Hitchhiking adventure in Australia.
Northern Territory to South Australia. Darwin to Adelaide. 3030 km
Hitchhiking – what way could be better to explore Australia? So many new people, so many opinions and so many adventures! Yeah, we did it! From Darwin to Adelaide in 7 days. And now we can tell you about our story!
Darwin, the city where we started, is located in the Australian state of Northern Territory that is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions. To the north, the territory looks out to the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria, including Western New Guinea and other Indonesian islands. This state covers 1,349,129 square kilometers with a population of only 246,700, making it the least populous of Australia`s eight states and major territories.
The Northern Territory has two distinctive climate zones. The northern end has a tropical climate with high humidity – the wet season is from October to April and a dry season from May to September. During the dry season, nearly every day is warm and sunny, in the coolest months of June and July, the daily minimum temperature may drop as low as 14°C. The wet season is associated with tropical cyclones and monsoon rains. Central region is the desert center of the country, which includes Alice Springs and Uluru, and is semi-arid with little rain, usually falling during the hottest months from October to March.
TOP 5 Must-See Places in the Northern Territory are:
- Kakadu National Park that covers an area of 19,804 km2 – it is in the size of Slovenia! Kakadu`s flora is among the richest in northern Australia with more than 1,700 plant species and a great array of animals – some of them are rare, endangered, vulnerable or endemic.
- Mataranka Hot Springs is a perfect place for visitors to relax and soak up the stunning scenery. The waters of the natural pool are impossibly blue, moreover, they have healing properties and the place surrounded by palm forests makes everything just incredible. And close to this place, it`s possible to find the Mataranka Falls with plenty of walking trails.
- Devils Marbles also called the Karlu Karlu, is a protected area and a place of cultural and spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people. The area is scattered with different forms and sizes of rocks standing on the ground so different and impossible ways. This is a valley of magic and is actually located just beside the main road, which makes it hard to miss.
- Uluru that is also known as Ayers Rock – a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory. This rock is so special as it’s huge and the only one like that in the middle of the desert. And it is a sacred place for the Aboriginal people of the area. Moreover, the area around Uluru is amazing – waterfalls and caves are just a few natural wonders there. Uluru is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Finke Gorge National Park that covers an area of 46,000 hectares and includes the impressive Palm Valley. Palm Valley is home to several plant species and the park itself is just amazing with the landscapes of a fairy tale, also with one of the oldest rivers in the world.
After crossing the Northern Territory we reached the South Australia. Be aware that it’s not allowed to carry any fruits, veggies or seeds across the border! There is no actual check point, but vehicles and your bag can also be randomly checked.
South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia and covers some of the aridest parts of the country. This is called the driest state of all Australia and is the fourth-largest of Australia`s states with the area of 983,482 square kilometers. South Australia has a total of 1.7 million people, though more than 77% of people live in the state capital, Adelaide.
The southern part of the state has a Mediterranean climate, while the rest of the state has a rather arid climate. South Australia’s main temperature range is 29 °C in January and 15 °C in July.
TOP 5 Must-See Places in South Australia are:
- Coober Pedy – an amazing town that has been supplying most of the world’s gem-quality opal. Now this town has become a huge tourism object displaying the lives of the miners in underground museums and giving the inside of the real underground life with underground hostels, hotels, churches and much more. Coober Pedy has over 70 opal fields and is the largest opal mining area in the world. And that area is just special – a totally different surface like on an alien planet.
- Salt Lakes are some of those which would be useful to stop by on the way to Adelaide. A salt lake or saline lake is a landlocked body of water that has a concentration of salts, typically sodium chloride and other dissolved minerals significantly higher than most lakes. And there are so many of them by the roadsides just before Port Augusta town. Amazing landscape!
- Adelaide is the main stop in this state – and it is just a wonderful city! This place is called as the World`s most livable city and we made sure of this just when we entered. There are so many entrée-free museums that will blow your mind, bright markets and beautiful parks. And that nature around –beaches, dolphin sanctuary, Adelaide Hills and so much more!
- Barossa Valley that is not that far from Adelaide is famous for the best wines. Many hectares of vineyards are the most distinctive feature of the area. This is internationally-acclaimed wine region where you can find free wine tastings, interesting tours, bright festivals, and purchase some of the finest wines of Australia and maybe even the world!
- The Murray River that is Australia’s largest river, is incredibly beautiful. It is actually the third longest navigable river in the world and spans over three Australian states. This is a place to enjoy the abundance of nature.
TOP 5 tips for hitchhiking in Australia:
After this huge piece of road that we managed to go through, we know what to expect from Australian desert and hitchhiking there. These are the TOP 5 tips for hitchhiking in Australian desert that is super-important! Consider them carefully!
1. Bring water!
Firstly, the distances in Australia are huge. Really, really huge. Especially, when it comes to the desert, remember that it is like 200 km between the gas stations. Yeah, there are bigger resting areas with small shops and even some camping sites, but if you are there in the desert, keep hydrated! The water in the smaller, rarely seen shops is super-expensive and you may end up paying 5$ for a bottle of water that would be gone in a minute. We carried 5 liters of water and it lasted for a half a day only. Yeah, and remember that food is also a thing that should be bought in the towns – there are only ready-made meals available in those small gas stations if there are them at all.
2. Do not agree to stay in between!
This is also a very important thing – if the driver is going off the main highway (if you can name it such) and is offering to leave you somewhere in the middle, do not agree! This is quite dangerous. Locals have told us that they are very, very suspicious of people trying to get a ride in the middle of nowhere. In their mind, that means that the hitchhiker might me kicked off the car for some kind of reason. And this is why you also might not get a ride and get stuck in the desert. That would not be good at all.
3. No ride in the dark!
Even if you haven’t managed your planned distance for the day, just stop when it`s getting darker and try to spend the night on the place you have arrived. Firstly, the desert is the desert. It is the best place to commit the crime – who would know if something has been done? Who could find you when you are in need of help? There can be some suspicious and crazy people and you know that they become active in the dark. You might not be the one the indigenous people would like to hang around in their land either, especially in the dark. You might not be the favorite for animals as well. And also, most drivers just stop when it’s dark as it`s too dangerous to go in the desert when it`s impossible to see anything. When the temperatures drop during the night, animals come near the highway as that gives out the absorbed heat. And then all the bad accidents happen.
4. Cover yourself.
Cover yourself with the sunscreen, cover yourself with the clothes. Yeah, the desert sun is super-strong and a hitchhiker has to be the one on the road for quite a while. Yeah, that doesn’t sound good. The cars are not going very often in the desert, so stay in the shadow while you can. If there is none, then a hat is a must and a sunscreen could help as well. And even if it`s burning hot, the best is to wear long sleeves. Skin diseases in Australia are not rare. And yeah, that’s just because of the sun. Be careful!
5. No bush-walking.
Do not do the bush-walking even if you see a magnificent rock a bit inside the desert. There are snakes, spiders and who knows what more is living in a wild! Of course, wildlife is no there to kill you if you are not the one hurting them, but it might attack you if you are not careful with your steps. And then? There are no hospitals close, someone has to come to the desert to get you. But it may be too late in case of an emergency.
Our Australian hitchhiking adventure was incredible. We met amazing people, saw indescribable sceneries. We are sure this kind of ride is so worth the effort. Just remember – be careful, be safe! And enjoy!