Whether you are a planning a structured or unstructured trip, work out things you really donít want to miss and mark these with a pencil circle on a map. You can then look at what is in between these high priorities and select places you would really like to see even with a bit of a deviation. You can investigate the places you will pass through or close by for any other features that take your interest so you can visit them when in that area. Even on a structured trip, allow flexibility to respond to additional features you learn about when in the vicinity, and to spend less time at a place that does not meet your expectations.
For a basic trip planner to compare routes, you can use Google Maps. These planners do not effectively allow you to choose between bitumen and dirt roads. They do not have all the outback tracks as they are more for general travel planning. Ultimately choose the route you want, regardless of whether the planner chooses it as the shortest or quickest. For finding obscure places, Bonzle mapping has names of hills, mines and othe localities not found with Google or other mapping and as an example this Bonzle link will open on a search for a remote gold mine.
For a trip planner with dirt road options (although not all routes are included) use the RACQ Trip Planner.
See more about trip planning under Time Frames.
See more with less driving and less cost.
It is far better to see more with less travelling distance with Ďsmaller bitesí. If you have for example three months, it is far better to spend the three months enjoying one state or even region within a state than to race around the lap just to say you have done it, spend heaps on fuel, be stressed at every little delay, and come home exhausted, remembering only a portion of what you saw. Even if you think you'll never get to see the rest, at least see what you do thoroughly, relax and enjoy it. Every bit of travel can be treasured that way.
If travelling with another couple, you will need to make allowances for things one wants to see and not the other. This can be a cause of friction between friends, even when not on a tight schedule. The teenagers will also want to do different things than the adults; allow for that too.
Factor in time for washing and shopping, servicing repairs and waiting for parts should a breakdown occur. These all take time. Sometimes it is nice to stay a extra day in a place you really like just to relax and catch up on mail, photo back ups, diaries. Also take the time to thoroughly research the next stage so you donít go past something worth seeing because you didnít know it was there. If you have a tight schedule, any delays will cause you stress; not the way to have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday.
If you have a limited time, pick a region, eg
What ever your time frame, be it four weeks or four months, tour in your preferred direction and take your time. Be responsive to variations and learn about hidden gems to see from others along the way. When you are around half way through your time frame, find an alternative way to tour your way home if you can. There will inevitably be some doubling up. If we cannot reasonably avoid travelling on the same road there and back, we stop at a few sights on the way there, and leave a few for the way back so it is not all long days of driving.
Hereunder are a few examples of time frames from our travels, in which we often only stay one night in a location. There is
so much of
Our 2006 trip spanned three months, allowing for seven weeks
In 2008 we spent almost four months away; main thrust of holiday was the
In 2009 we were away five months, and the latter part of the journey
was taken a lot faster. We travelled 21,896 kilometres. This took us from the south west of Western Australia to Port
Hedland, Marble Bar (no touring as we had been there before) then directly across to Alice Springs via the Gary Junction Road. From there we headed north to
You can travel a lot
faster if you have to Ė but this is not really sightseeing and not at all relaxing. Our fastest trip was when we purchased
the caravan and we had a very tight time frame. We left the south west of
Calculate how far between key towns and how long it should take you to drive the route. What is the best time of year to travel
Toll roads are found in and around Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. There is a move towards electronic payment sensors with the acceptance of cash being phased out. This means it is possible to use the toll road without physically paying for it on the spot (your car registration plate will be photographed as you go through the toll and itís your responsibility to make sure you have paid for it before or within a couple days of using it).
For more about payment options and e-tags see Toll Roads in Australia
Melbourne see Citylink
Most roads and highways are public roads, but in a few cases in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, toll roads require payment.
When getting into the outback, there are a number of areas of
National Park entry passes come at
a cost, and as these are administered by the states, fees vary greatly. In
Many permits can be obtained using on line application forms, particularly most transit permits for travel through Aboriginal lands.
The Toyota Land Cruiser Club of Australia has more information on passes and permits for all types of land and parks particularly four wheel drive tracks. See Toyota Land Cruiser Club of Australia - track permits
For details about National Park passes and how to obtain these click here
For details about permits to travel through Aboriginal lands and how to obtain these click here
For details about other passes and how to obtain these click here
The northern areas of
the southern areas often experiencing cold and /or wet winters, travel plans can be made around spending the winter months touring
the north of the country and the summer months in the south. Even then some hot days can be expected in the southern summer. If you want to escape the northern summer when doing a full lap around the country, the
Climate and weather information can be found on the Bureau of Meteorology website
For those who are not confined to taking their holidays when their children are on holiday from school, it is better to plan to be away from popular family holiday destinations, particularly along the coast, during these times. Caravan parks are often fully booked and crowded, and for some a lot of children racing around the park can be disruptive. Caravan and accommodation fees are often higher during peak periods in prime holiday locations. Inland areas are usually not so crowded. To plan around school holidays, refer to School Term Dates. To check public holidays in each state see Public Holidays.