Hire car agencies (reads: rental car) around the world seem to have many of the same attributes. Picking up a hire car was a bit more interesting than getting one in the U.S. – the usual push to get you to buy the extra insurance – the scare tactics of a kangaroo jumping out in front of the car! Scarier is that the driver is on the right side of the car, and you drive on the left side of the road – left, LEFT! Fortunately, the gas and break pedals are in the right places – everything else is reversed. The turn signal (at home) is the windshield wiper here…. Can’t tell you how many times we’ve washed the windows over the last couple of days!!
The Great Inland Way traverses nearly 2,000 miles of the Australian continent between Sydney and Cairns. It consists of four lane city highways (Sydney), four lane rolling hills and agricultural land (to Katoomba), and two lane plains – flat as far as you can see (Dubbo) – with barely a shoulder.
Unfortunately, much of the route is littered with the bodies of an unbelievable number of dead kangaroos. There are warnings in every map, brochure, and signs – just about everywhere telling drivers to watch for Roos if driving during the early morning or late evening. Some areas are worse than others, and it seems like the dryer the area the greater the carnage. We have spoken with a number of people that are sympathetic with the situation and an equal number that are not. The posted speed limit in the outback is 100 – 110 KPH. (62 – 68 MPH). People traveling at night slow to 40 KPH to avoid hitting a roo and we’ve heard stories of trips taking two or three times the normal travel time.
The country is full of unique Australian wildlife. In addition to the many birds that we have seen, we have been fortunate to see a few Roos, several flocks of emus, and even a large herd of camels! Yes, camels – they were imported to Australia for construction use in the outback.