Australia by the numbers
From estimating the hours left on long drives to imposing a strict budget upon ourselves, numbers dominated our time in Australia. We kept track of everything with a certain disturbing compulsiveness that made Nate realize he may be turning into his father. But it was out of necessity: after the budget paradise of Southeast Asia, it would have been easy to get carried away here in the land of $22 burritos and endless miles of road. Here is a breakdown of our time down under, in numerical format.
Home sweet home
82: total days in Australia.
77: nights spent camping. We are especially proud of this number. Proud, and pleased that they are behind us.
5: nights in a hostel. For the most part they were dirty, loud, and crowded, and made the thought of camping quite desirable.
<10: other people we saw camping in tents. It seems to be a lost art in Australia.
1000s: people traveling in caravans. The Australian dream: retire, sell your house, buy a caravan and live out the rest of your days in crowded caravan parks and grungy roadside rest areas.
12: most consecutive days of free camping. Between free rest areas, backpacking the Tabletop track, and taking advantage of lazy national park staff in Kakadu, we were pretty happy with this string of free nights.
20: an estimate in degrees F of the lowest temperature we camped in. It was a cold hollow below Alpine National Park, and we woke up to a tent caked in frost.
2:33: Minutes it takes us to set up our tent. Yes, we timed it.
Behind the wheel
15,110: kilometers driven in the Ford Falcon (plus 700 in our rental car)— just under 10,000 miles.
130: highest speed limit in km per hour— or 80 mph. In empty central Australia you have to go fast if you intend to get anywhere within your lifetime. Thankfully the government realizes this. On average speed limits were quite generous and nearly impossible to eclipse especially on curvy, narrow roads. We don’t know how anyone gets a speeding ticket in this country.
$2,595: dollars spent on gas.
$115 : most money spent on a fill-up. In the middle of the country, you can’t really afford to be picky. When gas comes along, you buy it, no matter how exorbitant the price…
$1.99: highest price per liter of gas, which works out to $7.50 a gallon. Ouch!
1000s: Unfortunate roadkill encountered.
$500: what it would have cost us to tow our car to a garage when it refused to start outside Kakadu National Park one morning. Luckily we found a kindly mechanic on our own— thank you Rosco!
150: average length of a road train, in feet.
46: percent of our total Australian expenses spent on our car in repairs, gas, and maintenance. This doesn’t even include the purchase!
17: days where we didn’t spend any money. Zero days were always exciting and a cause for celebration.
92: Australian cents a US dollar could buy at our dismal exchange rate.
$1.60: lowest price ever paid for a bottle of wine. Actually, this is just a 750ml portion of the two 4-liter boxes of fine Stanley wine that were on special for $18. Yep.
$2.77: most money ever spent on a single banana. Back in February Cyclone Yasi, in addition to mangling Hinchinbrook Island, took out nearly all of Australia’s banana crop. We bought this one for our Fourth of July fruit salad but otherwise refrained due to the price hike.
$12: cost of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s we spied in Melbourne.
Our Australian lifestyle
20: national parks visited.
26: degrees of latitude crossed. Ranging from 36 degrees south in southern Victoria to 12 degrees south in the Top End of the Northern Territory. The northern hemisphere equivalent to this would be driving from Virginia to Venezuela.
5,300: highest elevation reached, in feet. We hiked through snow part of the way to Mount Feathertop, in Victoria.
45: approximate kilos of pasta consumed. This is estimating three hefty pasta dinners per week.
152: kilometers we walked on our four backpacking trips. Or 94 miles, a third of the Long Trail.
2: longest silence in the car, in hours, after a large rock hit our windshield and the subsequent bickering.
5: longest number of days we went without showering, though we did swim!
9: approximate times we did laundry, which averages out to once every ten days. This becomes more disturbing when you factor in the number (3) of underwear Nate currently owns.
8:00: earliest bed time. There’s not a whole lot to do after dinner when you live in a tent.