Ultimate Space! Darwin to Brisbane in a Campervan
I'm a lover of wide, open spaces. I live in the South Island of New Zealand and very rarely are you travelling without a view of a mountain range of some sort. It's absolutely beautiful, don't get me wrong, but there' something refreshing about seeing nothing but horizon all around you.
I had never been to the Northern Territory before, but growing up I recall seeing 'The Bush Tucker Man' which was a bloke Les Hiddens who used to tour around the area living off the land. It's fair to say I had a romanticised view of the area before arriving.
I left Christchurch at 5am with a temperature of 10 degrees, and about 12 hours later had arrived into Darwin sitting around 32 degrees. Within an hour I was at the Maui depot ready to grab my 2 berth campervan for a trip across the outback headed to Brisbane using on the CamperMate app to find fuel and accommodation. I love arriving into these smaller towns and the check in process is just so easy. I find that after sitting on a plane, the best feeling is driving out of the depot and knowing that the driving adventure has begun.
It was such a strange feeling to be driving with an arm out the window, and dressed in shorts and a singlet. Yesterday, I had five layers of clothing on and a wooly hat! Again, I am not complaining!
Before each trip I tend to develop a bit of a vision for what I want out of the journey. In this case, I wanted to feel space... I wanted to get that feeling for just how big Australia is. With this in mind I headed south toward Pine Creek, stocking up on groceries at one of the super centres you can find using CamperMate along the main routes.
After around 2 hours of driving, I started to leave the towns behind and head into what I felt was the start of the outback. This for me was the start of the real journey! It was very flat, for a long time and the more I drove the more I started to relax, knowing that the feeling of space was gradually seeping in like an anaesthetic. Rather than falling asleep though, this was energising!
Over the course of the next few days, I found myself alone on long stretches of road with the occasional road train passing in the other direction. Even in a 2 berth campervan, you can still feel the almighty shudder of a road train passing you by. On a few occasions I had to correct myself having been thrown of course slightly, enough to keep you on your toes for the next passing truck!
How interesting it must be to live on one of these huge stations. I had so many questions coming across a place like this. How far away are your neighbours? What do you do on your time off? Where do you do your grocery shopping? As much as I like space, I think it would become a little too isolated after some time, maybe a month? But what about those that do this all year round? In New Zealand, the farthest you are away from the coast is 120kms at any one point, these guys really live off the beaten track.
After 6 days of travelling in the Northern Territory, I had my fill of wide open spaces. It's something I would like to do once a year. Experience just how large a country like Australia is, and how isolated some people live. I dropped the campervan off in the Brisbane depot, happy, content and ready to go back to the 10 degree conditions of Christchurch, complete with an arm tan from hanging out the window. My romanticised view of the Northern Territory was reinforced.