Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 017 Contents Holidays aren't all about heading to
the airport and jumping on a plane.
Often, they're about heading to
the garage, packing the camping
gear, loading the surfboards and bikes, hooking
on a boat or a trailer, throwing in some food,
strapping in the kids and driving out of the city.
Well that's the quick version. The reality is that
while our vast West Australian wonderland has
many places to visit by road, the drive is likely to
be long and the conditions will vary -- so there's a
need for decent preparation.
From 4WD training and packing spares for the
car, to preparing food and entertainment for the
journey, there are many ways to ensure your next
self-drive holiday, road trip or 4WD adventure is
as good as it can be.
Some of the most important advice is readily
available from organisations such as the RAC.
Don't drive if you are feeling tired, take regular
breaks while driving and be aware of the symptoms
of fatigue, including sore or tired eyes, discomfort,
boredom or highway hypnosis. Drivers should not
drive longer than two hours without a break.
Remember that cruise control does not know
when you are negotiating bends, going up or down
hills, following another vehicle, gazing out the
window, listening to music, tired or falling asleep.
Not so readily available are the little self-learnt
tips that make each trip you go on better than the
last -- how to pack, what to keep handy in the
car and what kind of food and entertainment
For example, one of my mates will never head
off on a trip without a towel in the cab. He reckons
an old towel folded under the seat is your best
friend when it comes to exploding coke cans,
vomiting kids, melted chocolate and other mishaps.
On a long trip, you want to try to arrive at your
destination feeling fresh and healthy.
Firstly, you don't want to be taking a bite from
the bain-marie in every roadhouse you visit, and
secondly, you want to stretch your legs and get
active at every opportunity.
The food has definitely improved in WA
roadhouses and, in many cases, it's not all grease
and plastic cheese, but you're still better off
packing your own food.
"We all love the thought of the hot and tasty
delights that await us in the bain-marie of our first
roadhouse stop -- that is until about 5km down
the road when the grease has oozed from the wing
dings and you are left holding a greasy bag
looking for that towel," says the guy who
recommends the towel. Referring to a trip he did
across Australia, Dan suggests that on really long
journeys you set some ground rules and reward
yourself for keeping to them.
"Our rules were not to eat anything from
a bain-marie, no chips, packet food, lollies or
fizzy drinks and stop to kick the football for five
minutes every two hours (driver change)."
He says aside from rewarding themselves with
as many oysters as they wanted when they got to
Ceduna, the main thing was that they felt like they
had driven 350km instead of 3500km -- not to
mention the money they saved.
Another friend swears by crispbread, hummus,
sun dried tomatoes, cheese and canned tuna,
which all last well in an esky and work well for
a picnic on the side of the road (don't forget the
Then there's the ham and cheese toasties in tin
foil warmed up on the engine -- "approximately
60km for well done" -- and a thermos filled with
tea, coffee or soup. And of course, you need to
take plenty of water to drink.
For the driver it's good to avoid screw-tops
which require two hands to open.
Entertainment can be in the form of sudoku and
crossword books, as well as novels and newspapers
If your idea of a holiday is to arrive, spend time and then turn around and come home again, it's
time to expand your horizons. The classic road trip, even with family, can turn your next holiday
into a real adventure but make no mistake -- it is all in the planning! Georgina Walsh gives us some
ideas on how to learn from a lot of other people's mistakes.
BE PREPARED: Planning a 4WD Outback Kimberley
adventure, image courtesy of Tourism WA.
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