Traveling around Australia is a great way to pack in all of the great sights and landmarks this country has to offer, as many of them are spread out between major cities. However, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. Take these tips into account as you plan your trip!
Know the distances
Australia is huge – often deceptively so. While it may look as though there are nice, simple roads stretching directly between most major cities, the fact of the matter is that they are often a lot longer than they seem. You need to know how far you can travel in a day so that you can work out where to stop for the night – most trips between cities will take more than a day because of the sheer scale involved. Plus, many landmarks are off the beaten track. As for the roads themselves, they can be smaller and less well-maintained than you would expect.
Get the right vehicle
You will most likely want a 4WD vehicle, simply because any ‘normal’ city car is not going to be able to cope well in the outback. You’ll want to opt for air conditioning, especially if you are travelling in the summer, and the vehicle must be hardy enough to travel long distances. You’ll want to consider fuel consumption as well! Whether you hire a vehicle or buy something second-hand to sell on at the end of your trip, don’t skimp out and get something cheap. It needs to last the whole journey, not break down in the middle of the outback.
Plan your stops
Book into motels or hotels along your route ahead of time – you don’t want to be stuck with no options if the one roadside motel you were planning to stay at is already full. You will also want to consider carefully what you do when you reach each city on your trip. Make things easier for yourself by booking a parking space in the city centre ahead of time with a sharing community site like Parkhound, where it won’t cost you a fortune. This way you can park up, get out, and use your time exploring – not circling around looking for somewhere to stop.
Pack the essentials
Because you will be on isolated stretches of road for long periods of time, it’s important that you stock up with everything you might need. You won’t be able to stop off and buy it when you need it! Make sure you have the following:
- Road maps of the local area – NOT on your phone, but on paper, as a signal can be spotty
- A compass, matches, and firelighter blocks if your car breaks down and you need to look for help
- More food than you think you’ll need, preferable in ready-to-eat form
- More water than you think you’ll need
- Two changes of clothes extra on top of what you expect to need, including both hot and cold weather gear
- A medicine box with first aid supplies
- Sunblock, insect repellent
- Tools for working on your car such as a jack to help change the tyres
- A torch and a long-handled shovel
Finally, make sure you always stay safe. Check your tyre pressures each morning, check your fuel levels, and always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to arrive.
Driving across remote regions of Australia can be a lot of fun, but only if you are prepared. Don’t get yourself into trouble with the wrong vehicle or lack of supplies! It’s so easy to set yourself up, there’s no excuse.
About the Author
Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.