Buying a car
Top 5 tips for planning a road trip in Australia
26 July 2022
From the beach to the bush to beyond, there’s nothing quite like a road trip around Australia. Whether you’re doing the stretch of coast from Qld to NSW, or travelling from VIC to the far side of WA, there’s a few tips to keep in mind when you start to plan a road trip.
Do your research & be prepared
Starting with two tips in one. It’s no secret that Australia is massive – which makes the preparation stage of a road trip that much more important. Plan ahead so you know:
- where you'll sleep
- what the weather will be
- if you'll be buying food or preparing most of it yourself
- what your final destination is, and
- where all the interesting places are along the way.
Having a sense of these things will leave less to chance. While that may take away some spontaneity, that’s a small price to pay to ensure you’re not driving into the middle of nowhere with no food, no bed and no plan.
You can also consider taking out Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance for accidental damage to your or another person's vehicle. Be sure to read the PDS to understand what’s covered and what isn’t covered and ensure the product is right for you.
If your car is covered by insurance, you can have the extra confidence to make the most out of the experience when you finish planning a road trip and get to travelling.
Emergency car kit
In case something goes awry, make sure you’ve got a few key things in your emergency car kit, such as:
- a puncture repair kit
- tools that fit your vehicle
- a torch
- your car's user manual
- backup road maps (Google doesn't work everywhere!)
- a compass
- a satellite phone, if you're going off the grid, and
- a reflective vest and cones for road visibility if things go wrong.
While having a spare tyre is absolutely recommended, you can also take actions to prevent needing to DIY a tyre change in the Aussie sun. When planning a road trip, make sure you check the tyre pressure and tread before you start your journey – and, just in case, learn how to change a tyre if you don’t already know!
First aid kit
It’s the last thing we want to think about, but it’s important to be prepared. Always keep a basic first aid kit in your vehicle for emergencies – or just for cuts, scrapes and bruises!
You can purchase first aid kits at hardware stores and chemists, so pick one up before you go.
Imagine being on the road for hours under the beating sun, pulling over for a refreshing sip of hydration, and finding a big water-bottle-shaped hole in your equipment. So double-check you’ve got water when planning a road trip, and be sure to pack more than one!
Packing water also has the additional use of being able to refill your cars’ water as well.
Even if you’ve planned to pause frequently for pit stops and exploring, it’s a good idea to pack some backup food in case you take a wrong turn, or a key servo on your meticulously planned journey has shut down.
It’s best to stick to non-perishable food if you’re able, not just for if you forget to remove it after your trip – some states like South Australia have restrictions on what foods, fresh or otherwise, can be brought over their borders. Be sure to check to avoid unintentionally becoming a smuggler!*
Fuel & oil
Depending on where you’re planning to go, there may not be consistent fuel stops – like the long stretches of nothing along the Tablelands Highway in NT.
In cases like these, pack extra fuel and oil. Even if you think you might make it, it’s better to be safe than sorry in the middle of the outback. Be sure to only store fuel in safe and approved containers.
Prepare for wildlife
One of the best things to come across along the open road is Australia’s fantastically unique wildlife – as long as they’re not on the road itself! Try to remember that, although you might be used to seeing them, they likely aren’t used to seeing you – or more specifically, your car.
Because of this, they might not be as careful as we’d like. Avoid injuring our wildlife and yourself by:
- keeping at eye open for animal signage
- being extra vigilant at dusk and dawn, when animals are more likely to be moving around
- making sure your headlights and high-beams provide good vision at night, especially if you plan on lots of night driving
- slowing down if an animal is on the road, as they may be startled and head straight into danger, and
- being careful around other drivers, who might have to suddenly stop due to an animal jumping in the way.
Familiarise yourself with basic vehicle maintenance
Australia is full of roads to potentially hit a bump on. Because of this, it’s handy to know the basics of your vehicle and its maintentance. Brush up on how to change tyres, cool your engine and change your oil.
If you do need assistance on the road, it’s best to stay with your vehicle. It’s easier to spot for other motorists who may drive by, and can provide shelter from the weather if necessary.
You can add Suncorp Roadside Assist to your Comprehensive Car Insurance policy for an additional premium, which allows you to call on professionals to come and help you out when you can’t get out of a tight spot. They can help with:
- jump starting your flat battery
- topping you up with emergency fuel
- changing your flat tyre
- arranging access to your car in the case of misplaced (but not stolen) keys, and
- caravan and trailer assistance.
We can also tow your car to the nearest accredited repairer (limits apply) if it’s unsafe to fix your car where it is, the car is undriveable, or a roadside assist technician can’t do the repairs themselves.
Remember to include days off in your itinerary
As important as it is to be prepared for the worst case scenario, don’t let that take away from the fact that your road trip is likely to be an incredible experience. Australia is a unique and beautiful place, and there are so many great spots to explore within our backyard.
We know there’s lots to plan and see, so cramming your schedule full can be tempting. But planning blank days can be just what you need after a long drive.
Plus, including blank days in your road trip plan is a great way to still have the freedom to explore and be spontaneous. Let your trip be memorable for the right reasons!
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.
Suncorp Roadside Assist is an optional extra only available in conjunction with Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance. Suncorp Roadside Assist is provided by Digicall Assist Pty Ltd. There is no cover for Suncorp Roadside Assist during the first 24 hours of adding the cover. For full coverage details, please see the Terms and Conditions.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.