Thoughts to help plan our round Australia trip.

Submitted: Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 07:54
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We are planning to leave Sydney to travel for at least a year around Australia.

Would love to get ideas to help with the planning. In particular we cant work out what to do in the hot summer months. ITs the wet season up north, too hot inland, the coast is too crowded, fire bans and bush fires in the high country . Where do others go during this time?

If we leave in late February or March how do you time getting to the kimberley Kakadu etc in time for the winter months away from the heat and rain without rushing through other areas?

Which direction do you go North to Qld or west to WA and how do you fit in Darwin to Adelaide without going over the same roads twice?

Any experiences or thoughts appreciated
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 08:59

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 08:59
The first thing to realise is that you can not possibly see Australia in one year.
My advise is to pick 2 or 3 areas that are at the top of your list and to join the dots around the optimum time of the year to see those.

We like to be in the Kimberley as early as we can get in. That means keeping a watch on the weather and the roads and maybe finding a deviation for a few weeks on the way. You will have no problem at all doing that.

There are plenty of summer destinations. Coastal SA, High Country Vic, SW WA could occupy a year each. We still aim to spend a wet somewhere marooned in the Kimberley.

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Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:27

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:27
You can always come back to Lorella Peter for the wet
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:39

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:39
Actually, that would be a great spot, just missing a really big river.
How long does the track to the coast stay open these days?

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Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 18:54

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 18:54
Hi Peter,

I have been up to the coast in late December, but I stay their and know what rain we had. The latest visitor would be around mid November. After that it seems to be to hot for them.
They have a grader now so the tracks are getting better every year.

They have a new track up to the north, to a new creek with a big mouth to get large boats out to the gulf. Fishing just gets better.
Cheers Andy
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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:25

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:25
Hi bks,

If you could start your travels in NSW, SW /Mid QLD from February and work your way up to Cairns, April up to Cape York, then along the Savannah Hwy to Darwin.

I would leave it till early May until seeing Kakadu, main reason for that time is a lot would still be closed after the wet like Jim Jim falls etc. That will put you in the Kimberley around late May early June, Early July at Broom and take your time heading South. Their is a lot to see on the west coast.Perth around September, Adelaide October Vic in November and Tas in December

Now you have done the outside you have all the inside to do next time.

Cheers Andy
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 11:25

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 11:25
That would be OK if the OP is going to ignore Qld. When going around the block I generally ignore Qld and NT and start my touring from Katherine mid June which seems to be what the rest of the traffic is doing. It would not hurt to be up to a month ahead of that but certainly no later than mid June.

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Reply By: Athol W1 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:59

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 09:59
My advice would be to not place anything in concrete, be very flexible with your itinerary.

If you are leaving Sydney Feb/March I would suggest making your way towards the high country SE NSW and from there down to the Murray River for a while (plenty of good low cost free camping) then head towards Mount Gambier (low cost camping in the showgrounds, and free entry to any events that may be on there). I would then head towards Adelaide and Port Augusta making sure that you visit the Yorke Peninsular. By this time you should be into June which is a good time to be heading north so a visit to Coober Pedy, Uluru (purchase your 3 day pass) and Alice Springs, Mataranka and the Hot Springs (2 off), Katherine to Darwin.

If you are in Kakadu late August you may be lucky enough to visit Ooenpelli for their annual Open Day (in Arnhem Land, and the only time that you can get in without either knowing someone who lives there, or working there yourself). Plan on being in Kakadu for a minimum of 4 days, 6 would be better, and whilst in that area be sure to visit Litchfield NP which can be done as a day trip from Darwin.

Unfortunately you can not avoid the 300km return drive to Katherine and whilst there visit the Nitmiluk NP (Katherine Gorge). I would then proceed west and basically follow the highway to Perth, but with side tracks in to Broome, Barn Hill Station, Onslow (one of the few places in Australia where you can stand on the one spot and watch the sun both rise and set over water with no land on the horizon ), Exmouth and Coral Bay, Denham and Monkey Mia, Cervantes (Numbung NP and The Pinnacles) .

Whilst in Kununurra pick up your WA National Parks Pass which gives you entry to most of their parks (NOT Monkey Mia or Rottnest Island), you do still pay camping fees and there are plenty of parks to visit, too numerous to list here.

From Perth I would suggest basically follow the coast to Esperance, then north to Kalgoorlie, follow the Golden Pipeline east to about Northam, then work your way to Hayden (Wave Rock), then continue east to Norseman to cross the Nullarbor (plenty to see and plenty of camping both free and at roadhouses, we took 6 days last year) on your way to Ceduna. From there visit the Eyre Peninsular and decide where to from Port Augusta to make your way back home.

Have a great trip and see you on the road.

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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 11:33

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 11:33
I would suggest going anti-clockwise. Pass through Katherine late May/early June. That will give you the southern coastline in summer.

You will not have time for Tasmania. You need at least two months there to see it properly and 4-6 weeks at least to make the ferry fare viable (comparing travelling solo and using on site accommodation Vs site fees for van.)
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:00

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:00
You have a delemer on your hands, most of Aus is best travelled and seen during the cooler months apart from Tassy.
I'd bypass Adelaide, you won't miss much. The Flinders Ranges is a must see but only during the cooler months.

I don't think you will be able to "not" back track on a few routes if you want to see the good stuff.

I'd be getting info on what is really not worth travelling too, like Adelaide.
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Follow Up By: Member - Charlie B2 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 13:00

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 13:00
Great serve on Adelaide, Cruiser! Excellent stuff!

Depends also on what you call "the good stuff", too, although I certainly can't argue with the Flinders Ranges, although, if you can stand the probably high temperatures, the wildflowers should be great in about six weeks, after the rain they've had there over the last few days.

While all on this forum, I'm sure, recognise that the pretty city may not be your cup of tea, have you considered that the OP's tastes, needs and wishes may not correlate exactly with your own views? For all we know, the OP could be a Clipsal fan or want to take in an Adelaide Festival of Arts. Isn't one man's meat another man's poison? Surely, whether he chooses to visit Adelaide, or not, would be a decision for the OP and his family?

I'm sure, if I tried hard enough, I could find a thing or two about your own home town that I might find less than attractive, but I won't slag it off here, or anywhere else.


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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:06

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:06
Charlie B2 posted
"I'm sure, if I tried hard enough, I could find a thing or two about your own home town that I might find less than attractive"

Go for it! I'm from Adelaide.

But to put things into context with places to see and things to do when travelling Aus with a time limit, Adelaide is one that I personally would trade off to see for better places. South Aus has far more places that is more appealing to the eyes, heart and soul than our capital Adelaide and outer suburbs.
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Follow Up By: Member - Charlie B2 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 15:15

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 15:15
Hi Cruiser,

Your latest follow-up has certainly provided much better context to your earlier comment and, perhaps, if the earlier statement had included the contextual suggestions you've now added, I might not have been so quick to put keyboard to forum ("pen to paper" really does sound better, but doesn't quite work in these circumstances), for which I do apologise, unreservedly.

Unfortunately, I'm sure we all accept that anyone trying to cover many thousands of kilometres and however many (?) thousand square kilometres of this great country in a limited time, is going to have to take a shortcut or two or fifteen, assuming, of course, as any working family must, that the time available for the trip is more critical than anything else.

Also unfortunately, this country is just so vast that entire categories of people might say almost the same about huge chunks of it - I love the wide open, quiet, desert places, but I have friends and family members who'd be quite happy if they never saw those places again, or at all ! Conversely, from my own perspective, if I never saw another city of any kind on my travels around Australia, it would be too soon (and, yes, I live in Adelaide too), but it is exactly those differing views, and the fact that we're allowed to hold them, which make this country so great.

In any event, I certainly hope that bks gets sufficient information out of the overall discussion to be of some assistance in his/her planning for the big one.

I most sincerely wish him/her the very best of luck on his trip! Wish it were me!


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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 15:42

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 15:42
"Go for it! I'm from Adelaide." - peed meself larfin ....

reminds me of the advice not to make disparaging public comments about a place when someone else is listening... got flamed once on a trip with 4 or 5 vehicles from the 4wd club on our way back from Western NSW after a long trip. We managed to hit Dubbo around 3-4 in the arvo after a long tiring drive and hit all the afternoon peak traffic including a few over-sized loads traveling at 20 kph, numerous roundabouts and traffic lights and we all were a bit frustrated. I called out to the rest of the group with the observation that I found traveling through Dubbo rather charmless and I didn't find anything attractive about the place. Next thing this voice comes through the UHF ether advising me "if you don't like it you can bleep off and don't come back!!" to which I replied "is good mate, I'm already on the road out of here!" came the reply "good bleeping riddance a-hole" - my reply .. "many thanks for the travel advice - have a nice day" ... I was still copping insults until I went out of radio range..

The rest of my group were peeing themselves laughing for hours afterwards. To this day whenever I travel through Dubbo one of our group asks me on the radio if I have any tourism advice for visiting Dubbo.
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Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:22

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:22

Just do your own thing .
Pick a direction and just go.
where ever you go I bet you will love it.
Tassie in the hotter months is about the only thing I would recommend.

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Reply By: bks - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 13:38

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 13:38
Looks like closer to 2 years, thinking leave Feb/ March do the coast Qld Nt Gibb river road broome down the coast to sw WA over the nullarbor back inSydney december. Leave again March central Qld central australia down to flinders ranges, innamincka birdsville then down to the Darling river run then along the murray through the snowy and high country then back to sydney.

Any way just throwing ideas around.

Thank you every one for your input.
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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:10

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:10
I'm thinking the same

Don't forget to add central Aus into the mix
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Follow Up By: bks - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:45

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:45
Yes that whole area Alice springs chambers pillar, Williams creek, cooper pedy, oodnadatta etc should take a month or more at least.
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:10

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 14:10
We left ACT in Feb, went clockwise, and finished in Tas for Xmas. Had great weather all the way, covered 34,000k and did not back track very much at all.
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Reply By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 17:25

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 17:25
You can always spend a month or two over the hottest part of the year in Tasmania which is the most beautiful place. The berries and cherries alone make it worth going there in January or February. We have been there a few times now, the last trip was with the van and we spent two months there from late January. Missed a number of 40 degrees plus days at home in NSW and had mostly glorious weather and a great diversity of landscapes with short distances to travel. We even saw some snow fall when walking in the alpine country.
Even in peak season it is rarely very busy most places although in the week over Christmas NY it would pay to book into parks or wherever you plan to stay, if you happened to be there then.

We have only ventured to the far north tropical regions once, in 2013, and found the heat and humidity oppressive despite it being July and August. We have wonderful memories of Kakadu and the Kimberley but while we were walking in the heat and sweating like pigs to see the sights, or pulling up in the van for lunch to find temperatures inside of 40 degrees, it was not all that much fun. I guess it depends on how well you tolerate the heat as to when you go. We are obviously not good but at least both of us feel this way!

hope this helps you a little in your planning.

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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 23:57

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 23:57
Tassie is great between beginning of Feb and Easter - good weather when much of the rest of Aus is too hot or too wet; kids are back at school so plenty of good camp spots. Fantastic bushwalking and beaches, and some interesting history. Great golf courses too, if that's your thing.
I'm biased, but we make sure we are never away from our home State between Christmas and May.
Happy travelling !
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 01:45

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 01:45
Hi bks; when the climate becomes unpleasant in the north, and before the risk of cyclones, head south. When you can get back into the north, head north again. If you zigzag over two years, you will fit in a lot of different regions including Central Australia. You might even need three summers; one for the north of Western Australia, one for the north of Northern Territory and another for far north Queensland.Central Australia is also one to visit in the winter months although it can get cold, it can also be very hot in summer.

Summer tours for us have included the south coast of Western Australia, the Eyre Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road.


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