“Why drive from Darwin to Sydney, when you can fly?” One of the local’s asked me.
“Because, we don’t want to just leap from one place to the next and miss out all that is inbetween.” Was my response. “And besides, we have the time.” Which of course is the luxury in long term travel.
I think life can be a bit like that sometimes – being so keen to get from one point to the next, in the shortest number of moves. We can forget that it is the little stop points, incidents and occurrences we encounter along the way, that make a life memorable.
What do you think and what do you prefer?
Our great Australian Roadtrip was one of those times for us.
Our first thought was to how we would transport not just us but our children, then 11 and 13 across the dusty australian highways. As parents, our main concern was that the car be well maintained, not too old and including the availability of roadside assistance. If we had been travelling alone, we would have bought ourselves an old estate car and slept in the back enroute. For us, that was fine but it was not ok for us, when travelling as a family.
If you decide to hire a car – check out the small print, ask lots of questions about the possibility of other charges – you don’t want them suddenly appearing at the end of your journey and car hire has so many grey areas.
- The clearer you are with the expense, the easier it is to budget for the trip.
- Think about your driving times – we discovered that once we had got going( after breakfast and our repacking the car,) our daily journey would roughly mean, we would be on the road until around 3.30/4.00 pm with stops along the way. This gave us plenty of time to find somewhere to rest and stay the night, without feeling like we were paying out huge amounts, just to sleep. Enabling us to explore the area a little.
- Also drive at night and the nocturnal Northern Territory dangers start to appear. Best to drive only during the day. The small midges and flies hitting the windscreen can make it seem like you are driving in the rain. We hit a dead kangaroo lying in the road. Causing damage to our undercarriage. Limping to the next town, we had to wait for the mechanic in the morning to see if it was ok to drive on. (The plus side of hiring a car, is of course the company would have brought out a replacement for us)
- Keep the petrol tank topped up. In the NT, the distances between petrol stations can sometimes be vast- take the advice of the signs. They are there to help.
- Although, there are many points when a GPS makes driving a lot easier, especially in the Sydney Suburbs – Australian Highways are pretty straight forward and for both my Husband and I, we find map reading fulfilling in one way.
And yes, we all bonded on a deeper level in the process, which was pleasing – although we did have points when we would have happily killed each other!
The other big plus for us when driving, were the creatures encountered along the way.
Small monuments, like the point where the Overland Telegraph Line from the UK to Australia meets. A small memorial of an important and poignant moment for our two countries.
Our road trip will always hold happy memories for us, especially because of the attractions, people and places discovered along the way.
Where would you like to visit in the Northern Territories?