In 2021 we embarked on an ambitious caravan trip from Darwin in the far central north of Australia to the Great Australian Bight in the south. We call it an ambitious trip because we had attempted the same thing a year earlier which had to be aborted, and still similar conditions remained as there was always the risk of COVID catching up with us and wreaking havoc on our plans.

Here is a map of our journey, as it was planned and basically how it was completed (we only missed the last couple of destinations). Rob left Melbourne on May 28th, and arrived in Darwin on June 4th, as the rest of the family flew into town. Fifty days later, we arrived back in Perth, July 22nd.

top end tour map
our route from Perth to Perth

As expected, the pandemic was always looming over us, though luckily our plans were not greatly affected. As we left Darwin, that town went into a lockdown, as did Alice Spring which we were heading to. We had to stay an extra night at the Devil’s Marbles while waiting for their lockdown to end. All the while we were getting closer to South Australia, waiting for the restrictions to change so that we could freely travel across the border (which it did just in time). However, after a few days in Coober Pedy, there were cases in South Australia, which prompted us to head to Western Australia as fast as we could. We made it over the border, just before restrictions were announced that would have meant we needed to isolate for two weeks at home. It was a rush home, we missed a couple of spots in SA, but we were happy to be back home, back to work, the kids back to school, having had a wonderfully rewarding experience in Australia’s topend and outback.

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Kakadu Lookout
Nourlangie Lookout

The 22 Places we stayed

We mostly stayed in our Jayco van at campgrounds, powered and unpowered, free and paid, except in Darwin at a friend’s house, on a houseboat on Corroboree Billabong, and in an underground house in Coober Pedy.

  1. Casuarina, Darwin, in a house with friends
  2. Florence Falls Campground, Litchfield NP
  3. House boat on Corroboree Billabong
  4. Kakadu Lodge Campground, Jabiru, Kakadu NP
  5. Mardugal 1 Campground, Kakadu NP
  6. Edith Falls Campground
  7. Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk) Campground
  8. Little Roper Stock Camp, Mataranka
  9. Daly Waters Pub
  10. Banka Banka Station
  11. Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve
  12. Temple Bar Caravan Park, Alice Springs
  13. Ormiston Gorge, West MacDonnell Ranges
  14. Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve
  15. Kings Creek Station, Kings Canyon
  16. Ayers Rock Campground, Yulara
  17. Marla Traveller’s Rest
  18. Di’s Dugout, Coober Pedy
  19. Woomera Traveller’s Village & Caravan Park
  20. Nullabor Roadhouse
  21. Baxters Rest Area freecamp
  22. Boondi Rock Campground
Boondi Rock Camping
Our final night at a National Park free camp

Trip Details

Of the 49 travelling days from Darwin to Perth, we were on the road for 23 of these days. We travelled a total of 9002km, that’s on average 184km per day, and 391km per travelling day. We spent a total of $1788 on fuel, which is $36 per day or $255 per week.

We spent a total of $2667 on accommodation, which is $54 per day or $381 per week. Although we often paid between $30-50 a night for a caravan park site, there were times we stayed at a free camp or with friends, and other times on an expensive houseboat or hotel underground.

We spent a total of $3522 on food, which works out to be $72 per day or $503 per week.

Taking into consideration fuel, accommodation and food, that’s $1139 a week. There were other expenses too, such as entries, tours, gifts, souvenirs, repairs. We also had the cost of the drive from Perth to Darwin, and flights for four people from Perth to Darwin.

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