I'm arriving in Perth in November and will kick around there for a bit, but will be departing from Sydney six or seven months later. I want to go across the country bit-by-bit rather than just fly Perth-Sydney, so what's the best option out of these two:
Perth-Sydney all the way along the south coast?
North to Darwin, cut through the interior via Uluru etc, THEN along the south coast from Adelaide-Sydney?
That best journey depends on exactly when you intend to commence the travel and how much disruption you are willing or have the time to encounter. Then ultimately what you really want to experience in the journey.
crossing the nullabor via norsman and ceduna during november to march the temperatures will be in the high 30 - mid 40 (Celcius)every day. Allow 5 days solid driving for perth to port augusta, plus stops for sitseeing. then you need to decide which way from there, the quickest route would have you in sydney in another day-day and half. (all up 7 to 10 days for a quick comfortable drive)
crossing over the top end via port hedland to darwin the across to mt isa be very aware that november to march is the wet season and each leg of the journey needs to confirmed before commencing as it is normal for the raods to be cut due to rain sometime for as long as 1 month. Make sure you have alternative routes planned. Also this area is very suseptable to cyclones at that time (all up you'll need to allow 1 month minimum for this journey)
To do either you will need to be well organised with equipment, suggest you buy rather than hire a vehicle, just sell it when you arrive in Sydney.
Or alternative you could travel by the indian pacific train. (its about 4 days)
other wise flying is the cheapest and the quickest $300 and 4.5 hours
If you do go across the Nullabor make sure you visit the caves. So many people miss these babies out and just drive straight across. For one of my best/unique experiences in Aus I managed to swim 40m underground lit by firelight. Tempting because not only do you get to cool off in water (remember Nullabor is quite a dry place - and can be crazy hot), but you are also in one of the most (relativley) remote parts of Aus. 10km off the main highway you can find these. Also managed to sleep in one of the caves. It is a good way to break up all that exciting driving. The fact that you can see 360 views of just complete flatness and have amazing sunsets/sunrises, its madness why more people don't visit. You can get info on the caves at tourist info places, on either side of the plain. Enjoy.
Thanks for the replies. I won't necesarilly be driving. I could get trains or buses etc or share driving forpart of the way. And I don't need to get to Sydney in a matter of days, I can take it at a leisurely pace, as I'll be in Oz for six or seven months with no strict timetables or deadlines.
Does that alter the advice any?
Definately Go the northern route.
Buy a car/van/4wd in Perth sell it when you get to sydney
Id go perth
geraldton (picking work here)
detour into coastal towns they are worth visit
carnarvon (picking work here)
Broome (derby and wyndham are worth the detours)
Kununarra (picking work here)
Katherine base your self here take a few days and go darwin / Kakadoo / Alice Springs
From here I defer to other people as I cant offer definative info on when to stop and where you'll find work. Until you reach Southern NSW, Victoria or South Australia.
Enjoy Your holiday, Keep an eye on the weather and road conditions daily while crossing the 'top end'