If you’re someone that thinks the best way to experience a place is to explore it by road, then you’re in for a treat when you visit Australia—it’s a concept that certainly rings true when visiting this vast and beautiful country.
If you love the idea of an Australian road trip but are a little unsure of how best to go about it, here are a few valuable tips that will help you plan the ultimate road trip that’s sure to be remembered forever.
Have a loose itinerary in mind
Australia is a big place—in fact, it’s enormous. If you’re visiting for the first time, it’s easy to underestimate the drive time between various destinations and you can quickly find yourself in a tricky spot.
It’s also a very diverse nation with landscapes that range from lush tropical rainforests to surf beaches, vast countryside, alpine mountain ranges and arid deserts. Basically, it’s not the sort of place where you can simply arrive, jump in a vehicle and hit the road.
If you want to make sure you get the type of experience you’re after, it’s worth doing some research to find a few key destinations and attractions that catch your interest and check the approximate drive times between each location to see what’s realistically possible within the time you have.
While it’s always smart to build some ‘wriggle room’ into your itinerary so you can make a quick detour if something captures your interest along the way, you will thank yourself for doing a little advance-planning.
Choose your vehicle wisely
While you might normally view hire cars as a way to get from A to B while on holiday, it’s likely you’ll be spending a fair amount of time in your car if road tripping in Australia, so it’s important to really think about what you need in a vehicle.
At a minimum, you want to ensure you choose a vehicle that’s spacious enough to comfortably fit all travellers and their luggage, is kitted out with air conditioning (essential in Australia), offers good mileage, includes insurance and isn’t limited by a daily kilometre travel limit.
You may also want to consider hiring a motorhome. A motorhome will allow you to travel unrestricted with everything you need in tow, including your accommodation. It’s relatively easy to find motorhomes for hire in all major cities around Australia and most can be driven on a full driver’s licence from your home country (provided it’s written in English).
Suss out your accommodation in advance
Depending on where you’re travelling, accommodation can get expensive in many locations around Australia (particularly during peak season) so it’s worth searching for the best deals and booking in a few places in advance.
There are plenty of accommodation comparison sites you can use to search for the best deals, and Australia is also home to a large Airbnb network if home-style accommodation appeals to you.
Even if you opt to hire a motorhome, it’s still a good idea to book spots at a few caravan or holiday parks along your route in advance, as you will need to plug the vehicle into a powered site every few nights.
Don’t forget to pack the essentials
It’s also important to remember to pack all the essentials you’ll need while on the road. While what you need will vary depending on the time of year and areas of Australia you’re travelling to, some essentials you should always consider packing include:
- GPS or maps – This will make it significantly easier to get around and locate different points of interest along the way. If you’re using a map app like Google maps, just remember to pre-load the route before you head off to ensure it will still work if you lose internet connectivity.
- Warm clothing – Even during the warmer half of the year many areas of Australia can still experience cold weather, particularly in the evening after the sun sets.
- Food and water – Always handy to have if you can’t find any shops, but water is always an absolute must if you’re travelling inland where it’s not uncommon to encounter long stretches of road without any shops or amenities.
- Your camera – You’re almost guaranteed to come across some breathtaking scenery no matter where you decide to travel in Australia, so make sure you remember to pack your camera so you can take some snaps to remember it by.
Most importantly, don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure! Australia really is one of those nations that has something for everyone—it’s just up to you to find what it is that you’re looking for!