Five things to know before your Australian road trip
Nº 1 - THE DISTANCES ARE HUGE
This may seem obvious, but only when you have been sitting on the same straight road for four hours without seeing another vehicle or human life form, watching your petrol gauge teeter dangerously close to the red ‘E’ symbol, will this statement have full force.
- Always top up at the next petrol station regardless of the cost.
- Check your oil and water each day before you set off.
- Bring plenty of water and food with you, especially in case of a breakdown.
- Take regular breaks on longer journeys.
Nº 2 - MOBILE PHONE SIGNAL AND INTERNET WILL BE NON-EXISTENT AT TIMES
Turning our mobiles off and disconnecting from the outside world was blissful at times, and the lack of internet only hindered Rachel when she was waiting to find out exam results! The signal difficulties may become an issue if you need to contact your accommodation, tour company, or of course if an emergency occurs.
- Let people know you may be unable to respond to any messages and set an out of office on your email if necessary.
- Prepare by writing any addresses, telephone numbers or key information down in a notepad before you set off.
- Sort any accommodation or activities you need to pre-book when you have full internet access.
Nº 3 - you should RELY ON PRINTED MAPS
Technology can run out of battery and GPS can be wrong – pick up a local map from each visitor centre and print out an overview of your itinerary and main road routes before you start. Whilst there are few roads north of Perth and little chance of getting lost, things are more complex down south if you want to visit those galleries nestled in the hillside.
Nº 4 - INSECT AND MOSQUITO BITES ARE PREVALENT
By the end of our trip, Rachel had one ankle the size of a tennis ball after reacting to a mosquito bite in the forests of Tuart National Park. Luckily it wasn’t a symptom of the Ross River virus which is common in that area, yet bites can be irritating and antihistamines expensive.
- Even if you’re travelling in the warmer weather, bring long-sleeves and long socks to cover up.
- Take spray with a high % of deet, antiseptic bite cream to reduce the itching, and antihistamines.
- Avoid camping near water or retreat into your campervan as it begins to get dark!
Nº 5 - AVOID DRIVING AT NIGHT
We began our morbid tally of dead kangaroos swiftly after leaving Perth. Our total for our Perth – Exmouth return stretch came to 23; and that excludes the carcasses that were too far gone for us to 100% recognise them as kangaroos.
Most accidents occur between 4 – 7pm as this is when kangaroos are most active and hitting a large male will almost certainly lead to a smashed windscreen.
- Only drive near or after dusk if it is absolutely necessary.
- If you do drive at night, get behind a road train to take advantage of their full beams.