Western Australia Road Trip Tips
In this final post of our Western Australia Road Trip holiday, I will be documenting some of the tips learnt from our trip! Hopefully this will come in as a handy reminder for our future road trips! If you missed out on all the sharing on the sights and attractions, you can find them here.
Let’s begin with some handy tips for your upcoming road trip to Western Australia!
(1) Getting a Data Plan is a no brainer and Optus came highly recommended by many friends! It is affordable and for AU$2 a day, we got 500 MB a day which we never once did exceed the limit. It comes in handy when you need to check the operating hours, address, food recommendations etc during your trip. Both of us bought the SIM card and it was surely useful when we need to make calls to each other and to our AirBnB host to inform them that we are checking in late. More importantly, you can use Google Map which serves as an important backup when your GPS fails, and trust me, there are times when the GPS fails us. When we were driving to the ferry terminal at Fremantle to take the ferry to Rottnest Island, the GPS we rented indicates that our car is in the middle of the sea.
(2) Pick an affordable and reliable Car Rental Company. We booked our car via Baywaters Car Rental (No Birds) also through a friend recommendation. We picked an MPV which is huge and comfortable for long journeys and probably because it is not the most popular choose of car for most couples, the car is very new and clean! No complaints at all and the booking, collection, and return process was easy and fuss free! We rented their GPS for AU$7 a day and also opt in for their Top Cover at AU$7 a day. With the top cover, it means that if you get into any accident, we do not have to pay a single cent. A friend pointed out that if we were to purchase travel insurance (which we did), we actually didn’t have to opt for the Top Cover. Any damages claims would be covered by the insurance! So here’s a reminder to only opt for Top Cover if we didn’t get any travel insurance.
(3) Do bring along your sunglasses as the sun in Australia is way brighter than in Singapore! On most days, it is just clear blue sky with little clouds!
(4) Another reminder for us is to bring a huge selection of songs in MP3 and the cable to connect to the car. Most of the music channels in Australia are playing songs which are unheard of. Probably their local music and after a while, we miss our Mandarin songs!
In the end, we listen to our own Singapore’s local radio using internet radio using our phone and put the phone in the cup holder to amplify the music. This we learnt from Uncle Sim’s So Simple Commercial by VISA.
But once we are in the rural freeway, we are basically out in the juggle with no network. Our phone was in SOS mode for hours. We drove in silent for a long while.
(5) Renting a GPS is a must. It is more like a backup plan when Google fails you. You may think that your Google Map can save you, but as mentioned earlier, when you enter their freeway/highway, there is no network at all. Even when we went to Manjinup for truffle hunting, right in the car park, the mobile network was very weak.
(6) Do bring lots of mobile portable chargers or one with huge capacity. We initially brought the mobile charger plug which we can plug into the car to charge our phone. But we soon realized that we need the plug source to keep our GPS alive. Thankfully we brought along 3 portable chargers for this trip. Before going to bed every night, we got to charge 2 phones, 2 iPads, 1 camera and 3 portable chargers.
(7) Do stock up on water and snacks on the first day of the trip. The journeys are between 2 to 4 hours on most days and sometimes we had late lunches!
(8) Do pee whenever you see public toilet and I’m not kidding. Public toilet is hard to come by especially when you are driving in the middle of the forest. Of course if you don’t mind peeing in public, I don’t think anyone will stop you, but we didn’t try that. There was once our bladder almost burst and it was frustrating hunting down a toilet.
(9) Do watch out for animals! We saw 5 dead Kangaroos and hit a bird during our trip and had a close encounter where we were seconds away from hitting a kangaroo which appeared out of no where. These kangaroo seems to be on suicidal mode! There were a few gory scenes were we saw a headless kangaroo and another with lots of blood on the ground. The bird we hit was a case of unfortunate event. To avoid the bird, we swerved to the next lane but the bird did the same to avoid us. We heard a thud and the rest was history.
(10) Do not attempt to drive at night. The sun set pretty early in Winter and around 5pm, it starts getting dark. If you must drive at night, try to only drive around in their town. We planned it in a way that we will reach our resting stop by 5pm and only drive out to their town to buy groceries.
Can you imagine driving at night while crossing towns on their highway. Look at the picture below, did you see any street lights? When we walk out of our apartment in Margaret River wanting to empty our bin, it was pitch dark. We quickly turned right in after 3 seconds. City dwellers like us took a long while to get used to such darkness.
With that, I hope you will have a safe and enjoyable road trip! This is our sad face after returning our car! Can’t wait for our next road trip!