Discovering Australia: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?

There’s a saying amongst people who’ve travelled Australia:

“Do ‘The Big Lap’! It’s something everyone should experience!”
As in, take a road trip around Australia.

But is a road trip the only way – or even the right way – to see Australia?

Depending on the type of traveller you are, it may not actually be right for you. When we sat down to talk through how we were going to travel Australia, we really started thinking about this.
What other ways can we travel Australia, to experience the places we want to explore?
There are plenty of ways to get around, but what are the pros and cons of each of those options?
Do we do a Big Lap with a massive roadtrip?
What about train travel?
How about flying to each of our dream destinations, cutting out the bits in between?
Or, do we do a combination of all of these?
There’s always the cruise option, but really, all you’re seeing is the coastal landscape. Not really experiencing Australia.

The Pros and Cons:  By Road, Train and Air.

Road Tripping:


We love a good road trip. Put the tunes on, pack the camping gear and we are golden. Yet, heading out for a week or two is one thing. Heading out for months, well, there are pros and cons for such a huge undertaking:
  • You have control of your own itinerary. You can stop where you want, when you want. If you find a place you love, you can stay awhile. Dig in. Get to know the locals.
  • You get to experience the Australia in all its glory. You can actually feel the place. You’ll notice the differences in each country town (or not). You can see the variety of culture between the coastal, outback, rural towns and cities.
  • You’ll have plenty of time to listen to those audiobooks, podcasts, etc. that you’ve been meaning to all these years.
  • You will experience how remote some places really are.
  • You can manage your budget by camping either in holiday parks or by free camping, or stay in hostels. You can also manage groceries more effectively to keep meal costs down. Splurge here and there rather than eating out for every meal.
  • The distances. Australia is a big place. You’ll feel the distance going from place to place. When the road is long and straight and just keeps going and going and going…BOOM! A road-train (or multi-trailered truck) will knock you into the ditch because you were driving too damn slow (at 110km/hour). You never even saw them coming.
  • You’ll get sick of driving after awhile. Driving for hours on end will wear you out physically and mentally.
  • The expense of the vehicles to do this trip, along with vehicle maintenance. Petrol is another factor. All can be expensive.
  • In case you unfortunately crash your car and it is dammed to a write off , there is  no much you can do besides using the local services like this guys who provide cash for damaged cars.
  • Road hazards including wallabies, kangaroos and wombats. They’ll write off your car if you aren’t careful. Add in potholes and road construction and it’s a serious consideration. You might also be a victim of a drunk truck driver or such. When that happens, visit sites like to know what you can do.
  • Accommodation options may be limited in remote areas. If you are used to four or five star accommodations, you may be in for a rude awakening in some remote towns.
  • It will take you a long, long time to get all the way around to see everything. Hmmm. Maybe that’s a pro?


Have you ever taken a long train journey? It’s awesome. But there are the pros and cons to that too. If you ever got into an unforeseen train accident, the ny train accident attorney has the level of expertise to help you out in such a situation.


  • It’s a train. Shall I say more? (Just call me Sheldon Cooper because I understand his love of train journeys…)
  • You put control of the driving in someone else’s hands. You can sit back, watch the world go by while enjoying a lovely lunch, and still be on the way to your destination. You can read a book, write, or simply take in the scenary….
  • You can experience the magic of the Indian-Pacific, which is a route that takes you from Sydney to Perth, via the Ghan, which takes you from Adelaide to Darwin. These are iconic journeys fit for anyone’s ‘Living List’.
  • You miss out of the opportunity to sample parts of the country that aren’t on the train’s whistle stops.
  • The cost. In Australia, it’s generally cheaper to fly than travel by train.


Travelling by air in Australia can be cheaper than any other form of transportation. Crazy, right?


  • You’ll spend more time at your destination instead of spending time actually getting there.
  • You get to see more of the country faster.  You get a taste of Australia this way. (If you have plans to return, this is a great way to travel.)
  • It’s the cheapest option, especially if you can take advantage of special offers from local carriers like JetStar or Virgin Australia. Webjet always have good deals on their site too! With the money you save, you can hire a car and explore more.



  • You need hire a car or take a tour to see beyond the city and, sometimes, even the airport.
  • Like train travel, you miss out on all of the interesting little places along the way.
  • You have the extra expense of accommodation to budget for.
We’re just getting into the nitty-gritty of comparing costs, now we have the options laid out before us.
So, stay tuned: It’s bound to be an enlightening post!

Note:  Our Webjet link is sponsored, but as with every other link we include, we have used them ourselves and recommend them.
What kinds of things did you consider?  What were your main concerns?

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