Once backpacking through Australia? Only those who have experienced this know the feeling of true freedom. The wide roads, the enchanting sunsets and the permanent summer feeling – that’s what makes the road trip through Australia so popular. A few things have to be done before departure, so that at the end there is no disaster, but a really good trip.
Organize and go – this is how it really works
Anticipation is known to be the best joy, so when planning the trip, the desire for the trip is already raging in the belly. Organizational talent is needed, because for the stay in Australia you need a visa. This is conveniently applied for at the Australian embassy and can also be done online. It is also important to have a health insurance for abroad, because if it comes to a medical emergency, that is important.
It is also important that the necessary documents are carried along. With a rental car you need the registration papers, in addition, the driver’s license should be in the luggage and geographically valid. If you plan a road trip in Australia you have to check with the authorities if you are allowed to use an EU driver’s license. The ideal itinerary connects the north with the red center , here you need a car suitable for off-road use, with enough space for all kinds of luggage.
Speaking of luggage, we have put together an ultimate road trip packing list for you here.
Australia road trip: rent or buy a car?
It depends on how long you are planning your Australia road trip for. Renting a car always has the advantage that you don’t have to take care of paperwork and that there is always a provider behind you who will help you with questions or in case of emergency. But: if you are planning a longer trip (a month or more), it is definitely advisable to think about buying a car. This is usually cheaper. Many globetrotters simply sell the car again after the road trip – even if you don’t get the entire purchase price back, it’s cheaper on balance. And: You have more freedom in terms of mileage and where you go with the car.
Especially those who plan to sleep in the car should take a closer look at van or camper. The advantage of camping cars: The equipment including kitchenette is usually already included. A van is usually cheaper to rent or buy. But then you also need the right camping and hiking equipment. And that can be quite expensive. The best thing to do is to make a cost breakdown and compare the different options.
Route planning with brains – plan already before departure
A clever route planning makes the road trip in Australia a success. This should be done before departure, because Australia is too big to just drive into the blue. The right route depends on the length of the stay. It is worthwhile to make a list of what should be included in the plan. Those who like to observe animals can take a different route than someone who prefers to meet locals.
Australia scores with an extensive flora and fauna, the nature is stunning, but also some cities are worth visiting. Especially popular are road trips from national park to national park, because in the protected areas the highlights can be visited in large groups. Whether rainforest or desert landscape, the different areas of Australia all have their own charm.
© Photo by Germane Jaws on Unsplash
Australia road trip: Where to stay?
And the overnight stay? This also depends on what kind of trip is being planned. On a city trip you can book cheap hostels, where the question of sympathetic contacts is quickly answered. It is not uncommon to find whole travel groups, which remain in contact with each other. If you prefer to travel in the countryside or in nature, you will find suitable campsites everywhere, which can be booked for little money. Because camping is very popular in Australia. A tent in the trunk is enough. Attention: Even if it is tempting to sleep somewhere in the wilderness, this is usually not recommended. It is usually not allowed and so there are heavy penalties. It’s also better for the environment if you only stay at designated campsites. As already mentioned, there are enough of these in Australia.
If the road trip leads over the highway, it is worthwhile to drive to rest stops. Overnight stays are often free of charge and showers are available for use. Cozy looks different, but a road trip is not about sleeping comfortably, but about the beauty of a whole continent.
Road Traffic in Australia
In Australia you have to drive on the left side of the road. It may take some getting used to at the beginning, but especially if you are driving overland, you don’t have to expect so much traffic – and you can cruise through the impressive landscape in a relaxed way. The traffic rules in Down Under are very similar to those here. There are (self-explanatory) road signs, furthermore there is a speed limit on the highway. A small toll is charged for road use. But it is usually not more than five dollars. However, you can use the “toll booths avoided” setting in your navigation device to avoid the checkpoints. But then you should usually plan even more time for your Australia road trip.
Road trip in Australia: A few safety tips
Australia is a safe country to travel. The people are friendly and relaxed, the security situation is very good. However, there are some safety tips you should follow on your Australia road trip.
- Driving at dusk or at night is discouraged. The reason: Australia’s wildlife is active at this time of year.
- If you are traveling in the outback, you should register with official agencies before setting out so that other people always know you are out there.
- You should not underestimate the trails in Australia. Some routes are long, lonely and seemingly eternal. The dimensions in Australia are gigantic. Therefore you should check before each journey whether you have enough water, provisions and fuel with you. At best, always have an extra can of fuel in your trunk as emergency rations.
- Also, find out the numbers of automobile clubs or emergency services and have them handy in case you do get caught by a broken down car. Just because the roads are so far, it can take some time until you can be helped. Stay calm in this case. Help is coming, it just takes a little time.
- To make sure that you really have network access from everywhere in Australia and that you are not cut off from the outside world in case of an emergency, you should definitely rely on a good provider. In Australia Telstra covers the best network. Should you be traveling in pairs or with several people, it is best to put everyone on different operators. This way you increase the chance that one:r of you is always reachable.
Conclusion: Well planned is half won
Just travel into the outback and relax, that sounds so wonderful, but is rather unrealistic. If you plan cleverly, you will reach your destination better and have more fun. Having the right camping app on your phone, a camping stove in the trunk, and a marked route on the map are important factors to keep in mind.