We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
14 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

Hi there! We're an adventurous couple who have lots of experience traveling around, usually with a camper van, so we're super keen to finally visit some of WA sites. However, we're new at being parents (1yr old walker) so we need sound advise to keep us mindful of our new "with baby" circumstance (pram-friendly hikes and sights). We're slowly coming to the conclusion that it'll might be more economical to travel with a rental car vs camper van but we're worried about how difficult it might be to spontaneous book a room here/there. Here are the details we're playing around with:

- 14 days roundtrip starting in Perth heading towards Coral Bay area (we're flexible about whether he head north or south...this won't be our last trip to WA so don't feel the need to cram it all in at once...darn place is too big for that anyways!)

- End of August/Beginning September (rather rug up baby than worry about heat)

- Would ideally like to spend less than 2 hours per day in the car (we'll be bringing our AUS baby seat)

Questions:

- We don't really want to book places to stay ahead because if there's somewhere nice, we'd like to stay longer. We're not picky about where we sleep (we'll be bringing a travel cot for bub) so is this realistic or wishful thinking?

- Given that it's not high travel season and rooms are available, is car & rooms/hotels better/worse than campervan with a baby?

- Any tried/tested itineraries out their travelling parents want to recommend?

Thanks in advance!

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
Level Contributor
20,507 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

The problem with heading north is that the towns are widely spread apart making finding _any_ accommodation a challenge given your time restriction. The first places likely to offer accommodation along the way are Lancelin (1 1/2 hours' drive) and Cervantes (2 1/2 hours' drive). Of the two I'd suggest Cervantes. Next you could choose between Dongara (from Cervantes, just under 2 hours) and Geraldton (from Cervantes, 2 1/2 hours). I like Dongara, but Geraldton is much bigger and has more accommodation if you can't find something in Dongara.

Then your next viable option is Kalbarri, another 2 1/2 hours from Dongara. There isn't much else around. Kalbarri's nice, though.

After that it gets tricky, with your only viable options about 4 1/2 hours' drive each, Carnarvon then Coral Bay.

But, you are mistaken in thinking this isn't the high travel season, as the grey nomads who ave been wintering in the north will be starting to move and head back south. It would be worth contacting places and seeing what their bookings are like before heading off as if you lob into a town and nothing's available, it's a long way to the next option which might be similarly full.

A car would be better as you need to stop in caravan parks with a campervan- and they may be full of grey nomads and their caravans.

Heading south would have a lot more options for stopping and staying within your time frames.

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
4,813 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

Buy a baby backpack and you instantly become more mobile..My very active babies went to the top of Koziousko, carted around the swiss alps, skied all in a backpack..

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
6,663 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

It is also wildflower season and time frame. Motel accommodation in popular areas will be hard to find without a reservation.

4. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 24 August 2014, 02:05
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
14 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

Thank you very much YorkFoodie, Hamiriver, and PerthiteOz.

Heading South is the sensible way to go. Didn't realise it was wildflower season so that's a huge bonus!

So now we need a 14d baby-friendly, round trip itinerary, kicking off from Perth (baby backpack is on!). Needless to say, your expert suggestions and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, there's still a heated debate between the spouses here on car vs camper van. Now that we know the grey nomads are out in full force, hubby says that speaks for the camper because if we don't end up finding something, we would in worst case scenario still have a bed to sleep in and baby will be able to keep to a sleep routine. I am of the hopeful opinion that heading south towards a more populated area means more accommodation opportunities? Your thoughts?

Thanks in advance to this great travel community. Love TripAdvisor!

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
4,813 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

With that age child, I always went for a base an then did trips out from a base ie. apartment or holiday house- which incidentally world out cheaper in many cases than campervans..

Campervans you have to cart all of your stuff around everywhere you go vs a car where you just take what you need for the day.

I gather the toddler not baby is on the move as well, so having somewhere you can relax an let them walk around is a bit of a no brainer. That is all just my opnion though. Grey nomads don't have a baby to think about...!

Either way, its really about how comfortable with taking a chance that you can find hotel rooms or happy to sleep in a camp ground. If your toddler is a good sleeoer then a camp ground and camper will be fine as well.

Its kind of your personal preference

Fremantle, Australia
Level Contributor
3,174 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

Have a look at heading to the Margaret River region then push on to Pemberton , even Northcliffe, Walpole, Denmark and Albany.

http://www.amazingalbany.com.au

http://www.rainbowcoast.com.au

Then include Porongorup and Stirling Range National Parks.

If you did want a longer road trip then include Fitzgerald National Park and Esperance before heading back to Perth.

parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/fitzgerald-river

You will see some fantastic coastal scenery, wilderness, forests, wildflowers in these areas- plus wineries if that interests you.

Can give you specific ideas for Albany/ Denmark/ Walpole if you decide to head that direction.

All these areas have a variety of accommodation and are not too far ( ie a couple of hours )apart. If you wanted to limit accommodation stops then MR region ( 4 days) Pemberton ( 2 days) and Albany (5 days) would be suitable bases to explore from. Add to these places or push on to Esperance.

Edited: 24 August 2014, 13:07
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
14 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

Thanks again Hamiriver! We've decided on a camper van as this will allow us some more flexibility when it comes to baby's nap time demands and the security of a bed to sleep in if we don't quite make the distance to the next town. If the camper gets too claustrophobic for us, we can then always rent a room for the night or two.

We really like JeanPerth's route recommendations as well, so thank you for this. We're going to play it by ear and see how far around we get. Goal is to get as far south as Albany and then back up towards Perth through Porongurup and Stirling Range Nat'l Park.

We need to give kiddo car seat breaks so we're planning to make short/long stops in these towns...unless someone say, "Oh gosh, there's a better option": Perth - Bunbury - Dunsborough - MR - Augusta - Pemberton - Walpole/Valley of the Giants* - Albany - Porongurup - Stirling Range Natl Park - Perth

* Question: is it possible to do the tree top walk with baby in a backpack?

Thank you again!

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
Level Contributor
20,507 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

IME if it's nap time and baby is tired s/he will happily sleep in the car seat with no need to pull off and pop him/her into a cot. (I'm guessing you're not proposing to pop bub into a cot in the back and leaving her/him there while you're driving. Apart from the safety risk, I'm pretty sure that's not legal.)

Melbourne,Australia
Level Contributor
810 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Campervan vs Car trip for 1st time parents

The tree top walk is simply a walkway raised up to treetop level with a gentle gradient suitable for wheelchairs and pushers so you won't even need to use the backpack,