When you’re planning your Big Lap of Australia, the lists of things you need to do, what you need to buy and what you need to pack is seemingly never-ending. But while you plan to go off-grid and disconnect from the real world, don’t neglect to think about technology too much.
These days, apps are an Australian traveller’s best friend! Here are the top 10 apps that you need to download before your Big Lap of Australia to enhance your experience.
WikiCamps is one of the most popular apps with travellers touring Australia. During your trip of Australia, one of the things you’ll spend the most time looking for is where you’ll stay. WikiCamps is the ultimate guide to Australia’s free camps, caravan parks, national and state parks, station stays and more. So, it takes the effort out of finding incredible places to stay.
As Australia’s largest database of campgrounds, dump points, visitor information centres, water taps, toilets and showers, WikiCamps is your go-to app for finding the most important things you need during your Big Lap of Australia.
Each listing has useful information, traveller photos and reviews. As a crowd-sourced app, users are able add their own listings so when they come across awesome spots, they can list them for you to find.
If you have specific requirements that you need in your campsite, WikiCamps has powerful filters which will help you find pet friendly camps or camps with toilets and showers etc.
What’s more, you can also use Wikicamps offline which is a godsend when you’re looking for a place to stay when you’re in the middle of nowhere!
2. Track My Tour
Heading out on your Big Lap is an experience of a lifetime, and it’s one you’ll probably want to remember forever. While adding photos to your Instagram account is fine, having an app that tracks where you’ve been is an undeniably better way to do it!
Track My Tour allows you to plot your journey on a map and add photos and notes to each location. Not only is this an awesome way for you to track your own vanlife adventure, friends and family can follow along with your journey too (which removes a little bit of pressure on you to keep in touch!).
3. Hema Explorer
Hema Explorer is a GPS navigation app which is super popular among Big Lappers as it goes beyond the traditional GPS maps available on standard GPS devices.
Hema Explorer is the most comprehensive database of offroad maps and 4WD tracks. So, if you’re planning on heading anywhere other than the main roads, Hema Explorer is a great option.
With 40,000 points of interest, Hema Explorer even allows you to plan your routes. It has Australia-wide coverage and can be used offline; which is handy since many of the place you need off-road GPS help don’t have mobile coverage!
4. Trail Wallet
When you’re travelling Australia full time, understanding your budget is paramount to staying on the road and enjoying your Big Lap for longer. The Trail Wallet app allows you to easily track your travel expenses so you can focus on having fun!
5. Fuel Map
While you’re travelling Australia, you’ll ask yourself (on probably more than one occasion), “Will we make it to the next fuel station?” You’ll probably also wonder if you could have gotten fuel cheaper. Well, the Fuel Map app takes the guesswork out of finding fuel, and finding it for the cheapest price!
This is a crowd-sourced app though and, in all states other than WA, fuel prices are user-reported (they are not automatically updated).
6. Red Cross First Aid
The Red Cross First Aid app is a free app which acts as a comprehensive pocket guide to first aid and CPR. During your Big Lap, or even if you just tow your caravan to remote locations on the weekends, you might find yourself far from medical help or even without mobile reception.
So, it’s vital that you know what to do if you come across a life-threatening situation. The Red Cross First Aid app has clear instructions and helpful videos and images for a number of different first aid situations.
7. National Bushfire App
The National Bushfire app gives you the latest news, updates and information about bushfires in your area. This is a handy little app to help you stay safe and avoid dangerous areas during bushfire season.
The app is free and is constantly updated with information from each state’s rural fire services, ABC radio, the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, and national and local news.
8. Morcombe & Stewart Guide To Birds of Australia
Did you know there are nearly 900 bird species in Australia? On your caravan adventure downunder, you’ll undoubtedly come across a huge amount of them. So, even if you’re not the bird-watching type, you might just want to know what type of feathered friends are singing their song outside your caravan every morning.
The app has over 3,000 hi-res bird images of over 790 species of bird, and distribution maps to help you narrow down your search. There are also 1,800 sound recordings by David Stewart and there is the ability to compare two screens to help you make sure you can identify birds correctly.
Contrary to what you might think, heading into the bush won’t necessarily mean you’ll be greeted by snakes at every turn. Spiders on the other hand, well, you may just come across a few more of them!
Whether you see these critters often or never, having a way to identify them is something many Big Lappers have wished for for some times. This year, a new AI driven app, Critterpedia, has been launched, and it has been described as a ‘Shazam’ for spiders and snakes!
Simply snap a photo and the app can pull from its database of over 2,000 species of spider and 170 species of snake to tell you which one you’re looking at.
If you’re heading off the beaten track during your Big Lap, you’ll come to learn that when you leave the light pollution of the cities, the night sky is more brilliant than ever. GoSkyWatch helps add a little extra boost to your stargazing. Simply point your device at the sky and the app shows you which constellations you’re looking at.
This cool little app adds an educational aspect to the fun and has a built-in database of all the stars visible to the naked eye.
11. National Public Toilet Map
Although there are public toilets on both WikiCamps and Hema Explorer, The National Public Toilet Map App is a simple way to find a toilet quickly and easily.
As part of the National Continence Program, the Toilet Map provides information on over 19,000 publicly available toilets across Australia, including accessibility, opening hours and facilities, such as showers & baby change
12. Photoshop or Lightroom
If you’re looking to create an amazing photo portfolio of your trip, downloading the Adobe Lightroom app might be a great idea. Simply take photos on your phone, import them into Lightroom and either manually edit them or apply a preset filter.
13. Willy Weather
The Willy Weather app is one of the most popular apps amongst Australian travellers. This app from the Bureau of Meteorology is more than just weather; tides, wind, rainfall, swells, moonphases and UV are all included in the app.
So, did we miss any? Which app can’t you live without on your Big Lap?