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Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Gold Coast...
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Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Hi all, this is my first post so please bear with me :)

We are planning a road trip Gold Coast to Darwin and back, (via the Winton and Mt Isa route) in the 2nd half of September. We'll be two adults and a very well-travelled 7 year old, in a 4WD.

We're campers, a photographer, (so photo opportunity suggestions are very welcome!) and all quite ok with long stretches of driving.

We will be stopping at Winton (to see the dinosaur place) and we're pretty sure about the NT side of the trip but we'd love some suggestions about where to stop to break up the drive otherwise between GC and Winton, and Winton and Tennant Creek.

We're taking our camping gear so any good campsite suggestions would be great!

Is roughly 2 weeks or so doable? And, given it's the end of the dry season in September, should the weather still be ok?

Any suggestions from folks who've done this drive would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Darwin, Australia
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1. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Well its 3500km from Gold Coast to Darwin, so 700km return. With 2 weeks that's 500km driving a day. Doable? Yes Enjoyable? Well that's questionable, especially for a 7 year old. Weather should be fine, but starting to get hot (could make tenting it a bit uncomfortable as you get further north).

You will not need to go to Tennant Creek. The Barkly Hwy joins the Stuart Hwy at Three Ways, a bit north of Tennant.

Some good places to stop between Winton and the Stuart Hwy are Longreach, Cloncurry and Mt Isa - but you would need to work out if these suit your itinerary. There are towns or roadhouses every few hundred kms, but they vary in interest and quality.

Once you hit the Stuart Hwy the obvious places of interest on the way to Darwin are Mataranka, Katherine and Litchfield National Park - or you could take a detour via Kakadu National Park.

To work out your itinerary though I would decide how far you are willing (or would need to) drive in a day and map this out. The overnight stops will then most likely become obvious.

Cheers

Gold Coast...
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2. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Thanks so much for your reply, that's the question now - how far can we push the drive each day with our 7 year old....!!! We've done Melbourne to Gold Coast with her and the most we drove in one day was 13 hours which she handled very well, although she was a bit younger and slept more.....

From the sound of it, it seems as though it may be more tiring than adventure per se....

Cradle...
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3. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

7000 kilometres in 14 days, as per Shaz's sums, I would say enjoyable, NOPE.

I love a road trip as much as anyone, but I do like to rest and look around, and G C to Melbourne is half the distance of what G C to Darwin is.

Happy, I don't know if you've done your sums, allowing for 1000 kilometres a day travel (dangerous IMO), it will take you a minimum of 7 days to get there and back, as you'll need the other 7days get over the constant driving, and let alone see the sights. Calculating roughly the cost for accommodation (I allowed $120pn), fuel (12 litres per 100klm, at $1.90 pl ) and food for those 7 days (allowed $30 pd), without site seeing, to get there and back is over $2000, and then you have the cost of touring around the NT for another week, add a few more grand.

IMO, I would use that $2000 + a few more dollars, to jump on a plane, stay in a nice hotel in Darwin, hire a car, do a week of day tours and or stay in other places. It would be much more relaxing without the dreaded, tiring, dangerous view of the bitumen.

Safe travels - Robert

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4. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

I have driven that distance in that time when I was younger, but that was having no stops on the way for a look around, just fuel, food, have a rest which included a short nap in the afternoon, and sometimes driving a few hours at night. But you are mentally tired when you reach your destination and i didn't turn around straight away to come back. On some occasions we had our young daughter with us also but she was a good traveller so long as we stopped and let her have a play/look around at the stops.

There are many interesting places to stop at on the way and it would be a pity to miss them. I would also suggest a detour ( from Winton, gravel road though) into Richmond and Hughenden for the dinosaurs and also at Mt Isa. Cloncurry has an good rest stop/ museum/ on the Brisbane side of the town and easily one day could be spent at Winton and 2 days at Longreach.

While it is a few more kms it would be worthed it to go into Tennant Creek as fuel there is a lot cheaper and at Three Ways there is only the service station with service station food and some over priced accommation. Not that Tennant Creek is uch better but there is a far wider range of food and where to sleep there.

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5. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

I think its more like a 4 weeks trip.

With the time you will not get to spend any extended amts of time at things. I know my kids are good at long dist, but hate having to get n the car day after day and just sit. Longest we did was 4500k in 2.5 weeks.

Richmond, Hughenden also around that Winton area.

Campong in late Sept in the top end is getting uncomfortable- esp when there are no cooling breezes.

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6. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Your child may be good travelling long distances for a day or two - but how would they (and you ) go day after day after day after day...? The cumulative effect of constant travel can be exhausting.

Personally I would fly, or just stick to a road trip in outback Qld to cut down the distance.

Gold Coast...
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7. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Thanks folks. Yep we've decided to wait and do the Darwin trip when we have more time to do it properly, and actually feel like a holiday.

...now it's back to the drawing board for planning something else to do with our two weeks of holiday time!

Cradle...
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8. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Hi Happy, come to Tasmania, great place for 2 weeks, easy to drive, you can go from the top to the bottom in 3.5 hours :o)

Robert

Edited: 16 August 2014, 06:22
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9. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Hi HT....Why not do Winton-Longreach as a practice run. See how you stand up to camping and long distances over that trip and make an informed decision based on actual family experience.

Or join a local 4WD Drive club and do an excursion with like-minded who have actually done trips akin to the one you contemplated. Cheers.

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10. Re: Road trip Gold Coast to Darwin help please

Good idea, Robert, but we'd rather go to Tassie when it's a bit warmer :)

And yes, Jon, I think that's probably the way to go. Most of the family camping we've done has tended to be within only a few hours drive, and not a new site each day... I'm thinking my original idea was just a tad over-ambitious heh :D