Campervan adventure east coast and the Outback!!

Hi, we are planning travelling up the east coast of Australia and through the Northern Territory in a campervan. We fly out of Darwin and so we have to do the east coast first. We live near Melbourne so will be going from there to Cairns. What is the best route to then do the Northern Territory please. Would it be Cairns to Alice Springs or drive back down to Townsville and go across. Thanks

distances barkly highway
Driving distances from Mt. Isa to Darwin

Rita's Reply

That's a big drive, from Melbourne to Cairns and Darwin.

Driving back to Townsville sounds like a large detour, but it is not so much of extra km.

The shortest way would be approx. 1100 km from Cairns along the Kennedy Hwy and Kennedy Developmental Road to Hughenden on the Flinders Hwy. This includes about 250 km unsealed road. If you have a hired car, check your contract about unsealed roads.

The second shortest way, 1250 km would go via Georgetown to Normanton and then south to meet the Flinders Hwy in Cloncurry.

Finally, going back to Townsville and then to Mount Isa takes about 1360 km.

caravan park sign
Entrance Tourist Park Mt. Isa

So which route you take depends on what you want to see along the way, if you have time to do some sightseeing, or if you just drive straight thru.

It also depends on the time you are going, and how the weather forecasts will be (you know the weather has been a bit wild recently). Remember, this part of Australia is influenced by heavy rains during the wet season. (Roughly from November to March).

I've been in Cloncurry and Mount Isa (nice towns) but nowhere else in this region, so it is hard to make any recommendations on which route to choose. It is always good to chat with travellers you meet along the way. You might get great tips.

Happy travels.


Comments for Campervan adventure east coast and the Outback!!

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Jan 25, 2011
thanks peter
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your comments peter, sounds great. can i just check which route you took please

Jan 23, 2011
things not to miss
by: peter -

I have traveled this area in a land rover defender -
if you can - karumba was a high light for me - just a nice spot - ensure you are at the sunset tavern to enjoy the setting sun from about 3.00 pm you need a few refreshments to set the mood also great food - or it was when i visited a few years back.

another dont miss is Lawn Hill gorge via Gregory Downs - its just spectacular and an oasis not to be missed allow a couple of nights camped here. camping can be tight but there is plenty just down the road at Adels Grove - this was a lifetime highlight of my many outback trips - make sure you hire a canoe and paddle the gorges.

regards Peter

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