What we loved…
Freedom of Living in a Car – Traveling Australia in a campervan or even a car is super easy. Between caravan parks, truck stops, campgrounds, hostels allowing car living and great public facilities, living in a car is far easier than one might think. Our ‘95 Mitsubishi Magna station wagon is my favorite home I’ve ever lived in. With zero planning or packing needed, car living allows you to seek adventure at the drop of a dime. Limitless freedom!
Well Maintained National Parks, Beaches, Public Facilities – All Australian National Parks are beautiful, and there’s plenty of them. They have pristinely maintained and well marked trails, as well as clean and abundant facilities. Almost all public parks have propane barbecues (some are coin-operated but most are free). There are public bathrooms all over – both along highways as well as in cities, and they’re clean and stocked with supplies. It helps the insane amount of money you’ll spend on sales tax hurt a little less, because at least you can see those tax dollars at work.
Wildlife – Where else can you take an early morning country drive with 10 kangaroos hopping along with you? And kangaroos are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to weird and awesome animals easily spotted in Australia. They have echidnas, wallabies, koalas, quokkas, tasmanian devils, bushtail possums, weedy and leafy sea dragons, duck billed platypi, and of course, my favorite animal of all time – wombats.
What we didn’t love…
Cost – Holy expensive, Batman! Now, last time we were there the Australian dollar was really valuable, but even when it’s not, Australian prices are hiked way high. The good news is, it forces you to prepare your own meals and drink way less…free detox!
Driving – Australia is huge and there’s a lot of space between highlights, meaning a lot of driving…a lot! The roads are in great shape, they’re just sooooooo long. And don’t even think about speeding – they have speed cameras. In Western Australia you have to share the road with road trains. Road what? Road trains – imagine your typical long haul truck, now put 5 trailers attached to it. They’re terrifying to try to pass. You’ll also encounter more roadkill in a day than you would expect to see in a lifetime, and I’m not talking about squirrels. We’re talking big animals that cause major damage – kangaroos, cows, koalas, wild horses, wallabies, even camels. You simply cannot drive at night – it’s not worth the risk. Traveling Australia by car is great,but it entails a lot of very long drives.
Lack of history – Aussies will hate to read this, but it’s true. It’s a new country in relative terms, and it became a country in a relatively uneventful way. No escape from oppression. No war. Their history lacks major world events. Aboriginal history is fascinating and deep, but it is not well documented or shared. While, of course, modern Australia has history…it’s not diverse and pretty boring.