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Show HN: Road Trips in Australia (ingeenee.com)
62 points by reverseengineer on Feb 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 54 comments

Looks / seems to work pretty well, fast and simple.

The one thing with Australia, I'd probably try to highlight the types of roads / ability to set road type preference.

I.E in a small hatchback I'd want to avoid unsealed roads, most rental companies will disallow them in the t&c's + you don't want to get stuck on them. However on a offroad/adventure bike / 4x4 i'd want to find the most remote, gnarliest roads possible.

I'll probably use this to find points of interest / general route then use the Hema 4WD maps to find a more specific / interesting route.

Also you might do well branding / marketing /designing the site for the grey nomads. A lot of them use https://www.wikicamps.com.au/ and pay to use it, they have money to spend. Some cross integration with sites in wikicamps would be useful also.

Having watched some Ray Mears episodes about survival in the outback, I am convinced some kind of outback survival warning would be good to have on this site. Stuff about how to lower tyre pressures to get out of a spot, what to do if you are stuck in the desert etc.

Thanks a lot, this is new info for me. Didn't know about unsealed roads. Camping is another question: whom to focus on? Universal travelers who love driving or camping, with equipment...

More than once a rogue GPS decision has directed my vehicle down an Australian road only an experienced 4WD group should attempt. The significance grows when you’re 300km from the nearest settlement.

It’s a big country, and mostly empty.

Gut feeling - Google Maps and HERE Maps know that. You could send the route to those maps. Red globe in right top corner of the map.

But here come their restrictions. Google Maps don't route many waypoints. HERE WeGo don't know places names, often around Alice Springs.

Is it difficult to do both? And yeah type of road is a huge factor in outback Australia. Corrugated unsealed roads destroy anything short of hardened touring rigs.

If this road info is in OSM, we will take it. Also you could send the route to Google Maps or HERE Maps. Notice red globe icon in the right top corner of the map, in opened trip plan. Click it, send to Google Maps, then send to your phone from them. Navigate using them. Could be possible to split the roads.

As someone who has been roadtripping Australia for 20 years, multiple times a year, this is a really great resource.

Plugging in a few family-fav trips and it seems to hit most the major points I would personally recommend.

I like that each place links to Wikipedia, but I don't think that was obvious at first. I actually only noticed on my re-visit of the site to see if the places had a "more info" link or something, and completely missed that they were links on my first look through.

I would probably add links to Wikitravel over Wikipedia, but maybe that's just me. I like how it summarises the key tourist attractions and eateries and stuff.

On the final version of the site, I would definitely consider pulling in some photos of the places when you expand the breakdown. People who travel/roadtrip generally like visuals, which is exactly why so many of the roadtrip guides look more like photography magazines. I'm not sure how you'd do that and keep it looking so clean/minimal (which I quite like), but I do think it's important.

Thank you, experienced road trip professional! All points you mentioned are valid. This is only beta3 of brand new search engine, that UI is not even designed, it is very thin wrapper over bare metal AI.

We used to link cities, towns, national parks to Wikivoyage (same content as Wikitravel, but without ads). All POIs within populated places linked to Wikipedia.

You are right about visuals. Totally. I don't know where to get them from... The idea was to plug smbd's knowledge graph, with structured POIs, with curated text, pics and videos. We could easily land you by coordinates to Google Street View instead of Wikipedia. But we don't know yet what people want.

Themes is another big feature. Family or adventure or culture. Known how to do that, just not doing it right now. Thank you again for very consistent and useful feedback. This is going to impact our planning.

Just my opinions, I do not really like those photography magazine-like planning site/app/guides .. it looks bloat to me. It can have bunch of photos, I think like photos of hotel/hostel in booking dot com.

I would add something like timeline for activities/scenery like morning afternoon evening. Not too bloat I think.

I already selected such inspiring imagery, though from around the world, not purely AU. To make landing page more vivid, better understandable. Going to do next facelift with next country.

Does he need some safety information for some stretches? If I am not wrong, some places can literally kill you if your car breaks down.

Yep, safety is important. Not only distances, but also weather, altitude, diff conditions for diff ages. Already thinking of it...

It’s a great testament to how small our world really is that a team from Ukraine picked Australia’s outdoors to showcase its technology. Kudos to both the team and the choice of geography.

In case you are unaware, roadtripping is quite a 'thing' in Australia. I guess for locals, but very much so for tourists traveling within the country. Here are some examples of classifieds for ridesharing partners https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-rideshare-travel-partners/roadt...

I guess the team went there, saw it, and decided to work on a website for it.

Very interesting for domain expertise. Thank you for this intro!

Thank you, yep, we are all on pale blue dot. The plan is to cover 50+ countries, unite them into clusters, partition them into regions. Gathering feedbacks to decide what to do - add countries/clusters/regions or do GUI and usability for one country?

My preference would be a way to include/exclude countries (especially if it can also account for border crossing times in some manner), but then past that group by high/low temperatures for that part of the year. It's one of those things that affects prep and packing a lot that most travel services don't give much insight into.

Thought about that. Seasonality and availability. You mentioned seasonality already. Availability is different. E.g. famous cherry blossom in Japan happens in Mar-Apr. That's is future plans. Thanks for pointing it!

Wow, this overlaps my imaginary idea of simple notes for trip that replaces spreadsheet but not getting into those bloat, bad idea of travel planning startups that rely on commissions.

Keeping data meta, I think, is a good way to go. No identity attached, no personal photos. Just all info going from A to B. So it's folk-able. I really like the toggle(switch) buttons, I hope it's not linking to external service (oh it is).

I had put thoughts so much on this kind of apps and it's abandon because I wasn't able to think of how it's monetized.


Can I ask where's your data/pricing from, if your source is not secret?

Monetization is ok on scale. Important to scale massively. First scale AI. Then scale geo coverage. Then users. Then revenue. Or sell to those who have scale already.

We keep it simple intentionally. Can plug any knowledge graph of POIs and experiences, any rooms and homes, and multi-modal transportation (not only car).

So far togglers are only for you. If you booked smth, you mark it for yourself.

You might be interested in something I'm working on over at https://scoutmaps.io/

(example output: https://scoutmaps.io/maps/17-portland-for-visitors/places/13...)

It's much more of a 'blank canvas' approach - I travel a lot, and I wanted something that's basically a geographically-aware notes app.

Currently in private beta, but if you want to get on the list shoot me an email (qr@qrohlf.com).

I think I saw your app before. I have mixed feeling about these modern map (mapbox, google map etc) although it's somehow great. I found its ux is not the best and often confusing or tedious. I'd love to see innovation around mapless approach (like this https://deepmind.com/blog/learning-to-navigate-cities-withou...)


This is cool. They use moving reinforcement from the games to cities. First you discocer the space, then you move.

But here is the real deal - we are going to navigate and move people by any multi-modal transportation. Uber or Moovit or Rome2Rio. First: they could be safe by design. Second: their value proposition is wider. We just started with cars and road trips. Third: car driving will be experience itself in long term future. People will pay to drive like they pay today for horses. People will kiss and lick cool cars.

Thanks, will read definitely.

All tech fully vertical. We know the price of everything, from POI and living cost to turn by turn driving.There is plenty of sources. Cannot say more so far.

Perhaps it may make sense to say something if none of resulting trips meet your search criteria.. For example, while I understand this isn't a realistic search, I entered '$300' and left the rest of the options as the default. All of the resulting options are 9x to 10x+ the cost of what I entered with no indication that it couldn't find trips matching my criteria better other than a 'relevancy' number that is hard to find in the UI because it does not stand out.

Good point. This is planned but not done yet. We are going to show what requirement not met with strike thru. You could notice this trick in Google search results. One or two words are crossed, and closest possible search result still returned. Thank you for this UI suggestion.

Looks neat.

If I enter an 'aggressive' timeframe, is it intentional that it assumes I have longer time than shown? (Sydney to Hobart, no waypoints, 4 days - it insists that the minimum time this trip can take is 11 days).

Small UX things - I like to tab between fields, and use keyboard shortcuts for drop-downs - I would like to be able to select '2 tourists' by pressing the number 2. Date-pickers are always horrible - Monday as first day of week would be great, option to text-enter ISO periods ditto.

Thank you for both parts. Neat part: it tries harder to meet duration rather than budget, though it works to meet them both simultaneously. This is exactly the sizzle. Sydney-Hobart is 23-24h of pure driving. If you drive several hours per day it's several days. With few hours per day it's more than a week. With sightseeing it's longer. So 11 days could be exaclty optimal. Possible to tweak curiosity & comfort levels. With Long Day curiosity you will compress the duration.

Understood. I picked that as it's my next kind-of road trip (though I'm anticipating most time spent at the destination).

It's ~ (9 + 3) hours of actual driving, with an overnight ferry ride in the middle, btw. Anything involving a ferry or similar will complicate an algorithm, I'm sure. I'm assuming you basically ignore captive travel time in those situations?

I had not experimented with the budget constraints originally. I note that if I put in 4 days & $2000 it offers trips of 13-15 days and $3000-4400. With 4 days and $3000 budget the trips are 10-14 days and $2600-3900.

We know ferry time usually. Regarding alternatives, interesting and useful. Will debug how it thinks.

Neat, but misses a number of inland small towns that are in themselves attractions, such as Daylesford VIC or Maldon VIC.

Thank you. Possible to enter Daylesford, Victoria as waypoint. You could enter many waypoints, any duration any budget, and the route will be optimized for those desires-constraints. Maldon, Victoria is missing from our Knowledge Graph :-O I've checked it, it's cool: it has been designated "Australia's first notable town". Will improve in the future.

Also, I had to blow out the itinerary to three weeks in order to get a single route between Adelaide and Melbourne that went via the Grampians, which is overlooking a pretty serious tourist attraction...

You could enter desired sequence: Adelaide Grampians National Park Melbourne. Easy to visit Grampians in default 2 week duration. Adelaide will be start, Melbourne finish. Grampians travel-thru. But the point that Grampians had to be proposed by AI is useful. Taken.

Grampians National Park is present in Knowledge Graph, possible to enter as waypoint. Why it's overlooked (or bypassed)? Good question for us, will investigate... That's why showing it here!

Not sure what your inputs are, but perhaps a rule of thumb (if not there already) is to generate a list of attractions sorted by quantity of reviews on (eg) trip advisor and then compare that result with #of people who actually go there.

It could give you the chance to rank 'must see' weighed against 'off the beaten track'. (Oz has heaps of 'off the beaten track' that the hordes of tourists don't know about)

This is tricky. We don't know who landed on the page. How to propose Paris in France without Eiffel Tower? OK if user explicitly checks "avoid 'must see'" or "avoid overtourism". Then possible to propose different stuff. One traveler told me exactly this, a week ago. Maybe we will implement this feature.

It's also strange that Katoomba/ Blue mountains (& then Jenolan caves) are missed.

It seems to do mostly capital cities so far, and the paths between. There's not really a capital-to-capital trip that passes through the Blue Mountains.

I would really like an option that is something like "7 days around NSW" and it gives you a circuit passing through a variety of areas throughout the state. Eg:

Sydney - Wollongong - Goulburn - Wagga - Forbes - Bathurst - Blue Mountains - Sydney.

Edit: I take it back about my first point, it does do Blue Mountains if you plug it in, but it was being weird for a bit and kept showing me the same Syd - Melb trip no matter what I plugged in, so I thought it wanted a capital-to-capital connection.

Just saw the sequence in your comment: Sydney - Wollongong - Goulburn - Wagga - Forbes - Bathurst - Blue Mountains - Sydney. Type those names one by one and you will get a cyclic trip from/to Sydney. But the order of waypoints could be different, optimized for max curiosity within time and budget.

We have a version in the lab, where you could define durations in locations (e.g. 2 days at Wagga Wagga), even pin location to specific date.

Those locations are definitely present in our knowledge graph. You wanted them proposed by default, without explicitly entering them? Katoomba pops up pretty frequent in our lab (but Jenolan caves don't). I promise if you specify Katoomba and Jenolan caves as start or finish or travel-through points, you will get good routes via them all.

Why I can not open some websites on Internes as that one. It says: ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH

By the way I am webdesigner and if you wish hire me as a designer or tester for your IT projects, this is my email: dizayner.design@gmail.com

Also I will be glad find friends from over the globe :)

What OS and web browser do you use? What versions? I'd start from updating both to the latest ones.

this error can be caused by two reasons: 1. https site uses outdated ssl version - error is shown on the latest browsers 2. https site is accessed from the very old browser/OS with outdated versions of ssl there.

I entered "Melbourne" and was surprised (stupidly) that it never went far from the city. I wouldn't mind it just picking some other destinations given a week or so.

Some people love to stay a week in Melbourne. Though better to tell it where you want to start, what you like in the middle (waypoints, travel-thru) and where you finish. Could be same Melbourne or could be diff location.

We did not design UI at all, because we are thinking of voice interface. You are telling your desires and constraints in conversation. They are captured. Then API is called.

Or have dedicated "to" and "from" places, with the option to add more destinations.

Why does the site insist on having cookies enabled before it even attempts to work?

It caches API access token in the cookies to use for search requests, for throttling. If you search too fast, you will get human vs. robot check...

It's unclear what the first field is for, departure point or destination.

Agree, this is very thin wrapper on top of the tech we built. Will design UI to be both clear and engaging. Thank you for pointing to usability \m/

Enter start city/town, then multiple waypoints one by one that you want to visit, and end with finish city/town. BTW it's possible to copy/paste column text, separated by new line. If you enter this sequence into that field, you will get it ready for search.

Adelaide Daylesford, Victoria Grampians National Park Melbourne

Adelaide is start, Melbourne is finish. Two waypoints in the middle, could be routed, could be skipped, depending on time, budget, comfort, curiosity levels.

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