How To Plan The Perfect Australian Road Trip

by Lillian Jean

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? If you have made your way to Australia the adventure is already unfolding but take the experience on the road! The country continent leaves travelers feeling as if they have visited different worlds as they traverse the vast landscape. Trying to see it all can seem impossible but it’s as easy as hopping behind the wheel. Use the following as a roadmap to your perfect Australian road Trip!

A greeting from a local on an Australian Roadtrip
A greeting from a local on an Australian Roadtrip. Photo Courtesy of Lillian Jean

Where Are You Going?

You have to start at the beginning. You need a plan. Both google maps and good old tangible fold out maps are great for planning where you want to go. Definitely have at least one fold out map for those times between any kind of service. Plus, it’s easy for everyone to mark ideas. Be sure to research potential spots to stop along the way, and don’t go by just the biggest towns. Dig up the interesting and isolated corners of the country. How much time you have will determine how far you can go and keep in mind that Australia is a large continent.

Popular routes include traveling the northeast coast, somewhere in between Sydney and Cairns, and also the 151 mile stretch known as the Great Ocean Road in the south of Australia. If you are feeling brave, combine the two routes, or even better drive across the whole country. The Sydney to Perth route following the southern coastline is an over 2100 mile long course that many adventurous travelers choose to undertake.

Choosing Your Vehicle

As road trips are quite popular in Australia, and prove to be one of the best ways to see the country, caravan hiring is a service that is easy to find. Australia has got the whole road trip thing so well covered that your vehicle can come with its own custom paint job that is sure to start the trip out on the right foot.

Another option is to buy a cheap car especially for your road trip, splitting the price between your friends, this can be a less reliable option, but can also work out to be cheaper. Being responsible for the vehicle comes with its share of perks and possible consequences. Where and when you go is completely up to you and there is no one to answer to in terms of the vehicle’s condition. This independence can be a double edged sword. People end their trip missing windows, with dysfunctional indicators and lights, and cars that occasionally decide to take breaks of their own. Either way the vehicle becomes another member of the trip. It is an important aspect and another element of adventure.  

Uluru or Ayers Rock

Uluru or Ayers Rock

Sleeping and Eating Arrangements

Meeting locals in new countries is an important part of experiencing the county to the fullest, so arranging to stay with people that you may have distant or even no relation too can be both cheap and ten times more interesting. Check out websites that offer couch sharing, and contact all your friends and family for people they may happen to know in this corner of the world. You may be surprised and find a whole heap of distant relatives in Western Australia that you had no idea about.

If the weather is looking to be marvelous, camping is a very much recommended way of experiencing Australia. Immerse yourself in nature and put on a barbeque. Cheap camping equipment can be found in most bigger towns in Australia without any problem. Camping grounds are easy to find and are often a great way of meeting other road trippers. Most camping groups will have essential facilities, like toilets, showers, and some form of cooking device, but otherwise get creative and cook and shop according to the conditions. Enjoy picnics in car parks and turn scenic overlooks into five star restaurants.

Document It

A road trip is a great excuse to make blogs, and take ridiculously long car window videos. Be sure to perfect the self timer group shots, and get skilled in balancing your camera on any partially stable object. You just never know when or where you will come across a great photo opportunity.

Try taking a photo at every welcome sign to a new town or city you are stopping in, and definitely if you enter a new state. Cameras are also the perfect cure to boredom. There will be barren spans of Australian Outback that leave you with nothing but each other’s company for hours. Taking silly photos and videos may be all you have for entertainment till the next stop.

Get Excited

No matter what happens, your road trip is guaranteed to be an experience. Ensuring that it is a positive one that includes some of the happiest carefree memories of your life is up to you. Be prepared to try new things from water sports, exotic foods, or maybe even changing the car’s oil! 

Trust the crazy bartender that recommends you go searching through the bush for old water tanks now full of graffiti. It’s those kinds of risks that will set your experience apart from the rest, and they become the best stories later on. 

So approach your road trip as the best job in the world, where your only mission is to have the most fun possible.

The Shipwreck Coast of Victoria, Australia

The Shipwreck Coast of Victoria, Australia

Be Safe

There has been lots of talk of the fun and adventure so it’s time for a friendly reminder about safety. Above everything, the thing you should take the most seriously is insuring that you drive safely. You may find yourself driving for long hours, through the night, and on dodgy roads. There are many kangaroos in Australia and as cute as they are, they can also be a bit of a hazard. It is very common, particularly at dusk and dawn, for them to jump out onto the road and cause accidents. Be sure to use a driver rotation, and take good care of the driver. Provide them with refreshments, play the music they like, and keep their brain active without distracting them.  

Also, make sure you don’t drive with a low tank of gas. There are some areas in Australia where miles and miles stretch between any evidence of civilization. If you are planning to buy a car for cheap, get it checked up before you hit the road, so you know that it will last the journey and it’s not going to cause any accidents or major setbacks.

Be safe and have a blast. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the dips and turns of this massive and diverse country so enjoy the ride and happy road tripping!