Sydney to Darwin good road, not the quickest route

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 11:51
ThreadID: 106908 Views:1656 Replies:7 FollowUps:13
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Hi Everyone,
I am making the same road trip with my husband in early June towing a 14 ft van.

I am wondering now if you have any other advice. We were considering the Tamworth Roma St George route but a friend said that some of the roads are not good.

Now we are looking at the Dubbo Bourke Charleville route. My husband does have some health concerns and we will not be travelling more than 400 k per day.

Do you have any comments please about caravan parks if you stayed in any and road conditions.

We are not in a real hurry but want to be there in 7-10 days and will share some of the driving.

CHeers, Cecilyt
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Reply By: Pradobob - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:23

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:23
Hi Cecilyt,

Dubbo, Bourke etc would be OK. Then Cloncurry, Mt Isa, 3 Ways
Good caravan parks in all major towns. Roads aren't too bad, but usually there are repairs happening along the way.
Give plenty of space to semi's. Even pull right off the road if need be.
It's the best part of 4000km from Sydney, so 10 days is realistic.
My wife has some health problems, (pacemaker, kidney problems, stroke risk) but help is not far away if you stick to main roads/towns.
Where do you intend to stay in Darwin? Probably need to book up there.

Have fun, safe travels,

Cheers, Bob
AnswerID: 529154

Follow Up By: nickoff - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 14:07

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 14:07
I second the requirement to pre book space in Darwin at the moment, whether its caravan park sites, cabins and camping, or Hotel/Motel Resort type accommodation.

Currently we have issues with accommodation up here due to the construction of the IMPEX gas Liquefication plant.

All Hotels are fully booked with construction personal. Likewise caravan parks with cabins.

Private accomadation rentals are through the roof pricewise, with a vacancy rate of less than 1%. landlords market at the moment.

There is an issue with our declining tourist industry, directly related to the unavailablily of tourist accomadation. Tourists have not been able to find a place to stay, so all the tour operastors are suffering a lack of business due to a reduced number of travellers in the area.

I hope you have per arranged a site for your stay.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:26

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:26
For something different why not go via South Australia, Coober Pedy and the Alice. According to Google Maps it is only 300 Kms further. The roads will be fine. Yu could even go via Broken Hill or Mildura. We use the Mildura route often.

Phil
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Reply By: Pradobob - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:34

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:34
That is a good alternative PJR. Much better roads that way. It might take a few days longer though, at 400km per day. (I'm actually from Adelaide)
Perhaps you could bump it up to 500km for a couple of days to compensate, Cecilyt?
Good caravan parks/overnight stops all the way on main highway.
Bob
AnswerID: 529159

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:36

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:36
Hi Cecily,

An option would be Dubbo, Cobar, Broken Hill, Port Augusta then up the Stuart Highway. Good bitumen all the way, caravan aprks or roadhouses at regular intervals and enough traffic so that you would be able to get assistance should that be necessary.

And good on you for sharing the driving!

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Cecilyt - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:15

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:15
Sorry, John and Val and especially Val,

Thanks for this option, I had not thought of this way. I will checkout the mileage. How is the road from Peterborough to Port Augusta?

Yep I am going to give the driving a BIG go! Smaller van I should be ok.

Thanks again, Cecilyt
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:53

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:53
If you continue west from Peterborough to Jamestown and Gladstone then north along the coast past Port Germein (duck in for a peek at the old jetty) you will avoid the steep descents into Port Augusta that you would encounter if you go north from Peterborough. There are a few hills - just rolling country really, so you should be fine.

Cheers,

Val.
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Reply By: Cecilyt - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:10

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:10
Many thanks for your quick replies..we have out son and his wife and 2 chn in Darwin so will be staying with them, either in the van if the baby cries to much! or in their home.
The baby is due about 20th June so we need to arrive there about then.
We will be staying a few weeks and then aim to return via the coast. We prob will make for Rockhampton as I think that Townsville is just too far up for us as we need to be back in early - mid Aug.

Are there petrol stations available fairly regularly along that route? My husband is worried about petrol consumption.

I will take time to check back over your replies now, thanks again, any hints are appreciated. Yes my husband has the pace maker and defibillator now. He was very confident wiht pulling vans but lost 2 toes and part of the top of his R foot a coupe of years ago now so this is our first real trip since all that happened. We sold a bigger van and downsized to this one.
We flew by plane last year and he was so uncomfortable and cramped being over 6 ft he said he would drive next time! So this is it!
Thanks again for your responses, Cecilyt

AnswerID: 529171

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:42

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:42
Which one mate? "Are there petrol stations available fairly regularly along that route?"

I know on the Adelaide run there is.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:48

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:48
When I say "Adelaide" I mean either Val's through Broken Hill or mine through Mildura. Both will be fine.

One stop could be at Balranald. They have a nice caravan park on your left just as you go over the bridge on the way into town.

Can't help more than that as we don't tend to use parks much these days through there as we are normally use motels until we get to the area that w are going to "explore". Time is still a big problem with us. With my wife only having four weeks annual holidays.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Cecilyt - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:05

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:05
HI Phil..sorry I didn't explain.

I meant on the route from Dubbo, Bourke, Charleville, Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton, Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Camboweal, Barkely RH, three ways and then a long stretch Renner
Springs, Elliott, Newcastle waters, Daly waters, and on up to Katherine.

If anyone has advice about petrol along this route ( pulling a van) I would appreciate your adcive, do you take petrol tanks with you? )

I appreciate your reply, but we haven't got time unfortunately to come from Sydney ( or rather Nowra on the Sth Coast of NSW) to Adelaide as my husband has an appointment with the heart specialist just before be we leave.

Thanks again, Cecily

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:16

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:16
No worries. Enjoy. Only too happy to help.
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Follow Up By: Pradobob - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:29

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:29
I don't know what tow vehicle you own, but I would think you would be safe with 350km range.
Check out this link, and others.
http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080311052027AAk7F4c

Bob
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:51

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 16:51
That's not a bad drive is it. Kind of puts this country into perspective. A bloke from Fiji was here yesterday and he asked how long the drive was. His eyes nearly popped out.

We are off on a drive later this year. Ten thousand K's and we have to do it in four weeks. Three days to do the 3000 kms to the start and just on 5 days to do the 4000 K's back home from the end. An the trek. 2000Ks of the Canning Stock Route. I don't like the before and after but we do not have a choice. I can't put these "bucket list" trips off.

Phil
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Reply By: Member - blackbird1937 - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 21:23

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 21:23
Hi, You will not have fuel problems with a 350 km range as I have ridden a m/bike with 300km range and never had trouble getting to next fuel stop Broken Hill to Darwin or Melbourne, Charleville, Three Ways to Darwin also Barkly Homestead, Borroloola, Daly Waters. I am over 70 and still ride 800 to 1000km per day. Just enjoy your trip.
AnswerID: 529199

Follow Up By: nickoff - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 11:23

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 11:23
About your longest between fuel stops in the Territory will be on the Barkly Highway, between Barkly Homestread and Camoweal at about 270 Kms.

All others are a comfortable distance apart.
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Reply By: Cecilyt - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:20

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:20
Many thnks for your replies..much appreciated and ery helpful. I now feel that we are NOT attempting the impossible given our ages - late 60's and my husbands health problems which are generally under control with care and medication.

He really wants to 'have a go' and the Dr has said OK as long as he doesn't overdo it. We will take regular stops and breaks for R and R and do appreciate your comments re the availability of these together with the petrol availability.
I am really quite excited and really looking forward ot this new adventure. we are taking the van for a run next week down the coast to try to determine just how I manage driving and the petrol consumption.

I am determined to drive part of the way although rather scared of the road train situation, but will let them pass obviously.

THanks again, your replies have been really helpful, cheers, Cecilyt
AnswerID: 529257

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 14:50

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 14:50
Cecilyt,

Hope you both have a safe and enjoyable trip to D'town. As others have said, fuel should not be a problem, and even from Camooweal to Barkly Homestead, at a bit under 270 kms, you'll probably have a tail wind across there, so economy should be better than normal.

Re your concern about road trains. I thought there was a good article on this site, by Doug Tilley, about road train etiquette, but can't find it. Maybe it's on his own webpage?

Most truck drivers are responsible, and wouldn't want to have an accident anymore than you would. Just drive normally as you would, and the "big fellars" will work around you. However, if you are about to be overtaken by a road train, keep at your normal speed. DO NOT slow down when YOU think he can pass, as the clear distance ahead may not be enough for a 53 metre vehicle to pass. When he does pull out to pass you, you can ease up on the accelerator, but it is best not to brake at this time.

Road trains usually travel at 90 clicks, but there are some that are a little quicker. Once you're in hilly country, then they are often the ones holding you up :-)))

The weather in June will be cool and comfortable, even in Darwin. Enjoy,

Bob.


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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 15:46

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 15:46
Hi again Cecily,
From someone of similar vintage, be reassured that you are definitely not attempting the impossible! There are many of us with health "issues"(along with all the paraphenalia, pills, pacemakers and the like) that go grey nomading, and even to quite remote places. The key to it from our experience is to travel at a pace that you find comfortable. Dont try to push yourself by driving too far or too fast, such that you get overtired. We regularly change drivers every couple of hours and aim to stop by 4pm at the latest. And if we feel that we are getting tired we take a lay-day providing there is a pleasant place to stop for a day.

I hope you have an enjoyable trip.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
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Follow Up By: Cecilyt - Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 15:33

Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 15:33
Hi Val and Bob, many thanks for your encouraging replies.

You have given me such helpful advice and I am very grateful for this.

You have also given me the confidence to do this trip as it is something that we really thought that we would not be able to do given the health constraints. My husband's specialist has said the same thing..go about it sensibly as many others have...

We really did not enjoy the plane trip one bit and as our son and his family are obviously going to stay there for a couple more years and there is a new baby coming, my husband started talking about the possibility of this trip. We want to take the van so that when the house gets noisy with 2 small chn and a baby, Ron ( hubby) can retreat to the van for some peace! They only have one car so last year we had to borrow or hire one. So all indications pointed to us taking our car and van and making a holiday of the road trip!

Now it is becoming a reality and we are starting to get excited. If the rain ever stops here on the coast, we are taking the van down the coast for a sort trip to estimate the petrol consumption and try it out for any problems. I am also going to have a drive to start getting used to towing again as I haven''t done it for many years now.

Thanks again everyone for your advice and encouragement. Cheers, Cecily
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