Cairns to Perth

Submitted: Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 16:57
ThreadID: 131048 Views:1870 Replies:13 FollowUps:6
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This is my first post so if i've missed anything please let me know.
Basically my wife and I are moving from Cairns to Perth we have a Hilux diesel SR5 and will be driving across towing a small trailer with our belongings in it (big furniture has been sold.
We are planning on sticking to sealed roads and heading through inland QLD, NSW and SA eventually to Port Augusta and then over the Nullabor to Perth.
The reason for this post is that this will be the biggest drive we have ever done and my wife will be 7.5 months pregnant so I want to make sure that I have everything organised.
Questions:
The car doesn't have a bullbar do you think we should invest in one? We generally wouldn't drive before dawn or after dusk but open to suggestions.
Do you think we need to carry extra fuel?
We have 1 good spare on the car is it worth taking an extra one for the car and any for the trailer?
We need to buy a trailer can anyone suggest one (thinking a box trailer for security)
Also any thoughts on the actual trip (places to stay etc) would be very much appreciated.
Any other ideas or thoughts welcome.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 17:23

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 17:23
Wesley, big move mate, hard to find a more distant drive :)

Ok. When are you doing the move / drive ?
If through Dec / Jan / Feb, I would be very careful with all factors, the vehicle cooling system should be top notch, and in general overall excellent mechanically.
Carry plenty of water and emergency food, mobile might be handy some places but won't have reception on a lot of the roads, and traffic can be minimal in places.

"my wife will be 7.5 months pregnant so I want to make sure that I have everything organised. "

Make sure the AIR COND is working like a new one.

"The car doesn't have a bullbar do you think we should invest in one? We generally wouldn't drive before dawn or after dusk but open to suggestions."

No, if doing this in summer you will have ample daylight hours to get some kms in in good light.

"Do you think we need to carry extra fuel?"

No, just top off often when you can, duriong daylight you'd be fine, after dark some smaller towns might be all shut up.
Plan some fuel stops for pricing if important, lots of info online from various sources on the more critical Nullabor stops.

"We have 1 good spare on the car is it worth taking an extra one for the car and any for the trailer?
We need to buy a trailer can anyone suggest one (thinking a box trailer for security) ?"

Take a tyre plug kit ?
They are pretty easy to use (youtube if you haven't used them before) and can fix most screw / nail problems.
Buy a trailer with a spare, or can you buy one with same stud pattern / wheel / tyre size as the vehicle ?
As long as the tyres were pretty much 90% you shouldn't have too many problems.
Maybe there are hire companies you can hire an enclosed trailer one way ?

"Also any thoughts on the actual trip (places to stay etc) would be very much appreciated.
Any other ideas or thoughts welcome."

I would consider the inland route if you want to get off the Bruce.
Charters Towers, Emerald, Roma, down to Gilgandra and then onto Broken Hill Rd to Peterborough, Orroroo, Wilmington, Pt Augusta and west.

All dependent on weather and personal tolerance levels.
Hopefully it's a move you are doing after summer and it won't be as much of an issue.

Good luck with the big move.
AnswerID: 593417

Reply By: Wesley A1 - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 17:48

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 17:48
Hi thanks for the quick reply.
Unfortunately we will be doing the move at the beginning of January so height of the summer. Car is in good condition, ill get it checked before we leave but the air con is good :-)
Thanks for the ideas and a trailer with a spare and the tyre kit sounds like a good plan, don't want to take more than we need but want to be prepared.
:-)
AnswerID: 593418

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 19:38

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 19:38
..
Ah, that will be uncomfortable.
Maybe a good investment is really good window tint (if not already fitted).
It blocks out a heap of heat, glare, and the burning UV rays, should make the journey quite a bit more comfy.

Yes, if getting a trailer made and ordered soon enough, you might be able to order with same rims / tyres / sizes as the vehicle, make it easy . . . and / or get an extra spare negotiated into the sale.
Having the ability to at least change a spare to the trailer saves a lot of time removing, going to a town, new tyre / repair, return to trailer, refit and carry on, not to mention security issues in some places.

Tyre plug kit ensure full metal handles on the spike and plugger, some cheap ones have this, others don't, if in doubt get an ARB one, think they are lower cost nowadays, maybe $50 or so.
They are really easy to use to plug a simple puncture, provided you get stopped before a possible full on blowout.
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FollowupID: 861634

Follow Up By: noggins - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 20:43

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 20:43
Make sure you have good anti-glare sunglasses and a small sun screen for the Mrs to put over her lap.
The drive west will be , in the arvo, straight into the sun,
The only real advantage is that as your traveling west your actually gaining a few minutes per hour .

I've been known to fit a pop out sunscreen in the windscreen to reduce the glare and clearly see the highway.

Take plenty of drinking water with you to make a cuppa as some waters supplied at the road houses are from their bore and can take a bit of getting used to.


Ron
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FollowupID: 861637

Reply By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 18:39

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 18:39
Wesley A1, Hi,
Even for Australia that's a big drive.
"wife will be 7.5 months pregnant" My Daughter was living in Melbourne & didn't want her daughter born there She & Hubby decided At 7.5 months to drive to Bris for the birth. My Grand daughter was born in Newcastle. (not quite as bad as Victoria).
I am sure that Your wife will have check ups etc. But be aware of the possibilities of an impatient child. There is a lot of wide open spaces west of Ceduna.
The very best wishes & enjoy the trip.
Mike.
AnswerID: 593422

Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 20:36

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 20:36
I am 70 years old and travel with a satellite phone as my wife has had heart problems.
If I was a young bloke with a heavily pregnant wife, and the budget would allow it, I would hire or buy a sat phone for the trip.
There are no medical facilities in the middle of the Nullarbor but the highway will land a Royal Flying Doctor plane.
AnswerID: 593426

Reply By: Villatranquilla - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 21:28

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 21:28
we have had 15 crossings - 1 in Dec and 1 in Jan and it was actually not hot except for the first day through NW Victoria where it was 40 - made it to Port Wakefield and made sure the motel room had aircon. Accomodation is basic across the Nullabor - not even 3 star - use your own pillows.
No need to carry fuel, but have extra water in an engel for cool drinks and a back up container for the car
No need for a bulbar - plan your evening stops by lunchtime to ensure you are off the road well before dusk and wait an hour after sunrise to start the days travel.
One spare for car and one for trailer should be enough providing the existing tyres are in good condition.
I'd have 2 long days then probably have a day off then the same again, but guess you'll need to be very flexible as your wife might find sitting for long periods uncomfortable. Good nursing outpost at Eucla if needed and have been told that the several Aboriginal settlements also have good medical facilities.
AnswerID: 593427

Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 22:48

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 22:48
Wesley,

Some pretty good advice so far.
Just a couple of things I would do a bit different.
If your wife is 7.5 months pregnant I would put off the trip if at all possible. I realise you may have time constraints that make that impossible.
As far as extra fuel goes, I would carry a 20 lt jerry can in the trailer. Won't take up much room and may just come in handy if you are unlucky enough to experience a fuel leak whilst on the road. It's all very well to be able to rig up a temporary fix but what do you do to replace the lost fuel if the next supply point is just a bit too far away.
Also what do you do if you get to a servo and they have just run out of diesel, the pump is on the blink, their gererator has karked it.??
What you have left in your tank plus the jerry can might just get you out of the poo.
A good idea to have the trailer wheels interchangable with the tow vehicle. Saves lugging an extra wheel and tyre around. Probably a good idea about the repair kit and if you have never used one get a tyre shop to demonstrate. Easier than learning on the side of the road miles from anywhere.
It's actually raining and about 20 degrees here in Perth at the moment, but was up around the high 30's last week.

Good luck and enjoy the trip.

Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 593429

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 23:50

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 23:50
When we drove Perth-Darwin in July 2012 in a diesel VW motorhome, we got to Nanutarra late in the afternoon with low fuel - only to find Nanutarra roadhouse completely out of fuel!
We had to make camp overnight, and the fuel truck only arrived mid-morning the following day!
This was apparently a common occurrence all up and down the North-West Coastal Hwy during the high tourist season of July-August that year. The oil companies were absolutely struggling to meet the fuel demand of the grey nomads.
I don't know if the oil companies have improved their fuel storage, transport, and allocation since that time.
It only takes one fuel tanker road train to roll over, or crash (a not-uncommon happening - I've seen dozens of major fuel tanker disasters in the last 40 years), and the fuel supply to outlying areas can be rapidly disrupted.
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FollowupID: 861647

Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 23:38

Saturday, Dec 05, 2015 at 23:38
You have been given good advice so far Wesley. We have travelled across the Nullarbor a few times during summer, and been comfortable with the car air conditioner going. NIghts have been cooler.

No need for a bull bar, and stick with your resolve not to travel outside of daylight hours.

No need to carry extra fuel; there are plenty of roadhouses. Top up rather than save for a better price as they may be out of fuel when you get there. It happened to us once.

We always match tyres of trailer an tow vehicle. You are buying so that makes it easier to achieve. One spare tyre on rim, and another spare tyre plus tyre pliers or similar should cover. Learnt to use the tyre plugs before you need them.

When you get to the Eyre Highway, there is motel room type of accommodation at all the roadhouses. There should be plenty of vacancies that time of year.

We have an Engel car fridge and keep plenty of drinking water plus lunches in it.

Good advice about taking a satellite phone.

My only reservation about your wife's pregnancy is comfort. Sitting with tight tummy and a baby kicking your ribs is not comfortable at the best of times, and sitting for long periods may be most uncomfortable. Has she discussed the plan with her doctor?

Regarding the idea of waiting - I would rather travel with an unborn baby than a new born, especially in summer.


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AnswerID: 593430

Reply By: Zippo - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 00:25

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 00:25
As someone who has driven the Nullarbor at least seven times, and Melbourne-Perth solo in 44C heat, I have a few suggestions in addition to the sound advice already offered.

Drivers - decide in advance whether your wife will be comfortable sharing the driving. This is as much about her experience/capability in long-distance driving as anything to do with her pregnancy. The Nullarboring isn't called that for fun - it requires the ability to remain alert and concentrating yet relaxed for long periods. "Leg-breaks" every two hours or so are recommended. Unless it is stinking hot, get out and stretch, walk around the 'Lux, have a leak, whatever. If the call is made that she will share the driving duty, swap each time.

Communications - your situation requires that you have coverage. Two choices. Telstra have by far the best rural coverage of the three networks. They claim (https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-coverage) continuous mobile coverage across the PtA-Perth strip. If you have a mobile service with them, good. If not, and your mobiles are locked to another network, consider paying for unlocking (payment not needed for iPhones) and grabbing a prepaid SIM for the trip or get a cheapie mobile that is operable on the T-network. IN ADDITION, seriously consider renting a satphone as a backup. The RFDS will be able to land somewhat near you as long as you know your position and can contact them. Have a list of emergency and other contact numbers printed out and handy in the glove box.

Other considerations? Fuel is covered in other replies. Water ditto - it is important to remain properly hydrated or your concentration will be compromised. You probably don't have a car fridge, but I wouldn't undertake that trip - particularly in January - without a decent one.

Hope you have an interesting but uneventful trip.
AnswerID: 593432

Reply By: member - mazcan - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 01:17

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 01:17
Hi Wesley A 1
good advice has been given
mine is even if you buy a new trailer
don't trust that enough grease has been put in the new bearing hubs
plenty have been caught with them running hot or dry
especially considering the long trip you are doing
get someone to check and pack them with plenty of grease if you can't do it yourself it doesn't take long
and eliminates that factor as knowing they have plenty of grease is piece of mind
also i would highly recommend you get the trailer wheels balanced as most wheels and tyres are second hand on new trailers
and nearly always out of balance this causes early failure of wheel bearing on many trailers have a good trip
cheers barry
AnswerID: 593434

Follow Up By: ken triton - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 07:50

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 07:50
Very good advice on the wheel bearings Barry, I have seen this with new vans and trailers many times. Wesley if you follow the excellent advise above you should have a safe trip
Regards
Ken
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FollowupID: 861651

Reply By: Member - john y - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 10:44

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 10:44
good luck Wesley, lot's of good advice so far. I assume that you have discussed your trip with your wife's Medico given the advanced stage of her pregnancy. Long periods of sitting can sometimes lead to problems such as poor circulation etc Regards good health to Mum and Bubs john y
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AnswerID: 593447

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 11:59

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 11:59
Regarding the tyres on the Hilux (and the trailer too).
If they are over 5 years old, I would replace the lot. The tread left is of less consideration than the age and the potential heat will put them under a great deal of extra stress.

We came across the Nullarbor once in late November, early December. The shade temperature (there was no shade) was 49C. We also used to often camp on the coast west of Fowlers Bay just after Christmas. The potential to strike extreme temperatures is always present and it may also happen with strong NW winds that increase the stress on the vehicle.
A breakdown in those conditions may mean no aircon and it will very quickly become dangerous.
I would seriously consider putting your wife on a 'plane and having some sort of emergency communications.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 593451

Reply By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 13:40

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 13:40
My thoughts,
Jetstar Flight 978 is the solution for the pregnant missus.
Bliss
AnswerID: 593461

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 15:02

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 15:02
I agree with your (and Peter_n_Margarets) suggestion ~$5.
It's a 5250km drive, going to be uncomfortable for her at the very least, and possibly stressful on a pregnant spouses system.
A week and a bits driving could be down to 8mths preggers by arrival, getting pretty close.

That middle weekend January 16/17 Jetstar have one way flights for $249, pretty good, about what her food bill might be for the week and a halfs drive (whoops, sorry :D) AND the op could then consider camping along the way without the need to get motels etc, thus saving more on the drive.

It's a wonderful thing to want to share a long drive with your missus, mine loves road trips, but you have to look at the best option here Wesley, and this might be it.
If the missus has family / friends etc over there, she can fly as you leave and be waiting for you, if not then maybe fly a week and a bit after you leave and get there roughly the same time as you, just as a way of looking at options.
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FollowupID: 861670

Follow Up By: Danna - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 16:27

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 16:27
I don’t see here too many use to be pregnant ….. as the advice is mostly from man ….. They mean

well, but they will never feel what we feel or felt in this condition. It is not a sickness, but one can’t be

too cautious a specially when there are two life’s in stake.

Suggestion for her to drive is ridicules. Only sitting as the passenger will exhaust her.

There is actually a danger in flying when a woman is more than 7months pregnant! Ask any GP.

Why not to go by train? It is comfortable and for woman in her condition very, very safe and if organized properly she will just switch from train to train in Sydney.

Trying to safe a money in this case may cost you more than just a few $$.

The train trip and your driving can be arranged the way you can pick her up from Perth train station as

she arrive. The internet works on Indian Pacific all the time.

Good luck and stay safe.

HooRoo Dana

1
FollowupID: 861676

Reply By: Danna - Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 16:35

Sunday, Dec 06, 2015 at 16:35
Hi Wesley A1

I don’t see here too many use to be pregnant ….. as the advices is mostly from man ….. They mean

well, but they will never feel what we feel or felt in this condition. It is not a sickness, but one can’t be

too cautious a specially when there are two life’s in stake. Suggestion for her to drive is ridicules. Only

sitting as the passenger will exhaust her. There is actually a danger in flying when a woman is more

than 7months pregnant! Ask any GP. Some airlines will even refuse to take her past 7months

pregnancy.

Why not to go by train? It is comfortable and for woman in her condition very, very safe and if

organized properly she will just switch from train to train in Sydney.

Trying to safe a money in this case may cost you more than just a few $$. The train trip and your

driving can be arranged the way you can pick her up from Perth train station as she arrive. The

internet works on Indian Pacific all the time.

Good luck and be safe.

HooRoo Dana
AnswerID: 593468

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