NT trip June and July

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:36
ThreadID: 76072 Views:3187 Replies:10 FollowUps:6
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hi all
just need a little bit of advice about travelling in the north which we will be doing in june and july. we have been planning this trip with friends of ours who have just had to cancel so we plan to go ahead by ourselves. we will leave Sydney across to port Augusta and up through the centre to Darwin and return via Queensland. my wife is a little worried about safety on our own do you think there is anything to worry about? we intend to free camp in some places, we have a 3lt Nissan patrol towing a 97 windcheater van, duel battery in Nissan and battery pack in van so i think we should be ok for power although i am thinking of buying a generator just in case? also at this stage i don't have a bull bar fitted do you think i should fit one before we leave even though i don;t intend to drive at night. We also travel with a dog as our friends also did ,so we had dog sitters when we wanted to visit NPs now it looks like a boarding kennel in Alice Springs and Darwin while we vist parks in those areas do you think this will work out?
any advice would be a big help
PS i also read Campergirls blog on her trip to Finke last june and was most impressed with her trip so i feel if she can do that by herself i must have a bit of a chance.
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 20:15

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 20:15
You will be fine.... it's a lot safer here than in Sydney..... Sun up and sun set are the most dangerous time to drive as stock and roos are on the move. You don't need a bull bar (extra weight) just to do this trip. Come enjoy the top end and have fun. Don't forget the Alice Springs desert park, and the territory Wildlife park (Berry Springs) just a short drive out of Darwin. Allocate a full day for each of those.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 23:26

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 23:26
Gday Fred,
" it's a lot safer here than in Sydney..."
Id actually prefer the odds in Sydney? Your obviously a lot further North than Alice......LOL
After 20 odd year here were selling up cause this place as turned to poo.

FollowupID: 674174

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 23:28

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 23:28
I should also say, its probably a great place to visit.....and you might not have any trouble......just be home by dark and lock everything up.

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Follow Up By: Tricky Dicky - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:22

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:22
Hi Hairy
its a pity you have to leave a place just because of a minority group of trouble makers. I can remember when we could leave all locks unlocked and all would still be there when we came home.
But we are still coming to the territory and going to enjoy it.
thanks for your advice
FollowupID: 674273

Reply By: harryopal - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 20:20

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 20:20
Good evening, Life is a risky business. Of course there are risks but in reality there are plenty of risks in Sydney ranging from traffic, to muggings to hoons and the totally unexpected.
Some years ago you may have had a perception that just stepping off the plane in New York would see you instantly mugged. The important things are to be circumspect and take care.... which you are obviously are going to do otherwise you would not have bothered writing.

Personally, I would think a bull bar useful and perhaps you might pick one up at a wrecker at a reasonable price. Having travelled many thousands of miles of outback roads I take some pleasure in noting that I have only ever hit one kangaroo and left hopeful that he was stunned as the animal was still breathing and had no apparent injuries. I have always proceeded on the basis that the moment I see a kangaroo I slow down. They are very unpredictable, especially at dusk, and having run across the road in front of you may change their mind and turn back at the last moment. Or the first kangaroo may suddenly be followed by a second or third.

The bull bar is a nice thing to have in cattle country as big animals can also change their mind at the last moment or a rather large calf may decide to join Mum just as you think are safely past. But again slowing down will help you avoid some of these fickle creatures. An emu at speed can also cause a surprising amount of damage not to mention the bad feeling of killing one of our native creatures. And slowing down will also help you avoid a sudden reflex action by swerving to miss something that has run in front of you. With a trailer, you do not want to be taking sudden swerving, evasive action.

And at risk of offering far more advice than you may have wanted, do not be complacent about grids across roads instead of gates. Many of them are very well made and smooth but hit one at speed and you can take off with fatal results.

A final suggestion, look to make camp before it is dark. There is something vaguely depressing about trying to find a likely spot to camp when you can't see if you are on ants nests or whatever.

Oh yes, do try and make some side trips. The bitumen from Port August to Darwin offers such a smooth road and seems to cut the country in half. Getting off onto dirt roads does give you the feeling of being in the country.

With that... have a wonderful trip.
AnswerID: 404463

Reply By: Member - Hayjude (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:17

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:17
Hi Tricky Dicky

I definitely agree with HarryOpal about pulling up and making camp before dark we usually are off the road by 4pm at the latest because by the time you set things up and prepare tea you may miss a great sunset which in its self is worth waiting for. If you are going to buy a generator get a good one not a chuck away job you may find a good one on trader on exploroz or ebay. as far as the dog goes don't know much about Alice but we leave our bluey at the Furry God Mother pet resort at the Darwin airport just make sure that you have all your dogs immunization papers including kennel cough (for your own peace of mind also) otherwise they wont take your little mate their phone number is 1300 438 779 you can have a look at it on www.thefurrygodmother.com.au.
anyway hope this helps have a great and safe trip
Haydon and Jude
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Reply By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:30

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:30

If you go up the centre there will be no worries about free camping as usually there will be several others already at the way side stops from mid afternoon onwards. A good chance to meet people. North of Alice for abit of fun and a glimpse of some aviation history call in at the Daly Waters pub (camp and good meal plus some form of entertainment) its reasonably cheap and gives the cook a rest.

Heading back you will pass through Camoelweal, just as you come to the main bridge (just prior to the town) turn off to the right to the water hole a few hundred meters only and if there is water in it there will be others camped there and a pleasant place it is, good birdlife and rock hounding for rainbow rock. You can drive a van into it. Have a great trip, enjoy and relax.

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Follow Up By: gqturbo - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:41

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:41
If you intend staying in a caravan park in Darwin book it now it can be very hard to find a site if you dont book in the dry season
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 22:02

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 22:02
Re booking a CP in Darwin: We were talking to people along the way and they were trying to book a CP in Darwin and found there were lots of little ones - not all listed in the same registers. Many of these said they did not take bookings and just call in and see. This was during July last year.

Someone next to us at Mataranka (Bitter Springs) told us he had spent some time going around the CPs and being turned away, and found a small one by chance right near where he was getting fuel; Leprechaun. It is not obvious from the highway unless you know to look for it. It was in the area we wanted to go for for air conditioner repairs - Winellie. Coming out of Kakadu where our time frame had been an unknown, i tried ringing this CP but signal kept dropping out. I thought it was my end, but the receptionist was out in the park with a cordless and too far from base. We called in on spec and they found us a place that suited our big rig.


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Reply By: Jokar - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:54

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:54
Hi Tricky,

Did a trip from Melb through to Alice and the Centre mid last year with wife, 3 kids, the dog and in a commodore towing a camper trailer. If you are sticking to the black top then i don't think safety is any concern, its a pretty busy area full of tourists and grey nomads. Every camping spot will have a few people there and as you travel up you will keep bumping into the same faces. You can have a dog in the campground at the rock. You can't take him into the park itself but the park office has an area out the back under shade where you can chain the dog for the day, just leave food and water. Kings Canyon lets you camp with dogs as well but once again you can't take them into the park itself and they don't have anywhere to leave them alone. In Alice there is a good dog friendly caravan park in town. There are only a couple of boarding kennels in Alice, one in town (part of a pet store set-up) and one just out of town, so book in early, ie before you set off if you intend to use one. We booked 10 days in the one just out of town (which was very well set up) and only used it for a couple of days, but at least we had the peace of mind there if we needed it.
AnswerID: 404481

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:54

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:54
It is understandable to have a few doubts before you head off on your own into what may seem like a very unfamiliar place - we certainly did on our first trip to"the centre". But you will quickly find that there is very little to be concerned about and many great adventures to be had. Plan to find a camp by 4pm at the lastest so you can get settled well before dark. Many caravanners seem to set out very early and stop about 2pm. Whatever you choose its good to have time to go for a bit of a walk and explore, collect firewood etc. Its all good fun.

If you dont plan to travel at night Im not sure that a bullbar is essential. As others have said, watch out for stock and wildlife and slow down if they are about and you should not have any problems.

In Alice allow time to explore both east and west Macdonnell ranges. From Darwin try to get out to Kakadu (maybe difficult with a dog though). And the Camooweal campsite described above is a great spot.

There are many solo travellers out there - have a read of some more of the blogs (yes campergirls blog was a great read). Talk to other travellers that you meet in camp etc and you will pick up lots of good info about places to visit, road conditions and so on. Get a copy of Camps 5 to help you find good campsites in unexpected places.

Have a great trip


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Reply By: Member - Effie C (NT) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 23:09

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 23:09
If you intend to stick the dog in the kennels in town then can recommend Paws & Claws (run by the RSPCA) but you better book now as they get booked out fairly regularly
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Reply By: Tricky Dicky - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:37

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 18:37
Hi all
thanks for all your replys they were very helpfull, we are sure we will have a great trip only hope we have enough time to see all the sights in the time we have. I have also been out today and booked the car in for a bullbar to be fitted and bought a generator ( not a throw away) for the trip. I just have to break the news very gently to the wife that she has to get another job to pay for them.
Thanks Dick
AnswerID: 404589

Reply By: jodie0075 - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 22:36

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 22:36
Hi mate,

Can recommend Banka Banka station for an overnight stay for extra peace of mind.About 100km from Tenant creek heading North to Darwin.

Cost about $8 per adult, great showers, lush green camp ground with water on tap to wash ya vehicle etc if you want to. Can even buy a beer or 2 from there.Would recommend you book ahead though.

And if your not travelling late arvo, night or real early morning i wouldnt worry about a bullbar. Just my opion. We did same trip with no problems.

And dont forget to stay at the Devils marbles between Tenant creek and Alice.
Will be plenty of other travellers there as well.Cheap and just a MAJIC spot.

Cheers Gary
AnswerID: 404649

Follow Up By: Tricky Dicky - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 03:43

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 03:43
Hi Gary

too late about the bullbar i have booked in in for one on the 8th March i thought it might be better in the long run, if we did hit anything it might save us from sitting around while car is being fixed or maybe having to cancell the trip halfway through. We might need to travel late or early at some stage anyway.
we will be stopping at the Devils marbles for sure and as many other places as we can in our time frame we don't intend to rush through NT

Thanks Dick
FollowupID: 674358

Reply By: whale - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 18:07

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 18:07
we did the trip adel to darwin through the northwest wa to perth.
must sees have been mentioned daly waters pub, devils marbles and mataranka plus tons of others.
we bush camped as much as we could and never alone.
we pull out by 6.30 am to beat the winds, only travelled 3 - 4 hours most days and were setting up camp when most were just getting going. gave us most of the day to enjoy ourselves.

we had a 80 litre fridge in the car as the old van only had 240 volt fridge. we used to put the cruiser on fast idle for a hour a day to recharge battery if stay put for a few days.

we found generators were popular but many bush camps occupants got peeved when gennies were ran after 7pm. their veiw was when your in the bush your there for peace and quiet and if you want your air cons and microwaves go to a c/park.
most people we met said they follow the rule of running the gennie during the day to recharge batteries or bake a loaf but never after 6pm and always point the exhausts away from any neighbours where possible. a number would come and ask if we didn't mind if they ran theirs for a while. bush courtesy.

at mary's pool couple were running a 3kva, people were complaining to them about it. as it was quiet loud and annoying. around 10 pm they switched it off. you should have heard the cheering from the 80 odd vehicles. the couple took off early the next morning. lol
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