Brisbane to Darwin - Mum and kids

Submitted: Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 19:57
ThreadID: 103421 Views:2197 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Hi Guys,
My dream was to travel Oz when I turned 40, after my children were grown.Well, I ended up having 4 and still have 2 young ones (4 & 7). Am 38, letting go of my big ego, taking a break from working 12 hour days, selling up and hitting the road. My friends think I'm crazy.....I know they're secretly jealous. Whilst I am scared s*&tless and excited at the same time, I am a little nervous that the journey may not be the safest by myself with children. Would love to hear from anybody else who has done this trip and get advice on the best places to stay etc. Any safety tips for a single female travelling alone would be much appreciated.

I'm not saying "one day", I'm just getting out and doing it :)


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Reply By: Robyn R4 - Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 21:01

Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 21:01
Good on you Rach!
My best friend is a single mum of 4 who holidayed with her children each year on the tightest shoestring budget. They had great experiences!
Best advice is think safely just the same as you would at home...Lock up your possessions. Be aware of others. Have emergency plans-what can go wrong and how would I deal with it (auto club? UHF radio?)?
Pick your neighbours-grey nomads at an isolated spot are a better choice than young people swigging the esky's contents. Go by gut instinct. Consider your possessions (many people leave amazing things in their tent annexes on holidays and wonder why it was knocked off while they slept or went out for the day-would you leave your stuff all out on your front verandah at home while you slept or went out?!)
Listen to the experiences of your ever-changing neighbours. They'll help out when you have worries or questions or problems. It's a great support system out on the road, whether you travel for 2 weeks or 2 years!

And enjoy the amazing times with your children.

Best of luck to you!

AnswerID: 515421

Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 21:28

Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 21:28
Great idea Rachael Jayne.

Robyn gave really good advice.

NRMA/RACQ (or whatever auto club is in your State) Premium Cover is worth every cent it costs if anything goes wrong with your vehicle.

It really is safe out there, especially away from the big cities. Just keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings.

A well stocked First Aid kit.

Take your time and have fun.


FollowupID: 794692

Follow Up By: Rachael Jayne - Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 21:35

Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 21:35
Thank you Robyn and Steve, I am so looking forward to this experience with my kids and teaching them what true beauty really is :)
FollowupID: 794693

Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 15:23

Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 15:23
Hey Rach!
Me again...
If you ever start to worry about the kids' education, don't. I won't disclose what trade I'm in (ha ha) but their teachers (with a bit of warning-don't ask the day before you leave!!) will be able to give work if needed and advise.
There is so much more to education than what takes place in a classroom. I know a 7 year old who can relate so strongly to things in the classroom because of his family's 12 month "lap" recently and his so-called "gaps" in his learning were minimal and being closed rapidly.
Kids are resilient creatures!!
FollowupID: 794719

Follow Up By: Rachael Jayne - Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 19:15

Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 19:15
That's so good to hear Robyn, I have been worried about Master 7's education, however I agree that nothing can compare to the experiences he will get in the outback. Funny, I just realised my parents did the same trip with 5 of us when I was 7, amazing how history really does repeat. I would love to think my kids will be brave enough to do the same when they have young ones :)

He will certainly have some stories to share with the class when we get back :)
FollowupID: 794726

Reply By: tonysmc - Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 00:45

Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 00:45
I just finished a similar trip last week and could not believe the amount of people free camping at roadside stops now. Most stops there was no room, so beware if planning to free camp. I found that while I tended to camp out, every number of days I would plan to stop at a caravan park with a good playground. The kids loved jumping pillows the best, so in the end that would be essential for us to stay there. Plus kid friendly parks meant other kids to play with. While they played, I could do a load of washing etc.
I read on this site a number of years ago not to let your children use the amenities alone as “all sorts” of people travel. Although a real pain with one adult and two children I have always heeded this warning.
If nothing else I would make sure you have is a digital thermometer, spare batteries (ear or forehead type), Panadol and Nerofen. I found it a lifesaver when in the middle of nowhere. It was very late and I just checked on the kids and noticed one was hot. A quick check and saw they were 39.5! All turned out ok as I had it all with me.
I have only done short trips (4-6 weeks at a time) however people always say when we return, how the kids have changed and developed. And more importantly the kids say how much they loved it. First off it takes a little time to get into your rhyme, but you soon work it out and you will have a great time.
As for single women travelling alone, funny that last week while camped out I was talking to a guy about outback travel the amount of people doing it these days. We also commented on the amount of women travelling alone and that you would have never seen it years ago. Probably just as safe out there as in the city.

Cheers Tony.
AnswerID: 515424

Follow Up By: Rachael Jayne - Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 07:21

Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 07:21
Thanks Tony, I am planning on doing 6-8 hours per day and camping each night, so that is awesome advice. This is my first trip so will also only be doing 4-6 weeks and maybe going down south to Melbourne next time over the Christmas holidays for another 6 weeks. Funny how life can change so dramatically just by the simple choices we make hey :)

By far the world's keenest fisherwoman, so the coast road on the way home will be amazing. The hardest part will be coming back home to reality. But then, is it truly reality or just what society expects it to be??

Happy travels.

FollowupID: 794707

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 12:47

Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 12:47
R.J.....HELL sister go and get yours...there is plenty to go around.

So you like to you have a boat?
If not don't stress that...but go get ya self a boat licence...there are boats that can be hired.

Cant help you south of the border, be we have had a good look around between Brisbane & T'ville, and have relatives that travel up and down and across to darwin and the gulf pretty regular.

Now you say "camping" you mean tent or some sort of van or trailer.....a van or trailer will give you better speed of set up, better facilities and more security.

Places...oh hell there are plenty of places, and various costs.

So are you realy set on getting to Darwin first trip or just north......driving it straight and 10 to 12 hours a day, Brisbane - Darwin would take you around 5 to 6 days depending on the route.....people have been known to do it in 4 days by the most direct route, pushing the hours and in good conditions.....maybe a little less distance for a start.

Almost all the dams in QLD are stocked impoundments and have some sort of accomodation camping, vans cabins.
Fishing and camping Queensland Dams by Rodger Harrison has a pretty good run down.

Qld fishing monthly, is worthwhile and in the north Fishing NQ.

Sommerset Dam would be a good destination to start with, a couple of hours drive and doable for a weekend shake down, good caravan park and I believe a boat can be hired.

Heading north both Awonga and Mondran are within a days drive.....the top southern barra dams.....if you got a few $ Both Rod harison and Johnny Mitchel do guided fishing on both and in the Barum river.

While in that area there is Agness Water/1770 up to ya armpits in backpackers and you'd swear you where on the set of home and away.....but there is a good caravan park you can get into off peak.

Go inland and there is Cania, two good caravan parks and a boat can be hired.

Inland from Mackay there is a string of dams...Kenchant you can camp or caravan at...right on the water iff you like......plenty to see thru there.
There is a very nice not so cheap retreat at broken river, where if you are lucky platipus can bee seen across the river there is a national parks camping area.

There is the whole Whitsunday thing.

North and south of T'ville there are several national parks and other camp sites including a couple of free camps.

If you are interested in heading in land a little, ya gota go and see the Burdican Dam..especially if its over the spill & camping at the dam wall, but no shops or fuel.

On the way in be sure to get a lunch at the railway hotell at Ravenswood, the hotel oposite the wooden windmill.....plenty to see arround town...including the huge open cut hole you can look at ....educational

Interesting stuff at charters too.

That should give you something to chew on.


and so on
AnswerID: 515430

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 14:28

Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 14:28
Go for it! Make sure your vehicle is well serviced before you go and limit each child to one small back pack of "treasures" if you can! You will generally feel safer and have more helpful neighbours than in the city.
I would suggest you don't get too ambitious with your trip planning. Itineraries are death to such trips and distances can seem very different on the ground from the way they look on a map while you are at home. As the sole driver you must take care not to get tired. Also, as you go you will learn of places you want to visit. Some stops will be worth a few extra days. With young children you will all enjoy it more if you don't travel every day or too far at a time. It is not much fun to just look at the white line on the road! We have been in camps and seen adults trying to force loudly resisting children into the car! The aim is to all have a wonderful time and be open to opportunities that turn up. Then you will all have marvellous memories. The places you don't get to this trip will still be there another time. Good luck! Lynne
AnswerID: 515438

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