road maps for Australia

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 21:29
ThreadID: 84572 Views:3303 Replies:8 FollowUps:3
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I am going to be travelling around Australia and am wondering which brand of road map is the most detailed & sturdy for both road use & 4wd?

I appreciate your advice if anyone can help.


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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 21:55

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 21:55
Generally found the free ones you get at visitor centres the best local maps

Got the statewide ones from RACQ.

AnswerID: 446403

Reply By: disco driver - Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 22:09

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 22:09
If you have plenty of room to carry them, the topographical maps have the most detail, (tracks mills and homesteads etc) and are the best of the paper maps.
The down side is that you will need a very large number of them to cover Australia. Maps in the scale of 1:100000 are a bit better but for compactness and ease of use a scale of 1:250000 would be better.

Having said all that, a GPS system with the latest available maps would do everything you want, but having a paper map as well is the ultimate in planning.

Hope this helps.

AnswerID: 446404

Reply By: wendys - Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 23:17

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 23:17
We use the Hema Road Atlas for general travel and planning. One form of it contains a separate section on the popular 4WD areas - Cape, Kimberley, Central Aust etc. We supplement that with more detailed local maps as needed, from a variety of sources: RACV, specialist Hema maps, etc. The shop on this site will give you an idea of what is available - one can spend serious money and have a heap of maps to cart around - too many, if you are not careful.
AnswerID: 446408

Reply By: Member - noelene/peter b (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 23:24

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 23:24
Hi Jason
Having done the trip a few times with lots of "off the bitumen" we have found the Hema Maps great. They are also contained in a great spiral backed A3 book which also covers some of the more interesting treks such as Cape York, however, for really remote regions the book can be complemented by Hema Maps of those regions. The book is about $45 or so and the individual maps are reasonably priced given their detailed additional info. The inside cover spread of the book gives you a great planning map. All available on-line.
Enjoy your trip
AnswerID: 446409

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 00:08

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 00:08
The A4 Hema atlas has the same detail as the A3 ones. The only reason you need the A3 edition is if you need to upgrade your spectacles prescription.

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Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Friday, Feb 25, 2011 at 14:15

Friday, Feb 25, 2011 at 14:15
Hema maps, and the Hema atlas are fantastic. Can also do a trip planner on this site - does road, and detailed town by town, kilometres, time etc - great tool to have. Just drove down from Qld, on my own, did not look at a map - just used the town by town printout - so easy to follow.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 23:48

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011 at 23:48
Hi Jason

I have an almost A3 size basic map book for general trip planning, and use the spring bound A4 size Roads and Tracks Australia by Quality Publishing Australia for more detail. This used to be only for WA (and western side of NT), and i have had it for years and it is still in good condition. I was impressed to find that the short road which accesses only our farm is shown in the QPA book, although not every road is shown. It was some time before QPA brought out a full Australian version, but it is only half the width of the WA book, so i need glasses to read the maps.

As aforesaid, tourist brochures sometimes have details maps of an area you are visiting. These will also highlight any tourist drives.

When plotting a route in a map book, i use coloured stick note tabs so i can flip over to the next page quickly and easily. Looking up a friend who had moved east some years before and was near Newcastle, she chuckled when she saw the pink tabs on my map book - and showed me hers - with pink tabs too!

I also have a GPS, but don't use it for trip planning as i choose the roads for us to travel. I use it as a navigation aid to ensure we are heading in the right direction and on the right road, or to back track if we become bushed. With the GPS mapping I can warn my driver of an approaching sharp bend, watch for our turn off (eg turn coming up in 100 metres), or see points of interest.


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Reply By: zenonie - Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 08:09

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 08:09
We found Hema to be excellent, also used WAC charts, World Aeronautical maps for fantastic detaiil. Be very careful of GPS units, they will take you to places you don't want to go! Up tracks that have not existed for 100 years, on Cockies water runs and through private tracks and land where you are not wanted. Cheers zenoni
AnswerID: 446418

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 13:40

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 13:40
Yes zenoni; good advice. My Magellan software has our internal farm track shown on it, and many tracks around the country long since closed or overgrown. It is the 2003 version.

We do sometimes get people coming down our access road because they are using a GPS navigator (the track dead ends at our gate unless they get cheeky and come through and continue on the internal track which leads only to the sheds). They put in the address, and as a nearby road has a hyphenated name which includes the name of our access road, these navigators pick up our road instead and sent 'em here. Just a few people will argue with me that they are on the right road because their GPS says so, and get rather vocal when i tell them they cannot continue through the property, and not just because i don't want them to!


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Reply By: vk1dx - Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 08:43

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 08:43
I also recommend the Hema maps. But I would suggest that you get a good GPS. Not the toy street one. Thats fine for towns but absolutely useless for the country and bussh/off road stuff. Get a GPS that has both street nav and can run Oziexplorer for the off road and bush stuff. One that will display the Topo and Hema maps. We have paper maps but they are packed away safely in the back. We use Oziexplorer both at home and in the GPS for the road. Unlike my friend above we use it for both planning and driving. I dont know about warning for sharp corners though. The maps can be way out of date for that. The GPS should also give you your geographical location so that you can give it out in an emergency and also locate yourself on your paper maps.

Summary: A GPS with Oziexplorer and backup by paper versions of Hema and Topo maps.

AnswerID: 446420

Reply By: WBS - Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 09:33

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at 09:33
This is how I travel.
For planning purposes, before I leave I use OziExplorer with NATMAP Digital Maps and Hema for the more traveller type information. I also use Google Maps quite a bit. With that combination I can get all the info I need.

On the road I use a Hema Road Atlas as my hard copy reference.
I have two GPS mounted, one is a Tom Tom for the cities and towns.

The other is a Knav, a cheap Chinese import that I purchased on Ebay ($275). This runs iGO8 for towns and OziExplorer CE with Natmap Digital Maps and Hema Maps for all of Australia. I generally have the Natmap maps displayed when travelling.

This GPS which has Blue-tooth, FM transmitter, MP3 player, wireless rear view camera (I don't use this yet) etc has proven to be a fantastic gadget and had survived the corrugations getting into the Bungle Bungles, the Gibb River Rd, Pine Valley, and many other places without the slightest problem. The 7" screen also means my wife who saw no value in these gadgets has now started to look at it regularly to update herself on where we are at any given time. I have loaded all the camps 5 camp sites onto the GPS so they are seen overlaid onto the NATMAP and /or Hema maps.

Another good part of this gadget is that I can record a daily route of each days travel (track plot) and wherever I discover a problem on the NATMAP products I send them (former colleagues) a map correction report with the track plot included.

I use 2 GPS so that I don't have to switch between packages while driving and I've got it all covered. On tracks I turn of the Tom Tom as it is useless. This combination has proven invaluable.

AnswerID: 446422

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