Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

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How To Finish Off Australia?

I have another ten days on the roster at Luna Park. At that point school holidays end and they have the option to ask me to stay or not. Either way, I won’t stick around.

My shifts there will end in the middle of July. I have to be on a plane out of Australia in the middle of November. Four months. Only a third of the trip, but still four whole months. When I think of what happened in the first four I realize that I still have the ability to make a lot happen in those days.

When I leave the country I want to be doing so with only a backpack. That means I will have to ship a couple things home. And it means I will have to donate / trash / sell a lot of random stuff. Not a problem. That can be done in a couple days. It also means that I want to have no car to my name. I could just junk it, but I’d much rather sell it and leave with the extra money in hand. That means I can’t just drive around until the last day. I’ll have to account to park myself in a major city for a few weeks to get it cleaned up, listed, and sold.

So I have functionally three months. And I have a large section of the country that I’ve yet to see and an estimated 12,000km to drive. So how do I go about combining those?

There are two answers. Well, I guess it is really just one answer that can be read forwards or backwards.

Start in Sydney and drive a loop that will include New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, and South Australia. And I will end in Melbourne. It is where the majority of my friends are. It is where I consider home here. And it is as good a place as any to sell the car.

The main question comes down to which order I drive.

Option 1: Drive north first. Meander up the coast hitting, in approximate order, wine and food regions, laid-back coastal cities and towns, surfer hangouts, a hippie outpost, a large laid back city, some amazing beaches and coastal areas, islands, a friend doing research in nature, farmland, the outback, Aboriginal communities, amazing rainforest, gorges, rivers, hiking, a very large country town, Uluru, more outback, mountains, mines, strange otherworldly desertscapes, and then visiting with friends in Adelaide, and jaunting over to NSW for the Bathurst 1000 before heading on to the final stop.

Option 2: Pretty much the reverse, overshooting Melbourne to start in Adelaide up, around, and down to Sydney, Bathurst, and then doing the Melbourne bit.

Both are pretty much the same. They both hit some areas when the highs are temperate and some when they are hot. They both hit some when the lows are warm and some where the lows mean I can’t sleep in my car comfortably. The number of days I expect I’ll need to check into hostels is about the same. The distances are about the same.

The differences are small but fall about here:

Option 1 means I don’t start off with a huge blast through, and I might be able to avoid a large section of driving for a couple days straight. And I get to the desert in more of the spring than winter. This puts me starting on the part of the loop that is more filled with backpackers, making it more likely I’ll meet someone(s) to join my travels and offset the petrol costs. It also means I’m starting on interesting but less quintessentially Australian. (I get beaches and coast first and eventually make my way to the outback). But if I get delayed and this takes longer than I expect, I’ll be forced to blast through the outback and the hiking and nature up north, which is the more interesting stuff.

Option 2 means I start with a pretty miserable couple days of long drives. But I get to the tropics more solidly in the dry season, where it will be a little cooler and little less humid. The other pro is that by starting with the most ridiculous, “Australian” stuff, if I get delayed and need to take a couple more weeks, I can either just cut off the coastal bits, or I can drive down to Bathurst and then back up to finish the course just after the race. I will get to give the most important parts as much time as they need. But it also means I’m almost guaranteed to be doing a large chunk of this solo, driving for days alone and shouldering the cost of fuel myself.

So I’m at an impasse. And it feels like a fairly silly one. I know both will have countless pros and cons that I’m not accounting for. I will see things fortuitously and I will miss events I didn’t know about.

I’m just looking at the data, seeing its equivalence, and am unsure how to make a decision.

Either way there promises to be much more excitement and fun. If only I could figure out where to start it.

 

One comment on “How To Finish Off Australia?

  1. Steve Grace
    July 9, 2012

    Either way, I look forward to seeing you at Bathurst

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This entry was posted on July 8, 2012 by in Australia, NSW (Sydney).

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