Friday, September 25, 2009

Surviving Australia

We are heading into our last week in Australia before heading off for a month in Vanuatu and wanted to get down some tips that we've learned along the way.

  • If touring by car, rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle - There have been numerous places that we've wanted to explore, but couldn't because the roads were only accessible by 4-wheel drive or it was just not practical to take the campervan into the area.  There are all terrain tent trailers that you can easily tow behind a Land Cruiser and get into almost any place we've come across so far. Long drive days are also a lot more comfortable than in a campervan.
  • Buy the Camps5 guide book - We have averaged around AUD 27 per night in caravan parks and could have saved a lot of money had we known about this book earlier on in our trip.  It's a very good investment considering it maps out free and low cost places to park yourself for a night.  
  • Australia is bigger than you think - Once you get inland a little bit, it is fairly easy to drive for two or three hours without seeing a farmhouse let alone a town or bathroom.  Be realistic when planning your trips and bite off a lot less than you think you can chew.  Trust us, you'll be a lot less cranky getting to the pool early than having to drive for two more hours in the dust and heat.
  • Australia can be hot - It can be hot and humid on the coast and hot and dry inland.  It's the tail end of winter, just beginning spring and we're encountering temperatures in the mid-30's C.  Be prepared for both dryness and humidity, wear a hat, use sunscreen, and keep water handy.  Public toilets here are top notch and almost always stocked with paper so there's no reason not to stay hydrated.
  • Beware School Holidays - Find out when school holidays are in the state you're visiting and avoid the coast and destination places during this time.  These places often book up months in advance and you don't want to pull in just to find out that you can't find a place to stay.  
While there are things we'll do differently when we come back, it's been a great trip and we're looking forward to the next leg of our journey.

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