1) Research your route
There is so much to do and see on an Australian road trip, and there are always lots of great wine regions, parks, and attractions along any route. Make sure you plan your route well so you don’t miss out. Because of all the stops along the way, you will probably realize you need to plan your overnight stops a lot closer together than you may have originally anticipated. This will allow you the time to explore all the great stops along the way.
2) Plan lots of stops
When travelling with kids, a lot of stops are absolutely required. Which brings me back to point 1 – research your route. We try to drive for no longer than two hours at a time without any stops. This gives us opportunities to stop and explore different areas, and it gives our toddler time to stretch his legs. Even if there are not many points of interest during your route, even just a stop at a local park or at a rest stop picnic area can give everyone the break they need to refuel, run around, and refresh themselves for the journey ahead. I find that sometimes it is easy to try to push through when you have a destination in mind, which is why we try to plan our stops in advance.
I find that one easy way to find great rest stop and play time ideas while on the road is to visit the local tourist information offices in the towns we pass through. These people have the best knowledge of the area and can point out things you might have normally missed, like the best fish and chips place in town.
3) Go slow
When we are on famils and press trips we usually only spend one night in each place as we are trying to do as much research, and fit in as many activities as possible. But when planning our own family holidays we usually try to spend at least two nights in each place. We find that going slow makes for much more enjoyable family holidays. For one, we always tend to find way more things to do than we anticipated in each place, and two, it gives our little one a short break from the car.
4) Chose the right vehicle
You will be spending a lot of time in your car, so if you are renting or buying a vehicle for the occasion then have a good think on just what type of vehicle will be the most suitable for you. We usually try to get the smallest vehicle possible for our needs. Not only does a smaller vehicle cost less to rent, but they are usually much more fuel efficient, which saves us money for having fun on our trip. For example, if we are going on a road trip with mostly hotel and city stops we will usually rent the most compact vehicle we can get. But if we are going camping, we will usually have to up size at least once so we can ensure all our gear fits in. And if we are really going off the beaten track, then we might need to consider getting a 4 wheel drive.
5) Have fun!
The most important thing is to have fun. Plan your route, but don’t set that plan in stone. Give yourself the flexibility to make extra stops if you something cool on the way – like a you pick strawberry farm, or a petting zoo. Make sure to plan activities that will suit both the kids and the adults (it’s not all about them after all!). There are loads of great wine regions all over Australia, so why not pull in at one or two and get a bottle for Mom and Dad to enjoy after a long day driving? Take lots of breaks, stay alert on the road, and have fun!