I got to talking with my eye surgeon today about our travels around Australia. It’s been a while since I’ve gone on an epic road trip but I thought i’d share a couple that I’ve made over the past 10 years.
Australia is a huge country but most of the population don’t ever see outside their own capital city.
There are some great places to see away from the big smoke of our capitals and over the past 10 years I’ve made a few crazy trips out of Sydney to the unknown.
2007 – Outback Adventure
In late 2007 I offered to help a friend move our west to Menindee about an hour from Broken Hill.
We headed south on the Hume Highway and headed inland to Wagga Wagga on the Sturt Hiighway to Hay. Let me tell you, driving a hired truck this far is a challenge and certainly called for plenty of coffee and Red Bull.
From Hay we headed north on the Cobb Highway to Ivanhoe. Between these two towns is plenty of open space, the majority of the trip you’re driving through private property with massive amounts of farm land either side of the highway. The cloud formations out here are amazing.
After Ivanhoe the road gets a bit worse for wear with the “track” being unsealed for about 450km. Let me tell you, driving a truck on this is not fun and after working out driving 20km/hr for 450km was going to take a while I decided to speed things up to about 80k’s. The contents of the truck weren’t too happy at the other end but life goes on.
After dropping everything off at Menindee I headed up to Broken Hill. The road between these places is lined with Kangaroos and Emus and it’s a challenge to drive especially after dark, and especially when you’re worried about the extra cover insurance on the truck.
Broken Hill is a bigger place than most people would think. It’s fairly isolated but does have a train service going through. There’s plenty of tourist stuff to do so it’s definitely not somewhere to stop in for a quick trip.
Just outside Broken Hill is Cockburn, although the locals call it Coburn for obvious reasons. Cockburn is on the bored with South Austarlia and besides a pub and a few other buildings there isn’t much here.
The drive back to Sydney on the Barrier Highway was a bit easier to than trip to Broken Hill. The road is very flat and very straight and there’s not much to see besides dirt and trees. There’s a few towns along the way to break up the boredom.
One thing was a service station / restaurant in the middle of nowhere that we come across. It was a couple of hundred KM from anywhere else so was kind of crazy finding it on the side of the road.
Here’s some other random photos from the trip.
2008 – Adelaide
I’ve made the trip from Sydney to Adelaide nearly every year since 2008.
The two main routes are either via Wagga Wagga and the Sturt Highway or via Melbourne and the Western Highway / Princes Highway.
I normally mix up my route depending on the time of day or weather. Both ways have their benefits and different scenery so neither is boring.
Traveling via the Sturt Highway takes you through Wagga Wagga, Narendera and Hay then down to Mildura on the Victorian border and across to Yamba near the South Australian Border. From Wagga Wagga to Mildura is mostly through farm land and the roads are straight and flat. Towns are about 100-200km apart.
Traveling via Melbourne is a bit longer and the speed limit is nearly all 100km/hr. This way the towns are closer together for the most part and there’s more trees and corners to keep the weary driver entertained.
Adelaide, best known as the city of churches is a must visit for anyone who is sick of the bump and grind of big city life. It’s quite laid back and oddly designed with main roads cutting from one side of the city to the other with cross streets running diagonally.
The areas surrounding Adelaide are quite beautiful including German inspired Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty overlooking Adelaide at the start of the Adelaide Hills and Port Wakefield and Snowtown to the west.
If you do venture west towards Snowtown and Port Pirie you’ll find yourself back in the wilderness with lots of straight roads and dry areas however there’s some massive salt lakes which make the drive worth while.
The furthest I’ve ventured west is Port Pirie.
Some photos from random visits:
This is just a small sample of some of the many road trips I’ve made throughout Australia. I’ve been up north from Brisbane, west from Brisbane, west to Broken Hill, south to Melbourne, Adelaide and surrounds. There’s been a few small trips in between to Canberra and the south coast of NSW.
The drives can be long, and sometimes quite tiring if you don’t break them up with stops but most definitely worth making. There’s so much to see on our own back doorstep and while the culture isn’t that of some exotic far away country each state, city and local area has it’s own inherent culture that is out there to be experienced.
Have you trekked the wilderness of Australia’s backyard? Please share your stories and experiences in the comments.