Planning first big trip....

Submitted: Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 12:15
ThreadID: 94766 Views:2444 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
This Thread has been Archived
Hello all. Stumbled across exploroz over the weekend and as I am planning my first big family trip I thought I would see what advice all you seasoned campaigners may be able to give me.

Myself, wife and three kids are packing up in August and heading off to the east coast from Perth for about 10 weeks. At this stage we are planning on heading to Kalgoorlie, then across to Port August, up to Brisbane and then down the east coast to Adelaide where will jump on the train and head back home.

Doing the trip in 09 Challenger with an Expanda van.

As I said any tips that you may have please share as no doubt I will be posting questions over the next few months or so.


Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: johno59 - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 13:17

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 13:17
JCL, Get yourself a copy of Camps Australia. There are 1000,s of free campsites all over oz. Some have toilets and showers and some are more basic. We will be using them in May 12 when we head off to Broome from near Melb for 8 weeks. IF you do decide to camp in some of these parks you may need to consider how you will provide power etc for lighting,cooking. We have deep cycle battery that powers our lights and a small tv. A gas BBQ is used for cooking and a 3 way fridge is run on gas. A cobb is great fun for cooking. Camping in National Parks is just sensationaljohno, sometimes u may pay a small fee. We also have a portable shower tent and toilet. hope this helps
AnswerID: 482585

Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 13:22

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 13:22
G'day Jade

I've been driving, camping, motorcycling and four wheel driving my way in and around this big brown land for 40 years ( own a tour company ) and the most important thing I tell people to take is - a care free nothing is a problem attitude ! And should things not go smoothly just laugh and say " doesn't matter I'm on holidays ! " The other advice I give is not to have too many plans and or set unrealistic time frames to get somewhere ! If you don't have plans then they can't go wrong !!

Enjoy your trip !

AnswerID: 482586

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 16:17

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 16:17

Would agree with Gazz, holiday comes first....well, after Mum and the Kids anyway.

If you want to set timetables, make them easily "bendable", and don't stress if you don't see everything. Just makes the anticipation of the next trip so much more exciting.

I've been on the road constantly the past few years, at all hours, and it's amazing the number of people towing campers, or 'vans, with perfectly good beds inside, at midnight, or 2 am. Okay, do they have a compassionate, or medical reasons, to be going all night? Just risking life and limb, for a few extra clicks.

Saw a young couple, with 3 young kiddies, late arvo yesterday, pulled up east of Cloncurry. By their actions, they weren't camping there, and on my way home this morning from Longreach, they're camped at Morella, almost 400km east of where they were, at 6.30, when i saw them. That's certainly the way to see the country, and give the kids a love of camping!!!

Sorry about the soap box, Jade, enjoy your holiday,


Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 757875

Reply By: Member - DereelGirl - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:02

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:02
Hi Jade, July last yr I had to put my car and camper trailer on the Ghan from Katherine to Adelaide due to health issues. When it arrived home everything inside was covered in a grey film. (I think from the diesel engine) We had travelled from Melb. up to Broome then onto Cape Leveque, lots of dirt roads and got not a speck of red dust on the inside, but 3 days on the train and it created a great mess which I am still trying to get rid of. The swaying of the train can really do some damage to what you have inside your van/camper. If you do put your car/van on the train also check your insurance policy and make sure everything will still be covered as you will get nothing from the rail company. Other than that you will have a blast and enjoy it.

AnswerID: 482588

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 17:00

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 17:00
Hi Jade,
First up welcome to ExplorOz.
That trip you are planning sounds like a beauty. From Brisbane around to Adelaide there are a million things to see and do.

We always check in at the local tourist info centre and get the lowdown on whats to see in any given place. We find this the best way to not miss anything worth seeing, and talk to the locals when we buy a pie or fuel etc. Works for us.

Nearly everybody you come across will be very much like yourself so talk to as many people you can and you will be surprised what you will learn about any given area.

Set up a portable shower operated from your car battery or van battery and a loo / shower tent, as previously advised by Dereelgirl, is an invaluable device to have when free camping. If you want to go the extra setup then a solar panel of around 80 watts will charge your battery for the van.

Biggest problem I see will be getting you back to the grindstone when you are finished with the holiday mate. LOL

Keep watching these pages and you will pick up tips and clues nearly everyday.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 482607

Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 17:11

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 17:11
Sorry, it was Johno59 who advised the shower / loo tent, not Dereelgirl.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 757879

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 17:05

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 17:05
Hi Jade

I suggest that you have a flexible plan to be responsive to the needs and interests of your children as well as yourselves, for shopping and laundry days, and in case of maintenance needs. Depending on their age, you may need extra stops for them to run around.

Are you set up for independent camping or will you need to find powered and serviced sites (eg roadhouses on the Eyre Highway)?

Check out some of the many Blogs here to find places to meet the interests of both yourselves and your children.

I lost what i typed before when my internet went down while i was replying, so hope i have recalled my most important points.


Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 482609

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 20:34

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 20:34
Hi Jade,

First up, welcome to this site, there is a heap of great info here (check out the search button in the top RH corner) and most contributors are friendly and helpful.

You dont say how you are getting from Port Augusta to Brisbane - our comment would be that the southern states are pretty cold in August so try to get north as soon as you can, then work your way south as the weather warms up in spring. You could either do the Great Central Road to Alice, then head east on the Plenty Highway, or if you want to stay on the bitumen, head up to Alice, Tennant Creek and then east.

When you come across the Nullarbor be sure to go into the Head of the Bight to see the whales with calves (approx June to October) - can almost guarantee it will be one of the highlights of the trip.

As others have said, Camps Australia will be a good investment, although many of the free camps can get rather busy. Don't over-plan, and leave plenty of room to be flexible - and dont try to see everything, you simply wont be able to fit it all in. But after you leave Brisbane do try to get off the Pacific Highway a bit, both onto the coast and into the Great Dividing range where there are plenty of good National Park and state forests camping areas.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 482630

Sponsored Links