Places to Avoid - Places to not avoid

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:09
ThreadID: 56813 Views:3845 Replies:9 FollowUps:21
This Thread has been Archived
Just starting our touring with the family and like to be prepared. I would like to hear anyone's bad experiences in towns whilst touring around Australia.

I have been told to be careful of Wilcannia NSW (which was on my list for an overnighter - not any more...) but this was a good tip and I have recalculated my route (still going through but no overnight stay)

Where else should best be avoided or places you felt unsafe???

I know everyone has different experiences and by no means wish to disgruntle any fellow tourers who have had good experiences in the same towns, but it is just to be prepared and aware of what can/does/might happen.

By all means let me know the best experience you have had that makes touring all worth while, whether a track you took, an attraction you saw or a tour you went on.

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:19

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:19
Everything you do in life is a personal experience and the best way to see the country is to find out for yourself and not to rely on others to vent their short sightedness.

What you are asking for, is for people to expose their personal hang-ups, they may have on certain places.

You can have a bad experience anywhere but the next traveller can have a good experience at the same place 5 minutes later.

AnswerID: 299450

Follow Up By: Top End Explorer Tours - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:25

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:25
I agree with Willem 100%, in fact if someone tells me not to go some were, I make a point of going there, I can't remember being disappointed yet.

Cheers Steve.
FollowupID: 565616

Follow Up By: Voxson - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:27

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:27
I had a really bad experience in Birdsville in 2005,,, but 2006 and 2007 were great there...
Like Willem said,,,, taste the experience yourself..

Same as if you were to ask for the best swag or tent,, fridge etc,,,, we only tell you what we own... hahahahahahaa...
FollowupID: 565618

Follow Up By: Patrolman Pat - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:29

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:29
Another one agreeing with Willem. Travel is about broadening ones horizons with both good and bad experiences. Get out there and taste it all for yourself.
FollowupID: 565619

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:00

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:00
Steve...don't go to Wilcannia....Paris, Rome, London, New York...have a good trip.....LOL :-)

FollowupID: 565648

Follow Up By: Member - Roscoe ET (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 20:03

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 20:03
I have to agree with Willem to. I just posted a reply in relation to thread 56810 regarding Menindee Caravan Parks which also asked about precautions in relation to Wilcannia. I won't repeat the full version here but we've stayed in the caravan park there twice last year on the way to WA and again on the way back and we never had any problems.

In 2006 we were advised against staying at Halls Creek so we drove straight through...down the road about 20k had a Cooper tyre tread part it's way so went back to Halls Creek to have the spare case put on a rim. It was getting late, had a talk to the guy who runs the tyre shop and he told us we would not have a problem if we stayed he said 99% of what we would have heard was crap...anyway we stayed had no problems.

Same story with Derby and Fitzroy Crossing, stayed at Fitzroy for 4 nights and Derby for 10 nights never saw any incidents and neither did we have any problems.

Anyway they've been our experiences
FollowupID: 565678

Follow Up By: Off-track - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 22:47

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 22:47
Great answer Willem. I agree wholeheartedly
FollowupID: 565885

Reply By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:45

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:45
Ali, if you were planning to stop over at Wilcannia and have wisely decided against it, why not take the diversion out to Whitecliffs for a break. Turn off just out of town on the Broken Hill side. About 100k of excellent sealed road, and well worth the effort. The caravan park is cheap (pay by honour box system) and quite good. If you are there on a Friday night, join in with the 20 or so locals who have their weekly dining out get together at the cafe/shop across from the pub and trust me, you will have a fabulous night. Great cheap food, and a great bunch of diverse/eccentric characters who will warmly welcome you, and share some great yarns. It's on our "must do again" list. I have yet to find a friendlier town in the bush.
There are a lot of interesting things to do/see as well....IMHO.
Have a safe trip and enjoy.

AnswerID: 299454

Follow Up By: Member - Scott D (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:56

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:56
Thanks Fred,
This is exactly what we have decided to do. We kept tossing up to do Whitecliffes and after some wise advice from others about Wilcannia (which we orignally were staying o/n), we have chosen to scoot up to Whitecliffes for the night and head onto Cobar/Nyngan for the next overnighter.

Thank you for your kind advice.

FollowupID: 565622

Follow Up By: Top End Explorer Tours - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:59

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:59
What do they say is the problem with Wilcannia??

Cheers Steve.
FollowupID: 565623

Follow Up By: Crackles - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 17:20

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 17:20
When you park your car in town & go into the shop for 5 minutes you may come out to find your camper trailer literally pushed away by the locals. Fella I spoke to had to wait 2 hours for the police to round up all the contents spread around town. Lovely Historical town unfortunately destroyed by it's own that could be a tourist goldmine.
Cheers Craig...........
FollowupID: 565626

Follow Up By: obee - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:47

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:47
We skipped Wilcannia, all those boarded up shopfronts and graffiti. When we got to Bourke the door on the CT mysteriously opened while I was parked with me still inside the car. I was absolutely sure I had closed it properly and anyway nothing had fallen out the back coming up from Louth. No dust in there either.

You just confirmed my suspicions.

FollowupID: 565667

Reply By: V8Diesel - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:52

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:52
Wiluna WA. It's a bleak, violent and depressing oven.

The 'vibe' of Port Hedland WA seems to drain the spirit somehow as well. Although I must admit I've had some cracker nights there so don't get me wrong, it's not all bad.

I can't warm to Onslow either for some reason.

It's difficult to put my finger on as a lot of these places have a very transient population, but having been to nearly every town in WA I think it boils down to the feeling the locals give you. Some places seem to attract the positive, and some seem to be a magnet for surly, sullen, zombies. Places do have a 'vibe' - make no mistake about it. Good spirits / bad spirits.....who knows but I can sense it.

If you only see the good it would be a pretty boring trip. Check it all out.
AnswerID: 299456

Follow Up By: furph - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:03

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:03
Pine Creek (NT) not much different.
Quite a depressing spot, we were going to stay at the van park there once but the cretins in the pub (very inebriated, otherwise would not use that word) convinced us to camp out of town.
Having said that, we had a top night in the "Animal Bar" in Karumba.
As V8 so correctly observes, its what you feel, and what you get out of it.
I (try to) visit every waterhole in every town we go through. Sometimes hate to leave, othertimes can't wait to.
FollowupID: 565634

Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:57

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:57
I haven't been to Wiluna but a bush-bred Aboriginal elder from the western desert told me "Wiluna mob no good, drink too much grog and fight too much".

Many people hate Pt Hedland but I have met some great, friendly people up here. Many good people simply trying to make a life in a town where most of their family are.

We had our front gates open and the missus car unlocked overnight for months and months before we had any problems. But then....would you ever walk around South Hedland after dark? Never.

In general I agree with Willem. I have had people tell me how much they hated a town that I used to go to as a kid and would play without a worry in the world.

If you get to a place and don't feel safe then move on.

FollowupID: 565647

Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:26

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:26
I don't mind Wiluna.

Having stayed there for 3 night last year I'm actually a bit disapppointed I could not squeeze it into this years itinery.

Got talking to some locals, got showed many thousands of dollars worth of gold, had some drinks at the bar, got lent a book, met the shire president and talked for some time (at the bar), saw some locals carry a dead roo on their bonnet, had some other mean looking locals come over to me in the ute and ended up having a laugh, thought the girl at the shire office was a spunk, used the centrelink photocopier for free.....

In fact, I love the place, and it could be considered the gateway to other interesting spots.

I can see why some wouldn't like it though as I used to think that way.


Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 565704

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:31

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:31
Try Wiluna around pension day! Admittedly my knowledge may be a bit out of date, but Jesus that place depressed me.

I used to park outside the pub, get the passenger to run in to the white fellas bar and gets a key, drive around the side and open 15 foot high gates and then lock vehicle inside the compound. Mad Max 2 stuff.

I was there in the mid 90's and a cop got his neck cut and another time a 'traditional landowner' killed another with a rock near the pub. I like the area (I was involved with exploration for Jundee, Bogada Bore etc) but the 'locals' were absolutely ruined by grog, perpetrated horrendous violence on each other and lived in complete squalor. The streets were literally paved with empty tinnies and goon bags.

May be it's changed..........I sincerely hope so. I know it received a lot of media attention some time back when it was pointed out to the education minister that the school was next to the town's sewage pond.

Re: Hedland, I've had some beaut times there so I might have been a bit harsh. I spent a bit of time living at the at The Lodge in South and the Pier in Port. A good mate of mine was a bouncer at Mistys nightclub and he has a few stories to tell about that fine establishment. I think the brutal summer time heat, midgies and flies took it out of me a bit. Winter is the go for me.
FollowupID: 565730

Reply By: Dunaruna - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:13

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:13
Robinvale. Even the cops avoid it.
AnswerID: 299464

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:17

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:17
Read a very disturbing article on Robinvale just this morning on another forum.
FollowupID: 565638

Follow Up By: Dunaruna - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:19

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:19
It's a pity. Very picturesque part of the world especially camping by the river.
FollowupID: 565640

Follow Up By: Bushtrek - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:29

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:29
Stayed at Robinvale in 2006. No problems at all. Great atmosphere when you have all the winery contractors to talk with and share a beer.
Nothing wrong with the place from my experience.

Was in Wilcannia last week. Stopped in at the IGA and bought some supplies. The local kids of all backgrounds were playing handball on the footpath outside, parked the 4BY outside and not a problem. Had lunch in the War Memorial park by the river, a very pleasant town, the caravan park east of town is in need of some work but I had no issues at all, so there you go, not everyone has problems in Wilcannia.
FollowupID: 565655

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:14

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 18:14
As already said by Willem and others, some may have had bad experiences and other good at any given place.

It depends where you want to go and the types of things you and your family are keen to see. Go there regardless and follow your instinct. If you feel really uncomfortable, just move on.

For us, places to avoid are cities.Places to go are almost everywhere else.

We felt most secure in Tasmania. We left the caravan with no worries to do drives without it, as did others we met. We never heard of a security problem.


Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 299465

Follow Up By: Member - Roscoe ET (QLD) - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 08:33

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 08:33
You're right about the cities Motherhen. I've felt more nervous walking in the Brisbane city mall late at night going back to my hotel than another place, all those young people walking around in groups can make one very nervous. Although I believe now that the police have cleaned it up there were a few gang fights.

You're right about tassie we did the same thing left our camper in national parks and went out for the day no problems
FollowupID: 565762

Reply By: Member - Footloose - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:13

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:13
Twenty years ago Halls Creek had just had a serious riot, so we didn't want to stay there but we did. Met some of the locals and enjoyed ourselves.
Was told don't have any mech work done in Headland...but we had to. Turned out to be the best, cheapest job that I could have had done anywhere..including at home.
I've not stayed at Wilcannia, but I've had breakfast there...sure it was a little wild west but you get that. Mind you, I didn't have my family with me.
I know people who wouldn't stay at Alice Springs...imagine what they miss out on.
Twenty years ago I was told that under no circumstances should I go near Sandfire Flat Roadhouse. I did, and enjoyed their hospitality greatly.
So it's a highly individual thing.
Have a great trip.
AnswerID: 299481

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:44

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:44
Footy, great response. Off course all our experiences are very personal. But we cannot stay everywhere we want to on just one trip...and as these people are on their first major trip, at great expense these days, we are simply offering responses to their original question, based on our personal experiences, which is what they wanted to know. They will work the rest out for themselves as they go, and that is what life is all about. Just like our own kids, you can give advice, but in the long run they will do what they see is best for them, and good luck to them.
I am sure they will have a great trip...they will have their own adventures....not re live ours.
FollowupID: 565663

Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:54

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 19:54

Agree 100%. Last time I was in Halls Creek we had a fella running around taking pot shots throughout the town at night.

Up at Meekatharra, a bunch of kids decided to smash up the town. In Tennant Creek we had a full on Police pursiut in the caravan park.

Big deal, the same thing happens down here in Latte town.

All I can say to travelers, is get off the streets before nightfall.

Next morning everything will be ok.



FollowupID: 565673

Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 20:13

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 20:13
Fred, heaven forbid that anyone relives my adventures, some of em I try and forget to this day LOL

Kim, excellent advice. I can remember the caretaker coming round at 6am in Warberton and asking if I'd had any trouble during the night. Trouble ? After chatting to him for a while I realized that I'd been lucky. But I still felt strangely comfortable there, despite the horror stories he told.

FollowupID: 565687

Reply By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 22:23

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 22:23
25 years of travel and the only dramas I've had were both in suburban Adelaide...

1. gear knocked off roof rack
2. mugged by a couple of goons whilst waking home from the cricket.

I feel safer in the bush than on a Sydney train that's for sure!

AnswerID: 299736

Reply By: ss--ss - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 09:33

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 09:33
Thing is when your travelling with a young family & someone advises you not to go to a place I tend to stay away. Better not risk it. If I'm traveling on your own or with mates I wouldn't have any issue because all you need to do is look after yourself.
AnswerID: 300019

Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 10:21

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 10:21
What makes White Cliffs any safer than Wilcania (substitute your own places)?

If you have the normal 'dose' of common sense than go anywhere and don't be influenced by the views of others. Just get out there, enjoy yourself and exercise that age old defence mechanism (common sense) otherwise you won't get past your front gate!

Good luck
AnswerID: 300026

Sponsored Links