A week before the beginning of our Australian trip, I was really surprised to find out that people drive on the LEFT side of the road in Australia! How did I miss this fact?? Julie and I were both a bit nervous about this new finding and considered taking trains, buses, and planes for the entirety of our trip. Unfortunately, the stretch of land we needed to cover next, from Airlie Beach (Proserpine area) up to Port Douglas (North of Cairns) was such a great distance that it would have taken a LOT of time and money to get there by bus or train. Instead, we decided to “hire” (rent) a car and drive it ourselves! Julie didn’t really want to risk the driving, and although I was a bit nervous I was quite excited at the same time. This seemed like one of those things you want to check off the “bucket list” to me, so I was happy to take on the challenge!
Sooooo . . . . Julie and I departed from Airlie beach, Australia, (on August 19th) in our handy little rental car headed for the north. Not only did we have to drive on the left side of the road, maneuvering down streets and through many roundabouts, but as the driver, I was sitting on the RIGHT side of the car!… much different than we’ve ever been used to! Fortunately, it wasn’t as hard or “scary” as I expected and I caught on pretty fast. Which is good, since I ended up driving a straight 10 HOURS to get to our destination!!
Julie and I were both REALLY surprised to find out that Australia is comprised of a LOT of countryside. And I mean A LOT! Flat lands all the way, farms, sugar cane fields, crops, open fields, and the whole way was just a small, two-lane highway!! I totally expected to be on larger freeways with 2 or more lanes on each side, but boy was I wrong!
We saw a LOT of interesting crossing signs, including—of course—Kangaroo crossing signs, emu crossing signs, and a few other unrecognizable animal crossing signs. We also kept laughing about these signs on the side of the road that said “no overtaking” — which MEANT “no passing.” I thought it was particularly funny, as it reminded me of the word/saying “UNDERTAKER”, like it was a sign, telling you to not “Overtake/undertake the world! (evil laugh) he he he . . . !!”
After a LONG, LONG drive through flat terrain, the final stretch of our drive was a bit nerve wracking, as darkness fell and we came upon mountains and hills and REALLY curvy roads with kangaroo crossing signs everywhere! Since I’ve had an experience with hitting animals with my car at night (I actually hit an ELK back in 2000 while driving near the Grand Canyon, AZ area!!), I have a bit of an “fatalist thinking mind” when it comes to driving at night in any area where animals are present . . . but fortunately we were JUST FINE and arrived safe and sound in Port Douglas… after driving all day on the “WRONG” side of the road!
To see pictures from our driving fun in Australia, click here: