Snickering and tittering on the road to Tittybong

There are few greater travelling pleasures than taking a roadtrip around a part of the country you've never been to before and just driving for hours, soaking up the scenery, discovering amazing spots, and snickering at all the funny/stupid/lewd place names along the way – it's the heart and soul of the true Aussie roadtrip experience.

Over years of roadtrips, my beloved and I have shared many great snickery juvenile adventures: we've enjoyed the low-grade wordplay of Nowa Nowa ("Hope we get there soona soona!"). We've indulged in campy theatrical hijinks while passing through Omeo ("O Omeo, Omeo, wherefore art thou Omeo?") We've engaged in Seinfeldian riffery on a jaunt to WA's Newman ("Hellooo ... Newman"). We've tittered with much gusto in Tittybong ("Look! It's even got a Cokum Reserve!") And the less said about Ernst Wanke Road, the better, only that sometimes when you're stuck on the freeway, Wanke is the quickest way to get off.

Hop to it: Pack the car and head out on a wide open road.
Hop to it: Pack the car and head out on a wide open road. 

But all funny/stupid/lewd place-name expectations were exceeded on a recent trip to the Sunshine Coast, just north of Brisbane, where we hired a car, drove from place to place, and had a perfect week of swimming, sunning and snickering. We stayed in a hotel on Lower Gay Terrace, visited a township called Burpengary, crossed a bridge on Coochin Creek, swam up Pumicestone Passage, and drove along Bald Knob Road which made us laugh for 20 solid minutes, partly because it's funny to think about a bald knob, and partly because of serious brain-haemorrhaging from too many Fruit Mentos washed down with lukewarm Coke.

And any places that didn't have funny/stupid/lewd names, we just made up our own: we spent a couple of nights in Caloundra, which is Aboriginal for "place of the white Beech tree", but for us it will always mean "place of fat, old fricks on boogieboards". The local beaches were full of overweight middle-aged dads on their kid's boogie-boards, riding frothy little ripple-waves, knocking down wading toddlers, jumping up with board-rash all over their fat furry bellies, then rushing back into the surf to carve up the breaks once more.

Backseat navigators: 'Are we there yet?'
Backseat navigators: 'Are we there yet?' 

We did an overnighter in Mooloolaba, which is Aboriginal for "red-bellied black snake" but for us it will always mean "tacky overpriced hotel room with glass-cylinder shower-cubicle in the middle of living room". This cubicle was designed so you could see the ocean while you showered, but it all felt a little bit Spearmint Rhino and when I stepped out in the morning, my beloved tucked 10 bucks into the waist of my wrap-around towel and said "Thanks for the peepshow, loverboy. Next time, close the shower-curtains and there's a 20 in it for you".

Noosa is Aboriginal for "shady tall forest" but for us it will always mean "crowded, glitzy shopping strip where you cannot find a park on a Saturday morning". We spent an hour driving there, two hours looking for a park, then an hour trying to drive out, so we never actually saw the beach, but we did get a tiny glimpse of ocean as we drove past, out the passenger-side window, through a tiny gap in the "shady tall forest".

Noosa seemed a little too flashy for our liking, like visiting one of those huge indoor shopping malls with a fake beach attached, so we were happy to head away, back down the Sunshine Coast, to a nice spot called Dicky Beach (just off Coochin Street) where we swam, sunned and snickered for the rest of the day. Dicky Beach was way more our style.

Danny Katz is a columnist with The Age.