We're renting a camper van for a month in Australia this year (December...will be HOT). Starting in Sydney, eventually ending up in Alice Springs, then on to Townsville, then leaving from Brisbane. I know that covers a LOT of ground, but figured I'd see if anyone has any can't miss sites/parks/hikes/campgrounds along the way? If it's too much to digest, just pick your one favorite and post.
We'll have an nine year old daughter with us so staying in spots where she can interact with other kids (e.g., pools, parks, etc.) is a must for everyone's sanity. But mainly us parents. 😉
Thanks in advance!
It would help if you actually describe which routes you're taking. Which roads are you taking thru which towns? Or are you taking backroads through the outback?
Check out Whitehaven Beach (you'd have to take a boat), and Australia Zoo. Fraser Island was pretty great, but requires 4x4.
Just make sure to take every precaution possible. Unlike the US, Australia doesn't have much infrastructure in the outback. There can be very long stretches of road without services, so look up info ahead of time where the roadhouses are.
The road going north into Alice Springs (stuart hwy) should be pretty good, but once you cut east going to the coast, there are stretches where both directions share a one-lane road. If a road train comes at you (a truck with 2-4 sectionals), get the f*ck out of the way because they don't give a crap to stop.
Fully expect to get a flat tire, pack more than enough water, bring non-perishable foods, bring extra oil/coolant. If you see people looking for help on the side of the road, be cautious because they might be thieves.
Once you get to the east coast, all the cities along the way have great public parks for kids that have water features. Plus they maintain facilities very well with bathrooms, showers, and free bbq grills, so you can cook lunch/dinner and let your daughter play at the same time.
Thanks for the reply--and the advice on supplies to bring (and the road trains!). We are planning on keeping to the main roads/highways in the outback as much as possible. So going to Alice Springs that appears to be the AB7 through Cooper Pedy/Marla. From Alice Springs to Townsville that would either be the 12/62/A6 route (through Boilia/Winton/Hughenden) or a more northern route up to Warumungu, then over on the 66/A2/A6 (Mount Isa/Cloncurry).
As far as other routes, from Sydney to Port Augusta we were mainly planning to wander, but with a possible stop at Mount Kosciuszko, and maybe either Phillips Island or Kangaroo Island. We're planning on doing something at the Great Barrier Reef, just not sure what. Fraser Island looks beautiful...but if you need 4x4 we may be out of luck.