Melbourne to the Gulf

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 03, 2019 at 21:06
ThreadID: 139279 Views:6522 Replies:6 FollowUps:0
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Hi Travellers

We are looking into a holiday with the kids for 8 weeks travelling from Melbourne to around Normanton then to Cairns and back home in July to August 2020. We want to travel for 8 weeks and not be too rushed. We will be towing an off-road camper trailer and are not afraid of off roading and rough tracks. (These are on our wish list)
If anyone has done a similar trip, or can recommend an 8 week itinerary for this time it’d be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: mountainman - Sunday, Nov 03, 2019 at 21:47

Sunday, Nov 03, 2019 at 21:47
I went from mackay to karumba
Then onto cape york
Definitely recommend the pub on the corner in karumba.
The views are sensational at sunset
And different tidal changes
Highly recommend the blueberry cheesecake or tart.
I had them every day on my short stay.
Good small supermarket and bakery next door.
Hopefully all still going now as it was a few years ... maybe 5 years or more since i went
AnswerID: 628520

Reply By: Member - Core420 - Monday, Nov 04, 2019 at 05:41

Monday, Nov 04, 2019 at 05:41
Places I visited earlier this year on a similar trip include Lake Mungo NP where you would see the most impressive sunrises and sunsets, Darling River run between Menindee and Burke, Lightning Ridge, Carnarvon Gorge NP, Barcaldine, Winton and its various dinosaur locations, Porcupine Gorge NP, Undara NP, Cairns and Karumba.
If you choose to do so, there are many sections on gravel roads. Not difficult 4wd, except some areas in Carnarvon Gorge (Mt Moffat area).
AnswerID: 628526

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Nov 04, 2019 at 10:30

Monday, Nov 04, 2019 at 10:30
Came back few weeks ago from trip to explore Gulf from Melbourne in which we drove right across the base of it.

Commuter drive via Alice springs to Mataranka then across the base of gulf to Normanton. Our friends continued on to Cairns Weipa etc but we then drove down to Mt Isa then via Burke & Wills roadhouse(poor)to Birdsville & home , was really great trip and nowhere were roads to difficult or water to deep.

Briefly outline trip

TRIP REPORT GULF AUGUST 2019 Revision date 23rd September 2019

1 Aug Left Melbourne home about 8:45 am ODO 190005km) got to Tailem bend cabin $86 (Riverside CV park)
2 Aug Fri, left 8am got to Bon Bon rest area 4:40pm north of Pt Augusta, (its a basic freecamp with Loo's)
3 Aug Sat, Brekkie Cobber Pedy then Dessert Oaks nice rest area (loo's) 3:20pm
4 Aug Sun, Alice springs Tourist Park motel $100 - dinner at pub , Murray R visited
5 AugNewcastle waters freecamp/roadside stop crowded - toilets but OK
6 Aug Tue, Mataranka Resort motel $115 (Dennis & Sue arrived in afternoon- after wrong turn)
7 Aug Wed, Mataranka Resort (Albert & Wendy arrived), meet Len, Lloyd&Dennis sailing friend
Len has 4500 Gu patrol on gas and had an American Avan. ?
8 Aug Tomato Island national park $13.20/night , well kept loo's showers (fishing/ boat spot)
9 AugLorella springs,3 nights 9/10/11th $120, $40 car/night 1 million acres to drive/camp anywhere!
Overall good value but no hot showers unless you light fire > with own wood. Thermal pool.
10 Aug Lorella - drive to Ocean , Robin drove Y62 back. (Signage poor-book everything & pay 1 bill as leave.)
11 Aug Lorella - drive to swim hole & rocky climb , some y62 undercarriage scrapping.
12 Aug Boorola McCarther River CV park $110 cabin, 194172km bypassed Heartbreak Hotel as poor no coffee
13 Aug Tue, Hells Gate, Note as left Boorola got cappicino in morning - bird in main street
14 Aug Gregory River Best Freecamp (Note Adels Groove burnt out hence Gregory river)
15 Aug Gregory river Best Freecamp, Adels groove drive & boat cruise?
16 Aug Leichhart Falls freecamp, lovely/no loo's, boggy sand, Wendy fell in,(Burketown had nothing but fuel.)
17 Aug Normanton Gulfland motel $300 3 nights 17/18/19th (Others in CV park only $28)
18 AugKarumba day trip , dinner purple pub
19 Aug Monday, Gulfland train trip, Robin got rail spikes as present.
20 Aug Mt Isa got cabin $105
21 AugBedourie 4:30pm $20 camp , had small fire
22 AugBirdsville New cabin $120 great camp kitchen bakery closed
23 Aug Claytons homestead $10 camp area honesty box - had fire
24 AugCopley cabin - nice $100 motel - Wantirna family still running it. Had pub meal. 197404km
25 AugMildura Motel $91 198177 km Subway for tea (good motel)
26 AugYarck (4wd property)
27 AugHome Wantirna Melbourne @ 198812 km

Approx 8800km & 1320lt overall 15.3lt/100km approx $1900 fuel (used Hankook road tyres -campers 8psi )

Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 628532

Reply By: Nifty1 - Monday, Nov 04, 2019 at 14:07

Monday, Nov 04, 2019 at 14:07
Well (not knowing anything about your setup, your family or your interests) it sounds like you want a bit of adventure! So many choices. You could consider going up via the Flinders Ranges, Birdsville, Winton/Longreach to the gulf, then back via some of the other routes suggested here. This inland trip presents so many optional detours - many in the Flinders (Arkaroola, Farina), some desert travel, iconic destinations, dinosaur discovery, as well as some of the better known tourist attractions, and is rich in history. You’ve got me all excited...
AnswerID: 628538

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019 at 11:52

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019 at 11:52
Hi Paul H38,

We did the same trip in 2018, attached is my Excel Spreadsheet that I use for planning purposes. We went up through western NSW, then western Qld. Came back via the Coast, incorporating the V8's on The Gold Coast. We stopped at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse for two nights on the way back from the Tip, and did the OTT with the cars. You can drive the length in a day, which we did, but you do not get much time to spend at the "hot spots". Also you may want to consider how strong your Camper Trailer is if taking on the OTT. Plenty of people do it, but also quite a few come out the other end with significant issues.


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AnswerID: 628619

Reply By: Paul H38 - Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 20:55

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 20:55
That’s really good information from all of you, thanks very much.
We are now looking at heading to
Alice Springs (pretty much non stop as we have done the centre a few years ago) and then make our way to Darwin, and head home through west Qld via Birdsville to the Dig Tree and back to
If anyone can suggest anywhere that should be on the Don’t Miss list on that general circuit it’d be a great help.
We are towing an AOR off-road camper so can go off the grid for a week comfortably, love 4wd tracks and corrigated tracks are fun.
AnswerID: 628715

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