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Do I need a SAT Nav?

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Leek
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53 posts
28 reviews
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Do I need a SAT Nav?

Hi,

We are picking up a hire car from central Melbourne and going west to the GOR and Adelaide . Whilst I consider myself a good and confident driver, I get very anxious about getting lost. Am a bit stressed about finding my way to Ballarat (1st stopover) from central Melbourne. Also need to find my way to our hotel in Adelaide. Should I hire/purchase a sat nav?

Thanks

Kay P

London
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715 posts
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1. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

We've done quite a few long driving trips in Australia and have never even considered a sat nav (don't have one at home, either).

Melbourne to Ballarat is a very straightforward journey: it's the main road north-west out of the city. You will not get lost, I promise, so no need to stress.

Go on to the RACQ trip planner (don't worry, it covers the whole country and we've found it the most user-friendly), put in your start and finish points and print out directions. Repeat for the last section into Adelaide. Oh, don't forget distances are in km not miles so you'll progress faster than expected, which is always good!

racq.com.au/travel/drive_travel/trip_planner

Have a great trip.

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
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25,600 posts
75 reviews
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2. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

I agree that a satnav is rarely necessary - and certainly not to find Ballarat. :)

But if it would offer some comfort, you can usually rent one with a rental car. Or if you already have a satnav, you should be able to download Australian maps for it off the manufacturer's website.

South Pole
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15,381 posts
37 reviews
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3. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

some think they are great and cant live without them.

others can read maps....even in foreign countries.

Gungahlin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
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14,262 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

Many years ago Hubby and I toured the south eastern states (including GOR and Ballarat), Tasmania, parts of Queensland, and New Zealand without sat nav. The times recently when sat nav was useful was in our own city when it was quicker to find specific addresses but only one of our cars has it and we still do fine in the other car with an old-fashioned street directory.

I think sat nav can be useful but I don't think it's necessary, and it rather worries me that people seem to be losing the ability to use maps and they seem to disregard their value in preplanning. Even if I had sat nav in a rental car I'd still get a map and use it while planning the trip and take it with me on the trip, so the sat nav would just be a useful navigation aid on the day, not something I'd be totally reliant on. I suppose it's rare but there have been some spectacular tales in the media of people finding themselves stuck or lost or in a different country because they totally relied on and trusted the technology, so I'd be more anxious about not having done my homework and not having a back-up than about not having a sat nav.

Then again I could be wrong. Maybe I'm too old-fashioned. I even miss driving a manual car since we bought automatic. And I got used to being the navigator during the trips, we'd plan our route and on the day Hubby would drive and I'd have the map. But I've seen tourists around here where the driver seems to be navigating and the passengers are just looking out the window, and they are obviously in trouble (going round and round a roundabout trying to find the right exit, turning off the road onto a cyclepath) and I'm thinking like what are the passengers doing, get the map out and help the driver!!!!! So maybe if you don't have a good driver/passenger system worked out and you are used to using sat nav then maybe that would be the most comfortable for you. But do look at a map sometime though, so if the sat nav says turn here and it looks suss you will know to trust your instincts and stop and check, and not just keep going until you're in trouble.

Adelaide, Australia
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12,308 posts
36 reviews
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5. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

Being somewhat directionally challenged i would always say "yes" - and "b****r trying to read maps and street signs and advise the driver etc - particularly if you also need glasses to read the map . Needless to say I looooove my sat nav.

I also find central Melbourne particularly hard to navigate as there are so many one way streets.

Gungahlin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
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14,262 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

That's when I got reading glasses :-) We were planning a trip and I went eek, when did they make the writing on these so small?

Edit: Oh, should we mention Melbourne's trams and unique inner city intersections?

Edited: 03 March 2013, 04:59
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
12,308 posts
36 reviews
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7. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

Ooooooooh no - those hook turns :(

Melboune
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2,123 posts
174 reviews
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8. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

Nozzie has a point regarding central Melbourne! As well as the hook-turns (really, not an issue if you work out what's going on) and one-way streets, there are pedestrian-only zones and only limited access points to the freeway system (some of which is tolled, but assuming you head for the Westgate Bridge, the tolls shouldn't affect you).

Thus, I suspect the first couple of kms getting out of central Melbourne could be a bit of a challenge, so if you don't get a sat nav/GPS, it would be worth doing your research about this. Even if you do get a GPS it would be worth looking at a map to get a general idea of where you'll be heading. But once you're on the freeways, getting to Ballarat and Adelaide should be a breeze (once again, so long as you have a map of some sort to that you have a general idea of what signs you'll be looking for).

Personally, I find Adelaide quite manageable without a GPS, but perhaps that's because I have at least a little familiarity with it.

Edited: 03 March 2013, 05:16
Sydney, Australia
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5,400 posts
29 reviews
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9. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

I'm one of the "map brigade" too - but it's just a whole lot easier to use the GPS in the middle of a city you don't know. Or even if you do & can't be bothered writing down all the turns or balancing a map on your knee while trying to find some obscure street.

Once you're out on the road, you don't need it - and there's nothing like a map to orientate yourself and save being sent on loop by a faulty GPS.

My wonderful inbuilt job always wants to send me into the boondocks on the way from Canberra to Sydney and down a dead-end street from the main road home from the Blue Mountains. They're useful, but far from infalliable.

I'm in Melbourne often enough to know it well, but I just get a GPS & a toll thing with the rental car. Don't own a stand alone GPS and don't want to get booked for using the one on my iphone. Don't bother in Brisbane or Perth.

Leek
Level Contributor
53 posts
28 reviews
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10. Re: Do I need a SAT Nav?

Thanks everyone for all your helpful replies. I had a look on Google earth at the road junctions etc from central Melbourne and I think I need to do some planning just to get out of the city. Hubby is quite good at navigating and I drive but there seem a lot of navigating difficult junctions/tramlines/one way systems to negotiate to ensure we get on to the right freeway. So, maybe a bit OTT, but I will:

* upload Australia maps onto our sat nav before we leave and take it with us.

* buy a decent road map

* rehearse the route on google earth!!!

*use the RACQ website (didn't know about it, so thanks)

Thanks again guys, I'll post here if we make it to Ballarat without a wrong turning.