And now's the time to summarise the experience.
First, and foremost: three weeks of one continuous car trip is simply too much, even for a relatively sturdy traveller like myself. Too many new impressions. Too little familiar points of reference to calm down the overstimulated brain. The best strategy in this case would probably to leave the car in Darwin, take a flight back home and have a day or two of rest before going back and resuming the trip. Otherwise: no strength to make more pictures, no desire to stop for a walk or a hot meal, no strength for anything but driving. Not a very good way of travelling.
Speaking of pictures. Unfortunately, during the past few years of staying home my skills of photo reporting have become rusty, therefore I took a lot less pictures during the trip than I should have. Especially during the last week. Especially in the cities, towns, roadhouses and other inhabited places; somehow I always tend to avoid picturing them, and I shouldn't. You have to make yourself stop the car every now and again to photograph whatever is around. Even the most boring and unassuming scenery will be interesting to look at a few weeks later. Not to mention you, my dear reader, because you most likely have never even seen it yourself.
An app called WikiCamps
helped me enormously every day. Every potential place to stay for the night, be it a roadhouse, a caravan park, or a mere rest stop, has plenty information on it, including the numerous short reviews from the guests. Seven bucks spent for the app is nothing compared to the benefits. Of great help was also the atlas that I bought before the trip, which contained detailed paper maps along with the information about every town and city out there.
Clothes. You have
to bring more T-shirts, because somehow I didn't anticipate how fast I'd run out of them in tropical heat. I took only several with me, and had to wear the same T-shirt for 4 or 5 days on end. Another pair of shorts would be useful, too – so as not to walk around in rolled-up pants, while the freshly washed shorts dry up on the back seat. Speaking of washing: you got to bring some detergent with yourself, along with a stash of $1 and $2 coins: in caravan parks, they almost always they have laundromats operating on them.
As for the unnecessary
items. A so-called camping shower (a thick, 10-litre plastic bag with a tap on its end) is useless: you have nowhere to hang it upon. A simple plastic jug with a tap is enough – if you put it on a trestle table, you can wash anything with it, including your dishes, your feet, and your face. A washing line is also not needed: they have plenty of it in caravan parks, and you're hardly going to wash anything outside them anyway. Also, there's no point in taking too much gas bottles for the cooker: only 1 bottle per week is enough, unless you use it several times a day. Same goes for batteries for LED torches: I haven't had to change a single one of them.
Food. Canned food and instant noodles, as usual, were extremely handy, especially if you buy hot lunches every day somewhere. No need for the cutting board: if you want sandwiches, you could just buy sliced bread and sliced ham in almost every supermarket. Cash money, by the way, are also practically useless, except for a very rare occasion, such as paying for a campsite in an envelope
. They accept cards everywhere, including the most remote roadhouses. If you run out of cash, just have a $20-$30 cash out in a nearest supermarket.
Not sure what to say about the vehicle for the trip. You already know that you got to change your tyres regularly, and do your service every 10,000 kilometres. If you don't stray too far from civilization, mechanics are everywhere to help in case something happens.
With all that in mind, the trip was amazing. Plenty of memories for years ahead, even though I barely had any adventures as such. I'm already thinking about new trips to other places, which should turn out even better due to the gained experience. There's plenty of beautiful places in Australia to visit, and a relatively sturdy traveller like myself will always have somewhere to go and something to see. For now, though, it's time to go to work and accumulate strength for another leap into the unknown.
The trip in numbers:
- 16021.1 km