“I’m looking for a quiet, beautiful and free campsite, with wild swimming, within 2 hours of Sydney – can anyone help?”
I see this all the time, in the We Are Explorers Facebook groups, on other outdoor pages and even in my inbox. An outdoor wishlist, limited by a 2 hour drive. But why?
Only 2 Hours?
Finding great campsites and microadventures within an hour or two of any major-hub-of-millions-of-people is always going to be difficult. It takes almost an hour and a half just to drive across Sydney itself, so expecting to be able pop off for some untouched wilderness and be back in time for beers is probably a little optimistic.
I’m not saying these places don’t exist! Our microadventure database is a testament to that. But once we start to get picky and request a waterfall, nearby rock climbing or simply having the place to ourselves, our options get kinda scarce.
Where does this magical 2 hour figure come from? Has the Driver Reviver campaign scared us away from any drive that requires a break? Can we only comprehend time in feature-film-esque chunks? Are we all driving tiny 1st Gen Electric cars and don’t trust the AA’s under the hood?
Or are we just a bit lazy?
There are heaps of campsites and microadventure worthy spots within 2 hours of every major city in Australia. But break through that mental block and you, literally, open a world of opportunity.
2 hours isn’t even all that long!
Here are some other things that take about 2 hours:
- Watching Mad Max: Fury Road
- Watching Twilight (but it feels like way longer)
- Listening to 2 average-length podcasts
- Waiting for an ice cream at Messina
- Doing Earth Hour – twice
- Playing one-eighth of a game of Monopoly
See? 2 hours is nothing. Think of where you’d end up if you could double it.
But It’s Not That Simple
I’m not just going to preach spending more time behind the wheel like you can just conjure it from the multiverse. Travelling further for the good stuff requires some planning, but it’s totally worth it. Here are some tips to help you travel and explore further.
Get Up Early and Rotate Sleeps
The time you wake up is almost as arbritary as that 2-hour limit you’ve been sticking to. Sack that. Get up before the sun and leave the house in 15! Put a packed bag and your clothes at the foot of your bed like it’s military school and hit the tarmac, pronto!
If you’ve got a crew you’ll be able to rotate sleeps in the car as you jet out of the city, but it’s best for at least one passenger to stay awake to keep the driver company.
Road-trip playlists are fun when the vibe is pumpin’, but that doesn’t last. After a while endless tunes can actually hurt conversation and get a bit dull.
Enter the podcast. Sus one out that everyone is keen on (audiobooks also go well here) and trust me, the time on the road will evaporate. I prefer humour on the road: My Dad Wrote A Porno, Free To A Good Home and the Russel Brand Radio X podcast are some recent favourites.
Use The Weekender Extender
I’ve harped on before about the weekender extender, but that’s because it’s soo good. Leave the night before and do some hard yakka on the red eye* to maximise your weekend. Sorting yourself out with a van, rooftop tent or swag can help you crash out quickly after a post-work drive.
*Take breaks and don’t drive if you’re too tired!
We Are Explorers founder Henry is a big fan of this one. The key is to outsource your travel time to nights and mornings during the week, freeing up your weekend for more of the good stuff!
You’ll have to prove to your boss that you’re just as efficient when you’re out of office if you want to keep this one up. Check it out: you actually have way more time off than you think!
The roadside fast food stop is a time honoured tradition, drilled into us by despairing parents and the knockout sugar-fat-salt combo. But it’s also a big time-sink.
Pack some sandwiches and drinks to cut down on food stops or eat on the road. For longer trips, do your shopping ahead of time. Be honest, the mid-drive supermarket blitz never really goes to plan does it?
Oh the places you’ll go! (if you drive for a bit longer)