Typically we like to explore new countries on our summer holidays but this year, we thought it was time we explored more of our own country! We decided to take a campervan tour of Western Australia starting from our home in Perth and heading up to Karijini National Park. Being first time campervanners, we were hesitant, but we’re so glad we did it! Here we’re going to share our journey, along with some crucial tips that we wish we knew before our own road trip!
Firstly, preparing for the journey. Being a busy family with a business to run we found it hard to take off the two weeks. This article helped us outsource everyday life so we could travel more. If you’re like us and struggle to find time to take off work, you’ll find that by holidaying in your own country you’ll be more accessible in case any problems arise at work, and you’ll feel a little more in control knowing that you can easily get in touch with your team if you need to. It can really take a load of your mind and help you enjoy your holiday more!
Once we’d decided that a road trip was the best holiday plan for us, we next had to choose our route. We chose to head to Karijini National Park because it is a beautiful place to visit, and we knew we’d enjoy being there. But of course, a road trip involves a lot more than just the final destination! We’d be spending most of our 2 weeks on the road so we’d need a route with plenty to see and do. Because of this, we chose to travel the coast road to our destination rather than inland. Yes, this added about 4 hours to our overall drive time but it was worth it to enjoy picturesque scenery and lovely little stops along the way.
All in all, the journey from Perth to Karijini National Park took about 22 hours via the coast road. We broke this journey up over 5 days, spent 4 days at the National Park and then made the return journey inland over 5 days.
Our journey and stops:
- Day 1: Perth to Dongara, 3h45 drive.
- Day 2: Dongara to Hamelin Pool, 3h55 drive.
- Day 3: Hamelin Pool to Exmouth, 6h05 drive.
- Day 4: Exmouth to Cane River Conservation Park, 3h50 drive.
- Day 5: Cane River Conservation Park to Karijini National Park, 5h15 drive.
- Days 5-9: Stayed at Karijini.
- Day 9: Karijini National Park to Capricorn, 4h50 drive.
- Day 10: Capricorn to Meekatharra, 4h15 drive.
- Day 11: Meekatharra to Paynes Find, 4h40 drive.
- Day 12: Paynes Find to Bindi Bindi, 4h10 drive.
- Day 13: Bindi Bindi to Perth, 3h drive.
Overall we were happy with our schedule. Yes, the journey could be made quicker if we drove more on some days, but because this was our holiday, we wanted to take our time and enjoy some downtime rather than spend the entire day behind the wheel! You’ll find that by just commiting a few hours a day you can make stops at any attractions that catch your eye along the way and really take your time. If your schedule is too tight, you’ll have to miss some great stops!
Tips and Tricks
We had a few bumps along the way with our journey – most of which could have been avoided with a little preparation! Not to worry, our mistakes are your gain. Here’s what you should do to make your journey smooth sailing.
- Prepare for the trip by taking care of essential safety measures for your home prior to leaving. Give yourself peace-of-mind by having your home inspected early so you have a chance to have any issues fixed.
- Book ahead – our trip was during the kids’ school holidays. Of course, this is the most practical time for us to take a family trip, but unfortunately it’s also the best time for every other family too! If your own road-trip is going to be during busy times like this, make sure you plan ahead and book your space on caravan sites early enough. If you turn up on the day expecting to find a space, you may be very disappointed!
- Split your driving up – don’t try and do all of your driving in one go. You’ll tire yourself out and put yourself in a bad mood. Plus, the kids will quickly become bored of the journey, and trust us, there’s nothing worse than bored kids while travelling!
- Make sure you’re all topped up – water, petrol, oil, food – if it can run out, top it up. There may be long stretches of the drive without any sort of amenity so don’t run the risk of running out of anything necessary! You don’t want to run out of petrol in the middle of nowhere.
- Solar power systems are a must have in our opinion if you plan to stay on unpowered campsites. If fact, I’m not sure why we haven’t yet install solar at our home. We’ve done our research and found this comprehensive solar guide very helpful.
- Be a little flexible – on some days, things just won’t plan out the way you want. Whether it’s from bad weather, roadworks, traffic or force of nature, things may not always go exactly to your schedule. Learn to embrace change and be a little flexible with your plans so that a minor inconvenience doesn’t run the risk of ruining your entire trip.
- Learn to enjoy the drive – this is a big one. If you don’t learn to enjoy being on the road, you’ll come to dread driving, and that’s quite a big chunk out of your holiday!
Adam and Julie Kingsley