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Routes for holiday in Aus


HoSS
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I have a colleague who's interested in taking a holiday in Aus, and doing a bit of touring / light off-road. He would hire a suitable vehicle.

Could any of our Aus members recommend routes, sights etc? Advise on hire also?

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Assuming you mean Australia and not Austria, a lot of that will depend on when he wants to go. There are so many places to go and so many areas to visit but many of them are only open for certain times of year.

As an example, Vic High Country has a lot of nice, not too challenging routes but they are closed off during the winter (now) unless you fancy skiing. The Simpson desert is closed during the summer due to extreme heat. Many of the roads in the Northern Territories are closed during and after the wet season. Pretty much any time of year there is somewhere in Australia that would be good to go to but end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and you're going to be very limited on what you can do.

On our circuit of Australia we came across a lot of beautiful and remote areas, many of them only accessible by 4x4 along dirt/sand roads. The Vic High Country was probably the most pleasant surprise as it'd never come up in our pre-planning and we only drove it after a recommendation from a friend in Sydney. The biggest disappointment was probably the east coast, north of Sydney as far as Brisbane.

For a short, 2-3 weeks visit I'd look at flying into Perth and either heading north up the coast or heading into the south west depending on temperature/time of year.

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Time constraints will determine where you should go, distances can be huge but then area's like the Vic high country that DaveW mentioned is reasonably compact.

I wouldnt be going to the west unless you have a good amount of time otherwise you will spend most of it driving, again time of year is important as well.

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I am not an Aussie but for what it is worth --- we made 2 motorhome trips - both in WA.

It is amazing to see the gradual changes in the bush as you drive the Number 1.

The flora and fauna is absolutely nothing like the rest of the world. Every plant, and animal is just very different.

We got as far as Coral Bay taking in Monkey Mia and Shark Bay.

We didn't get to go off-road much but the beaches in the Indian Ocean are to die for.

We saw a sea manatee and its calf, as well as a boat trip whale watching.

I cannot stress how far the distances are and how empty are the roads. Work on probably having to top up or refill the tank every day, and work on driving a couple of hours on their busiest road without seeing another vehicle in either direction.

You do not want to run out of fuel.

Next time we are hoping to see a bit of the eastern coastline, or maybe the Northern Territory.

Either way I don't like using the aircon. It dries you out too much. Open the windows.

It is so arid in WA in the summer that, as you sweat, it dries instantly. Keep sipping tap water all through the day. If you leave the truck to see the sights each person needs to take a full bottle with you.

Cheers

Barry

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I meant to say, following a very bad experience with a breakdown towards the end of trip 1, I personally would steer clear of Britz motorhome hire.

They do not supply a replacement vehicle and when we broke down in Northampton, they expected me to accompany the tow truck back to Perth while my wife and son hitch hiked back to Perth!!!!Needless to say I argued until they booked a big enough tow truck to take all three of us and put us up in a hotel as it took 2 days.

Most of the hire companies are much better.

Barry

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for your replies guys.
Can i refine my request a little. It seems that my friend is not going to any 'real' off-roading. Rather he has decided to hire a combi or similar, and starting from Sydney in Dec for about 2 weeks.
So the request is for on-road (or light unpaved) routes and sights in that range i.e 2 week round trip from Sydney.

Thanks

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Tell him or her  - under any circumstances, do not hire from Britz campers.  IMHO and experience they are the pits.

My advice -- Hire a camper and pay a little extra for a new model. My youngest son spent 5 years there travelling around and his advice refers to any vehicle rental company- The distances are so vast, that  they do not have depots every 100/200 miles. If you break down they will rescue you but cannot just provide a replacement vehicle, so you lose days of your holiday, and do not get any rebate afterwards.

The official  camp sites are excellent, and they are loads cheaper than hotels.

Wild camping in the bush is easy and free, but-- when the flies are bad,they are really bad! They are not like UK flies that look for food. Aussie flies look for moisture, so they try for your mouth, or eyes or nose. On the occasional bad day they are insufferable. The strange thing is that when your vehicle is full of flies and you open your windows and drive off - they all disappear back outside like magic!

That's the bad bits.

The really good bit is -- It is a truly wonderful experience. We are aiming to visit Tasmania next year, which we understand is a whole different bit of Aus.

Barry

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With such a small amount of time I think I'd concentrate on a few areas, all of which are accessible without going off road...

He could definitely head into the Vic High Country. Even sticking to normal routes you can get to see a lot of the area and there are some really nice drives through the mountains and through the ski resorts. If he likes mountain biking most of the ski resorts offer MTB hire and routes too during summer. Thredbo is the main one that we visited on our way to the off road tracks, Thredbo itself is a bit too commercial for our liking but the views from the roads across through Jindabyne, through Thredbo and into the Alpine NP are amazing. There are a few decent camp sites in the NP including the one at Tom Groggin that is accessible from the tarmac road and is where the 4x4 tracks start.

Rather than heading to Thredbo directly I'd take the coast road and meander down that way until cutting across to Thredbo. There are loads of places to stay both in the coastal towns and the national parks. If you want to experience camping in woodland with wildlife running through your camp site, Bungonia NP camp site is excellent. We went down to Eden before turning NW up to Thredbo and spent a couple of days there on the coast before heading inland.

From Thredbo you can then skirt around and head into the NP however you want as it extends all the way down to the outskirts of Melbourne. It all depends on how much you like mountains and forests I guess !

I'd then head north on the back roads towards Orange, lots of places to stop on the way up including, especially if you've seen the film "The Dish", the observatory at Parkes. You could head up to Bathurst and, if there's no racing on, drive around the circuit before heading into the Blue Mountains. There are a number of visitor centres in the Blue Mountains with trails and guided tours of the rain forest. "i'm a celebrity, get me out of here" is filmed in the Blue Mountains.

Depending on time, from the Blue Mountain NP you can either keep heading north west through the parks until you hit the coast then head down to Sydney or head back to Sydney directly.

Wherever you end up, the NP centres and the local town information centres have loads of leaflets and displays showing the local attractions and they're well worth a visit. They'll also be able to give some advice on road conditions. Remember that this time of year is right in the middle of the bush fire season so as well as restricting what you can and can't do while camping there is a real risk that roads may be closed so it's worth checking regularly.

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I don't want to start anything, but I really disagree with the advice above regarding air conditioning. In the heat - which to someone from Britain would probably be 30c and up - it's pretty close to essential to help your body run properly. Some lucky people do handle the heat better than most, but up here almost everyone uses aircon and it makes the difference between feeling normal at the end of the day and being wiped out. Heat stress can take a lot of out you and needs a lot of time and fluids to recover from. Water isn't enough, either, you need something like Gastrolyte or similar as well to replace the glucose and electrolytes your body loses through sweating. (Funny story: a guy who worked outside all day was having health problems and went through a load of tests until somebody pointed out that drinking loads of only water wasn't enough. Health problem solved!) 

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East coast from Sydney head either north or south, i would go north as far as Byron Bay then start heading back south to Victoria either inland via Canberra with a visit to the War museum or along the coast.

 Blue Mountains are a must see and if heading inland the astro telescopes at Parkes where they tracked the Apollo missions is worth a visit, i wouldnt be going to the High country unless they hire a 4wd for a few days. In that time they should be able to drive  The Great Ocean Road.

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How long has your friend got ?  

If it were me I would plan my itinerary to arrive in Perth WA and depart Sydney NSW.  Pre-arrange to hire a BRITZ  Toyota Troopcarrier 4WD, - they are fully fitted out as a camper, all you need to stock it with is food and a small tool kit (they dont include even a spanner set!) and I'd drive overland from Perth to Sydney via Laverton Coober Pedy - north to Uluru and then over the Simpson to Birdsville the Blue Mountains drop the truck off and fly home.  

Time required, allow at least 3-4 weeks to enjoy the trip. If they needed to cut it shorter than that they can fly out from Alice Springs saving around 8- 10 days.

Alternative trip arrive Darwin and Depart Melbourne, an easier route as 75% would be blacktop and it takes in Alice Springs, Adelaide, the Flinders, Gammon Ranges and the Bight. allow 15-18 days.   

Expect them to return inside 2 years to try to see all that they missed, I've been touring the Aussie bush now for 8 years, I've done well over 185,000 kilometres and not even scratched the surface.   

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On 10/14/2016 at 2:37 AM, Davo said:

I don't want to start anything, but I really disagree with the advice above regarding air conditioning. In the heat - which to someone from Britain would probably be 30c and up - it's pretty close to essential to help your body run properly. Some lucky people do handle the heat better than most, but up here almost everyone uses aircon and it makes the difference between feeling normal at the end of the day and being wiped out. Heat stress can take a lot of out you and needs a lot of time and fluids to recover from. Water isn't enough, either, you need something like Gastrolyte or similar as well to replace the glucose and electrolytes your body loses through sweating. (Funny story: a guy who worked outside all day was having health problems and went through a load of tests until somebody pointed out that drinking loads of only water wasn't enough. Health problem solved!) 

You can go to the Australian DOM site and it has maps of annual temperatures -- average low and high, plan your trip according to the weather.   Water, in the deserts in summer allow 6-8 litres per person per day minimum. I've never taken any additives in my drinking water, most disagree with me and give me diarrhea which is even worse but if your system can handle them I'd guess they would have some benefit.   

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On 10/13/2016 at 1:11 AM, HoSS said:

Thanks for your replies guys.
Can i refine my request a little. It seems that my friend is not going to any 'real' off-roading. Rather he has decided to hire a combi or similar, and starting from Sydney in Dec for about 2 weeks.
So the request is for on-road (or light unpaved) routes and sights in that range i.e 2 week round trip from Sydney.

Thanks

He can contact me if he wants and we can show him around, we live in the Blue Mountains 80 kilometers west of Sydney.  

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On 10/18/2016 at 9:03 AM, Boydie said:

You can go to the Australian DOM site and it has maps of annual temperatures -- average low and high, plan your trip according to the weather.   Water, in the deserts in summer allow 6-8 litres per person per day minimum. I've never taken any additives in my drinking water, most disagree with me and give me diarrhea which is even worse but if your system can handle them I'd guess they would have some benefit.   

You mean the BOM site. (Were you thinking of something else? :lol:) I'm curious as to what additives you are referring to. Gastrolyte and similar are supposed to add to your body what it has lost through sweating, so they shouldn't upset your tummy or associated components. Anyway, for the OP's friend, just tootling around the Sydney area, they won't have to worry about that sort of thing. 

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Any ion or mineral salt additives or bottled products such as Gatorade or Lucozade send my stomach over the top, which is quite odd as pond water bordering on stagnant doesn't affect me at all.  and yes, the Australian Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM)  is the weather site I meant. 

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Thanks for that. Yes, I've heard that "sports drinks" are loaded with sugar and God-knows-what-else, so I avoid them and stick to Gastrolyte or the Hydralyte icy-poles our kids sometimes have. And mostly cordial! 

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