I am SO excited to start this series of guest posts about travel. I've been reading some great stories from people and can't wait to share!! First up we have a story about traveling to the Australian Outback! This post was originally posted on a blog dedicated to travel throughout Australia- please go visit for more fun adventure!http://randomramblings-rie.blogspot.com/2010/04/down-road.html. Without further ado; enjoy!
While traveling about the Australian Outback, I became rather use to seeing this exact scenery over and over for days on end. The vast, relatively untouched landscape is literally broken only by the stretches of road which allow you to traverse the natural wonder. The isolation from most things man made is a welcome break and a unique experience; however, I found it also raised some interesting problems. Namely, these were how to obtain food and fuel as well as accommodation for when the never-ending expanse of bitumen (aka blacktop) became too much.
Luckily, truckstops appeared on the horizon just often enough to keep the petrol tank full and the engines running. These oases not only offered overpriced food-items (such as $5 ice creams that were a welcome expense in the dry heat), but also, random "tourist attractions" to attract your business. While the attractions were unnecessary--let's be honest, where else am I going to take my business?--they were surprisingly entertaining after hours spent sweatin' it out in the vehicle while driving in a perfectly straight line. For instance, I clearly enjoyed this little beauty..."look, I'm a 'Buffa-roo,' too!"
Fuel and food taken care of, nailing down a place to sleep at night became priority numero uno, but the options were rather limited. A few of the truckstops offered overpriced one-night camping, but a better option was available for adventurous souls. The better option I'm speaking of was of course roadside camping. As well as being free and legal in most places, "bush camping" offered amazing views of the setting and rising sun, AND no chance of being annoyed by pesky neighbors at the next campsite over.
I did learn a few things from my adventures in roadside camping. Primarily, while you won't need to worry about the noise from passing cars, you should in fact be prepared for the occasional road train to thunder past. Don't worry though, you'll likely just mistake the experience for a minor earthquake and slip quickly back to sleep. Similarly, don't bother with bug spray as the mozzies aren't too annoying in the Outback; rather, invest in good lightweight, long-sleeve shirt and pants, and a fly net because those blasted flies are hell. I'm not talking your run-of-the-mill, American housefly. No, no, no, the Australian Outback offers disgustingly persistent "sticky flies;" so named for their intense desire to adhere themselves to any mucosal membrane, or in their absence, anything moist. It's awful...seriously. Also worth taking along are the following items:
-Reliable hand-cranked torch (erm, flashlight). Because I imagine there would be nothing worse than a 100% pitch black potty break at 2am.
-Shovel and biodegradable toilet paper because a potty break at 2am without a shovel and tp would be worse than a 100% pitch black potty break alone...my mistake
-Well-stocked first aid kit just in case.
-A comfortable sleeping bag and padded mat, or if you're less adventurous, an easy-to-pitch tent.
-Extra food, water, fuel, just in case...again :)
Along with things that should definitely be taken along, there are a few things to just not bother with at all. Actually, only two come to mind. Firstly, don't bother pulling your mobile phone out of the vehicle, you won't get reception, and you won't need it as an alarm as the sun will wake you up early. Don't kill your battery for nothing. Secondly, don't--AND I REPEAT...DON'T--watch "Wolf Creek" before you head out on this adventure. It will only mess with your head.