I can’t remember what I did with my Melways. The number of road atlases I own totals 6 and while one often gets packed it never gets used when I holiday now. The Google Maps app on my iPhone is all that I need and thanks to that flashing little blue dot I’m saved the irritation of trying to work out what page of the map I’m meant to be on.
But my faith in Google Maps was recently shaken.
Using the app to get directions home from the South Australian town of Strathalbyn it gave 3 driving options all taking about 8 hours and just under 700kms. Then I clicked on the walking option that unexpectedly was a few kilometres shorter. This route would take us along some quieter country roads, alongside a lake and through some quaint country towns.
We left Strathalbyn early and the walking option roads were even more scenic than expected, lined with green vineyards and barely another car on the road.
Then we drove through the town of Wellington, down a hill towards the river and came to a stop. There was no bridge! On the map it looked like a bridge. The blue navigation line ran smoothly over the river and continued on to the town of Tailem Bend. The road even had the same name on both sides of the river.
All was not lost however because a free ferry, the Quail, runs across the Murray River at Wellington 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Turns out that there at 11 free ferry services across the Murray River in South Australia all named after birds.
So the way I see it Google Maps got us a free boat ride.