Adelaide to Denham, WA - family trip

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 10:25
ThreadID: 99997 Views:2167 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Hello everyone

Just after some further advice. After a few previous posts, have decided to do a trip from Adelaide to Denham in September/October this year with our 3 kids aged 4, 8 and 9. Going in a Kluger and just after advice on best places to stop etc. Was planning on staying in cabins but now wondering about camping which we haven't done before - and mostly staying in caravan parks etc. thinking of a quick pop up tent etc and doing the trip return in 4 weeks. Looking at driving for about 5 hours a day for a few days and then stopping for a few days. Any advice much appreciated. Also can a Kluger AWD get into the Le Grande National Park if we wanted to stay there? Thanks again!

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 10:45

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 10:45
Hi Tracey,

You will really enjoy your trip if you are well prepared. The roads into Cape le Grand NP are sealed so no difficulty there. But that mean the 2 campgrounds there can get very busy especially in school holidays.

If you decide to go the camping route make sure that you get a tent that can withstand wind - along the WA coast it can be very windy, especially if a front is coming through.

Also when (if) you get your camping gear do take a couple of short shakedown trips so you become familiar with your gear and find out what you have overlooked etc. Much better than getting on the road and then finding out that you have forgotten something essential.

Once you get across the Nullabor you have a choice of routes, and WA roads, even minor gravel roads seem to be very good, so you can pick and choose. the southern coastline is beautiful but we have found that in spring the weather can be a bit challenging at times unless you have a caravan.



J and V
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Reply By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 18:42

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 18:42
Hi Tracey.
Sounds like you'll have a great time. I agree with Val, have a couple of dry runs/weekends before your big trip if you can, then it'll definately help things run more smoothly when on the road. No doubt hiccups can be magnified when travelling with young children?

Good route planning and a clear idea of what you'd like to see and do, before you leave, would be a big plus. Depending on whether or not you are a beach/ocean family or general interest type of bunch will determine your route. You'll have no trouble with your Kluger in the majority of places you're likely to find yourselves.

There's lots to see down south but other places of interest include Lake Ballard which is a different kind of attraction but inland.
Obviously you know what you like, so plan what is on the way that grabs your interest or intrigue, and plan from there, would be my best advice.

We may even give you a wave at Denham area if you are about as we'll be making our way up to the Kimberley in September. LOL

Good luck with the planning

AnswerID: 502632

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 22:01

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 22:01
In October 2005 we went from Canberra to Perth for an Army reunion. We also did a weeks drive up to Denam and back. Motelled it and drove the Nissan Maxima. No 4WD then.

On the part from Adelaide to perth we put the car on the Indain Pacific and Trvalled westward in 6 star style. The retuirn was down the coast from Perth to Margarette River a a couple of nights and cabin hopping all the way back to Adelaide and then a straight 12 hour run to home. All in 30 days.

Not cheap for a family but I am just mentioning it.Well you may win lotto. The Kluger should be fine on the train. We have done a return to Darwin on the Ghan with the 100 series. No roof rack though. That may be an issue with camping storage for you.

AnswerID: 502648

Reply By: Member - pedro1 - Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 19:52

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 19:52
As one who has spent the last 140 days in a tent , I would suggest you try and not
travel so far with the kids. September and October in the West the last few years hasn't been good weather. Windy and rainy. Much better in Autumn. When you are tenting it is best to plan your movement according to the 4 days weather forecast, that way you hopefully don't have to pack up and set up in the rain. therefore you need the time to be to be able to do that.
I suggest you forget about the Perth to Denham leg. Lots of bitumen with not much
between. You can easily spend a month in the SW of WA , let alone Perth
AnswerID: 502730

Follow Up By: TraceyM - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 00:06

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 00:06
Thanks everyone for your comments. Looking at getting a tent and trying a weekend at a local caravan park to see how it goes! We would maybe camp half time and use cabins otherwise so hopefully that would work with the weather. Looking at a black wolf tent after some research around here.

With regards to the trip, I had taken your comments on board and thought we would only go as far as Jurien and then return. But a well travelled person has advised me to squeeze in an extra weeks holiday, skip denham and monkey Mia but get up to coral bay. Said its the best place for snorkelling, and also to stop at kalbarri - stunning. Thoughts? I could probably work an extra 7-10 days into the trip to get up that high.

Thanks again.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 12:17

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 12:17
Hi Tracey,

I think a good way to ruin a long camping trip is to have definite destinations/dates set. Anything can happen to make you want to change your plans as you go along - eg poor weather, tired kids etc. Or you may just find a great spot and want to enjoy it for a bit longer. If you stay flexible you don't have expectations to meet, nor do you put pressure on yourself to get to certain places by a certain time.

I would certainly aim to go north of Jurien to get warmer weather, but would suggest that Denham is well worth a visit just because its different, and I think the kids would enjoy what it has to offer. We were disappointed with Monkey Mia but others have loved it, but there is a lot more to the area that just MM. Have a look at our blogs for 2009.

Coral Bay gets very crowded during the school holidays - dont know whether you can book there. I guess it all depends on what you are looking for and how well prepared you are for camping, but I would suggest that if you set out with an "exploring" mindset you would have an enjoyable time as there is plenty to see up there. And yes, Kalbarri is great but can also be busy.

BTW, setting a definite trip plan with fixed stopping places is a bit different to being well prepared for the trip in terms of vehicle preparation, having the necessary gear etc. IMHO the latter is essential, the former can be a right pain. If you are happy tenting it you will often find that caravan parks can squeeze you in somewhere, whereas they are full as far as fitting more big vans in. So if tenting, don't be too put off by reports of full caravan parks.

Have a great trip,


J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - pedro1 - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 19:30

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 19:30
I agree with Val. Do take the extra time and keep your travel plans flexabile, except for school holidays ,especially Coral Bay which is very small and crowded.
By the way, the trip to Coral Bay , Cape Range and Karijini , most people do in a 3 week loop from Perth . Kalbari can be windy as any of the coast (especially Jurien ) and at other times the flies are a nightmare but if you can avoid those distractions, you will easily spend a week there visiting the National Parks and tourist attractions . Personally on your time frame Kalbari is as far as I would go as there are lots of interesting places along the way if the weather gods are OK
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Follow Up By: TraceyM - Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 20:48

Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 20:48

Just thought I'd let you know where we are up to now! Have decided to go up to coral bay and use cabins but take about 5 1/2 weeks to do the return trip. We need to book pretty much everything and have it all planned out as we are travelling before, during and after the school holidays. We've done a 6 week trip around NSW and VIC when we only had two kids and they were only 1 and 2 so hopefully it will be a success again!

Our other option which might sound even more ambitious (crazy?) is to get a camper trailer, do the same trip up to coral bay in about 4 weeks but then continue north to broome, over to Darwin then down and across to Queensland, allowing about 8-12 weeks to get to qld from coral bay, visit the Gold Coast for the kids, then mosey on home by late January. Phew! We'd be more flexible with dates on this trip as we'd have our own accommodation.

Just wanted to thank you all for your ideas and comments and see if you have any more! We know its not the best time to head north but sometimes if you have only got one chance to do something, you just need to do it! (I am planning on staying in an air con cabin in Darwin, I'm not that crazy!)

Thanks again.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 08:16

Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 08:16

The camper trailer may be a good way to go, and the far north is great country.......BUT......for us southerners, NOT in the heat of summer and NOT in the buildup to the wet !!! Once the wet arrives your travel can be pretty constrained too. Staying in an air conned cabin in Darwin might sound like the solution, but you won't see much of the country if you can't stand more than a few minutes outside the cabin! And you'll be travelling for weeks in such conditions. The combination of heat and very high humidity will kill the trip, not just take the shine off it.

Sorry.... not a good idea at that time of year.


J and V
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