Planning Caravan Trip Melb to Alice Springs

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 11:00
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We are planning a caravan trip with our two girls from melbourne to Alice Springs in September school holidays.

At this stage we plan to go via Adelaide onto cooper pedy for a day then Uluru and stay at the resort for about 3 x days and explore ayers rock and the olgas.

I was then thinking of going to Kings Canyon and staying at either the park or the station there on our way to Alice. Planning to stay at the Big4 Macdonnell Range Holiday Park at Alice for about 4 x days, exploring standley chasm, simpsons gap etc.

Return was planning on driving from Alice through to Cooper pedy again then onto Port Augusta.

Would love some advice from anyone who has done this trip. This is our first big trip in a caravan and would appreciate advice on best places to stay, fuel, water etc.

Thanks Nigel
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Reply By: kend88 - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 11:26

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 11:26
We did that trip as part of a larger trip a few years ago. We went from Melbourne to Swan Hill, Mildura, Renmark, Burra, into Adelaide and found that more pleasant than the usual trip across to Adelaide, but if on a timeframe, perhaps not, or go one way and come back the other.
Would suggest two nights at Coober Pedy. Many people recommend the Stuart Ranges (?) CP, and the Underground one, and we enjoyed the one in town, opposite Information Centre, behind hotel.
Can't remember whether Woomera is before or after Coober pedy, but well worth the short detour, even if you don't stay the night.
3 days at Uluru and the resort are about just right.
We then had one night at the Kings Canyon Station, which we enjoyed, next morning at the Canyon, then on to Alice Springs that afternoon and stayed at the CP you intend to stay at. Thoroughly recommend it. We really enjoyed Alice Springs, and surrounding area, plenty to see and do, 4 days about right.
You won't encounter any problems with fuel and water. Be aware that it may be very hot, even in September, we went in late April and founding it a bit taxing doing the exploring you intend, and we are from Brisbane. Not sure about that time of the year, but the flies around Uluru are quite incredible, part of the adventure, but recommend you buy flynets for your hat before you leave Melbourne, as quite expensive at the resort.
You will have a great time.

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Follow Up By: Nigel F - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 12:13

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 12:13
Thanks KenD
I appreciate your comments the more info from peoples experiences the better. I know our trip is a fair way off but want to plan as much as possible as we are on a fairly tight timeframe.
I remember the flies when I was on a school camp many moons ago and had to pick through them in my cereal. Will definitely get the flynets.....

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Reply By: Farquo - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 13:42

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 13:42
Hi Nigel,
Travelled Victoria - Alice a few years ago in the September school holidays with our children.
KenD is on the money.

Woomera is worth a detour. We had lunch there after leaving Port Augusta.
Coober Pedy is worth staying 2 nights to have the day to look around. Opal Inn has a caravan park in behind that we thought more secure than others. Umoona mine tour in the middle of town is good. Have a look at the Breakaways, too.

3-4 nights at Yulara gives you time to explore properly and take in some of the culture. It also gives you a better chance of catching a good sunset. A walk around the rock is better than climbing it IMHO. The first km we has a very informative guide then we continued around the base. Easy, flat 10 km walk with places to stop, things to see on the way. We climbed the rock too. Descending the rock after the climb we found dangerous for our fatigued 8yo who was not concentrating as he needed to with every step despite being fit and active. The indigenous requests not to climb is worth listening to for this aspect alone.
Mt Olga Gorge is best avoided. Eleventy thousand buses turn up there for a quick 1 hour wander up the gorge. Valley of the Winds is a scenic 3-4 hour walk without the crowds. Be prepared with water and nibbles to keep the kids energy up, particularly on a hot day. Water station half way. Flowers on the domes when we were there.

2 nights at Kings Canyon is recommended. The walk around the top is spectacular. It has its strenuous parts, especially the start. Same preparedness comments as Valley of the winds, without the water station. Resort is good for caravan and close to walks.

Big4 Macdonnell Range Holiday Park at Alice was good. Activities every day. Do not forget the East MacDonnells. Not as spectacular, but more interesting we thought. A lot quieter too. Take a trip to Palm Valley if you have a 4WD. Was not suitable for soft roaders when we were there - get local advice.

We had 3 weeks so we stayed at Ormiston gorge for a while too, but was close to what you plan.
Stick to the bitumen with your caravan if you would like it to stay in one piece.
Swap drivers every 2 hours with the long days that you are planning.
Talk to the girls for a few days beforehand about long days on the road. They cope a lot better and give you less grief if they know what to expect.

Have fun.
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Follow Up By: Nigel F - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 14:18

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 14:18
Thanks Farquo
Appreciate your advice
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Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 13:43

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 13:43
Hi Nigel,

Do a half day tour in Coober Pedy. We did the one from the CP/motel with the pizza shop in front. The tour was very comprehensive. It left the CP at 1.00 and returned at 7 or so.

Try to get to the Desert Park in Alice. Go early and spend as much time as you can afford there. Plenty to interest your girls.

Your choice of CP is excellent in Alice.

Try to take a run out to the East McDonalds as well as the West Macs if you have time. Arltunga is very interesting (abandoned gold mining).

Good walks include Valley of the Winds in the Olgas and definitely do the Kings Canyon walk. Take lunch and LOTS of water, each person carrying their own. Water is far more important than food.

Planning is half the fun. You have not started too soon.

Have a wonderful time.
John 'n' Min

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Follow Up By: Nigel F - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 17:44

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 17:44
Thanks Min
Yeah we are trying to spend the majority of the trip in Alice.
Thanks for your tips I'll look into them....
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Reply By: Baz&Pud (Tassie) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 14:13

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 14:13
Can't find anything wrong with what has already been said, but warning on Big4 at Alice, we were there last year in July and the costing we found to be expensive ay $43 per night for two adults, no kids.
There are cheaper CVPs, but at the time of the year you are going would suggest you book ahead.
Have a great trip.
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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Follow Up By: Nigel F - Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 17:46

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 17:46
Cheers Baz
Thanks for your thoughts...
My wife has already booked with the parks we are looking at, as most dont require deposits and were very flexible with dates etc....
FollowupID: 718375

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Feb 21, 2011 at 01:31

Monday, Feb 21, 2011 at 01:31
Hi Nigel

Check out my series of blogs from 2008 of our trip around Alice Springs in the MyBlog section.


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