Are you tired of your boring daily routine? Is your city life becoming too stressful? Are you considering a gap year and want to go as far as possible? What if I tell you that there is an answer to each of these questions, that there is a solution to all these problems and that all these clues point to one logic result?
I know you may be thinking there is no such thing in the world that can solve this dilemma but I'm telling you, my dear friend, that I've got the master key to unlock the door of Heaven. I have avidly kept it for one year but now I am finally ready to pass it over and I want to give it to you. So pack up your stuff and bring all you need because this is going to be a long journey my friend...we are going to Australia!
Australia is one of the trendiest destinations for backpackers from all over the world and it's become particularly in vogue in this last century (also because the country was only found at the very beginning of 1900). Australia attracts thousands of travelers every year and it's not hard to understand why. Its stunning coastal view, the relaxed atmosphere, its unique wildlife and world-renowned sites like the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest are only a few reasons why the country has become the place to be over the last years. That said, I have no problem declaring Australia as an absolute gem of the Southern Hemisphere.
So now what? You bought your ticket (I recommend you buy this in advance, it will save you a few bucks if you, like me, are on a budget) and you will be most likely to land in Sydney or Melbourne, but what's your next move? Well, now you are at a crossroad and it's time to make a choice but do not despair because whatever you decide to do Down Under will be a complete success. Many people usually pick a city and decide to settle down for a few months so, whether you want to party all night in the pulsating streets of Melbourne, enjoy the stunning beaches of Sydney and the Central Coast or soak in the vibrant atmosphere of iconic Byron Bay, you won't get it wrong as Australia got it all and will please all tastes. But if you are more like me, you crave adventure, love the unknown or just can't help thinking of what else is out there to see, well, in that case, there is only one way to go. You do what I did. You buy a van because van stands for freedom and freedom was what you were looking for when you first bought your ticket to Australia.
Keep in mind that choosing the right van is a crucial part of your trip. It will be your trusted friend for an entire year and you need to be able to rely on it, no matter what. Australia is a vast land and depending on your route you will be most likely to drive thousands of kilometers and if you happen to be someplace inland it's not unusual to go hours without seeing a single person. So if you want to avoid pulling over in the middle of nowhere as your engine blows up, I urge you to buy the right vehicle. Ideally, you want to look for a relatively new van (you will find loads of 1980s wrecks with over 400xxx km that can potentially break down any time), which has to be solid and with detailed service receipts for you to spot any unrepaired faulty component. Don't get frustrated if at first, your research doesn't produce the desired results, things can suddenly change when you are least expecting. Here is a little hint...the perfect van doesn't exist so set your priorities and act accordingly.
Okay, now you bought your van, bureaucracy has been dealt with, the worst is over and you are finally ready to hit the road, right? Let's go then...hey wait a second...actually, there is one last thing that we need to do here before we set off but don't worry this is going to be fun. It's time to set up, make your van a bit more personal, paint the ceiling if you want, hang your favorite pictures or a nice Aussie flag on the wall, build a shelf for all your books, buy those curtains that you really like and don't forget to get a surfboard because as the days go by you will understand that surf is not just a hobby over there, it's a tradition and it's part of the culture so you have to give it a try.
Alright, my friend, you are all set now. You are free to go wherever the wind blows. Pick a route and enjoy your journey. Whether you decide to travel along the East or the West Coast, The North or the South, there are a few scenic drives that I suggest you don't miss. Drive South via the Great Ocean Road making pit stops now and then to enjoy some of the most breathtaking lookouts. Take a look at the Coral Coast (ideal if you want to enjoy the less crowded side of Australia through the untouched outback and sandy beaches) as you drive past Perth. Tour the Savannah Way across the entirety of Northen Australia while relishing the idea of spotting World Heritage Areas or Aboriginal cultural centers. Eventually, make your way back through the Grand Pacific Drive which takes you on a coastal journey on the east coast of New South Whales. Here, you can get lost among the beauties of the Blue Mountains or relax on the number of pristine beaches nearby. I know there is a lot to see so consider spending a couple of years if you can, it's worth the time and you won't regret the choice.
Well, this is it I guess. As I write this article, I can't help recalling my Aussie road trip, all the amazing moments I lived or all the awesome people I met during this last year. There is nothing like falling asleep with the sound of the waves crashing on the cliff or waking up at dawn to watch the astonishing colors of sunrise. This was without a doubt the best year of my life and I'm excited to know that you will relive the same emotions. Australia is a beautiful land and Aussies are great people, they will always be out there for you when you need it. Do not hesitate to ask them questions or advice, they love a chat and they will always make sure you have the best time. So what are you still doing here? Enough reading, start packing...it's road tripping time!