Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Holiday Planning

Dave and I have booked 4 weeks of leave in mid-August to mid-September and hired a JUCY camper for 26 days.  We went with JUCY because of their excellent customer service - Blayne at JUCY has really gone above and beyond to help get us a great rate and give us advice, and was ultimately the deciding factor in us choosing JUCY over a competitor.

I love roadtrips.  We had at least one, usually two or more, roadtrips a year when I was growing up - to Awakeri for Christmas, and often to Wellington for a family event, or somewhere else for a holiday.  I still sometimes get seized by an irrational urge to just get in my car and drive.  The open road in front of me and the freedom to turn off whenever a road sign catches my fancy is absolute bliss to me.

So.  The leave is booked, the camper is booked, the kennel is booked, the cattery is booked...But where are we going to go? The freedom of the camper means we can basically hit the road and go where our fancies take us.  At first we were thinking we would do a loop of the southeast corner of the continent, but I'm increasingly leaning towards going north and seeing the Great Barrier Reef instead.   There are also some other slightly more far-out options, like driving across the Nullarbor to Perth!

Here are my 4 draft itineraries.  Each one is fairly flexible - we might condense some legs or expand others, depending on if we see a nice place to stop or want to keep on driving, or need an extra break.  Can you help us choose?
Option 1: South – 3 days spare, 5370km
Day 1, 232km: Gold Coast → Yamba via Byron Hinterland and Lismore
Day 2, 490km: Yamba → Hawks Nest via Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads, Port Macquarie
Day 3, 170km: Hawks Nest → Cessnock via Worimi Conservation Lands, Nelson Bay
Day 4: Hunter Valley, stay in Cessnock
Day 5, 213km: Cessnock → Sydney via Newcastle
Day 6-7: Sydney
Day 8, 287km: Sydney → Canberra
Day 9: Canberra
Day 10, 363km: Canberra → Mallacoota via Bega, Eden
Day 11, 506km: Mallacoota → Phillip Island via Koonwarra
Day 12, 140km: Phillip Island → Melbourne
Day 13: Melbourne
Day 14, 187km: Melbourne → Apollo Bay (Great Ocean Road, Day 1)
Day 15, 260km: Apollo Bay → Portland (Great Ocean Road, Day 2)
Day 16, 523km: Portland → Mildura
Day 17, 297km: Mildura → Broken Hill
Day 18-19, 753km: Broken Hill → Dubbo (stop somewhere, no idea where)
Day 20, 340km: Dubbo → Tamworth
Day 21, 235km: Tamworth → Dorrigo via Wollomombi, Ebor
Day 22, 115km: Dorrigo → Grafton
Day 23, 259km: Grafton → Gold Coast via Casino

Pros: lots of variety in terms of landscapes, well-travelled, plenty of accommodation options, a loop so no flights involved
Cons: a few days each in the major cities lets us see the sights but is not ideal for travel with a camper


Option 2: North – 1 day spare (but lots of rest days), 3909km
Day 1, 140km: Gold Coast → Glasshouse Mountains
Day 2: Australia Zoo
Day 3, 304 km: Eumundi Markets, then Glasshouse Mountains → Bundaberg
Day 4: Lady Elliot Island Day Trip
Day 5, 135km: Bundaberg → Seventeen Seventy via Agnes Water
Day 6: Lady Musgrave Island Day Trip
Day 7, 232km: Seventeen Seventy → Rockhampton
Day 8, 335km: Rockhampton → Mackay
Day 9, 150km: Mackay → Airlie Beach
Day 10-11: Whitsundays Sailing Cruise from Airlie Beach
Day 12, 275km: Airlie Beach → Townsville
Day 13, 240km: Townsville → Mission Beach
Day 14: Dunk Island Day Trip
Day 15, 139km: Mission Beach → Cairns
Day 16: Green Island Day Trip
Day 17, 67km: Cairns → Port Douglas
Day 18: Agincourt Reef Day Trip
Day 19, 67km: Port Douglas → Cairns
Day 20: Fitzroy Island Day Trip
Day 21, 620km: Cairns → Airlie Beach
Day 22: Hardy Reef Day Trip
Day 23, 458km: Airlie Beach → The Caves, stay in the Capricorn Caves complex
Day 24, 312km: The Caves → Bundaberg
Day 25, 435km: Bundaberg → Gold Coast

Pros: the Reef, well-travelled but not as busy as South, shortest route
Cons: basically the same road there and back


Option 3: West – 1 day spare, must fly back from Melbourne, 8413km*
Day 1, 261km: Gold Coast → Grafton via Casino
Day 2, 115km: Grafton → Dorrigo
Day 3, 235km: Dorrigo → Tamworth via Ebor, Wollomombi
Day 4, 341km: Tamworth → Dubbo
Day 5-6, 753km: Dubbo → Broken Hill (stop somewhere, no idea where)
Day 7, 414km: Broken Hill → Port Augusta
Day 8, 468km: Port Augusta → Ceduna
Day 9-11, 1200km: Ceduna → Norseman (the Nullarbor – stop in road houses)
Day 12, 203km: Norseman → Esperance
Day 13-14, 728km: Esperance → Perth (stop somewhere, no idea where)
Day 15-16: Perth
Day 17-18, 726km: Perth → Norseman (stop somewhere, no idea where)
Day 19-21, 1200km: Norseman → Ceduna (the Nullarbor again)
Day 22, 773km: Ceduna → Adelaide
Day 23, 549km: Adelaide → Portland
Day 24, 260km: Portland → Apollo Bay (Great Ocean Road, Day 1)
Day 25, 187km: Apollo Bay → Melbourne (Great Ocean Road, Day 2)

Pros: the Nullarbor, Great Ocean Road
Cons: the Nullarbor (again), must fly back from Melbourne, longest route
* I put in this option to satisfy my friend in Perth but sadly, it's not realistic :( Because JUCY don't have a depot in Perth, we can't leave the camper there and fly back from there, which I was originally thinking would be an option.  So this route means crossing the Nullarbor twice.  I'd really like to do it once (although Dave is deadset against it), but I can't see myself convincing him to cross it twice!  It's also a really, really long way to drive in 4 weeks.

Option 4: Centre and North – 1 day spare, 7452km*
Day 1, 256km: Nerang → Dalby via Toowoomba
Day 2, 268km: Dalby → Roma
Day 3, 701km: Roma → Longreach
Day 4, 647km: Longreach → Mount Isa
Day 5, 661km: Mount Isa → Tennant Creek
Day 6, 508km: Tennant Creek → Alice Springs
Day 7-8: Alice Springs and Uluru
Day 9, 508km: Alice Springs → Tennant Creek
Day 10, 661km: Tennant Creek → Mount Isa
Day 11-12, 904km: Mount Isa → Townsville (stop somewhere, no idea where)
Day 13, 240km: Townsville → Mission Beach
Day 14: Dunk Island Day Trip
Day 15, 139km: Mission Beach → Cairns
Day 16: Green Island Day Trip
Day 17, 67km: Cairns → Port Douglas
Day 18: Agincourt Reef Day Trip
Day 19, 67km: Port Douglas → Cairns
Day 20: Fitzroy Island Day Trip
Day 21, 620km: Cairns → Airlie Beach
Day 22: Hardy Reef Day Trip
Day 23, 458km: Airlie Beach → The Caves, stay in the Capricorn Caves complex
Day 24, 312km: The Caves → Bundaberg
Day 25, 435km: Bundaberg → Gold Coast

Pros: Uluru and the Reef
Cons: Too many long days of driving, not enough rest days

* I put this option in to satisfy my curiosity about going to Alice Springs but again, it's a really long way to drive and has lots of long days of driving, so it's not really an option.

3 comments:

  1. Yay road trip! :-D

    Option 1 looks like the best, you'll get to see 3 main cities and the driving amount isn't totally insane, with several rest days for sight seeing between them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's true, but they're also 3 cities that it's relatively easy for us to see anyway - flights from here to the main centres on the East Coast are pretty cheap. And I'm not sure seeing them with a camper is the best way to do it. We're both leaning towards option 2 right now, but we don't need to decide just yet. Other factors (like the weather) may come in to play, in any case. So we'll see :)

    ReplyDelete