GREAT AUSSIE ROAD GAMES

Tame the high­way mad­ness

Camper Trailer Australia - - CONTENTS - Words EMMA RYAN

1 WINDMILL

Clearly the king of all Aussie road games, Windmill is fan­tas­tic on so many lev­els. The premise of the game is sim­ple: pas­sen­gers scan the land­scape for wind­mills and fight to be the first per­son to shout ‘windmill’ upon spot­ting one. The first per­son to ‘claim’ a windmill gets to add that windmill to their tally. Any­one caught claim­ing a fake windmill goes back to zero, no ques­tions asked, no ne­go­ti­a­tions, do not col­lect $200. This rule is key; you’d be sur­prised how much trees on the hori­zon be­gin to re­sem­ble wind­mills af­ter a while. The game of Windmill brings out the best and worst in people, forc­ing pas­sen­gers to look up from their screens to en­gage with the coun­try­side but also re­veal­ing a dark com­pet­i­tive streak that can, and fre­quently does, end in tears. People will lie, cheat and steal to win windmill, it ain’t pretty.

2 SPIN A YARN

Ever no­ticed how every creek you drive over in Australia, no mat­ter how small or seem­ingly non-ex­is­tent, has a lit­tle white sign with the creek’s name on it? Ever won­dered how it got that name? This game is an ex­er­cise in cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion, de­signed to ‘solve’ the mys­tery of Australia’s kooky creeks. It’s per­fect to stim­u­late the minds of lit­tle people and big people alike on long, te­dious road trips. Pas­sen­gers take turns to cre­ate a story as to how the creek you just crossed got its name. The more de­tailed and far-fetched, the bet­ter. As we crossed the Mammy John­sons River in the hin­ter­land of NSW’s Mid North Coast, my friends and I imag­ined the river’s name­sake to be a wet nurse from the south­ern states of Amer­ica with a thick south­ern drawl. It turns out our story wasn’t so far off! The real Mammy John­son was an Abo­rig­i­nal mid­wife who de­liv­ered hun­dreds of Euro­pean and Abo­rig­i­nal ba­bies shortly af­ter Euro­pean in­va­sion. Hats off to Mammy!

3 PUNCH BUGGY

This one is an oldie but a goodie, sim­ply punch a fel­low pas­sen­ger when­ever you hap­pen to spot a VW Bee­tle. One punch for a new Bee­tle, two punches for a clas­sic.

4 THE ALPHABET GAME

Great for kids, this one is where a pas­sen­ger nom­i­nates a topic or theme, for ex­am­ple fruit, then each pas­sen­ger takes turns to name a fruit work­ing through the alphabet. So the first per­son might say ‘ap­ple’, then the next per­son says ‘ba­nana’, and so on, un­til you reach the end of the alphabet. Things get tricky around ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’! 5 FIRST TO SPOT This game works well on fre­quented trips, if your family has a cer­tain spot that you visit reg­u­larly. Be­fore you set off, make a list of land­marks along the way, and try to be the first to spot them all.

6 ROAD TRIP BINGO

Write a list of things you might see along the way and write them into a grid, with each pas­sen­ger’s grid slightly dif­fer­ent. The first per­son to com­plete a line and yell ‘bingo’ wins. If you’re go­ing out­back you might in­clude generic things like emu, shear­ing shed, silo, dry creek bed and budgie, as well as known land­marks such as Lake Eyre, Uluru and the Big Bo­gan.

7 WHERE ARE THEY GO­ING?

This one works best on multi-lane high­ways. When over­tak­ing (or be­ing over­taken), take a good look at the per­son or people in the neigh­bour­ing car. If you can, look at what they’ve got in the car, a busi­ness suit hang­ing, loads of surf­boards, and so on. Then take turns to come up with a story around who they are, where they’re com­ing from, where they’re go­ing and why. They might won­der why you’re all star­ing at them, but it’s a fun game that stretches lit­tle imag­i­na­tions.

8 ONE WORD STORYTELLING

In this game, pas­sen­gers com­bine forces to cre­ate a story by each adding one word at a time to the nar­ra­tive. Some­one might start with ‘once’, the next per­son says ‘upon’, and so on. I guar­an­tee you’ll be amaz­ing and amused at where your story might take you!

9 I WENT TO THE SHOP

A clas­sic game of me­mory, pas­sen­gers take turn to say what they bought from the shop, but the catch is they have to re­mem­ber all items that came be­fore and say them in the cor­rect or­der. For ex­am­ple, the per­son who starts might say ‘I went to the shop and I bought a Mars Bar’. The next per­son then says, ‘I went to the shop and I bought a Mars Bar and a mon­key’, fol­lowed by ‘I went to the shop and I bought a Mars Bar, a mon­key and a di­a­mond ring’, and so on. Mem­o­ries will be strained and wacky (and of­ten in­ap­pro­pri­ate) items will be pur­chased!

10 AN­I­MAL, VEGETABLE, MINERAL

The game of ques­tions. One per­son chooses an an­i­mal, vegetable or mineral, but does not tell the rest of the car. They then fire ques­tions that can be an­swered ei­ther ‘yes’ or ‘no’, un­til they have fig­ured out what the an­swer is. For ex­am­ple, I might choose kan­ga­roo. Ques­tions could in­clude, does it walk, is it hot blooded, is it a mam­mal, does it have a pouch? Each an­swer forms a clue lead­ing the car closer to the an­swer: kan­ga­roo.

11 LEARN A BUSH BALLAD

There’s noth­ing like be­ing cap­tive in the car to com­mit some­thing to me­mory, af­ter all. I have a friend whose par­ents en­cour­aged their four daugh­ters to mem­o­rise the words to clas­sic Aussie bush po­etry on their many long family road trips. As an adult, recit­ing Clancy of the Over­flow has be­come some­what of a party trick for this friend, and she has even been known to drunk­enly mur­mur it into a mi­cro­phone to a cap­tive au­di­ence who thought they were in for karaoke. Win and win.

12 HEY COW

The most ju­ve­nile yet hi­lar­i­ous game on this list, this clas­sic Aussie favourite in­volves pas­sen­gers tak­ing turns to yell ‘Hey cow!’ out the car win­dow when they see cat­tle. If the cow in ques­tion looks up, they get a point. It’s the lit­tle things in life, isn’t it? Cows are in­ter­change­able with sheep, horses, goats, etc.

13 LAST LETTER WORD GAME

Some­one chooses a cat­e­gory, for ex­am­ple films, an­i­mals, choco­late bars, and so on. They then kick the game off by say­ing a word, for ex­am­ple 'Ti­tanic'. The next per­son then has to come up with a film (or what­ever the cat­e­gory is) that starts with the last letter of the pre­vi­ous per­son’s an­swer. So in this ex­am­ple, the sec­ond per­son might say Cool Run­nings. The next per­son could then say Scar­face, and so on.

14 MILLS AND BOON

More a game for teenagers and adults, Mills and Boon in­volves one per­son say­ing four un­re­lated words and the other per­son then hav­ing to use all four words in a sexy Mills and Boon- in­spired para­graph. Hi­lar­ity en­sues.

15 COLOUR SPOTTO

Per­fect for younger kids, this game in­volves hav­ing to spot 10 things out the car win­dow in a par­tic­u­lar colour. Get the lit­tlies to jot down their find­ings, and the first with 10 wins.

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