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Australia is a huge country and six months is not enough time to explore the whole continent. However, it is enough for a little adventure. Road trips are popular in Australia and hiring a van is a perfect option for someone who doesn’t want to stay in one place for too long. Also, it is a budget traveller’s pick. Transportation, accommodation and even catering are all condensed into one rattling van.

I hired a van from Wicked Campers with two of my friends and spend the mid-semester break driving around Gold coast, Brisbane and Noosa. Our van was old, noisy and slow, but it was a great van. There was room for our bags underneath the “bed” and a little kitchen with a camping stove in the back. We started the day with Nutella sandwiches and started driving. We didn’t have a set plan so we picked up recommendations online on the way. We walked up to Byron Bay lighthouse in a roasting sunshine and hid from the rain in the Burleigh Heads library. When the light started fading we headed to the campground and parked our van. In the dark, we cooked our dinner (pasta every day!) and then retired to the van and curled to our sleeping bags.

Now, there are two things I want to mention about a road trip. The first one being driving. Australia has left-hand side traffic, but it is nothing to be afraid of. Once you hop into a car and sit down on the “wrong” side, your brain adjusts to the situation. Even manual gear is not a problem after you have checked which position is what. Although, in our van, checking didn’t really help because the stick was cricket: we had to trust our instincts. This was my first time driving a van and I was a bit nervous beforehand and even more nervous after I saw the old pile of metal that we got. But driving was easy and the car didn’t betray us on shaky gravel roads and kept going on on highways despite all the whining.

Another thing to mention is campsites. You are not allowed to camp anywhere you want in Australia: you have to use designated campgrounds. The price for a night varies a lot so it is better to check the campsites, prices and facilities beforehand. We only used free campsites that operated on first come first serve basis. They had toilets, some even had showers, but nothing else. If you are willing to pay for the parking slot, you will probably have access to electricity and can charge your phone and camera etc. at the campsite, but if you prefer free camping you have to have another plan for charging your electronics. We exploited libraries, cafes and nature centres, but noticed that it was actually quite difficult to find places that had plug points or were willing to let us charge the phones.

Road trip doesn’t even have to last long. Within a few days, you can visit multiple places and drive through the countryside and little villages as well as big cities. But don’t be greedy, a loose schedule allows surprises and in the end, you'll realise that you have seen and done much more than you even planned. I didn’t plan to meet tree climbing kangaroos while bushwalking, nor did I expect to perform my first ever self-service car wash or get an invitation to have morning coffee with an old Australian camper who parked next to us. These things just happen.