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Thread: Northern Territory Trip

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Northern Territory Trip

    After a recent airtrip junket to the NT for my work {20 minute repair job on a customers car through Insurance } I managed to spend an extra bit of time in and around Darwin and LOVED it . So our next plan is to do a family road trip but one BIG problem , our first plan was to rent a mobile home to drive casually from Brissie to Darwin and all points in between and then back via South Australia and across via Broken Hill to home . I quickly discovered after a lot of phone calls emails FB messaging that not one of the motor home companies has any vehicles in their fleet that enable us to load our daughter in her wheel chair for the trip . One company had them but don't allow the vehicles to be taken to the NT or WA , so second option was to self drive in our current van and stay at motels etc . So my question has anyone done that sort of trip and what are the pitfalls ? road conditions etc Thanks in advance for any info .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    The Gap, Queensland
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    G'day Sunny.
    We've taken our T5.1 to Darwin from Brisbane 3 or ?4 times. NO major issue with roads at all. Kangaroos in Qld at dusk can be a hazard, but given there's been good rain in many places, roos around roads are probably not so much of an issue.
    Darwin to Alice and into SA is good driving and then home through Broken Hill straightforward. All routes are bitumen and I don't recall any bad roads at all.
    An alternative to consider is travelling north from Port Augusta to Innaminka, then into Queensland on the Adventure Way.

    This is a GREAT route though there is unmade road in SA. Our last trip travelling south this way even the dirt roads were 100kph roads if you wanted it. There is a HUGE amount to see (depending how citified a person is - we love the outback).
    There's a lot available on line on these roads/routes. There are fuel stops - and only one stretch where you have to plan getting fuel. (Nockatunga, from memory, in Qld, but its a Pub and fuel place, off the main route for a few km).
    IF you do the trip, one place you should really consider visiting is the Arid Zone Botanical Gardens just on the outskirts of Port Augusta. It's superb as is its Cafe. The Arid Zone Gardens in Alice are good too, though possibly not as good as the former. Both are wheelchair friendly, from memory. The SA one more so.
    Sunny, there is SO much to see on the route you're looking at. I hope it eventuates for you.

    Oops. Just realise there is no VW content here. . But then again all this is WHY we have a T5.1, so should count.

    Happy to talk more.



    Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

    2012 132kw T5.1 TDI DSG 4Motion LWB Transporter, locking rear diff. Macron Campervan conversion. ECB bullbar. Milford towbar and rear light protector. Seikel Desert HD 30mm lift kit.

  3. #3
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    Hey Sunny,

    We have done this trip before from brisbane, and we are currently on our way again up to Darwin in our T6 Camper, although this time it will be via lawn hill along the gulf

    Roads are fine, the only issue you have is finding accommodation, as a wheelchair user myself, thatís the hard part.

    I would look at make a driving schedule and then chase down wheelchair accessible accommodation, you may have to alter your stops for accommodation.

    Caravan parks with accessible cabins are a good option, as there are more caravan parks than motels out in NT.

  4. #4
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    Can you elaborate on the Adventure way from the Qld Border to Port Augusta I see on one site there's about 150 km of unsealed rd but it doesn't seem to say where that is , my question then would be is that the only unsealed section from Port Augusta back to Qld or is there more . Our van is not really set up for real rough roads as its been lowered 40mm for wheelchair access although I can adjust the suspension up wards on the coil overs . Thanks in advance as I,m starting to think this would be the way to go as another visit to a motorhome place here in Brissie was another brick wall as all they want to do is sell you a conversion which we don't want as this would probably be a once only long trip .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    The Gap, Queensland
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    73
    Hi Sunny,
    It's ?3 years since we were there. The road had been improved greatly and wasn't rough. There were mild gravel sections and some areas where there was a fair amount of dust, but not large bumps, ruts etc. The road seems to be regularly maintained.
    On clay roads conditions can change with rain of course.
    I don't tow a van. I would say though that I think a van would be fine on that road - certainly as it was the last couple of times we were there. If you have to take it slowly, 150km isn't far. You could probably find recent info on the Exploreoz site.
    ANY excursion into the Flinders Ranges is worthwhile, perhaps without the van?

    Keep your eyes open for Montecollina Bore. There are amazing birds around it, despite the parking area. Plenty of space for a van to turn round. Stop at the lookout/info signs re the Moomba gas field.
    There is so much space out that way that "bush" camping is easy, though often without much bush!
    The road to the Dig Tree (in QLD) was VERY rough the two times we visited it. Then it would not have been wise to try with a van.
    All in all, I'd say the greatest risk with a van could be stones from oncoming traffic though most people slow when passing. The roads are pretty wide, so there's good space available to get out of the way Things may have changed, but the only large vehicles we encountered were around the oil and gas fields in Qld, where roads are sealed. These roads aren't always wide so getting off onto the apron and STOPPING is the only alternative, but again, this shouldn't cause issues.
    Sunny, it would be a great trip, and is seems you are thinking of the cooler part of the year.
    The other thing I'd say is that reading a bit of history ahead of time can be very valuable - even finding relevant e-books. Writings about early explorers can be enlightening.
    All the best.
    Dave
    PS Dropped the VW off for a new DMF an hour ago! I might have to come out of retirement to pay for it!

    Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

    2012 132kw T5.1 TDI DSG 4Motion LWB Transporter, locking rear diff. Macron Campervan conversion. ECB bullbar. Milford towbar and rear light protector. Seikel Desert HD 30mm lift kit.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2009
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    The Gap, Queensland
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    Oh,
    Sorry, the unmade part is from about Lyndhurst to the Qld Border - travelling northeast.

    2012 132kw T5.1 TDI DSG 4Motion LWB Transporter, locking rear diff. Macron Campervan conversion. ECB bullbar. Milford towbar and rear light protector. Seikel Desert HD 30mm lift kit.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Transparu , were not planning on taking a caravan that's for sure ! Although we had considered our trailer I use for Moto Cross camping weekends . We could take camping gear but the down side is having to disconnect the trailer each stop to unload our daughter so probably just the van and then motels and cabins etc . Is yours an Auto or manual , I was told by my mechanic that the DMF in our DSG was making slight noises . I miss the good old days of torque converter autos those things were bullet proof , my old Valiant VF wagon with a Fireball 318 V8 gave the auto in that wagon all it could take and never ever came close to failing . At 18 my hoon years dropping wheelies in the wagon was par for the course could smoke out a whole street for a hundred feet or more and the auto never complained ha ha . What sort of pre trip maintenance do you recommend and any spares to consider in case of emergency don,t want to end up like these two !Northern Territory Trip-skeleton-jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Brisbane
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    I always carry these items when going remote

    Spare sump plug and filter
    A few spare wheel studs
    Silicone tape and duct tape
    Tire plugs and air compressor and Jack
    1 litre of oil for top ups.

    Tools to get you by and RACQ cover for the opps Iím flying home

    I also give the van a service before I head off as oil is cheap.

    You will have an awesome time

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