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8 Best Road Trips in Australia

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Welcome to the Land Down Under, where gorgeous cityscapes meld with the rough outback and sunburns are indicative of a day well spent. This continent/country is tailor-made for the wide-eyed adventurers. Expansive rainforests, canyons, mountains, and world-famous beaches beckon thousands of visitors every year, but what exactly is the best way to get the most out of a tour in Australia? Eschew the plane in favor of a 4WD! Cruising the open road guarantees the best sights and experiences, so here are 8 of the best road trips in Australia.

  • The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road leads you along some of Austalia’s most stunning coastlines. Gawk at cliffs, rainforests, and shipwrecks and don’t forget to spend a moment taking in the beauty of the Twelve Apostles – a collection of limestone structures just off the shore of Port Campbell National Park.

Recommendation: Twelve Apostles is Port Campbell National Park’s most iconic spot, but don’t forget to wander further. Check out Lock Ard Gorge for the stunning 19th century shipwreck, the Island Archway, and snap a few photos of the Gibson Steps rock formation.

Distance: 243 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Torquay to Allansford, South Australia

Duration: 2-3 days.

Best time to go: February-March or October-November for warmer weather and off-peak prices away from the crowds.

  • Gibb River Road

A road trip through the Gibb River Road is definitely one for the books, what with its magnificent displays of wildlife and wilderness. Touted as one of Australia’s greatest 4WD adventures, this road trip takes you through Kimberley where you can explore gorges, waterfalls, outback cattle stations, rock art, and Aboriginal sites.

Recommendation: The Bell Gorge can be a challenge to reach, but the sight itself is worth all the effort. Marvel at cascading waterfalls while swimming in its natural pools!

Distance: 660 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Derby to Wyndham, Western Australia

Duration: One to two weeks.

Best time to go: Catch the dry season from April to September when waterfalls are fully fed by the previous rainy season. The road is closed December to March due to heavy rains and flooding.

  • The Great Eastern Drive

For adventurers seeking a little solace, the Great Eastern Drive offers the peace and quiet of Tasmania with the hustle and bustle of only its wildlife. From Orford to St. Helens, this reflective journey takes you through the east coast wine country, forests, beach towns, and stunning farmlands. The region’s bountiful produce and seafood guarantee you’ll be munching something along the way.  

Recommendation: The Freycinet National Park is a worthy detour with its crystal-clear bays, waters and rich birdlife.

Distance: 176 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Orford to St. Helens, Tasmania

Duration: 2-5 days.

Best time to go:  The autumn months of March-May for crowd-free travel.  

  • Roadtrip to The Tip

Looking to get lost in the wilderness? A trip to Cape York, one of Australia’s most remote landscapes, offers more than a thousand kilometers of untamed and rugged rainforest beauty. This picturesque route features river crossings infested with crocs, ancient rock art, and two World Heritage sites in the Wet Tropics. Beautiful as it may be, here’s some bad news for your social media followers: Cape York has very limited phone reception, so bye-bye Instagram (that’s right, take this time to reconnect with Mother Nature!)

Recommendation: Take a guided tour through the Quinkan Galleries at Laura to gawk over 30,000-year-old rock art.  

Distance: 1000 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Cairns to Cape York, Queensland

Duration: One to two weeks

Best time to go:  During the cooler months of June to October. Other times of the year might be met with road closures and floods.  

  • Australia’s Coral Coast

Nature lovers, buckle up your seatbelts. This trip from Perth to Ningaloo promises to offer you the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Here, the sprawling Indian Ocean converges with the rugged outback, offering countless adventures on both land and water. Explore the Pinnacles Desert and the Kalbarri National Park for land-dwelling creatures and the World Heritage Shark Bay to spy on manta rays, dolphins, and whale sharks.  

Recommendation: Dedicated divers must check out the Navy Pier – one of the world’s top 10 on-shore dive sites.

Distance: 1200 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Perth to Ningaloo, Western Australia

Duration: 1 week

Best time to go:  Come between June to September for a stunning display of vibrant wildflowers.

  • Great Alpine Road

Cruise along the continent’s highest accessible sealed road to marvel at scenic mountain ranges, deep valleys, and spectacular wine regions. The waterways of the Gippsland Lakes region are a must visit. Looking to reflect? The journey is studded with charming historic towns, such as Omeo, Beechworth, and Bright.

Recommendation: Visit Mt. Hotham, Victoria’s highest alpine village, for rejuvenating mountain air and absolutely breath-taking alpine views. Lots of action here for snowboarders, skiers, and sledders!

Distance: 500 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Wangaratta to Metung, Victoria

Duration: 3 days

Best time to go:  Any time of the year, but some roads may be closed during winter (June to August)

  • The Savannah Way

Our penultimate road trip will have you traveling 3,700 kilometers across five World Heritage sites and 15 national parks, all without ending up in another country or kissing the ocean. This epic road trip may be grueling, but this is one journey that truly offers the Australian outback experience. Expect lots of time spent in nature from grassy plains to lush rainforests, waterfalls, ancient rock art, remote cattle stations, and turquoise waters.  

Recommendation: The Boodjamulla National Park is a must-visit. Gawk at magnificent gorges, 25-million-year-old fossils, emerald waters, and orange sandstone cliffs.  

Distance: 3700 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Cairns, Queensland to Broome, Western Australia

Duration: 10 days to 3 weeks.

Best time to go:  Come during the dry season between May to September.

  • The Big Lap

Ready for an adventure of a lifetime? The Big Lap is for die-hard road-trippers – an epic road trip that encompasses the entirety of Australia. If you have 6 months or more to spare, this road trip promises more than just spectacular sights and the full Australian experience, you’ll also get lifelong bragging rights.  Highway 1 links Australia’s seven capital cities and skirts around Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Broome, Esperance, Hobart, and Adelaide. The Big Lap offers everything Aussie: verdant rainforests, bustling cities, coastal towns, the rough outback, and crystal beaches. This is one road trip unlike any other.

Recommendation: Add more to the experience by including Alice Springs, Kakadu, and Uluru, all accessible via the Stuart Highway in NT.

Distance: 15,000 kilometers

Starting and ending point: This is an epic road trip around Australia with no definite start or end points. You will be cruising along Highway 1 which skirts around the entire continent, with some divergences if you want to explore key cities

Duration: Six months to a year

Best time to go: If it’s summer, December to Australia head south. During winter, June to August, head north or explore the red center. Wet seasons from November to May may close roads and national parks.

If you want an amped up travel experience, explore Australia on four wheels. The greatest part of a road trip isn’t about arriving at your destination and this rings true in the Land Down Under. This continent offers a myriad of sights and adventures you just might miss when traveling on air!

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Travel Tips

Dogger-Lust: Finding Places to Stay for You and Your Dog

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Travelling with your pets is rewarding but like all adventures, can be an expedition into the unknown. Whether it’s navigating quarantine laws or finding a pet sitter for a night out, getting sorted with a pet in tow on the road, air or ocean can take time. However, the good news is that as the digital economy matures there are countless resources to assist you. Pet sitters? Plan ahead and Skype interview them for piece of mind before you arrive at your destination. Need a recommendation on pet friendly dining options? Most review sites will have a selection of places for you and pup to frequent. And perhaps most importantly, there is the ability to locate online the closest (and open) veterinary clinic. This can be vital in an emergency situation.

But what about accommodation? Some hotels are finally cottoning on the burgeoning market of travelling with pets and some accommodation sites are adding ‘pet-friendly’ filters to their search criteria. Of course, good old fashioned word-of-mouth and online reviews will also enable you to find less obvious pet friendly lodgings as well. However, we have had the most success by finding our ideal accommodation and then contacting the owner/management to make our case for allowing a pet to stay. In this case, developing a slick looking Pet CV may seem a tad twee, but it is generally only seen in the case of long term rentals – rather than travellers and those on holidays – so it’s worth a shot. It’s also worth noting that in dire circumstances many private or hotels will allow pets – at a price. 

For the ultimate in pet friendly accommodation, there are several destinations that should be on bucket-list. In Europe, see Le Bristol in Paris and The Hoxton in Amsterdam. Dogs even stay for free at the Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva. Leading the way in Asia is Japan’s KAI Kinugawa, a sumptuous onsen lodging with a Japanese-style pet friendly room. If you’re heading Down Under, check out The Langham in Sydney and Somerset on Elizabeth in Melbourne who both willingly welcome your pets. Worldwide, large chains such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Best Westerns, Fairmont Hotels and Ace Hotels (selected properties) all offer pet friendly accommodation of luxurious quality and an array of services from doggy spas to fine dining pet menus. 

Another way to ensure you and your dog are always welcome is to take your home with you – wherever you go. While Tiny Homes are making their mark in sustainable living, the humble caravan is ultimately more portable and your ticket to travelling with pets. 

Best of all, when you’re back on home turf, just park your caravan and protect it until you’re ready for your next adventure. We recommend the Adco motorhome cover for its durability and zippered panels meaning you don’t have to completely remove it to get your vehicle. Bonus points for breathable, premium fabric that filters 99.8% of UV rays that over time damages your caravan’s paintwork. Happy travelling! 

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Travel Tips

6 Tips to Choose a Good Tent and More [Infographic]

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Probably one of the best ways to get away from it all is to return to a simpler existence, with just a handful of needs to cover. If you are looking for something like that, outdoor life and camping can be a good option, whether in a campsite or in the countryside.

If you need to buy a tent for the first time or if it has been a long time since the outdoor experiences, you should take into account some basic concepts due to the large number of models and new materials. The following are some tips that will help you in the choice.

>> Camping essential – a personal GPS tracking device that would work without cell service.

1. How many people will sleep in the tent?

Although normally each model of tent indicates the maximum occupancy that it tolerates, this number does not take into account the storage of equipment, the size of people, pets or the sleeping habits of each, for example, if they move or turn much. Then it is not bad to consider the team as an extra person and if you want to be standing inside it you will have to find out the maximum height.

2. Do you have to transport it long distances?

Not all tents are designed to be super light and, at the same time, shelter six people with all their equipment. If you are going to carry it in a backpack, you are clearly looking for the first, a small tent, with limited capacity and made with lightweight fabrics, but if you are looking for the second, then you should focus on heavier fabrics and materials that allow larger spaces.

The backpackers’ tents are less spacious than the family ones that are normally transported by car and usually offer very little height.

3. The weather should not be set aside

In the case of strong winds, freezing rain, excessive sunlight or insects and bugs that bite the best will be a good and solid tent. That means polyester / nylon and mesh panels to provide protection and ventilation. Water resistance is indicated by a number that ranges between 400 and 2,000 (2,000 is the most waterproof).

Anyway do not overdo it, it is not the same an expedition to Aconcagua than a weekend a couple of hours from home. For a summer camp with 400 it will be fine.

4. With or without rooms?

Some tents offer divisions to create separate “rooms” inside, which is ideal for families with children. There is also the option of a porch area with waterproof windows that allow you to create an indoor / outdoor space in a tent, which helps keep annoying insects at bay and prevent entry with wet or muddy slippers. It is best to have an eave or apse, something very useful for storing equipment, cooking, changing wet clothes.

5. With a roof – much better

Tents that have an over-roof to the floor retain heat better and protect more from rain. It is important to keep in mind that a light color of the over-roof absorbs less solar radiation and warms its interior less, although it has a disadvantage that it allows the light to pass through a lot. On the other hand, if it is dark, and the tent is located in the shade, it will be cooler and less bright.

6. What material?

A minor aspect is the fabric. It must have cross ventilation so that condensation does not occur. The rips top or anti-tear fabrics are better than those of aluminized nylon and, obviously, those of common nylon since they are lighter and do not wear out.

The following infographic gives more tips for camping tent, including preparation, how to pitch a tent, pest control, etc.

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Travel Tips

Here’s What Your Travel First Aid Kit Should Look Like

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first aid kit

If you have heard it once, you have heard it a million times: do not travel away from home without at least a basic first aid kit. That is good advice. And if you frequently travel to remote locations where emergency help is hard to find, you might need more than just a basic kit. Plan to take a few more items with you – just in case.

As a benefit to readers, this post will explain just what a basic travel first aid kit should look like. It will also explain how to use your kit should you ever find yourself in an emergency situation. It goes without saying that first aid is often the determining factor in how well a patient recovers from accident related injuries.

Contents of a Good Kit

Basic, travel approved first aid kits are pretty common. You can buy them online and in all sorts of brick-and-mortar stores. A good kit suitable for a couple of days of hiking or camping in an area fairly close to civilized society would include all of the items listed below:

  • Strip Bandages – These are small, adhesive bandages ideal for small cuts and lacerations. They are also great for blisters and boils. Covering a small wound with a bandage helps keep out dirt and prevent infection.
  • Gauze Bandages – Whether your kit has gauze patches or a roll of gauze strips, this material is suitable for deeper wounds. Gauze is a material designed to absorb blood and promote clotting simultaneously.
  • Medical Tape – Gauze pads and strips are more easily held in place when you have medical tape. A high-quality medical tape will hold up even under wet conditions. It resists perspiration as well.
  • Antibiotic Ointment – Preventing a wound from getting infected is the purpose of antibiotic ointment. A decent tube of ointment can be very helpful without taking up a lot of space in your kit.
  • Pain Medication – A bottle of over-the-counter pain medication goes a long way toward making an injured patient more comfortable. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are all good choices for pain relief.
  • Scissors – A good pair of scissors will be useful for cutting medical tape, trimming gauze pads, and safely removing skin from an open wound.
  • Tweezers – You might need a pair of tweezers to deal with splinters and small objects embedded in open wounds.
  • Thermal Blanket – It is a good idea to include a thermal blanket in your travel first aid kit. Though a lot of similar articles don’t mention the blanket, the need for one becomes obvious when you understand how easily shock can set in following an accident. A thermal blanket is critical to keeping someone who is in shock warm.

The items listed here are the starting point for a basic first aid kit. If you plan to travel into remote areas for any length of time, you might want to consider some additional items such as water purification tablets, antidiarrheal medicine, rehydration salts, butterfly bandages, and a quick clot medication.

How to Use Your First Aid Kit

By now you should understand just how important it is to have a first aid kit with you when you travel. But there is more to first aid than simply assembling the supplies you need. You also have to know how to use them. There is no better source of knowledge than a first aid class offered by a qualified organisation.

Anyone who travels away from home regularly could benefit from taking a first aid class. A typical class teaches basic first aid techniques including wound dressing, stabilising fractured bones, performing CPR, and even dealing with a variety of animal and insect bites.

One of the things you quickly learn in first aid class is that the care you provide to an injured patient is not intended to be a substitute for comprehensive medical care. First aid is really just to stabilise an injured person until he or she can be transported to a medical facility.

The take-away here is that it is a good idea to learn how to use the supplies in your first aid kit to render emergency care for the purposes of stabilising an accident victim. If you do not know how to properly dress an open wound, for example, your patient could end up with a serious infection before he or she ever makes it to the hospital.

A travel first aid kit, even if it is just a basic kit, should be non-negotiable for people who frequently travel away from home. Good first aid kits can be found online and at brick-and-mortar retailers. You can make your own kit as well, by starting with a weatherproof container and filling it with the sorts of things listed in this post.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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