8 week trip

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 02:56
ThreadID: 31426 Views:2531 Replies:8 FollowUps:8
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I'm after advice. We have four kids ranging from 5 to 11 and are in the infant stages of planning an 8 week trip starting and ending at our home on the gold coast in June/July this year. Prado pulling a windsor rapid off road model. How far should we plan to go in these 8 weeks? I was hoping to make it to Cairns then Darwin and come back down through Alice then east home. Is this too ambitious, as this will be out first long trip in the van? The kids can tolerate four to five hours at a stretch in the car. Any suggested itinieries would be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: sweetcaroline - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 03:05

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 03:05
I'm replying to my own thread, how embarrassment!!! But, I have one more pressing question. Should I get an annex made for the awning that is already fitted to the van. Does the advantage of having one outweigh the apparent hassle of putting it up and lugging it around??
AnswerID: 158658

Reply By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 08:52

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 08:52
hi

Our first big trip away in 2004 was for 6 weeks, towing a van, we went from Melbourne, up to Broken Hill, across to Peterborough SA, up to the Oodnadatta track to Marla, then up the Stuart Hwy to Alice for a couple of days, then up the Stuart Hwy to Katherine, on to Litchfield NP, then to Darwin, out to Kakadu, then back to Katherine, down to Alice again, down to Uluru, Coober Pedy, Pt August, Clare Valley, Robe and home, the kids were 3 & 4, and they handled the travel very well, we had a dvd set up in the car for them, and they took books and a few other toys as well.

Last year we went from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria away for 4 weeks but with a camper trailer this time, again we took with us activities, incl the dvd to keep the kids happy while we travelled, we started early in the day, and tried to finish travelling by early to mid afternoon so that we could set up and the kids could run around and enjoy themeselves and adults could unwind.

This year we're away for 4 weeks again exploring the Flinders Ranges, which will be a shorter trip re distance travelled by about 3000km on last year, but will be full of activities and I'm already planning what to bring for the kids to keep them occupied and happy.

We have found that our kids have adapted well to long travel.

Re the annex, when we travelled for the 6 weeks with our van, we took the sides of the awning, we only used it a couple of times, but I'm glad we did as it gave us an extra living space, so if you can fit the walls in somewhere you may find it handy.

I think if you plan your trip with realistic distances to be travelled each day, and allow yourself a few days break as often as you can, so that you can enjoy your journey and see things, plan what you want to do and see and then work out how many days you'll need to spend in those places then distances to be travelled etc, and then work it out that way you'll enjoy your trip more rather than feeling you're in a rush the whole time.

i'm sure there will be others on here who will have differing opinions.

enjoy the planning and enjoy your trip away.

cheers

Lyn
AnswerID: 158667

Follow Up By: sweetcaroline - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 09:26

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 09:26
Thanks very much Lyn, just out of interest how many km did you travel on you six week trip in 2004? Also it looks like I've got some homework to regarding modifications to the rig to improve safety etc.
John
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FollowupID: 413165

Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 09:34

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 09:34
Hi John,

it was between 10-11000kms on that trip [from memory] last year was about 7000km,this year it' will be just over 4000kms.

We have a friend who took their Windsor Rapid away on a 10 week trip around Australia, from Melbourne doing the circuit and returning to Melbourne with twin boys then aged about 3, they said the van handled the journey really well.

cheers

Lyn
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FollowupID: 413166

Reply By: 1arm - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 11:37

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 11:37
HI there

we just completed a 10000 km trip from perth to canberra and back via adelaide murray bridge, peterborough, shepparton and a few other places with 4 kids from 2 to 9. We had a camper trailer and tent for the older kids. However if only stopping for one night they slept outside in swags especially across the nullabour as it was hard to get tent pegs in.
We didnt have a dvd player and the kids survived fine. We tried to keep it to about 5 or 6 hours in the car except across the nullabour.Our longest day was 13 hours from Ceduna to balladonia on the way home because of time zone changes and with regular breaks and food the kids coped fine because by then they were used to the travel. They were set up with games and activities to do.
We found that if we were in transit for a few day then it was best to stop for a few nights at a nice location to let them have some freedom.
AnswerID: 158685

Follow Up By: sweetcaroline - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:45

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:45
Many thanks for your advice. Sounds like you had a great trip. When you slept on the Nullabour did you go off the main track to make camp? A fellow mentioned to me that he would go off five km or so for safety. Is this a necessity. Any suggestions wrt swags and tents?
thanks again,
John
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FollowupID: 413243

Follow Up By: 1arm - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 19:04

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 19:04
Across the nullabor we stayed at Eucla caravan park for the night $15
and on the way back at Balladonia.
We stayed a caravan parks all the time as it was out first trip.
The kids slept in swags either in or out of the tent and were fine outside just in their swags.As for the swags they were from a camping store. Just a basic swag.
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FollowupID: 413246

Reply By: Member - Crazy Dog (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 12:36

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 12:36
Sweetcaroline,

If you are up this way give me and the wife a yell - we can advise etc about the area around Cairns etc.
Let us know by the forum and we will make contact.....
AnswerID: 158690

Follow Up By: sweetcaroline - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 19:15

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 19:15
Great Logo!!
Thanks for your kind offer.
John
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FollowupID: 413250

Reply By: GEG - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:10

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:10
The kids will be fine...Especially if you can have 1 in each row. I have 3. I play a game telling them 'the child who is best behaved gets to pick which seat they sit in, when we stop next' it changes each stop...It really works well, even now as the oldest turns 13 in a couple of weeks.

Some parents prefer to leave at ungodly hours in the morning before the kids wake, putting the kids in the car in their pj's and while they are still asleep, stopping at maccas for breakfast when they all wake...I have done it once, or twice but, my kids always wake up as I carry them to the car, then they want breakfast - too excited.

Thank goodness for mobile phones as this allows the kids to play a few games on them and then the hmmm of the motor usually puts them to sleep for an hour or two.

Take a bottle of water per child...and give them a job each to make sure they fill their water bottles up at each stop...

I made Yeppoon from Brisbane west supurbs with 3 kids easy by dinner time and before dark, and I left at around 11. The next day I got to Shute harbour, again, leaving around 10ish...I always stop for a lunch and walkaround...youll be able to do all those places you want to in 8 weeks...and youll have a wonderfull time. dont do too much planning..stay flexible...that way it will be much more relaxing...

re the sides on your annex...think of the wind factor, as more than likely I would expect you will be eating outside, not inside..kids make too much mess which means you will need to sweep and mop the floor...get them outside to eat and they can look at more things..but if the wind is blowing
a gale, or the rain is coming from that end, or the sun is shinning down - youll be thankfull for the shelter. A light weight tarp may do the same job and not be as heavy...??

good luck
AnswerID: 158740

Follow Up By: sweetcaroline - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 19:12

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 19:12
Plenty of food for thought here.
Thank you,
John
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FollowupID: 413249

Reply By: ev700 - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:40

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:40
I think you should halve your itinery and aim to have longer stays in spots you like. It is a mistake with children to try to cover too much ground.

I guess what I am saying is to reconsider the goals of your holiday: is it to see as much as possible (adults like to do this more than children) or relax and enjoy the countryside?

Although some children will tolerate 4-5 hours at a stretch, 3 and a bit hours is preferable, enabling you to get going at a reasonable time, have morning tea (don't rush it) and get set up for the night and have late lunch. That lets you and the children have an afternoon look around in the new spot.

Children love to 'settle in' to a spot and get to know it. That allows you time for a good look around the area too.

So what i am saying is cover less kilometres, settle in to good areas for a little while and use those sites as a base for local exploring. Much better than a skim-over trip that covers lots of kms and leaves everyone ragged. Encourages the children to be more than sign spotters too.
AnswerID: 158748

Follow Up By: sweetcaroline - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:51

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 18:51
Many thanks for you advice. How big a loop from the gold coast should we entertain? I guess we could head north and get a feel for how far we get each day, then head inland accordingly. I do agree with your suggested daily itiniery, i could see the kids getting into that routine easily.
John
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FollowupID: 413244

Follow Up By: ev700 - Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 23:28

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 23:28
sweetcaroline
Hi.

Yes I'd be very flexible first trip and ensure that if there is anything on the drive that you want to stop and see (or have a swim), there is no 'ironclad' itinerary that prevents it.

As a suggestion, first day it is more than enough to get to Hervey Bay and I'd spend a few days there to shake down the gear and get in the holiday mood.

While on that, it is worth getting a shade cloth floor for the annexe (see camping supplies). Keeps things clean. You might wish to get shade cloth for one end of the annexe too for wind and privacy.

Next I'd head to Yeppoon for 2-3 days.

From there you can head west to give everyone some experience of western touring. You can work out the days and stays, but essentially an extra day is worthwhile if there is anything nearby to look at. Also you need to scedule in the odd extra rest day anyhow. Join the children fishing in a dam or river and forget the haste. Feel relaxed enough to 'free camp' here and there off the road and away from the hustle and bustle of the tarmac.

Heading west on the Capricorn then Landsborough Highways there are several big road junctions if the family decide they'd prefer to be on the coast, however it is not too onerous to go through Longreach, Winton Cloncurry and then you can choose to go further west or head to Normanton, Cairns and up to Cooktown.

I'd track back down the coast trying to stay at the smaller out of the way places and you will find many people on the road who will make suggestions.

If you are taking the time to see the country wherever you stop you will find that eight weeks is just enough.

I suggest that a Darwin loop might be too much, but when you are in Winton or Cloncurry you can change your route if desired.

However I reckon it is better to burn less fuel and spend less time on the road. That means more time to talk with locals and explore.

After all, you want to leave some country for the next trip.

There is a surprising amount to be seen in many areas, for example when staying at Yeppoon there is Mount Morgan just west of there for a day trip - it is an old gold mining town. Take a picnic lunch.

EV700
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FollowupID: 413323

Reply By: Lyds- Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 22:12

Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 22:12
we did Sydney, via Qld, Broome, via Adelaide, Sydney in 9 weeks, 16,000kms. So I'd say your trip is doable.

I have 2 kids, so you'd have add an hour each day per child :-)

You probably won't see much rain, if any (famous last words), so the tarp would be more trouble than its worth. The exception being if you're staying anywhere for 3 or more days.

AnswerID: 158802

Reply By: TonyT - Monday, Mar 06, 2006 at 13:37

Monday, Mar 06, 2006 at 13:37
It just sounds great- they'll have a great time- underneath all that playstation dvd multimedia stuff are kids just waiting to get out and about- have a great trip.
AnswerID: 158876

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