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big trip plan SA and WA - need help

Discussion in 'General 4x4 Discussion' started by Superdad, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    Hi all

    Hoping to tap the collective brains trust (again) as I am planning something fairly big (for us anyway).

    Let me take you through our background, the high level goals, then the mid level plan before asking you all to critique it, improve it or poo poo it if it is unrealistic.

    Background: we are a family of 5 so 3 kids aged 6-12. The kids can do good days driving but it then need to be broken up with activities or they go nuts (like all kids) so we can peel off 800kms in a day but need a day or 2 of rest after that. We are all very fit and active so love beaches, bushwalking (youngest did the 12km Rawnsley Bluff hike at the Flinders in July) etc. I tow a 2.8t caravan behind a well equipped Landcruiser but we prefer free camping and only hit caravan parks to recharge, restock and clean laundry…

    High level plan: we leave Sydney after Xmas and aim for Perth spending bulk of time in southwest WA (ie Albany, Margaret River etc etc etc) over January before locking up the van and truck in storage somewhere and flying home late Jan in time for school.

    We then aim to return in July for 3 weeks (autumn holidays are already booked with friends doing something else) where we want to pick up the kit and hit the coast between Carnarvon and Exmouth incl Ningaloo etc.

    I am happy to fly family into spots to carve off lumps of driving if it helps. My dad lives in Busselton and is an ex truckie so loves driving and is likely to drive my kit to a drop off point if a fly him home again.

    Detailed plan:

    I leave home early 26/12 and arrive in Port Lincoln late 27/12 (a 2 day monster mission). I do a shark dive on the 28th before picking up family from airport restocking and night at Coffin Bay.

    We then hit the Nullarbor on the 29th budgeting 4 nights to cross taking it easy so land in Esperance on 2nd Jan. We then spend 3 weeks looking around SW WA till we fly home on the 23rd Jan.

    I then ask the old man to drive to Broome (or Exmouth) where I pick up the van from him and we will have 23 nights explore the coast between Exmouth and Carnarvon before again flying home. My initial plan involved coming back in October, pickup the van and hitting the Kimberly but I think October is too late for this area. Any comment re this?

    Any major drama in my plan? It is ambitious but kids are getting older and I want to do some of WA coast before they become teenagers and are embarrassed by my presence…).

    Any awesome spots to put on the list of must do’s?

    Kids and the Nullarbor – madness or ok? Temps that time of year – ok to travel?

    Storing my rig – any great businesses do this well in WA?

    Any general comments or improvements?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  2. sharkcaver

    sharkcaver Well-Known Member

    Wow. Sydney to Lincoln in 2 days towing a 3t van. IIRC, it took me 17 hours road time from Syd to Pt. Pirie - not towing, (and not admitting to doing more than 110 km/h) when I had to attend a funeral on short notice some years ago. Add another 5 hours from there to Lincoln. Ambitious - I reckon so, then to think about doing a dive the following day??? Sounds like madness to me. That said, I've driven Sydney to Perth a few times, from both directions in 4 days. But I wasn't towing either and I don't reckon I could do it now.

    Maybe this was you:

    Overtaken by a juggernaught on the Nullarbor. I was doing the speed limit, or very near it.

    4 days across the Nullarbor to Esperance shouldn't be a biggie. Average of about 450 K's a day. Mind you in Jan it will usually be pretty hot. You may get lucky or you may get temps and head winds.

    The Kimberley in Oct is getting up there. It's before mango madness hits, so if you like the heat, it maybe ok. You would need to check station opening seasons. Late in the season, the roads may well be past their best by then?

    I think you can sort the rest yourself. When you have a more detailed plan, we can help with places that you should visit. One thing I would be concerned with: leaving the van unattended for such a long period of time and insurance implications should it go tits up. Risky business IMO.
    hiluxdriver, Superdad and nightscale like this.
  3. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    Thanks Sharkcaver.

    That Sydney to Port Lincoln run is 1900 km so was thinking 950km per day but you are right, that is pushing very hard... 3 days will take a lot of pressure off.

    re leaving the van - it would only be with a storage company or family...

    crossing the Nullabor in summer - too hot to travel?
  4. mac_man_luke

    mac_man_luke Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you have a plan to get WA done, doesn't sound crazy if you can sort the logistics.
    Could be really hot crossing the Nullarbor at that time of year, could make taking 4 days to cross uncomfortable if your unlucky?
    Flying into Port Lincoln could be an expensive exercise for the sake of a days driving and picking them up in Adelaide?

    Also what if you flipped Kimberly and Exmouth, do Kimberly while its cooler and October would still be plenty comfortable for Exmouth etc?
    Superdad likes this.
  5. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    hmmm.... not sure why i didn't think of that.... could be awesome (again if i can get transfers to work...)
    mac_man_luke likes this.
  6. Aaron Schubert

    Aaron Schubert Moderator

    Happy to answer any WA specific questions for you. I think October is probably too late for the Kimberley. May, June, July and August are the best months for the Coral coast, but it can be very windy at times and more so after that.

    There are lots of beautiful places to see - Ningaloo Station, Warroora station, Coral Bay and Bullara Station. In many ways the first 3 are all similar though, so lots of other coastline you could check out.

    Superdad likes this.
  7. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    ok, no one thinks i am being stupid with this at a high level (save for the first leg). Let me get more details down then i'll ask more questions...
    Aaron Schubert likes this.
  8. sharkcaver

    sharkcaver Well-Known Member

    3 days sure would remove some pressure. Remember you want to dive the following day - over two days you will be pre fatigued, early start for the dive the following morning and the risk of onset of DCS??? Burning too many candles??

    You could always come check out our toothies on the West Coast for free. They also come from Neptune Island, but your health maybe slightly more affected :D

    Things may be a bit faster these days, particularly exiting Sydney. None of the tollways for example were in existence when I had to do my midnight run to Pirie, a long time ago now. Only the Southern Freeway starting at the crossroads was there. Mind you, I've never gone via the Hay plains. I always go via Broken Hill, then cut my way through Peterborough/Crystal Brook and onto Pirie from there.

    Define too hot? The Nullarbor can be baking that time of year. It can also be a bit cool. Personally, I don't think you will have an issue. I towed a trailer from Sydney to Perth a long time ago now in February. I'm still here, so I didn't melt.

    I would still look into your insurance re storage. leaving with family would be my preference, but i don't know all the detail on that.
    Superdad likes this.
  9. callmejoe

    callmejoe Well-Known Member

    October for the top is getting too hot.
    Water holes are at there worst, roads hot and dusty, tourist actractions have already started to closes and or in the process of closing and running on limited/run out stock.
    Weather has started to change. Just last night a massive lighting storm. (East of Halls Ck). Huge winds and rain. Still early in the season and localized so very hit and miss. But as impressive as they are I know i wouldn't enjoy camping in a tin can in a storms.. Lighting out here is super impressive, but you dont watch it just light up across the sky you watch it repeatly strike the ground....... Awsome to watch, and it'll give you a new heatlhy respect for Mother nature.
    Superdad likes this.
  10. 80lover96gxl

    80lover96gxl Moderator

    There are quite a few WA members now, maybe you could work out a deal to store your van at one of our members place if the have room/ safe area to keep it, just a thought.

    3 days to pt Lincoln i reckon, takes a decent days drive to get there from Adelaide, and its in the same state.

    Envious, keen as to get over west, go for it and get amongst it i say;).
    Superdad and mac_man_luke like this.
  11. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    All, this trip is now a goer with special mention to @mac_man_luke for his idea...

    Plan is leave Syd Boxing Day and take 3 days to get to Port Lincoln, meet up with wife and kids and explore area, cross Nullabor and spend time in SW WA till we need to head home for school at end of Jan.

    I have a mate who owns a factory in Perth where he can store the van securely before my dad drives it to Broome and back into storage till we arrive in July school holds for 3 weeks in Kimberly. We then put it back into storage for 3 months till we come back in October and drive down to Canarvon for Ningaloo etc.

    I am not 100% sure what happens after that - i either drive it home myself or (hopefully) the family has so much fun, i send family home, drive it down to Perth, back into storage and pick it up again after Xmas next year and do SW WA again before bring it home.

    This will be a huge bucket lister for me and the wife and the family is pumped. Plane fares have been purchased so this is all systems go.

    So, questions for July and October legs will follow far later, but in terms of the coast from Esperance to Perth, what are the must see highlights, what to avoid and any secret spots and tips?
    80lover96gxl and mac_man_luke like this.
  12. Trophy truck 481

    Trophy truck 481 Active Member

    have you got a scan guage or torque pro app so you can monitor the engine & trans temps?
    the Toyota gauge is only a indicator to say it's int he safe range, when it moves it generaly too late
    (my prado temp gauge doesnt move from 82deg to 99deg still shows the same position

    does you car have an extra oil cooler for the trans?
    Superdad likes this.
  13. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    Have been meaning to get a scanguage but haven't gotten around to it. Any specific reason as it relates to this trip?
  14. Trophy truck 481

    Trophy truck 481 Active Member

    running at the hot time of year you should be aware of actual temps on the car as being fully loaded put more strain on the cooling system
    and as i said your not going to know if it's running hot with the factory gauges

    a trans cooler is a big benefit, and if you do have one fitted tell them to just run the line to the cooler & not into the radiator again
    that way it splits the cooling and most trans failures end up being the water from the radiator getting to the trans (via the tiny trans cooler in the radiator)

    also have a look at what tyre pressures your running
    are you running any sort of tyre monitor?
    Superdad likes this.
  15. Trophy truck 481

    Trophy truck 481 Active Member

    if you want to discuss it in depth here my number 0419824571 cheers James
  16. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    Thanks James. I have tyre dogs for tyres and a scan gage is a good idea. I'll get the transmission flushed and new fluid put in too. Will talk with transmission place about a cooling system but haven't heard of too many auto hundreds failing here though?
  17. Trophy truck 481

    Trophy truck 481 Active Member

    1HDTFTE 5sp auto ?
  18. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    nah mate - 4.7l V8 petrol....

    yes it sucks fuel...
  19. Aaron Schubert

    Aaron Schubert Moderator

    Bremer Bay is magic - so many great beaches and places to explore. Albany, Walpole, Denmark are also very nice. Yeagarup is worth a look, as is Margaret River and Dunsborough (latter 2 are more touristy but still beautiful)

    Superdad likes this.
  20. Superdad

    Superdad Well-Known Member

    thanks Aaron, all noted

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