The Localist

Road tripping and driver reviving between Brisbane and Sydney

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“Driver Reviver. Free (cup graphic). Exit next 5 km”.  Having travelled between Brisbane and Sydney along the Pacific Highway many times over the years to visit family and friends, Driver Reviver signs have always been a welcome relief.  They are rest stops manned by elderly volunteers from a range of service organisations and community groups, who supply weary travellers with free cups of tea, coffee or milo. Needless to say, we take advantage of the service as often as we can.

The downside of drinking so many free cups of tea on the 1000km road trip between Brisbane and Sydney is the need to take just as many toilet breaks. If you want to avoid those dubious petrol station toilet cubicles, the best place to stop along the highway for a toilet break just happens to be the Driver Reviver sites. Problem solved! Of course, it’s then nearly impossible to pass up on the opportunity to take away another cup of free tea. Even biscuits if you’re so inclined. You might even be offered a packet of Fisherman’s Friends. Suck on one of those and it’s like a slap in the face – the perfect antidote to drowsiness on the roads.

Upon discovering these free roadside offerings in Australia, my Mexican partner couldn’t quite believe it. “FREE coffee and tea??? AND biscuits??? If there was anything free like this on offer along Mexico’s highways people would be queuing up for miles!” Yet, for some reason, a lot of Australians don’t seem to know about, or don’t bother to stop at, the Driver Reviver sites. It’s not the best coffee and tea, sure. But let’s not forget that it’s free, and the people who serve you are volunteering their time and doing their bit to prevent accidents on the roads.

Unfortunately, since the recent upgrade of the Pacific Highway, there doesn’t seem to be as many Driver Reviver sites along the road. Perhaps it’s because the new highway now bypasses a lot of the smaller towns. The journey seems to take just as long, the traffic can still be horrendous, yet it seems those opportunities to get off the beaten track, whether it’s just to stop for a cup of tea, or make a small detour to cool down in the ocean, or explore a quaint one-street town, are no longer as obvious.

Take an exit, get off that endless, monotonous highway, and escape the fury of drivers as they race along and tailgate each other. Be spontaneous, and maybe even extend your journey if you can. There’s plenty of accommodation along the way. Even better, pack your tent and sleeping bags and take advantage of the camping on offer in the national parks for around $10 per person a night. National parks are large areas of land in Australia that are protected because of their unspoilt landscapes and diversity of native plants and animals. Camp in a national park on Australia’s coastline and you will wake up to find yourself overlooking the most stunning coastal landscapes in the country.

Just a few reasons why getting off the beaten track when road tripping between Brisbane and Sydney is a good idea:

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Red Cliff campground in Yuraygir National Park (pictured above). Enjoy watching the sunrise from any of the secluded beaches around this area. Kangaroos also abound, and they seem unusually tame here.

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Crescent Head (pictured above). Camp at Delicate campground in Goolawah National Park, or at Smoky Cape or Hungry Gate in Hat Head National Park. Alternatively, there’s plenty of accommodation in Crescent Head town.

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Nothing stops Boatshed cafe and restaurant from feeding its patrons in Tea Gardens – certainly not a flooded Myall River!

MEET THE LOCAL: SALLY LANGFORD

Images. All photos by Sally Langford.

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