Sometimes, the best things to see and do are not the obvious tourist attractions and or the best publicised ones.
In Australia, it is not unusual to pull up by the side of the road (safely) and climb over a sand dune to find the most magnificent white sand beach and sapphire blue waters and not a single person on the beach.
Similarly, you could be hiking through a rainforest and stumble upon a waterfall with wildlife drinking from the lake beneath it, and you could think you are the first person to stumble upon it.
With this in mind we have put together our recommended itineraries of places for you to stop off along your journey.
We have followed the general guideline of mostly limiting your driving to no more than two hours per day with plenty of time to see the sites and enjoy yourself along the way.
We welcome feedback from you on these itineraries so we can make them better for those who follow in your footsteps and explore like never before.
Our passion is helping you to have a great holiday. These tips are provided with you in mind – making sure you avoid mistakes which could spoil your holiday.
Tip No 1 | Don’t try to see it all
Australia is a big country - a very big country. You won’t be able to see it in 14 days, or 28 days for that matter. Be realistic about how far you can or should drive in one go and how much of Australia you can feasibly see and still enjoy yourself.
The best thing to do is plan your journey, using one of our recommended itineraries. Work out your starting point, your end point and the things you want to see along the way. Then work out which towns you will stop at. Make sure you focus on the quality of your holiday, don’t try to take in too much. You can always come back next year!
Tip No 2 | Don’t spend all day driving
We’re not the fun police but we recommend that you try to limit your driving to 200-250 kilometres driving per day.
There are a couple of good reasons for limiting your driving and the most important of these is your safety. Driving can be tiring, especially when you are spending the day exploring all the great things you will see as you stop along your journey.
Of course, if you spend too much time driving, you may miss experiencing some wonderful things. Sometimes it’s good just to stop and smell the roses.
Tip No 3 | Music is great for driving
Again, Australia is a very big country. And in particular, the distances between towns can be vast and the in between towns there can be miles and miles of nothing, just forests or sand. It may take a while to get out of some of our bigger cities but once you are out of them, you are clearly in the bush.
These long distance drives can be tedious and boring. Make sure you have some good music to play and people to keep talking to you. Try to avoid driving at times you would otherwise be asleep. Coffee is your friend!
Tip No 4 | Seatbelts are compulsory
In Australia it is the law to wear seatbelts at all times while the vehicle is in forward motion. As much as some of your passengers are tired and want to take a nap on a bed, it can be dangerous and is illegal. Wandering around the van, even just to get something out of the fridge is probably not a great idea either.
It is actually the driver’s responsibility to make sure all passengers are in seat belts and they carry the fine if pulled over.
It is also Australian law that all children are properly restrained. Young children who weigh 9kgs to 18kgs (approximately 6 months to 5 years) must be seated in a baby seat (or child seat) which is anchored to the chassis of the vehicle. All of our motorhomes are fitted with child restraint points, with our 5 Berth Traveller and 6 Berth Grand Tourer have 2 x restraint points, all other vehicles have 1 x restraint point.
It is recommended that older children who weigh up to 26kgs (approximately 6 years) are seated in a child booster seat. This booster seat gives the child extra height allowing them to fit more safely into a lap/sash seat belt. Both baby seats and child booster seats must be seated in a forward facing position.
Tip No 5 | Watch out for wildlife
One of the great things about Australia is our wildlife, but unfortunately they still haven’t worked out what we use the roads for.
Our wildlife is usually most active at dawn and dusk as it is the best time to look for food and it’s not too hot or too cold. It is not uncommon to see animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, cattle, emus, camels, wombats and echidnas on major highways.
In the case of wombats for example, they move pretty slowly so they won’t surprise you, but if you hit one, it’s like hitting a rock - a big one. Kangaroos however have a tendency to take you by surprise and jump out of nowhere, and often the headlights can startle and blind them so they don’t take evasive action.
Consequently, we recommend that you do not drive your motorhome or campervan at night outside of town centres or major cities and take extra care at dawn and dusk.
Tip No 6 | The Australian sun is very hot
Maybe there is a hole in the ozone layer above Australia or maybe we are just a bit closer to Heaven, but either way the sun is hotter here. The quickest way to spoil your holiday is to get sunburned. One dose of sunburn can take days to heal and can impact your ability to spend time out in the sun until it heals.
Wear a hat and sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to direct sun, especially if your skin is not used to it. Always keep a bottle of water with you if you are out and about.
Our climate can vary greatly and at different times of the year and different parts of the country, we experience a very vast range of minimum and maximum temperatures. Our seasons are generally the reverse of the northern hemisphere.
While they may be reversed, that doesn’t mean summer is the best time to visit. Queensland in summer is very hot and humid and in the far north it is wet season, but is very mild in autumn and winter. Look at the average temperatures to gauge what will suit you best.
Visit the Bureau of Meteorology website and have a look at what the weather is going to be like when you travel and where. Save it in your browser or phone so you can monitor weather conditions along your journey.
Tip No 7 | Australia – the country of signs
All international tourists say it – we are a country of signs. It’s because we love our tourists and we don’t want you to get lost!
There will be signs which tell you how far it is until the next towns and the next major city and they will appear every 5-10 kms and these are very helpful. You will also see lots of signs like “Drowsy drivers die” which are designed to encourage you to stop and have a break. This is how much we care.
Other important signs to watch indicate the maximum speed for the area. On major freeways and highways this is usually 100km/h but can increase to 110km/h on some stretches and 60-80km/h if you are going through towns. If in doubt, stick to the speed of other traffic.
Tip No 8 | You’ll need an adapter for your hairdryer
Australia runs on 240V power so if you are visiting from outside Australia, you will need an adaptor. If you are bringing your own hairdryer, electric shaver or anything else which requires mains power.
Tip No 9 | We love eating and drinking out
That’s a bonus for you because we have some of the best restaurants in the world and a lot of them. Every Australian has a dream to own a bar or a restaurant. Many of them follow their dreams. Quite a lot do so very successfully.
And that is because we like to eat out a lot. I mean if you live in a country this good, who wants to waste time cooking, right?
Bars and pubs are where we gather and you will meet some great people at local watering holes – essentially any pub in the main street of any town.
While your motorhome has its own kitchen and it is worth cooking occasionally to save some money, make sure you experience lots of local hospitality.
And remember not to believe every story you here from an Australian in a bar!
Tip No 10 | Not only are we Downunder, we drive on the other side
In Australia, we drive on the left-hand side of the road, so this means that you will be closest to the middle of the road and your passenger should on the curb or shoulder side of the road.
If you are from the UK or some Asian countries, you will feel right to home, if not, you will need to concentrate to make sure you don’t revert to your side of the road.