Cross-Country driving is a big thing in Australia

By: DavidPage

The outback is a rugged area. The outback is a remote area that is rarely traveled. It is also sparsely populated. This means drivers will likely not be able to see service stations, rest stops or other drivers in large areas. Planning is important. Here are some things Aussies do when they drive from Sydney to Perth.

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Make a plan to stop every two hours. This is especially important when it is hot. When driving through the outback, vehicles can quickly heat up. Because many roads in Australia are straight and flat it is easy for vehicles to overheat after driving for long periods without stopping.

Plan petrol stops – It is important to plan stops at petrol stations (gas stations), when you travel through the outback, where there is very little population. A map or travel guide will show you where fuel stations are located and the type of fuel available. You should be aware that petrol stations can be scarce even in outback areas. This means you need to be extra careful about ensuring you have enough fuel to get to your destination. A portable emergency fuel container is a good idea.

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Select the right vehicle – A Toyota Hilux is a rugged and durable choice for this trip. Poor roads can make it difficult to navigate in many parts of Australia, especially the outback. Many roads are made from gravel or sand. It is best to travel on an all-terrain vehicle, if you can. Potholes can cause damage to your tires or even blow them out, so be aware of the dangers. Make sure to have at least one spare and, if possible, some run-flat tires.

Remember that it can be difficult to get a vehicle serviced in remote locations, especially if your vehicle requires special spare parts. Instead, choose simple and popular vehicles (the Hilux is a great choice).

Avoid overheating your vehicle – Extreme temperatures can occur in the outback so make sure that the cooling system is working properly. During stops, check the coolant and water levels as well as the fan belt. You should also monitor your engine temperature while driving. If your vehicle seems too hot, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows.

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Stop driving before engine temperatures reach dangerous levels. It is better to let the engine cool down on the side of a road than to push it. Pushing could lead to a coolant system failure or loss, and so it is safer to just sit there.

Drinking water and other supplies are essential – Due to the extreme heat in Australia, it is important that you have a backup water supply.

These are the most common recommendations for driving through the Outback:

Drink at least litres per day of water

Each vehicle should be able to carry at least 3 days worth of water for emergencies. You are not going to need this water but you will use it to transport the car (drinking water is an extra).

  1. It is also recommended to have food supplies for a few days.
  2. After a breakdown, the car heats up quickly so bring some shade items such as umbrellas.
  3. The outback can see temperatures drop to freezing at night so make sure you bring warm jackets and blankets.
  4. A good emergency kit should be kept with you. It should contain matches, compass, and other supplies
  5. Renting a satellite phone is an option – There may not be access to mobile phones in remote areas. You can rent a satellite phone to bounce signals off space orbit reflectors as a precaution. You can also carry a traveller’s radio pack and a distress radio beacon.
  6. Weather forecasts: Dust storms and flash flooding are common in outback areas, while tropical cyclones may be possible in the north. It is best to be safe than sorry, as you might not get help if you are stranded due to severe weather. You should respect road closures and choose alternate routes.

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