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Need suggestions for big trip May, June

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Need suggestions for big trip May, June

We are a couple, early 50's from US keen to do a once-in-a-lifetime trip through parts of Australia for about 2 months. We plan to start in Melbourne, spend some time in that area (city, coast, wine, Great Ocean Road). Also interested in Kangaroo Island.This could be a mix of hotels and campervan. Adelaide as well. Then the plan is WA area. We were originally thinking of driving there (campervan) but that seems to long so fly? Then to the NT for Darwin, Kakadu etc. Also thought of driving that , but again seems to long. Continue to Alice and Uluru.

I'm interested in opinions concerning mode of travel and if this seems like a reasonable plan. Does it make sense to fly between the major areas then rent a campervan to travel around. Are any of the big train trips worth the high cost?

Thanks in advance. This seems like a great forum.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Need suggestions for big trip May, June


You are best to fly between destinations & hire a car when you arrive. Campervans can be very expensive & IMO you are best just to hire a normal sedan & stay in caravan cabins or cheap motels if you are on a budget.

What months are you planning to do this trip. ?? It's very important as Australia has wet / dry seasons which include cyclones & Stinger seasons. www.marinestingers.com.au

The trouble with WA is the distances from A - B & lack of transport which go direct to destinations. You do need to consider a good working plan so you don't double back.

Itinerary suggestion

Melbourne - 4 days

Drive the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide - 4 days

Catch ferry over to Kangaroo Island - 4 days - check car rental company if you can.

Adelaide - 3 days

Fly or catch the train to Perth.

Hire a car drive up to Exmouth - 4 days - see Ningaloo Reef. - stay Coaral Bay - 3 days.

At this point you will need to either - fly back to Perth for a flight to Broome or Darwin.

You can drive the Gibb River Road from Broome to Kununurra or fly.


Kununurra - Darwin

Fly Darwin to Ayers Rock or Alice Springs.

Fly Ayers Rock to Sydney.


Melbourne / Kangaroo Island / Adelaide / Perth / Broome / Kununurra/ Darwin / Alice Springs / Ayers Rock / Cairns / Sydney. - fly between & hire a car at each destination.

Edited: 12 January 2014, 23:18
Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Need suggestions for big trip May, June

May & June, Ellemay.

Deanne, your idea of flying between the major places & renting there is perfect for Australia.

And May & June is a great time to be here.

We are, as you've observed, a big country. Unless you're really keen to do a caravan trip. Is take Ellemay's advice and just rent a normal vehicle appropriate for the location and stay in in-site cabins in caravan / holiday parks, cheaper motel and/ or local pubs to cut down on costs.

We also have self catering apartments in many larger places. These are great for the extra space, laundry & kitchen facilities.

Why? Cost - rental & fuel costs will eat into your budget.

Flexibility & maneuverability. Towing a caravan or driving a motor home isn't as flexible as hopping into a little car (or 4wd where you need one ) - and one way rentals are easier & cheaper to arrange with smaller units.

You won't be on big superhighways and passing or overtaking a road train or BDouble in a motor home/ caravan isn't my idea of fun.

The Melbourne - Adelaide drive is a good one, and I'd encourage a diversion through the Grampians.

You could also drive Darwin to Uluru, if you wanted. It's a fair hike, just under 2,000kms, but you have the time and it might be something you'd enjoy. So some research on it & see what you think. Caveat: all drives in the NT depend on roads being open & ok for your vehicle - but should be ok in May/ June.

You can fly Uluru ( and I think Alice Springs) to Cairns & I'd do that. Many people skip Alice Springs. I'm delighted to see it on your Itinerary - so much of interest in & around it.

I think you have a good, workable plan.

A useful tip for cost cutting is to set yourself up with a basic catering pack for picnics & self catering. I usually start at Woolworths or Coles ( supermarkets) and buy an insulated bag and an esky ( polystyrene cooler - called " chilly bins " in NZ ). Basics like cutlery, crockery, & staple food items can go into one or the other and can all be bought in small quantities. I usually buy a couple of small towels, some ziplock plastic bags & garbage bags, too.

Book it through when you're flying - or make sure you put all the cutlery in your checked bags, can't carry knives & sharps on.

You can also pick up cutlery, crockery & kitchen basics at charity shops - "Vinnies" ( st Vincent de Paul ) " Salvos" ( Salvation Army) or Lifeline, very cheaply. I donate my pack to the nearest one of these when I'm finished with it.

Buy tropical strength Rid, Bushmen's or other insect repellent. I use roll- on. Flies won't usually be too bad when you're here, but pull up for a picnic, open the BBQ chicken ("chook") and you'll have company. And sunscreen & hats. Baseball caps are useless.

That's a start. You'll get heaps of good info here - you're exactly the sort of visitors it's a pleasure to help

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3. Re: Need suggestions for big trip May, June

@Elle - the OP says May and June

You've got some good suggestions there.

Please note that whilst many places in Australia are perfectly safe to drive any kind of vehicle at any time of the day, many places in remote WA, the Northern Territory and Western Queensland are not. Roads are not surfaced, the temperature is hot, conditions can change in a matter of hours and the right vehicle and supplies can be the difference between life and death.

I don't say this to put you off, but unless you are used to driving in very remote areas in difficult conditions you should be flying this leg of your journey. Save the driving for the safe and practical places such as GOR to Adelaide.

You've also picked a great time to come because WA and the NT won't be unbearably hot or going through their wet season.

Edited: 13 January 2014, 00:03
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4. Re: Need suggestions for big trip May, June

You asked about trains. Unless you're an absolute train buff & desperate to travel on one of our routes, I don't think they're worth the time or $.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Need suggestions for big trip May, June

I agree about trains for intercity travel, however there are some quite nice regional train routes good for day trips out of Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney's trips to the Blue Mountains, the South Coast, or Central Coast all have quite nice scenery and are cheap.

The intercity trains may be most useful in Queensland, if traveling without a car and you want to stop at many individual places along the Queensland coast. They don't necessarily run every day though so planning is paramount. Many travelers use the Greyhound buses for this type of trip instead. This doesn't seem to be the OP's interest though, sorry for going off topic a bit.

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6. Re: Need suggestions for big trip May, June

You guys are great. I did a quick cost comparison and it looks like we can rent a campervan for the same price as a car, about $50 a day. (vroomvroomvroom.com) We'll have to decide where all we want to go and then decide on vehicle type. Maybe a regular car in the city areas but a couple of campervan trips added on. The Gibb River Road is very enticing (maybe a loop?) as Kimberleys were on our list, but someone mentioned being cautious about driving small roads in WA. We would like to see a bit of the outback. Driving between Alice and Uluru is also a possibility. I have used VRBO and Airbnb here in the US. Is there a similar site more specific to Australia? Also, any opinions on Southeast of Melbourne such as Philip Island, Wilson's, Penguin Parade? Thanks loads for all the great info to get me started.

7. Re: Need suggestions for big trip May, June

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