around oz

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 09:02
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My wife and I are planning our first trip around Australia in a camper trailer. we plan to leave in October and are looking for some advice on which direction to travel in, with the starting point being Sydney. We were unsure timing wise how to get across the top end, without being stuck with flooded roads.
We have about 6 months in total to go for it, is this enough time or are we dreaming?
Thanks, Wes
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Reply By: ross - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 09:27

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 09:27
October is a difficult time to start that kind of trip if you only have 6 months.

You need to be in the southern half of the county from November till April and in the northern half from April till October.

Its not just the cyclonic weather you want to avoid ,its also the heat and humidity of the northern summer.

I think 6 months would be ok ,but you need to leave about January and head west or leave in April and head North

AnswerID: 351609

Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 09:51

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 09:51
What Ross say's is exactly right. Avoid the North October to March. If the storms and wet season do not get you the heat will. In the Gulf & across the top from October you will get 40 deg + with a humid build up. There is no escape from this heat,they call it the troppo season, mango madness for obvious reasons. This makes it hard to get out and look around and actually do anything.

There is a lot of great places to see across the South of Australia and indeed that time of year I would love to spend a bit of time on the peninsulas in SA or Esperance to Albany in WA.

Have a great trip. Cheers Tony
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Reply By: Grungle - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 09:53

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 09:53
Hi Wes,

Personally I tihink that October is the wrong time of year to think of a 6 month around Oz trip. You will encounter either scorching heat in the South or Floods in the North so it will make for an uncomfotable trip.

I believe the best time to do it would be March / April which gives a good 7 months of lovely travelling weather.

I would start by heading South and do NSW and then Vic including the High Country. Travel West and head to SA then up to Alice and do the Centre. Back down to SA and accross to WA and head up the centre as opposed to the coast (my personal choice) to experience the Pilbra and all the lovely NP's to the North. Head East through the Kimberlies sometime in July / August (around 3-4 weeks), through to the Territory and experience all the lovely areas there (a good month in itself). Travel the Gulf road and do Lawn Hill before heading up to the Cape (another good month). Final head down the coast back home finishing up in October sometime.

I did a 12 month itinerary up a couple of years ago in the hope that I would be doing the same as you but it will have to wait unfortunately. I again started in April but headed North to do the Cape, Gulf, Territory and Kimberlies during the middle of the year, South WA, SA and Vic towards the end of the year, Tasmania during January and then up the coast heading home to Qld towards the end of 12 months.

It would be easier planning for a 6 month trip than a 12 as the weather plays such an important role but you then have not as much time to do everything.

I have posted a the Excel spreadsheet of my itinerary on my website -> Around Oz 2009

AnswerID: 351616

Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 11:24

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 11:24
If you have no choice about your departure time and the amount of time that you can take, suggest cutting back on how far youplan to travel in that time. As others have said the north is not really an option from October until about March/April.

But you could spend a very enjoyable 6 months doing the southern states at that time of year. Perhaps head into western NSW then up through the Flinders maybe getting as far as Innaminka or Birdsville before it gets too hot. From there head across the about Brisbane and come down NSW coast with a few detours into the ranges. As the weather warms up explore the Victorian high country, Great Ocean road, Southern SA and Tasmania. That should fill in 6 months very easily, and you will have only scratched the surface.

The experience that you get from such a trip will really whet your appetite for trips further afield and you will have a good base from which to plan other trips to more remote areas.

HTH, cheers
J and V
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 14:45

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 14:45
Hi Wes n Jo

Totally support what John & Val say.

In fact, don't plan too much - other than Tasmania because you have to make ferry bookings. Other than that, travel in the 'cooler' states and this includes the SW or WA. Spend half you time travelling in roughly one direction, finding out the best stuff to from talking to locals and other travellers as you go along. When half way through, find a different route home and travel in the same leisurely manner. You might see one state, you might see three or four, but you will enjoy your travels.

No need to do a full lap just because it is there. It will still be there next year and into the future. You would most likely feel somewhat exhausted and have used a lot of fuel to see a lot of road.


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Reply By: Oldsquizzy (Kununurra) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 11:54

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 11:54
I suppose like all things it is in the eye of the beholder. The north in the wet season is a humid and hot place most of the time, and the best laid plans of mice and men do go out the door BUT, the compensation for this is you get to see the dry river beds flowing bank to bank, Where the black marks are on the hills and the stagnent pools are you see waterfalls and fresh swimming holes, You see a green canopy right across the top of australia, The boabs in full flower. The rivers churn up the mud and as they run out to sea the fish will bite on a dirty sock. You arent over run by tourists trying to see the Gibb river road in two days making it the longest dirt race track in australia. you will miss some things due to the wet, but you will see things that those that are here in the dry never see. Lately with the amount of water we have had a lot of baby fresh water crocs wandering the streets from storm water drains.
Mind you I have a friend here that says I should not encourage people to come here in the wet as he says it is nice to go places that are'nt invaded by tourists and we get to have then to ourselves whilst they are at there best.
AnswerID: 351638

Follow Up By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 13:58

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 13:58
Squizzy. Yes you have to live there to enjoy the wet, like my 10 years up in Normanton. But you are talking about southerners coming up in the Wet, they are just not going to be able to handle the wet season heat (as most of the locals can not as well) and it is not a lot of fun if you are forced to stay while the river goes down.
Its not easy planning a trip around Australia, winter in the South of SA & WA can be just as bad with the Cold & very windy South Westerlies blowing rain into the camp every night. Bonus there is you also do not see a lot of tourists sharing your camp site with you.

As you said in the eye of the beholder, so they could give it a go and find out for themselves if they like it or not! Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: Oldsquizzy (Kununurra) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 14:14

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 14:14
Ah it's all a choice thing methinks, and Nav and I just spent two hours down the crossing and a 92cm Barra is heading for the barbie...Called in and got a couple of banana leaves to wrap it in.
Lunch is on it's way....Buggar life is hard....grin
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 14:47

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 14:47
Hi Oldsquizzy

If we visit Kununurra again, it will probably be in the wet, but likely a fly in rather than caravan touring, and get to stay in air conditioned comfort.


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Reply By: WesnJo - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:14

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:14
Thanks to everyone for your informative replies, we are going to sit down and have a pretty good think about what were going to do. I think we are leaning to seing the south and leaving the north for another day though, as we are pretty set on timing. We will definatley see the top end one day, it was what we were looking forward to the most.
AnswerID: 351723

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 19:01

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 19:01
Hi Wes n Jo

We did much the same. I couldn't get holidays June Jul August, so we went along the southern coasts and to Tasmania (the latter being absolutely beautiful). Only when time is getting away from us at our ages did i through caution to the wind and chuck in my job so we could see the Kimberley and Central NT while we could still walk. This winter i hope to see a bit more of the NT.


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