The Big Lap – Not Once, But 50 Times Around Australia

Many Australians dream of doing the “Big Lap”* at some point in their lives –
(* a road trip that goes right around Australia, which if you keep to the main highways and don’t deviate, is about 14,000km/8,700 miles)

So can you imagine doing it not once, but 50 times?

View through the windscreen of a truck doing the Big Lap around Australia

The Big Lap

Meet Graham, who has done just that! 

Truck Driver in his cab at the wheel

Photo by Alex Parkes

After years spent working at an office desk, Graham took the decision to follow his dream to drive a truck across and around Australia for his living.

His on the road lifestyle though does mean much time is spent away from his grown up family who are based in NSW on the east coast –
Including his grandchildren!
Wanting to ensure his 6 year old granddaughter knew just where ‘Pop’ was motoring… he started filling in and posting home a Journey Jottings Map Journal with his route marked in different texta colours to show where and when he completed each Big Lap.

We found out about it when he contacted us via our Facebook Page with the below image showing us a copy of his Map Journal illustrating the 8 big laps he’d completed in early 2016!

Pictorial map of Australia showing the Big Lap routes around Australia of a truck driver

I’m a Long-haul truck driver and I literally drive laps AROUND Australia . I bought the 1st of your maps from Victoria River Roadhouse in Northern Territory and subsequent maps from Mundrabilla Roadhouse in W/A. I send these to my 6 year old granddaughter as she loves to see what Pop’s doing .”

What a truly wonderful way to use my Journal Maps!
To share his travels with little ones back home 🙂

The 33rd Big Lap

The map above shows the first 8 Big Laps he did in 2016.

A year later he shared with us the breakdown of days he spent doing his 33rd Big Lap ~

Pictorial Map of Australia showing Graham's route as he drove for the 33rd time aroun Australia

Big Lap Highlights

The best part of having a job that involves driving across this wonderful country of ours is naturally the opportunity to see stunning outback scenery…

Misas seen near Port Hedland WA

…and the diverse range of sights…

Collage of photos from across Austrlia

From boab (bottle) trees in the Kimberleys, historic houses in Menzies (north of Kalgoorlie in WA), outback shacks with water wind mills – and even the odd Big Galah (seen at Kimba in SA on the Nullarbor Plain).

A collage of wild brumbie hoses and a walker in outback Australia

Bush fires that come perilously close to the Highway and wild Brumby horses – and even the odd bush hiker – maybe doing the Big Lap on foot?

The road around Australia as seen by a truck driver

And then there’s the open road…
That goes on and on into endless blue skies and sunsets, or big black ominous clouds, and the thickest of bull-dust thrown up by oncoming truckie mates…

Collage of images from across Australia as seen by a long distance truck driver

Seeing storms envelop the sky around you, dark clouds recede behind you, followed by rainbows framing the road ahead…

Road signs seen while driving the Big Lap

Oh! Those endless horizons disappearing into the never never…
Not to mention all the road signs!

Big Lap Dramas

But driving so many kilometres… Such as 1,000,000 (yes that’s one million) kilometres… as recorded here on Graham’s odometer…

Speedometer showing the truck has driven one million kilometres

Seeing 1,000.000 kilometres appear on your odometer

Cannot be without its dramas –

Truck in Australia that has caught on fire

Watching your truck go up in smoke

Such as 6 years ago when his truck caught on fire

Sign showing rain closed the road in north Australia

Or in early 2019 getting cut off in Richmond in northern Queensland due to rains flooding and closing the road to all traffic for 10 days.

Blown out tyre on a truck

A tyre blow out… and as it turned out massive damage not just to the tyre

Or getting within sight of home on the 50th Big Lap and having a blow out on your front steering tyre sending you careering airborne off the highway.

The Home Straight – 50 Times Around Australia

Truck parked on an open plain in Australia

I’m happy to say I got to meet Graham in person on a less harrowing day than those above dramas, when he was driving up through Brisbane on one of his circuits…

Meeting up with Graham as he passed through Brisbane

Over lunch the conversation was peppered with all manner of amazing travelling tales from his life on the road…

Since then he’s continued to be well prepared for recording his future adventures for his family back home with a Map Journal at the ready and a fresh pack of texta felt tip pens for marking his routes!

Facebook Post by Graham the truck driver about his completing his 50th Big Lap of Australia


“…my 50th complete lap around Australia. I’m stocked up with Journey Jottings maps and coloured textas to mark this journey daily for my grand children to have a momento of Pops 50th lap. 🙂
Linda your Journey Jottings range of products are fantastic”

Congratulations Graham on your 50th Big Lap of Australia ~

Post Script: Graham completed his 55th Big Lap 
and then hung up the cab keys to spend more time with his grandchildren 😀 

Have you travelled in Australia or completed a Big Lap?
How did you record your trip to share with family friends?

Do share your tales in the comments below 🙂

All photographs copyright Graham Parkes

16 thoughts on “The Big Lap – Not Once, But 50 Times Around Australia

  1. Wow, having RVed for 8 years around North America I know what it takes to travel the open road. Australia is another continent that lends itself well to RVing. Although we may not do the entire Big Lap, we would like to do the Perth to Cairns lap.

    • You’d certainly have completed half the lap if you did Perth (in the SW) to Cairns (in the NE) and the trip up the West coast through the Pilbara and the Kimberley regions is wonderfully remote and wild 🙂
      A road trip well worth making –
      I’d of course love to do some RV’ing in the USA – particularly through your Red Circle including Utah!

  2. Wowza!! His photos are amazing. I have to say I’m not one for long road trips. In fact, I have to admit that our dog is better behaved in the car than I am. However, we are scheduled to make our third trip to Australia this fall. So far, we’ve been to Perth and environs, Sydney, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. We don’t have our whole trip sorted yet, but we know there will be a return to Perth (my husband has medical research collaborators there), and he has a speaking engagement in Melbourne.

    • Oh that’s awesome that you are coming to Oz 🙂
      We are up in Brisbane – mid way on the east coast – if you’re coming north at all!
      Although we are planning a trip about then too so we could end up being passing ships in the night LOL
      You definitely need a Map Journal to highlight those vacation memories for future enjoyment 😉

  3. Wow, that is an impressive number of times to drive a circuit around Australia. I’ve only spent a week there and would love to return for a long, slow tip on the Big Lap around Australia.

    • Its true – Not many people – if any – could lay the claim of driving around Australia as many times as Graham has – I think he most likely would hold the record!!
      Many Australians ‘do’ the circuit when they’ve built up their 10 year long service leave so can take 3 months off to make the trip – or leave it till retirement and then hit the road as ‘grey nomads’ 🙂

  4. 50 times that’s crazy. I can’t even do it once, that too driving a truck. Respect man. Some Great pictures by the way.

  5. Woah! It’s really impressive Linda. I will definitely plan to visit Australia in 2020. Photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience. Keep Blogging 🙂

  6. Thanks for throwing more light on this beautiful continent/country. Australia is indeed beautiful and full of amazing things. Its one of my favorite countries. Its a country of beautiful sceneries and culture. Great post with beautiful visuals.

  7. I know Graham personally, he’s is a fabulous man, Great attitude, always good for a coldie catch up when he’s in Perth, I’m a local truck driver in Perth, and just had an opportunity to drive a new truck back from Melbourne Vic….I now have itchy feet to try this.. I love following GP travels….had pleasure to have one last drink as he completed his last lap on the way home, take care GP…enjoy ur family time ?

    • Great to hear you were able to catch up with Graham as he headed home on his final – 55th lap – around Australia, before hanging up the cab keys to spend more time with his father. children and grand-children!!
      Exciting to hear you’ve now been bitten by the bug for longer distance driving!
      Keep us posted if you too end up on a few Big Laps 😉

    • Amazingly Graham has just completed his 60th Big Lap of Australia –
      As an ‘essential’ service he is one of the few being allowed – during this 2020 COVID-19 lockdown period – through the State and Territory borders –
      All travellers will have to wait awhile before touring for pleasure will be permitted again across the Top End :/

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