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which Northern beaches?

Perth, WA
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76 posts
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which Northern beaches?

Hi all,

Merry Boxing Day! I am trying to plan our family trip for next Christmas (2 sons aged 11 and 15 by then). We want to drive across the Nullabor from Perth and focus on seeing Sydney and some NSW beaches as well as some towns we have heard of. I'm trying to learn to surf and apparently the waves are much easier on beginners over there than here :). It will be our first time driving across the Nullabor and I have never been to NSW at all (although my husband has been to Sydney on business a few times). We're skipping most of Victoria and SA as we have been to Melbourne and Adelaide and seen some of the surrounding areas before.

We will have a camper trailer and like to stay in caravan parks, but would consider uncrowded camping grounds for a day or two if we can be assured of a place. My problem is booking caravan parks that don't have a minimum stay requirement of a week at that time of year. e.g. I have booked 7 nights at a caravan park in Sydney (Narrabeen) from Boxing Day to Jan 2nd (Thurs to Thurs check-in/out requirement), but Seal Rocks and South West Rocks caravan parks want me to book a week and their check in days are Sat to Sat. Where can we stay in between? We don't really want to backtrack too much and want to be in Sydney for New Years fireworks. I hoped to do 3-4 days in Seal Rocks and/or South West Rocks plus about 4 days in Fingal Head/Pottsville afterwards (but they have min 7 day booking too). Where would you choose if you had to choose between SWR and Fingal Head/Pottsville region? We will only have a maximum of about 5 weeks away overall and obviously have other places we want to see too and not be too rushed. I've also skipped Canberra as there seems so much to see there and we'd need at least another 5 days to do it justice. Plus I'd like to see around Mount Beauty/ Jindabyne and JBT, so will save that for another trip.

The tentative plan (not taking into account any booking restrictions) is below if you would like to comment on that too. Numbers in brackets are the No. of nights there, if more than 1....

Perth- Kalgoorlie(2)-Border Village-Port Augusta-Echuca(2)-Kiama(5, incl Xmas)-Sydney(7)-Seal Rocks(2)-South West Rocks(4)-Fingal Head(4)-Armidale(2)-Parkes-Renmark(2)-Streaky Bay(3)-Border Village-Kal-Perth.

Any advice or comments gratefully accepted.

Thanks!

Donna

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: which Northern beaches?

Narrabeen Caravan Park is excellent with a brilliant beach.

Don't forget to check out Palm Beach just beautiful.

Sydney Australia
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2. Re: which Northern beaches?

Hi Donna,

What an exciting trip to be planning! :-)

Do you mean that you are planning to drive from Border Village - Port Augusta Echuca in one stretch and then have two nights in Echuca? Did you forget some nights in there?

So is the Murray River another priority for this trip? Your plan looks like you've decided to follow the river from Mildura to Albury and head along the most direct major highway to the coast and Kiama. Makes sense as a route.. not so sure about the distribution of stops you've listed though. I get the multiple night stops and not wanting to have to set up camp for single nights.. but still... I think I would be driving less and making two stops between Port Augusta and Kiama... probably Mildura and Narrandera or places near those so you make it reasonably even and give the boys a break from the car. Plenty to see along the way. Yep hot, but Mildura, Hay and Narrandera are all on rivers (Hay and Narrandera being on the Murrumbidgee). Many inland NSW towns are on rivers or large lakes so there's somewhere to cool off. At the moment they should mostly be in reasonable nick given they've had quite recent flooding and flushing out after the drought.

Look, I'll confess it now. I'm shamelessly partial to Hay.. Shear Outback is great and I'm enthusiastically in the "love the Hay plain" camp. ... most people seem to either love it or hate it and perhaps you'll be a bit "over" flat and treeless after the Nullabor, I suppose, but the route from Hay to Narrandera is more your average farmland sort of scenery. Hay to West Wyalong is the route where you get more the saltbush plain and really feels like the second flattest place on earth (after the Sahara Desert) sort of experience.

Yanga National Park and the old homestead also provides an interesting break between Mildura and Hay. When it's dry you just can't quite get your head around the markers where previous floods have reached on the homestead walls.

The Riverina has lots to offer. I really enjoyed the route Narrandera, Ganmain, Coolamon to Junee and Gundagai. Very pleasant, quiet road driving. Much nicer than the highway and nothing wrong with the surface.

You might also get some experienced campers with good advice if you ask about your trip on www.exploreoz.com

Happy planning

Sydney Australia
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3. Re: which Northern beaches?

Oh.. PS.. the Murray river route would fit well with your high country and capital country trip later on. IMHO it just takes you out of your way if you keep on it after Mildura for this particular trip. IMHO.

Perth, WA
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76 posts
17 reviews
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4. Re: which Northern beaches?

Thanks Snodge for your very helpful advice. I was working on travelling a maximum of 1000 km a day, so yeah, Border Village-Port Augusta-Echuca as quick as possible... My main problem with planning this trip is that all the caravan parks I have contacted, including Renmark and Streaky Bay in SA, require a minimum stay of 7 nights, so now I'm thinking we'll have to cut down the time we take to get to the coast even further. So it would be 4 days to get there (and 4 back), and a week in each of the regions Southern coast (e.g. Kiama), Central/Northern Coast (e.g. South West Rocks or Forster) and the Far North Coast (eg. Finagal Head or Pottsville)..... We might have to stay for just one night in motels/campsites in towns like Kal, Border Village, Port Augusta, Hay on the way. We would just have to have long lunch stops at places like Renmark or Swan Hill to break the journey a bit. It seems a huge shame to miss seeing such places properly, but otherwise we will run out of days since we have to book full weeks in other places...And on the way back from the Far North Coast we would have a night only in each of Dubbo (via Armidale), Mildura (via Parkes), Ceduna and Kal. I realise these are long days and not ideal, but the only other option is to lose one of the weeks and not stay in either the Kiama, South West Rocks or Fingal Head/Pottsville. Any advice on which one to lose would be appreciated...

Thank you!

Sydney Australia
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8,057 posts
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5. Re: which Northern beaches?

I would definitely sacrifice a week on the NSW coast to make the journey over and back more enjoyable. You don't want it to be such an ordeal the boys scream blue murder if you ever suggest it again! haha Not to mention that it really is a high priority to arrive alive!

Which to skip depends on what you want to get out of the various areas. Might sound obvious, but perhaps it might help to know that the landscape along the NSW coast doesn't really vary all that much. It's not like one beautiful beach will be radically different to another beautiful beach. Basically it goes: headland.. sandy beach; headland; inlet to a coastal lake; sandy beach headland. All with a backdrop of mountains as you head to the west. There you have the NSW coast. So which to choose is more about what else is around your target destinations that you want to do and what are the facilities at the camp ground you're staying at. If you think you might get another trip that can focus on Southern Qld you certainly won't run out of things to do there on a dedicated trip to the area.

... what do the boys fancy doing? Given that they are 11 and 15 then, you probably don't have that many really big trips to the east you will be able to fit in before your oldest at least is busy with other things. If you haven't already, I'd try to involve them in the planning decisions.

Edited: 27 December 2012, 09:58
6. Re: which Northern beaches?

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