I'm a bit worried about travelling as I get older.

Submitted: Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:15
ThreadID: 65162 Views:3527 Replies:19 FollowUps:1
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I'm considering the "round Australia" trip but am a little worried about the remoteness and risk of breakdown.

Although travelling alone I'm not fearful of being assaulted just wonder what would happen if my 80 series were to have a problem while towing the van where there was no mobile phone coverage.

Funny thing is I travelled to Darwin on the Stuart Hyw from Port Augusta in 1985 when there was a considerable amount of dirt and never worried then.

I believe the concern stems from the unknown and I have no idea what the Nullarbor is like.

So my question is would Port Augusta to Darwin via the coast be any more remote or dangerous than than what I have experienced when going via Alice in 1985?

My vehicle is sound, I've had it since new and it's done 270,000 Klms only on bitumen and been lubricated every 5,000 klms so I think it should be fine.

I really do want to do this trip and hope you experienced travellers can offer some information regarding the trip.

BTW I have travelled from Sydney to Cairns several times in the last few years and have no worries with that.

Thanks in advance for any advice that you offer.
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Reply By: Willem - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:31

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:31

I suppose you are not the only one with such fears. As the body gets weaker, so it seems, does the mind....lol

There are that many trucks and cars on the Nullarbor ona daily basis that you will not be lonely

Hire yourself a Satellite phone for the journey if you worry about being out of touch.


AnswerID: 344558

Reply By: Member - Dennis P (Scotland) - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:32

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:32
Just get out and 'do it' while you are still able to.
You have a good vehicle and it has been well maintained.
The roads you intend to travel are a lot better than those in 1985 and crossing the Nullarbor is a good trip.
If you have handled Sydney to Cairns a couple of times, this would be no different or any more dangerous.
Just drive within your own limits and you will have the time of your life.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

AnswerID: 344559

Reply By: Member - Footloose - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:59

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:59
As Willem said, such concerns are normal. Remember that's it's actually the unknown that makes it interesting.
Visit a mechanic and get him to check everythings ready for the road.
Take out extended road care from one of the car clubs.
Rent a satphone.
Then just go and have a ball ! :))
Good luck.
AnswerID: 344563

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:59

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 08:59
If the vehicle is sound, you are in reasonable health then do it.
25 years ago we were up in the NT at Douglas Hot Springs, halfway through a 3 month trip, not as many travellers as today and camping facilities were very basic, just a couple of pit loo's etc.
We were travelling with our son who turned one while we were away and we met a few people in the pool that you probably wouldnt meet anywhere else.
One was a very high up copper in the NT, might have been the commisioner, can't remember, one was a big business type fella and the other was an elderly gent in his mid eigthies.
They all remarked that we were lucky to be travelling so extensively while we were young and both the copper and the businessman remarked that they should have done more travelling years ago instead of waiting till retirement age but the one that made us all think was the elderly gent.
He had been overseas during the war as a soldier but had seen nothing of his own country until now in his mid eighties.
Grew up and lived in Melbourne all his life, married his wife in his 20's, she had never liked camping and as money was always tight they just stayed at home. His wife had passed away 12 months earlier and even though he had some health problems he decided that he was now going to see Oz. Despite his kids trying to get him into a retirement home he bought himself one of those tiny little teardrop shaped plywood caravans which was nearly as old as himself, hooked it on the old Valiant and off he went.
When we met him he had been on the road for about six months and was having a ball. Travelled till his pension ran out and then stayed somwhere till the next pension day before moving on if the whim took him.
One thing he said that I've really remembered is that you only get one go at life, you can't take anything with you possession wise when you go so don't bust a gut acquiring all the crap that you don't need. As long as you have a roof over your head and food in the belly you are good to go. If you have a chance to do something grab it and run with it, that opportunity may not come again due to many circumstances.
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AnswerID: 344564

Reply By: Member - Rob - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:04

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:04
Hi Cruiser
Back yourself
If your vehicle is sound why not go! As suggested a sateliite phone and even an EPIRB if you are that concerned. But dont worry about what might happen. If you stay at home it wont happen and you will regret it.

The mind plays funny games. I bet there are plenty of times you have said to yourself I wish I had done that. Dont let this be one of those times.

Good Luck and Safe traveling.
AnswerID: 344565

Reply By: Tenpounder - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:48

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:48
Hi there. Can I add my two pence worth? I agree with the others, and would add that we went anticlockwise from Adelaide to the Kimberley and down the West coast, and back across the Nullarbor last year. The 'long lonely' bit was really the country between the Kimberley and the Pilbara, where there are relatively few stop-offs. The trip through the centre, and the Nullarbor, are relativelt tame (I remember the Nullarbor before it was sealed, and that was another story!).
Please don't overlook the condition of the van as well!! I wouldn't touch second hand tyres, or even tyres I bought new a few years ago (we blew a tyre when we first bought the van - the tyre was about 5 or 6 years old - looked fine - lots of tread - a bit like me, really - looks all right until you put it to work, and then it falls to bits), and we always get the brakes and bearings checked regularly.
In our travels, almost all our problems have been electrical, and nothing that has actually stopped us travelling.
We've never been threatened, robbed or intimidated.
Like the others have said, take the punt, and enjoy. If you want a more detailed checklist of things to take or things to check, you are welcome to contact me direct. Just reply to this.
Chris (SA)
AnswerID: 344575

Reply By: Maîneÿ (wa) - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:50

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:50
If your capable of driving from Sydney to Cairns without hassles, then driving the Nullarbor will be such a breeze and you will wonder what your concerns were when you get over here to WA.

Consider it as just a long straight tar road, running through some desert formation instead of mountainous regions with turns and hills etc.

The only hassle you will have is that 'old' person who will be out there, I see him every trip, driving his beloved archaic "vehicle" towing his beloved caravan at just 75 kph, because he will tell you, he likes to look at the scenery.

The trucks will past you with-out any hassles if you sit on or just below 100 kph.

Mainey . . .

AnswerID: 344576

Reply By: The Landy - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:53

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 09:53

As many have said, it is healthy to have some concerns...but don't let it stop you. Go for it.

My father in-law is 94 going on 60, and he's got that attitude that he'll live his life the way he wants to until he is dead......gets out and about and loves it!

Good luck and post details on how you are going....cheers
AnswerID: 344577

Reply By: Cruiser 2091 - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:01

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:01
Thanks to everyone who has replied, I realy appreciate it.

And to Mainey; I will most probably be thet old fogey you mentioned.

Best Regards
AnswerID: 344590

Follow Up By: Member - Keith C (NSW) - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:36

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:36
Hey cruiser,that`ll be two old fogey`s out there now,go for it,
FollowupID: 612539

Reply By: ob - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:41

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:41
Hi Cruiser 2091

Mate, like you I am into the years when all the concerns you mentioned start to play on the mind. A mate of mine and our respective better halves did the CSR about 10 + years ago and met two gents well into their 70's travelling in a Toyota Hilux dual cab 4wd. They were having a little trouble getting over one of the bigger dunes and another group had stopped to help. I got talking to one of them and still remember his take on things. Cant remember his exact words but to the effect that they weren't going to get any younger or better in health than what they were and as both of them had used up their allotted 3 score and 10 years some time ago they didn't want to run up too high a dept with the big guy up top so had thought "GO FOR IT"

Have a good trip and enjoy you never know you might not have any trouble at all to make the trip exciting :-))

Cheers ob
AnswerID: 344597

Reply By: robertbruce - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:45

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:45
take plenty of money for the country business's, buy everything in the cities and take as much water as you can fit in the vehicle...
AnswerID: 344598

Reply By: Lotzi - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:50

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:50
G'day Cruiser
Just do it, sounds like the vehicles good, you do have travelling experience and you have had plenty of solid advice from the forum.
I am sure once you get going you will have a ball and remember while out on the road you won't be alone, just remember the forum.
All the best and have fun.
AnswerID: 344599

Reply By: Warstar - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 13:18

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 13:18
I'm with Mainey. If you have done Sydney to Cairns on the Pacific and Bruce Hwy this trip will be an absolute walk in the park!!

Today, you will be lucky (and I mean lucky) to go 5 minutes without seeing another vehicle.
AnswerID: 344605

Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 13:19

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 13:19
Hi Cruiser
As all the others have said, Sat/ Phone, Vehicle Service ect, take your
time and enjoy, as my Cook keeps on telling me Your Dead To Long,
so lets all get out there and do it.

AnswerID: 344606

Reply By: wendys - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 18:14

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 18:14
We have travelled the Nullarbor and that coast route several times in recent years, with lots of sidetracks to places like the Pilbara. We are a couple and I am in 60's - BUT if I was to become solo, I would still be out there travelling, and I would do that trip you are considering, without a second thought. And with just a mobile phone. If you do it in the "winter" months, there will be SO much passing traffic willing to help, if anything does go wrong.
Do it.
AnswerID: 344666

Reply By: Member - Mal and Di (SA) - Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 21:42

Friday, Jan 16, 2009 at 21:42
Go to your local video shop and get the movie BUCKET LIST with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Watch it tomorrow night, pack on Sunday and leave on Monday. Anywhere, it doesn't matter where, just go. And enjoy.
AnswerID: 344703

Reply By: cobber - Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 01:21

Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 01:21
Just Do it, you will get pleanty of help out there if needed, suggest you get an HF Radio fitted that will give you peice of mind
AnswerID: 344718

Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 14:34

Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 14:34
Hi Cruiser

Power went off when i typed up a reply. Looks like most of them have said it all yesterday. Briefly -

Sat phone is expensive, but a good insurance, and cheap if a life is at stake.

The Nullabor is a busy highway. Keep your UHF on 40 to listen to the truckies and what is happening. NextG should work along much of the Nullabor until you get to WA. Check out the Telstra map:


Take out premium cover with your automobile association. It won't cover everything. If you aren't mechanically minded, ask them about short courses in 'getting out of trouble' mechanical stuff.

A few years ago we were in a camping shop, and there was a couple of travellers in the 80s. They said caravanning was getting a bit much - so there they were, buying a tent!

Don't stop till you drop



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AnswerID: 344783

Reply By: x - Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 22:07

Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 22:07

half your luck mate.

Go for it.

I reckon staying in Sydney would be a riskier prospect than driving around Oz.

Do you really need the van? You could sleep in the back of the cruiser if it rains. With only one passenger you will have heaps of room for gear. The van will just weigh you down, worry you, and limit where you go. Vans are for sheilas (Maybe you hope to get lucky :-)
AnswerID: 344831

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