The big road trip – Planning and preparation

Here’s the plan for my big trip with The Piper … Day One, Wednesday 29th July, we leave Perth and try to make Carnarvon in one day. Its 1041kms driving but we want to get the bits behind us that we’ve already done. Day two & three, Thursday 30th and Friday 31st, we will stay in Carnarvon and then head for Coral Bay (238kms) on the Horses Birthday, Saturday 1st August. We’ll stay there and day trip around for a few days and plan to leave there on Tuesday 4th headed for Exmouth (153km) until Friday. From there its Onlsow (404km) for two nights (Friday and Saturday) then Karratha (308km) for a night.

That means we roll into Port Hedland (257km) to see my sister in law and her family for 4 nights (Monday to Thursday). This will be a good stop for supplies, washing and a rest from driving. We’ll roll out of town on Friday and do a huge 600km and get to Broome over two days. Not sure where we’ll stop but somewhere on the road. That puts us in Broome sometime on Saturday and we’ll stay for up to 6 nights. If we need any more supplies we can stock up and then the plan gets a bit loose. From Friday 21st August to Monday the 31st August we will make our way over 1766kms to Katherine via Derby (for the stars), Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Wyndham and Kununnurra. We’ll have one night in Katherine because we have another night on the way through to Alice later.

Out of Katherine on Tuesday 1st September we spend one day on the road (317km) getting to Darwin  then we can spend up to 6 nights there, through to Monday 7th September. From Darwin we head to  Jabiru (255) in Kakadu National Park where we can spend 4 nights. Then back to Katherine (308) for a night, to Daly Waters (383) for a night, and then Tennant Creek (383) for Sunday and Monday nights. That puts us at day 48 leaving Tennant creek on Tuesday for Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles, 138km) for two nights (and more if we are ahead of schedule). On to Alice Springs (391km) where we will stay 3 nights so we can do things we missed last time like the Telegraph Station and East Macdonald Ranges. Its also a great restocking place. The Piper wants to go back to Uluru so leaving Alice on Sunday (20th September) we will head for Yulara (446) for 3 nights. To get out of the Northern Territory we will head to Kulgera (321) on Wednesday 23rd September, day 57.  

From Thursday 24th September we will be OTR (on the road) for 10 nights making our way through Coober Pedy, Woomera, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Ceduna and Eucla, bound for Norseman (2948) by Sunday 4th October (day 68). After a night to recover we will head for Esperence (204) and surrounds for 4 nights then spend two days and a night (Thursday 8th October) getting to Albany (481) for a last night of holiday capers before we head back into Perth (403) on day 74, Sunday the 10th October 2015 for a grand total of 11745kms. The Piper may not make school on Monday …

Ok, seems we have a problem. I’m not really sure the exact nature of it but I”ll update you when I do. Suffice to say the battered old 80 series is more battered than I realised. Lets be clear, the car is old (1992 or 93) and has done >380 000kms. So it always needs work. And I’ve done no real mechanical work to it since moving here nearly 4 years ago. It was always my intention to get it serviced before we left, but it seems a service isn’t going to be quite enough. So, shes at the mechanics, has been for 3 days, and will be for a few more days. She’ll cost me more than buying a second hand little car (like The Drummers Rav4) and she probably won’t be any more economical. But hopefully I won’t breakdown halfway between Hedland and Broome!

The truck is back and on the road! As predicted a small fortune was handed over to secure her return but thats to be expected. We zipped up to Bald Hill in her to make sure she was fully functionally and all went without a hitch. So now it just a matter of making a few repairs to my camper, going to South America and then coming home to pack and get on the road. The latest plan is to make tracks for Carnarvon as quickly as possible in an attempt to swim with the whale sharks. We may be too late for them so that might have to wait until next year …

The trailer is cleaned and ready to go. I spent all day yesterday getting it ready. Its still just over 4 weeks til we leave but most of those I will be away in South America. So I needed to get ahead of the game. After a good wash to de-dust i opened it up and cleaned the inside, unpacked stuff we won’t need, made the beds and repaired all the bits that were hanging off or broken. It’s all packed up and garaged ready to go.

Then I unpacked summer 2014/2015 from the car and loaded it up with what we need. In fact, because there’s only two of us, there’s not that much we need. The Piper will add his new MTB, we need clothes and food. I’ve left one of my drawers in the back of the car empty for food. Between it and the fridge I should be able to carry at least a weeks worth. We have snorkels and goggles, a kite, weights for the awning legs, chairs, the shower (and the pop up tent), a few tools, the first aid kit and fishing rods. No doubt I’ve forgotten something but as far as I can tell, I’ve got everything and the kitchen sink.

We’re on our way now. Click here to catch up with the first leg of the trip.

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