Driving Tips for Long Haul Truck Driving

Long haul truck driving seems like a difficult job for most people. But for some of us, managing these large, heavy vehicles and life on the road is our specialty. So, if you are a novice long-haul-truckie, welcome to the club, and to start you off, here are 5 tips on how to maintain the trucks you drive, stay healthy and remain alert on long drives.

1.Know The Truck’s Payload Capacity

A truck’s payload capacity is the sum of its curb weight and all the cargo weight that can be safely carried by your truck. This information is usually calculated by the truck manufacturer and noted in the vehicle’s manual. As a truck driver, it is imperative that you always check the load weight vis–vis the payload capacity of the type of truck. Do not exceed the truck’s payload capacity, especially on long drives.

2.Secure Load Properly

As a truck driver, your job is to transport cargo. Now, what good will it be if the cargo you are transporting arrives at the destination destroyed? Not to mention that unsecured cargo can shift during transportation, causing damage to the axles of the truck, may lead to dangerous accidents or result in you being fined. Therefore, when loading cargo to your truck, you should always confirm that the goods are evenly distributed and secured with ties, tarps, or containers. Before getting on your long drive, always double-check your load and ensure it is adequately secured.

3.Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

On a long drive, water should be your best friend. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated and considerably reduce your chances of getting fatigued fast. It is important to note that caffeinated or soft drinks should not be taken in place of water. This is because even though they will be effective in giving you an energy boost, you will eventually come down from that high, and when you do, your body will be ready to crash leaving you feeling even more tired.

4.Less Fast Food, More Healthy Food

If you want a long successful career in long haul truck driving, then you must make an effort to be healthy. And while fast foods can be very tempting, mainly because they are readily available at numerous stopovers, they are the enemy to staying alert. Fast foods contain a lot of fats and sugars, which will make you sleepy over your long drive. To have a clear focus during a journey, you should prioritize consuming healthy food options, as well as add vitamin B and C supplements to your diet to give you the much-needed energy boosts.

5.Pullover And Rest

Arrive Alive. These two words should be a constant mantra in your career of long haul truck driving. So if you find yourself feeling drowsy, pull over and stop. Take a nap of about 20 minutes, take a walk to stretch your legs, or get a bite. Whatever you choose to do to refresh your body is up to you, but please do not get back on the wheel until you are back to being alert. Sleeping on the wheel endangers not only your life but also the lives of other road users. You got this! Now go discover some new destinations.

6 best wineries in the Macarthur region and around Camden

There is no day trip more indulgent than a day trip spent hopping between wineries, sampling all the delicious fare.

In New South Wales, the Hunter Valley in the north-west is the first wine region to spring to mind when you think ‘wine’. But, if you head in the other direction – south-west – you hit the state’s other wine region, Macarthur.

Producing wine for over 200 years, the 3000 square kilometer Macarthur wine region is often considered to be the birthplace of Australian wine. Macarthur region is just a short 1.5hr drive from Sydney, and it is full of boutique wine producers, just like the ones below.

In an average day, you can expect to be able to fit in visits to around 3 or 4 wineries in the Macarthur region; so, take a look through our short list of producers below and be sure to choose wisely!

Camden Estate Vineyards

Address: 172 Macarthur Rd, Elderslie, New South Wales

Phone number: (02) 4658 0110

Varieties: Chardonnay

If you are a through and through Chardonnay fan, you need to schedule a visit to Camden Estate Vineyards into your wine tour itinerary. The vineyard has been producing 100% chardonnay since the early 90’s, and prides themselves on the elegant fruit characteristics that come through in their distinctive, regional wine.

Set on the Nepean River in Elderslie on the New South Wales Central Coast, Camden Estate Vineyards is located a hop, skip and jump from where Australia’s first ever vineyard was planted. It is also one of the more picturesque vineyards and homesteads in the region.

Gledswood Homestead Country Weddings

Address:900 Camden Valley Way, Catherine Fields, NSW

Phone number: (02) 9606 5111

Wine tours are just as much about the vineyards and homesteads as they are the produce, and Gledswood Homestead is the perfect example of this.

Set on 64 acres amongst the Macarthur District’s rolling pastures, the historic colonial homestead dates back to 1810. Once owned by an early pioneering family, the grand home holds a great deal of history in its sandstone walls. Guided tours through the property are on offer, but don’t forget to stop by the cellar door at the Glenswood Winery and try the crisp whites and earthy reds too – it is a wine tour after all!

Fussy Grape

Address: Cnr Oran Park Dve & Camden Valley Way, Oran Park, New South Wales

Phone number: 0405 827 571

Varieties: Viognier, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

What started out as a hobby farm for self-taught winemaker and viticulturist Ned Raich, has now – some 15 years after planting his first cabernet sauvignon vines – turned in to a full-time venture.

The fully operational winery pumps out around 25,000 bottles of wine per year across four different varietals. Produced from hand-picked grapes, these wines really are a labour of love.

Razorback Ridge Wines

Address: 20 Dawson Rd, Menangle, New South Wales

Phone number: 0416 521 753

Varieties: Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, Chardonnay, Verdelho

Sitting at the base of the Razorback Range in Menangle is the small, family owned and operated Razorback Ridge Wines.

Dubbed as ‘the hobby that grew out of hand’, the winery goes without the equipment that comes with economies of scale, and still does things the traditional way. All their pruning and picking is done by hand, and all the winemaking takes place on site. The result? Premium quality fruit and premium quality wines.

Cogno Brothers Winery

Address: 40 Cobbitty Road, Cobbity, New South Wales

Varieties: Grenache, Muscat, Barbera, Trebbiano

After coming out to Australia as diesel mechanics in the 1950’s, Giovanni and Dino Cogno hung up their mechanic boots in 1964 to establish their 10ha vineyard in Cobbitty. Cobbitty is a historic, secluded village well worth stopping in to on your way to the vineyard and cellar door.

Growing mainly Italian varietals like muscat, barbera and trebbiano, Cogno Brothers well and truly caters for the Italian and Italian wine loving clientele. Along with wine, Cogno Brothers also produces a range of port, sherry and wine liqueurs.

Kirkham Estate

Address:3 Argyle Street, Camden NSW

Varieties: Chardonnay, Semillon, Verdelho, Petit verdot, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon

Kirkham Estate is headed up by former Riverina winemaker Stan Aliprandi, who brings over 30 years of experience to the table.

As one of the more diverse producers in the region, Kirkham Estate is sure to have a drop to please everyone in your wine tour party. There are 8 different varietals planted on the 9ha vineyard – from chardonnay to petit verdot, Semillon to shiraz – leading to the production of 9 different wines and a tawny port.

Southern Cross Truck Rentals is a local truck and mini bus rental company located in the heart of the Macarthur region and only minutes from the best wineries. If you need a designated driver and a vehicle for your next scheduled wine tour in our beautiful region, contact Southern Truck Cross Rentals.

5 things to see when driving a moving truck from Sydney to Canberra

The Sydney-Canberra route has become a favourite for road trip enthusiasts and nature trail lover in recent years. Hardly a day passes without seeing a moving van using this road even in the wee hours of the night. With the numbers increasing every day, it is only a matter of time before every adventurous traveller joins the bandwagon.

Whether you are moving to Canberra for good, or just looking for a stunning escape from the familiar surroundings in Sydney, the journey between these two great cities offers the ultimate travel experience.

The route is bestowed with dozens of exciting places of interest, including historical spots, iconic eateries, tranquil country clubs, picturesque sceneries and other nostalgic sites. If you are looking for frequent stops other than roadhouses and Macca’s, then consider the following locations:

1. Wollongong

Located about 1 hour 20 minutes from Sydney, Wollongong is popular for its stunning beaches, shopping centres, scenic lighthouses and playgrounds. To get into Wollongong from the highway, fork into Picton Road (B88) for half an hour’s drive. The city is most famous for its industrial ports and charming café strips. It also sports a coastal route that goes directly into Sydney, should you wish the city to be your only detour of the journey.

 

2. Berrima

Located midway on the Federal Highway between Sydney and Canberra, this historical town dates back to the early 19th century, and was a famous sport for Travelers from the two cities until it was bypassed by the highway in the late 1980s. It offers good old Australian Hospitality in a scenery laden with historical anecdotes and quaint shops. The town, though small, also sports a couple of cafes and restaurant, renowned for their quality cooking.

3. Grandma’s at The Farm

As the most renowned gourmet stop on the highway, this gorgeous bakery café will offer you some of the most delectable treats to enjoy on location or on the way. The bakery is located about 2h 50 minutes’ drive from Sydney, less than an hour to Canberra. It is encrusted in local scenery, and can offer the most pleasant respite from a long drive in a crammed van.

4. The Bushranger Hotel

The Bushranger Hotel is located only 40 minutes to Canberra, approximately 3 hours from Sydney. As an incredibly historical pub, The Bushranger Hotel will offer you a genuine, traditional country pub experience with a free serving of Australian history. As suggested by the name, the pub is famous for its own involvement in the 1960’s Bushranger action. In fact, it is the very location Constable Samuel Nelson was shot by John Dunn (of Ben Hall’s gang) after a day of mischief on the town.

5. The Tulip Top Gardens

Located a mere 25 minutes to Canberra, these gardens are renowned across Australia for their stunning beauty. This may be the best moving road-trip obligatory selfie stop. The garden features blossoming cherry trees spawning over gorgeous tulips spreading as far as you can see. Unfortunately, the garden is only open in the Spring Months of September and October.

Moving interstate? Looking for a reliable rental moving truck company near Sydney? The friendly experts at Southern Cross Truck Rentals will be happy to provide you with quotes, advice and options. Just contact us to find out more.

5 things to see when driving a moving truck from Sydney to Brisbane

Sydney is crowded. Sydney is stressful. Sydney traffic is just too much. Plus, it really does get a little chilly through July and August. For some people it’s just not the life they want. They wonder ‘isn’t there a place that’s a little more lifestyle and a little less styled life?’ For a long time they’ve looked north for the answer. In fact, from 1976 to 2016, the Sydney-Brisbane migration flow has been 2-to-1 in Queensland’s favour: 228,000 plays 114,000. In fact, overall, more Sydneysiders move to Brisbane than any other city – Melbourne included! So, if you want to take things a bit easier, but move to a place that has urban convenience, the Pacific Highway beckons. Officially, it’s 921km between Sydney and Brisbane, yet with each city so sprawled out, the trip from, say, Campbelltown to Caboolture adds 100km. Fair to say that if you choose to rent a drive-yourself moving van, you’re in for a bit of a haul. Let’s take a look at what you can see along the way to break up the trip. Pacific Highway Sydney-Brisbane: 5 things to see

  1. Stockton Beach – (175km from Sydney) There isn’t much at Stockton Beach other than beach, but there is so much beach! At 32km long and a staggering 1km wide, the golden sand is usually hard-packed and so, if you have a 4WD and a permit, you can drive the whole length of it. Head into the dunes and you could swear you were in Lawrence of Arabia (sort of).
  2. Port Macquarie Breakwall – (391km from Sydney) – First, Port Macquarie is one of those places that is about to go mega, but for the moment it is still a lovely compact city with a lot of cool history. If you follow your nose downhill to the sea you’ll also come across the breakwall, which hosts hundreds and hundreds of boulders covered with folk art charmingly painted by visitors and locals. Good cafes abound.
  3. The Big Banana – (535km from Sydney) One of Australia’s first ‘big things’, the Big Banana is curiously distant from Australia’s main banana-growing areas. No matter, this 12m fruit just outside Coffs Harbour is a highway-side icon and will lure you into a rather nice mini theme park that includes, of all things, an ice-skating rink. A good place to tire the kids out.
  4. Byron Bay Lighthouse – (771km from Sydney) Probably Australia’s most enticing regional town (or is it a city now?), Byron Bay is, to use the cliche, a melting pot. Within a few seconds you’ll see everything from Rolls-Royce owners to hippies who have renounced money – neither will be wearing proper shoes. It’s thongs or nothing in Byron. Visit the town, then go to the lighthouse: it’s Australia’s easternmost point.
  5. Yatala Pies – (884km from Sydney) Just after the Gold Coast and just before Brisbane you’ll start seeing proper, official, government-installed road signs advertising, yep, a pie shop. Yatala Pies has been there for 104 years and still cooks things the old way. Okay, they probably aren’t Australia’s best pies, but how many other pie shops have dedicated parking for 60 cars, plus a drive-through? Not for nothing do a thousand vehicles a day stop by for a meat and pastry pitstop.

If you’ve not done this drive before, know that the Pacific Highway is seemingly always under major roadworks and within 150km you can go between some of Australia’s best designed motorways with 6 lanes going each way to bits of suburban road that meander through towns where a farm ute turning right can cause huge tailbacks. The easiest and fastest sections are just north of Sydney and just south of Brisbane. Moving interstate? Looking for a reliable rental truck company in Sydney? The friendly experts at Southern Cross Truck Rentals will be happy to provide you with quotes, advice and options. Just contact us to find out more.

Planning your Hunter Valley minibus tour

The Hunter Valley, about 120km north of Sydney, is one of Australia’s greatest – and, for Sydneysiders, most convenient – rural escapes. People don’t just love the area for its world-renowned wines, but also for what accompanies it: the dining, the luxury hotels, the gourmet cheeses, the decadent chocolate, it goes on and on… Fair to say, the Hunter Valley is a place where you need that clear country air to refresh you after a day or two or serious indulgence. However, after a big meal of the best food and wine around, even the most dedicated designated driver would rather sit back for a sleepy afternoon than get behind the wheel. So why not hire a minibus? If you really have a DD who is ready to forgo the pleasures (and subsequent drowsiness) of the Hunter Valley’s temptations, you can easily drive yourself. If not, we’re happy to provide the driver. But what are you going to do on your Hunter Valley sojourn? This article will outline a few tips for planning your Hunter Valley tour.

The Hunter Valley is big

Like Australia in general, the Hunter Valley is spacious. Carved by the Hunter River and bordered north and south by highlands, the Hunter Valley covers some 30,000 square kilometres (nearly as big as Belgium!). It’s at least a half an hour on country high roads between its farthest flung cellar doors. Between these, there are around another 20 or so vineyards to sample. If you’re planning on a bit of exercise to sharpen your appetite, a morning detour to the many nature walks in the surrounding hills can easily add another 40 klicks to your mini-bus itinerary.

Take the high road

The Hunter Valley has been settled for a couple of hundred years and so is criss-crossed by expressways, highways, back roads, bylaws and near-forgotten country lanes. The major access road is the relatively new Hunter Expressway (M15) – a world-class high-speed connection linking the Hunter with the coast. This then splays out into the Golden Highway and New England Highway. A network of other good roads link the Valley’s towns. Your mini-bus will be more than agile enough to cruise into the Hunter from the south along Putty Road too. It’s a quiet and meandering bush road that stretches all the the way down to Sydney’s northern burbs. This is the scenic route for sure, so if you just need to get to and from Sydney quickly, then it’s a 90-minute straight shot along the Pacific Motorway.

Hunter Valley wineries

There are more than 20 different wineries in the Hunter Valley. They range from the stylish and luxurious to modest craft-wineries where the cellar door is literally just the cellar’s door! Here is a good, reliable selection for your mini-bus itinerary.

ANDREW THOMAS WINES

A balance of making the Hunter more modern yet only offering the region’s blue-ribbon varieties: semillon and shiraz.

AUDREY WILKINSON

Featuring a wine museum and gorgeous views, there’s as much to see here as there is to taste.

BROKENWOOD

A consistent and long-standing winery offering the signature shiraz or semillon taste of the Hunter.

DAVID HOOK WINES

Quaint and inviting, this old-style boutique winery prides itself on giving you the unique flavour of individual vineyards.

DE IULIIS WINES

A thoroughly modern cellar door offering wines nearly as impressive as the view.

DOMAINE DE BINET

A family-run winery that does things differently. Taste something you’ve never come across before.

DRAYTON’S FAMILY WINES

With roots stretching back over 160 years, Drayton’s sticks to classic styles and dessert wines.

FIRST CREEK WINES

Always a lot going on here – especially as it makes wine for many of the Hunter’s smaller vineyards.

HART & HUNTER

Winemaking that highlights individual vineyards. The place to really get to grips with “terroir”.

HOPE ESTATE

Just huge. Along with the wine, there’s also a brewhouse, restaurant, views and even the odd Rolling Stones concert. Really.

UNGERFORD HILL

An architect-designed tasting room for sampling wines from the Hunter and surrounding wine regions.

HUNTER’S DREAM

Wines produced among lavender fields and olive groves, this boutique winery has more than half a century of history to sample.

LEOGATE ESTATE WINES

Fairly new, this place leads the way as a “country chic” setting. Great wines too.

MARGAN WINES

A truly Tuscan feel here, it’s a full food-and-wine experience directly among the vines.

McGUIGAN WINES

Year-in and year-out, McGuigan makes good wines. The location is really convenient for some of the Hunter’s gourmet food attractions too.

MT PLEASANT WINES

A Hunter Valley icon, this family-run winery does things its own innovative way.

PEPPER TREE WINES

Built in an old convent, this cellar door, the gardens and the on-site Circa 86 restaurant have been a Hunter Valley fave for years.

PETERSONS WINES

Cosy and friendly ambience with great views and delightful award-winning wines.

SMALL WINEMAKERS CENTRE

Try the tipple of more than multiple vineyards in this central showcase for the Hunter’s ultra-boutique winemakers.

TAMBURLAINE ORGANIC WINES

Who said organic wine was to be sniffed at? Try Tamburlaine and you’ll find it’s something to be savoured.

TULLOCH WINES

A place where classic varieties coexist alongside new ideas. Worth sampling over lunch at the restaurant.

TYRRELL’S

An old-school winery where everything seems to be done just the way it was when the place was established 160 years back.

USHER TINKLER

Do the Hunter Valley by minibus

Whether you have a party just too big for a single car or you have a fair-old group, a mini-bus can take all the logistical worry out of organising your own personal Hunter Valley tour. Australian licencing means you can operate a vehicle up to 12 seats on a regular car licence and, if you need more space, you can also hire a driver too at very reasonable rates. Just call Southern Cross Truck Rentals to find out more about our great minibus hire deals.

6 things to see when driving a moving truck from Sydney to Melbourne

6 things to see when driving a moving truck from Sydney to Melbourne

The Australian Bureau of Stats has the info and it’s official, when Aussies move interstate we prefer to move to Victoria.

This might be a bit of shock to Sydneysiders, after all, our city is still the largest in the country by a fair margin. Nevertheless, an estimated 500 of us move to Melbourne every week. Perhaps you’re thinking they’re onto something.

So, if you’re packing up, renting a truck and driving yourself and the family to move south, you’re in for a bit of a journey. The main route, of course, is the Hume Highway (M31) – a 850km straight shot clipping off the south-east corner of the continent.

Let’s take a look at what you can see along the route to break up your big one-way road trip.

Hume Highway Sydney-Melbourne: 6 things to see

    1. The Big Merino – (195km from Sydney) Pretty it is not, but something you must visit – this striking 5-storey tall concrete sheep is perhaps the most famous of Australia’s “Big Things”. It’s an obligatory photo stop and Goulburn is a convenient fuel and snack spot too. There’s even a decent bakery across the road if you want to really dive into the ocker cliche and get a meat pie.

 

    1. Dog on the Tuckerbox – (375km from Sydney) A short drive outside Gundagai, this statue of a cattledog sitting (or perhaps another word that rhymes with sitting) on his master’s lunchbox is part of Aussie folklore. The story goes that a bullock driver named Bill was just outside Gundagai and over lunch was recounting his life of endless bad luck only to find that as he’d been doing so, his dog had got in and ruined all the food. So, it’s the perfect spot for your own lunch – just keep an eye on the dog.

 

    1. Two submarines – (490km from Sydney) Holbrook is a small town about 250km from the sea, so of course there’s a 2000-tonne submarine parked in the main street. The story is that the town is named after a famed WWI submarine commander, so a few years ago the town went looking for a sub of its very own and found the HMAS Otway up for grabs. Don’t mistake it for the other submarine just a bit further along though.

 

    1. Cross the Murray River – (560km from Sydney) – Standing as Australia’s most complicated state border, the Murray meanders right between the twin cities of Albury NSW and Wodonga VIC. More symbolic than picturesque, the Spirit of Progress Bridge here spans Australia’s longest river – as will you at 110km/h. There’s not really anywhere to pull over, so if you want a photo it’s best to take it at Hume Dam about 20km east.

 

    1. The Big Ned Kelly – (645km from Sydney) The most properly placed of several Big Neds scattered around Australia, this 6m statue looms over the small high country town of Glenrowan, Victoria. Not far away, Kelly and his gang made their armour, barricaded a pub and had their legendary 1880 shootout.

 

  1. Find serenity – (740km from Sydney) Bonnie Doon, the favoured holiday destination of the Kerrigans from the movie The Castle, is actually a real place. A village on the shores of Lake Eildon, there’s not a great deal to see in Bonnie Doon, but at least you can say you’ve been to the very spot that spawned the eternal line: “How’s the serenity?” It’s also a good staging point for the final 180km into Melbourne.

If you’ve not done the drive before, know that the Hume Highway is a good road all the way through. On-ramp to off-ramp, it is officially 840km long and much of it is posted at 110km/h. The countryside is largely farms and rolling hills. There’s not much in the way of slow, winding roads or hold-ups (usually). If you’re determined, you can easily do it in a day, or you could take your time and see a bit of the country.

 

Moving interstate? Looking for a reliable rental truck company in Sydney? The friendly experts at Southern Cross Truck Rentals will be happy to provide you with quotes, advice and options. Just contactus to find out more.