I’ve spent much of my spare time in the last few months planning and thinking and dreaming and plotting about our Big Trip. In November we plan to head off on a 14 month trip camping in Australia. In a nutshell we’re going to concentrate on the parts of Australia west of Adelaide. This way we hope to have the time to really explore at our own pace the parts of Australia that are going to be difficult for us to reach again in a camping trip from Brisbane in a 2 week school holiday. And I’m beginning to think, we’ll have the time to explore possibly the most beautiful parts of Australia.
So our plan at this stage:
D-Day: Departure Day is set for Friday 9 November 2012. We hop on a flight to Cairns to hang out for a few days of R&R with friends on their farm in the rainforests of the North. All going well the morning of Wed 14 Nov will be clear and sunny so we get the full impact of the Total Solar Eclipse that’s going to occur early that morning. What a way to start the trip!! Eclipse 2012
The morning of the eclipse we fly back to Brisbane, jump in our packed car and trailer and drive towards the QLD border (probably Goondiwindi). So that night we’ll watch the sunset over QLD for the last time for another 14 months, after witnessing a total solar eclipse with our family of five. What a day that will be!
We then head to Bourke in outback NSW and travel along the Darling River to where it meets the Murray River. Along the Darling we’ll spend a few days at a station, camping beside the river where they have canoes and yabby traps for you to use for free. Sounds great. Another stop will be at Lake Mungo National Park where humans have lived for an estimated 30-40,000 years ago.
We’ll camp beside the Murray in Mildura, Vic for a few days and enjoy the produce on offer there. I’m also hoping to have a little trip to Ouyen, just south of there, where my Pop was born more than 80 years ago. He often talked about the Mallee and I’ve never seen it.
From there we head due west into SA and go across the Spencer Gulf to reach the Eyre Peninsula (think Port Lincoln). Here we stop and rest and the ‘holiday’ begins.
We imagine crossing the Nullabor will take us a few days. Along the way there are many disused telegraph stations falling into ruins. But I’ve booked us in to stay a night in one of the old stone cottages (yes a night not in canvas) at the Eyre Bird Observatory. I don’t know much about birds but think they’ll feature in our trip so would like to know more about what we are seeing!!
Our plan is to be camping at Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperence WA for Christmas and New Year. We need to get there before the school holidays in WA start to try to get ourselves a camping site. So it’s likely we’ll be in paradise for around 3 weeks.
We’ll then meander our way around the southern coast of WA and then head north to Perth and beyond. Coral spawning happens around March and that brings in the whale sharks around the Ningaloo Reef (Coral Bay and Exmouth). Hugo has been saving to go diving with the whale sharks for almost a year now so hopefully we are then when the seas are calm and we’re all planning on going out.
If the weather is on our side, we’re also hoping to head inland to see the Kennedy Ranges and Mt Augustus. The Pilbara is exciting us and we’re looking forward to exploring this before we head to the Kimberley.
We’d like to spend at least 6 weeks in the Kimberley so we can potter around and check out every nook and cranny that interests us.
If the canoes are suitable for a family of five, we’re also thinking about a few nights on the Ord River camping along the way. Inspired by Simon’s mate Broc and his family who did a much bigger canoe paddle down the Yukon a year ago.
From here we’ll head into the NT where we hope to spend a decent chunk of time in Arnhem land, Kakadu, Darwin and surrounds.
We’ll spend as much time as we can exploring the Top End of NT before the wet season begins which will drive us south to Central Australia and down again into Outback SA before the heat drives us further south to the cooling winds of the coast. We’re really looking forward to camping at Arkaroola, Flinders Ranges, Innes NP at Yorke Peninsula (one blogger says it’s the best NP in Australia and they’ve done lots of travel) and Kangaroo Island.
From here we’ll pop into see our family in Victoria for some love and homely comforts and if time is on our side we’ll try camp around Tassie for 4 weeks or so before we high tail it back to Brissie for the beginning of the school and kindy year of 2014.
Not sure if we’ll fit it all in, our route will change because of weather and hearing of other amazing places from locals and other travellers, but that’s the rough plan.