Route advice

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 21, 2016 at 23:42
ThreadID: 131415 Views:1495 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
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Hello everyone

I’m planning a road trip that’ll take us around the west side of Australia.
Melb -> Perth -> Darwin -> Alice Springs -> Melb.

I’ve never done the Perth to Darwin route. Looking at Gmaps, it looks like there are 2 roads. the coastal route and the inland route.
Has anyone been through either of these? I’m wondering which would the best route.

This is the route : http://i.imgur.com/FjlfB45.jpg
Full route : https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=zxuh7A_yRrFE.k_1qf19h3TH0


- Few details about the trip -
It’ll be me and another mate.
Prepared to camp. Tents and cooking gear

Any insight into either route is much appreciated.

Thanks
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 00:19

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 00:19
Hi Rangana
I hope you have plenty of time - that is a big loop. Also that you have considered the time of year you will be in the north of the country.

Are you talking about the alternative of the North West Coastal Highway versus the Great Northern Highway? While both have things to see that should not be missed if doing a lap, I find the inland route (Great Northern Highway) more interesting overall. Unlike the eastern states, much of our coastal is flat. The inland route also has more bush camping, whereas the coast mostly confines you to authorised campgrounds and caravan parks.

If you are prepared to take you time, you can see key features on both crossing between the two.Karijini National Park sort of between Newman and Tom Price would be the jewel of the inland route. You have the Gibb River Road mapped, which is probably the best of all if you take the time to go and see the key places.
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Follow Up By: Rangana H - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 00:21

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 00:21
Hi Motherhen,
Probably should have added these to the OP.
We are thinking heading out in Easter. and roughly 8-10 weeks travel time

Thanks for the info.
So i should be looking at something similar to this? https://goo.gl/QIkxvk

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 00:49

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 00:49
I was thinking more like 10 - 12 months :O.

We toured the Gibb River Road and (linked by the Tanami) Alice Springs and key features in Central Australia in three months, coming from and going back to the south west of Western Australia. The following year we were six weeks between Alice Springs and Darwin alone, seeing Kakadu on the way north and Litchfield on the way south to Daly Waters to head east and continue our loop. Your can see them in My Blogs here. Both of these trip did include some 'down time'. If something breaks when out in the sticks, waiting for parts can take a couple of weeks.

Really it depends on what types of country you like to see. Then you have to get off the roads, stay a while and do the walks, or all you will see is the white line down the road and trees or scrub as you pass.

The best way to plan a trip is to put a few circles of places you want to see most of all on a map and join in the dots, then you can look a you next preferences that fall near to the line.

My way of planning a short holiday is the have a rough idea of direction, and head out, touring and exploring as we go while being responsive to what locals or other travellers tell us we must see or stay. When nearing half way through the time frame, look for another route if possible and turn to tour that on the way home. Even if it only takes you through one state, you will be relaxed and have seen more with a whole lot less fuel. There will inevitably be some double ups, as for us in the west it is often the Eyre Highway there and back.




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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 07:06

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 07:06
Which Easter are you thinking of? Easter dates vary and this year it's a little early. The point being, it can be very wet up in the north west at that time of the year with many roads closed or waiting for grading before opening again as the drier months arrive. I am not sure of the current situation but I think I'd be planning only on major sealed roads and looking carefully at road and weather reports.
Mike
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Follow Up By: Rangana H - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 08:42

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 08:42
Thank you both and Motherhen for the planing tips.

Re: time frames. i wish i could take few months but I probably wont have a job haha. So we'll have to do this with what we can at the moment.

Woah i checked out your blog posts, thats pretty amazing!

Australian Landscape Jewellery:
It'll be 2018, I think the latest we can start is probably mid April, may be push it to end of April.
I have not checked in to road conditions yet. I know the road up from Alice Springs to Darwin was closed in early Jan ( we were there ).

Worse case we just have to camp out till the roads are open.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:19

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:19
If the Kimberley is your goal, you could reverse the trip, looking at Central Australia and what you want to see on the way to Darwin. Then see if the roads are open in the Kimberley before deciding if it is feasible. Much of the northern Northern Territory parks may still be closed also. June is the best time to get to the north, but it does vary with when they get the rain and how much.
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Follow Up By: Rangana H - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:25

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:25
The north is where we really wana spend our time.

We've already done Mebl -> Ulurl/KC/AP and Mel -> Perth, so we will be covering ground more so than actually stopping and looking at spots.

Looks like im still well short of finishing my research. If June is the best time to go, it might be a tad too hard to take time off from work.

Thank you very much for all the info

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:09

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:09
It was for me too Rangana, as I always worked in the financial area of small organisations or businesses. To get to the Gibb River Road meant leaving a job and just doing it. Best trip of all.

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Follow Up By: Rangana H - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:21

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:21
you're brave! Wish i could.
But im planing an year long trip after this, theres so much to see and so little time
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Reply By: Malcolm 02 - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:17

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:17
It's been a while since I lived in WA but travelled up and down both highways quite a bit (I lived in the Pilbara and the Kimberly's for much of my 20yrs there).
For the first time traveler I would recommend the coastal route although around Easter expect it to be busy and as previously mentioned wet up north. (Twice I took holidays at Easter to go to the Mitchel falls and was thwarted by the flooded rivers). Just north of Perth you have the spectacular Jurien Bay NPs with the lost city @ Nambung NP, the wildflower in the other coastal NPs, then the historic towns at Greenough south of Geraldton. After that you have Kalbarri, Shark Bay, Carnarvon (and the spectacular coast line form Point Quobba up), Coral Bay, Exmouth, Onslow, Millstream NP, etc. etc. If you go to the information centers they will point out a lot more to see and do.
The inland Great Northern Highway is very interesting and beautiful but for a first tour of WA I would have to suggest that the Coastal highway would be the way to go although a little crowded at Easter. 8 - 10 weeks may seem like a long trip and plenty of time but when you get home you will want to go again to see all the bits you missed and then again because you still didn't see it all.

Have Fun
Mal
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Follow Up By: Rangana H - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:37

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 09:37
Hi Malcom,

I'd really like to avoid the crowd and take a road thats less traveled. but then i guess im also missing out on few good spots.

I haven't looked in to anything weather related. i'll do that after i figure out which road we are taking

Thank you very much for all the helpful info :)
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:12

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:12
Hi Rangana,
We have done the coastal and the inland routes. For a first time the coastal would be my preference. As mentioned in many other posts this route has all the classic tourist spots. The inland route certainly is interesting but of course lacks the oceanic vistas.
I would thoroughly recommend Hamelin Station, near Denham, as a stopover. It is now run by Bush Heritage and has outstanding facilities, but no power for caravans, however. From here you can do the very long day trip to Steep Point. This is strictly 4wd only once you reach the sand tracks.
The caravan parks at Denham are very busy even in the non-school holiday periods. However, from here you can visit Monkey Mia and Francois Peron NP. Like Steep Point Francois Peron is strictly 4wd.
The Eco Resort at Karijini NP is worth the extra you will pay as compared to the other NP camping areas. It has flush toilets and hot showers as well as a reasonable restaurant. As a bonus the views from your campsite are excellent.
Hope this helps.

Robert
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Follow Up By: Rangana H - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:18

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:18
Thanks Robert

looks like its 2 to 1 for coastal route.

we'll be taking the land cruiser, so anything 4wd would be great.

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 13:37

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 13:37
As said, you simply don't have the time to wander along the coast to get to the north.
I would be picking 2 fast routes to and from the Kimberley, starting in the north.
Take the slowest of the 2 to get there (3 weeks max, including sight seeing) and the fastest home (2 weeks max, including sight seeing).

And keep a close watch on the GRR road reports. Being right there at the start when they first open it give a great perspective of the area with lots of water about. Then if it all goes pear shaped and it does not open, there are plenty of other alternatives up north and in the Pilbara if you need them.

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: D-MaxerWA - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 20:50

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 20:50
If you really want to be seeing the North, just go to Adelaide and then to Darwin by the fastest route. Then start heading West taking your time and visiting places you want to see. Gibb River Road, if it is open and you take in all there is to see, will take at least a couple of weeks. From Derby, head to Broome, but turn off up to Cape Leveque for a week. By the time you have finished up there and been to look at Broome and 80 mile beach, you will need the fastest route back to Melbourne to fit your time frame.

Hope this helps

Col
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