When it comes to summer, there’s no greater expression of all its wonder and possibility than the venerated cultural institution of the road trip. A formative experience for many young Australians, packing up and hitting the road is one of the best parts of the holiday season in this sunburnt country, especially because — let’s face it — life is pretty damn boring otherwise.
So, just in case you need an extra gentle shove out the door, here are eight reasons why you should fuel up the tank, grab a few m8s and hit the road this summer.
You Don’t Have Much Else Going On
Sure, you could spend the holidays in your undies splayed out on the lounge in a swamp of butt-sweat with a $14 Big W pedestal fan spluttering to keep you cool while you binge through the entire Netflix library, but friend, you’ve got your entire life for that. Why not make the most of the warm weather (and your young legs) and get out there, have some bloody adventures, make some new friends and create some new memories.
Speaking of, Byron Bay Bluesfest would be reason enough to hit the road on its own. The winner of pretty much every festival award under the sun and now coming up on its 18th year, Bluesfest is more than an Aussie music institution, it’s basically part of our summer furniture. And with the 2018 lineup already boasting the likes of Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters, Chic with Nile Rodgers, Lionel Ritchie and John Butler Trio (and that’s still early days), it looks set to once again live up to its huge rep. Plus, with Byron Bay right on its doorstep, you can easily skip the rough camping part and stay in a hostel, and even hang around for a couple of days after to lap up the atmosphere.
The Road Is Life
Following on from the first point above, and to incredibly loosely paraphrase Jack Kerouac and Gandalf — the road is life. As anyone who’s ever embarked on a truly epic road trip will tell you, the feeling of waking up in a new place every morning and watching the landscape fly past as you hurtle towards the horizon every day is incredibly liberating. As new-agey and feel-goody as all that sounds, it’s essentially become a rite of passage into semi-adulthood in our society. Seeing as though there are no more vision quests or holy pilgrimages anymore, this will have to do.
It’s Cheaper And More Fun Than Flying
Road trips aren’t just more affordable than flying, they’re also way more fun. I mean, when was the last time you heard someone say the highlight of their trip was the flight? Not ever, because flying sucks. Unless you’re Superman. Also, on a practical note, road tripping is just so much cheaper. Especially if you’re travelling in a group and can split gas. Stick to hostels instead of hotels, get yourself one of these YHA pre-paid ePacks, and get creative with your food and even the thinnest wage can send you off on a trip of your dreams.
Sugar Mountain Festival
From one of Australia’s most long-running music events to one of the newest, Sugar Mountain Festival is fast building a reputation as one of Australia’s most vibrant and innovative music festivals. Offering an eclectic mix of cutting-edge internationals like Actress (UK) and Honey Dijon (USA) with solid local talent like Cut Copy, the 2018 event is well worth a road trip for all you punters out there who like their music a little more obscure. Plus it’s held in Melbourne’s Arts Precinct so you can stay nice and central, too.
Pretty Much Every Other Country Is Full Of Aussies Anyway
Aussies are famous for their wanderlust, and these days it’s gotten to crazy proportions with Aussies flooding pretty much every major tourist market in the world. So why not beat them at their own game and get about in their (and your own) backyard? That way, all the drunken Aussies are part of the cultural experience instead of a cringe-worthy reminder of everything you left behind.
Great Excuse For Some Hostel Hijinx
As most travellers will tell you, a lot of the most memorable moments you make on the road actually end up happening in a hostel common room. The modern equivalent of the campfire, whether you’re staying in for the night after a heavy day of driving or just starting out the night’s activities, hostels are a great place to meet new people you wouldn’t ever come across otherwise. And the best part is you don’t need any more of a reason than a road trip to get in on the fun.
Another great festival worth packing up the car for, WOMADelaide gathers together some of the best artists in blues, roots, folk and the strangely-named ‘world music’ for four days of music in Adelaide’s gorgeous Botanic Park in March. And with 2018’s line-up featuring The Avalanches, Dan Sultan and Tinariwen, among many others, WOMADelaide is kind of a more laid back and scaled back inner-city version of Bluesfest, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
Time to hit the road?