Roadtrip in NTand WA

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 20:42
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Hi,

I'm planning a 5 weeks roadtrip next August with my family - children are 10 and 15 - in the North Teritory and Western Australia. We'll drive a 4WD camper. Our dream itinerary is a one way trip from Darwin to Perth which includes the Top End -Kakadu, Katherine-, the Red Center -Tennant Creek, Alice, Uluru, Olga, Kings Canyon -, the Tanami track, the Bungle Bungle, the Gibb River road, the West coast - Broome, Shark Bay, Ningaloo Reef, Coral bay, Pinnacles... I am wondering is this itinerary is not too ambitious and will really apreciate any comment or advice concerning this trip.

Regards,
Juan

PS : I write from Paris/France and it is my first travel to Australia.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:03

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:03
If you are basically heading south west from Darwin, I would give Kakadu a miss and visit Litchfield National Park instead. If you wish to go to Kakadu, you will need to travel eastwards first, then backtrack.

The rest of your itinery sounds doable in the timeframe.
Bill


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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:07

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:07
Backtrack to where?

Kakadu has far more culutral significance than Litchfield IMHO
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:24

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:24
I disagree Kakadu can be done in a loop (I did it) via the Arnhem highway to Jabaru and on to the Stuart highway via Timber creek. A small amout of back tracking with the 2 and from litchfield first is not much. IMHO a trip to the top end is incomplete without visiting both
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:12

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:12
From Darwin you need to head EAST to visit Kakadu. To perform this, whether in a "loop" or in & out, is to head in the opposite direction than all other itinerary locations mentioned. This would take a minimum of 2 days out of the total trip.

Having been there, I don't believe Kakadu offers anything other than run of the mill "tourist" crap, cultural, or otherwise. unless you are into fishing. Plenty of Barra haunts in the area.

There will be plenty of "cultural" significance at Ayers Rock, oops, Ularu.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:22

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:22
Very cynical you are, Sandman

Drive around with your eyes closed
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:54

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:54
Yes Willem, sometimes I am.

Just trying to advise a traveller who is heading in the other direction mate and has a lot to see.
Bill


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Reply By: Member - Willie , Epping .Syd. - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:14

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:14
Sandman ,
i agree with what you say about backtracking , but the guy is coming all the way from France and it would be a shame to miss seeing the art in Kakadu and going for a croc cruise on Yellow Waters .
How was your adventure on the high seas ?
Willie .
AnswerID: 150652

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:19

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:19
Hi there Willie.

Very "cultural". Most stopovers were very good. Numea.....um.....OK, but boy, the french take some "working out".

Overall, the cruise was very relaxing. So much so, it was an effort to fire up again when we returned home. Met some great people on the "boat".
Bill


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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:17

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:17
Hi Juan

It seems a bit ambitious.

You are attempting to drive about 10,000km in five weeks. That is around 300km per day non stop and it does not give you time to stop and look at some of the great places here in Australia.

I would suggest you do the Northern Territory journey from Darwin to Litchfield Kakadu, Katherine Gorge, Victoria Highway to Western Australia and your itinerary as specified. This route should be around 5000 to 6000km and it will give you more time to see the sites.

Cheers

AnswerID: 150654

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:32

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:32
I think 10,000k is conservative. I did Kal - headland - Broome - Grr, Bungle Bungles (bit of back tracking) Kunnunurra - Katherine - Litchfield - Darwin - Kakadu - Alice (east and west Macs) - Kings canyon, Uluru - and back to Kal via GCR which would be simular to what he mentions and it was 14,0000k. It took 6 weeks and was a bit rushed but I still got a good look around by hitting all the walk trails I could find and pulling some long drives including at night to get places (only the roads of little intrest eg the Northern Highway to Headland and the GCR
I probably would not have been able to do it if I wasnt by myself and had others to consider
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Follow Up By: juanmtz - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:43

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:43
Hi Willem,

The itinerary you suggest is curently my option 2. I am sure it is more reasonable above all travelling with children. But we love desert. It is my first and may be last travel to Australia. If i don't go to the red center I 'll probably miss something. My intent is to stay more in the NT and Kimberley and have a quick overview of the West coast. But all this is still under talks. We'll probably make the choise on the spot depending of the road conditions, the weather and the confort of our car.

Many thanks for your suggestion,
Regards from Paris,
Juan

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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:20

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 22:20
Davoe

Yes you are a bloody wonder lol

Please remember that Juan is coming from France.
He has never been to Australia.
He has to drive on the 'other' side of the road over here in a right hand drive vehicle.
He probably does not know what corrugations are.
He might not know about correct tyre inflation for different road surfaces
He might not know what bulldust is.
He has never seen a Road Train before

There are so many variables but it will be a steep learning curve

I have driven 4000km in the USA in two weeks but that is bitumen all the way. One has to concentrate like mad as the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car, the gear lever is on the wrong side and everything is back to front roadwise.

Juan

Ahhh I was in Paris when a was a young man(1960) on holidays with my parents

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Mama June - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 19:55

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 19:55
I can't believe what people like Davoe do! Do they ever stop for the night or sleep sometimes? It's people like that who wake us in the middle of the night hammering in their tent pegs, or otherwise setting up camp.
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 22:07

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 22:07
Mama June Hardly likely, that trip was in a campervan meaning no set up of camp was required. And the only time late camps were made was when transiting highways where i didnt actually camp in tourist camp areas not actually driving through beutiful areas at night. The trip was not as rushed as it might appear and i had plenty of time to do stuff like canoe down the Katherine Gorges, Canoe the buetiful waters of the flora river. Spend a restfull day catching saratoga at the 3 mile hole wildman river, Take every ealking track at the bungle Bungles and marvel at the formations etc etc although I would have liked to have spent longer in the East and West Macs. I would have preferred to do the trip in 3 months but reality is I have to work
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Reply By: Footloose - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:43

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:43
Having driven one lightening trip around Oz a "few" years ago, yes it's do able. "Easily". However all you will see is the road and a few quick stops to take some pictures. My advice is don't try and do it all in the one trip. Cut down on your places and you'll actually see and enjoy more of what's there.
AnswerID: 150664

Reply By: Darian (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:58

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:58
G'day Juan - you have listed a lot of wonderful places to visit - I've been to a few of them and the one thing I'm learning rapidly on bush holidays in Australia is to allow for "quality time" on these trips. You are coming a long way, and you of course want to max your holiday value while here, but your plan sounds too rushed to me - I'd definitley try to prune some distance out, so that you have more time to walk around some of these places, sit down and appreciate them fully. Nothing wrong with "making good time" through a region, but its very disappointing when you have to skip attractive places, because of a schedule that has to be kept. All you can do is come back later if possible. The danger with our long distances, gravel roads (some quite rough) and high heat levels (even in "winter") is that parts of the trip might find you feeeling like a transport driver delivering perishables ! Darwin to the red centre and then the Kimberly is great as a plan - and there are hoards of great places to experience ..........but even though its sealed, just check out the distance then down to Perth !........whatever you do, hope you strike good weather and have a fabulous time here.
AnswerID: 150671

Reply By: juanmtz - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:59

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 21:59
I am really pleased and impressed by the number of response. I'll communicate the information to my family. I am sure it will help in our choice.

Many thanks indeed to all,
Juan

If like us you are traveller lovers, you may have a look to my personal web site.
http://juanmtz.free.fr/
Sorry it is in french but you'll find nice pictures of the Northern hemisphere - France, Sahara, Iceland.
AnswerID: 150672

Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 23:33

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 23:33
Hi Juan

Had a look at your website and photos. Looks like you and your family like big adventures :o)

Australia is a good place to have a nice, big, safe adventure.

Happy travels

Cheers
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Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 23:11

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 23:11
Juan,
Like others have said, Ipersonally think that your planned itenary with a camper trailer and two kids is not realistic in the 5 weeks you have.Having been to all the places you mention I would personally forget about the trip through Tenant creek,Uluru,Kings Canyon and the Tanami and spend the time saved in the other places not forgetting Litchfield as well as Kakadoo.You will also find that there are many stops down the West coast that you haven't mentioned that the kids and yourself will enjoy at that time of year.Remember you are on holliday not a driving safari.
AnswerID: 150696

Reply By: Member - Eric P (Int) - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 08:48

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 08:48
Hi; Juan,

I am living near to Paris as well.

Both of us , my wife Cathy and Me do like Oz and had some nice trips the last years (we are planing a new trip next August - Savannah way - see memlbers trip and gatherings QLD).

Last year, we had a 10.400 k trip within 4 1/2 weeks (without kids, with a well preapred car and with a lot of preparation - Darwin, Kununura, Gibb River road, Coral bay, Mt Augustus, Laverton Great Central Road, Uluru, Alice, Kakadu, Darwin). It was quite a hard job espescally for Cathy. Nevertheless, I understand ... you have to do it.

Have a look at "frenchies trip report" part 1 and 2 on the forum, and you will have an idea of what can be done.

If you are interested in more information, please let me know. I can give you a lot of advice from the point of view of a french guy who likes adventure and begins to know something about outback travel.

Cheers

Eric
AnswerID: 150740

Follow Up By: juanmtz - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 20:11

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 20:11
Hi Eric,
I am very interested by your experience. I am quite busy this morning but I'll come back to you soon.
A bientôt,
Juan
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