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10 Essential Tips for Planning Your Ultimate Australian Road Trip

Last Updated: April 3, 2024
10 Essential Tips for Planning Your Ultimate Australian Road Trip

Whether you are driving from Sydney right across to Perth, from the Sunshine Coast, all the way up to Cairns, or from Adelaide to Darwin in the Northern Territory, road-tripping in Australia is the ultimate adventure.

But wherever you plan to go, you will need to be prepared. So, here are ten essential tips you should bear in mind.

1. Make sure your vehicle is serviced before you go

The last thing you’ll want when you are cruising along the highways and back roads of Australia is for your car to break down.

For this reason, it is important to get a fully qualified mechanic to give it a proper service before you leave on your trip.

2. Map out your route

The thought of driving where your mood takes you, with no clear direction in mind, is the classic, romanticised notion of road-tripping.

However, it isn’t the most practical thing to do. The reality is that it pays to map out your route. At the very least, you should have an idea of what main urban centres you want to drive between and the estimated drive time between them. That way, you are less likely to get caught out driving late at night.

3. Modify or change your car insurance

If you intend on driving long distances, it is worth checking over your current car insurance to see if it gives you an appropriate level of cover. If not, you may want to modify or change your policy.

Depending on the type of vehicle you will be using, the coverage might vary. For example, BMW car insurance will be different from Audi or Toyota. 

So, it is best to confirm what you are covered for.

4. Pack an Emergency Travel Kit

Illness, injury and misfortune can hit you at any time during a road trip. Therefore, you should take an emergency travel kit with you.

This should include everything from a first aid kit and a flashlight to jump leads and roadside flares to cover most eventualities.

5. Pack appropriately

Whatever destinations you plan to visit on your road trip, you will need to pack appropriately for it.

Try to get a handle on the climate conditions of where you are heading to. For example, if you are driving from Tropical North Queensland or Darwin to southern New South Wales, the mercury might drop notably. Likewise, between day and night if you are heading into the Nullarbor.

So, you should anticipate where you are going and pack clothes to suit the temperature.

6. Book Accommodation in Advance

It pays to book your accommodation in advance. That way you can focus more on the enjoyment of your drive.

If you are stressing about and wasting time, finding a place to stay for the night, it will ruin your road trip experience.

7. Download Helpful Apps

When road-tripping in Australia, there are some helpful apps you should download on your phone to make your trip as seamless as possible.

One of the most important ones is Fuel Map Australia, which tells you the location and prices of the nearby petrol stations. However, if you are driving an electric vehicle, PlugShare lets you know where the nearest charging stations are.

You might also find the National Toilet Map App useful, while Waze or Google Maps can help you navigate to where you want to go.

8. Be cautious when driving at sunrise and sunset

Driving at sunrise and sunset can really enhance the experience of your road trip, particularly if you are driving near coastal areas or other landscapes of outstanding natural beauty.

However, it also comes with some danger as this is a prime time for when wildlife is active near the roads.

Therefore, at this time, you should always be cautious of kangaroos, wallabies and other animals running out onto the road, as they can do serious damage to your vehicle.

9. Share Your Itinerary

Before you head off on your road trip, you should share your itinerary with a family member or reliable friend. That way, they can keep track of your progress as you drive along and potentially raise an alarm with the authorities if something goes awry.

If you trust them enough, you could even ask them to download the Find My Car app on their smartphone. That way, they will know where your vehicle is at all times, and therefore make it easier to get you help, should you need it.

10. Compile a good Music Playlist

Road trips just aren’t the same without a good music playlist.

So, before you hit the open road, make sure you create a collection of your favourite songs to listen to as you drive.

Imagine what fun you’ll have belting out Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to Be Wild’ as you take in the wonderful views of the Coral Sea over the Alexandra Headland bluff on your way into Mooloolaba.