First steps 2021 road trip

Aug 1st, 2019, 08:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 89
First steps 2021 road trip

Likely dates 3 to 4 weeks from early March, possibly could be up to 28 complete days excluding air travel time,
I have family in Sydney and will stay with them to adjust to time change before setting out. Also have a cousin in Adelaide who I have never met
Looking for advice on viability of this route. Right now I'm not looking at particular places to stay or things to do, that will come later. I always have very long list of possible activities that gets pared down as time goes on.
We like to have plenty of choices in case of weather issues or needing a 'quiet day ' somewhere
1. Fly Toronto to Sydney
2. Drive Sydney to Melbourne via coastal route?
3. Drive Melbourne to Adelaide via GOR
4. Drive Adelaide to Sydney via Mildura, Hay and Wagga Wagga
5. Drive Sydney to Brisbane
6. Fly Home Brisbane to Toronto.

Total distance approx 4300 km, not counting side trips for many sightseeing/activity opportunities.
Long distance drive trips are something we do well, in the past have done many including 11,500 km in 5 weeks return trip to west coast of Canada, 6200 km round trip in 19 days to Yellowstone national park in Wyoming
We would need to be able to return rental car in Brisbane, will this be an issue?
Looked at some possible accommodation B & B, small hotel, motel and the costs seem very reasonable, am i missing something?
Any comments much appreciated
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2019, 01:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,041
A couple of comments, it does seem like a lot of driving in a fairly short timeframe. I wonder if you'd spend most of the time in the car and not enough time actually seeing things? Have you tried breaking down the sectors into mileage and how many days you would have for each? We're Australian and have driven a fair bit in America and also (a bit less) in Canada. Our roads are not as good as in your part of the world. Often you have one lane going each way - this is the major highway going around Australia - and it's not always easy to overtake if there is a slow vehicle in front.

We were away recently on a driving trip and hit lots of roadworks where we had to slow down to 20 or 40km/hr or stop altogether and just wait. It could take longer to get where you are going than you think. Regarding accommodation costs, we travel on a budget and on our six week trip in Queensland we paid from $90 to $150 per night for accommodation, mostly in the upper of that range. That was for motels, cabins in caravan parks, self-contained apartments etc. In peak season it would be more expensive.

If I was going to skip any of your sectors, I'd fly Adelaide to Sydney instead of driving. If you flew to Brisbane instead, you may have time to see some of the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast areas which are beautiful. I don't think doing a one way drop off with a hire car would be a problem but you may have to pay extra. Do a dummy booking with Hertz or Avis just to see what comes up. Another thought is the motorhome companies such as Apollo or Maui who often need people to relocate motorhomes. It is very cheap to do this but they give you a short timeframe. Might be of interest to save some money but not if you want sightsee along the way.

Did you know that Qantas has two new routes from next year, one is direct Brisbane to Chicago. Or would you fly via Vancouver?

KayF is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2019, 05:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,478
Some rental car companies charge a fee if you take their cars outside a certain radius. This was the case when we rented in Perth, WA and drove up north. We never left the state, and returned the car to the same location, but because WA is so freaking big, we were well outside of their radius.

It's also important to advise the rental car company that you will be taking their car out of the state you rented from, otherwise it might be considered a breach of contract.

As mentioned by Kay drop off charges in Australia can be quite steep. You'll also want to read the fine print on your rental car contract - some companies prohibit driving after dark in certain areas and things like windscreen, tires and under body are often excluded from insurance coverage. Be prepared for a big excess (deductible).

I also suggest you make sure you understand your rental car company's interpretation of gravel vs unsealed roads. It's not always the same thing. Many prohibit driving on gravel (loosely defined as 4x4 roads), but will allow driving on maintained unsealed roads...and because the access to many a national park is via an unsealed road, it's good to know how they interpret the difference.
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2019, 09:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 89
In some ways it does seem like a long distance, but we usually stay 2 nights in one place, which means 1 whole day for exploring in between driving days, and sometimes it does mean driving 300 km the next day and we stop at places that interest us during that sort of drive even if it is only for 30 minutes.
If we just need to cover distance between stops we stay one night and leave by 8 am. For us the journey/travel time is part of the holiday, you actually get to see the country not just pass through on a major highway. If it takes a while longer than planned it's okay

Re: roads in Canada, it is a common misconception; for the most part roads in Canada are not 4+ lanes of motorway, where I live in southern Ontario there are 6 big highways, one is 22 lanes across in some places and is the busiest hwy in North America and we avoid them if possible because the drivers are mostly idiots and many times they can be slower than other roads
We have driven from coast to coast on thousands of kilometres of 2 lane roads, one in each direction, behind logging trucks, huge lorries and farm vehicles, on mountain roads with no guardrails, and sharp drops to the valley below, in blizzards and torrential rainstorms, on dirt/gravel roads and paved roads.
We have over a million km of 2 lane roads only 40% are paved.
I checked dropping the car at Brisbane airport when we leave, it isn't expensive, certainly less money than driving back to Sydney and staying somewhere for 1 night along the way.
If they will let me drop the car in Brisbane they must be okay with taking it out of the state.
We just came back from 15 days in Iceland, car rental companies there prohibit driving on roads recommended for 4 X 4's, sounds like the same in Australia, they also sometimes check the GPS record to see exactly where the vehicle has been.
We probably won't go as far as Adelaide-but will drive the GOR and then turn around and drive east through the Grampians and then who knows and then the Blue Mountains, another cousin lives in Lawson. My cousin who lives in Adelaide is happy to drive to the east coast to visit our mutual cousins who apparently don't live in Sydney but live in Nelson Bay about 2+ hours north of Sydney
Kay thanks for the confirmation that accommodation does not have to be expensive, also I didn't know that Qantas will be flying to Brisbane to Chicago, it could be very useful, we can fly Brisbane to Vancouver on Air Canada, it didn't make any sense to go all the way back to Sydney if we could get home from Brisbane
Lots more thinking to do still

Last edited by wanderingcanadian; Aug 2nd, 2019 at 09:21 AM.
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2019, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,478
22 lanes across

Seriously? Please tell me that's a typo.
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2019, 07:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 89
Sorry it is correct, across the top of Toronto, the Hwy has what are called express lanes with 3-4 driving lanes, and also what are called collector lanes that funnel incoming traffic into the express lanes, the collectors are at a minimum 3 driving lanes often 4 sometimes 5, with on ramps from local roads and off ramps to local roads, plus the on and off lanes from the express lanes to the collectors, it is easily 20+ lanes.
As the 401 runs from the Quebec border to the Windsor Detroit border it is not that wide for it's entire length,but it is a monster from where I live to about 70 km east .
the picture that is titled Highway 401 between Highway 410 and Highway 403 in Mississauga, is about 10 km east of where I live and yes I used to drive it every day to work for ~6 years.
If you want to see it live, check out Hwy 401 Heavy Rescue a program about tow trucks, recovery/ rescue operations
Some of it is filmed in less busy areas, it will give you a real sense of the traffic volume in southern Ontario, if you watch some of it you will also see reference to Hwy 400, it runs directly north from Toronto into more rural areas, after which it becomes 2 lanes for 2000+ km to the prairies
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2019, 05:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,478
Holy smokes. Thanks for the link. We've watched a few of those heavy rescue programs for other parts of the world, but haven't seen the one about the 401. I'll see if I can find it on Netflix.
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2019, 06:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 89
It will also give you a great picture of winter driving in southern Ontario really messy and nasty, I've driven in the mountains in Colorado in heavy snow and would take that any day over what we get here.
Don't know if it's on Netflix, can you get it on the Discovery channel website?
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Mar 13th, 2019 09:35 AM
Apr 27th, 2016 03:27 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:26 PM.