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Planning for a WA Outback adventure


ottg
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After a couple of trips overseas, we have decided to plan our 1st WA outback trip

 

Easier said than done. After the decision to do the Kimberley & Warly Way it was about transport.

Depends on what type of roads we intend to travel – don’t know as we never been there.

Should we hire a) 4W Vehicle or b ) camper van or c) use a caravan

Decided to rather start at Broome. Return flights from Perth is $1050

 

The initial quotes for the 4WD rental are between $4,000 and $9,500. Some quotes have an added cost per km.

Haven’t eaten yet, or paid for accommodation or paid the fuel yet.

This is outrageous. Cost me more than any of our boat trips.

 

The alternative is to buy a) 4W Vehicle or b ) camper van or c) caravan

Now it depends on how often we would like to go. Don’t think more than once a year as we are working.

 

Can’t buy cheap as that is a guarantee for problems/breakdowns, can’t buy new that’s too expensive.

This is not an easy decision. I have spent some time reading through old threads for tips. None!

Noted these people travel often @OubaasDik @Bob @HadEnoughofJuju and others

 

How did you decide? Where do I find it? How much is a reasonable price to pay?

 

Edited by ottg
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We trolled FB for months and eventually found an off road camper trailer for $3900.00 in pretty good condition. Unfortunately these are expensive as they are viewed as luxury items, as are caravans. When it comes to off road caravans they are even more expensive because they are off road.

 

Find out if there is a FB page for the suburb or area you live in, join it and troll it often. You will eventuality come across something you like at a reasonable price. Gumtree is another option but you have to be careful, there are many scammers, even in Australia unfortunately.

 

When it comes to 4X4's, get a diesel and buy one that is favoured by the Aussies, they are often cheaper than the typical Saffa favourites like the Nissan Patrol or Toyota Prado and Land Cruisers. The diesel 4X4's also tend to have more pulling power than petrol ones so you can go for a smaller engine capacity, which works out cheaper in fuel costs. I bought a Mitsi Triton 2.4L diesel for around $24k and love it. I can pull boats and caravans that the 3L petrol Prados and Land Cruisers have difficulty with. Best car I ever owned.

 

Unfortunately we had to sell the camper trailer due to health reasons and are now looking for an off road caravan. Unfortunately they are as expensive as a small 3 bedroom house in the country so it will be a while before we get one. At the moment we use Airbnb (be carefull, there are more skanky places listed than nice ones though) and deck chair cruising for short cheap getaways. We can't go as often but it's all we can afford at the moment.

 

Happy huntimg mate.

Edited by HadEnoughofJuju
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Forgot to mention this (which has the potential to become a heated debate among 4b drivers). Go for one that has high and low range and is manual. The 4b's that have electronic 4 wheel drive change over are great if you're never planning on doing beach work. 

 

Before the fanatics lynch me, you can engage 4 low in a manual once you are bogged down and generally get out of a tough spot. With the electronic ones, if you weren't in 4 low before you got bogged in, you can hit the button and the light comes on but the 4 low won't engage properly until the vehicle actually moves in either direction. 

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It depends on what car you have at the moment. Travelling WA, or around Australia generally, you can see heaps on bitumen roads . . . . Broome, Kununurra, the Hamersley Ranges (Karajini).

You don't need to spend thousands on hire cars. That is simply dead money. At the end of your trip, you hand the keys back to the hire people and have nothing to show for it.

If you're fair dinkum in wanting to see some of WA, then grab a camper trailer . . . . the cheapest form of accomodation around . . . and get out there, seeing if you like camping, or not.

There are pluses and minuses for just about each and every form of Recreational Vehicle. Motorhomes are good if you are not staying put for long in any one destination. I've travelled with people who have motorhomes and find they offer less living space than a caravan. A 20' caravan offers good living space, but to try to find 20' of living space in a motorhome means you are driving a 26' vehicle with the steering wheel and front seats included in the dimension of the motorhome. Also, when parked up for a week or two at your favourite camping spot, sooner of later you're going to run out of simple little things like bread and milk. What do you do then with a motorhome? You up stakes, drive a monster of a vehicle down to the local supermarket and battle for a parking spot to do your shopping. Far easier, if staying in one place for a while, to unhitch and drive into town in your tow car and find a park easily whenever you run out of bread and milk. That said, if you are constantly driving, motorhomes are convenient in that you can pull up for supplies while en route to your next stop over. . . . . . but you have to keep your wheels moving.

Camper trailers are a very cheap alternative for camping and getting out there. A caravan is going to be much dearer to buy. A camper trailer might set you back a few thousand dollars, the hassle is setting up shop when you park, so you really need to get there and stay a while. If it takes 20 or 30 mins to set up, then a week's stay will be no trouble, but setting up for 20 mins each evening after a day's drive, and packing up for 20 mins next morning before hitting the road can be tiresome. Still, I'd be prepared to do it simply to find out if I really enjoyed camping and seeing the vast Outback that WA offers.

You can pull a camper trailer with your regular suburban car, keeping to the bitumen roads mainly and going off road to get to your final destination the last mile or two.

Four wheel drives are for people who want to get way out in the bush, miles from nowhere. The average suburban Holden car can get heaps of places in Australia that are a joy to visit and you don't need to sell one of your kids into slavery first to get there.

I see a number of older people who get cashed up with the pay out or superannuation, and spend good money on big 4WDs and large caravans, only to find that they or the wife don't like being away from home for more than a weekend. They don't use their expensive rigs much and sell it three years down later copping a big loss on what they initially paid out for it.  . . . . . . not a wise thing to do with their life savings.

Start cheap, buy cheap, utilise the vehicle you have at the moment, and see if you actually enjoy camping, and if you do, then you can progress to bigger and better things, like upgrading from a camper trailer to a full size caravan and from your Holden to a 4WD for more spectacular spots to visit and appreciate. See all the regular tourist spots first in your Holden before spending big money.

Edited by Bob
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Still on the bucket list... 

 

In my research when I started planning our ultimate Kimberley road trip, I found this guide written & kept updated by a local, Birgit Bradtke (who did a road trip to the Kimberley and never went home!) It's an amazingly helpful guide with a wealth of inside information, very up to date and definitely worth the read: http://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/ 

 

 

 

 

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@Bob The info is priceless. Exactly what I needed to consider. The pros & cons for each transport mode makes it easier to focus. Thank you!

 

@Riekie Thak you for the website. Must say Birgit "B" has an interesting story to tell. Already signed up for the free booklet. Thank you!

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  • 5 months later...

All set and done. Bought a 2nd hand 15-foot pop-top Jayco Freedom with everything included, including 2 fishing rods. Just hitch and go! Bought a 2nd hand Mazda Tribute 3L with low kms on the clock. Got all the trips organised and booked including caravan sites for Karijini, Broom, Tunnels Creek, Ord-river, Kununnarra, Katherine and Darwin and in-between places as it will be peak season. These will include stay-overs of 3-4 days to look around and to absorb eg Bungle-Bungles, Argile-river and Argile mine etc. All-in-all 4 weeks.

It turned out much easier than I thought will all the good information available. Looking forward to this.

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  • 2 years later...

An old thread, but thought to give feedback for those interested in the WA outback. We went in July 2018.

 

We changed about nothing on the caravan, as it was as complete as it could be. We bought another portable deep freezer to complement the portable fridge. Added a dual battery system to the 4x4 and “whoola”, always fresh frozen meat, food, cold beers etc.

 

We initially planned to travel 4 weeks from Perth to Meekatharra, Newman, Karajini, Port Hedland, Broom, Fritz Roy Cross, Bungle Bungle, Ord river, Kununurra, Katherine, Darwin. Then return again the same route from Darwin to Broom and from Broom, Eighty Mile Beach, Monkey Mia, Denham, Jurien Bay, Geraldton, home

 

Well, things didn’t turn out the way as planned. The distances were so vast. Took us 5 days to get to Broom and didn’t see my way to do the Darwin and return trip. So we cancelled all the booking up to Darwin and end up staying 4 weeks at Broom. It was fantastic. There we did short day trips etc. Also fell in love with Matso mango beer brewed up in Broom. The sunset at Broom is to marvel about. Also went to the Willie Creek pearl farm, and local bird sanctuary. The trip back was along the coastline and we did that in 5 days.

 

Didn’t know Australia is so beautiful. Our Mazda 3L was heavy on fuel getting around 5.7km per litre although very comfortable to pull the caravan with no issues at all.

 

However, I promised my wife that we will go back, but rather; fly up, rent a 4x4 and stay in apartments. See next thread!
 

Edited by ottg
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So in July 2019, we went back to the Outback to finish what we have started. Instead of driving we flew up to Darwin and back - ~18 days.

Getting a rental 4x4 was a challenge as we wanted to cross over from Northern Territory (NT) into Western Australia and back into NT. Many rental companies don’t allow that but we eventually found one.

 

We arrived late at Darwin airport, pickup the 4x4, and took the road to Kakadu National Park. We stayed a few days and did the Yellow River cruise and sightseeing. Scary to see those crocs laying in the sun – so docile. Quite surprised to still see a few active mines in Kakuda. Unfortunately, due to the fires & smoke we had our scenic flight cancelled. With existing reservations the next day we could not stay longer.

 

We travelled to Katherine Gorge (Nitmulik) stayed 2 days days and did a sunset river cruise. From Katherine we went to Kununurra. Bit of a long drive. We did the Argyle river and sunset cruise and extend that to the Ord river. It was spectacular. We also took a swim in a spring at Wyndham. To round that off, we did a flight over the  Bungle Bungle. That provided us with both the ground experience and air experience. Highly recommended.

 

We then travelled to the Litchfield National Park. We stayed there for 3 days and visiting all the nearby areas of interest. From there we travelled on to Adelaide river. Stayed a few days just to relax. From there we returned to Darwin where we spent 5 days visiting all the highlights. Also did a harbour boat trip and late afternoon. The food was good and at one point the boat stopped so that we could feed fishes. Must be a regular thing as they were waiting for “feeding” time.

 

The best way to pick the great spots for us, were using Trip Advisor and people’s reviews. Further, flying to Darwin is highly recommended as it’s a ~3800km drive from Perth...one way. Vast distances & crazy!!

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  • 3 months later...

Have a look here: https://www.australiasnorthwest.com/page/outback-road-trips?gclid=COik3c2do8wCFRRvvAod4XoMqw (Still on my bucketlist...)

 

Get this Kimberley destination guide by Bridgit Bradtke and sign up for her newsletter - an absolute wealth of first hand know how and information, everything from up to date road closures, weather updates etc https://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/destination-kimberley.html You can download it as en e-book.  

 

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