With the prospect of colder weather and a yearning for getting on the road again, K and I are in the middle of finalising our plans for our 2022 road trip. The start of our journey last year was dictated by Covid, state border crossings and Covid compliance requirements, but we eventually managed to get to WA and have a great experience. This year our planning seems to be dictated by everyone else having similar plans such that some of the areas we are hoping to visit are booked out, with NSW and QLD school holiday periods adding to the problem. Add to this the further layer of the on-going rain event that has prevailed on the east coast during the past two months and we are having to go into a lot of detail and make bookings that in some cases are more than two months away.
South Australia (SA)
Those of you who followed our travels last year (WA2021) will be aware that our plans to start our journey through South Australia were thwarted due to the SA state border being closed. So, this year, we intend to rectify this by including a chunk of our time in SA.
Of particular interest is the possibility that Lake Eyre may be filled with water (from the rainfall in QLD). If so, this should attract a significant amount of birdlife, generate plant growth and present a totally different landscape. I may even be interested in taking a short flight over the lake.
My visit to Coober Pedy in 2017 only lasted 24 hours, giving me little time to explore properly. So, this time, we are planning to stay for a few days. This will give us time to explore the town and for me to spend some time in the breakaways with my camera.
We were also planning to travel round the coast line of Eyre Peninsula, but after visiting one of the stands at the recent caravan and camping expo, we are now looking at doing this around the Yorke Peninsula.
With due consideration to seasonal temperatures, we decided to leave the SA visit to the return leg of the road trip with the anticipation that it will be a bit warmer.
New South Wales (NSW)
The first state on our planned trip will be NSW, with a route that takes us up the west side of the Blue Mountains, across to the coast and north into to Queensland.
Clearly one of the attractions here will be the Blue Mountains – hopefully the walking tracks will have started to open up after the landslide that tragically took the lives of visiting bushwalkers.
Muswellbrook is next on our itinerary, mainly because I would like to visit the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre to which I donated my finalist entry to the 2021 Mullins Conceptual Photographic Prize (I have entered again this year, so fingers crossed). Other possible local attractions include Barrington Tops National Park, Mount Royal National Park and Lake Glenbawn State Park, all good for some trekking exercise.
It will be great to get to the coast and perhaps swim in the sea from some of the campgrounds we have already booked, as well as, perhaps an overnight in a hotel in Port Macquarie (well we do need to spoil ourselves occasionally.
We have identified two highlights for our journey through QLD: Carnarvon Gorge and Boulia.
On our way to Carnarvon Gorge, we will spend a bit of time on the coast south of Maryborough, the last of the seaside until we get to the Yorke Peninsula. We are very much looking forward to exploring Carnarvon Gorge – it has been recommended from numerous sources as being one of the best in QLD (it will be interesting to see how it compares with some of the amazing gorges we visited last year).
On our journey through QLD, we are very much looking forward to the camel races at Boulia, an event that the early part of our itinerary has been planned around. From all accounts this is an experience not to be missed. We camp at the event site for about six days, so it will be an opportunity to draw breath and relax after the first part of the trip.
Northern Territory (NT)
We will be crossing the QLD/NT border further south than last year in order to take in the places we missed last year, especially the East MacDonnell Ranges where we will stay for five nights before doing the same in the West MacDonnell Ranges. These visits will give us plenty of time to explore the Ranges and, of course, Alice Springs.
Being so close, it would be a mistake not to visit Uluru, so we will make our way there via Kings Canyon. Three nights at Uluru gives us plenty of time for a day visit to the Olgas and to catch the sunrise and sunset on the rock before entering SA.
In summary, our road trip follows a route through NSW, QLD, NT, SA and back to VIC. We are now looking at the finer detail of the trip, such as where to find washing machines, internet access and, once we get into the outback, where to stock up with provisions. I am also in the process of having the wagon and trailer fully serviced, getting another spare tyre for the wagon and booking an interim service for when we are on the road.
However, before we head of, we have another exciting (short) trip planned – 10 days in Tasmania – so, watch out for a couple of posts about that trip.