You probably already know this but just in case you don’t, Australia is friggin HUGE!
I already knew this of course, but since we started our road trip around Australia I have a new appreciation of just how big our country really is.
Every now and then we’ll be driving along and get a little reminder of some of the distances we have to cover, like the other day when we were arriving in Rockhampton, Queensland.
We’ve been heading slowly north through Queensland and had already driven 740km up the coast, when I looked up and saw this sign:
I shook my head and said to Caz, “holy shit, how big is Queensland, it’s still another 1,071 kilometre’s before we reach Cairns“.
We’ve barely even made a dent in Queensland yet, let alone Australia.
17,000 kilometre’s so far
To date we have driven 17,000km in 8 months. Does that seem like a lot to you? It’s easily the most distance we have road tripped before but it has hardly been in a straight line.
We did our big u-turn to escape the cold in the south and be like the birds and the whales and migrate north for the winter.
If you haven’t read it yet in the first 6 months we did this.
So far we’ve spent approximately $3,400 on fuel. Each time we fill up costs us about $90 and from that we get roughly 450k’s.
Early on our fuel consumption was pretty good but we’ve noticed the difference now towing a camper trailer.
From the beginning, we called this a 1+ year road trip, but considering we still haven’t left the east coast it’s definitely going to be on the PLUS side of one year, maybe two.
In all honesty, you could keep going forever and never run out of things to see and do. I don’t know how people race around the country in like 6 weeks?!
The biggest is yet to come!
Size wise those three states are three of the biggest in Oz. (More things to know before you visit Australia here)
To put South Australia into perspective they have a cattle station the size of Belgium, and the world’s longest continuous fence (the dingo fence) which was built to keep sheep safe runs for 5,530 kilometres through central Queensland and South Australia.
Want to see a dingo in the wild? You don’t have to drive the world’s longest fence, they run wild and free on Fraser Island, Queensland:
In the Northern Territory they have World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. It’s a rather large park. If you were to take the map of Switzerland you could drop it inside Kakadu without touching the sides.
Do you think we could lose ourselves in the NT for a while?
Yep, Australia really is HUGE
Here’s a few facts for some more perspective.
Australia’s coastline stretches 50,000 km and is linked by over 10,000 beaches.
I met a British guy many years ago who complained that he took a bus from Perth to Sydney and that it wasted several days of his trip and all he saw was red desert. I thought, dude, a little planning and common knowledge would have told you that. (don’t be that British guy).
It’s just as well I love driving
On this trip, I’ve sat behind the wheel about 99% of the time, and that’s fine by me.
Caz reckons I want to drive all the time so I don’t have to turn around and deal with any of the nonsense from our kids in the back seat. Partly true, ha ha.
But no, for all the driving we’ve done the kids have been awesome. Savannah is a bit more challenging being two years old, but they really have adapted well.
I honestly just love driving. I love being behind the wheel on the open road. It’s my down time. It’s my thinking time. It forces me to get offline and it’s one of the only times I get to sit still for five seconds and listen to some music.
I’d much prefer to drive then be the passenger. Maybe it’s the Virgo coming out in me and needing to be in control?
In any case, Caz is a better navigator than me which is a good thing because our nav system constantly sends us in the wrong direction.
It’s taken us around in circles and down a few dead end dirt roads and rarely do we go from point A to B without it screwing things up. It gets yelled at a lot.
But that’s ok. Nothin like getting lost in the Aussie bush:
Yep, we have plenty of driving still ahead of us.
There will be a few more, “are we there yet” calls from the kids in the back seat, dropped ice creams, rotten sandwiches stuffed under a seat, singalongs and “I spy” games.
Bring it on I say.
A few random thoughts and tips
- Never drive in the Melbourne City Centre. Your navigation system will send you down Swanston Street, the main thoroughfare in the city for trams, and you will end up almost having a head on collision with a tram. You will be blocked in both directions by trams, and the locals at the traffic lights will look at you and think “who are these dickheads”. Just shrug your shoulders, make an illegal turn and get the hell out of there! Be like the locals, ride the trams!
- Noosa has the most roundabouts in the world. Or should I say Noosaville. We visited a friends house for dinner and drove around about 30 roundabouts. I can still hear our nav system saying “leave the roundabout at the second exit”.
- The Great Ocean Road cannot be done in one day! Don’t be like the tour buses.
- Don’t believe what NSW people say about Victoria. You will end up saying sorry.
- If you are a Virgo like me, and hate clutter, do not stuff your whole life and 2 kids into a car. Buy a camper trailer.
- Actually, if you travel and run a business like us, don’t buy a camper trailer, buy a caravan or a motor home. It will save you 4 hours each time you move. (read more about how travel around Australia)
- Never un-hitch your camper trailer and leave it on a public street overnight. Chances are, someone will park right in front of it leaving you screwed!
- Without fail, that lady’s voice on our nav system always comes on when I’m trying to hear the sports update. Or the chorus of my favourite song.
- Going to the Australian Open Tennis when it’s 43 degrees celsius is never a good idea.
- Don’t think getting around Tasmania is quick. The roads are windy and narrow and take you three times longer than you think.
- Get to know your hotel receptionists well. When your 2-year-old escapes from your room on the 8th floor and makes it all the way down to the lobby, they will happily sit them on their lap with an orange juice whilst you’re in a mad panic searching the building.
- Don’t try and climb Mount Kosciuszko (Australia’s highest peak) in designer jackets and dress shoes. Even in the middle of summer it gets friggin cold and windy up there. Be prepared. Spend some money on HIKING clothes.
- Eat a scallop curry pie in Tasmania.
- There are some strange people in Eden, NSW. Sorry Eden, but it’s true.
- We didn’t see one wild Kangaroo in three days in Kangaroo Valley. But we saw lots here.
- Every town has “The World’s Most Famous Pies”. Or sausages!
- Trying to Home-school your 6-year-old daughter must be like trying to teach your 16-year-old daughter how to drive. You will fight, often.
- I wish all accommodation providers would have removable ladders on bunk beds. No seriously, when you have a 2-year-old be prepared for lots of climbing.
- The best cider we’ve ever had is at the Bright Brewery in Victoria.
- Stayz.com.au is a good vacation home rental site, but it sucks for last minute bookings if you have an unresponsive owner. Same goes for AirBnB IMO.
- You can’t drive to the top of Mount Warning in NSW. Who knew?
- Does anyone know a local on the Gold Coast? I mean local, local?
- If you live in Melbourne get yourself to Wilsons Promontory National Park.
- Phillip Island is not just about the penguin parade. In fact, that was probably the worst thing.
- Never take a 2 year old to the Spring Carnival Horse Races in Melbourne. She will knock over not one, but two bottles of expensive champagne.
And there you have it. We have many more tips and stories to come.
Eight months has flown by and in a funny way it still feels like we are just getting started.
If you have any tips and suggestions for the Northern Territory, WA or South Australia, let us know in the comments!