Last week, the decision was made that I’d be heading to The Big Red Bash in just over 3 weeks time to represent Club 4X4. I realised that I’d better start planning the trip!
Where to start?
I figured that the easiest place to start would be working out the broad route I’d take, and then fine tune exactly where to stay, what to visit, and hopefully what tracks to explore along the way.
There seemed to be three key choices. Either head out through Dubbo and then make my way North West, up over the border and then zig zag towards Birdsville (the most direct). Or, head North towards Brisbane, and then cut West. Or, head west towards Broken hill, then down towards Adelaide before taking the Outback highway North.
I’ll be towing an offroad Camper Trailer with me for the trip, and while time is of the essence, it is important to me that I’m not too ambitious with how far I can travel per day. I’ve planned on being able to spend 6 hours behind the wheel a day (without stops for breaks, sightseeing etc).
On this basis, and taking the most direct route (according to Google), my stopovers currently look like the following:
Google was useful in the broad Route Planning given that efficiency is at least to a degree important. However, what I’ve found in general when trying to research in more detail is that I’m being served up the information that someone has ‘optimised’ for Google and not necessarily the best places to stop and see. I’ve also checked out HEMA planning tools, and there are some great features here, with some great detail on points of interest, but I’m not down to the detailed planning phase for these to be really useful yet.
I know this will start to make me sound like an old person, but trying to trawl through all these web pages has not a fun or enjoyable experience. It has been difficult and frustrating, and you always feel like you are being sold something. The reality is Google can serve me information, but its not really giving me what I want to know, and it can’t.
So, I’d like your help. I’m sure plenty of you have driven along these routes. I’d love to know the following:
- What are your thoughts on the routes and where I’m looking to stop. Which route would you take and why? Would you recommend other places along there to stay, and if so why?
- If you think back to your past adventures through this part of Australia, what were the highlights? Must sees? Most memorable things?
- Any ideas for the route back?
Please share your thoughts here. I’ll be finalising my plans in the coming week and I reckon Google is no match for your collective experience when it comes to making this trip something special, given its been way too long since I’ve ventured anywhere close to Birdsville.