Taking a Road Trip through Australia: 10 Tips for an Epic Journey
Getting ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Australia will provide you with plenty of amazing sights and tastes, especially if you decide to go exploring with a personal vehicle. A well-organized road trip will allow you to taste the freedom of Oz and have an epic journey. But how does one prepare for an adventure like that?
Come up with an itinerary
You probably know that Australia is huge, so if you just hit the road without even a loose plan, you’ll not have such an exciting time. You can spend days and hundreds of dollars on driving without seeing that much, so having a good itinerary will be crucial. Find spots that you’ll want to see and come up with a route that will get you past them. But, make sure to be flexible—there are many surprise spots you might want to check out.
Check for sealed roads
Most of the roads in Outback and Western Australia are not sealed and require a good 4WD vehicle. So, make sure to check which roads are accessible to you. HEMA maps all have unsealed roads visibly marked, so there’s no way you can make a mistake.
Rent a satellite phone
If you want to travel any remote areas of the continent or are excited to hit rough terrain, consider getting a satellite phone. You’ll have zero coverage in the many parts and you can drive without signal for days! Also, make sure to print out everything from your itinerary to your maps and tickets. Don’t expect to have any internet, so say bye to your emails, Instagram notifications and everything else stored on the Cloud.
Get car insurance
Safety is always first when it comes to road trips, so make sure to pack a shovel, rope, flairs and other first aid items. But, getting comprehensive car insurance is even more important. If you pick the right company, you can protect your vehicle from things like theft, fire, accidents, storms, floods and even earthquakes. And make sure to choose a deal that includes roadside assistance, so that you know someone’s got your back even if you get stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Book tours ahead
Popular attractions in Australia like Great Barrier Reef excursions can be booked out over two weeks in advanced, so make sure to make your reservations in advance. It can be frustrating to drive 1000 kilometers only to realize you can’t enjoy something you’ve been looking forward to.
Be mindful of custom controls
Some state borders like borders of Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia have custom control. This means you’ll have to stop and have your car searched by police. If you take prohibited items across the border, you can be facing high fines.
Bring plenty of water
No matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving, make sure you can pack enough water. Most campervans have big 20l tanks, but even that’s not enough, so consider adding another one. In remote areas, water is scarce, and even if you come across it, it might not be safe to drink. Where water is precious, expect to pay a lot of money for refills, so it’s better to come prepared. Also, if your car breaks down, it’s best to have plenty of liquid to keep you hydrated.
Stock up on gas bottles
If you’re planning to cook on your road trip, make sure you have a good gas stove with you with plenty of gas. While gas bottles are very cheap in big cities (around $10) you can expect to pay over $50 for a small bottle in a small town in Outback.
Avoid night drives
Australia is a pretty safe country when it comes to crime, but driving during the night has its own threats. The continent is full of active nocturnal animals that can cause massive damage to your car and even cause injury to humans. Also, some roads care littered with animal carcasses. Massive road trains usually stop for nothing and no one, so they just plow into any animal that happens to hop in front of them, leaving carnage behind. So, it’s better to rest during the night and drive when the sun comes out.
Keep road rules in mind
Australia is very strict when it comes to fines, so it’s very smart to keep all those road rules in mind if you want to save some money during your road trip. For instance, expect to pay over $300 if you forget to wear a seat belt in Queensland. Speeding fines go anywhere from $150 to over $1000! And rules of the road differ from state to state, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled to road signs and study the rules beforehand. There are so many better ways you can spend your money than on fines.
With these tips in mind, you’ll have a safe and fun road trip that will allow you to get familiar with all the best sides of Australia. So, keep them in mind when packing and preparing and enjoy your Oz adventure to the fullest.