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Down under 2016 - Ambitious (I know) but doable?

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Posted (edited)

For July / August 2016 wife, daughter and I are planning a return trip to Australia. It will probably the fifth or sixth time I will set foot on the 5th continent, for wife and daughter it will be the 2nd time.

 

We will most likely start off with a few days in Sydney before flying over to the West Coast. In Perth I would like to pick up a (suitable) 4x4 rental and then head to the outback of WA and the NT.

 

As of today, my (very rough) itenary looks like this

 

Day 01 Perth - Kalgoorlie

 

Days 02-04 Kalgoorlie - Warburton

 

Days 05-09 Warburton - Alice Springs

 

Days 10-11 Olgas, Ayers Rock, possibly King's Canyon

 

Days 11-13 Alice Springs - Broome

 

Days 14-15 Broome

 

Days 16-21 Broome - Darwin, partly via Gibb River Road

 

As indicated in the topic title, I know this looks very ambitious, most likely even rushed (especially towards the end); however, we have already done the Broome - Darwin leg before, so we certainly don't have to see every gorge and waterfall again

 

"Skip Broome", you may suggest (and rightly so). However, while down under, my daughter will celebrate her first "teenager birthday" and for this event we'd really like to be at a place remotely civilised (as opposed to "outbackish").

 

To sum it all up: please don't tell me how tight this schedule is and that you personally would never do it this way; however, if part of it is simply not doable (Like say I wanted to make the trip between Nairobi and the Mara in three hours), I would of course like to know. Or perhaps some of the earlier portions can be done quicker, extra days we could then add to the end? (We don't mind spending hours in the car) thanks

Edited by ice

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Posted (edited)

@@ice

 

Alice to Broome looks very tough & rushed.

 

If you take the Tanami Track it is 1600+ K's of gruelling unsealed track. Say 40 KPH. I'll let you do the math.

If you take the sealed road route it is 2700+ K's Alice - Katherine - Fitzroy Crossing - Broome. There are some really big days driving in excess of 1000 K's and no time to stop and look at anything.

 

Definitely go to King's Canyon. The half day walk around the canyon is excellent and the camping ground amenities are great (though a bit expensive).

Also would suggest a side trip north of Broome up the Dampier Peninsula to Cape Leveque if you have not already done that. Perhaps a day trip flying to Horizontal waterfalls.

 

I'll have to get out my old maps and check out the Warburton - Alice Springs section.

 

I also have to ask why go to Sydney on the other side of the country then fly to Perth. If you can go direct to Perth it is worth spending a few days in the beautiful SW corner of Western Australia.

 

EDIT: If there was one location I would want to see when near Alice Springs it is Palm Valley. Absolutely magnificent!!

Edited by Geoff
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EDIT: If there was one location I would want to see when near Alice Springs it is Palm Valley. Absolutely magnificent!!

 

~ @@Geoff

 

Is Palm Valley in any sense connected to Finke Gorge?

A few years back I read about Finke Gorge and have a dim recollection of a rare palm living there.

Tom K.

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@@Geoff

 

Thanks for your initial input. If it was only for me, I'd skip Sydney as well. However, the wife is an architect and she really wants to the see opera again...

 

About the Alica Springs - Broome section: the 4x4 guide I have says is appr. 1.100 km and can be done in 15 h net driving time. Halls Creek to Broome is another 700 km but on a tar? If that information is correct we could do it in three days instead of two?

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EDIT: If there was one location I would want to see when near Alice Springs it is Palm Valley. Absolutely magnificent!!

 

~ @@Geoff

 

Is Palm Valley in any sense connected to Finke Gorge?

A few years back I read about Finke Gorge and have a dim recollection of a rare palm living there.

Tom K.

 

@@Tom Kellie

 

Yes Tom that is the place. On our last trip, travelling with another family we spent 3 days there. I could have stayed for 2 weeks. The campground overlooking a seasonal river bed and escarpment is magnificent with prolific birdlife, dingos at night & reptiles. (watch out for the venomous snakes though). It also has solar powered showers, gas BBQs & communal fire places.

 

The camp ground is situated 5 K's along a 4x4 track from the Red Cabbage Palms and ancient cycads. Walking around there I felt I was transported back in time. Although the area receives minimal rainfall, semi-permanent springs allow the plants to survive.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

Yes Tom that is the place. On our last trip, travelling with another family we spent 3 days there. I could have stayed for 2 weeks. The campground overlooking a seasonal river bed and escarpment is magnificent with prolific birdlife, dingos at night & reptiles. (watch out for the venomous snakes though). It also has solar powered showers, gas BBQs & communal fire places.

 

The camp ground is situated 5 K's along a 4x4 track from the Red Cabbage Palms and ancient cycads. Walking around there I felt I was transported back in time. Although the area receives minimal rainfall, semi-permanent springs allow the plants to survive.

 

~ @@Geoff

 

Given my taste, what you've described above is a powerful incentive to consider a visit to Australia.

Thank you for explaining what Palm Valley is about, both as to facilities and as to the wildlife and plants.

It sounds like my idea of a superb ‘walking around camera in hand’ destination.

I appreciate the caveat about venomous snakes.

Whether or not @@ice's travel plans may include it, I've jotted down Palm Valley as a high interest potential destination if visiting Australia.

Tom K.

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@@Geoff

 

Thanks for your initial input. If it was only for me, I'd skip Sydney as well. However, the wife is an architect and she really wants to the see opera again...

 

About the Alica Springs - Broome section: the 4x4 guide I have says is appr. 1.100 km and can be done in 15 h net driving time. Halls Creek to Broome is another 700 km but on a tar? If that information is correct we could do it in three days instead of two?

 

@@ice

 

Just referred to my maps. Yes, The Tanami joins the tar about 16 K's south east of Halls Creek. From there it is 640 K's to Broome. To do the Tanimi (1100 k's) in 15 h means you would be travelling at an average speed of 73 KPH. even so if you slowed down a bit and allowed say 9 hours per day i think you could get to Broome in 3 days.

 

I've had no experience driving from Warburton to Uluru and have no idea about the track conditions but I would think you would need to do 400 K's a days. Not much time for sight seeing but I don't think there would be much out there.

 

If you have your heart set on it ~ go for it. If I was considering this trip I would fly from Sydney to Alice Springs and hire a 4x4 there and have a good look around Central Australia before heading to Broome.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

Yes Tom that is the place. On our last trip, travelling with another family we spent 3 days there. I could have stayed for 2 weeks. The campground overlooking a seasonal river bed and escarpment is magnificent with prolific birdlife, dingos at night & reptiles. (watch out for the venomous snakes though). It also has solar powered showers, gas BBQs & communal fire places.

 

The camp ground is situated 5 K's along a 4x4 track from the Red Cabbage Palms and ancient cycads. Walking around there I felt I was transported back in time. Although the area receives minimal rainfall, semi-permanent springs allow the plants to survive.

 

~ @@Geoff

 

It sounds like my idea of a superb ‘walking around camera in hand’ destination.

 

@@Tom Kellie

 

That's what I did everyday I was there!!! as well as photographing birds coming to drink at the waterholes in the riverbed below the camp.

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@@Geoff

 

Warburton to Uluru is the Gunbarrel Highway, isn't ? Quite famous, I reckon

 

maybe, over the next few days. a few more Ozzies will add their opinions

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@@Geoff

 

Warburton to Uluru is the Gunbarrel Highway, isn't ? Quite famous, I reckon

 

maybe, over the next few days. a few more Ozzies will add their opinions

 

@ice

 

Yep, apparently parts of The Gunbarrel are now not used due to the construction of the so called Great Central Road. Even so, it is remote and the driving will be tough. You will need to be totally self reliant. If you look around on You Tube i suspect there will be a few vids to give you a feel for what you will be up against.

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Sorry, but I can't help here as I haven't done this trip. One day I'd hope to, but work means we can only do story 4x4s and save up for Africa.

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after some intra-family discussions we have decided to follow @@Geoff's advice and revised our itenary as follows:

 

Day 01 fly Sidney to Alice Springs

 

Day 02 Ayers Rock

 

Day 03 Palm Valley

 

Days 04-05 Palm Valley - Warburton

 

Days 06-07 Warburton to Well 35

 

Days 08-09 Well 35 to Docker River

 

Days 10-13 Docker River to Broome via Halls Creek

 

Days 14-15 Broome

 

Days 16-19 Gibb River Road

 

Days 20-23 Kununurra to Darwin via Bungle Bungles

 

 

what do you all think?

 

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

@@ice Interesting itinerary. I suggest the following changes as you seem to be doing a fair bit of back tracking...

 

Drive Alice Springs to Palm Valley ~ Palm Valley is closer to Alice than Uluru. 125 K's of sealed road then 20 k's 4x4 unsealed (easy to hard driving) to the campground then a further 5 K's hard 4x4 driving to Palm Valley. The valley walk is about 5 K's (from memory) easily done in 3hours. Overnight in campground.

 

Drive Palm Valley to Uluru via King's Canyon. Use Larapinta Dr (also known as Mereenie Loop). 20 K's out of Palm Valley then 195 K's well maintained unsealed road to Kings Canyon. Stop at Kings Canyon (overnight if you wish or for a quick look around).

 

From King's Canyon to Uluru is 305 K's on sealed highway. Overnight Uluru so you can see both Uluru & Kata Tjuta.

 

Uluru to Warburton on Great Central Rd (unsealed) passing through Docker River.

 

I have not driven this bit but you could consider Warburton to Wiluna on the Gunbarrel highway (Well 35 is somewhere near there) and then take the Canning Stock Route to Halls Gap. This would be tough. You would have to check road conditions though and I do not know the distance. If you think that is too difficult you could do Warburton to Meekatharra then take the Great Northern Highway towards Broome with a slight detour to the amazing Karijini N.P.

Edited by Geoff

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@@Geoff

 

thanks for your input, I just realised I will need a good sized map before I continue this discussion

 

btw: over at TA people tell that the Tanami Track is in miserable condition which makes me wonder if I should not reconsider yet another route...

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@@Geoff

 

thanks for your input, I just realised I will need a good sized map before I continue this discussion

 

btw: over at TA people tell that the Tanami Track is in miserable condition which makes me wonder if I should not reconsider yet another route...

 

@@ice That's why I stated that you would be doing 40 KPH on the Tanami.

 

Yes. A big map will be handy. Some of your route choices have left me scratching my head. As an example ~ Even considering the timing of being in Broome for your daughter's Birthday ...If I arrived at Halls Gap I would probably head east to the Bungle Bungles and then go west to Broome rather than going to Broome doing the Gibb River Rd and then heading all the way back to the Bungle Bungles from Kununurra.

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