I have had a few emails from people who are thinking of doing a trip like the one we are doing asking various questions. In the comments below Ben asked 'What's our itinerary?'
Honest answer. Here it comes (it's pretty sketchy!)
Qld: 3 weeks (including one week on the gold coast at those worlds)
NT: 3 weeks
WA: 4 weeks
SA & travel home: 3 weeks
(This is as far as we had planned before we left).
How are we going? We were half a week late leaving Qld. Now we are a full seven days late. If I had my time over again I would do the worlds in Queensland as a separate trip (but you live and learn). We're not planning too much in front. This is possible at this time of the year because the caravan parks are almost empty. It would be impossible in peak period (July August). It also lacks efficiency but appeals to our spontaneous nature.
My mum has emailed this quick summary of our July 1998 trip on a bus with her school (thanks mum!) Some of which route we are about to repeat.
We flew to Darwin where we picked up our bus, then drove to Katherine and went on the gorge boat trip to levels 1 & 2, stopping off to see the cave paintings at 2nd level. We also saw Jedda's leap cliff.
Via Victoria River, stopped at the Roadhouse to Timbar Creek. Watch out for Road Trains! And Boab trees!
Kununurra, Lake Argyle, the dam and the Ord river scheme.
Turkey Creek and Halls Creek (not long after the 2 young lads had died).
Fitzroy Crossing and Geike Gorge in the Kimberlys, where we went on a boat trip. Geike Gorge at sunset is also a sight worth seeing.
We camped at Margaret River and went via Willane Roadhouse to Broome where we saw the dinosaur's footprint, the Japanese cemetery and Cable Beach as well as the town. I was amazed at the stark bright colours, just like a flag, red dirt, bright green grass and vivid blue sky.
Port Hedland with its iron ore, the amazing Hammersley gorges, Dales and Weano and the meeting point of 3, Weano, Red and Joliffe. Watch out no-one falls into the icy water of the gorges, don't let anyone swim in them however hot outside. People have died from hypothermia with the shock of the cold icy water.
Tom Price, the Tropic of Capricorn, and Carnarvon and where Dominic had his 23rd birthday.
Mt Augustus which is the world's largest rock.
Denham, Monkey Mia (unfortunately the weather turned to rough for us to camp there.) I don't know what the road is like now, but then it was soft dirt and we were lucky not to get bogged. We all slept the night in the Town Hall at Shark Bay (lots of shells)
In Perth we were met by another driver and had a non stop coach journey, except for toilet & short food stops back to Epping.
I don't know how much Dominic will remember of the last part. He might have stayed in the coach at the Pinnacles, because unfortunately when we were at Fitzroy Crossing he got sick with what we thought might be bronchitis. We did get antibiotics at the hospital but he got much worse and by the time we were in Perth, while the rest of the people went on tours aroundPerth and I took him to a doctor in Perth he could hardly stand. Apparently he had reacted badly to the antibiotic and had very little lung capacity left. (that probably isn't the right medical terms). Afterwards I remember sitting with him in the outdoor shopping mall, he falling all over the place, and people staring and avoiding us no doubt thinking he was either drunk or on drugs. I had to leave him sitting by himself on a bench while I went to the shops to buy lemonade for him. Then when he had a drink he vomited. I think the reaction of people around certainly cemented in my mind that you must never judge anyone. I managed to book him on a flight home, arranged for his flat mate to meet him at the airport, and got him to the plane. I wasn't sure whether he would actually be able to get on the plane unaided, but he did.
I was very relieved to see him waiting for us, looking recovered, two days later when we arrived back in Epping.