticed there is a wide variety of lengths, sizes, and shapes available. This may have you asking questions such as:

In this blog, we’ll answer these questions and more! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about motorhome size, including:



First up, let’s take a quick look at driver licensing requirements in Australia.


What size motorhome can you drive on a car licence?


The majority of motorhomes you see on the road can be driven with a full car licence.

This is provided they don’t have a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of more than 4.5 tonnes (we’ll explain all about GVM further down).

If your motorhome or campervan weighs more than 4.5 tonnes, you will require a special Light Rigid (LR) or Medium Rigid (MR) licence. RVs of this size are often 8-berth motorhomes such as bus or truck conversions.

Having the proper driving licence is important when you’re driving a motorhome in Australia. It means you’ve got a good understanding of the road rules and any restrictions that might apply to you and your vehicle. This means you’re safer to drive, and less likely to have an accident. You’ll also avoid a big fine or prosecution if caught without it.



How to get an LR or MR licence if you need it


In order to apply for an LR or MR licence in Australia, you need to have had a full driver’s licence (Class C) for at least a year. You will then need to pass a written test tailored to heavy vehicles and pass a driving test. There are many certified courses in Australia that take care of the whole process.

Note, tests can vary between states. For more information on your state’s licensing requirements, check the relevant website:




What licence do you need as an Australian resident?


If you are a local resident, you can generally drive a motorhome with a GVM of 4500 kg or less on any current and valid car licence (Class C). As long as you have had your full licence for at least 12 months, you’ll be able to legally drive a motorhome.


What licence do you need to drive a motorhome if you are from overseas?


Planning an Australian road trip but coming here from another country? You can drive a campervan with your overseas licence, but there are some conditions to note, including:

  • Your licence must be valid for your entire stay in Australia.
  • If your licence isn’t in English, you must either get an international driving permit or have an official English translation.
  • Similarly to Australian drivers, you can drive a campervan that weighs up to 4.5 tonnes in GVM. And, your campervan can’t have more than 12 seats, including the driver.
  • These requirements may differ slightly between states, so it pays to have a look at the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website to be sure.



What are the maximum dimensions of an Australian motorhome?


A motorhome’s dimensions are not allowed to exceed the following specifications:

  • Length: 12.5 metres
  • Width: 2.5 metres
  • Height: 4.3 metres


How do you find out the GVM weight of your motorhome?


The GVM is the heaviest weight your vehicle can be when it’s fully loaded up. This includes people, each of your water tanks, food, what you’ve packed for your trip, spare equipment, clothing, outdoor furniture etc.

To understand GVM, you also need to know about:

  • Tare Weight: This is the ‘empty’ weight of your vehicle but includes all engine fluids and a 10L reserve. Note, this may not include dealer inclusions or optional fittings added at the time of purchase.
  • Payload: This is the maximum weight you can load into your RV. To work out your payload, simply deduct the tare weight from the GVM.

You can find the GVM weight on the compliance plate of your motorhome, which is located on the inside of the driver's door. There may also be an additional sticker if the motorhome has undergone additional modifications, which should specify the GVM.

If you’re unsure whether your motorhome is over its GVM once you’re fully loaded, it’s a good idea to check. To get the most accurate weight, take your motorhome to be weighed on a weighbridge. These are often found at dump stations.


How much do the essentials weigh?



Wondering how much of your payload your motorhome must-haves are likely to use up?

Here’s a rough guide (based on four travellers) to help you think about various items to add to your calculations:


  • Adult passengers                                                             75 kg each
  • Children (x 2)                                                                   80 kg
  • Clothing, shoes, and personal items                                70 kg
  • Bedding and towels                                                          10 kg
  • Food supplies (for one week)                                           30 kg
  • Cooking equipment                                                           12 kg
  • Bottled drinks                                                                      6 kg
  • One full gas bottle (9kg capacity) 16 kg TV and satellite  20 kg
  • Microwave                                                                         10 kg
  • Cleaning equipment                                                            2 kg
  • Outdoor table and chairs                                                   20 kg




It may be tempting to load up your motorhome with as much as you can carry. However, this can lead to all sorts of trouble including:


It can lead to unsafe driving 

An overweight motorhome can lead to an increased chance of getting into an accident. You may find it is harder to slow down and brake, speed up when necessary, or control your motorhome when taking tight corners or descending down hills.


It may void your warranty and insurance policy 

If you were to get in an accident and your motorhome is over the legal weight, your warranty and insurance policy may be voided. That can end up being very costly if you need any repair work done to your motorhome (or someone else’s vehicle!).


It can get you in trouble with the law 

As a motorhome owner, it is important to abide by the legal driving requirements.

These are designed to avoid putting yourself and others in danger. Australian police have the power to stop motorhomes and caravans to check their weight. If yours is found to be overweight you could receive a hefty fine.


It could damage your campervan or motorhome 

If your motorhome is carrying too much weight, it may break down or get damaged. This, in turn, could lead to accidents that put you, your passengers and other road users in danger.


In the market for a new motorhome?


Now that you know about size and licensing requirements, it could be time to think about buying a campervan with KEA.

KEA’s RVs are made especially for Australia’s unique road conditions. From two-person campervans for couples and singles, to six-berth motorhomes for travelling with family and friends, KEA has an RV for every traveller.

KEA Motorhomes is backed by thl who own and operate the popular maui, Britz and Mighty motorhome rentals across Australia. This means KEA Motorhomes can offer a great try before you buy option. Rent from any thl brand and if you buy a motorhome within three months of your hire, we'll give you your rental cost back. You’ll receive cash back of a value of up to 7 days hire* - just provide proof of your thl hire. *It is the cost of the rental only, add-on products and insurance is not included.

And if you’ve still got questions, such as ‘which is the best small motorhome for me?’, just ask our KEA motorhome experts. They can explain the different options available, help you compare motorhomes, and offer RV-buying tips. They can also show you through our range of KEA ex-rental campervans for sale.

After talking with one of our team, buying an RV feels a lot less overwhelming and you’ll feel more confident about making the right choice. Contact us via phone or email or pop into one of our nationwide KEA RV dealerships.

Ready to buy a motorhome with KEA? Take the first step and check out the great range online today.

Keen to know more about RV ownership? Check out more of our helpful blogs: