Last year in November I hit the road with two friends on a whirlwind eight-day road trip from Brisbane to Canberra. In total, we spent seven days on the road and just one full day in Canberra. The experience was great and some of the trips did cover areas that I have been many times before. I also found that we passed by so many spots that I would have loved to stop and explore.
There is no doubt that I totally enjoyed the trip and got to see plenty of new areas of Australia. But the one thing that I would change is spending a much longer time covering the same distance. Although in some respects that very much depends on the road that you take as well.
Why Drive When You Can Fly?
Even though I have not had the opportunity to go on to many road trips, it is something that I very much want to do. The question came to me why would I want to drive a route that I could easily fly? The fact is that I have flown from Brisbane to cities like Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. But every time I look at that distance between destinations and wonder what fills that distance on the ground. The reality for me is that I want to explore and discover not just the destination but the places in between.
Slow Down The Drive
When it comes to exploring what is in between, all that is just what I want to do explore. Every time I drive anywhere I am always looking to both sides of the road wondering what I am missing. While sometimes that answer is just another housing estate. When you are travelling on a road trip, that answer could easily be an amazing small town that has been bypassed. It could also be a National Park full of hiking trails, waterfalls and natural history.
When it comes to the time it takes you to cover a certain distance on the road there are many factors. But the one factor that I hope is the least important for a road trip is the speed limit. Of course, when you are on the road you need to stick to the speed limit to avoid accidents and the like. But at the same time, the next road trip I take will hopefully have much more time off the road than on the road.
When I travelled between Brisbane and Canberra, we covered the roughly 1,200km southbound journey in four days. I would very much like to cover the same journey again by road. Only this time I would look to give myself a minimum of two weeks to work through the same distance. Longer, if I knew I could afford both the time and money to complete the drive.
Explore & Discover
The key to slowing down a road trip for me would be to fully explore and discover the area that I am passing through. For me, I think this would be linked with plenty of planning and research ahead of the drive. In some ways, I like the idea of just heading off and seeing what I can find, but at the same time I know doing this in the past I have missed things.
When it comes to things being missed there is plenty that I have encountered. One more memorable point I missed was a waterfall I very much wanted to visit. The waterfall was located between Coffs Harbour and Armidale, some 400+ kilometres from home. I passed within a couple of hundred metres of it and did not realise it was there until I had already returned home.
While I may not plan the exact route up front, I would do the research to know what is out there and where it is. It is much better to mould a journey around many places you want to visit than to realise just what you drove by later on. So take it slow and take it easy to explore & discover along your road trip.