One thing many travellers who come down under to Australia like to do is to hire a car and drive. And why not? There’s an awful lot of roads here – the Number ‘1’ highway is mostly coastal road around the whole country which goes for a total of 14,500 km. That’s a fairly long road! Also, there is a decent network of buses around Australia run by Greyhound. Whether they are any relation to Greyhound in America, well I’m not sure, but it’s a fair coincidence if not!
I’ve taken Greyhound between Sydney and Melbourne (a LONG time ago), Sunshine Coast and Brisbane (late last year) and also in the Northern Territory – Darwin to Jabiru, a pretty small place in Kakadu National Park. They go most places you’re likely to go, and generally buses are modern and comfortable. As far as buses go that is.
If you’re thinking of passes, HERE are what Greyhound in Australia offers. Generally, it’s a comparatively cheap way to get around the country, especially if you’re a solo traveller because driving on your own with petrol prices and other expenses. So taking greyhound can make a bit of sense.
Now, if you have a group, maybe two, maybe more, then car may be the way to go. You can hire through a number of companies, or buy. I lot choose to buy a second hand car and sell it at the end. And some choose to just leave the car where it finishes! Realistically you’re going to want to spend at least $5000AUD on the car, anything less is a bit dodgy and this is Australia and most distances you are likely to travel are going to be significant. So do some due diligence and make sure that the thing is in good condition. And check that it has registration to cover the period you are in Australia.
You NEED insurance. If you don’t have it and find yourself in an accident, well the costs could be enough to end your holiday on the spot. It might be costly but if you don’t have it – it could be a lot worse. And stay responsible. If you’re responsible for an accident, make sure you respond RESPONSIBLY. If you ‘disappear’ but then get caught, well, you could be looking at jail time!
Road rules. Read up on them! They differ, albeit not usually in massive ways, from country to country. In Australia we drive on the left side of the road. The maximum speed in Australia varies from state to state. It’s anywhere between 100 and 120 in the Northern Territory only. Australia is pretty brutal on speeding, and cameras are set up usually deliberately in places where they know they can book the most people – for example places straight after a maximum speed limit change, down hill stretches etc. There are fixed cameras and radars, and the red light cameras can detect and book you for speed too.
Then there is the testing – for both alcohol and drugs. Again, this is taken very seriously and you won’t be allowed back behind the steering wheel if you’re drunk.
Get used to the conditions. Long distances between towns – plan stops and take breaks. Rotate the drivers, make sure everyone gets a break. Remember you may be quite a way from your next chance to refuel. Petrol prices are high, but cheaper than Western Europe on the whole. And they fluctuate up and down like crazy here!
If you can afford some sort of SUV, it’s probably the best bet for travelling around this great, big, brown land. Across deserts, the Great Australian Bight, and the like, animals are an issue. And the most dangerous in Australia is the Kangaroo. Vehicles have been destroyed by hitting a ‘roo, and yet the ‘roo hops off. They come in many sizes, the Grey Kangaroo is BIG.
All in all, driving Australia is a really enjoyable, flexible and above all fun way to see this great country and as long as you come prepared, you should have a really great time doing it! Thanks for reading today – and May the Journey Never End!