Family Trip

Submitted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 22:36
ThreadID: 23274 Views:2456 Replies:7 FollowUps:12
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Hello Everyone,
need some advice
Planning a trip,goes like this: 21 days Total
Melb to Renmark to Wilpena to Maree to William Creek to Lake Eyre to Ooodnadatta to Marla to Uluru to Kings Canyon to Hermannsburg to Alice Springs to Coober Pedy to Woomera to Burra to Nhill to Melb.
3 days Wilpena,1 day Uluru, 1 day Kings Canyon, 2 days Alice Springs (via West Mc Donnell Ranges),1 day Coober Pedy, 1 day Woomera.
I know you will suggest taking longer but school hol's dictate!
Have been to the "Centre" before but Before Children
Need help on accommodation (need cabins as wife requires heating luxuries).
Would be appreciative of comments etc.
As an aside probably be thinking of installing a UHF radio (do I need one?) and taking a trailer (probably a tradesman with Patrol hubs etc) any additional feedback/tips welcome.

Many Thanks in Anticipation


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Reply By: Casnat - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:42

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:42
Hi Malcolm,

Sounds like a good trip.

To my mind Wilpena is a bit over-rated so 3 days seems high. I assume you are looking at it as 3 days in the Flinders Ranges rather than 3 days at Wilpena?

The Flinders is bigger than imagined if you haven't been there before. 3 days is warranted but I would suggest you don't base yourself at Wilpena for all of it.

I suggest a night at Willmington perhaps with a visit to Alligator Gorge (allow about 1/2 day), then perhaps Rawnsley Pk for a couple of nights (not far from Wilpena but much less commercial ..... you can do a visit into Wilpena from there). Some good bushwalks from Wilpena if that is what you are into (full days, half days etc)but if not you can call in, have a look and then move on. I suggest time is better spent in some of the other areas of the Flinders if you are not into walking (my opinion only...others will no doubt dissagree).

With regard to the radio, it doesn't sound like you are getting too much off the well travelled routes.

Not sure if you want to bother to stop in Maree. Good for a beer at lunchtime but not sure it is worth an overnighter. You could do William Creek with a reasonable days drive from the Flinders (perhaps your itinerary wasn't listing iovernights so much as route markers?). There are a few things to look at along the way but it would still be an easy days drive. Equally your listed William Creek, Lake Eyre, Marla wouldn't need overnights at all of them in my book, depending on side trips. Perhaps I just like driving so others will probably jump on me but that is my 2 bobs worth.

No doubt you will have a ball whatever you decide
AnswerID: 112712

Follow Up By: Casnat - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:54

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:54
In a similar line to the above post, Woomera is really only a few hours to look around rather than an overnighter. Was there a couple of weeks ago and there is no longer even a service station open ( one down the road on the highway). There is a museum about rockets etc but I don't think it is a destination requiring an overnighter. Leigh Creek is not far down the road and I would recommend the bus trip to look over the mine. Stayed in the cabins in the caravan park there once...not the Hilton but the showers worked. Prbably a better option for you. A day trip is possible from there into Arkaroola.

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Follow Up By: Casnat - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 08:46

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 08:46
Sorry, got my roads mixed up. Leigh Creek is not on the Woomera road its on the Marree road.

FollowupID: 368906

Follow Up By: Malcolm P - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:36

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:36

Many thanks for the info

FollowupID: 369617

Reply By: Member - Jiarna (SA) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:10

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:10
Hi Malcolm

Sounds like a good trip, if a bit rushed. But as you say, school hols dictate the time available.

For Uluru you have to buy a 3-day pass to get in - there is no 1-day option and the 3-day pass costs an arm and both legs. If you can only afford 1 day out of your schedule, you might feel ripped off (depends how much you want to go there this trip.

I'd recommend a UHF radio, as it gives you the ability to talk to other road users on the trip, and call for help via repeaters if you get stranded. On the roads around Oodnadatta, if you can talk to the road train drivers, they can let you past if they know you're there and tell you if the road is clear ahead.

If you plan to stop overnight in Oodnadatta, the Pink Roadhouse (08) 86707822 has cabins for hire, and the Transcontinental Hotel (08) 86707804 has rooms.

Trailer will be OK for all of the route you have indicated, but take spare bearings and grease with you. Even if you aren't mechanically inclined yourself, if you have the spares some bushy like me can fit them for you if needed.

Those who say something cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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AnswerID: 112732

Follow Up By: Malcolm P - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:36

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:36
Many thanks for the info

FollowupID: 369618

Reply By: jaaap - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:40

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:40
Some protection for the rear windscreen if towing a trailer maree-william creek etc
Alternatively take a plastic emergency one and some race tape
Take the time to have a look at the old Gahn railway and the "mound springs" along the way
Enjoy the trip

AnswerID: 112742

Follow Up By: Malcolm P - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:37

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:37
Thanks for the Info

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Reply By: Member - Troopytrek - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:41

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:41
G'Day Malcom,
Just an idea but if it is only the kids holidays determining the length of your trip and not budgetry or work restraints then pull the kids from school for another week or 2,3,4....... if you are concerned about them getting behind then there teachers could prepare a bit of work for them to keep them in the loop. But remember the will probably learn more life usable information and skills on the trip than at school anyway . We head of for 3 months from july1 with the kids. we are all looking forward to it immensly. And remember you only live once!!!

Happy Travelling & Good Luck Troopytrek!!!!
AnswerID: 112743

Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:49

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:49
have to agree there, we're pulling our daughter out of school for a month this year, her teacher has simply told us to "enjoy" she'll learn heaps whilst she is away.

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Follow Up By: Pyalong - Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 17:51

Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 17:51
Agree with top 2....took kids out of school last year (grades 3 and 5) for 2 months...with a fair stack of work to do along the way...worked a treat, and no probs on return...taking kids out for week and a half before hols start this year....struth, from what I notice, not much gets done in the last week anyway...seem to just fartass around. Next year taking 3 months (after consulting with teachers, to see where the kids are at, and up to scratch?.)...which no doubt will require a bit more fairdinkum home work due to secondary school.

Cheers, have a great time anyway

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Follow Up By: Malcolm P - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:39

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 10:39
Dear Troopytrek,
Thanks for the info and would love to able to take more time but work committments rule but at least the children will have some time away from Melbourne's July weather.


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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:59

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:59

I tried to post this late last night but for some reason it wouldn't go.

As others have said your plans seem a little rushed. Depending on the age of your kids a few weeks off school travelling through the areas you have listed will do more for them than the classroom. I have one doing the HSC so understand the constraints that senior years put on you, but if they are in primary school take the whole term.

If you want to see Lake Eyre I would recommend you access it from both Maree, through Mulloorinna Stn and from the track east of William Creek. If you stayed in Maree you would need two nights to do a day trip to L.E. and back. A day to travel to William Creek and the same there (2 nights day trip in between). In both cases it is over 120km each way from the town to the Lake and it aint no expressway. Teh lake is very different at these two places andit is worth seein both, time permitting.

We stayed in an underground motel in Coober Pedy, which the kids really enjoyed.

There are cabins at both Uluru (Yulara) and KIngs Canyon. They are a bit exe but provide good comfortable accomodation. Also consider three days at Uluru it will give yo a better chance of climbing the rock and there is plenty to see anyway.

Two days in Alice won't scratch the surface. But the McDonnel ranges CP has nice cabins and evening activities to entertain both you and the kids. (Join Big 4 and Top Tourist CP clubs).

Alice to Coober Pedy in a day is possible but you won't see much. Take your time and check out Rainbow Valley then spend a night at one of the roadhouses, Cadney Park looked pretty good. You could then probably have a look around Coober Pedy. Spend the night and go from there to Burra with a look in at Woomera on the way.

If you are not camping do you really need to take the trailer. You will be doing a lot of miles and the trailer will slow you down, at least a little. I tow a camper everywhere but if I didn't need it it would stay at home. I also have missgivings about anything other than a purpose built 4x4 trailer out in the bush. Particularly the Oodnadatta Track. I'm tipping it will be as rough as guts at the moment. I met a guy in William Creek who was in the process of recovering his "tradesman" trailer from the Lake Eyre track. I passed the trailer later that afternoon and stopped to look at it. Well built and in good condition, but the suspension was never up to the task and had torn out. This had then bent the axle like it was a coathanger. He had come from Melbourne and the trailer had only been on the dirt since Lyndhurst, less than 300km of anything other than bitumen. It put an end to his holiday. If you need it then by all means but go and check out some purpose built trailers and see how yours compares before making the final decision.

The UHF would be a good idea but you should be OK without one. As has already been said you are not really going anywhere really out of the way.

Finally be prepared to change your plans. You have a very full schedule, don't sweat if you can't fit everything in. See the things you can see properly and skip some others. If we had camped at Coward Springs on the way west we would have stayed longer and left something else out. If you enjoy this one you will go again. Pick up what you missed out this time then, but if you rush it won't be fun and you won't do it again.

Hope you the Missus and the kids all have a great time
AnswerID: 112784

Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:51

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:51
Sounds likke a great trip - tho a bit rushed - and too much of an itinerary for my liking, but with kids you do what has to be done.
- Agree with all above - but try the caravan park at Copley instead of Leigh Creek - and Thursday night (I think) is schnitzel night at the Copley Pub - biggest I have ever seen - and the variety - and cheap!!
Coward Springs is pretty nice spot but only if you can camp - the overnight accommodation at William Creek is (to my knowledge anyway) pretty ordinary. and when you say one day here etc - does that mean two nights - otherwise you will be spending all your time on the road, and be too rushed to see anything properly. Maybe you should halve your trip, see and enjoy things properly - and do the rest another time.
Just my opinion for what it is worth.
- In Alice - the McDonnel Ranges CP is good - but so is the G'day Mate across the road - smaller - pool - nice people.
Enjoy - we are headed to the West in 10 sleeps - 3 months on the road - cannot wait!!!
Happy travelling
FollowupID: 368955

Follow Up By: Malcolm P - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 11:39

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 11:39
thanks for the info my father- inlaw built the trailer (he's an overengineer) so with some careful driving I hope we'll be OK.
I need the room in the car to seperate the children.
But I will take it easy.


FollowupID: 369624

Reply By: flappa - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:57

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:57
Just a note on the Radio.

Anything is better then nothing. Something as simple as a cheap handheld from Tandy or Dick smith (2 for about $100) , would do. Can talk to vehicles around you.

Normally limited to about 1km or so , but , you aren't exactly in the mountains.

they are also handy around the camp , the kids (depending on age obviously), can go for a bit of a wander , and still be in contact with you back at camp.
AnswerID: 112798

Follow Up By: Malcolm P - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 12:07

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 12:07
good news as I have 2 of those so from what your saying I don't need an " on-board".
many thanks



FollowupID: 369633

Reply By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 11:59

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 11:59

Not really a comment on the journey - although out of interest we'll be travelling from Perth to Ayers Rock to Alice to Simpson Desert to Flinders range to Adelaide to Perth in four weeks over same July holidays. Talk about rushed!

When we've travelled long distances with three kids, the most useful thing we found for peace and harmony in the car was to regularly rotate all occupants. Parents need to get in the back seat, and if you've got the mindset back seat is for kids then this won't work. But if you're able to replace pride for peace and quiet, then rotate the kids through the front passenger seat.

Adults take turns driving and sitting in the middle rear seat to separate the children. Kids rotate around the seats and each seat has it's own toys and responsibilities. Front seat is plum seat, and they get to choose music, but also have to pass food etc from the floor in the front.

Believe me it really helps cover the long distances when the dynamics in the car change each few hours.

Enjoy your trip.

AnswerID: 113546

Follow Up By: Malcolm P - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 12:13

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 12:13
thanks we are onto that and that's why I want to take a trailer....
absolutely nothing in the car except water, food and things to keep them amused.
But I do have to say that I (and my 2 boys) can't listen to to "when I grow up I want a pony" much longer, but I guess my daughter does have the right to listen to her type of songs.
My daughter is the middle child and is less work than the 2 boys carrying on with each other.

Many Thanks
Have a good trip too

FollowupID: 369634

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