Difference between revisions of "Australia"

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|language = English (de facto)
 
|language = English (de facto)
 
|capital = [[Canberra]]
 
|capital = [[Canberra]]
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|map = <map lat='-25' lng='133' zoom='5' view='0' country='Australia' />
 
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In '''Australia''', hitching is much the same as anywhere else in Western culture if you're between [[Adelaide]] and [[Brisbane]]. In the outback, though, you may get more empty beer cans thrown at you than rides; some hitchhikers, however, wouldn't agree with that, stating that even hitchhiking through the desert can be pretty good, especially with the many trucks and 'road trains' that are usually going long distances.
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In the coastal and “high”-density areas of Australia, from about [[Adelaide]] to [[Brisbane]]/[[Cairns]], hitching is much the same as anywhere else in Western culture. Road lanes are wide with very often large emergency stopping lanes, so finding a good stop is not very difficult.
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In the [http://nomadwiki.org/en/Outback_(Australia) Outback], though, you may get more empty beer cans thrown at you than rides; some hitchhikers, however, wouldn't agree with that, stating that even hitchhiking through the desert can be pretty good, especially with the many trucks and 'road trains' that are usually going long distances
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Because distances are so huge, people are used to driving several hundred kilometers and you will find drivers quite often offering to make huge detours to take you somewhere.
  
== The Outback ==
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==Australia-Specific Advice==
For some hitchhiking throughout the outback is easy.  The people can be friendly, especially the aboriginal folks who would have six people already jammed in a little car and still squeeze you in.
 
  
:I managed from [[Broome]] through to Kununurra, Katherine up to [[Darwin]] and down to Alice. The only time I had to wait more than a half-hour was when I was dropped off on the turn off to Batchelor, which while on the main highway, is a real bad spot with nothing and no one for a long way. Anyway, give it a go.  If you're in the tropics, be careful where you swim (crocodiles) but don't worry too much about the other wildlife. Generally speaking, if you leave it alone, it will leave you alone. Definitely make sure you carry enough water AT ALL TIMES (3 litres per person/per day would be a minimum). It is very easy to get dehydrated. If you can get decent water, all the better, but don't bank on it. Most bores are quite brackish tasting and roadhouse taps are heavily chlorinated -- here's to a good litre of fresh rainwater on a sunny 45 degree day!  (Amory Tarr)
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Australia poses some interesting and unique challenges for hitchhikers. Distances between populated areas can be vast, by far the majority of Australians live near the sea, with the majority of those living in the state capital cities. Temperatures can exceed 45 degrees Celsius in summer and go well below freezing in winter. In many ways Australia is an extreme environment, with some pretty extreme pests, people and weather; when it rains, it pours, when it blows up a gale, it howls. But in saying this when Australia or Australians smile upon you, the heavens open up from above and you can find yourself taken in, taken home, and for all practical purposes adopted for life.
  
When going to the outback go to truck stops and talk to the truckies there (make sure the town you're going to HAS a truck stop, or you may be in trouble: see Kununurra on the map!), a lot of truck companies (but not all) have rules against drivers carrying passengers in their trucks but if you talk to the truckies at stops they are much more likely to ignore that rule. The only time truckies truly cannot give you a lift is when they are operating under a dangerous goods license and then, by law they are not allowed to have another passenger in the vehicle. Truckies will often take you long distances, especially if you are willing to stay awake, and help the driver pass the time through conversation. Routes such as [[Adelaide]] or [[Perth]] to [[Darwin]], [[Port Augusta]] to [[Perth]], [[Darwin]] to [[Townsville]], are frequented by trucks, but if you want to get off the main road, be prepared to wait awhile.
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As long as you remain on the main axes or smaller tourist roads you don't have to worry more than in other countries and you can hitchhike as you usually do. Only remember to '''carry more water than you think you need''', temperatures and distances can greatly exceed your expectations. You might find it hard to stay at the road if the sun in hot and there is no shade.
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Also, if you walk too far from towns as it may leave you somewhere very isolated. A single walker in the middle of nowhere might have a better chance to get picked up because people are surprised or impressed. But make sure that you have a back up plan and enough water to walk back if you don't get a lift especially if the traffic isn't reliable.
  
In the eastern states (QLD, NSW, VIC, SA) more than the west (WA & NT), recent changes to [[insurance]] costs throughout the western world, have meant that trucks face stricter and stricter insurance limitations, one of which is that they are commonly not allowed to have any unlisted passengers in their vehicles. These rules are normally enforced by larger companies, where all riders sign in at the depot prior to the trucks' departure. If you personally know a driver it is often possible for them to sign you in and take you along to help keep them awake. These rules don't really apply to owner/operators, unless on long term contract to a particular company. Unfortunately it's hard for you to know which trucks it will or won't apply to, though you can be confident that the big name trucks like Australia Post, Woolworths etc this is absolutely the case. All of this does not mean you can't get a ride in a truck. What it does mean is that our global fear of strangers has gone up here as much as elsewhere, and the amount of trucks picking up 'strangers' is greatly diminished. I have had some great lifts with road trains, Australia Post trucks etc etc, though they seem less and less common. In fact my first go at driving a road train was on a hitch across the Nullabor Desert, a truly mad but memorable experience of driving 50 tonnes of rolling monster across the midnight plains. (Dave Hodgkin)
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Another tip that makes a bit more sense than for [[Europe]] for example, is to be very careful about not annoying your host. You could be thrown out of the vehicle by the irate driver 200km from the nearest town.
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==The Outback==
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But the most unique aspect of hitching in Australia is the challenge of the Outback. There you can say that you are off the beaten track, which gives a great feeling of emptiness. However some basic survival rules have to be observed as you might get stuck for some reason.
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For some, hitchhiking throughout the outback is easy. The people can be friendly, especially the aboriginal folks who might have six people already jammed in a little car and still squeeze you in.
 +
 
 +
When going to the outback go to truck stops and talk to the “truckies” there. It is a good option as they are driving huge distances at once in places where not many cars pass by. Make sure the town you're going to HAS a truck stop, or you may be in trouble if you are dropped in the middle of the outback, which is similar to the middle of nowhere.
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 +
===What to be careful with in the Outback===
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It is written in its own name! The outback is far from everything and "cities" can be very far from each other. What look to be a large town on the map can actually be a village with a dozen or fewer houses. Some parts of the outback are so remote that you do not want to get stuck out there hitchhiking!
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 +
Make absolutely sure you are carrying enough water AT ALL TIMES (3 liters per person/per day would be a minimum). It is very easy to get dehydrated under the Australian sun. If you can get decent water, all the better, but don't bank on it. Most bores are quite brackish tasting and roadhouse taps are heavily chlorinated -- here's to a good liter of fresh rainwater on a sunny 45 degree day!
 +
Be aware that phone coverage has a high chance of being nonexistent. (Telstra has the best chance of working by far.) Letting someone know where you are heading and how long till they should next expect to hear from you can be a good idea.
 +
 
 +
If you're in the tropics, be careful where you swim (crocodiles and deadly jellyfish) but don't worry too much about the other wildlife. Australia has dangerous wildlife in terms of spiders and snakes so keep it in mind but generally speaking, if you leave it alone, it will leave you alone. Very very few people die each year so don't stress too much either!
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===Personal experience===
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''I managed from Broome through to Kununurra, Katherine up to Darwin and down to Alice. The only time I had to wait more than a half-hour was when I was dropped off on the turn off to Batchelor, which while on the main highway, is a real bad spot with nothing and no one for a long way. Anyway, give it a go.'' (Amory Tarr)
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 +
''I have had some great lifts with road trains, Australia Post trucks etc etc, though they seem less and less common. In fact my first go at driving a road train was on a hitch across the Nullabor Desert, a truly mad but memorable experience of driving 50 tonnes of rolling monster across the midnight plains.'' (Dave Hodgkin)
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 +
==Hitchhiking with “truckies”==
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 +
Quite a few truck drivers give a first impression of being a bear, but are usually gentlemen in their own way. As roads are quite wide, it is not rare that they manage to stop for you! With a truck of course not going as fast as a car, you can easily make more than 500 or 1000km at once given the distances between the cities.
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 +
A lot of truck companies (but not all) have rules against drivers carrying passengers in their trucks. If you talk to the truckies at stops they are much more likely to ignore that rule. The only time truckies truly cannot give you a lift is when they are operating under a dangerous goods license and then, by law they are not allowed to have another passenger in the vehicle. Truckies will often take you long distances, especially if you are willing to stay awake, and help the driver pass the time through conversation. Routes such as [[Adelaide]]/[[Perth]] to [[Darwin]], [[Port Augusta]] to Perth, Darwin to [[Townsville]], are frequented by trucks, but if you want to get off the main road, be prepared to wait awhile.
 +
 
 +
In the eastern states (QLD, NSW, VIC, SA) more than the west (WA & NT), recent changes to insurance costs throughout the western world, have meant that trucks face stricter and stricter insurance limitations, one of which is that they are commonly not allowed to have any unlisted passengers in their vehicles. These rules are normally enforced by larger companies, where all riders sign in at the depot prior to the trucks' departure. If you personally know a driver it is often possible for them to sign you in and take you along to help keep them awake. These rules don't really apply to owner/operators, unless on long term contract to a particular company. Unfortunately it's hard for you to know which trucks it will or won't apply to, though you can be confident that with trucks for the big name companies like Australia Post, Woolworths etc this is absolutely the case. All of this does not mean you can't get a ride in a truck. What it does mean is that our global fear of strangers has gone up here as much as elsewhere, and the amount of trucks picking up 'strangers' is greatly diminished.
  
 
== Police & Law ==
 
== Police & Law ==
  
Searching in the [http://www.austlii.edu.au Australian law database], hitchwiki contributors have been able to find two distinct law texts. The first one features in the Australian Road Rules and has come up in searches for Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory, the second one concerns Western Australia only. In theory, the laws say that in most places you're not allowed to hitchhike from a shoulder, in practice however police rarely care.
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Searching in the Australian law database, Hitchwiki contributors have been able to find two distinct law texts. The first one features in the Australian Road Rules and has come up in searches for Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory, the second one concerns Western Australia only. In theory, the laws say that in most places you're not allowed to hitchhike from a shoulder, in practice however police rarely cares.
  
 
=== Australian Road Rules ===
 
=== Australian Road Rules ===
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::(b)    for a sealed road -- any unsealed part of the road, and any sealed part of the road outside an edge line on the road
 
::(b)    for a sealed road -- any unsealed part of the road, and any sealed part of the road outside an edge line on the road
  
As a conclusion: It is very clearly regulated where you can stand as a hitchhiker and where you cannot. You can't stand on a shoulder, but you can stand on most other kinds of surface next to the road.  
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'''As a conclusion:''' It is very clearly regulated where you can stand as a hitchhiker and where you cannot. You can't stand on a shoulder, but you can stand on most other kinds of surface next to the road.
  
=== Western Australia ===
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=== Particular to Western Australia ===
  
 
259. Selling papers and cars, hitch&#8209;hiking etc.
 
259. Selling papers and cars, hitch&#8209;hiking etc.
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"carriageway" means a portion of a road that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, and includes the shoulders, and areas, including embayments, at the side or centre of the carriageway, used for the stopping or parking of vehicles [...]
 
"carriageway" means a portion of a road that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, and includes the shoulders, and areas, including embayments, at the side or centre of the carriageway, used for the stopping or parking of vehicles [...]
  
In conclusion: in WA, it's illegal to stand on the shoulder of the highway; however you may hitchhike from a footpath or off the shoulder. A law enforcement officer might not be aware of this, though. The source is to be found in [http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/legis/wa/consol_reg/rtc2000113/s259.html?query=hitch%20hike this] website.
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In conclusion: in WA, it's illegal to stand on the shoulder of the highway; however you may hitchhike from a footpath or off the shoulder. A law enforcement officer might not be aware of this, though. The source is to be found in [http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/legis/wa/consol_reg/rtc2000113/s259.html?query=hitch%20hike this website].
  
 
=== Practical Situation ===
 
=== Practical Situation ===
  
In practice, Australian police are fairly relaxed about hitchhikers. [[User:Zenit|Zenit]] has hitchhiked some 13000 kilometers in all states except WA and Tasmania and has never been bothered; he has heard stories about police in WA being more touchy, however. Keep in mind that it is also illegal to incite a vehicle to stop in a non stopping zone. Such zones include bridges (and 30 odd meters either side, road edges with an unbroken white or yellow line, spots within 30 meters of an intersection, etc. In any event choose your hitching site carefully so not to place yourself or others in danger; as always look for somewhere well lit, with plenty of room for approaching vehicles to see you well in advance and room for them to pull on to the shoulder without blocking traffic. It should be noted that most freeways and motorways (as opposed to highways) have limited-access rules barring pedestrians or bicycles from entering them.  
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In practice, Australian police are fairly relaxed about hitchhikers. Zenit has hitchhiked some 13000km in all states except WA and Tasmania and has never been bothered; he has heard stories about police in WA being more touchy, however. Keep in mind that it is also illegal to incite a vehicle to stop in a non stopping zone. Such zones include bridges and 30 odd meters either side, road edges with an unbroken white or yellow line, spots within 30 meters of an intersection, etc. In any event choose your hitching site carefully so not to place yourself or others in danger; as always look for somewhere well lit, with plenty of room for approaching vehicles to see you well in advance and room for them to pull on to the shoulder without blocking traffic. It should be noted that most freeways and motorways (as opposed to highways) have limited-access rules barring pedestrians or bicycles from entering them.  
  
 
=== Experiences ===
 
=== Experiences ===
  
:''It is illegal but I've had police stop twice, once to tell me go back to town and catch a bus (but left me alone besides telling to do that) and the second time the cop gave me a lift about 40 or 50km to the border of Victoria/South Australia.''
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''It is illegal but I've had police stop twice, once to tell me go back to town and catch a bus (but left me alone besides telling to do that) and the second time the cop gave me a lift about 40 or 50km to the border of Victoria/South Australia.''
 
 
:''It's illegal to hitch in no-pedestrian zones like freeways but other places it seems to vary state to state. I don't think it's against the law at all in most places and I've never had any trouble anywhere in the eastern states.''
 
 
 
:''Wait at petrol stations or truck stops for a ride. This way you won't get into trouble with the police, can ask people for a lift and you're close to water, food and a toilet. Some service stations don't like hitchhikers hanging around, though so be careful they don't call the police on you.''
 
 
 
:''[[User:Bernhard|Bernhard]] had a chat with a crime prevention officer from the Queensland police and the officer said the following: "The hitch hiking legislation in Queensland says that a person can not stand on the roadway to solicit a ride. Meaning that if they stand on the footpath or away from the roadway they are not comitting an offence. One of the main reasons we do stop people standing on the road hitching a ride is for their own safety and the safety of the motorists driving. So some roads are very busy and its an offence to stand on the roadway and solicit a ride and it is a 40 dollar fine if the policeman chooses to give you a infringement notice for that offence." He also said that it is possible to stand on the footpath and hitch a ride, when there is enough space for a car to pull over. Police may stop a hitchhiker and ask for an ID, mostly to check on his records and WHY he is hitching a ride (is he running away from a crime? Is he in trouble? Does he need help?). Police officers want to know who is going through their area, so if a hitchhiker is on the footpath and not soliciting a ride at a dangerous spot, they will question him about his story but then let him go.''
 
 
 
== Australia Particular Advice ==
 
Australia poses some interesting and unique challenges for hitchhikers. Distances between populated areas can be vast, by far the majority of Australians live near the sea, with the majority of those living in the state capital cities. Temperatures can exceed 45 degrees Celsius in summer and go well below freezing in winter. In many ways Australia is an extreme environment, with some pretty extreme pests, people and weather, when it rains it pours, when it blows up a gale, it howls. But in saying this when Australia or Australians smile upon you, the heavens open up from above and you can find yourself taken in, taken home, and for all practical purposes adopted for life.
 
=== Personal Experience ===
 
''I have been stuck for up to 3 days in a number of places in Australia, (notably Coober Pedy and Ningin) whilst on the other hand I've been given the keys to the family holiday home and told to make myself at home when I get there (In Manjimup on the way from Perth to Albany), or taken home for a week, nurtured and spoiled rotten. Whatever the circumstance you find yourself in, more than in other countries be prepared.''
 
* Let someone know where you are heading and how long till they should next expect to hear from you
 
* Carry more water than you think you need
 
* Walking out of town, to look like you're motivated, may leave you somewhere very isolated
 
* Be very careful about not annoying your host, I've been thrown out of a truck by an irate driver, off his head on NoDoz, for some quite harmless comment, 200k from the nearest town...
 
 
 
== When you're really stuck for a place to stay... ==
 
You know you're off the tourist track when you get to a town without a backpackers. Most small towns have a town pub that offers pretty cheap accommodation and many have a free campground on the edge of town or a picnic spot beside a river
 
* Schoolyards, normally there is somewhere discrete under cover, in most small towns there is green grass, and even toilets and drinking water, just set your alarm early and get out before 7:30ish when cleaning staff etc may start to arrive. (The primary school on the edge of Mt Isa has rescued me on more than one occasion.)
 
* Non Returned soldiers areas at Cemeteries, clearly not for the superstitious, but these sites tend to have nice soft green grass, and often have free public toilets and fresh drinking water. The cemetery at the end of thee railway line in Hexham on your way north out of Sydney is a classic, if headed north through from Canberra or Melbourne, you can jump the train in Campbelltown or Parramatta, ride it through to Central Station, change to the Newcastle line, then switch to the Hexham line, and get off at the unnamed station for free, right next to the best cemetery I have ever slept in, right next to The Prince's Highway.
 
* Many remote areas have shade structures as bus shelters, these can provide quite a comfortable night's sleep, as can late night train stations (spent my time on the floor of the girls' toilet at Nyngan railway station) Church Foyers (3 nights in the foyer of the underground church in Coober Pedy).
 
* Showgrounds on the edge of towns often have toilets, water and a place undercover.
 
 
 
== When you're really stuck for a ride ==
 
Jumping railway cars is also still possible in Australia, (although you did not hear it from me).
 
* The three day journey from Mt Isa to the coast on the coal trains (pick up a Beanbag, a tarp and a shade cloth from the Op-shop in town, few things beat making love on a pile of coal at 20km/h under the desert stars :)
 
* The cargo train across the Nullarbor, a trip of a lifetime, my mate Alex did it, certainly one of those life-changing adventures.
 
 
 
''However, don't be stupid and jump off when the trains are moving too quickly. I have had the terrible experience of seeing a teenager jump off a train which came from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and that did not end up well. That boy lost his life simply to save the cost of a short trip. What a waste.
 
  
If you do jump onto rail services just make sure you use some common sense.''
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''It's illegal to hitch in no-pedestrian zones like freeways but other places it seems to vary state to state. I don't think it's against the law at all in most places and I've never had any trouble anywhere in the eastern states.''
  
== When really stuck for food... ==
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''Wait at petrol stations or truck stops for a ride. This way you won't get into trouble with the police, can ask people for a lift and you're close to water, food and a toilet. Some service stations don't like hitchhikers hanging around, though so be careful they don't call the police on you.''
  
* I have been helped out when stuck in a small town, by the Country Women's Association ("The C.W.A.")- best scones of my life, nothing beats hunger to increase the flavour of jam and cream.
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''[[User:Bernhard|Bernhard]] had a chat with a crime prevention officer from the Queensland police and the officer said the following: "The hitch hiking legislation in Queensland says that a person can not stand on the roadway to solicit a ride. Meaning that if they stand on the footpath or away from the roadway they are not comitting an offence. One of the main reasons we do stop people standing on the road hitching a ride is for their own safety and the safety of the motorists driving. So some roads are very busy and its an offence to stand on the roadway and solicit a ride and it is a 40 dollar fine if the policeman chooses to give you a infringement notice for that offence." He also said that it is possible to stand on the footpath and hitch a ride, when there is enough space for a car to pull over. Police may stop a hitchhiker and ask for an ID, mostly to check on his records and WHY he is hitching a ride (is he running away from a crime? Is he in trouble? Does he need help?). Police officers want to know who is going through their area, so if a hitchhiker is on the footpath and not soliciting a ride at a dangerous spot, they will question him about his story but then let him go.''
* I've eaten my share of roadside fruits from passing orchards, and cooked my share of roadkill, the smell quickly gives away the freshness or lack thereof.
 
The best introduction you'll ever have to roadkill delights is a fresh kangaroo tail. Make sure the tail is still flexible and the smell is only of dirty fur, not the smell of old meat, Kangaroos are hit by trucks every day, so this is not as uncommon as it sounds. Hack off the tail as close the rump as possible, do this by cutting all the way around the tail, through the fur, then levering and breaking the tail between two vertebrae, not as hard or messy as it sounds. I recommend dragging the 'roo off behind some bushes before you start this process as mad hitchhikers wielding knives under the full moon, does not do much for our reputation.<br/>To cook the tail, first build a large fire over some clean ground, preferably riverside sand, though well above the water table, when the fire is at full blaze, singe all the fur off the tail, scraping it clean with the back of a knife or a sharp rock, repeat this a few times as it takes a while to sear off all the fur, being careful not to over cook or burst the skin as this is the wrapping material for cooking. Let your fire burn down till it has strong hot coals and the ground below has started to really heat up (30-40mins depending how much of a fire you made) scrape the fire off to one side and dig a hole in the sand where the fire was. Using a stick, bury the tail about 15-20cm below the surface (check, but this area should already be nice and hot by now) and return the fire to above. Re-stoke the fire and cook for a further 40mins till the fire dies down. letting the fire die down slowly will allow the tail to really cook through nicely. Scrap the fire out of the way and dig up the tail. You will know when it is done, if the fat is sizzling and the skin is starting to split in places, if still not done, roll over and cook for a further 20-30 mins. The amount of fat and gristle in the tail ensures that this is one of the few parts of the 'roo that it's hard to actually over cook.
 
- Snake is also a great introduction to roadkill, choose a fresh wet-smelling snake, chop off the head and squashed bits, cut open along the belly and de-gut, sew the stomach back together with thin twigs and cook as per instructions for 'roo tail above. Be sure that the snake is completely dead before approaching - there's a reason Australians have the expression "Like a cut snake". The head of snakes can also display reflexes after being severed from the body - enough that you could still be bitten and have problems.
 
Nothing beats the total delight of fresh billy tea boiled in a discarded coke can, fresh damper and road kill under a full moon beside the road...
 
  
== When really stuck for water ==
 
  
If really stuck in the middle of nowhere, and yes it does happen and has happened to me! Remember to go into casual energy conservation mode, wander down the road till you find a nice shady spot not too far from the road's edge and chill out, get up when you can hear a car approaching from either direction, and stand beside the road, looking clean, presentable, forlorn and lost... a "help" sign helps, but even without, many people will slow down - look very innocent/unarmed/helpless/etc., remember the primary aim at this point is to get out of wherever you are, which direction simply does not matter, just get to the nearest town. You can live for a month without food, but you will die without water in a few days.
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==When you are really stuck...==
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===For a ride===
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[[Train hopping]] is also still possible in Australia although this is an option to consider with extreme care.
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The three day journey from Mt Isa to the coast on the coal trains (pick up a Beanbag, a tarp and a shade cloth from the Op-shop in town, few things beat spending the night on a pile of coal at 20km/h under the desert stars :)
 +
The cargo train across the Nullarbor, a trip of a lifetime, certainly one of those life-changing adventures.
  
Never ever decide to take a shortcut across a paddock or field, stick with the road. If bitten by a snake or even if you trip over and sprain an ankle in the middle of a field, there is no guarantee that you will be found by anybody before you have dried out and desiccated like a dead-dingo's-donger!
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However, don't be stupid and jump off when the trains are moving too quickly. One hitchhiker had the terrible experience of seeing a teenager jump off a train which came from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and that did not end up well. That boy lost his life simply to save the cost of a short trip. What a waste.
  
Yes, "Bear Grylls"-wannabe, you can drink your own piss to stay alive - no it's not pleasant, not very effective and I don't recommend it. If you are stuck on one of Australia's mad dirt "highways" like the Tanami or the Gunbarrel, a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_still Solar Still] is your best bet.
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If you do jump onto rail services just make sure you use some common sense.
  
Other than that, you can get away with drinking just about any water if you can boil it for a good 10-15 mins. This includes roadside puddles, brown sludge from underground, radiator liquid.  As an old Aboriginal friend of mine once said, when looking for water in the outback, simply head down hill and when you get to the lowest point dig a hole... this works really well if there are any large hills or rock outcrops around, but for me, is a tad harder when the whole landscape appears flat and I'm bloody thirsty....
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===For water===
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First, make sure you have enough water (3 liters/day/person). Remember that you can survive more than a month without food but that you will die without water in a few days. But if you get really stuck for water, you can still survive ;)
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First stop moving to keep your energy and relax as much as you can. Find a spot with shadow next to the road and as soon as you hear a car coming from either direction stand up and show you are here. Destination doesn't matter, you just need to reach the first town. You can even have a “help” sign and look as innocent/unarmed/helpless/etc as you can, but mostly cars will stop or at least slow down.
  
Australia has water legislation that makes it mandatory to share water if you have it, makes it legal to enter private property to access any permanent river or water source. (So long as you obey the usual rules of land - if you use a gate, leave it open/closed as you found it, don't mess with livestock/equipment/etc.)
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Find more information on Nomadwiki on how to [http://nomadwiki.org/en/Outback_(Australia)#How_to_survive_in_the_Outback.3F find water] and to [http://nomadwiki.org/en/Purifying_water clean it]!
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===For a place to stay or for food===
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See [http://nomadwiki.org/en/Australia Nomadwiki] as it is more relevant for this website.
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==Personal experiences of hitching Australia==
 +
''I have hitched the entire coastline of Australia, and although there are sometimes long waits between rides, I have met some of the most generous and welcoming people. Make sure you get to the edge of the towns, just where the highways start or turn from a 70 into a 100 km/h zone, or similar.'' (Author unknown)  
  
All in all, you will probably never need the above tips, but if you're not on the edge of your comfort zone, you're not trying - for me being stuck in the middle of nowhere and learning to chill and enjoy, is the true Zen of Hitchhiking.
+
''I hitched around 4,000km in the states of NSW, Victoria and South Australia. There are plenty of long lay-by stop areas along most highways (including Pacific Highway) where cars can easily and safely pull off the highway to pick you up. I found any highway (especially Pacific Highway) with a decent amount of traffic is very reliable with average waiting time of 15-20 minutes and never any longer than 30-40 minutes. In more rural areas and backroads I often encountered as little as 10 cars per hour and sometimes only 1-2 per hour, but people living in rural areas are much more likely to pick you up as they know they may be the only car for a while. The Australians are very welcoming and hospitable, on many occasions the driver would offer a place to stay for the night with a meal or insist on giving me 20 dollars for food. When hitching in cities, pedestrians have sometimes come to me and again insist upon giving me money for a train ticket further down the road. I felt very at home hitching here, the generosity of the people being overwhelming.'' (Jools 2011)
  
Some of my most amazing experiences have included a cold winter night wrapped in cardboard in an abandoned wheat silo sharing a humpy with aboriginals in a town camp on the edge of Tennant Creek, waking up only to bashing my head on the underside of a Dodge van I had crawled under to avoid the rain, only to be offered a cuppa tea by the occupants digging my car out of a salt lake when we took a wrong turn with two English backpackers as rain clouds loomed... This to me is the real Australia (Dave Hodgkin)
+
''I have been stuck for up to 3 days in a number of places in Australia (notably Coober Pedy and Ningin), whilst on the other hand I've been given the keys to the family holiday home and told to make myself at home when I get there (In Manjimup on the way from Perth to Albany), or taken home for a week, nurtured and spoiled rotten. Whatever the circumstance you find yourself in, more than in other countries, be prepared.'' (Author unknown)
  
== Personal experiences ==
+
''I hitched from Perth to Uluru via the Great Eastern & Central Highways, then north and east via Stuart, Barkly, and Landbrough Highways to Brisbane. Journey took 10 days and 16 rides. Be ready to go by sunrise, as most traffic in the outback is in the mornings, and rarely any traffic in the afternoon. Daylight is your friend for getting rides. Hitch from the edge of towns, as inside towns you won't get rides. Truckies will only give you rides if you befriend them, they will never stop. Nomads (people with caravans) will never ever give a hitchhiker a ride due to their prejudices, so be fun with them to boost your morale. Times for rides were 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours, 3 days, 1 hour, night+morning, 1 hour, night+morning, 1 hour, 1 hour, night+morning, night+morning, night+morning.'' [[User:Balupton|Balupton]] ([[User talk:Balupton|talk]]) 03:10, 4 June 2015 (CEST)
:''I have hitched the entire coastline of Australia, and although there are sometimes long waits between rides, I have met some of the most generous and welcoming people. Make sure you get to the edge of the towns, just where the highways start or turn from a 70 into a 100 km/h zone, or similar.'' (author unknown)
 
  
:''I hitched around 4,000km in the states of NSW, Victoria and South Australia. There are plenty of long lay-by stop areas along most highways (including Pacific Highway) where cars can easily and safely pull off the highway to pick you up. I found any highway (especially Pacific Highway) with a decent amount of traffic is very reliable with average waiting time of 15-20 minutes and never any longer than 30-40 minutes. In more rural areas and backroads I often encountered as little as 10 cars per hour and sometimes only 1-2 per hour, but people living in rural areas are much more likely to pick you up as they know they may be the only car for a while. The Australians are very welcoming and hospitable, on many occasions the driver would offer a place to stay for the night with a meal or insist on giving me 20 dollars for food. When hitching in cities, pedestrians have sometimes come to me and again insist upon giving me money for a train ticket further down the road. I felt very at home hitching here, the generosity of the people being overwhelming." (Jools 2011)
+
I hitchhiked up and down the Stuart Highway and Kakadu National Park and bits and pieces of New South Wales, Tasmania and almost regularly on the remote Tanami Highway. Generally I found it easier to get lifts in remote areas. Especially in the outback and close to Aboriginal settlements. There might be two or three cars per hour on some roads. But chances that they pick you up are very high. There is a great sense of caring. Some Australians are truly paranoid about hitchhikers due to some events in the past. Tradies (craftsmen) are friendly quite often while tourists are certainly less likely to pick you up and Australia is a very individualistic country. Kakadu National Park was hard in the beginning but turned out allright. I just don't like it when there are too many tourists vans driving by. At stages I picked up 10 litres of water and just walked along the road. It seemed to have quite an effect on some people who gave me a lift to find me standing next to the road far away from anything else. In Kakadu you are supposed to stick to campsites for camping though. All in all it is not a walker/hitchhiker friendly national park. All in all Australia is a great country for hitchhiking because a lot of people are open and like to talk. You hear great stories on your way and can learn a lot. Hitchhiking can be truly adventurous here. (Japanangka 14.09.16)
  
 
== Cities ==
 
== Cities ==
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== Links ==
 
== Links ==
* [http://maps.google.com Google Maps] supports finding routes in Australia
 
  
 
{{States Australia}}
 
{{States Australia}}
 +
 
__NOTOC__
 
__NOTOC__
 +
See as well
 
{{IsIn|Earth}}
 
{{IsIn|Earth}}
 
[[trash:Australia]]
 
[[trash:Australia]]
[[wikipedia:Australia]]
+
[[wikipedia:Australia]]
 +
[[nomad:Australia]]
 +
[[visa:Australia]]
 
{{IsIn|Oceania}}
 
{{IsIn|Oceania}}
  
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[[es:Australia]]
 
[[es:Australia]]
 
[[fr:Australie]]
 
[[fr:Australie]]
[[visa:Australia]]
 

Latest revision as of 01:29, 13 August 2017

Flag of Australia Australia
Information
Language: English (de facto)
Capital: Canberra
Population: 21,468,700
Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)
Hitchability: <rating country='au' />
Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots or BeWelcome
<map lat='-25' lng='133' zoom='5' view='0' country='Australia' />


In the coastal and “high”-density areas of Australia, from about Adelaide to Brisbane/Cairns, hitching is much the same as anywhere else in Western culture. Road lanes are wide with very often large emergency stopping lanes, so finding a good stop is not very difficult. In the Outback, though, you may get more empty beer cans thrown at you than rides; some hitchhikers, however, wouldn't agree with that, stating that even hitchhiking through the desert can be pretty good, especially with the many trucks and 'road trains' that are usually going long distances. Because distances are so huge, people are used to driving several hundred kilometers and you will find drivers quite often offering to make huge detours to take you somewhere.

Australia-Specific Advice

Australia poses some interesting and unique challenges for hitchhikers. Distances between populated areas can be vast, by far the majority of Australians live near the sea, with the majority of those living in the state capital cities. Temperatures can exceed 45 degrees Celsius in summer and go well below freezing in winter. In many ways Australia is an extreme environment, with some pretty extreme pests, people and weather; when it rains, it pours, when it blows up a gale, it howls. But in saying this when Australia or Australians smile upon you, the heavens open up from above and you can find yourself taken in, taken home, and for all practical purposes adopted for life.

As long as you remain on the main axes or smaller tourist roads you don't have to worry more than in other countries and you can hitchhike as you usually do. Only remember to carry more water than you think you need, temperatures and distances can greatly exceed your expectations. You might find it hard to stay at the road if the sun in hot and there is no shade. Also, if you walk too far from towns as it may leave you somewhere very isolated. A single walker in the middle of nowhere might have a better chance to get picked up because people are surprised or impressed. But make sure that you have a back up plan and enough water to walk back if you don't get a lift especially if the traffic isn't reliable.

Another tip that makes a bit more sense than for Europe for example, is to be very careful about not annoying your host. You could be thrown out of the vehicle by the irate driver 200km from the nearest town.

The Outback

But the most unique aspect of hitching in Australia is the challenge of the Outback. There you can say that you are off the beaten track, which gives a great feeling of emptiness. However some basic survival rules have to be observed as you might get stuck for some reason. For some, hitchhiking throughout the outback is easy. The people can be friendly, especially the aboriginal folks who might have six people already jammed in a little car and still squeeze you in.

When going to the outback go to truck stops and talk to the “truckies” there. It is a good option as they are driving huge distances at once in places where not many cars pass by. Make sure the town you're going to HAS a truck stop, or you may be in trouble if you are dropped in the middle of the outback, which is similar to the middle of nowhere.

What to be careful with in the Outback

It is written in its own name! The outback is far from everything and "cities" can be very far from each other. What look to be a large town on the map can actually be a village with a dozen or fewer houses. Some parts of the outback are so remote that you do not want to get stuck out there hitchhiking!

Make absolutely sure you are carrying enough water AT ALL TIMES (3 liters per person/per day would be a minimum). It is very easy to get dehydrated under the Australian sun. If you can get decent water, all the better, but don't bank on it. Most bores are quite brackish tasting and roadhouse taps are heavily chlorinated -- here's to a good liter of fresh rainwater on a sunny 45 degree day! Be aware that phone coverage has a high chance of being nonexistent. (Telstra has the best chance of working by far.) Letting someone know where you are heading and how long till they should next expect to hear from you can be a good idea.

If you're in the tropics, be careful where you swim (crocodiles and deadly jellyfish) but don't worry too much about the other wildlife. Australia has dangerous wildlife in terms of spiders and snakes so keep it in mind but generally speaking, if you leave it alone, it will leave you alone. Very very few people die each year so don't stress too much either!

Personal experience

I managed from Broome through to Kununurra, Katherine up to Darwin and down to Alice. The only time I had to wait more than a half-hour was when I was dropped off on the turn off to Batchelor, which while on the main highway, is a real bad spot with nothing and no one for a long way. Anyway, give it a go. (Amory Tarr)

I have had some great lifts with road trains, Australia Post trucks etc etc, though they seem less and less common. In fact my first go at driving a road train was on a hitch across the Nullabor Desert, a truly mad but memorable experience of driving 50 tonnes of rolling monster across the midnight plains. (Dave Hodgkin)

Hitchhiking with “truckies”

Quite a few truck drivers give a first impression of being a bear, but are usually gentlemen in their own way. As roads are quite wide, it is not rare that they manage to stop for you! With a truck of course not going as fast as a car, you can easily make more than 500 or 1000km at once given the distances between the cities.

A lot of truck companies (but not all) have rules against drivers carrying passengers in their trucks. If you talk to the truckies at stops they are much more likely to ignore that rule. The only time truckies truly cannot give you a lift is when they are operating under a dangerous goods license and then, by law they are not allowed to have another passenger in the vehicle. Truckies will often take you long distances, especially if you are willing to stay awake, and help the driver pass the time through conversation. Routes such as Adelaide/Perth to Darwin, Port Augusta to Perth, Darwin to Townsville, are frequented by trucks, but if you want to get off the main road, be prepared to wait awhile.

In the eastern states (QLD, NSW, VIC, SA) more than the west (WA & NT), recent changes to insurance costs throughout the western world, have meant that trucks face stricter and stricter insurance limitations, one of which is that they are commonly not allowed to have any unlisted passengers in their vehicles. These rules are normally enforced by larger companies, where all riders sign in at the depot prior to the trucks' departure. If you personally know a driver it is often possible for them to sign you in and take you along to help keep them awake. These rules don't really apply to owner/operators, unless on long term contract to a particular company. Unfortunately it's hard for you to know which trucks it will or won't apply to, though you can be confident that with trucks for the big name companies like Australia Post, Woolworths etc this is absolutely the case. All of this does not mean you can't get a ride in a truck. What it does mean is that our global fear of strangers has gone up here as much as elsewhere, and the amount of trucks picking up 'strangers' is greatly diminished.

Police & Law

Searching in the Australian law database, Hitchwiki contributors have been able to find two distinct law texts. The first one features in the Australian Road Rules and has come up in searches for Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory, the second one concerns Western Australia only. In theory, the laws say that in most places you're not allowed to hitchhike from a shoulder, in practice however police rarely cares.

Australian Road Rules

All the following has been taken from this website.

236 Pedestrians not to cause a traffic hazard or obstruction

(4) A pedestrian must not stand on, or move onto, a road--
(b) to hitchhike [...]
(7) In this rule: road includes any shoulder of the road, and any median strip, painted island or traffic island, but does not include any other road-related area.

The definition of "road-related area" here is
13 What is a road-related area

(1) A road-related area is any of the following
(a) an area that divides a road;
(b) a footpath or nature strip adjacent to a road;
(c) an area that is not a road and that is open to the public and designated for use by cyclists or animals;
(d) an area that is not a road and that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking vehicles.

The definiton of "shoulder" here is: 12 What is a road

(3) The shoulder of the road includes any part of the road that is not designed to be used by motor vehicles in travelling along the road, and includes:
(a) for a kerbed road -- any part of the kerb; and
(b) for a sealed road -- any unsealed part of the road, and any sealed part of the road outside an edge line on the road

As a conclusion: It is very clearly regulated where you can stand as a hitchhiker and where you cannot. You can't stand on a shoulder, but you can stand on most other kinds of surface next to the road.

Particular to Western Australia

259. Selling papers and cars, hitch‑hiking etc.

(1) A person shall not, while on a carriageway or median strip
(a) solicit contributions, employment or a ride from an occupant of a vehicle [...]

The carriageway is here defined as following: "carriageway" means a portion of a road that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, and includes the shoulders, and areas, including embayments, at the side or centre of the carriageway, used for the stopping or parking of vehicles [...]

In conclusion: in WA, it's illegal to stand on the shoulder of the highway; however you may hitchhike from a footpath or off the shoulder. A law enforcement officer might not be aware of this, though. The source is to be found in this website.

Practical Situation

In practice, Australian police are fairly relaxed about hitchhikers. Zenit has hitchhiked some 13000km in all states except WA and Tasmania and has never been bothered; he has heard stories about police in WA being more touchy, however. Keep in mind that it is also illegal to incite a vehicle to stop in a non stopping zone. Such zones include bridges and 30 odd meters either side, road edges with an unbroken white or yellow line, spots within 30 meters of an intersection, etc. In any event choose your hitching site carefully so not to place yourself or others in danger; as always look for somewhere well lit, with plenty of room for approaching vehicles to see you well in advance and room for them to pull on to the shoulder without blocking traffic. It should be noted that most freeways and motorways (as opposed to highways) have limited-access rules barring pedestrians or bicycles from entering them.

Experiences

It is illegal but I've had police stop twice, once to tell me go back to town and catch a bus (but left me alone besides telling to do that) and the second time the cop gave me a lift about 40 or 50km to the border of Victoria/South Australia.

It's illegal to hitch in no-pedestrian zones like freeways but other places it seems to vary state to state. I don't think it's against the law at all in most places and I've never had any trouble anywhere in the eastern states.

Wait at petrol stations or truck stops for a ride. This way you won't get into trouble with the police, can ask people for a lift and you're close to water, food and a toilet. Some service stations don't like hitchhikers hanging around, though so be careful they don't call the police on you.

Bernhard had a chat with a crime prevention officer from the Queensland police and the officer said the following: "The hitch hiking legislation in Queensland says that a person can not stand on the roadway to solicit a ride. Meaning that if they stand on the footpath or away from the roadway they are not comitting an offence. One of the main reasons we do stop people standing on the road hitching a ride is for their own safety and the safety of the motorists driving. So some roads are very busy and its an offence to stand on the roadway and solicit a ride and it is a 40 dollar fine if the policeman chooses to give you a infringement notice for that offence." He also said that it is possible to stand on the footpath and hitch a ride, when there is enough space for a car to pull over. Police may stop a hitchhiker and ask for an ID, mostly to check on his records and WHY he is hitching a ride (is he running away from a crime? Is he in trouble? Does he need help?). Police officers want to know who is going through their area, so if a hitchhiker is on the footpath and not soliciting a ride at a dangerous spot, they will question him about his story but then let him go.


When you are really stuck...

For a ride

Train hopping is also still possible in Australia although this is an option to consider with extreme care. The three day journey from Mt Isa to the coast on the coal trains (pick up a Beanbag, a tarp and a shade cloth from the Op-shop in town, few things beat spending the night on a pile of coal at 20km/h under the desert stars :) The cargo train across the Nullarbor, a trip of a lifetime, certainly one of those life-changing adventures.

However, don't be stupid and jump off when the trains are moving too quickly. One hitchhiker had the terrible experience of seeing a teenager jump off a train which came from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and that did not end up well. That boy lost his life simply to save the cost of a short trip. What a waste.

If you do jump onto rail services just make sure you use some common sense.

For water

First, make sure you have enough water (3 liters/day/person). Remember that you can survive more than a month without food but that you will die without water in a few days. But if you get really stuck for water, you can still survive ;) First stop moving to keep your energy and relax as much as you can. Find a spot with shadow next to the road and as soon as you hear a car coming from either direction stand up and show you are here. Destination doesn't matter, you just need to reach the first town. You can even have a “help” sign and look as innocent/unarmed/helpless/etc as you can, but mostly cars will stop or at least slow down.

Find more information on Nomadwiki on how to find water and to clean it!

For a place to stay or for food

See Nomadwiki as it is more relevant for this website.

Personal experiences of hitching Australia

I have hitched the entire coastline of Australia, and although there are sometimes long waits between rides, I have met some of the most generous and welcoming people. Make sure you get to the edge of the towns, just where the highways start or turn from a 70 into a 100 km/h zone, or similar. (Author unknown)

I hitched around 4,000km in the states of NSW, Victoria and South Australia. There are plenty of long lay-by stop areas along most highways (including Pacific Highway) where cars can easily and safely pull off the highway to pick you up. I found any highway (especially Pacific Highway) with a decent amount of traffic is very reliable with average waiting time of 15-20 minutes and never any longer than 30-40 minutes. In more rural areas and backroads I often encountered as little as 10 cars per hour and sometimes only 1-2 per hour, but people living in rural areas are much more likely to pick you up as they know they may be the only car for a while. The Australians are very welcoming and hospitable, on many occasions the driver would offer a place to stay for the night with a meal or insist on giving me 20 dollars for food. When hitching in cities, pedestrians have sometimes come to me and again insist upon giving me money for a train ticket further down the road. I felt very at home hitching here, the generosity of the people being overwhelming. (Jools 2011)

I have been stuck for up to 3 days in a number of places in Australia (notably Coober Pedy and Ningin), whilst on the other hand I've been given the keys to the family holiday home and told to make myself at home when I get there (In Manjimup on the way from Perth to Albany), or taken home for a week, nurtured and spoiled rotten. Whatever the circumstance you find yourself in, more than in other countries, be prepared. (Author unknown)

I hitched from Perth to Uluru via the Great Eastern & Central Highways, then north and east via Stuart, Barkly, and Landbrough Highways to Brisbane. Journey took 10 days and 16 rides. Be ready to go by sunrise, as most traffic in the outback is in the mornings, and rarely any traffic in the afternoon. Daylight is your friend for getting rides. Hitch from the edge of towns, as inside towns you won't get rides. Truckies will only give you rides if you befriend them, they will never stop. Nomads (people with caravans) will never ever give a hitchhiker a ride due to their prejudices, so be fun with them to boost your morale. Times for rides were 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours, 3 days, 1 hour, night+morning, 1 hour, night+morning, 1 hour, 1 hour, night+morning, night+morning, night+morning. Balupton (talk) 03:10, 4 June 2015 (CEST)

I hitchhiked up and down the Stuart Highway and Kakadu National Park and bits and pieces of New South Wales, Tasmania and almost regularly on the remote Tanami Highway. Generally I found it easier to get lifts in remote areas. Especially in the outback and close to Aboriginal settlements. There might be two or three cars per hour on some roads. But chances that they pick you up are very high. There is a great sense of caring. Some Australians are truly paranoid about hitchhikers due to some events in the past. Tradies (craftsmen) are friendly quite often while tourists are certainly less likely to pick you up and Australia is a very individualistic country. Kakadu National Park was hard in the beginning but turned out allright. I just don't like it when there are too many tourists vans driving by. At stages I picked up 10 litres of water and just walked along the road. It seemed to have quite an effect on some people who gave me a lift to find me standing next to the road far away from anything else. In Kakadu you are supposed to stick to campsites for camping though. All in all it is not a walker/hitchhiker friendly national park. All in all Australia is a great country for hitchhiking because a lot of people are open and like to talk. You hear great stories on your way and can learn a lot. Hitchhiking can be truly adventurous here. (Japanangka 14.09.16)

Cities

Highways

Links

States and Territories of Australia


See as well

trash:Australia wikipedia:Australia nomad:Australia visa:Australia