10 months it was in the end.
10 months to get from Brisbane to Perth … over the top of Australia.
That’s a grand total of 8000km, in case you were wondering, which is roughly the same distance as flying from Sydney to London.
And let me tell you, that’s a lot of driving!
Unsurprisingly, when we did finally bumble out of the car and into a shared house in Fremantle I think we must have looked something of a state.
I mean nobody rolls out of an Australian road trip looking totally unscathed do they?
If you can relate, then check out these 10 clear signs you’ve survived an Aussie road trip too and passed the ultimate survival test!
- 10 Essential Tips for Driving in the Australian Outback
- Crucial Things to Consider When Planning an Aussie Road Trip
- The 15 Essential Gadgets We Couldn’t Road Trip Australia Without
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#1 You’ve Got Red Dust Everywhere
So this is definitely applicable if your Australian road trip has taken you anywhere into the Outback, Central Australia, the Northern Territory, the Kimberly or The Pilbara – basically anywhere in the north!
Yep, if you’ve been to any of these places then you’ll know that red dust gets everywhere.
And I’m not just talking about when you’re driving and it secretly slips into your vehicle through poor quality door seals making you cough and sneeze.
I’m talking about when you find it in your ears and your eyelashes and your …. (fill in the blank) hours after you’ve stopped driving.
I’m also talking about the red dust that you find has stained your clothes weeks later, the red dust that ruins your electricals months later and the red dust that you just can’t ever, ever get out of your car!
5 ESSENTIAL PACKING ITEMS FOR AUSTRALIA
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national parks! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine.
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together.
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
#2 You Know a Fly Head Net is the Best Thing Ever
Again another one for those of us who have travelled up in the north or the centre of Australia, one of the clear signs you survived an Aussie road trip is that you no longer baulk at the idea of a fly head net.
In fact, you rather love your fly head net, in fact you think your fly head net might just be the best thing since sliced bread!
That fly head net has saved you so many times from near insanity when you couldn’t even count the number of flies landing on your face, let alone your food, that you’ve forgotten how utterly ridiculous you thought they first looked and how utterly embarrassed you were to wear one.
Now you can barely keep that fly head net off your face … soo much love!
#3 WikiCamps is Your Favourite App
Yes there’s probably no better sign that you’ve survived an Australian road trip than your attachment to wikicamps!
This sensational app has likely saved your bacon on more than one occasion when you’ve been stuck in the middle of nowhere with no clue where you’re going to spend the night.
And it’s likely saved you a lot of money too, with all those great tips about free camps.
Yes, I hazard a guess that Wikicamps might now actually be your most used / loved app – the fact that it has assumed pride of place on your smartphone homepage is no coincidence my friend!
#4 You Measure How Far Places Are in Travel Time
No longer concerned by actual distances, it’s clear you’ve survived an Aussie road trip when you don’t measure drives in km or miles, but in time.
300km for example means nothing to you, what you’re interested in is the condition of the road, the chance of encountering a road train, the presence or lack thereof of an overtaking lane, the wildlife hazards and how much daylight you have left.
Distance pales into insignificance when you’re travelling a country this big – time is everything!
#5 You Laugh When People Tell You How Big Australia Is
Can I say that again … you laugh when people tell you how big Australia is.
You laugh and then you shake your head and then you start to cry a little.
“I know”, you murmur softly, “I know”.
Just take a look at my Coffs Harbour to Brisbane itinerary to get some ideas about how many days you might need only for this small stretch of the country.
#6 You are Obsessed with Fuel Prices
Having never paid much, or really any, attention to fuel prices across the world before I started road tripping Australia, I quickly became an expert (some may say slightly obsessive) when it came to monitoring fuel prices.
The way I looked at it – we camped for free (largely), we scrimped on food as much as we could (but you’ve got to eat) so fuel was the only place we could claw back some money.
This means when you come across a good fuel price, or somewhere you can use your 4c-off-a-litre Coles or Woolies voucher people, you use it and you use it hard!
Your eyes are constantly peeled for low fuel prices as you swing past any potential service station and you weep when you get to places like Normanton in north Queensland and know you’re going to have to buy a full tank!
#7 You’ve Basically Attained Night Vision
For any of you who, like us, could never quite seem to get up early enough in the morning, and therefore were always running “late” for our day’s drive, night driving regularly came into play.
And as anyone who has night driven in Australia before knows, this is a nightmare when it comes to wildlife.
Yes kangaroos, wallabies, cows, buffalo, wombats, feral pigs – you name it, it’s out there and it’s probably attracted to your headlights!
What this generally involves therefore, is all parties in the vehicle leaning wildly forward in their seats, straining their eyes for wildlife at the side or in the middle of the road for hours on end.
After several weeks, this does result in some form of advanced night vision skills, so that you become more and more adept at seeing in the dark than eating a sh*tload of carrots could ever achieve!
#8 You Understand Aircon is the Best invention of All Time
It’s surely a given fact that aircon was originally invented for the alleviation of hell-like temperatures inside vehicles during Australian road trips.
Anyone who has tried driving in Australia during most months of the year without aircon, will quickly realise this.
There can be no words to describe the life-altering properties of this invention and it’s clear you’ve survived an Australian road trip when you seriously list aircon as the best modern luxury of all time.
#9 You Know that a Road Train is NOT a Train
Knowing a road train isn’t a train is a massive clue that you’ve survived an Australian road trip.
Knowing instead that it’s a monster truck that can kill you very easily, can swerve wildly across the road at any given time, can topple over and does move at a ridiculous (likely unsafe) pace despite its lumbering size, has garnered in you a new found respect for this so-called train.
Be afraid my friends, be very afraid!
#10 You’ve Fallen Madly in Love with Australia
There can be few ways to get to know a country so well as driving across, around or about it.
When you set out an Australian road trip you, perhaps unknowingly, sign yourself up to gain a deep and slightly unnerving affiliation with this land.
From every breathtaking Australian sunset, to every downtrodden town you’ve drive through, there’s something about this desolute, dry land that gets under your skin.
It gets under your skin and it stays there.
It won’t leave.
You know you’ve survived an Australian road trip, when you’ve fallen madly and deeply in love with Australia, its diversity and its dazzling array of cities, culture and creatures.
You love its open road and its big skies, its oceans and its bogans.
You’ve somehow been charmed beyond all wildest expectations by this relaxed and casual land, its unassuming demeanor and its understated grandeur.
And you’ll carry her treasures with you forever.
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Have you survived an Aussie road trip?
Tell me your stories people…