15 day Road Trip-Rockhampton to Uluru

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 11:53
ThreadID: 97555 Views:4885 Replies:9 FollowUps:12
This Thread has been Archived
I am just in the beginning planning stages as this trip will be next year (July/August) We will be driving from Rockhampton to the Whitsundays and spending a few days on the islands (where is the best place to access the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach?)

From there we want to head up to Cape Tribulation, then to Uluru and back to Rockhampton. I haven't figured out all the stops along the way. What are some must-sees on this route? Might I add, we are Canadian and we moved to Australia 9 months ago, so we are not familiar with all the sights yet.

On this road trip will be me & my husband (we're in our 20s), our 6 year old daughter and husband's 17 year old sister. So any activity we do has to be kid friendly for the 6 year old. Is Cape Trib a good stop along the way or should we skip it and just make the trek to Uluru from the Whitsunday area? Where are some good, safe camping spots on this route? We will be hiring a caravan for the trip.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:16

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:16
It is about 3,000km shortest way Rocky to Uluru, or about 4 days driving. With your other planned stops it will be a rushed trip. I would suggest only doing one or the other. It's a long way to go just for a few days at one attraction. Spend more time in the Uluru/Alice Springs area and make the long trip worthwhile.
AnswerID: 493323

Reply By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:29

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:29
Thanks for your reply :) I was thinking that it might be rushed if we include all that. We will go to the Whitsundays on this trip and go to Cape Trib some other time (the good thing is we live here now so no worries if we can't do it all in one road trip!) I do really want to spend some time in the Uluru/Alice Springs area and not be super rushed. Lots of k's to cover and want to spend quality time in places and not just be driving the entire time! How many days would be sufficient in the Whitsundays? We want to snorkel on the reef and have some relaxing time on the beach, I was thinking a day or 2 max because most snorkel trips are 1/2 day right?

Where are the best places to stop along the way to Alice/Uluru? And safe camping spots?
AnswerID: 493325

Reply By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:36

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:36
Should we also scrap the Whitsundays for this particular trip? I'm thinking maybe that's adding a lot more driving to an already long trip. Again, we can always drive up to Airlie Beach another time for a few days trip.
AnswerID: 493326

Follow Up By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:59

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:59
Hi Krista....slow this thing down a bit I suggest. Rocky/Cape Trib/Ularu in return in
15 days..??? not on...forget it. Even Rocky/Ularu in 15 days wont be much fun..
try to stretch it to 3 weeks, or more, & smell the roses. 500 Km a day for 12 days is
required just to get there & back. You wont average better than 80 kph towing a van,
so that equates to about 8 hrs driving a day...not a lot of joy in that either.
Plan your route..then decide what you want to see on the way...while you're there..
& on the return journey...then allocate your time accordingly..cheers....oldbaz.
FollowupID: 768906

Follow Up By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:14

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:14
You're right, I didn't realize at first how long it would take to do all the driving! You're probably thinking, silly Canadian lol! I am definitely thinking 3 weeks now and just Rockhampton to Uluru, we can do Whitsundays and Cape Trib any other time. I don't want to be driving every day! Can you recommend places we should definitely stop at and explore between Rocky and Uluru? And certain activities like places to go hiking or places to see? Stuff that a 6 year old can do as well, can't do any extreme hiking unfortunately :)
FollowupID: 768907

Follow Up By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:30

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:30
No silly Canadian thoughts at all Krista. As I live in southern nsw I am only guessing
at your route from Rocky. What I would do is follow your chosen route on Google
Maps...note down the places you pass through then google each for the local attractions. You may wish to climb Uluru, but also walk around it. Valley of the
Winds Walk at the Olgas is also not to be missed..as are the walks at Kings Canyon.
The scenic attractions E & W of Alice are also excellent.
Get planning, girl,...while I go back to dreaming about going to Canada...:))))).
FollowupID: 768910

Follow Up By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:44

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:44
Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it :) Climb Uluru you say? Is it like climbing with ropes or like a walking-climb? Is it safe for a 6 year old? If so then I'm totally down for that!

I will research what's around Alice, thanks for that!

Canada is great to travel to! !
FollowupID: 768913

Follow Up By: Charlie B2 - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 13:10

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 13:10
Hi Krista,

Uluru isn't a climb that I'd personally be wanting my 6 year old to do - even I chickened out 20-odd years ago! Others, of course climbed it on that day even though there was quite a strong breeze, but the start looked steep enough for me to give it a miss.

I'm not sure any 6 year old child would have the sense not to chase their hat if it blew off! Plenty of adults have died on that climb - just check out the plaques and signs at the base of the climb.

Not trying to put you off and I'd hope you'd know your child better than I do, but I've worked with enough young folk over the years as a Cub leader and church children's worker to understand their psychological sense of possession and even, surprise, surprise, occasional disobedience. :-)


FollowupID: 768974

Follow Up By: Krista B - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 13:15

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 13:15
Thanks Charlie! I had no idea at first what kind of climb it is, when someone suggested it, I thought it was like a "walk/hike" not an actual mountain climb. And I did more research and how the aboriginals don't want you to climb it anyway, so we won't be doing that.
FollowupID: 768975

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:13

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:13
Use some sort of trip planner such as Whereis or Google maps to give some idea of distances and times involved in tripping around.
AnswerID: 493328

Follow Up By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:20

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 13:20
Thanks! I've been going along google map to see the stops in between. I'll check out that Whereis trip planner as well :)
FollowupID: 768909

Reply By: member - mazcan - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 14:32

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 14:32
hi krista
i dont take you for granted or think your questions are not silly
as smart people ask questions
i do think after you have done say rocky to alice you will realise that the difference between looking at distances on maps and actually driving the distance is immensely different and just how far it is across aus and how long it takes
if your planning on taking a caravan to alice /uluru like said
i think you would want it to be more enjoyable and relaxing rather than be an endurance rally drive
A to Z
you need to tell people on here what type of van it is ---offrd or onrd /size /weight and what you intend towing it with as this will have a big bearing on how long it will generally take and /or obstacles you might be facingand the advice their can give you
so that you they can give you advice on whether it will stand upto the rough outback rds the 15 days trip rockhampton to alice includes a fair amount of outback distance and would be full on driving experience when towing a van time wise
have you considered a camping trip or maybe a hired camper trailer as it would be lighter to tow and less hassles imho
just throwing i few ideas into the mix not trying to confuse you
cheers barry
AnswerID: 493336

Follow Up By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 15:04

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 15:04
Thanks for your input! I appreciate it. We were thinking of towing a camper trailer with our Navara. We want to rent a camper anyway (I'm not keen on sleeping in a tent lol).
Do you know if all of these places to hike have easy hiking/walking trails for a 6 year old?
Is 3 weeks long enough to enjoy the trip?
FollowupID: 768918

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 19:25

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 19:25
hi karin b
july/august is a good ideal time cold nights but generally nice warm to mildly hot days to go that area as later gets hot to very hot 40deg plus and and late august included depending on the seasoni have been up it twice once very late july and once in october
yes the walking trails /tracks are ok for a fit 6yr old wearing a comfortable pair of broken in joggers
dont do what a lot of parents make the mistake of leaving home with a brand new pair of footwear for the kids and themselves and then find first day on the trail the shoes are rubbing the heals etc resulting in blisters and kids not wanting to keep them on
there are plenty of burrs and prickles on the ground out there get up early and walk in the cool of the mornings its much more enjoyable and the kids will last the distance and take drinking water with you and have frequent rests
at the olgas there is a bit of moderate climbing on the trails over granate depending where you choose to see but worth it imho
there is a chain between posts cemented into the climbing trail on uluru rock and imho is worth the climb just take it easy and walk carefully up and down
back in 1979 october i actually carried my 4yr old daughter to the top and back down on my shoulders i was fit 33yr old in those dayswe started out at 6.30am and by the time we got back down it was 38deg at 10am there was very little restrictions and no fees for individuals only those on tourist buses
in those days not like now
cheers barry
FollowupID: 769003

Reply By: Member - Rick P (NT) - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 14:48

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 14:48
Hi Krista
If your going all that way you should also go to the MacDonald Ranges. On your way back from Yulara take the Larapinta Drive to Kings Canyon, Hermannsburg then back track and also check out Glen Helen Gorge, Ormiston Gorge, Simpson Gap and back to Alice Springs. Better ad another week for your trip but guarantee you won't be disappointed, it's some of the most beautiful scenery in Oz. Only problem is that a bit of that Larapinta Drive is dirt and last time around in pretty ordinary condition.
AnswerID: 493338

Follow Up By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 17:29

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 17:29
Yeah we decided to make it a 3 week trip, it's a long drive to get out there! I want to spend time out of the car as well lol. I'm going to look at including these places you suggested!
FollowupID: 768927

Reply By: Kris and Kev - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 16:28

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 16:28
You could just do a taste of the Red Centre trip and go back another time. We spent 6 weeks recently there in our camper trailer (off road capable) and could have spent a lot more! Believe me there are so many places to see, not only in the West MacDonnell ranges, but also in the East MacDonnell.
I believe the shortest way to Alice Springs from Rockhampton is via Longreach, Winton, Boulia and the Plenty Highway. Heaps to do/see on the way. We came back that way and the Plenty, dirt road, was in very good condition and on some stretchers I was able to safely sit on 100 kilometres per hour. But conditions can change after rain and the road can be closed.
There is a lot to see in Alice Springs so make sure you do it all.
Try and drive to Chambers Pillar south of Alice Springs as it is a fantastic drive and beautiful part of the country country.
Make sure you stop at the old telegraph stations and learn about that interesting history.
Make King’s Canyon a must see and do the walk. Just watch the 6 year old on the edges of the sheer cliffs. There were a lot of families doing the walk when we were there. There is a steep climb (steps) at the start, but after that it is fairly easy. King’s Creek Station is a better place to stay then the King’s Canyon Resort as the resort can be very crowded.
Be prepared for cold mornings. In July we had mornings of minus 5!

King's Canyon

Chamber's Pillar

Plenty Highway 19 July 2012

AnswerID: 493345

Follow Up By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 17:23

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 17:23
Thank you that's a lot of good info!! Yeah I'm thinking it definitely will be the first of many trips :) when our daughter is older we can do longer/tougher hikes as well! The macDonnell Ranges are on the "must do" list for sure! I will definitely have to research which walks are the most "kid friendly" for this trip. And I am the most safety-conscious (or paranoid) mother there is, I won't let go of her hand on our hikes that's for sure! :) Do you think 6 1/2 is too young to do a hiking trip? We're gonna start this year doing small hikes in the area where we live (Yeppoon) and see how long she lasts...will definitely need lots of breaks :) lol
FollowupID: 768926

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:14

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:14
Hi Krista B

I wholeheartedly agree that Uluru is too much and too far to include in a short break. We spent five weeks in and around Alice Springs in 2008, and i have a numbers of blogs here in the My Blog section if you are interested. We did not see everything in that time, but saw a lot of different places.

After weighing up the options when we reached Uluru, we chose not to climb. This was due to a number of factors including requests from the Indigenous people and risk factors from the Parks management. I would not take a six year old on such a climb. There is a walk around the base which can be done in entirety, or just selected short sections, as a road also circumnavigates the rock.

A gentle climb stops some way before the chain starts up the steeper section. People returning were sliding in sitting position down from the chain from where i stood and a group of Japanese girls were laughing as they slipped over every time they tried to stand.
Image Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be Found
Signage about climbing.

We did a circuit drive from Cairns to Cooktown via Cape Tribulation and retuning through the Tablelands, taking three or four days. It was just beautiful.


Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 493360

Follow Up By: Krista B - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:30

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:30
I didn't know before what kind of "climb" Uluru was, if it was just a walk-hike kinda thing or more advanced climb. I've read up more on it now and how the indigenous people don't want you to climb so I didnt know all that before. Good to know :)

This is turning out to be a much bigger trip than I expected! Ha. It's such a far drive. We don't have to see it all in one trip, as we live here now so we will definitely be back for other trips. I definitely see that we need at least 3 weeks tho. From Rocky to Uluru is 35 hours each way, so to make it a comfortable trip driving 5 hours per day would be not too crazy and be able To see some places along the way. So 7 days driving each way, and 7 days around Alice and Uluru. Is this a suitable trip for a 6 1/2 year old? 3 weeks camping in the outback? It sounds so awesome to me but would she be bored? I'm kinda not sure now...
FollowupID: 768946

Reply By: Krista B - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 13:20

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 13:20
Thank you everyone for your input and giving me tons of useful advice and information. I definitely had a lack of knowledge when I first thought of this trip! I definitely want to do it for 5-6 weeks, and I think it might not be a 6 year old's idea of a fun time. I decided this is going on the back burner until she's a bit older to be into it, and also be able to walk/hike all day.
AnswerID: 493391

Sponsored Links