Planning a trip

Submitted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 23:20
ThreadID: 78917 Views:3004 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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Just started researching a trip i'm planning for next year.
Leaving Wagga, going to Darwin and coming back home down the east coast from Townsville.

Looking at some road maps it has come to my attention that the road between Port Augusta and Darwin looks a little boring, with not many stops. (remember i'm still researching) Apart from Uluru and Coober pedy is there much else along this stretch of road. I will be travelling with two young kids as well, so something that might interest them as well could be a bonus.

What distance between fuel stops is there on average as well.
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Reply By: long haired nomad - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 01:32

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 01:32
Yeah your right it is far between sights. But theres Coober Pedy, Rainbow Valley about 80kms south of Allice Springs then north of Alice(a few hundred k's) youve got the Devils Marbles then Katherine.
Have fun
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 15:41

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 15:41
Hi SDG

Without knowing just how young your children are, or how they travel, i cannot advise. We have not done the full stretch south of Alice Springs, but the parts we have been on in the southern section are scenic, but maybe not so enticing to a three year old. We spent a few weeks in and around Alice Springs - touring the MacDonnell Ranges, Chambers Pillar, Palm Valley, Kings Canyon and Uluru-Kata Tjuta. Some of the walks would not be suitable for very young children. In Alice Springs, the Desert Park would be of interest to most children, as would the Reptile Centre right in town.

We spent some time getting from Alice to Darwin, touring parks and WWII sites along the way. We went via Kakadu (quite some days) on the way to Darwin, and via Litchfield (three days) on the return. The best advice for travelling with children it only to plan short driving days (or a long break in the middle of the day for physical activities if not too hot). As aforesaid, Rainbow Valley to the south of Alice is lovely.

Motherhen

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Follow Up By: SDG - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 15:51

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 15:51
Kids will be 8 and 10. They travel really well. We often travel hours on end.

Thankyou so far for the replies
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 16:04

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 16:04
To me, every bit we have seen is interesting, but we haven't seen a large slice 'in the middle' on the way to Alice. When i was that age, i loved touring, and dreamt of travelling around Australia. If they are not farm kids, have them spotting sheep and cattle when going through the stations, which are in the least interesting country scenery wise. Henbury Meteor Craters are a little way off the highway on the Ernest Giles Road, and with lots of signage they may interest your children. I'm sure they will love crocodile spotting in you take a tour around Kakadu (with strict controls on them of course). When you walk around the Devil's Marbles, watch out for dragon lizards (found in most rocky country), and a flock of friendly spinifex pigeons. Further south, take a short drive in to Woomera and visit the outdoor and indoor displays.

Mh
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 18:07

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 18:07
Hi SDG,

While its true that the road from port Augusta to Alice (and north of Alice for that matter) may "look a little boring" on the map, there is really plenty to see, although its very different to what we are used to closer to the coast.

Others have mentioned some of the stops - add the Breakaways just north of Coober Pedy. There are any number of places to stop along the road, official or otherwise.

The kids will enjoy watching for wedgetail eagles - we have seen as many as 8 or 9 on a roadkill - reptiles, kangaroos etc. Watch out for the eagles as when they have had a big meal they are slow to get off the ground and can easily be hit by a vehicle.

There are different landforms and vegetation types, flowers and so on. I guess its all about learning to appreciate what the true outback has to offer and not setting out with a preconceived notion that it might be boring. Its fascinating country if you have open eyes and an open mind.

Have a great trip.

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Member - Royce- Monday, May 31, 2010 at 22:24

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 22:24
I kinda laughed when I read "looks a little boring".

It is INCREDIBLY BORING because it's thousands of kilometers for much the same stuff.

Having said that though, I've driven the whole length of the Stuart Hwy seven times, and strangely never been bored.

It's an experience. It takes a long time to drive.

If you stop though each tree, old log, clump of spinifex, pile of logs is different.

The difference is whether you are driving it to get somewhere or for the experience. I find every fold and change in the scenery interesting. Wildlife, clouds, when a radio station appears, when you realize that you have just travelled 800ks for the day, chit chat, stop for lunch, afternoon tea... find a camping spot.

The major spots to stop are on the map, but little interesting stops can be made at any time.

Unfortunately, an awful lot is fenced along each side. The first few times I travelled the Stuart, you could pull off into the scrub almost anywhere.

On our first trip we set the kids up with Walkmans... I know it's that long ago! Also a daily diary. I made the diary and bound it. They had to find things [spot them] each day. They kept a record of k's scenery types. Road trains.. all sorts of things. Colour-ins and activities too.

Nowadays a DVD player and a few movies is a way out.... but kinda misses the point of a trip in the outback.

You don't really need to plan too much, but it is fun and part of the excitement. I always had the rule that if anyone in the family said "Let's stop and have a look at that." we did.

Have fun! Cheers



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