Whatever you want to call it: driving around Australia or doing the big lap of Australia there are many things you should consider. From deciding on what to drive in, to where you will stay, what equipment you might take and specific things you want to see. So much to think about so you don’t have to while you are on the road. Here are my top tips for driving around Australia.
Don’t try and do it all in the one go! Allocate enough time
Distances between cities and towns can be very long. Have an idea of the kilometre distance between cities and towns and work out how long it might take to drive. You don’t want to set your sights on arriving at a place when you haven’t worked out the actual distance. For instance, the distance driving the Hume Highway – link between Sydney and Melbourne is 800km so in theory, driving at 110km per hour it can take around 10 hours to drive. However, you need to ensure you allocate enough breaks so you can get to your destination safely. Unfortunately, there are literally hundreds of unfortunate roadside memorials you will encounter as you drive around Australia therefore, a strong reminder is to drive safely and take many breaks as you don’t want to end up as one of those roadside memorials because of driver fatigue.
Take Tourist Routes
Getting from A to B as quickly as possible means you often miss out on what is between A to B. Therefore, why not take a tourist route when you see one. You might be lucky enough to experience a fabulous sight, walk through a rainforest, have a swim at a secluded beach or discover native wildlife in their natural habitats. When driving around Australia you have the flexibility of being able to stop whenever and wherever you want. So enjoy what you find!
Try not to drive at night
There are not many, if any at all, streetlights on highways around Australia. In the darkness it is very hard to even see the reflectors on posts on the side of the roads. And if you don’t know the road, driving at night can become stressful. Also many animals come out at dusk to feed or are nocturnal and they can be hard to see at night. And some of them can cause a lot of damage to your car if the two of you collide as you can with other vehicles. I would highly suggest you aim to reach your next stop before sunset. If you need to find somewhere to stay check out Booking.com. Simply put in your location and date you need accommodation and see what is available.
Plan your stops
There are literally hundreds, even thousands of rest stops around Australia. Some are just a gravel area next to the road where you can pull up while others can be rest stops with toilets and a roadside cafe to small towns with all the shops and services you might need. I suggest you do some planning and research of what stops might be available for your journey. That way, if you are running low on petrol for instance, you know you can purchase some at the next town as you don’t want to be caught out.
Stock up on food and water before you hit the road
Although there are plenty of places to stop to purchase some snacks and water it can become expensive. Therefore, before you hit the road to drive around Australia I suggest you visit a supermarket and stock up on some items. In the long run it will save you not just money but time, time that you can spend enjoying yourself rather than worrying about food and water. Also take some useful utensils that will help save you some dollars. My current favourite utensils include my spork and plate, esky to keep things cool and my coffee maker – which I just can’t live without – and my milk whisker. If you would like to purchase any of these items click on the links following.
Watch out for wildlife
Unfortunately we share the roads with wildlife and a lot of the time the wildlife come off second best. When you see a yellow and black sign highlighting a particular animals resides in the area I would take note particularly if you are driving at dawn and dusk when they often come out to feed. If you unfortunately come into contact with any wildlife know the local rescue number – these are often on the wildlife signs.
Use a combination of Map Apps and Printed Maps
Map apps are so easy to use. Simply download them onto your device and away you go. However, just in case you are ever unable to access mobile data or a signal I would suggest you get some printed maps. Yes, they still exist! And they are a great help to organise your travelling route. Having a combination of both should see you being able to work out where to travel to next.
If you want to rent a vehicle but not sure what you want check out RentalCars where you can research types of vehicles, availability of them and their cost for your trip.
Take some Entertainment
The road and what you will see and do should be your entertainment however, on those long (or short) drives having some music, games and maybe access to movies will help you while away the time. These things can be particularly helpful if you are travelling with a few people, particularly children who might be keen to get to the destination.
Look after your Vehicle
Whether it is your own or a rental vehicle I highly advise you look after it. It is extremely important for your own safety, that of the vehicle and other people. Things to regularly check are the water and oil levels as well as your tyre pressure. Depending where you will be driving and what type of terrain you will be driving on looking after these little things will help. In the unlucky case you breakdown, ensure you have your road assist details on you.
So they are my tips for driving around Australia. I hope you find them useful – I know I did – while you are planning your big lap of Australia. If you think of any more I can add to my list please don’t hesitate to leave your comment below.
Hi. I’m Sharyn and welcome to my blog on living, working and playing in Australia. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an Australian airline. I’ve travelled with my family, as a single person, in a couple, with friends and now with my own family. My travels in Australia have inspired this website and my travel guide Live Work and Play in Australia. Read More.