Campervan in Outback

by Weronika - submitted June 2009

Bushcamper in the Outback

Bushcamper in the Outback

We would like to travel from Melbourne to Adelaide, then through Alice Springs ( and turn to Ayers Rock) to Rockhampton or Townsville by campervan without 4WD in 20 days. Do you think it will be possible and enough safe to go there by campervan? Could you give us some important advices? For instance do we need some gps?


Response to Campervan in the Autralian Outback

by: Rita

Hi Weronika,

Wow, that's a huge trip you have planned for 20 days.
From Melbourne to Townsville via Adelaide, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, this is a tour of (very) roughly 4,800 km, detour to Uluru/Ayers Rock included.
It is doable, but it means you'll have to drive a few hundred kms on some days to get a little extra time at destinations like Uluru, and wherever you want to stay more than one day.

The campervan is no problem. All highways on this route are sealed, and usually in good condition. The Barkly Hwy, which was damaged by a flood in January 2009, is repaired and open now.
Of course, if the weather plays havoc again, you'd better check road conditions on any section before you go.

Telephone numbers for road conditions, recorded information:

Northern Territory 1800 246 199
South Australia Outback 1300 361 033
Queensland 1300 130 595

You definitely won't need GPS. Get a few maps, or better a touring atlas, and you won't get lost.

The longest distances without fuel and supplies are 274 km on the Barkly Hwy between Barkly homestead and Camooweal. For information about the Stuart Highway south of Alice check the Stuart Highway page.
Distances between supplies north of Alice are never greater than 140 km.

Make sure your campervan is in good condition to do 4800 km, get fuel in time, take always plenty of water, and you'll be fine. Plan your daily schedule ahead, and avoid driving at dark.

Enjoy your trip. It would be great if you come back and tell us how it was. :)


Comments for Campervan in Outback

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Oct 23, 2014
Big Trip
by: Rita

Hi Leanne,

That's sure a big trip you are planning.

I would suggest that you stay at least 2 nights at Kangaroo Island to have some time to explore the Island. The ferry is not cheap, especially if you take the caravan. so you should spend some time on the island.

North of Adleaide, take the route through the Clare valley which is lovely.

A small detour to the Flinders Ranges is also very worthwhile.

Is it doable in 20 days? Certainly. It depends on how long you want to stay in places like Uluru, Alice Springs, Kangaroo Island etc.

Take a map, or online map, and create a plan. Decide how long you want to travel each day, your must see places, how long you want to stay there. Then you'll see if 20 days are sufficient, or what you want to cancel along the way.

Happy planning,

Sep 02, 2014
melbourne to uluru
by: leanne

Hi Rita. Travelling in feb with car and caravan to sth Australia. Stopping at robe kangaroo island renmark coober pedy then to uluru kings canyon alice springs. Are there any other places we should stop and see. Is it doable in 20 days.

May 24, 2011
Townsville to Melbourne
by: Rita

Hi Sarah,

going from Townsville to Melbourne you can use sealed highways all the way, either along the coast, or going through the inland.

Towns provide fuel, food and accommodation, no problem here. Just get a map and plan your route, decide how much you want to drive each day.

Unless there are serious floodings again, you'll be right.


May 18, 2011
townsville to melbourne
by: sarah

hi I want to travel from Townsville to Melbourne by car I'm wondering what the roads are like and how far it is between fuel stations distance wise any, help would be appreciated.

Jun 09, 2009
Great camping itinerary
by: Rita

Wow, Tony, that's a good journal, thanks for your comment.

BTW, I was at Ayers Rock in September, and we also had no flies, which was wonderful after doing the Oodnadatta Track.

Jun 08, 2009
Some places to stop overnight with Camper Van.
by: echoshack on twitter


You did not say if you wanted to bypass Adelaide. We did and went via Mildura to Renmark then cut across country to Port Pirie.
Its a long drive and you would be leaving Melbourne City around 5:30am to get there about 6pm. Maybe best to stop 1 Night Mildura then 1 Night Port Augusta.
Next 1 Night Coober Pedy arrive late afternoon.
Early 7am leave to Ayers Rock late 6pm arrive. Each day is a very long drive but if you want to get to Townsville in 20 days you will have to skip some of the places.

Recommended Overnight stops:
Curtain Springs Station free with hot showers hot food and beer! Half way from Stuart Highway to Ayers Rock. We stopped 2 Nights at Ayers Rock & 1 night at Curtain Springs on way out from Kings Canyon. We did not stop overnight at KC we were rather disappointed with KC as not able to do the rim walk too steep for my partner.

Alice Springs 'Big 4' Caravan Park 2 nights
Recommend a side trip to Standly Chasm arrive late morning to get the sun correct.

Barclay Homestead on Barclay Hwy 1 easy days drive from Alice Springs via Devils Marbles & Tenant Creek.

Easy drive next day to Julia Creek 1 Night not much to see on way unless you stop at Mount Isa overnight, the Petrol is much cheaper here. So try to fill up at Alice then Tenant creek and top up to get you to Mt Isa.

You are up to about 10 nights to get to Julia Creek Its one long full day to Townsville from here and you may want to go and visit the dinosaurs around Richmond or divert via Longreach, Emerald, Clermont, Charters Towers.

Any way that is about the shortest time you can get to Townsville say 11 nights so now you can build in some extra nights on way. I will cruse at about 95km/h in my 'Troopie' 4x4 Camper and stop for 15 mins each 2 hrs. We should have taken longer but took the long route to Port Douglas for our main holiday. Expect we will travel that way again some time.

By the way if you travel South of Townsville via Ayr to Home Hill you can stop for Free behind the main shops. Council provide hot showers & Toilets it get very busy with about 100 Motor homes, Caravans & Camper Vans.

We did trip mid July and no flies at the rock! I think they had all gone on holiday.


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