Where to go? How to you chose?

Submitted: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 14:48
ThreadID: 78591 Views:3233 Replies:7 FollowUps:18
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As title states .... we can't decide what to do first!

This will be our first "big trip" ....

We are a family of four (two boys aged 9 and 7) and our setup is a Pathfinder and Trak Shak.

We want to use just two weeks at the beginning of July this year to explore this amazing country but now I'm planning, calculating and planning some more I just don't know how to narrow it down.

We started off thinking we'd get to Darwin but in reality I think that's too much driving for just a couple of weeks. (I wanted some heat you see ;))

OH would like to see Lake Eyre as everyone keeps telling us it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see it with water in it but reading all the road reports I don't think the Pathy would like the stoney ground (clearance issues).

So do we do Alice and Uluru? Is there a way to do Lake Eyre without so much 4WD ing? Only thing we've definitely decided on is Roxby and Olympic Dam as we're all saddos that like big trucks!!
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Reply By: jothefw - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 15:00

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 15:00
Muppet - we're 3 hrs south of Adelaide to start with - that would help for advice wouldn't it!
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Reply By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 15:18

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 15:18
jothefw
The Pathy would cope quite comfortably with the Oodnadatta Track. Why not head up through the Flinders to Marree, and up the Oodnadatta Track to Oodnadatta. Then back to Coober Pedy down to Pimba, up to Woomera, Roxby and the dam and then back again to the highway and home. A couple of days at Rawnsley Park to check out the Flinders. A day to get out from William Creek to Lake Eyre (Once again I think the Pathy should cope). Check out the Painted Desert on the way to Coober Pedy. A couple of days at Coober Pedy. This would be a nice introduction to the Outback, not too much driving and give you the opportunity to see some of the best sights in your own state. I don't believe in driving for 10 hours a day just so you can say you've been somewhere. This will give you some time every afternoon and evening to savour the countryside. There are a number of campsites available to you on the Oodnadatta Track. Take your time and smell the roses.
I hope this helps.
teege
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Follow Up By: jothefw - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:03

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:03
Thanks Teege - that would tick OH boxes double fold too as he'd like to go through Anna Creek.

We're fairly set up and have plenty of experience driving on sand etc (probably why the rocks seem daunting!).

What would the best suggestions be for power (fridge/heating possibly). Would a small Honda generator be the best bet?
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:54

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:54
Errr..... Don't think you will actually go through Anna Ck Station. If you splash out and take a flight from William Ck over Lake Eyre, the flight can include the Painted Hills (different from the Painted Desert) which are deep inside Anna Ck Stn. Absolutely magnificent in the low angle light if you take the earliest flight of the day. Anna Creek covers a huge area and very few people are involved in running it, too few to spare the time to look after tourists who get themselves into trouble, so access is not permitted. This also solves the insurance/duty of care/litigation issues.

Power - A compressor style fridge would be the way to go, driven by an auxilliary 12v battery charged by the vehicle. There is quite a bit involved here. You might find our blog Electricity for Camping a useful read. Heating????? No way using electricity!! Suggest a camp fire. A Honda generator? ..... They are said to be good, but suggest before you commit, give quite some thought to just what you need - the blog will assist with this.

Have a great trip

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 18:45

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 18:45
Teege,

That sounds like a good trip. Like you say not too much driving and a touch of the outback.

Jothefw,

If you wanted to add a little more adventure you could head west from Glendambo and then down Googs Track.

You say you have plenty of sand driving experience this would test it out. It would add a couple of days to your trip but it is a nice alternative to sitting on the highway.

You also said you were looking for some heat. You might get nice days at that time of year but anywhere in SA it will be cold at night. I'd pack an extra blanket.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Megan and Kevin D (AC - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:02

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:02
Hi there
Just a brief comment about the Goog's Track. We travelled it south to north about 2 weeks ago. Whilst we have crossed the Simpson towing a trailer - with a 100 Series, we think you could possibly have trouble with clearance with a Pathfinder. The trailer wouldn't be a problem but the Pathfinder could be. The sand dunes were easy enough to cross but they are riddled with moguls which require ground clearance.

Image Could Not Be Found

Best wishes for a great trip though!
Megan
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 11:30

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 11:30
I accept your point Megan.

Jothefw,

Take a shovel and fill in some of the wholes. You will be doing us all a favour.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 11:32

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 11:32
Oops, please try to ignore that 'w' in front of the holes

Duncs
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 15:26

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 15:26
In two weeks suggest you aim to get to Alice and spend your time looking around all the amazing things in the west and east Macdonnell Ranges. The days will be nice and warm though the nights can be pretty cool. There is more than enough around Alice to take up all your time and then some.

Provided you drive to conditions ie not fast and with tyres down a bit you should be able to get to William Creek and do a flight over the lake - suggest do the flight that takes in the Painted Hills as well as the Lake as that is a very scenic trip.

Whatever you do have a wonderful trip, and hopefully you will be able to do plenty more.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: jothefw - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:04

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:04
Macdonnell ranges look amazing.

Question about Alice - well anywhere I suppose. How does everyone cope with security when not in CT ... everywhere we've been before you could leave the keys in the car and not worry but I don't get the impression that would be advisable in Alice?
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Follow Up By: Moose - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:22

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:22
Where have you been where you're game to leave the keys in the car?
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Follow Up By: jothefw - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:40

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:40
We live in the sticks and camp in the sticks - it's probably not best to tell the world!!
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Follow Up By: Moose - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:51

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:51
Yeah well - apart from the sticks (which is my camping preference too) I wouldn't recommend leaving your keys in the car anywhere these days. Unless you want the thing stolen.

Security in a CT basically involves not leaving stuff that could be pinched outside. We usually just shut the kitchen and put loose stuff inside and zip it up (no locks as that just makes it look like you've got something good in there). With canvas walls there aint much you can do to really secure it!

Luckily we've never had anything knocked off.

Valuable stuff gets locked in the car out of sight - eg when going for a walk.

Don't try to do too much on your first big trip. Better to have a decent look around a smaller area than rushing about and getting stressed out trying to cover too much ground. The aim is to relax and enjoy it.
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Reply By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:55

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 16:55
I don't think you will see many big trucks at Olympic Dam.
I might be wrong, but last time I was there all the action was underground, so you wouldn't see anything from the front gate.
Someone else might have better information than my last trip there.

If you want to see more trucks you might be better going to the Leigh Creek coalfields. I think they still have tours of the area.

Dave
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 17:08

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 17:08
Tried to make some enquiries about Olympic Dam about this time last year - got no response. I think there was supposed to be a tour one day a week, but I couldn't get past first base! Roxby Downs is a tidy town but there is not much to see if you drive out towards the mine - just dongas. From the road going north it was possible to see back towards the mine but it was a fair way away.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 17:18

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 17:18
Spent a couple of days at Roxby last year and did the 3 hour mine tour - yep only trucks were Hiluxes and Landcruisers!!!! You get to see the entrance of the big hole underground! Lake Mary should have a lot of water in it. Short trip to Andamooka. And if you get to the AridLands reserve on the north of the town, and do a spotlight tour, you might see some Blibys, Bettong and Sticknest Rats. Phone up the Visitors Centre before hand to find out what's happening when. And Woomera is a fascinating place.
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Reply By: Amanda2271 - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 17:56

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 17:56
If you like big trucks then I suggest you do a trip to Kalgoorlie. The superpit is awesome and you can do tours. 2 weeks should just about be enough time to get over to WA and back. If you do that it is well worth the trip to Esperance and Cape Le Grande as well.
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 18:25

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 18:25
I agree Amanda 2 weeks is enough time to get to Kal and back. But yoiu wouldn't have time for much else.

The way I see it that is long way to drive and I would rather do it when I had time to make it worthwhile by spending longer at the destination.

Just my thoughts
Duncs
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:00

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:00
I don't know how much you have seen of your own state, but SA has some wonderful places. Have you been to the northern Flinders Ranges. Easy to spend a couple of weeks there without spending a lot on fuel and having the boys bored with long drives. You could do a loop from there to Maree, the Borefield Road to Roxby and Woomera and return home.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:07

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:07
If time, you could go to William Creek from Marree and take the flight across Lake Eyre then backtrack to the Borefield and Roxby.

Mh
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:35

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 23:35
If you have a Dart Board on the wall, pin a map of Australia next to it, grab a Dart....shut your eyes...and throw it at the map, then go to that location for your trip.

.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 01:25

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 01:25
My thoughts too Doug...

Cheers

D


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Follow Up By: Member - Lionel A (WA) - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 08:06

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 08:06
If the dart lands anywhere in the NT....pull it out and have another go....lol.


Cheers......Lionel.
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Follow Up By: jothefw - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 09:47

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 09:47
Ha ha - you're right!

So far we've looked at everything everyone's said and thank you so much to all that have input ideas!

Thank you for the advice about Roxby & Olympic Dam - hadn't considered that you wouldn't be able to see much - with it being so big you just presume you'll see something! Hiluxs and Landcruisers, great as they are, aren't quite the same draw!

So far we've decided to extend length of trip and with 7 days on the road we can get to Darwin - have 5 or 6 days sat still and fish, fish, fish and then 7 days back.

As we're Brits by birth and never having done the whole back pack Australia thing - there's an itch that needs scratching to do Uluru, Woomera, Litchfield and The Outback as such. By sticking to bitumen this time we can get our heads around scale, equipment and so forth before another trip, another time.

We've talked it through with the boys and they're keen - as we live 3 hrs away from a cinema they're used to driving when need new shoes, glasses etc so a big 7 or 8 hr day will be a challenge but not impossible!
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 11:22

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 11:22
When our kids were small, 4 kids, 4yrs to 9yrs, we pointed the nose of the car and caravan in a northerley direction checking out every spot on the way,we kept going until we hit the point whereby we had to turn back, we made it to Darwin and had a wonderful time. This was from the South of WA. So go and enjoy where ever it is you finish up and good luck. Looking forward to hearing where you get to in the end.

Cheers

D


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