Planning Trip

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:01
ThreadID: 30845 Views:3211 Replies:13 FollowUps:8
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We are planing our 6 month trip with 2 kids under 6 departing early April.

We would appreciate anyone's opinion on our itinery below. Are these places nice to visit or should we avoid some? Are we spending too long in some areas and not enough in others?
We are looking for a relaxing holiday with nice scenery and simple things to do with the kids. (especially nature and wildlife). Also lots of cycling, fishing and snorkeling.

Location Nights

Tin Can Bay 4
Hervey Bay 7
Woodgate Beach 3
Bargara 3
1770 3
Gladstone 2
Yepoon 4
Sarina Beach 2
Mackay 7
Airlie Beach 10
Bowen 3
Townsville 3
Mission Beach 5
Innisfail 2
Cairns 4
Port Douglas 5
Rollingstone 2
Charters Towers 2
Hughenden 2
Cloncurry 2
Mont Isa 2
camooweal 1
tennant Creek 2
Elliot 1
Katherine 2
Darwin 7
Katherine 2
Timber Creek 1
Kununurra 1
Halls Creek 1
Fitzroy Crossing 2
Broome 7
Port Headland 3
Roebourne 1
Carnarvon 4
Geraldton 4
Perth 7
Mandurah 2
Bunbury 1
Albany 3
Esperance 7
Norsman 2
Eucla 2
Ceduna 3
Port Augusta 3
Adelaide 7
Kingston se 2
Mount Gambier 2

total so far 157


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Reply By: robak (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:11

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:11

Sounds like agreat trip.

Can't comment on all, but I'd spend less time in tin can bay / harvey bay and go for 4 or 5 days to fraser.


AnswerID: 155404

Reply By: lambo - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:12

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:12

i wud have a bit more time in sw west aussie (augusta,pemberton,denmark etc) and also if time permits, travel fm ceduna to pt augusta via streaky bay and port lincoln, which are nice places and lotsb to see and do

cheers and enjoy
AnswerID: 155405

Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:13

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:13
I'll add to that by saying EAST of Esperance, Cape legrand, Duke of Orlins bay, Cape Arid, Isrealite Bay, beach Run to Baxter Clifts (if no trailer) then on to the Eyre Hwy.

Ningaloo station (50kms Nth of Coral Bay) Awsome.

The Savanah Way Qld & NT.

Overland Tetegraph Tk Cape Yorke (no trailers)
FollowupID: 409429

Reply By: Member - David 0- Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:28

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:28
What a great trip

Some comments

Fitroy Crossing- great park and resort on the river- town is not so great
Hall Creek- go camp out at Caroline Pool near old halls creek
Kununurra- one night doesn't give too many options, but you are seeing a lot of places so what the hey.
Timber Creek- one nice pub one not so nice :-) The whole town belongs to the community pubs, shops, fuel, camp grounds, all one company. Go check out Gregory's tree, a bit of history for the kids :-)
Rollingstone 2 nights? You must be staying at the park at Hen Camp Creek turnoff. The one on the beach- beautiful!

Don't know what sort of vehicle you are travelling in, but there is an intersting way to go from Townsville to Charters Towers- call in and say G'day and I will clue you up. If you have some time to spare, I'll show you some things of interest as well.

Dave O

AnswerID: 155409

Reply By: Member No 1- Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:36

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:36
sa part
Pt augusta 1
Clare 2-3
then adelaide, barossa, fleurieu peninsula 5-7
then down to SE 3-4 nights
AnswerID: 155411

Reply By: Member - Phil [Sunshine Coast] - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:57

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 18:57
HI Travelin, sounds like a great trip! is it with a van? I would not spend as much time getting up the east coast, although most of those places are reeeeaally nice.Tennant creek? really only because fuel is [used to b?] 20c cheaper than Three Ways.
If you enjoy snorkling, you HAVE to go to Exmouth & the Ningaloo Reef , fantastic! The coastline from Broome down has got some great stop over places, Karratha,[not Hedland] Kalbarri,we went for a night ,stayed 7 [really relaxing] you gotta have a feed at the fish bbq thingy!! I cant remember the name, behind the shops,just ask,he's got a ex. reputation .$hit I was only there a few weeks ago! Somebody on here will know his name.
Augusta is really nice, lots of day trips from there, & on to Albany,
Good beaches on the way also, but getting cooler by than.. Just be very flexible with your itinary , & have a great trip..
AnswerID: 155418

Reply By: RupertDog - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 20:51

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 20:51
Certainly try to spend more time in SW WA (bit biased - local). I'd drop your night in Bunbury (nothing but a port, although if you like dolphins it might be interesting) and spend a few days/nights in Busselton /Dunsborough.

Heaps to do in Busselton with kids. Fishing off the Jetty, Underwater discovery Centre @ end of Jetty (2kms out - train avavilable), various farms etc to feed animals, Margaret River Chocolate Factory, Simmo's Ice Cream Factory, and a few of the Margaret River wineries are very kid friendly (adult friendly too).

Heaps to do down south, try and include King Trout in Pemberton if you like fly fishing - almost gaurentted a catch - kids will love it.


AnswerID: 155439

Reply By: Andrew from TrekTable - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 21:12

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 21:12

Sounds like a great trip. Can I assume you are starting from Brisbane? (I assume this from your first few stops).

If you are starting from Brisbane, I'd suggest you put some serious kilometres under your belt on the first few days. You can always get to some of these places easily when back home after the trip. It's the places on the other side of the continent that aren't so easy to get to, where you should plan to spend more time. I'd probably make 1770 my first stop. I have nothing against Tin Can Bay or Woodgate but they are pretty easy to get to and I'm not sure what you'd do in Tin Can Bay for 4 nights. If you really want to stay in that region I might suggest Rainbow Beach or Inskip Point National Park, but Fraser for the first 11 days would be better than Tin Can Bay & Hervey Bay.

On the east coast you've listed quite a few places that are really no more than 2-3 hours apart and there's not alot of difference between them (Don't get me wrong, I know that area quite well and it is lovely, but if you've got 6 months, I'd make the travel days worthwhile, with a longer stay in each 'selective' location.

You could then skip the major east coast towns (Bargara, Yepoon, Sarina, Mackay, etc) & head to Cape Hillsborough National Park (20k North of Mackay).

IMO, with 2 x 6year olds, you may find one long day's drive, between stays of 7-8 days more enjoyable and relaxing than shifting every 3-4 days.

You can realistically get to Cairns with 3 nice stops along the way rather than 14 you have listed (remember that I'm assuming you live in Brisbane and can see the east coast on another trip). If you're going beyond Cairns to Port Douglas, I'd suggest skip Port Douglas and head for Cooktown. Great history for the kids, Endeavour River, Captain Cook & all that (This type of experience & knowledge will give the kids a 'look & touch' aspect to the kids holiday that they won't get in a classroom!

Once heading west, the majors like Charters Towers, Hughenden & Mt Isa are a must but there's not much between Mt Isa & Tennant Ck (I wouldn't stay there 2 nights).

Anyway I can dribble for hours and I hope I didn't offend anyone with my comments about towns on the east coast (I live in Brisbane but know the East Coast pretty well).

My view is less short stops & more longer stays. You can truly get to explore aplace if you spend 4-7 quality days rather than 1-2 rushed days. And the trip won't be such a blurr when you get back.

I'm willing to discuss further privately if you have any questions and I hope my views have helped.

AnswerID: 155441

Follow Up By: travellingblooms - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:28

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:28
Thanks Andrew and Thank you to everyone for replying and providing great advice. :)

We do live in Brisbane and have purchased a Galaxy Southern Cross Family Caravan. it is 21ft and not off road so we are restricted to roads. We are towing it with a 100 series Landcruiser and can obviously go off road once we unhook.

Sounds like there are some great places to see. Our itinery does not stop at Mount Gambier, as we are yet to plan the trip back to Brizzy. Probably go the Great Ocean Rd. and coastal NSW.

I have made up an Excel spreadsheet that calculates the distances, fuel burn and price and accomodation costs. I have averaged $1.50/L But if the US go to war with Iran I will amend this to $3.00/L :(

Can't wait to take the family on an adventure of a lifetime and to meet lots of decent people along the way.


FollowupID: 409447

Follow Up By: travellingblooms - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:34

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:34
Another question that comes to mind is:

Are there many free/cheap camp sites for large caravans along the way.
We will be staying in caravan parks but would like to reduce costs a little if there were some nice camp spots to stay.


FollowupID: 409449

Reply By: drewab - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 21:52

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 21:52
On your way through Cloncurry and Isa try to get out to Lawn Hill Gorge,great swimming, good walks and good camping at either the Gorge campground or Adels Grove, the KIDS will love it.

cheers AB

AnswerID: 155450

Reply By: Member - Alan (WA) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:00

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:00

From my perspective - what a great post - and already lots of great feedback. Thanks.

We are travelling for 6 mths late Dec (after Xmas) through to June 2007. 2 kids then 8 and 10 We are based in Perth - and will travel anti-clockwise, entering North after wet.

We are trying to keep the itinerary as flexible as possible - but need to have some rough stops in mind.

You have given us quite a few places to look up.

Thanks again - and have a great trip.

AnswerID: 155464

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 01:28

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 01:28

Sounds like a great trip. 7 nights in Mackay is good but make sure you use some of this time to get up to Eungella NP. 3 nights in Bowen probably max. Not a lot to do really although a few nice beaches and some nice scenery. IMHO you could see it all in a day and since its only a hours drive north from Airlie, 1-2 nights would be ample. 2 x 2 nights in Katherine could be a bit tight considering travelling time to and from will really only leave you two full days and a bit. Assuming one day for Katherine Gorge it doesn't leave a lot of time for other sights such as Katherine hot springs, Springvale, Mataranka, Roper River, Newcastle Waters, Edith Falls, Elsey Park etc. 1 night in Kununurra definitely not enough. I'd be looking at 3-5 at least. This is a lovely place with heaps to see and do for you and the kids such as Zebra rock gallery, Lake Kununurra, upper and lower Ord River, melon farm, Hidden Valley NP, sunset from Kelly's Knob, fabulous scenery, maybe a trip up to Wyndham. We spent 5 nights there in May 05 which was our third visit. Good place to unwind. Highly recommend doing Triple J's tour from the Argyle dam wall down the Ord River back to Lake Kununurra. Also, Big 4 Ivanhoe CVP is fabulous. Only other comment is that I'd try to juggle your itinery to give yourselves and extra few nights as you come down the NW coast of WA. Consider spending a night or two at 80 mile beach, Cape Keraudren, Shark Bay/Monkey Mia (surprised you haven't included MM as your kids would get a kick out of seeing the dolphins). Possible you could drop 3 nights in Port Hedland to 1 or 2. Enjoy your trip.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 155482

Follow Up By: travellingblooms - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:31

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:31
Thanks Melissa

We will most probably change our itenery based on yours and other's comments.

Very much appreciated


FollowupID: 409448

Follow Up By: travellingblooms - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:34

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:34
Another question that comes to mind is:

Are there many free/cheap camp sites for large caravans along the way.
We will be staying in caravan parks but would like to reduce costs a little if there were some nice camp spots to stay.


FollowupID: 409450

Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:50

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:50
Sounds a great trip - agree with other posts re doing the east coast - and spending more time on the west - it is huge - with big areas of nothing - takes longer than you expect - get yourself a copy of "Camps Australia 3" (or the current version if there is a new one) - available from the shop on this site - lots of good free camping in this - when near Katherine - head for Edith Falls - great camping - waterholes to swim in - run by nat parks - good facilities - well worth the trip - are you heading to Karrijine National Park in WA - Tom Price caravan park is terrific - and Karrijini is spectacular.
Enjoy your trip - wish I was going again - oh, well maybe soon with any luck.
FollowupID: 409463

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 00:25

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 00:25

Some good free campsites that would suit a big caravan include:
- Mary Pool between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing. Lovely free campsite on the river bank, well patronised by caravanners and campers. Fresh water crocs lazing on the river bed in plain view of camping area would give the kids a buzz. Halls Creeks not a very nice place so I'd recommend you push past there and spend the night you planned there at Mary Pool instead. Drop toilet but no other facilities.
- Maree Pool on the Maitland River just south of Karratha. Very pretty spot with swimming, fishing and shady campsites. Popular with travellers and locals.
- Robe River rest area further south along the NW Coastal Highway near the Pannawonica T/O. Camping down by the usually dry, sandy river bed. Shady gums, picnic tables, long drop toilets. Good overnight stop.

There are heaps and heaps really. Highly recommend you buy Jan Hollands "Priceless Campsites & Rest Areas in the north of WA". They also have a south WA edition and both books include detailed descriptions of campsites and rest areas including information on location, facilities, access, GPS co-ordinates etc. Both books can be bought through the EO online shop.

:o) Melissa
FollowupID: 409663

Reply By: maroni - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 10:30

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 10:30
good on you wish i was going..once leaving broome don't worry about staying in port hedland, stop at 80mile beach its really nice and also don't stay in robourne stay either port sampson or karratha much nicer..
cheers and happy travelling
AnswerID: 155529

Reply By: Browser - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 10:35

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 10:35
Hi Travellingblooms,

I am envious of your trip and sure that you and the family will have a wonderful time.

Some suggestions for your travels are to call into Geikie Gorge , Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge . I did these last September and they were absolutely magnificent. You can park the van at the Fitzroy Crossing Lodge and spend one day driving the Toyota to Geike Gorge and the next day doing Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge.

Best of luck.

AnswerID: 155530

Reply By: ellen m - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 23:09

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 23:09
hi travellingblooms,

sounds like a great trip...we did it a few years ago, were going for 1 year - were away for 2 and only got to nt and wa (also came home with a baby)

some ideas we have.

make sure you stop for a cream bun at the bakery at hughenden - best we tasted in australia!

I would stay at mataranka instead of katherine (or both)

you will need more time at kununarra and do the trip into the bungle bungles. there is a rest area on the main road where you turn into the bungles where you could leave your van.

one day is heaps to port hedland

dont stay in roebourne - not very safe. there is a little place about 15 km for roebourne called cossack. it is an old "ghost" town. no camping but a great backpackers that has family rooms for about $35 per night. it is in the old police barracks. lots of great stuff for the kids to look at. the fishing and crabing is the best we have found in oz. u will need mozzie spray - for the sand flys

four nights each at carnarvon and geraldton in to much. use your time at somewhere more interesting.

dont miss augusta in south WA. there is a great van park there (i think it is council run) that has fantastic shady sites and fishing on the blackwood river for the kids. lots of pelicans for them to feed.

heaps of other places i could tell you about.... this could go on for days!

we are doing a trip for a couple of months into gulf of carpentaria leaving cairns in june..if you will still be around the area maybe the kids could play and we could chat!

have fun


have fun

AnswerID: 155657

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 00:30

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 00:30
Have to disagree re staying in Roebourne. The CVP is just out of town north of the Harding River and although it is nothing flash, they have plenty of grass, shade, roomy sites and relaxed atmosphere. We've stayed there a few times and have no qualms re safety etc.

:o) Melissa
FollowupID: 409664

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