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Top Tips

This page is to provide some top tips for travelling around Australia as we learn ourselves along the way. One of the key things we are struggling with is trying to find diesel prices along the way.

This page is dedicated to making certain decisions easy if you were to take a similar trip as ours. Things like where to fill up for fuel and where not to, top 10 camping spots, top 10 towns and more importantly top 10 dive sites. I am even hoping to provide top tips on where to buy food supplies from in bulk. Hang tight, this will only take 10 months 🙂

Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream that no one can see but you

Top 10 Tips - Planning before Planning

Top 10 Tips - Planning before Planning

Somewhere in the recesses of your mind you have an itch; an itch for a road trip to go "walkabout". If you do, these tips apply to you because at this stage you don't even have a decision let alone a date.

  1. Convince your partner that it's a great idea - You may-be one of the lucky few that will not require this step but if you are an average Australian married for a few years with kids, this is definitely something to take seriously. I am not kidding though if they are not on board you have no chance in hell. For me, this meant proving how all the stars are aligned right now for us to do this trip e.g. The house is being knocked down and rebuilt which will take 9 months so why pay rent, diesel prices are the lowest ever and it will not cost a lot given we have most of the camping gear.
  2. Check out options for kids schooling - This may come as a surprise but Australian education system is just AWESOME. There is an allowance for kids to do distance learning for up to 2 years if they are traveling including a road trip around Oz. Ofcourse, individual schools may vary particularly if private schools are involved therefore you should check this before making a decision.
  3. Sort out your finances - Another surprise! why is this number 3 and not number 1? Because going around Oz is actually not as expensive as many would think if you decide to camp. There are many free camping spots with great facilities, or so we have read in " Camps Australia Wide, seventh edition". This particular point may blow up in my face so I will keep you all posted. In any case, make sure you can financially afford the trip.
  4. Try before you buy - I am yet to come across a person who thinks that a trip around Australia is not something they would like to do. Whilst the idea of the trip is appealing to most, camping is not for everyone particularly if you are trying to do the trip on a shoe string budget like us. We went on a 3 week bush camping trip (unpowered sites) just to see if we will enjoy camping without amenities and if you have never done that before, I strongly recommend that you do.
  5. Suss out the "Family" - This tip is 2 folds. First, make sure kids want to do this trip. Our kids had a say in whether or not we should go for the trip. They had experienced bush camping so could make an educated decision. They also have a lot to lose i.e. moving away from friends albeit temporarily, or taking on a leadership role in school or missing out on team sports. To my surprise, 3 out of 4 wanted to do the trip and the youngest one didn't want to do it because he will miss his toys. So, we added his toys to our list of things to take. Second, check if parents will be okay when you are gone. We discussed the "idea" with them before making any plans.
  6. Wheels - I recently heard a story about someone who decided to go around Australia in a Mercedes 4WD. Their car broke down in Kununurra, WA and had to get parts all the way from Adelaide which delayed their trip and costed them a fortune. Our top tip is to take a 4WD that can take the beating Australian outback will give it, is easy to fix and parts available anywhere in Australia. Basically, any 4WD pre 2002 or without massive computer boards will do the trick. They are cheaper to buy and easier to fix without the need of specialized computers to tell you whats wrong with them. You can also do the trip in a sedan if you stick to bitumen road although its not as much fun but then again going around Australia is still better than not going around, so do what suits you best.
  7. Pets  - What will happen to the pets if you did decide to go? Boarding is possible but an expensive solution in most cases. You can think about taking a dog perhaps with you but then some National Parks don't allow dogs. If you are anything like us, a family that owns 5 pets (Snake, Macaw, Cockatoo, Dog & Turtle) this tip will come very handy. Ask family and friends first if they would look after your animals for 9-10 months. No one person will look after the lot, but perhaps different people may look after different animals. Boarding for just our dog was going to cost us $4K for 10 months and so we paid friends and family money to look after our animals which costed us 2K for all 5 animals.
  8. House - Do you have a mortgage? What will you do about your contents? Can you just lock the house and take off? We found that storage places like Storage King is a much cheaper option than paying rent. 2 things to keep in mind about your house; 1) Most insurance companies will not cover your house and contents if it is empty for an extended period & 2) Empty container to store your stuff is the cheapest option. If you have a mortgage, speak to your lender who may be able to help you with some temporary repayment relief. Buy a second hand container which should cost no more than $1000 for 20ft. This should be enough to store contents from a 3bedroom house. Place the container in your backyard if you have it and rent the house out. Alternatively, use your garage to store your contents, and rent the house out. If you are renting, then consider storing your stuff in a container at a storage place but make sure you bargain your butt off. What started off as $380 per month ended up being $310 per month and first 2 months at half price.
  9. Contract/s - Most Australian families have some form of a binding contract e.g. your mobile phone, internet at home, foxtel etc. If you do, talk to your provider who may be able to help with either cancelling the contract at no cost or minimal cost. You can always plan your dates to align with your contracts although Australian weather wont wait for your contracts to finish and you should really decided on dates based on weather around the country. We had a contract with Optus and a contract with Certegy. Luckily, Certegy only had 2 months to go so I paid them out. Optus had 12 months to go but a little bit of negotiating got me off the contract with nothing to pay.
  10. To Quit or not to Quit - That my friend is THE question. Annual leave, unpaid leave, long service leave and for some of us dodgy enough, sick leave or stress leave options are available although explaining a 10 month sick leave may be harder than you think. This decision comes down to your personal circumstances and where you think you will stand after the trip. For me, a career change was on the cards anyway and I had negative annual leave with no long service leave so giving up work was the right decision although I only resigned when our departure date was set.

 

Top 10 Tips - Planning for the Trip

Top 10 Tips - Planning for the Trip

Coming Soon

Top 10 Tips - Fueling

Top 10 Tips - Fueling

Coming Soon

Top 10 places to visit in Australia

Top 10 - Places to Visit in Australia

Coming Soon

Top 10 Free Camping Spots

Top 10 - Free Camping Spots

Coming Soon

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