8 week trip options

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 13:16
ThreadID: 119426 Views:2268 Replies:8 FollowUps:1
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Hi Everyone,

I have read bits and pieces on so many forums I though it would get some straight answers from those who know.

My wife and I are planning a Long service trip.
We have potentially 8 weeks (maybe 10 but working on 8)
We live in Melbourne and have two options we can not decide over.

The first is to do Melb-Adelaide- Alice Springs- west McDonnell ranges- Darwin area and back home through outback QLD (ish)

The second is to do this trip up to Darwin and turn left, head out through Kimberley region, across to Broome, down the west coast and back across the Nullarbor.

The first trip will give us time to relax and look at stuff (we think) and we thought the second trip would be too tight and just be driving all the time. others have said no problems at all.

What are your thoughts as I am sure many of you have already discovered these great regions.

Thanks for any help,

Truly confused,

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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 13:30

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 13:30
Well, I’m a planning nut from way back and enjoy that part of a trip. But I remember some of the best advice given to me when travelling through Europe as a free (well free of kids) young adult with Mrs Landy as newly weds...

And that was get on a train and off when it suits you, and if you find a place you enjoy and like, stay and soak it up!

Perhaps you could apply that theory, point the vehicle down the driveway and head-off in the direction it takes you.

More specifically to your question. I am a great fan of the Gulf Savannah Country having spent a good part of my young years out there – plenty to see and do so I would lean that way. I have some write-ups under My Blog if you want to take a read...

Give some thought to the experiences you want to enjoy, what accomodation you will have, time of year you are travelling etc...

But therein lies the problem though, there is so much to see and do whichever way you head, and to me that is why that advice holds so well to this day!

Enjoy the trip and planning, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 556789

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 15:01

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 15:01
Hi Nelly,
Thats a big question you ask, and I can understand your confusion. You dont say how you are travelling - sedan or 4WD, camping or caravan etc, but that will have a bearing on your time frame. As will the time of year, and whether you want to do a lot of driving or not so much.

My 2 cents worth of advice would be that the Kimberley option would be too rushed for your proposed 8 week time frame. Here is one of our blogs - or really the first part of a blog - of one of the trips we have done to the Kimberley so you can judge for yourself.

Your first option is much more do-able in your timeframe, given that you could spend a couple of weeks or more around Alice Springs, taking in the east Macdonnell Ranges as well as the western section, and having a look at the Flinders Ranges on the way up. If you have enough time you can head up to Darwin and Kakadu, if not turn east near Tennant Creek (or even at the Plenty Highway junction) and head for western Queensland where a short side trip to Lawn Hill gorge would be a must. By heading east you have a bit of flexibility but if you head further west you will give up that flexibility.

Whatever you decide to do may I suggest that you do not try to run with the sort of rigid plan that says be at point A on day 5. Plan the gear you need to take, possible route, etc but don't pin yourselves down too much in your planning timetable. There are many variables in outback travel and nothing kills the pleasure of an adventure quicker than having to meet unnecessary self imposed deadlines. As Landy says, if you find a place you like, or just need to stop for a bit, just stay put. In 8 or even 10 weeks you will just get a taste of what is out there, better to savour the taste instead of trying to do too much.

There are numerous other blogs that we have posted that may help you plan your itinerary. Good luck with it all.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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AnswerID: 556791

Reply By: Member - nellyjr - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 15:06

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 15:06
Great advice from you both so thank you.
we will be in a 4wd, fully self sufficient with a Kimberley off road camper, solar etc.
we definitely want to do all the walks and see what we can so I am pretty sure the Melb-Adel-Darwin return through QLD will be the chosen trail as I thought anything else would be too rushed and I don't want to do this trip just to say ive been somewhere, I want to experience where ive been.

Cheers and thanks again.
AnswerID: 556792

Follow Up By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 17:37

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 17:37
I,d do the Melb-Alice Springs as a rush job! Once in Alice I would take my time and start to relax and explore the area as well as make my way to Darwin. If you wanted you could turn left at Katherine and head to Kununurra for a week. Get a taste of the potential of the Kimberleys for your next trip. 8 weeks will go very quickly and you want a holiday, not a been there-got a t-shirt to prove it trip. You can always do the Melb-Alice trip another time, taking your time if you feel inclined. Leaving the top-end and heading home via Qld will see you go through some great areas as well. The Savannah Way is a fantastic road trip as well.

Just take your time and if you don't do it all in one trip..you plan another.

FollowupID: 843062

Reply By: Member - Odog - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 18:50

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 18:50
G'day Nellyjr
My wife and I did our first bigger trip, from Queanbeyan near Canberra, to Perth and back, on the way over we did the eyre peninsula, where we had booked 3 nights at memory cove, (just to make sure) the only other booking we made was Esperance on the way home.. The rest of the time we just camped where ever suited.. Spent 5 nights in Perth at sons place.. Used google earth to find places, along with info provided off this site, and camps7 book. We found that a few days were big days.. 800-900 kms but that allowed us to spend more time where we wanted to.. When you consider all up we did 10600km in 8 weeks, and a few days with big kms, makes the rest of the trip at a more relaxed pace.. We crossed paths with a black Nissan navara, several times, spoke to him on the uhf, massively tight schedule that they were on, drive in, take a quick look, and drive out again... I couldn't do it like that... Enjoy your planning, and take it as it comes.. And have a great trip, with what ever you decide. Cheers Odog
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AnswerID: 556796

Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 19:17

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 19:17
If a days drive is around 500kms, then you will do around 30 driving days doing the big trip via the Kimberley. Each driving day would include stops to see whatever you happen upon. That gives you around 26 days of not driving. Some sections you are better off doing longer spells than 500 kms because there isn't anything there, so it would be closer to 26 days driving with 30 rest days of your choice. As an example you could spend 4 days in Adelaide, Uluru, Alice, Darwin, Broome, Monkey Mia and Perth with a couple of 1 day stops at other places thrown in. Make your decision with that in mind. Either way will be fun, but will only be a sampler for a future trip.
AnswerID: 556797

Reply By: Member - Terry W4 - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 21:47

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 21:47
Have just completed an 8 week trip to the top end with my brother. See: https://terrywalls.wordpress.com

We did Canberra- through Vic to Adelaide - to Alice Springs - Tennant Creek (don't bother) Daly Waters etc to Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine Gorge, then through western Qld (Camooweal, Mount Isa, Winton, Longreach etc) through to the coast and home via Brisbane, Bellingen.

Towing a cub camper and di the Flinders Ranges and the Oodnadatta track as well as a side trip to Coober Pedy.

It was a great trip and I would urge for you to leave the bitumen whenever you can.

There are some good side trips which are not that onerous.

AnswerID: 556800

Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 22:55

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 22:55
What ever the time frame, be it weeks or months, we head out with a few things to see in mind, if we get that far. We travel in a relaxed and leisurely manner. Half way through the time frame, we turn around and try to incorporate different roads and features. It doesn't matter how far we get or how much we see, so long as we enjoy our touring and are not stressed by unrealistic time frames. In reality our average travel times have been between 100 and 200 kilometres per day, with some places staying a while to do the walks, and other days such as on the homeward stretch, if we have been that way before, can be long days driving.

You can check My Blogs 2008 for the Kimberley and Central Australia (four months), and 2009 heading north from Alice Springs to Darwin, including Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, then on into Queensland (five months).Home is in the south west of Western Australia.


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Reply By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 09, 2015 at 09:50

Thursday, Jul 09, 2015 at 09:50
I find the biggest problem with being in Melbourne that we have too far to travel before we start our real trips and are exhausted by the time we arrive. A number of people now take a week off beforehand to get their gear to say Darwin, store it and fly home. They fly back a few weeks later and start a fresh. Good option for the Kimberly and for those still trying to juggle work and play.
AnswerID: 556807

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