Newcastle to Darwin

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 19:17
ThreadID: 129961 Views:2664 Replies:7 FollowUps:3
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I am planning a trip from Newcastle to Darwin in the middle of September. It'll be me, my wife, our 4 kids (10,8,3 & 8 months) and a budgie ( dont ask).

We have planned to take 10-11 days for the trip. So keeping travel down to 4-500 kms a day.

Our plan at this stage is :
Day 1: newcastle - Yetman. We have family there to visit and its more or less on the way and makes for a good first day and planning a 2 night stop with family.
Day 3: yetman - roma.
Day 4: Roma - Blackall.
Day 5: Blackall- Longreach- Short drive and spend afternoon looking around
Day 6: Longreach - Kynuna
Day 7: Kynuna - Mt Isa
Day 8: Mt Isa - Barkley Homestead
Day 9: Barkley Homestead - brenner springs
Day 10: Brenner springs - Mataranka
Day 11: mataranka - Darwin

We have a camper trailer and plan on setting it up each night. With the 4 kids ( mainly due to the baby) weve decided to spend as short as possible time in the car each day. Just after some thoughts on the plan and possible ideas of places to make day stops for lunch to give the kids time out of the car and any sights along the way that are must stops.
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Reply By: Robyn R4 - Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 19:38

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 19:38
How funny. Budgie and all. Been there, done that (as a kid).

Can't comment on travelling with kids (I'm of the "travel with dog" brigade!) but we were out west a couple of months ago and did the towns that you've listed from day 3-day 10.
Watch the roos out west. It's so dry between Longreach and Winton and at one point I counted something like 130 dead roos in 30 km (the things you do on a long trip!!)-they all come for that teeny sliver of green grass at the edge of the road.
Likewise the Blackall to Barcy stretch is notorious.
400km a day out there is easy to do...a few hours in the morning and a few hours after lunch.
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Reply By: Bilbo B - Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 20:11

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 20:11
Mate. I done it a few times when I lived in NT. Worth a look are
Tambo teddies in tambo if you have little girls
Lark quarry near winton
Longreach tourist attractions including river cruise
Lorne hill north of cloncurry
There's not much in isa
From Barkley homestead to Cape Crawford is not a bad alternative
Makes sense not to stop at Elliot but lake woods just north of Elliot is a good look. Turn left at the first grid north of town and follow any track.
Daly waters worth a look
Mataranka good place to stop. You are now in croc country so watch the little ones
I love Katherine and gorge.
Edith falls was 10 out of 10 before the dragon took over running the camp ground.
Darwin Is a tropical rat race. Still good for a city
Enjoy. It's different each time I go.

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 21:49

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 21:49
We missed Lark Quarry back in July as it was still closed :-(

Longreach river-cruise/dinner/show is worthwhile. There are two. The paddle-steamer one seems to attract the noisy teenybopper crowd according to the locals. We scored the other one.

The Barkly-Cape Crawford road is single lane bitumen utilised by road trains, and they don't get off for mere mortals - we adopted the habit of getting right off and stopping when they approached. The first 100k or so had abundant livestock too. Also an amount of it further north has grooves where the RTwheels go, saw it playing havoc with a caravan which wanted to tramline behind the unsuspecting 4by.

Or if you like "adventure", from Cape Crawford head to Mataranka via Roper Bar ;-)
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Aug 13, 2015 at 08:48

Thursday, Aug 13, 2015 at 08:48
Lark Quarry is now OPEN!

With the kids on board, I'd pass on the Tablelands Highway. Leave it for when they're a little older.


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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Aug 13, 2015 at 09:51

Thursday, Aug 13, 2015 at 09:51
Australian Age of Dinosaurs, just out of Winton on Longreach side, is worth a look, Slats.

Magic views from up on the escarpment, interesting dinosaur display and they don't make a bad coffee in the cafe.


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Reply By: IronMan - Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 20:13

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 at 20:13
I did most of your trip in January just gone. Then it was just too damn hot to do anything! In September you should have a ball!

The wool scour at Blackall (we missed that one, better luck next time). Stop at Ilfracombe, not far out of Longreach, there's an outdoor museum absolutely FULL of old tractors, farm machinery, trucks, along the highway - the pub does good food too. The QANTAS Hall of Fame was good for a visit, but I thought it was over priced. And an extra $35 per adult to look at the 707? No thank you!. Stockman's Hall would be awesome in the cooler months, it was just about empty in hot January. We enjoyed Barkly Homestead immensely, I deliberately stopped there to see the place. Pool for the kids (cold in Sept?? We enjoyed it in Jan!), plenty of room for camping and the like. If you can stretch a day, stop in at Daly Waters Pub. Awesome place!

Have an enjoyable trip!
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Reply By: Kevin G6 - Thursday, Aug 13, 2015 at 18:14

Thursday, Aug 13, 2015 at 18:14
Just a thought but I would go Yetman, St George, Mitchell and bypass Roma, the back road is a lot more interesting.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 12:12

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 12:12
From Barcaldine west to Longreach, there's about 3 rest areas, with toilets, Slats.

Then from L'reach to Winton, there's Sandhill rest area, 25kms, Morella 68kms, Chorregon about 110kms, and Crawford Creek about 133kms, all with toilets 'n shelter sheds. Kms indicated are approximates from Longreach.

West of Winton, there's Bonny Doon Ck 14kms(no toilet), Ayrshire Hills 64kms, Wongan(or Wanora) 93kms, East Kynuna 145kms. Again all with s'sheds 'n dunnies.

After Kynuna, only Wild Duck Ck, no amenities and scant shade!

McKinlay to 'Curry has Fullarton parking bay, shared with trucks, but s'shed 'n toilets. About 60kms from the Curry. Few other useful parking spots at Rutchillo Ck, past Bull Creek(on right, heading west) and after the Fullarton through to the Flinders Highway junction.

The 'Curry to The Isa has bays at 10kms, 30kms, Corella River, 50kms, Fountain Springs(on a winner here, Slats, toilets, s'sheds but you have to share it with almost every grey nomad in western Qld!), Old Mary K. Township(about a km off road), top of Mary K. Jump-up, at East Leichardt River and at Kajabbi turnoff(s'sheds only).

From the Isa to Camooweal, you have the WW2 memorial site, 55kms west, where there's shade, s'sheds and toilets(and a dump site too) together with some info boards on construction of the Barkly H'way, during the war.Parking bays scattered from there to Camooweal, but no amenities at any.

Camooweal west to Barkly Homestead has many parking opportunities, both next too, and off the road a bit, but the only "good" spot is at Avon Downs, opposite the Police Station. Sheds, shade and a toilet. Other well marked parks are at Soudan Bore(s'shed only) and Wonarah Bore(40kms from Barkly H'stead).

Rest areas at Frewena, after The Barkly, and also one closer to 3 Ways, think it might be the "40 mile"?

Suggest fuelling up at Choice in Barcaldine, at Winton and Mt Isa, if you want to save a few $$$$$$.

From our experience of travelling with babies/young kids, you'll get more "are we there yet" out of the older two, than from the toddler and bub. You might want to go Barkly to Daly Waters, then a short day to Mataranka, so you have more time in the springs. Lot of character at Daly Waters, Renner Springs okay, but I'd bypass it for an overnighter.

You could spend a night or two in Winton, to see the dinosaurs, then maybe go through to the 'Curry, only 354kms.John Flynn Place, about RFDS, is worth a look here, then only 120kms through to the Isa.

Anyway, have a safe trip,

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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 13:03

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 13:03
"possible ideas of places to make day stops for lunch to give the kids time out of the car"

The best source of these is Camps Australia Wide.
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Reply By: slats - Sunday, Aug 16, 2015 at 16:33

Sunday, Aug 16, 2015 at 16:33
Thanks for the awesome suggestions and info.

Have made a few amendments to the plan.
Overnight stops now at - Yetman - Roma - Blackall - Winton - Mt Isa - Barkley Homestead - Daly Waters - Mataranka - Darwin

Heaps to see and do along the way looking forward to the trip !!!!
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