What tips and tricks have we picked up along the way?
Well we picked up a few pearls of wisdom on our two round Australia road trips. Especially the first one which was a bit different back then as we didn't take a caravan. It was mostly tenting or the occasional motel or on-site van. Also, we had 3 kids (6,8,10 years) travelling with us. We registered the kids for Distance Educaton which we can highly recommend. They only did two formal subjects (Maths & Language Skills) and picked up the rest just from the trip itself.
the more recent one was without kids but with another couple (Karen & Gary) who have their own car and van. So what are we doing differently? For starters, this time we have worked out we need longer (6 - 7 months) and the kids (much older now) will have to fend for themselves at home!
It's good to have a plan but don't be tied down to anything. Be flexible! There is usually no need to book ahead so long as you arrive by 4pm - Broome is one exception!. If you are passing through a popular tourist destination and it is school holiday time then that is a different story. So be aware of school holiday dates in each state.
Another exception worth noting is Lawn Hill Gorge (QLD). There are strict limits on numbers and so often you need to book months in advance for the campground. Another great place you need to book ahead is for overnight stays at the lighthouse on Wilson's Promontory. See the accommodation page for more information. For great maps all around Australia with marked camping areas ranging from Free Camps to reasonably priced Caravan Parks and National Parks it is worth buying a copy of this book. Camps Australia - The ultimate guide for the budget conscious traveller. We referred to our copy every day of our round Australia trip in 2006.
Make sure you talk to people at each place you stay as they are the best source of information. You hear about great places to visit and places to avoid. Some of the best places are off the beaten track and so you may not read about them in tourist brochures.
Tips and tricks sent in by readers
If you have already done this type of trip around Australia, please send us your 'tips n tricks' and we will place the best here for the benefit of other readers.
Torston writes: Have a look at Australia's biggest ride sharing site. Share your ride with travellers, backpackers and commuters in Australia. coseats.com is the easiest way to ride share in Australia, carpool to work or anywhere else. It's free, fun and good for the environment!
Matt writes: Learned the hard way why it is important to have adequate insurance coverage. The unexpected do happen! Go to Australia Post for travel and car coverage.
The Egons write: Have a look at the Gov site related to fuel economy for most vehicles - Green Vehicle Guide
Cherie writes: Hi I've just come back from a trip to Alice springs on pretty rough roads. Talking to the guys at MountDare they say they recently had 4 late model Holden Dual Cabs with the front towers of the shockers breaking - something to watch out for???
Elizabeth writes: Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Your Stress Levels Low on Holiday
Holidays can be stressful for families traveling with children. Although true, saying that children have a short attention span can be such an understatement. Is there ever a more ideal time to prove this than the holidays when you are traveling with kids? The constant demand for attention can drive you crazy, and be a trip spoiler. This post will give parents some much needed tips to help maintain their sanity and have a relaxing holiday while traveling with their kids.
1. Pack a Game Bag
The solution to your problems starts with your packing. Children are naturally active and inquisitive and will certainly get bored easily, but when they have something that occupies their hands they stay entertained for longer. Pack the game bag and establish a rule that the bag will not be opened until 30 minutes into the journey. You want them to be settled and also need to extend the occupation for as long into the journey as possible.
2. On the Road Trip
Elizabeth Bailey is mom and an avid traveler. She enjoys exploring ways to improve her family travelling experience and likes sharing her tips to other travelling moms. Visit Expedia Australia for information on hiring cars while on holiday. [References http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/10-ways-to-entertain-kids-road-trip3.htm http://www.helium.com/items/2370144-great-travel-games-for-young-kids ]
Tips for travelling on corrugated dusty roads in Caravans
Clothing Tips - What type of clothes are best?
This depends on the type of accomodation, your mode of travel and your destination. I will concentrate on a driving/touring holiday for now. In that situation, whatever is comfortable for car travel and that doesn't need ironing is the best choice of clothes. Space is always at a premium when travelling so choose items of clothing that can be teamed up with a variety of other items. You need to find clothes that can be worn as casual but can be dressed up enough to be worn to a BYO restaurant if necessary. You need light clothes that are easily washed, dry quickly and aren't easily crushed. Just one outfit that can be worn to more classy restaurants, casinos and shows is enough to start. You can always buy something that will be a momento of the holiday if you find you need more clothes. Remember, you are travelling so are unlikely to be in the same place for long which means nobody will notice you wore that outfit to dinner last time! (Except your other half or travelling buddies and they don't mind... I hope?)
For the great outdoors - you are bound to go on walks or on a boat at some stage. Don't forget good walking boots, thick socks, hat, waterproof spray jacket, light cotton long sleeve shirt to keep the sun off while still keeping you cool - temperature 'cool' that is! And thongs, you definitely can't go anywhere without those Aussie necessities. Remember to use sunscreen wherever you go in Australia - winter and summer - if you are spending time outdoors in the sun..
Temperatures vary greatly across Australia. In desert-type areas eg near Alice Springs (NT) it can get to 30 degrees (Celsius) during the day but drop to 15 degrees overnight. You need both winter and summer clothes in the one day. 'Winter' by Australian standards that is! Unless you are visiting places like the Snowy Mountains or Falls Creek, snow is NOT a consideration.
A coat that can be dressed up or dressed down in a colour that goes with anything is very handy for travelling. Make sure it has some pockets for money, camera and a few other necessities so you don't need to carry a bag.
What did I actually wear on the round Australia roadtrip?
After getting out the clothes I thought I might need for the trip and then putting half back (as everyone tells you to do), I found that I still didn't use all of the clothes I packed. In fact I probably only used half of what I took. Remember that this was a driving holiday, staying in a caravan, mostly in bush camps or national parks. We only occasionally went out to restaurants/casinos etc. We made sure we were at a caravan park once a week so we could do the washing and considering that clothes can be worn 2 - 3 times in normal circumstances before washing, that was sufficient. What I (female) actually wore for the 6-7 months was :
What clothes should I avoid?
Avoid WHITE shirts and tops at all costs as they will show every mark, especially if you are camping. You don't need more than one pair of jeans - less is more when travelling and jeans are bulky and take ages to dry when you wash them. When you are on the move and you can't predict the weather this is an important consideration. You can always buy items along the way if you need to, so start off with as few things as you think you can manage with. After a week you will know if there are more items that you need and then you can purchase them as you need them. Do the 'crush test' before packing your clothes and avoid the ones that crush easily. Everyone hates ironing don't they?
What to wear canoeing?
Tips for travelling with kids
Tips for first timers travelling with a caravan
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