Road trip from Bris to Darwin

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 18:50
ThreadID: 97085 Views:2958 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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Hi all... I need to make a road trip from Bris to Darwin and would appreciate any advice... I will be driving a 2006 Holden Crewman (ute)... are the roads sealed all the way and what condition are the roads in? What is the safest route for a female travelling alone? How long should I allow to get there and where are the best stops along the way for accom and attractions. I can allow about a week each way. Any other tips much appreciated, thanks :)
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 20:34

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 20:34

My calculations say it's 3517 kms from Brissy to Darwin. I reckon, without pushing yourself, and stopping to smell the roses, you can do it in 6 days.

The roads are all sealed, though the quality of some of the bitumen leaves a lot to be decided. There are numerous road works on the way, in Qld anyway, but lately they don't hold you up too long. Not sure what NT is like as haven't been up there since Easter.

Depending which way you plan to travel, try and avoid Emerald, Springsure or Roma, as they are often booked right out.Longreach is often tight for rooms through the season, but there 's a lot of choice there too.

Lomgreach has Hall of Fame, and Qantas Museum, but more important, IMHO, is Australian Age of Dinosaurs, and Waltzing Matilda centre in Winton. A number of good motels in Winton too, and the locals are friendly. By now you've worked out we live in Winton.

If you haven't done any long trips before, avoid driving at night, plenty of skippys around lately. Drink plenty of water, and I like to chew chewing gum. Once you've bitten your tongue, or inside of cheek a couple of times, you'll never be drowsy!!!

Try not to hug the centre line, especially when passing road trains, and remember if you're overtaking one, they're up to 53 M long.

There's plenty more advice, but am sure others will chip in with helpful hints. You haven't got a friend or rellie that do all, or half the trip with you?


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Follow Up By: Margy M - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 21:34

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 21:34
Thanks Bob... I was thinking of going via rocky thru emerald but maybe I would be better off heading out via toowoomba, winton, mt isa way... I have previously driven to Cairns but I was younger then so will take my time and not take any risks. I like the chewing gum tip, haha. I do worry about roos on the road but I gather that's generally only a dusk or dawn problem? Do you know if people still let police know there chosen route and estimated time of arrival? Or is that old school now!
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 22:13

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 22:13
If you camped at Rocky, or Gracemere, it's a fair day then, through to Longreach or Winton. I was in Brissy in April, and went down Bruce H'way, roadworks all the way from Rocky to Maryborough, or thereabouts. Came back through Gympie, Gayndah, Monto, Biloela, Moura, Springsure & Emerald. Billo would be the only reliable place for accomodation, I'd suggest.

No one seems to advise police of their route, except maybe in remote areas, anymore. You'd need Telstra mobile for reliable, but sporadic coverage all the way to Darwin. Even Barkly Homestead has mobile coverage. I'd suggest you just SMS family/friends, as you travel along. Without being too accurate, the longest stretches without coverage would be 200 kms between Camooweal & Barkly Homestead, and Winton - Cloncurry. There could be similar distances going up the Stuart H'way too.

Roos should be right in daylight hours, though as you say quite active at dusk/dawn. Try to avoid hitting road kill, if you can safely, as it makes your car stink, and the bones don't do the tyres any good. A UHF radio can be handy to chat to other drivers, but not a necessity. I take an iPod for enterainment, when can't pick up AM radio. NT is light on for AM radio, and some FM in towns.

You'll be surprised at the amount of traffic on the highway out this way, especially at moment with all grey nomads. Plenty of road trains too, but many of them travel at night, and rest through part of the day, but they're a bit hard to miss. A lot of Landsborough H'way is 110 kph rated, so you can cover some miles if you want to blow the cobwebs out of your Crewman

Have a safe, enjoyable trip,


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Reply By: Ross M - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 21:49

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 21:49
G'day Margy
Good advice above here.
I find it is best to pull over and stop with roadtrains going the other way as they do throw rocks about and any forward speed can add to the impact. I have had two windscreens broken and knew about the problem before hand. Didn't help much.
Take some extra fuel with you for use when the unexpected happens or you didn't quite estimate usage and distances quite well enough. Just as insurance.

Do you have a UHF radio to allow communication with trucks you may want to overtake? This is good to use and they are usually happy to let you through, or sometimes they will want to overtake and you can let them know you will pull over and slow when they pull out so as to allow them through with no trouble.
Just a safety thing.
If you tell the road train you will pullover, they will stay on the bitumen, usually do anyway, and the likelyhood of a stone shower is reduced.

Make sure someone checks the fanbelt, hoses, tyres and general running gear to ensure all is well as it will be running hot for extended periods while travelling.

Ross M
AnswerID: 491677

Reply By: Member -Carl R (QLD) - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 08:21

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 08:21
My wife just did this trip a week ago in a Mazda3,the road works from Brisbane to Mitchell were full on and added a few hours to the drive , she stopped in Mitchell that night and stayed in the units at the caravan park just before the bridge,the units are new and clean.Next stop Longreach roads better and the motel near the Stockmans hall of Fame OK,Next stop was MT Isa stopped at a motel on the eastern side very good,road good but a large amount of caravans and road trains but said all were left a gap between to allow for overtaking.the road to the three ways had a lot of vans and and was very windy,stayed at the three-way the best steaks she has tasted room were clean and tidy.Off to Mataranka again a lot of vans and trucks,that night she was told there was over 200 vans overnighting,room very clean and the barra for dinner tops,the drive to Darwin an easy drive,she enjoyed the whole trip.One other thing the road kill from Miles to Longreach was everywhere so be aware
AnswerID: 491809

Reply By: Margy M - Sunday, Aug 05, 2012 at 16:28

Sunday, Aug 05, 2012 at 16:28
Thanks guys for the helpful hints... my computer went down so my apologies for the late response.

Carl I feel more confident now that I know your wife made the trip ok :)

Mitchell sounds like the place to stay so will stop in there on my way through... and then Bob I think I will come back via Rocky just to mix it up a bit.

In relation to having UHF to communicate with the truckies I have a silly question now... when I bought my crewman it came with a UHF aerial and in the cab it has a holder and what looks like a charger made from Nokia - but larger. I am wondering what I need to do to hook up the handset that is no longer there and how difficult this might be. The car is ex-gov QR. I have just become one of Newmans victims and lost my 12yr permanent position so can't afford any extravagence at this point... hoping to find some work in Darwin.

Thanks again guys, so glad I found this site, much appreciated :)

AnswerID: 492304

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