One of the few remaining great adventures on the planet, the overland route from London to Sydney is a momentous undertaking but equally rewarding. Full of adventures there are as many activities to tray as there are miles to cover.
From Transylvania to Uluru, Budapest to Bali and so much between. This ultimate journey is a life changing experience regardless of age or background.
There are many routes and numerous modes of transportation available if going solo. However overlanding tour operators offer London to sydney (or similar) so you could join a group of people all with the same goal.
The upside of an organised tour is the safety by going with people who have done it all before. You don’t have to spend months planning and worrying about routes and logistics, and you will be part of a bigger group which is always good on long journeys.
The downside is the tours are not cheap however if you add up the cost of going solo you may find an organised overlanding expedition is not that pricey after all. Purists would also say that going it alone is the real adventure, however an organised overlanding tour is still very adventurous as you are part of the overlanding team rather than sitting back and being part of a tour.
You will spend many nights camping in the wild, you will shop locally and of course the guides know many things you would miss if travelling alone. You’ll hike unknown trails, swim in secluded waters and try all manner of activities.
Bold explorers find their own itinerary and means of locomotion; public buses, trams, trains, taxis, and their trusty thumbs. Some even endeavour to bike the entire way, and often succeed. But regardless of whether you go it alone or as part of an organised overland expedition, the trip will be an adventure that requires commitment above all else.
If you hold a passport from any European country, the first leg of the journey is a breeze – politically speaking.
Choose your path along a southeast course, through Belgium, Germany, Romania, etc. Turkey is the gateway between continents and offers a relaxing place to catch your breath on the Black Sea Coast. Online resources can help you secure cheap lodging a day or two in advance of your arrival. Eastward from here, the travel is less of a beach.
The countries of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan present Americans and Israelis with difficult crossings. Pakistan requires a sponsor for many entrants, and the paper work could take a month or two. Another route is through Azerbaijan, across the Caspian Sea from the port city of Baku, arriving in Turkmenistan.
Keep heading east to reach your goal: India, Tibet and Nepal are next.
The Torugart Pass into China is a lonely stretch of road; so don’t find yourself stranded on the windward side of the Tibetan Plateau.
South East Asia is travel friendly and warm. Take your time in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. While not technically overland you’ll have to catch a boat from Singapore to Sumatra and similar rides to hop from one Indonesian island to the next.
Finding a ferry to Australia can take time so hang out in West Timor, Kupang to find the right crew headed to Darwin.From the alligator-populated shores of Darwin to the warm beaches of Sydney the path is up to you.
Take a bus. Hitchhike. Join an overland tour. Head down to Uluru and camp out under the rock. Of course it would be rude to head straight to Sydney… Travel down to Adelaide and along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne. From here head to Tasmania which is more like New Zealand than Australia.
When you arrive in Sydney in the highest possible spirits, don’t forget to treat yourself to a soft bed at one of the many hotels in Sydney. Rejoice. You’ve just completed the greatest journey of your life!