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Lost girl in need of direction :)

london
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Lost girl in need of direction :)

Hi All,

Myself and a friend will be flying to Australia in September and will be hiring a camper van, then driving the west coast from Darwin to Perth. We have 6 weeks in Oz in total, but will be doing some sightseeing in Sydney first. Does anyone have any recommendations on places to stop at along the West Coast, places to avoid, how long it will take from Darwin to Perth, weather etc etc

Would be most grateful for any info anyone could share

Also does anyone have any advice on how/where I obtain my Visa and how much it costs?

Many thanks :)

sydney
Destination Expert
for Cambodia
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17,231 posts
81 reviews
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1. Re: Lost girl in need of direction :)

Hi Steph & welcome to TA

there are some fantastic features on TA that, as a newbie you may have missed seeing - there's so much to see at first it can all be a little overwhelming.

the best place for you to start is the top questions - upper right of this screen

then have a look in the 'things to do' link in the green bar at the top - make a list of things there which interest you

then for further info on any of these things - the search box (directly above your post on this page and at the top of the list of topics on each forum front page) will be your new best friend - use this function like a google search - key words & phrases - you'll get to all previous posts on that topic

while you're using the search box - look for trip reports (aka JBRs - just back reports) - I find these the best source of info when I start to plan a trip to a new destination.

your first search can be for 'visa' - everything you need is already there - including links to relevant government departments

when you have something more like a draft itinerary, post it here for comment - it's much easier for the regulars to help you if they have something to work from. It's a good idea too to give an indication of your budget, interests, and style of travel (you say campervan but is that because you want to explore or because you think it's a cheaper option) - do a search for campers too - there is lots of info on companies to use and those to avoid like the plague. Be prepared for one way drop off fees too. And do know that 'freedom camping' (ie just stopping somewhere on the side of the road) can be problematic in some places and illegal in others - you'll need to stay in designated camp sites/van parks.

hope this gets you started

cheers

helen

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
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2. Re: Lost girl in need of direction :)

Apply for an eVisitor visa on the Australian govt website here: www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/Find-a-visa.aspx

It's free for UK passport holders.

london
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3. Re: Lost girl in need of direction :)

Great thank you! But do I need to have an e-passport? With a chip?

London, United...
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4. Re: Lost girl in need of direction :)

Hi Steph,

You won't need a passport with a chip. The attach the visa to your passport number so you don't even need to send it away. I would love to hear how your trip goes. I am flying over on Tuesday for a year and am thinking of doing something similar at some point so it will be great to hear how it goes for you. A couple of tips, make sure you have plenty of petrol/gas and water. A lot of those roads are very long without any signs of human life :) Enjoy!!

Lisa x

london
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5. Re: Lost girl in need of direction :)

Hi Lisa,

Many thanks for the visa info, it's so helpful!

Where abouts are you flying to? A year is a great amount of time, you'll be working I'm guessing?

Maybe you can keep in touch on here and update me on how its going? And share any tips or ideas you pick up along the way??

Good luck, I'm sure you won't need it and that you'll have an absolute ball!

Steph xx

Bunbury, Australia
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25 posts
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6. Re: Lost girl in need of direction :)

Hi Steph,

If you drive from Darwin to Perth, I can suggest a few places as North as the Ningaloo Reef Barrier! (I have never been to Darwin, Broome, etc...)

I would definitely stop by the Ningaloo Reef Barrier!

I personally stayed in Coral Bay and passed by PADI certificate for scuba-diving there. It is a perfect spot for snorkelling too. You can see dugongs, sharks, whale-sharks, manta rays, etc... Amazing!

I heard Exmouth is great too!

Some people say the Ningaloo Reef Barrier has more charm than the Great Barrier Reef as it doesn't have the same touristic appeal yet.

I would miss out on Monkey Mia. I don't like the way they overfeed dolphins just to attract tourists and it is overpriced (like many things in WA)! Don't worry, you will see enough dolphins in the wild along the WA coast for getting sick of seeing them!

I would still go to the Shell Beach (half way between the highway and Denham) as it is really fascinating!

Stop by Kalbarri if you can. I just drove by and I wish I stayed longer as it is an amazing spot! Seems great for fishing and the National Park is amazing!

If you can afford it, fly to the Abrolhos Islands from Geraldton for a day tour. Nice snorkeling, beautiful tiny islands. Totally worth it!

You could also stop by the fascinating Pinnacles in Cervantes. Quite a long and boring drive from the main highway though! (the highway is not much better anyway).

Yanchep National Park has some nice caves and kangaroos everywhere.

I don't really like Perth as I think this is a really boring city so I would personally miss out on it! (opinions are mixed depending on people, do as you wish, and no I don't want to start a "war" with Perth fanatics!)

The aquarium AQWA is interesting though, could be a nice stop! Harbour Town is a good shopping mall if you want to fill you suitcase of new clothes before going back home!

In my opinion, you should miss out on Perth and Yanchep NP (unless you really love caves and kangaroos) and drive to the South West instead (only 2 to 3 hours drive from Perth).

Go to Busselton, Margaret River (there are caves too), Augusta even Bunbury is nicer than Perth!

Plenty of things to do from surfing to wine tasting, beautiful beaches and wildlife and good fishing too. Kind of remind me of the South of France but with this Aussie touch (probably the Emus and Kangaroos and parrots) that makes the South West unique!

Regarding your stay in Sydney. I know Sydney is the most famous Australian city in the world, but trust me, it is pretty boring (unless you've never been to New York City).

When I walked in Sydney, I had the feeling to walk in Manhattan but not as busy. Once I've seen the Opera House and the bridge, well you've seen everything... The night life is rough and boring. Bondi beach is overrated, overcrowded and really average in general!

In my opinion, you'll have a way better time going to Melbourne instead! Really animated city, always busy and living, I felt really safe there. It is really modern! You'll find Perth similar looking to Melbourne but as a tiny version of Melbourne!

For your visa needs, I've seen someone already replied to you!

Be careful when you come to Australia and especially WA, it is really expensive! Especially coming from Europe you will be shocked at the prices you will pay for common grocery (and you know what? most of it is locally grown or made, not even imported).

Weather wise, I believe in the North you will be warm all year long (unlikely to have temperatures under 25°C) and September should still be what we call the Dry (season).

Getting closer to Perth the climate is more Mediterranean (similar to the Mid to South of France if you've been to France). September/October is still Winter unfortunately. Definitely bring pants and jumpers.

You are likely to see a lot of rain around this time of year. But like everywhere, weather is unpredictable, we could have a dry winter this year, who knows?

Still the temperatures are low and it is common to see temperatures close to 0°C overnight in Winter, even in the minuses inland.

The time it'll take you to come from Darwin to Perth only depends on you! You could do it in 3 days if you just drive and don't stop anywhere! Don't make too many plans ahead, just focus on the main spots you wanna see because your plans will change within days in Oz! You might end up being in love with Darwin and spend 1 week there before leaving the city! Only 5 weeks left! Trust me I backpacked the country 6 months before starting to live here, I've been from Sydney to Perth and spent 2 months in Tasmania when I initially planned to stay only 2 weeks there! You never stick to your plans in Oz!

Once again, the suggestions above are only my own opinion. The best advice would be to search a bit on TA, you still have plenty of time! Buy the Lonely Planet, it becomes quite handy in remote areas! If you don't want to sleep in the van (trust me you won't want to sleep in a van for 2 months), plan to find a place to sleep before 6AM as most places close early in WA, even the shops!

I hope it helped you a bit and don't hesitate to ask more questions! And enjoy your stay in Australia!

7. Re: Lost girl in need of direction :)

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