Old Apr 5th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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We are planning to spend Jan&Feb 2007 touring but are stumped as to how to fit it all in. We will be renting a motorhome for the period and starting our journey in Darwin. What is the best route for a circle tour for 4 middleaged (ok a couple of seniors in there) adventurers. This is our first time "down under" and want to see as much as possible but still want to relax along the way, and spend a few days at a couple of key sites. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 10:20 PM
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The big question is 'where else do you want to go?' After you visit Kakadu and Litchfield, do you want to go east to Queensland or west to Western Australia or south to Adelaide and the southern coast. As Australian retirees we've travelled these routes and I'd be pleased to suggest good places to visit and to camp.
You'll be aware that January and February are wet season in Darwin and that it will be hot, wet and humid, but you should also see spectacular thunder storms. You should also be aware that there may be road closures due to flooding.
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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 02:29 AM
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How wonderful!!

I guess you must have good reasons for starting your journey in Darwin. And good on ya. But be aware that it is a long way from anywhere. You have a choice really - travel over to Broome and then down the west coast - sticking to sealed roads (cf what happened to a couple of German tourists recently); or making the long haul over to the east by way of Mt Isa.

Or maybe you could head due south and go through the centre (Tennant Creek, Alice, Adelaide, across the Nullabor, and up the west coast back to Darwin. You did ask for a circle tour, and if you look at a map you will see that options are limited!!!

If you know you want to do the West Coast then fine. If the east appeals more, then why not visit the amazing spots up near Darwin (Kakadu. Litchfield, etc); then fly to Cairns or Townsville, or Melbourne, and pick up your motorhome there.

One way rentals are easiest arranged from the bigger tourist venues.

If you really are planning on hiring and returning to Darwin then you have your work cut out!

Having said that - I'm sure it is possible to travel Darwin to Darwin in two months - even all the way round if you are fixated on it. But it's along way in a motorhome.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 02:29 PM
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The reason for the Darwin start is we will be in Bali the month before and that seemed the closest point for air travel. Alice and the Rock are things we want to see, also the GBR, and we have new found family in Melbourne!! Is the east route circle feasible in 2 months, or are we pushing it. We were also thinking that maybe shortening it to 6 weeks and going to NZ for 2 weeks but I think that may be pushing it. Looking at rental sites, seems Maui has the best deals (if you can call $245.00 and 330.00 a day a deal).
With the flooding going on now, could we encounter problems with unrepaired roads and such.
By the way, anyone know the price of Petol and Diesel right now?
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 05:07 PM
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Do remember it will be very hot in outback and inland areas at that time of year. I know Katherine is under water as we speak, but this year's wet season came late and Jan/Feb are officially wet season months in northern Australia.

There's a fair bit of backtracking involved between Alice and northern parts of GBR - at Mt Isa you can either head north east towards Cairns or Townsville. If you do the former, Lawn Hill National Park (Boodjamulla) shouldn't be missed. However at that time of year it may only be accessible by 4WD - check RACQ for road conditions.

Cost of petrol today in Cairns is AU$1.26 a litre - for some unknown reason diesel is now a few cents a litre more.

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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 08:38 PM
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Cost of Petrol today in southern NSW is AU$1.38 and rising!!
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 09:53 PM
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Garynrho - there is talk about petrol rising within the next month, and staying high for some time, due to high demand from countries like India & China. Petrol in Hervey Bay has risen a few cents in the past week. Some experts believe that we will all be paying around $2 a litre for unleaded fuel by the latter part of this year, who knows? I guess thats the reason for all the second hand 4WD vehicles up for sale. Imagine if the price of petrol rose to $3 per litre.

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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 05:14 AM
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Ouch, (1.05 here in Manitoba)we may have to rethink the motorhome route as being the most cost effective. The circle pacific ticket may be the way to go with multiple Australian destinations and a car rental and hotels or caravan stops for travel inbetween some areas.
(as for the long distance driving, it is a usual annual trek for us, just finished 10,000 km circle of western Canada and sw US in 6 weeks, in all 13 days or part days were spent driving but in a van not a motor home)
Has anyone got any info about BIG4 Holiday. Is it a savings to join and do all their properties have different categories of accomodations?
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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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hello again. Is the east coast circle route do-able in 2 mths? Hmm... never done it like that but off the top of my head, and thinking aloud - cos I find your trip a challenge - let's see.

You would want to spend 5 days around Darwin; 2 to get to Alice: 5 days there; 2 to get to Adl; 3 days there; 3 to get to MLB; 3 days there; 3 to sydney assuming inland route and a day in Canberra. 3 days syd. You can drive from Syd to Brs in a day in you really must. 1 day in Brs to re-charge. Brs to Cairns? If you are really on speed and don't want to see anything on the way then you could do that in 1-2 days. But you would surely want to check out places on the way - so say 10 days. Then 5 days up in FNQ. Retrace your steps down to the turn off for Mt Isa and over to Darwin - 3-4 days? But it would be much more fun to travel across via Lawn Hill as already suggested. But have no idea if the roads are suitable for campervan or what sort of facilites you might find on the way. You would have to check that out yourselves.

So, on the basis of a bog standard, un adventurous journey - you could probably do it.

But why bother? The whole point of having your own wheels is to loiter, isn't it? The unimaginative itinerary above could be done by public transport, and day tours/longer tours in places of interest, probably much cheaper. And have you thought about what you will do in the cities?

Maybe you want to pass through them all without stopping - but if you do want to stop then you will have to find somewhere to park that campervan. I guess big buck hotels have car parks - hostels generally don't - and camp sites/holiday parks are always located miles away from the city centre.

If it were me - and I don't want to put you off, cos I love road trips - I would forget about a campervan till you got to ADL at least. And if you don't want to loiter and would be interested in travelling some less trodden paths - do Darwin-Cairns by public transport and hire a one way 4WD for an adventure back to Darwin.

Just some thoughts.

Petrol was $1.35 in Sydney last week - now $1.30 a litre. Diesel 3 cents more.

All the best.

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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 10:23 PM
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Greetings and Gidday from Downunder Gary

I'd ask my MH hire company about a good Darwin caravan/holiday park and spend the first couple of days there.

You'll meet lots of "grey nomads" along the way, who've retired and are doing the "great Aussie adventure" themselves, and once you've made a few friends you'll have no trouble getting ideas.

One Darwin experience I wouldn't miss though, are the markets (well just about any country markets here in Oz acutally).

Unfortunately, you'll miss the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, which only run during "the dry" (from April to October), but check out the Parap and Nightcliff Markets in particular for a real "taste" of Darwin/Aussie culture.

Stying in the "Top End", see if you can fit in Mataranka Springs and Daly River (depending on the weather of course!)

A good online site for info on Aussie "road trips" is

It's a comprehensive site, with destination info, current petrol prices and road conditions, by state, and a trip planner.

The various group operator web sites are also handy, Big 4 is at, also check out and for New South Wales (NSW) operators. Each state also has its' own variation.

These groups expect a minimum standard of service and amenity from members, and if you have a less that perfect experience with one of them, you can complain to "head office".

It's also worth noting, that over the last 10-15 years, there's been considerable upgrading of regulations for caravan and holiday parks, so unless you hit a really basic park, 1 & 1/2 stars or less, or really deadbeat managers (there are still some out there), chances are even if you wing it, it will be a pleasant experience.

Also check with your MH hire company and see if AA membership is included. It often is, and you'll get access to the maps, accommodation guides, member discounts, book ahead and breakdown services etc. that go with it.

If they don't, it might be worth the investment anyway. Usually around AUD$70 per year for a basic membership, and of course, don't forget your overall holiday travel insurance.

Personally, one of my and TOH's favourite stops when we're on the road from the Gold Coast (QLD) down to the mid north coast of NSW, is Flat Rocks Camping ground between Byron Bay and Ballina, on the Pacific Highway.

The amenities are no great shakes (you'll be in a MH anyway), but the location more than makes up for it.

Another fav. is Woody Head Camping Area inside Bundjalung National Park.

Unfortuately, January is *the* peak Aussie season for Xmas/new year school holidays in southern states, while it's "the Wet" off peak season in the Top End.

By the time you get further south, in February, it's off peak (back to school/work for the rest of us), so you'll probably be able to just lob in around 3pm and choose any site you like. But never hurts to let your fingers do the web walking.

Hope this is useful, happy trails and Hooroo, enjoy your Aussie adventure
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 12:28 AM
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Question - can you fly in or out of another city, rather than doing a full loop? I can see why you want to fly into darwin - 2/3hr flight as opposed to 10hrs to perth or sydney (and seems like no direct flight to FNQ).

I think if you can, a 'V' may serve you better than a circle.

couple of thoughts -
1. fuzzy logic suggestion - fly into darwin, down the middle to Uluru, adelaide, cross GOR to Melb, up to sydney (via coast or canberra) then up coast (or inland to brisbane, depending on what you like) to Cairns, then fly out of cairns?

2. fly into darwin, do darwin surrounds, then fly to next destination (maybe uluru), then drive Adelaide, melb, syd, FNQ (far nth qld). this way you'll still see a lot of the country and a great variety, but save some time through the NT.

3. Darwin - drive or fly to Uluru, then cut across into NSW Broken Hill, skirt NSW SA border down to Mildura, see the Murray river, down through the Grampians to GOR, then Melbourne, then up north.

if you did do the circle pacific thing you would probably be able to do NZ as well which might be a consideration for you - but maybe not as much of a 'journey' - you sure earn your stripes with road trips.

One thing to consider as well is that from Darwin to Adelaide, there is a LOT of not much at all - it's not called the outback for nothing! long distances with little to break it up - which has it's own appeal and beauty, but a point worth considering.
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