The only thing flatter than my chest after feeding a demanding baby for twelve months straight, is the land I can see outside my window for twelve hours straight. The on-average- sixteen-hour trip from Sydney to Adelaide, has proven not only a challenge, but an absolute fire-cracker of an adventure.
My Grandad moved to SA when I was little, and twice a year our family would make the drive south. Only to’ wimp out’ and actually have stops along the way at Wagga Wagga and Mildura (fireworks anyone?!)
As we got older, the trip started at 2am, and we retreated to the ‘City of Churches’ in time for dinner.
This drive is not for the faint-hearted.
For one, you must enjoy the company on board! I also suggest doing these long trips BEFORE you’re married, when you’re still courting, so there’s a lot to talk about and learn about one another, rather than hearing the same stories over and over once hitched!
Having done this drive a dozen times in my dad’s, comfortable company car, I decided to get a bit adventurous before the big 30, and hire a camper to take us there. JUCY Campers were incredibly affordable, and the process of hiring, ever so easy. It was fully decked out with a bed and kitchen, memories were the only thing left to add to the cargo.
Setting off early at the stroke of two, well, I guess it’s setting off LATE if you liken it to a party that drags on to the wee hours. Driving in the dark for countess excited moments, then suddenly witnessing the sun rising across the land is unexpectedly amazing.
You know there is a Macca’s coming up somewhere soon for breakfast! Even though the camper was stocked and sufficient to make it ourselves, mornings are not my strong suit.
I make sure to use that restroom like I’ll never toilet again, because most of the ‘restrooms’ along the way, are raised platforms with a hole cut in the ground. So it is ESSENTIAL that you pack toilet paper. And wear shoes. And bring soap and water/hand sanitiser. And a peg for your nose! I don’t advise doing what my dad did, packing empty bottles so that you can relieve yourself of a full bladder as you drive. Just thinking about it makes me feel car sick!
The day is mostly a numb-bum-pins-and-needles-legs blur. I made a point to ‘Stop, Revive, Survive’ every two hours, even if it was just a rapid stretch, breath of fresh air, or driver swap. SUPER rapid because time is money folks, and there’s asphalt to gain on!
If you don’t want an awkwardly silenced trip, pre-download your podcasts/music, as chances are, you will be without reception for a few (many) hours! It’s out in the middle of NOWHERE. Guaranteed to see cows crossing, unfortunate roadkill, and plains as far as your eye can see. It’s a baffling notion to fathom, that this is the same country I live in. From Sydney to this in half a day – look at all of this space!
Look at all of this land! It goes on FOREVER as Outback NSW Does!
The great thing about Campervans is they’re pretty self-sufficient, well they should be! You pull over, grab the box of eggs, fry them up on the single burner, boil your water, enjoy a coffee. When you’re in limbo land, it’s heaven sent to be able to make hot food and a pick me up!
A main factor to consider is fuel, of course. This camper in particular absolutely chewed the juice, especially up any/all hills. I like to think of it as a ‘worth-it-trade-off’ to the petrol/fun ratio I considered.
One of the best parts about this journey, is that there are NO road tolls. The longest road I’ve ever travelled and there is no tax on it. I drive from my house in metro Sydney, to the nearest Ikea, and I’m charged a mint.
Speaking of Ikea, Adelaide has a wonderful one! It’s literally next door to the airport. You can walk, from Ikea, into the domestic airport directly. I have done this, only needing to cross one road on foot, fully loaded with Swedish goods.
They make is so simple in SA!
Arriving in Adelaide after those sweet sixteen hours is absolute relief! Don’t even think about the feat of driving home just yet! I find that for a city, Adelaide is quite, ‘quiet.’
Why is Coles shut at 6pm? Is there any night-life at all? If there is, I am yet to find it!
I prefer to head into the City or Rundle Mall and stock up on ‘Charlesworth Nuts’, the most delicious range of confectionary in the WORLD (I assume.) Ironic, as my daughter born following this trip has anaphylaxis to peanuts (did NOT expect that fork in the road!) If that sweet tooth indulgence wasn’t enough, ‘Haigh’s’ do Chocolate Tours (well, they did before the ‘C’ word.’ Hopefully they return!) It was on this tour that I learned, ‘White chocolate isn’t chocolate at all, it’s actually a CANDY because it contains NO cocoa’. Mind. Blown.
The highlight of Adelaide is none other than Glenelg. It’s where beach meets fun, meets upbeat cafés and restaurants, meets a coastal, relaxed vibe. I am a HUGE fan of this location, and a huge fan is exactly what it feels like with the amount of wind that seems to gust through the place!
Staying in town with a camper is easy as. I stayed at Semaphore Discovery Park, which I adored! It had a pool, was beachfront, was surrounded by parks and had ample facilities for campers, with less gear than myself.
There were a few camping friendly spots along the way, with free onsite plug in, but I’m at a loss at recalling the town names. I will make it my mission to locate it and note it on my next joyride.
Before I was old enough to drive myself, I considered one of the best things about Adelaide, was that they had recycling facilities where you could cash your cans and bottles in for 5c a piece. I used to help my Grandad load up his car and tag along to the return and earn dealership. This may have been more exciting than chocolate at the time. Now we have that luxury here in NSW, (yes, luxury! Recycling like this is nostalgic to me and floods joyous memories of RAD-elaide.)
All of this travel by car, camper, and excursions along long free roads, inspired me to purchase my own camper. This down-time of no travel has given me time to start my own project, and I CAN NOT wait to take it back to RADelaide.
The only thing that takes its toll, is not being on that road!