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australian flagHow far is it?

From searching around on the web, we have found these values for the travel distance for the circumnavigation of Australia. One source had it at 14,000 km, which is about what you get when you add up the distances between each of the major cities. One fellow decided to go around Australia on a Caterpillar Grader, and travelled 15,000 km. A couple of others have taken 21,000km and 25,000km in total, which includes all the side trips too. It is not simply a line drawn around the coast. There are many places where there is no road anywhere near the shore, and many where there is a road to a town on the shore, but then you have to drive back to a main road to continue on.

First Time

Who was the first person to drive around mainland Australia?

Not sure who was the very first man to do it.

Catherine Gregson was the first woman to drive around Australia by car in 1937. She was a 23 year old from Tamworth NSW. Her journey took 6 months, and she was accompanied by her mother Grace throughout the trip. She started the journey in Sydney, from which she headed to Adelaide, up to Alcice Springs, then to Darwin, Perth, across the Nullabor to Adelaide, Melbourne and back to Sydney. She did all of her own maintenance throughout the trip, which I can image was quite a bit. The roads would not have been anywhere as good as they are now.

Which Way is Quickest?

Is it quicker to drive around Australia clockwise or anticlockwise?

The short answer is anti-clockwise, as we drive on the left of the road. The extra few metres isn't going to make much difference, though when travelling in the anti-clockwise direction you will get the benefit of the Fremantle doctor when crossing the Nullabor.

You can work out the difference mathematically: take an average distance between the lanes (3 metres) and the total road distance around Australia, turned that into a circle, and then work out the difference in circumference between the bigger and smaller circles. One suggestion is that it should be 2pi X (separation of the lanes) so say 3m between the lane centres - that's about 19m.

It may not be that simple. Another thing to consider is that just because you are travelling in the anti-clockwise direction 'around Australia' does not mean that you are always travelling anti-clockwise. Australia has many inlets or waterways around the circumference, and it is it possible that you may you travel clockwise for a period of time (think of the crescent of the moon). For example, as Melbourne is on the tip of a bay, it may be further to drive clockwise around the bay from Geelong to Melbourne while travelling "anti-clockwise around Australia".

As the final word: if you think about it literally, it is possible to fly round Australia, or sail round it, but not to drive round it.

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