Western Australia : 5 Tips when on the road
Driving from Perth to Sydney in two weeks was no ordinary trip. Time wasn't exactly on our side, and neither was cell service. In fact, you can be sure that nothing, if not much, went right. But that was the great part, and what made the very definition of a road trip.
It's the type of trip where remote locations and quirky people are mixed in with stunning landscapes and unpredictable events.
In other words : The trip of a Lifetime.
We found pink lakes and empty desert sand dunes, hung out at the edge of the continent, surfed amazing waves and battled one too many march flies (a.k.a Flies that seem harmless -- but bite like vampires).
So Here's a few tips next time you find yourself on the road, or if you're thinking of doing a similar trip to that side of the continent! If you have the time, it's truly worth the adventure.
Could we have been a little more prepared ? Maybe. Did we care ? Not really. However, here are some essentials if you don't want to end up at a full campsite with nothing to eat but raw spaghetti (Hey, it happened!) :
1. Be prepared, but not too prepared
The Essentials :
As obvious as this sounds, always make sure you have water to drink and at least one meal (i.e sandwich, leftovers from the night before... anything bigger than a snack). There are plenty of roadhouses on the way, but prices are higher and there is only so many sausage rolls one can eat. It's smart to stock up at any IGA's or supermarkets you come across, it'll save you time and money when you're on the road and the next gas station isn't for another 2 hours.
Bugs, Bug spray, Bug repellent, but most of all : Bug acceptance.
If you can't beat' em, join em. Or at least, accept that you will encounter various creatures of all shapes and sizes. Most of them will splatter on your windshield into a thousand pieces of green slime as you are hitting the 140 mark on the speedometer. Sometimes they will buzz around your tent, sometimes they will hover around every flashlight or lighting device you own. Breathe.
Unless you truly enjoy arriving late at a campsite and setting up in the rain and wind (Something that has happened, many, many times), have an idea of where you'll be staying the night, and try and get there before sundown. Total Life Changer: The WikiCamp App. Get it now. Thank me later.
2. The Nullarbor is a long, straight road.
Ted Talks, Podcast
You will need many of these. There will be a time when you run out of things to say, or you mouth is just dry from all the talking. If you find your playlists are stuck on repeat, have a few Ted Talks and fun podcasts (Hamish & Andy are always entertaining) set up on your phone. You might even learn something new. And don't do what I did, which is wait t'ill you're in a cafe with limited wifi to download all your podcasts. You'll be needing them on the 10+ hours it takes to cross that long stretch of nothingness
The rest is up to you ! If you follow a path down a dirt road, or you're curious to turn off at an exit .. Go with your curiosity! You never know where it may lead... . Which Brings me To my SEcond point :
3. ASk and ask again, because siri is not your friend
I meant it when I said no cell service. Depending on your provider, some areas are better than others. You can go a couple of days without any cell reception, but your trusty google maps won't be making much sense as just a dot on a grid. Enjoy this opportunity get the old' school maps out and take advantage of the information centres. Trust me, they know. When you're there, make sure you pick up one on their many, many brochures wherever you stop, and don't be shy to ask around. Also very handy is to print a couple of maps of your general route before you start, as a failsafe. I ended up using the 4 sheets of printed google maps papers more then anything else.
Word of advice : Don't leave fun in search of fun. If it's good where you are, chances are it won't be better somewhere else. And enjoy it while you're there ! You've driven this far already, the likelihood of you coming all the way to this very spot is ... not likely.
4. The waves
Explore, ask locals, share wisely. Also, Sharks.
I like to joke to people that I drove my surfboard across Australia, you know, just to let it see the vast country side ? We were given a few tips on where to stop for a wave, great spots to see, what works and what doesn't. So ask locals, most are happy to share. Just don't share with the rest of the world (Hence why I can't give you specific names). I can recall a particular conversation, regarding the specific number of people you need in the water before you can go out. A grand total of : 4. Definitely not Sydney numbers.
5. Major Stops
There are many beautiful places to see along the way, but if you're short on time, here are a few must-sees. I'll be giving a more detail description of each place in an upcoming post, but here's what stood out the most :
Eucla/Great Australian Bight