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Travelling up, across and down in Australia

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Travelling up, across and down in Australia

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1. Posted by JamieSmith (Budding Member 21 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Me and my mate are planning on buying a van and driving up the west coast from Perth to Broome, then across the north via Darwin to Cairns then down the east coast to Sydney (I'm sure this wont take long! but we do have the time)

Just wanted to know if any of you guys have any advice from what sort of vehicle you've been in, where you've stayed and done etc.

Any advice would be very greatful.

Cheers, Jay and Dave

2. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 615 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Quoting JamieSmith

I'm sure this wont take long! but we do have the time

Jamie, you're talking about circumnavigating three-quarters of the continent of Australia. It will be a fantastic adventure, but however long you think it will take, double it and add some!

3. Posted by SOMV (Budding Member 57 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Jamie there was a post not long ago about car insurance and registration. You may also want to do a search for that thread, I think the information would be quite useful. If you can't find the thread let me know, I will see if I can.

Cheers :)

4. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

My girlfriend and myself did a similar trip a couple years back. Only major difference is that we cut through the middle to see Uluru rather than going across the top. I would recommend this as Uluru, as well as the Devil's Marbles, Coober Pedy, and the Barossa Valley are all not to be missed. You can check out my route map here, as well as some pics of the trip and hopefully it'll give you an idea of what there is to see. In the end we put well over 20,000 km on our station wagon, and excluding the time we worked along the way, it would have taken us around 5 months to complete the journey (actually did it over an 11 month period).
For the most part we camped pretty much exclusively, with the exception of Sydney and a few nights in Cairns when we stayed in a hostel. I would highly recommend camping as both the cheapest and funnest option. You can usually find second hand cars or vans from fellow backpackers that come loaded with camping gear, or if you rent or buy from some backpacker dealership, alot of stuff will be included too. Campgrounds are found everywhere and there is also the option of pitching a tent or sleeping in your van for free at rest stops.
My biggest highlights, beside the aforementioned ones in the center of the country were:
Snorkeling in Exmouth (better than diving on the Great Barrier Reef)
Beaches in Broome
Fraser Island
and Cape Tribulation

5. Posted by gnangarra (Full Member 59 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Jamie its a long haul, I spent over year driving trucks Perth - Darwin return, that was 10,000 km solid driving limited stops trip time was estimated at 10-12 days thats just drive, eat, sleep no stops to sightsee. Most trips were within that the longest took 23 days rain damage closed the roads.

You need to be well prepared, your choice of vehicle should be new or near new as there is very little in the way of mechanical assistance and then only from the major towns, a breakdown can cost you thousands of dollars in towing fees. It doesnt make any difference having a 4WD vehicle besides the higher running costs, these can get you into more trouble and you shouldnt go offroad in them alone anyway. The best tourist spots are all accessible by normal car or thru tour companies in the area. Also consider getting an RACWA membership at least this will help if something breaks, also discounts on accommodation and entrance fees.

Dont drive more then 300km without a refueling stop, this gives you the ability to turn around if the weather goes bad. Carry food and water expect a night or two camped on the side of the road.

Thats the bad its well worth the effort there is so much to see on that drive, I havent yet done the trip east from Darwin I've only been south thru Alice

6. Posted by rach6083 (Budding Member 53 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

The west coast is great, the best part of my trip!
The only piece of advice I can offer is that you check out what time of year you will be crossing from Broome to Darwin because in the wet season the area can flood and the roads are not driveable, I think this is from October - Feb but don't quote me on that. But I'm sure this info is pretty easy to find out.
Also...take plenty of water and supplies with you in case of a mishap, the distances between towns on the west coast is huge. I remember travelling for about 10 hours without being able to stop!
Have a fab time x

7. Posted by emylou101 (Budding Member 16 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi Jamie

Your outline plan perth-darwin, cairns, down to sydney, melb, adelaide is exactly what im planning, I arrive in perth 3rd march and have my 12 month WHV.

I'm going to be buying my own van/stationwagon (we'll see wot £1000-£1500 buys when i arrive!)

My timings are based round the climates so; the time of year from March onwards is perfect for travellin perth to Darwin, cairns dry season being roughly May - sept i'm planning not to arrive before june, and then for sydney not to arrive before November. I just wasn't sure when i was gonna squeeze in Uluru area.

I've had lots of advice from people saying there really isnt much between on the NW section of WA, and that Darwin, considering it's extremety distance wise is not really worth it. ?? On the other hand, the diving is at it's best north of Perth - it's so confusing!! !!

So then, with all that said i started thinking Perth-Uluru-Cairns-Sydney etc.... BUT i've still got it in my mind I want to do the big coastal drive all the way around - i've pretty much come to the decision that i shall enjoy my initial time in Perth and i'm sure in that time i would have spoken to all sorts of people in the hostel and around that i will decide my journey when i'm there, which mite incorporate having a travel buddy, as i'm going on my tod. Others have agreed the best made plans are soooo likely to change when u actually arrive, so just go with them!

My thoughts and plans have come from much reading and research as far as climates go - so I hope at least that part is useful to you :)

When will u be arriving in Perth?

8. Posted by JamieSmith (Budding Member 21 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


Thanks for everyones comments. We've actually decided to completly change our plans due to cost, time, weather etc. We're going to hire one of those Wicked camper vans for 3 weeks to see the main part of west coast. Then fly from Perth to Cairs as we decided that there was nothing over the NT we wanted to see and couldn't fly from Broome. So then we'l prob hire a van or maybe buy one on east coast.

I think sometimes these plans come into your head but then when you seriously sit down and think about everything you have to be realistic!!

For those of you who have done the long road trips, what sort of food did you live on and do you have any advice?