Our road trip around Australia is history. With a smile on our face we now think back to the great time we had. The last 11 months have been wonderful. We crossed the Simpson Desert, we celebrated New Year’s Eve in Sydney, we met so many lovely people on the road, we enjoyed close encounters with Koalas, experienced the real Outback and many other things off the beaten track.
Road Trip Australia off the beaten track
Our second road trip around Australia ends now. We’ve done 72’390 km with our Troopy and in total we spend 19 months in Australia. We’ve seen a lot and we experienced much more. Some of these things we’ll always remember. Today we tell you more about 7 of these things.
One of the most difficult questions we had to answer during our trip was: What do you like most about Australia? But in a way it’s easy to answer. The people.
We met so many lovely people on the road. Australians and travellers alike and they all made our road trip special.
How do you normally feel when you’re at the end of a trip? Do you also relive the time you had? Today is our last day in Australia. It’s a strange feeling to leave after such a long time. For the last few days I always had flashbacks.
7 things that make Australia special to us
The last 11 months were intense, exciting, adventurous and sometimes just normal. At the end what remains are memories of good times we had with friends and people we met, situations we had to manage and places we visited. There are many things we will remember for the rest of our lives. Not only because of the beauty of the country but also because of the atmosphere, the perfect timing or the fun factor. A road trip Australia off the beaten track is the best thing we’ve ever done.
7 things, our personal tips for travellers who love to see Australia off the beaten track.
Jacobs Ladder, the coolest mountain pass in Tasmania
We love to drive mountain passes. In Tasmania we found one, the Jacobs Ladder. That would be the perfect road to drive in a sports car but our Troopy will do too. We have been born and brought up in Switzerland and have driven many passes before. Even if the Jacobs Ladder is just a five minute drive uphill, we enjoyed the very windy road and the spectacular view a lot.
Do you want to drive up the Jacobs Ladder? It’s in the Ben Lomond National Park in Tasmania and quite easy to access from Launceston.
Driving the Jacobs Ladder is definitely worth a trip. Once you’re on the top of the pass continue to the ski resort for a cool photo with kangaroos feeding next to the snow guns. Where else if not in Australia do you see kangaroos and snow guns together?
Blue Rag Range Track, 4WD adventure in the Victorian High Country
We found 4-wheel-driving and country landscape at its best in the Victorian High Country. Marcel is a 4WD enthusiast and he found the perfect track to drive. The Blue Rag Range Track is quite popular with locals. No wonder, the 4WD track is challenging and the views are breathtaking. The road goes along the ridge of the mountain range where we enjoy spectacular views of the Australian Alps.
Driving tip: If you plan to do the Blue Rag Range Track you need to have knowledge about Offroad driving. A vehicle with high clearance is a must.
The Club in the Scrub in Grawin
In the middle of nowhere we found a special place with very special people. On our drive from Lightning Ridge to Bourke in the northwest of New South Wales we found a short cut. The dirt road went through flat country and finally we arrived in Grawin, an opal mining community. During the day the opal miners are working on the opal fields in Grawin and Glengarry. There is no bigger town nearby and after work the whole crowd meets in the Club in the Scrub for a beer or two. Everybody knows everybody at the Club. Luckily we are welcome. We have a chat and a beer with the locals. After a while the big question arises: What is a couple of Switzerland doing in Grawin?
Birdsville, the ultimate Outbacktown
Birdsville is a town in Outback Queensland and far away from everything. And we mean far away. From Birdsville to Brisbane it’s a 1602 km drive, Adelaide is 1186 km away and to get to Alice Springs it’s 1094 km. That’s what we call real Outback.
This year we’ve been to Birdsville twice. The first time we went to see the Birdsville Rodeo. The Birdsville Rodeo is not as famous as other Rodeos and therefore a small event. Good for us because there where almost no other tourists around. We enjoyed the real Aussie event and the Outback atmosphere a lot. We also had the chance to look a bit behind the scene of farmers live, the stockman and people who live in this rural and harsh country.
Our second time to Birdsville was like coming home. We knew the town and it was the first bit of civilisation after crossing the Simpson Desert. An oasis. In the famous Birdsville Hotel we celebrated the successful desert crossing with probably Australia’s coldest beer.
Blanche Cup on the Oodnadatta Track in South Australia
The Oodnadatta Track is a dirt road and one of the famous Outback tracks in Australia. Abandoned railway sidings and cottages from the Old Ghan railway line offer interesting stops along the route. Many people drive the Oodnadatta when coming from the Flinders Ranges to get to the Opal town Coober Pedy. Even if the track is well known it’s still not a very busy road. We just passed a few cars on our trip. Our favourite stop along the Oodnadatta Track was the side trip to the Blanche Cup which is an active mound spring. It reminds us of a lunar landscape, it’s like standing on the moon.
Ride on a cotton picker in Moree
On our trip around Australia we wanted to see as much as possible but also visit people we met on our fist trip. That’s why we went to Moree. Not for the famous hot springs but to meet friends. We met Sandy, the manager of a cotton farm, on a camp five years ago. Thanks to Facebook we keep in contact and it was easy to make out a date to catch up. The timing of our visit in Moree was perfect. The cotton is ready to pick and we were allowed to hop on a picker. The ride on this monster machine was so cool. During the ride the driver explained how it all works and we learned a lot about cotton.
Magnetic Hill near Orrorroo in South Australia
This is one to laugh about. We heard about Magnetic Island but we never heard of Magnetic Hill. When we read that funny story about that hill which is magnetic and vehicles should roll uphill, we definitely wanted to see what’s going on there. Will it work with our Troopy? At the time we arrived, there were no others, luckily. We stopped, read the instructions and did what we where told to do. Ignition off, we select neutral, breaks off. Nothing happened first and then we start roll down the hill. Oh, well. We give it another try. We roll but in the wrong direction. Down. Well, what did we expect?!?! At least we had a good laugh. Before we took off we checked for a hidden camera, nothing. Joke or no joke? We’ll google it later.