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Family Australia Trip

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My husband and I have decided to take our 8 children to Australia to visit my cousins in Melbourne in 2 years as our last big family trip before our oldest branches out on his own. Our kids will then range in age from 18 to 4. We are a very active but very frugal bunch. We absolutely LOVE road trips--this summer we did a 3 week, 5000 mile excursion and when we got home we wished we could be back on the road. We don't mind driving at night through the boring places to get to the fun stuff, but as this is a once in a life time trip, we want to see anything exciting there is to see. We'll have at least 3 weeks, we're hoping for 6 if we can save enough to stay that long. The biggest expense is the airfare but we're thinking that with 10 of us we may be able to find some group discounts??

The only thing we know for sure is that we'd like to drive from Melbourne up to Cairns stopping in Sydney. We'd like to see coastal as well as inland. We LOVE the idea of seeing the outback but aren't sure if that's feasible with 8 children. As far as lodging goes, we're thinking it may be easiest to rent a place for a week in a central location and explore out around that place? Thoughts? Suggestions? Also, I know here in the US we were able to stop at KOA's and camp but still have access to showers and bathrooms for those nights when we were in a place where there was nothing much to see/do so we just stopped to get a few hours' sleep before heading back on the road. Does Australia have anything comparable?

Oh, and we try to only hit touristy places that are "must see". Like this summer we had to stop in at New Orleans because, hey, it's New Orleans! but we only stayed for a day because we far preferred the deserted beach we found an hours drive up the coast.

I hope that's enough information to get some helpful responses. And before anyone says anything yes I know that 8 is a lot of kids, yes we know how they were created and how to prevent them and yes, we are crazy. And we love it.

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