I’ve been making mental notes while on the trip about the things one should have on a road trip, and what really got us through the trip. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but I hope it helps somebody!
These tips also probably apply to anywhere else where you’re having a road trip, but I’ve written this specific to our experience on the Great Ocean Road 🙂
1. Get your Australian visa
Citizens from foreign countries other than New Zealand need to apply for a visa before visiting Australia. My mum did a great job at researching for our visas, and found a S$7 Australian visa on this local website (https://www.eta.sg/).
This is such a money-saver because if you apply for the visa through the government, you pay $20! Check it out 🙂
2. Book accommodation that allows late check-ins
Especially non-Asian countries, shops, restaurants and basically any business can be closed by 5.30pm, before the sun even sets in the summer. During the summer, obviously you get a longer day, and you wouldn’t want to cut your day short just because you have to rush for check-in!
To make the most of your day, book accommodation that allow you to check-in late, maybe after sunset. Alternatively, just call in early and let them know you will be late. They’re usually quite cool about it and will either leave the keys at the desk for you, or just leave your room unlocked for when you arrive.
3. Get a data sim for navigation or a GPS
I’m sure all of us require navigation for a road trip. A data sim may be better, especially since the Great Ocean Road doesn’t require too much navigation because it is pretty much a straight route with many signs to point you to the lookouts or attractions. So if you can’t use up the data you bought, you can still use it to update social media!
4. Rent a car with huge trunk space and four-wheel drive
Because you are going to be constantly on the move, moving along the Great Ocean Road, you’re going to need to carry all your luggage and belongings with you. Thankfully my mum rented us a car with a really huge trunk, which allowed us to still sit comfortably when we were carrying all our bags.
A four-wheel drive is also really important for some of the rough roads you have to drive through in certain areas. When the road is quite rough, a four-wheel drive will really help, especially for slopes! I can’t imagine if we got a car without four-wheel drive, we might have been unable to get to some places haha.
5. Be prepared for the sun and crazy coastal winds
Living in Singapore, you’d think you’ve experienced heat already. But the 40-degree heat in Australia was unlike any heat I’ve experienced. I felt like I was frying under the sun, and the air was so hot it was like I was in a permanent sauna. We experienced temperatures that ranged from 20-40 degrees, which was drastic.
On cooler days, the coastal winds would make us shiver (and also my hair, in a mess) but the hotter days also made us want to cover up to avoid getting burnt. So please, pack wisely.
Suggestions: Cap, windbreaker, sunblock, moisturiser, jacket etc.
1. Get loads of snacks for the road while you can
You probably hardly have time to stop by for a proper sit-down lunch on most days. Especially when you’re constantly on the road.
Whenever you get a chance to visit a supermarket, stock up on snacks for the road! Preferably something that doesn’t crumble when you bite into it, so that you don’t dirty the car.
2. Cup noodles are your best friend
At some point I personally got really sick of eating burgers, chips, and anything dry or fried. The Asian in me was really seeking some comfort food that was soupy and preferably giving me my noodle/rice fix LOL.
I’m glad we got to buy cup noodles at supermarkets, which was easy to eat, and left us with nothing to wash up after too. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
3. Do not sleep in the car: Look out for great photo opportunities
I know we all get a little drowsy when you’re sitting in the car through a long drive. BUT, please try to keep your eyes open while you can. Look out of the window and try to avoid sleeping because often you’ll miss out on a lot of photo opportunities if you sleep through the whole journey!
I definitely got my dad to stop by real random places just for a photo, like when we were chasing the wind turbines (that post will come soon).
4. Do not hesitate to stop the car for a good photo
I missed out on a few good photo opportunities because I was just hesitant to get my dad to stop the car, even though he said “if you want to stop, just say it”. Haha don’t sit in the car silent and wondering the scenery makes for a good shot, get down and GET THAT SHOT. LOL.
Alright so there’s all my reflections after we took on a road trip down the Great Ocean Road. We started in Melbourne and ended in Adelaide, if anyone was curious.
Hope this gives you some insight haha. Australia’s summer was real crazy this year, having bushfire alerts, max temperatures of 40 degrees for 3 days straight in December… Christmas season was real shitty for many Australians in the affected areas this year, and I cannot imagine coming home to my home being in flames, especially nearing the festive season.
Climate change is real guys.