Advice required re around Australia trip

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 08:33
ThreadID: 64842 Views:6019 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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Should I depart Sydney early february to travel the southern section during the warmer weather, then travel in a clockwise direction to the top end for winter? Should I then return to Sydney before it gets too hot, maybe September?

I will be towing a van and and sticking to the main route with short trips to places of interest. Oh I will also be avoiding caravan parks, this is simply because my only companion is my dog.

Any advice would be welcome.
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Reply By: Tenpounder - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:02

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:02
Hi there. There will be many experts on this question! If you travel from Sydney through the souther regions in February, you'll see the area (SA, WA Southern parts) at its driest and brownest for years. But the alternative is to go North and experience the delights of the tropical, Monsoonal, climate. But, if you reach the North (Darwin, Kimberley etc.) before late June, you'll find fewer travellers to compete with.
Going the other way, clockwise, will bring you South to Perth and the trip home, right in the middle of Winter, which has its own 'features'.
The one basic rule seems to be, if you go at the 'best time', everyone else will be there for the same reason. And if you take the brave step of choosing differently, you'll find less competition, and still be able to have a ball (probably for less money too).
Also, your route would have you in the Kimberly at the peak season, which would present some problems, even if you are aiming to camp away from caravan parks.
As a dog owner, I can say things get a bit rough up North in the peak season: By the time you eliminate caravan parks that wont take bookings, and caravan parks that wont take dogs, and also excluded national parks for obvious reasons, you are facing a small field of options! You will find free camping options (read the literature, like the "Camps Australia Wide 4" book), as long as you are selective.
One BIG POINT to you, as a dog owner: think and plan about ticks before you leave Sydney: the North has a great potential to populate your pooch with the nasty things.
Sorry, no 'answers' here, but hope the thoughts help your thinking.
AnswerID: 342809

Follow Up By: Cruiser 2091 - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:53

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:53
Thanks Tenpounder.
Yes have Camps Australia and the dog currently uses Frontline for ticks.

One question though, what IS considered the "best time" to go and in what direction?
FollowupID: 610537

Follow Up By: Tenpounder - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:21

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:21
My tongue was in my cheek, but I was referring to the preference of many to enjoy the North after the monsoon season, and when the weather in the South has turned sour. This means late June until September as the 'best time' for many to travel North. I would also include Spring in Southern WA as the 'best time' to visit that area.
Put these together, and a visitor from the East would go anti-clockwise, linking a June to September stint in the Top End with a tour of the South in September for the wild flowers. This would tie in with the wild flowers in mid WA in July-August.
But it's fun anyway, even if you do the opposite! And the Top End is fantastic in the wet (countryside is green; waterfalls in full sway; the 'thrill' of tropical weather).
Chris (SA)
FollowupID: 610542

Reply By: Notso - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:32

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:32
We did it exactly the way you describe with one exception. We went down south for the early part of the trip and travelled around Victoria and the east of SA, then headed East along the Murray from SA to Echuca in Vic then headed North through Central NSW and around Aus Anti Clockwise.

Yep there were heaps of others doing the trip but the weather was perfect the whole trip. If you go North during the Monsoon you'll end up flooded in, out etc. especially if it's a "wet" wet.

We also spent 5 months on a cattle station during the wet later on and it was spectacular but we had a nice air conditioned homestead to live in with our van safely tucked away under the house.

We plan to do another trip next year around but we'll go clockwise this time and probably spend the Wet at the same Homestead we looked after last time up the top.
AnswerID: 342810

Follow Up By: Cruiser 2091 - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:06

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:06
Thanks for the reply Notso, sounds like you had a great trip.

I have travelled a fair bit of NSW and Vic so I will most probably skip through to Port Augusta fairly quickly. Although I have been to Perth I have not travelled the state of Western Australia at all and it is for that reason I am considering the trip around (once at Broome it's the same distance home)

FollowupID: 610539

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:55

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:55
Here is how I would do it.......
A week before your ready to go, have a look at the forecast.
If its cold were you are and you're sick of it, chances are North would be the way to go...and vice versa.
I think the best holidays are the ones you play by ear. I find its the places you find on the way you didnt know about are usually the ones you would like to stay at rather than the planned stops.
So you either have to miss those places and stick to your plans or chuck the plans out the widow.
If thats the case the only thing that governs your trip is the weather, so let the weather decide for you.
My old man called, just 10 mins ago, There plans were Adelaide-Alice(xmas)-Darwin-Tennant-Three ways-Queensland and down the East coast back home.......He Just rung from Tennant and is comming back to Alice till Mt Isa (or some where over there) opens the road or He'll make other plans..........Bugger the Plans I reackon....

Good luck in what you choose.

AnswerID: 342814

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 11:04

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 11:04

Talking to blokes on the Barkly Tableland yesterday, and it sounds like parts of Barkly H'way are now heading south to Lake Eyre.

Substantial rain around Avon Downs & Soudan has tested the bitumen.

Better tell the Old Fellar it's his shout when he gets back to the Alice,

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 610552

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 11:30

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 11:30
Yeah ...Cheers Bob,
It was actually my daughter who spoke to him.....she gave me the impression they were staying for a while. LOL
Im just pulling my side fence down so he can get his van in.

FollowupID: 610554

Reply By: Maîneÿ (wa) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:56

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:56
Some caravan parks in Darwin actually close for the 'wet season' for a good reason !

Go south first and drive direct to West Australia where you can "start your holiday" because it's just soo different here compared to the Eastern states (speaking as a born an bred Eastern states guy)

Start at Esperance and go North

Mainey . . .
AnswerID: 342816

Follow Up By: Cruiser 2091 - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:12

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:12
Hi Mainey.
When you say start at Esperance and go north do yo mean Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Perth and then follow the coast or are you suggesting an inland route?

FollowupID: 610540

Follow Up By: Maîneÿ (wa) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:25

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:25
I would go via the coast, have been both ways and enjoy the coast drive better because there is not a lot to see inland, you can do a switch between both areas at different points, but takes a lot of time and fuel $$ and not a lot of real benefit.

There are some interesting mining towns and sites in the inland route that are worth looking at but they are not a place you can stay for extended periods.

I enjoy the beach side living experience so it is my choice

Go to Albany and Margaret River too in the South West.

Mainey . . .
FollowupID: 610543

Follow Up By: Cruznoz - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:27

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:27
Whatever you do dont miss the south west corner of WA. Like Mainey said, start at Esperance but follow the coast around to Perth,checking out the southern forests as you go. Kalgoorlie has two things going for it at this time of the year. The heat and the flies. Kalgoolie and the surrounding goldfeilds are a magical area to explore, but is best in the cooler months.
Regarding your dog. DEC do regular fox baiting programs over most of WA. If your dog picks up one of these baits he wont be going home. So when bush camping keep an eye on him
FollowupID: 610544

Reply By: wendys - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 15:26

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 15:26
It sounds like you will be reaching SA still in Feb. I'd then tour the Eyre Peninsula, cross the Nullarbor - it will still be hot, but no matter when you do it, 'tis long driving spells broken by short bits of sightseeing, so that should be bearable. That will get you to SW WA while the weather should still be good. Then make your way north up the coast, with side detours. Yes, you will be "up there" in winter, when it is busy, but that is hard to avoid if you do not want to have high humidity and risk of cyclones and floods.
After the Top End, the choice would be either Central Aust or north Qld coast, on the way home.
You are not going to do it all in one trip - unless you stay on the road. Maybe make a list of your priority places in order, then list what would be the best time of year to be experiencing each, then see if that suggests a viable route to you?
AnswerID: 342866

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