Moving Across Australia: Our 2018 Drive

The recent bushfires made me reflect on our trip across Australia a year and a half ago. Australia is a dry but beautiful country. I hope we can keep it a livable place for us and the native wildlife.

Australia's longest straight road
Australia’s longest straight road

In September 2018, we drive all the way across Australia from Brisbane to Perth. I regretfully parted ways with my faithful beep beep Barina and bought a Nissan X-Trail. We mounted a rooftop tent and packed up all our belongings into the car. Anything that didn’t fit had to go.

Installing our rooftop tent
Installing our rooftop tent

Our car was pretty weighed down, so we took the drive carefully. Any slight swerve would have tipped us over.

Day 1: Moree

The first night was spent in a caravan park in Moree located in New South Wales, a little way past the Queensland border.

Our campground in Moree
Our campground in Moree

We really liked Moree, so we spent a bit of time exploring the town and left in the afternoon to make it to another campground before sunset.

Day 2: Carinda, New South Wales

Set up at the free campsite in Carinda
Set up at the free campsite in Carinda

The town we made it to the next day was Carinda, still in New South Wales. There we pitched our tent in a free campsite next to where the David Bowie song, Let’s Dance, was filmed. We set up and had a nice camp dinner.

Cooking up a stew on our little gas cooker
Cooking up a stew on our little gas cooker

However, we got super freaked out in the middle of the night thinking we heard screaming. We also had no phone reception out there and got ourselves quite worked up. We lay in our rooftop tent peering out the window expecting to see crazy murderers running towards us like in the movies. Eventually, we decided to packed up our tent and leave. Silly us, the kangaroos were all over the road. So, we had to pull over and sleep on the side of the road for the night.

Getting dark in Carinda
Getting dark in Carinda

We could have kept going at maybe 40 kms, but we had to preserve petrol because petrol stations are few and far between in the middle of Australia. We would always make sure we pulled in and fuelled up at each station we came across, because the next one might not be for another 100kms or more.

Day 3: Broken Hill, New South Wales

We decided to get some distance between us and Carinda, and we started driving quite early due to spending an uncomfortable night in our seats on the side of the road.

Set up for the night at Broken Hill
Set up for the night at Broken Hill

We reached Broken Hill and found a really nice camp site that was very clean and well-maintained. We even got fresh hot showers. We had plenty of kangaroos around our car when we went to bed because we were the only ones camping in the self-contained sites that night.

Days 4 and 5: Glenelg, South Australia

Glenelg, South Australia
Glenelg, South Australia

We made a last minute decision to stop over and visit some relatives in South Australia, so we headed there for two nights, which gave us a really good sleep and refreshed us for the journey. It was a welcome break from all the desert we’d been driving through.

Sunset over Glenelg Beach
Sunset over Glenelg Beach

Day 6: Kimba, South Australia

On Day 6, we said goodbye to my relatives and headed off towards Western Australia. We drove for about 5-6 hours and made it to the little town of Kimba.

Painted silos at Kimba
Painted silos at Kimba

The residents there were super friendly, and we got one of the last available camp sites. Apparently they had just had the annual Kimba Show, so there were heaps of people around. There was a basketball courts and someone had left a basketball in there, so we played a little bit before cooking up some dinner and heading to bed for the night.

Kimba’s Big Galah

Day 7: Nullabor, South Australia – Western Australia

The next day, we drove quite a few hours and made it to just past the SA-WA border. The Nullabor is dry and dusty. A lot of time all you can see around you is dirt and shrubs, not many trees at all. We also hardly saw any other cars on the road. We drove for ages without seeing anyone. Some of the land you see on the way makes you feel a little like you could be on Mars.

Dry cliffs next to the ocean
Dry cliffs next to the ocean

We paid $2 and had a shower in the truckies rooms at one of the petrol stations just before the border. We thought we could make it to another stop further along the Nullabor, but the sun set on us too quickly, so we had to pull over and make camp at a random spot for the night.

Emergency roadside camping for the night.
Emergency roadside camping for the night.

We were lucky we took lots of water with us, because a lot of places in the middle of Australia had no water!

Sign saying water is not available due to severe shortages
Our  car was completely packed, and our foot space had all the spare water we could carry
Our car was completely packed, and our foot space had all the water we could carry

Day 8: WA!

We drove so many hours on the last day, too many hours. I’m talking 17 hours from the WA border until we reached our new home. But we finally arrived at our destination a few hours south of Perth! We would like to do more driving and camping, but definitely not with such a loaded up car. That’s why for this trip, we tried to get there as fast as possible, which in our case was just over a week.

Fuel was very expensive along the way, almost double the price of fuel in the urban areas. We stopped and filled up at each station though, just in case the next one was shut down or not working. We definitely didn’t want to be stranded out there in the crazy heat with no water!

Massive fuel station along the way
Massive fuel station along the way

The trip was definitely a once in a lifetime thing. I think you’d be crazy to want to do it twice if you didn’t have to. But we definitely want to do more coastal driving around Australia one day!

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