You might say in your application that your Year Abroad is all about expanding your academic horizons, but we all know that one of the main reasons for applying is to indulge in your wander lust (and possibly fit in another year of career procrastination). Once you’ve caught it, there’s no denying this addictive travel bug, and a road trip is the one of the best ways to embrace it!
Here’s five reasons for choosing a road trip for your next adventure:
- You see the sights as you’re driving along: the destination really is the journey.
- You have complete freedom and control over where and when you go.
- There’s nothing like a road trip for getting closer to your friends / family – probably closer than you bargained for.
- It’s cheap! Hiring a car or a campervan can be a great way to travel on a budget, especially if you combine it with camping.
- The sense of achievement. This sounds a bit vague, but there’s a real sense of fulfilment (and relief) when you complete a trip, and driving the whole way definitely contributes.
Here in Melbourne we are lucky enough to have a bucketful of road-trippable options, from nearby Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island and Wilsons Prom all the way to Canberra or Sydney. However, there is one stretch of road that surpasses all others (it’s in the name): The Great Ocean Road. Beginning at nearby Torquay and stretching west to Allansford, it’s 243km of Australian National Heritage listed coastline.
Packed with world-class surf beaches, stunning rock formations and verdant rainforest, the Great Ocean Road is a hugely popular destination. The ‘must do’ iconic sights like the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge feature a constant stream of tourists (and rightly so – they’re stunning). However, these are five lesser known gems that get you away from the crowd, and make this trip even more memorable:
- Surfing at Torquay beach
- Koala spotting at Kennet River
- Waterfall climbing at Triplet Falls
- Hiking at Cape Otway Light-station
- Sunset at Bay of Islands National Park
Despite all the awesome upsides of road tripping, there are a few drawbacks: the cramped space and the long hours on the road, for example. So lastly, here’s my five top tips for surviving your ultimate road trip in (relative) comfort.
- Spend a little time before you set off becoming familiar with the vehicle (so you can ask questions before you leave). For example: how do I put this campervan into reverse? Or, what type of gas does this take?
- Make a road trip playlist! There’s nothing quite like driving along a beautiful stretch of road with the windows down, belting your favourite tune at the top of your lungs. Plus, it’ll make those long drives go that much faster.
- Make regular fuel stops. Just do this. It’ll prevent those stressful moments when you realise you’re an hour deep in the rainforest and your camper is running on empty (definitely not us).
- Bring plenty of snacks, a good book and a pack of cards, just in case you’ve exhausted conversation topics on the drive (warning: cards can cause arguments, especially among families).
- Pack fluffy socks. This little brain wave made me SO much happier on the trip. If you’re a passenger, they’re perfect for relaxing in the car, but as a driver, these saved me during the nights, which were surprisingly cold. Happy feet = happy traveller.