The Ultimate Road Trip Australia – So What?
So you might have read one, two or even all of our posts about the ‘Ultimate Road Trip’ in Australia where we talked quite a bit about places we visited and things we saw along the way. Having gone through those posts myself I realized that we have not really drawn any real conclusions about the trip. I think we answered question ‘What?’ fairly well but it feels ‘So what?’ has not been touched as much. This is what I would like to cover in this 5th and final part of the Ultimate Road Trip Australia series.
First of all, I do believe that Australia has been put at a slightly disadvantageous position right from the get-go because it has been, for a very long time, a ‘dream country’ for us. We read a lot about Australia before the trip and we believed that this is the place where all the dreams suddenly come true and that everything is made of gold and that people are the nicest and that the weather is always perfect… which is obviously not a realistic expectation for anyone to have. Despite that, this was the expectation we had getting onto our plane to Melbourne and therefore, naturally, this is the reason why after the first couple of days we ended up feeling a little bit disappointed. We started sensing that our unrealistic expectations might not be met and so the further we travelled the more we felt this hype fading away.
Now, before everyone starts thinking Australia was not awesome I have to say that it really was – proof here. The people were friendly and the beaches were nice and the nature was so unique and different from everything else we’ve seen elsewhere. It really was amazing and I think we will remember this road trip for the rest of our lives but I also think we made a couple of mistakes which might be worth sharing (and keeping in mind for our next road trips!).
First: Manage your expectations! We had unrealistic expectations and ended up leaving Australia feeling it was just ‘alright’.
On the contrary we went to New Zealand knowing it’s nice and we ended up leaving it completely blown away because we did not have sky high expectations for it.
Second: Five weeks on the road (sleeping in tents) is a long time. We broke it down by staying in Noosa for more than a week (and thanks god we did!), but we still slept in tents. After a couple of weeks the excitement about freedom camping was gone and everybody got tired of our daily routine (pack-drive-unpack). Oh, and the fact it was four of us together all the time did not make it easier.
What we could have done differently? I would probably think two separate, but shorter road trips would have worked a lot better. Two completely separate roadtrips in different regions of Australia would have been best.
Third: It feels a lot more research and planning could have been done beforehand. If the legwork is done at home there is less to worry about on the road. However, with conflicting priorities of people this is easier said than done.
So what? Well, if somebody asked me if I would recommend our road trip itinerary to others my response we be a definite ‘No’. If somebody asked if I’d like to come back to Australia, my response would be a definite ‘Yes’.
I think this suggests it was not the people, weather, nature or the Australian cities that left us disappointed. It was the unrealistic expectations we had, it was the overestimation of our own capacity to stay on the road for a long period of time, and finally, the lack of hours spent and good decisions made before hitting the road.
Tiring yourself to the point you are too exhausted to enjoy the trip is one of the worst things that can happen on your holiday. We learned the lesson the hard way and will surely be adjusting our plans moving forward!
If I could plan a perfect visit from scratch to Australia and had 5 weeks to spend there like we did, this is what I would do:
Week 1 – Week 2:
Start with a two-week road trip between Melbourne and Brisbane to get used to Australian climate, etc. East coast is fairly densely populated compared to the rest of the continent so it is a good starting place. I would probably not go any further than Brisbane though. By the time you get to Brisbane you would have a decent idea of how east coast looks like.
For ideas, check out these posts:
Week 3 – Week 4:
The other week to a maximum of two weeks I would spend exploring western Australia.
For ideas, check out these blogs:
Week 4 – Week 5:
The remainder of the trip I would allocated to the slightly more extreme adventures in either Northern Territory and especially central part of Australia.
For ideas, check out this blog: