generally, not much once you get out of town a bit although that might have changed a bit since we went around those places. If you just want to talk to your friends a few hundred metres in front of you, buy some handheld UHF radios.
If you have Telstra Next G you get reception near most towns and in odd places in between, though there are still vast areas out of range. With other networks (even 3G) it's much more sparse. Agree that 40 channel CB UHF radios are the go. Range can be extended significantly with vehicle mounted antennas, and in some areas station owners or others have set up repeater stations which you can tap into. Satellite phone is also a (very expensive and not completely reliable) option.
Heres a coverage map
Thanks, looking into UHF radios if not too expensive.
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