Arrivals & Departures Navigating the world from your car

On the road in the Kimberley.
Picture: Stephen Scourfield The West Australian
Photo of Stephen Scourfield

The old map book in the car door's pocket might still have its place, but in-car navigation systems and smartphones have taken over. And now there's a new wave of app-based ways to stay on the right road.

Here I am, driving through the Kimberley in the north of Western Australia, laughing at the car’s built-in navigation screen. I’m following the Great Northern Highway and there’s just a single yellow line across the green screen, not a turn-off anywhere.

“After 100km, go straight on at the junction.” Well, it hasn’t actually said that, but it could have.

Of course, in-car navigation isn’t always this simple, and we are not always helped by systems like this new Toyota Prado’s excellent system, which has Kimberley tracks named and showing, and even moves to a night setting, showing the ranges and ridges lit gently by moonlight as they pass across the screen.

Where we have reception, we can use our smartphones, of course.

But Travel Club Motoring Editor Sam Jeremic is onto something else, with a new navigation app that hooks the phone straight into the car.

It’s an example of high-end development finding its way down to affordable everyday cars, as you can find out in his excellent video story …

The Holden Captiva SUV range now has a good, standard feature that will appeal to travellers — Apple Car Play and Android Auto, right across the range. So, these Captivas now come with satellite in-car navigation for thousands of dollars less than if it had had it built in to them. Apple Car Play and Android Auto work through the car’s entertainment system, by using an app on your phone. Melissa Leo, Seven West Media

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