Offseason travel

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 07:50
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OK, maybe many of you guys already do this. You know, to avoid the crowds.
The wife and I had taken a load of washing to the caravan park laundry. When it was done we were hanging our stuff to dry on the provided clothes lines. There were a couple of young ones doing something similar and discussing the subject of visiting different areas at non popular times of the year. Maybe they were a bit over being inundated with grey
While I would not even entertain the idea of travelling through our desert regions during the middle of an Australian summer and neither of us would be particularly comfortable in the alps or high country in the winter, maybe a bit of middle season travel could be in order. Sort of spring and autumn rather than north for winter and south for summer.
Probably not optimal times but maybe worth a try. What do you guys do or think, without giving away toooo many secrets...Lol?

Oh, by the way, in case my pseudonym wasn't a give away, we are part of the grey rinse set. Hang on that aint a rinse, it's natural....hehe.

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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 08:36

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 08:36
G'day Pop,
It is a bit like a trade secret really hahahaha. Our last few trips have been like that but mainly forced on us by circumstances. The result was pleasing in that it wasn't busy but the weather is less pleasant (not bad mind you), some establishments are closed and the roads up north are chopped up by a season of traffic. All in all we now make it a preference where it is possible.

On our last trip we were doing the north in Sept - Nov and the fish were just coming on the bite and you have the place almost to yourself.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 09:09

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 09:09
Hi Beatit,

We did the GRR this last trip starting last day of April. Couldn't get away any sooner, grandkids birthdays, huge loss of Brownie points for no show. Glad we managed it when we did, a bit early for the graders or so we were told, they were just starting on a heap of sections so lots of lovely corrrrrugations. The upside, not too many people and most of the creeks still had a fair amount of water. It's starting to get a bit crowded with other old farts (like us) on the roads and in CP's now.
Maybe look at doing the north later in the season like you did next time.
Great this retired bit, thoroughly recommend it, travelling can be so flexible (:-D).

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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 08:44

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 08:44
More than avoiding the crowds, if you can cope with the extremes of weather, and put up with road closures from time to time (main highways are not closed for long periods), touring out of season can be the best.

In the north, where they can be accessed, the waterfalls are at their best in the wet season. In the Kimberley the locals told us to come back in summer and see the place in its glory.

In the south, the area is mostly drab and dry in summer when people visit, but beautiful and green in winter. Where I live, many mornings start with the sun shining through mists, and I marvel at the beauty year after year.


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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 09:16

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 09:16
Hi MH,

Yeah, know what you mean about the bush. We live in the hills east of Perth and after a hot summer the trees and plants are just hanging their heads waiting for the first rains.
Gets a bit nippy down your neck of the woods in winter, well for me, the wife loves it, but maybe the in between times.
I don't mind the sun shining through the trees, it's the icicles hanging of my nose that makes me shudder a bit.
Yeah, I know....bloody big late spring...hmmm.

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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:29

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:29
We also try to do "off season" trips. Like a misty drive in 2013 to the Vic High country. It was about 5 degrees. We had sleet that night and the fire was very popular. Crisp mornings really wake you up. The colours are so different. Clean and unspoiled. Vivid yet soft. It's magic.

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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:56

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:56
Hey Freshy,

Thanks for the photos and comments. Still trying to figure out if the bits about 5 degrees below and sleet were to encourage or deter me. lol.
I started shivering just at the thought and the day time temps where we are at the moment are low to mid 30,s.
Gotta admit, it does look mighty purrty though.

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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:07

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:07
The club also has a Christmas in July meeting at our property and also a trip into the bush. That IS COLD. Try this one. First snow of the season.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:21

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:21
That sure looks fresh, Freshstart. Where is it?

As my husband hadn't been in snow, we hoped for snow in Tasmania, but we just missed out. The day we returned to the mainland it snowed there as well as in the Victorian high country, but we were heading west from Melbourne.

We get pretty frosts here, but not snow. I did snow once when I was a young child, but just a light dusting of white.


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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:33

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:33
Just north of Cooma, in the NSW southern tablelands. I used to live in Mt Beauty and spent all my spare time up at Falls Creek. The family were members of the Albury Ski Club and the club had a great challet up at the creek. I learnt how to wag school while living there.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:31

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:31
It looks fantastic. Do your roads get closed in heavy falls?

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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:48

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:48
I have never know the ones to the property being closed. But we rarely get heavy snow at this altitude. Of course, the higher roads and tracks do get closed. Even the Alpine way has it closures. It's even worth a drive up there for the day just to sit in the warm car and look at the place. It always looks so clean and pure after a reasonable fall. And then the tourists hit it. Ah well.
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Reply By: get outmore - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 10:15

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 10:15
avoiding school holidays is always a good start
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 10:22

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 10:22
Agreed, we have booked into a CP about 45 k's out of Darwin and plan on barricading ourselves in behind barbed wire entanglements and electrified fences for the duration.
Did you know they have 4 weeks holidays up there?
Makes sense when you consider their Xmas hols are right in the middle of the wet. I guess???

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Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:07

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:07
traveling off peak is most definitely the way to go....and that is not only time of year..time of week and time of day can ease the journey.

#1...never travel during school holidays or over long week ends....unless you can some how leverage it....remember holidays drop in different weeks in different states.

You then need to work out how the other peaks lay out from there

A couple of weeks either side school holidays can be big the grey hairs look after kids during the holidays for families with two working parents.......they will either home run before or bugger off after.

The end of the school holidays and the first of the cool weather down south can trigger the wholesale northern turtle migration ( slow and carry their homes on their backs).

Turtle migration season can be not so bad........most turtes are not early risers or late travelers.....ya just need to have an idea when they emerge from their shells and set off.

For example....if traveling in the nort....heading either are wise to be well past the whitsunday turn off before 10 am.

If you get away early from many of the major centres you can have the traffic behind you all day.

when we roll out of brisbane heading north...we recon to be over the gateway bridge before 5am.....we avoid all the Brisbane traffic, we are thru gympie before the shops open, and most of the traveling traffic is behind us all just works all the way to Mackay.....if ya don't muck about ya get thru rocky before the schools come out.

We always try to travel on a Monday if we can, because everything is slow getting started on monday.

Don't forget to account for sacrificial that draw lots of people to particular locations.......these sacrificial anode events can suck people out of otherwise busy destinations for quite some distance arround.

Not only do they suck people out of places but out of may find it easy to get a fishing charter on the day of a big motor race in town for example.

Of course if you can..its worth watching the wind and tide.......not the weather the flow of travelrs and what causes them to move.

If you see a lot of vans heading south...that may be a time to head the other way.

If you hear that the moon phases are favorable for the barra..yeh well probaly not the time to go to one of the popular barra dams.....every mad bugger will be up there making noise and scareing the will have better chances next week when it is quieter...and you wont pay over the odds for everthing.

Oh yes this off peak thing is a very serious studdy.

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:31

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:31
Sacrificial anodes, indeed! We just tried booking Camooweal on 1 August (a room, not a site). Nope, the town is fully booked. No-one seems to know what occasion/event caused it, but I guess that doesn't really matter.

In the US we got merrily stuffed around by their Memorial Day weekend. Figured it wouldn't make a big difference to accommodation, but it turned out the town we "needed" on that day has a tradition of a HUGE parade and all the accom is booked out months ahead.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:50

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:50
Luv ya turn of phrase Bantam. If you aint a novelist you should have been.

Damn good analogy regarding the "sacrificial anodes" lol.

Bloody school holidays, should give the little darlings 8 weeks off once a year and make them turn up at the school every other day.

Bah humbug.

Yeah, gonna keep the research going about off season/peak travel.

Just like dedicated bus lanes during peak times of the day we should have dedicated "turtle lanes" at certain times of the year.

Hey, the bloody sticknest rat gets special protection, bloody act of parliament and all, what about us oldies, ain't we a threatened species?

Oh, we aren't aren't we, try towing your "shell" at less than 20 kph over the limit and watch the threats come tumbling in.

Bah humbug I say. (;-))

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 14:23

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 14:23
Turtle lane INdeed.....any second lane would be a about some passing lanes long enough to pass anything legally.

hardly anybody would care how fast turtles traveled if there where reasonable opportunitries to pass them.

It still amazes many people that highway #1 is still an undivided two lane road that floods for weeks at a time in several places north of Gympie.

Here is another "off peak tip"......if you want to kill a few meters and get ahead of the traffic...don't stop for lunch arround mid day.

Have a heavy smoko some time earlier, and when ya see all the turtles, tourists and sales reps pulling off to graze.....keep the foot burried....that way you can get a good 3/4 to an hour ahead of em.....if you keep you breaks to 15 to 30 minutes..they will never catch you and you wont have to pass them.

Even being carefull about where you break can make all the difference......most people looking for a break will stop on the incomming side of town.......if you just keep rolling and have ya break on the other side of town.....there is mostly a rest area each long as you keep your break will be back on the road before they are......this way you can pass 5 or 10 slower vehicles with no effort and no inconvienience.

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Follow Up By: Steve - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 20:50

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 20:50
Rocky....uuuugh.....I don't know if it's just me but after a run from Goondi, Miles, Taroom etc it's a bit of a shock to the system pulling up at traffic lights every 100 meters, or so it seems. Can't think of another town that affects me worse although I'm sure there are plenty. Would rather run thru Brissie or Sydney on the motorway, at least there's momentum and movement.
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Reply By: Freshstart - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:38

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:38
This year will be our first "top of the season" trip. Luckily it's to the Canning. Couldn't go any other time as a grand daughter wanted to come and she didn't want to take time out of school. First year high school so I can understand that.

I hope the Canning isn't going to be crowded!!!!
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:27

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:27
Mate, we did the CSR 16 years ago almost to the day. 45 cars passed us going the other way. We also saw quite a few going the same way as us, north to south. I doubt it has got any less crowded. We camped at Durba Springs for a couple of days and couldn't believe it when a Unimog with tour coach body on the back pulled in followed by 2 extended wheelbase Landcruiser Troopies. We moved on the next day as they looked like they were going to stay a while.
Thoroughly enjoyed the trip anyway apart from the corrugations up around wells in the 30's.

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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:30

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 13:30
We hope to also going on our own.
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 15:34

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 15:34
Can work out - 1st time I went along the GRR was September - I couldn't go earlier as I was meeting up with my Brother who was on a LSL trip around Oz with the wife and kids. The week before I got there, there was a extreme heat wave (2005) which scared all the Grey Nomads south.

By the time I got to Kunnanurra, it was still warm to hot but dry during the day, but the nights were cool. Our 3 weeks along the GRR we basically had most of the attractions and camp-sites to ourselves. Nothing was more than half full. Magic trip.

5 years later I did the same run during the peak season with another group - hated it. El Chequebook-o was a bleep fight, Bell Gorge you couldn't swing a cat sideways, waited 3 days to get into Mornington, Mt Barnett was full .... etc. etc. - so aiming for off-peak can be a better experience.

Mind you - the last night in Fitzroy Crossing was the 1st night of the humidity build up for the wet season - pig of a night - was more than happy to head south in a hurry at that stage.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 16:14

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 16:14
El Chequebook is about right. Got the last dollar they are ever going to get out of me. Emma Gorge whilst a nice enough spot was infested with tour coaches and cane toads. Guess they can't do much about the
Took the drive out to Zedidee Springs. Once again the tour coach had beaten us to it. Talk about not being able to swing a cat, you couldn't swing a cane toad for heads and bodies floating around in any of the pools. Once again, a very nice spot but overcrowded. We came away after a very short look around.
And lets not talk about the old fashioned washboard that passes for a road into this supposedly international standard resort.
Home Valley Station was much nicer. We camped there for a while. Good restaurant as well.

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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 16:48

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 16:48
Pop - agree. Home Valley or Ellenbrae are a much better option - even waiting for Mornington is OK as they limit the number of campers so it doesn't get too crowded.

El Chequebook-o last time was the pits. Campground was WAAAY overcrowded, the showers were cold, the toilets were overflowing - 1st time I was there we managed to snaffle a Riverside camp spot - never again.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 18:53

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 18:53

The fresh baked scones with jam and cream at Ellenbrae were something else.
One poor bugger with a Trakmaster van in tow got a hole punched in the floor from what he reckoned was a piece of a previous caravan that got hung up in that last creek crossing going in. Covered in water so he didn't see it and didn't know until he got in and opened the door of his van to see this lump of metal protruding from the floor.

What did you make of the camp ground "ablution'' block?

The word that comes to my mind was "rustic" but still miles ahead of El-Chequebook-o.

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