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Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

Ston Easton, United...
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Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

Hi everyone, a bit of a detailed post sorry! My wife and I (plus two children who'll be aged 2 and 3 - and a 9 year old for a chunk of the journey as well!) have a 4 or 5 month road trip to Australia planned for Dec 2018. This is obviously still some way off, but as we're planning on staying in a mixture of accommodation types (cheap hotels, motels, staying with friends, caravans, holiday parks etc) we are going to start ramping up our planning pretty much from now and as we move into 2018 (we'll book most of our accommodation before we depart). We've put together a bit of a first draft itinerary (copied below) - and wondered if anyone has any thoughts on it? (e.g. are we mad travelling so far a distance on the trip? - also, does anyone have any hints/tips for longer/shorter stays? etc). Thanks in advance. :-)

Depart London – 27th Dec 2018

Arrive Cairns – 28th Dec 2018

Cairns – Sydney (46 nights from 28th Dec to 12th Feb)

• Cairns (3 nights)

• Mission Beach (3 nights)

Townsville (3 nights)

Airlie Beach (4 nights)

Mackay (2 nights)

• Rockampton (2 nights)

Hervey Bay (2 nights)

Fraser Island (2 nights)

Noosa (5 nights)

Brisbane (4 nights)

• Surfers Paradise (4 nights)

Byron Bay (6 nights)

• Coffs Harbour (1 night)

Port Macquarie (1 night)

Port Stephens (2 nights)

Hunter Valley (2 nights)

Sydney – Melbourne (17 nights from 12th Feb to 1st Mar)

• Sydney (5 nights)

Blue Mountains (2 nights)

Jervis Bay (2 nights)

Canberra (2 nights)

Batemans Bay (2 nights)

Eden (2 nights)

Phillip Island / Nearby (2 nights)

Melbourne – Adelaide (18 nights from 1st Mar to 19th Mar)

• Melbourne (5 nights)

Torquay / Anglesea (3 nights)

Apollo Bay / Cape Otway (2 nights)

Port Campbell (2 nights)

Port Fairy (2 nights)

• Coorong / Nearby (2 nights)

Kangaroo Island (2 nights)

Adelaide to Perth (24 nights from 19th Mar to 12th Apr)

• Adelaide (3 nights)

Port Augusta (1 night)

Lucky Bay (2 nights)

Port Lincoln (2 nights)

• Smoky / Streaky Bay (2 nights)

• Fowlers Bay (2 nights)

Head of Bight (1 night)

• Eucla (1 night)

• Balladonia (1 night)

• Norseman (1 night)

Esperance (4 nights)

Albany (2 nights)

• Augusta (2 nights)

Perth to Broome (26 nights from 12th Apr to 8th May)

• Perth (4 nights)

• Pinnacles (1 night)

• Geraldton (2 nights)

Monkey Mia (4 nights)

• Ningaloo (4 nights)

• Nanutarra Roadhouse (1 night)

• Tom Price (3 nights)

• Port Hedland (1 night)

• Eighty Mile Beach (2 nights)

• Broome (4 nights)

Depart Broome – 8th May 2019

Arrive London – 9th May 2019

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9 replies to this topic
Edinburgh
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1. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

I think this looks like an epic trip! IMO you're short changing Canberra and Kangaroo Island - ideally add another day to both of anthem. Perhaps take a day off if Monkey Mia and somewhere else to do this.

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2. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

What a nice length of trip, and good that you're starting this far out with planning.

On arrival, suggest spending a few days in PD (depending on arrival time you might want to spend the first night in Cairns and then head up to PD, which is a good base for Cape Tribulation, Daintree, Mossman Gorge and some down time at beautiful 4 mile beach.)

Agree re adding more time to Kangaroo Island (4 nights would be good, 5 even better).

Unless you have relatives to visit in Melbourne, you might find 5 nights there to be quite long.

As you progress with refining your itinerary, suggest posting on specific destination forums. It will help you to organize each section of the trip, and it will catch the attention of those most familiar with those areas.

Good luck with the trip!!

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3. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

Wow! I trust you and your kids are good with road trips approaching that length.. While I'm fine on the road, I'd get damn sick of travelling every few days for that length of time. It'd be a real problem if any of you found they couldn't cope or someone got sick.

A point at the start - allow more than 3 days for your first stop. Get over jet lag, Sort out your transport. Settle the kids. Acclimatize - hot and steamy and stormy in Cairns vs UK. Allow some rime to see the Cairns/ Port Douglas area. December is not the best time for Cairns, the wet, stinger and cyclone season but it can still be done.

I think I'd be looking at fewer stops for longer.

Good luck with your planning for our country.

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4. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

Frankly for me just too much organisation and pre-booking of accommodation - you don't allow any time for alternatives, staying longer or shorter anywhere (this sounds a bit like a military operation to me).

For example, at the start Cairns (stay in PD) is worth at least 5 days - get over jet lag, get the van, do reef, rainforest, Tablelands, Chillagoe Caves and even Laura/Cooktown..

Apart from our school holidays over summer (last week of December and first 3 weeks on January), you don't need to pre-book any accommodation. Sure have a plan but add in some flexibility.

And you do nothing inland except Canberra which misses out a whole lot of Australia eg Carnarvon Gorge, Winton, Stanhope, Dorrigo, Atherton Tablelands, Wilsons Promotory, The Grampians, Flinders Ranges, Tasmania etc etc.

Edited: 4:37 pm, September 23, 2017
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5. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

And are you in a campervan or car ?

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6. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

Byron Bay - if you are on any sort of budget, dont stsy there. It is very expensive, and it is not the best place for a ypung family. Stsy somewhere like Cooloongatta, Yamba or Ballina and do a day trip to Byron Bay. I would combine your Surfers Paradise nights and BB nights to one location eg: Cooloongatta or Briadbeach - these are both much more family friendly than SP and BB, and you are a very short drive from each. Rockhampton only needs one night.

Add a night to Coffs Harbour so you can do a side trip up to Bellingen and Dorrigo.

Canberra needs more nights, as does KI.

I would drop the Hunter Valley and use some of the Melbourne nights to explore the wine regions in Victoria, and find an extra day in Adelaide to explore Clare Valley - nice bike trails with the kids.

Mission Beach - I would skip it - you can not swim in the ocean anywhwere from Cairns south to Gladstone at that time of year, and MB is a very tiny town not far from Cairns. Take these days and spend them in Port Douglas or thr Atherton Tablelands where there are lots of interesting land based activities and beautiful clear waterfalls to swim in.

Dont pre-book anything apart from during our school holidays. I'm very sure that your plans will change due to kids/tiredness/flat tyre etc etc at least once along the way.

Cheers.

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7. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

I presume you will purchase a vehicle and sell it? For this amount of kms consider some sort of SUV and some basic camping gear as well.

Great trip planned and you will be given suggestions to tweek it.

Agree that out of school holidays ( remember to check each state) plus Easter don't book too much so you have flexibility.

We recently travelled from Clare Valley back home across the Nullarbor- by passed Port Augusta by catching a ferry across to the Eyre Peninsula- good spot ( like Coffin Bay caravan park and Port Lincoln looked nice town) but think you could shave off time in that area to have a few longer stays elsewhere.

For WA- from Esperance it's a bit of a haul into Albany so you could break it in Hopetoun ( for Fitzgerald River NP) or Stirling Range NP.

The area beyond Albany- Denmark, Walpole and Pemberton definitely warrants at least an overnight or longer. Rather than stay Augusta consider Yallingup or Dunsborough.

For north- Dongara or Geraldton you could cut back a night and maybe cut back Monkey Mia to 2 nights to allow a decent break in Coral Bay/ Exmouth.

For Tom Price- do you mean Karijini NP?

Good advice given about the east coast of limiting stops on the backpacker route and explore other spots. Pity FNQ is in those months and not later in trip- northern parts of country better toward May- note still very hot in Karijini and Broome in April/May.

Whilst it sounds a lot of time you are allowing you might well have to cut some things and leave for another trip!

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8. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

"Cairns (3 nights)• Mission Beach (3 nights)• Townsville (3 nights)• Airlie Beach (4 nights)• Mackay (2 nights)• Rockampton (2 nights)• Hervey Bay (2 nights)• Fraser Island (2 nights) • Noosa (5 nights)• Brisbane (4 nights)

Byron Bay (6 nights)• Coffs Harbour (1 night)• Port Macquarie (1 night)• Port Stephens (2 nights)• Hunter Valley (2 nights)

There is a lot I would change about this itin.

Firstly- You are ignoring north of Cairns - so I would choose to stay anywhere north of Port Douglas for 4 days.

Mission Beach while nice, you wont be swimming and hot for walking, so 3 nights here is a waste in my opinion. You are better off getting to Townsville and making another base there for three nights, include Magnetic Island or maybe all three nights there.

Airlie - fine for a base, but remember if you wan to do island trips, you pay a large ferry tickets to get to maybe Hamilton for a day trip. Airlie itself has no beach and only a swimming lagoon. Its very backpackery. A few good camp cabins or at that time of year you will need ac at night. Or you may want to head towards Cape HIllsborough, which can be busy but by the water - no swimming though at the beach.

Ditch Mackay and Rockhampton for stops, Instead head up to Eungalla for maybe two nights.

Maybe consider a stop at 1770 as well.

After Sunshine Coast your itinerary is a nightmare :} stops every night ... You are far better off picking a location and getting some accom for 4-5 nights around half way and chilling / beach/ day trips.

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9. Re: Dec '18 - May '19 Australia Roadtrip Itinerary

Several sections of this trip (in particular crossing the Nullarbor and travelling north beyond Geraldton) will be pretty boring for everyone, so make sure you pack some good music and the iPad for the 9 year old, and best of luck with the younger ones who may start to object to being strapped into car seats and immobilised for hours and hours each day. (Do you know yet if they are likely to be compliant long-distance travellers?)

Some broad comments about your overall trip plans - busy, busy and a heck of a lot of kilometres covered in a blur of driving! And virually no time for relaxing - staying one or two nights at most places, you will lose a lot of time unpacking and packing up gear or checking in and out of caravan parks, with only one day to explore all those places sometimes. Sometimes the attractions are spread out around the towns, not close to the towns themselves, so you may miss out on seeing many of the local attractions unfortunately as your time frame does not seem to allow for lots of diversions.

It seems like such a shame to do all that travelling, all the hours driving, paying for all the fuel but not staying long enough to do anything other than tick off a limited list of things to see! If you were on a cruise or a bargain-priced group coach tour, then this sort of whirlwind trip itinerary might be expected, but I really struggle to undestand why you would subject yourselves and your family to such a demanding pace? How will you even remember where you were when you took the photos?

A few specific comments about your Western Australian section.

North of Geraldton, towns become very much more spread out (some are not much more than a fuel station, really!)

For Nanutarra, please watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX9wFJYUBDQ

It has some useful info about what to expect, as you are coming with your own local expectations, of course - but you need to be aware of the isolation, low availability of facilities and local hazards like "roadtrains" that you will be sharing the road with. And please take note of the road as shown in the video - north of Carnarvon, the North West Highway is one lane in each direction, so these monster roadtrain triple-trailer trucks will be passing you, sometimes fully laden and sometimes empty, which can be just as scary with the strong wind vortex their trailers create.

For Ningaloo, you have listed 4 nights - please be aware that although there is a dot on the map called Ningaloo, its just a cattle station, there is no town called Ningaloo. Ningaloo is the reef and marine reserve name. Your options for resupplying are actually the mini town of Coral Bay or Exmouth, 150 km further north. Also there is no "road" between Coral Bay and Exmouth via the coast - its just a sandy coastal track which would also involve literally waiting at Yardie Creek for the low tide and crossing over a significant saltwater sandy ocean floodway at lowest tide next to Yardie Creek Gorge. Watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9JdWg_rsQ0

For Monkey Mia, the nearest town for resupplying is Denham. If seeing dolphins is your aim, WA has some other options for this:

https:/…Dolphins.In.Western.Australia.html

Port Hedland is a mining town and holds little in the way oif attractions for tourists.

You will need all 4 days at Broome to recover at the end of this marathon road trip.

https:/…Broome.For.First.Timers.html

Some roads in the area may not be open if the Wet Season is running late.

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