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.
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.
- Here We Go Again – Take Two Top-End Tour
- 10 Great Things for Families to Do in Coober Pedy
- Houseboat Cruising on Corroboree Billabong
- Topend Tour (Daily Dairy)
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.
- Casuarina, Darwin, in a house with friends
- Florence Falls Campground, Litchfield NP
- House boat on Corroboree Billabong
- Kakadu Lodge Campground, Jabiru, Kakadu NP
- Mardugal 1 Campground, Kakadu NP
- Edith Falls Campground
- Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk) Campground
- Little Roper Stock Camp, Mataranka
- Daly Waters Pub
- Banka Banka Station
- Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve
- Temple Bar Caravan Park, Alice Springs
- Ormiston Gorge, West MacDonnell Ranges
- Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve
- Kings Creek Station, Kings Canyon
- Ayers Rock Campground, Yulara
- Marla Traveller’s Rest
- Di’s Dugout, Coober Pedy
- Woomera Traveller’s Village & Caravan Park
- Nullabor Roadhouse
- Baxters Rest Area freecamp
- Boondi Rock Campground
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.