Self drive holidays are wonderful as they are flexible, exciting and allow you to adventure. Our country has some beautiful beaches and coastline so why not incorporate a self drive beach trip into your next holiday.
Guest contributor and travel enthusiast David Milsont, gives us his top 10 tips for surviving and enjoying a beach drive break.
Off-road Adventure – 10 Tips For A Superb Beach Driving Experience
Many traveling enthusiasts, who enjoy driving, often have a dream of exploring the off-road tracks with vehicles like campervans and motorhomes in order to chase that quintessential traveling experience of venturing off the beaten path.
In order to go ahead with this type of travel, all you need is the right companions, a good camera, a decent budget, a perfect tourist destination in mind and a passion for exploring, and of course that most precious commodity; time.
If you are fully equipped with all these things, nothing can stop you from obtaining the thrilling experience that self-drive holidays can offer.
Long stretches of sandy beaches are the perfect place to have an off-road adventure. The world is full of amazing beaches and coastal towns, all you have to decide is which one to explore.
An adventurous spirit is paramount to self-drive travel, however you also have to keep in mind the safety precautions it is important to take in order to remain safe on the road and in the outback. Australia, while being a great place to experience self-drive travel, has got some obstacles that need to be pre-considered before embarking on your journey.
Tips for safe beach driving
1. Is driving allowed?
Before you finalise your journey, you need to have an extensive knowledge of the beach that you are planning to explore on a self-drive campervan tour around Australia. The Internet is a good way to conduct some research from the safety of your own home or office. Once you come to know that vehicles are allowed to the beach, you then need to figure out the routes assigned to it. However, if you fail to find the access routes it is always better that you get in touch with a tourist information centre in order to get detailed information about the same. Following established access routes are not only helpful for dune ecosystem but also for your vehicle, as far as minimizing the danger is concerned.
2. The Future belongs to those who plan.
Have a plan and stick to it. If you know where you are going, it can save many moments of conflict and time wasting. Having said that, one of the best things about self drive holidays is getting off the track and discovering new places and things to explore.
It’s good to have a start and end date and destination but perhaps leave the middle open to some chopping and changing as the mood takes you. Best of both worlds.
3. Choose the right vehicle
Not all vehicles can be taken off the beaten track. It is imperative that your vehicle is well equipped to explore the beaches. The one thing that should be clear is that you cannot drive all types of vehicles on sand; there are a few specific types that are recommended for beach driving. Vehicles designed for an off-road adventure like 4WDs are mandatory.
Some campervans can offer you a fantastic beach driving experience, as far as campervans are concerned, if you don’t own one, you most likely have to hire one from a renowned company that offer off-road vehicle hire.
4. Reduce the overall load of your vehicle
The lighter the vehicle the safer and easier the journey. A lighter vehicle will maneuver better on off-road areas like sandy beaches. In order to prevent your vehicle from getting bogged, try to pack only essentials and unload all the unnecessary items.
5. Information about high tide and low tide
Before you begin your journey, try to collect as much information as possible about the beaches’ high tide and low tide periods and the consequences for your journey. It is best to learn the favorable time of year to start your self-drive beach trip, as well as the best time of day. A knowledge of the tidal system is important as a lack of understanding can pose a great threat to you and your passenger’s safety.
One of the best times to carry out your plans of driving on the beach is during an outgoing high tide. Remember, one powerful wave is enough to ruin everything.
6. Minimize the pressure of your tyres
Lowering the tyre pressure can have huge advantages for off-road driving as it helps the tyre to spread out it’s weight, thus allowing the vehicle to increase the surface area that comes in touch with on the sand, and therefore obtain better traction.
7. Pay attention to the momentum
Maintaining the momentum of your vehicle remains another important part of your off-road adventure on the beach. While driving on the loose sand you have to make sure that you enhance the speed of your vehicle appropriately. If you are driving slowly the chances of your vehicle sinking into the sand increase substantially.
To avoid becoming bogged and in order to enhance your fuel usage you must have sufficient knowledge of how to maintain the momentum of your vehicle
8. Understand the road rules
Following road rules is extremely important no matter where you drive. If you are driving in a foreign country, you must be aware of the road rules of that country in order to avoid problems. Remember, you should never be driving the vehicle if you are intoxicated and make sure that everyone inside the car is wearing a seatbelt. Don’t forget to follow the speed limits.
9. Always maintain an appropriate distance from the water
Sometimes drivers underestimate the advice and instructions offered to them and they willingly take liberties such as going closer to the water with an aim of making the drive even more adventurous. Be aware that this can be dangerous.
Always maintain a fair amount of distance from the water, and the even softer sand that is present at the shoreline.
10. Enjoy your journey and the magnificence of your surroundings.
The beauty of self-drive holidays is to be found in the flexibility and the possibility of discovery and adventure so above all else pack an open mind and a curious spirit. That, combined with a bit of technical knowledge, will mean that rather than getting swept away by the sand and the waves, you will get swept away by the vast beauty of Mother Nature, and the ever changing scenery which is found on the other side of your windscreen.