Creating motorhome holidays Perth to Darwin

Have you dreamed of travelling along the remote and iconic route from Perth to Darwin? Unsure where to start with your planning? The Perth to Darwin journey is full of the unexpected … it’s a diverse landscape where one of the world’s oldest cultures share dreamtime stories through song under the outback’s glittering night sky.  It’s a continent surrounded by bright blue waters and secluded beach hideaways, full of majestic national parks where time stands still as you wind your way through rugged wildness; and it’s a foodies paradise spoiling visitors with tantalising culinary experiences.

Finding the hidden gems…

And the truth is, you’ll never really know until you experience it for yourself.  Australia is a curious country, full of hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered.  A land so vastly different from New Zealand yet just a hop, skip and a jump across the ditch. You may also combine both countries!

If you’re considering the journey from Perth to Darwin, you may be asking

  • When is the right time to visit?
  • What is the best way to explore this route?
  • Where should I go and what to do?

There is so much information available and it can be confusing and time consuming to work out what is the best motorhome holiday for you.

Coral Bay Western Australia

It’s important not to leave your holiday to chance, and by speaking to a location expert such as Gallivanting Oz about your motorhome adventure in Australia – expert and seasoned travel team members will be able to guide you every step of the way and help to avoid some of the pitfalls that are common when planning motorhome holidays. Gallivanting Oz are specialists at motorhome hire and escorted tours throughout all of Australia, including the iconic Perth to Darwin route.  There is no question too big or small when it comes to securing you the perfect motorhome for your trip – and most importantly, taking all the confusion out of the experience.

Ready to plan your motorhome holidays Perth to Darwin?

Now you know where in Australia you want to explore, the next step is to work out when you’d like to travel. All part of your Australia check list.

Motorhome travelling Australia

Some of our expert tips to consider when planning your Australian motorhome holiday:

  • As you’ll be travelling in the northern third of Australia, it’s important to understand the seasons and best time to experience.  Northern Australia is best visited in what is known as the ‘dry season’ which is roughly May to September (through the Australian winter months).
  • The wet season, which is predominantly summer, is much hotter, more humid and there are some roads in the northern third of the country which may become impassable.  The main highway around Australia is usually open, however flexibility is very important if you do decide to travel during the wet season in northern Australia.
  • It doesn’t matter which direction you travel for the Perth to Darwin route – it’s more about the time of year, to ensure you are at the Top End at the best time.  If you are starting a little later in the season, like late July/August for example, it would be better to travel Darwin to Perth direction. It is best to travel this route one way only with your motorhome – and that is an easy thing to do.
  • Take a minimum of 25 days for this route, however longer is better to give you a chance to really experience the area.  Many of our retired clients travel for around 5-6 weeks.
Vast Australian Outback

Getting local travel advice

Gallivanting Oz have an abundance of helpful and free resources to assist you to plan your perfect road trip adventure.  Your friends and family will be green with envy when they hear all about your plans!

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to plan your own itinerary with ‘freestyle’ motorhome hire, utilising all the resources provided to you, or, if you prefer, join an escorted motorhome tour.   On an escorted tour all the details are taken care of with your route plan and experiences along the way.  You too, like others, will be able to say, ‘that this was the best holiday you’ve ever had’.  So many inclusions; camaraderie of travelling with a small group and loads of flexibility.  The escorted tour option is highly organised while being very relaxed.  You just won’t believe how much is included on the route from Perth to Darwin (or vice versa) to ensure you get right into those remote, yet iconic areas, like the unique Kimberley region.

Western Australia Coastline

One of the favourite things for the Gallivanting Oz team is hearing from happy clients about their favourite highlights and what a difference they made in the holiday experience.  Certainly, evokes a sense of pride.

Don’t leave your motorhome holiday to chance.  Talk to the team today about experiencing the “Gallivanting Oz” difference.   Together, the motorhome holiday of your dreams will be created. 

Here are some suggestion what other locations in Western Australia you might want to travel prior or post you Perth to Darwin motorhome adventure. The possibilities are endless!

Happy Travelling with GallivantingOz!

Travel information on Port Douglas

Port Douglas is the gateway to a number of key tourism locations. These include the famous Great Barrier Reef, the ancient Daintree Forest and the Kuranda Highlands. In fact, they are a must-do for any Australian itinerary. However, think about some key considerations when planning your trip to Port Douglas. This blog will really help you by providing detailed travel information on Port Douglas. However, before you get into the ‘nitty gritty’, do plan on staying at least 3-4 nights to get that meaningful experience.

port douglas beach view
Port Douglas beach

The famous Great Barrier Reef stretches along the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia for a good 2,300 kms (1,500 miles). It is the largest living thing on Planet Earth – you can actually see it from outer space! This famous Reef is home to over 600 species of hard and soft coral. And let’s not forget the Reef’s countless breed of fish, turtles, dolphins and sharks. No wonder it is one of the most attractions in Australia.

Also, the Daintree Rainforest is located on the northeast coast of Queensland. Measuring around 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) it is part of the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent. Not many people know that it is in fact the oldest surviving tropical rainforest in the world. So as you can imagine, there will be plenty to see on a day tour from Port Douglas.

daintree rain forest day tour
Looking upwards in the Daintree Forest

The Kuranda Highlands sits in the middle of the awesome beauty of a World Heritage Rainforest. The main town can be found 25km to the north-west of Cairns – it has an amazing history which is quite unusual for such a small town. There will be plenty for you to see and do in one day. Then set aside another day to explore Atherton Tablelands as well as the coastal cities like Cairns and Palm Cove. People love the cooler temperatures in the highlands and find it a welcome respite from the humidity of the coast.

Important travel tips for Port Douglas

Key Day tours from Port Douglas

  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling or Diving day tours:
    Departs from Port Douglas Wharf with transfers from any central Port Douglas hotel or apartment accommodation.
    Takes between 8-9 hours depending on the tour selected
    Tour Options are: Sailing Yacht or Motor Yacht or Large-scale boats
snorkel the great barrier reef from port douglas
Snorkelling tour Great Barrier Reef
  • Daintree Forest day tours:
    Pick-up from central Port Douglas hotel or apartment accommodation.
    Takes between 9-10 hours depending on the tour selected
    Tour Options are: Private tours, Small party (up to 6) or Larger tours.
Daintree guided day walk
Daintree Forest Day tour
Chillagoe day tour from Cairns
Chillagoe day tour from Cairns and Port Douglas

View some travel itineraries including Port Douglas.

Other must see and do in Port Douglas

  • Wildlife Habitat – what a great place to experience and interact with wildlife. You can go on a guided tour that will ensure you get to be there at feeding time. In fact, you could easily spend half a day here.
  • Trinity Bay Lookout – this is a great view point right in Port Douglas. Just walk up there (and take a water bottle to stay hydrated!) and enjoy dramatic views of PD’s 4 Mile Beach & the Coral Sea.
  • Four Mile Beach – right in the heart of Port Douglas. Easy walking or even cycling on the beach!
  • Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip – this is located closer to Cairns. The railway winds its way through the tropical rainforest.
  • Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures – also located between Cairns and Port Douglas. If you are travelling with a rental car, you can actually include a stop while you are heading north to Port Douglas.
  • Mossman Gorge Centre – this is located a little further north of Port Douglas where you can do some local walks through the rainforest. It is a busy place during the day, so it pays to go earlier rather than later.
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

Travel tips for Port Douglas

  • Seasons & Weather:
    Port Douglas weather has 2 distinct seasons; a winter period of warm temperatures and low rainfall. This is generally the time between April and November. The summer period has sticky humid temperatures and a much higher rainfall. See chart below
    Also, read blog about best time to visit Australia.
port douglas weather chart
  • Getting around – Most travellers will arrive via a domestic flight at Cairns Airport. You can use a coach transfer or a private service. However, you can also pick-up a rental car at the airport terminal for your time in the Port Douglas region. Note: if you are staying in central in PD and are doing the local tours, you won’t need a car as everything, including the marina, is within walking distance.
shuttle and coach transfer australia
Private transfer service between Cairins and Port Douglas
  • Dining – well you can pretty much get your pick of cuisines in Port Douglas, from cafes, casual pizza outlets, to upmarket bistros and restaurants with a full service. Every taste is catered for and most of the restaurants are in the main strip where everyone hangs out.

View travel blogs and Information on Helpful Hints, Travel Distances, Australia maps.

Cruising the Great Barrier with Sailaway
Sailing in a small group on the Great Barrier Reef

Summary Travel Information on Port Douglas

Port Douglas is a great base from which to explore the Northern Queensland region. It is only 67 kms north of Cairns and has a lovely village vibe to it. If you base yourself in central Port Douglas, you can walk anywhere. There is a wide variety on different standard accommodation, stylish restaurants and boutique shops. Plan on staying for 3-4 nights.

From a touring point of view, Port Douglas has it all. From the famous Great Barrier Reef, to the anchient Daintree Forest to Wildlife, Crocodile and Butterfly parks. With this blog we are only really scratching the surface! View top 7 suggestion on things to do in Port Douglas.

Having the Cairns Airport nearby is a great bonus. Not only can your reach many other parts of Australia from Cairns, you can also get direct flights connections to Auckland in New Zealand. So that makes a ‘combo’ trip to include New Zealand, a great option. But do bear in mind, the different seasons and climates of both countries! View details on that.

Happy travelling to Port Douglas!

Travel to Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are close neighbours in the South Pacific. So it makes total sense to combine travel to Australia and New Zealand when you visit the ‘land down-under’. Of course, there are some key aspects with your travel planning that must be considered. For example you will need to think about the weather and the climate. Also timing and distances will play a large part in your itinerary. This blog provides an overview on how to best plan for a vacation to Australia and New Zealand combined.

travel to australia and new zealand travel combo map

Key Fact – Travel to Australia and New Zealand

Both Australia and New Zealand offer such a wide variety of landscapes and travel experiences. This is yet, another reason why a trip ‘down under’ is such an exciting prospect. Both countries are English-speaking and they share a common history. And another thing, in both countries, we drive on the ‘wrong side’ of the road! The seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are directly opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere. So that means, summer is between November and March and winter is between June and September. Read more on key facts for Australia and New Zealand.

Kata Tjuta in ayers rock uluru
Kata Tjuta near Ayers Rock / Uluru

Seasons, climate & weather differences

Now here is a very important fact:- the climate & weather conditions Australia and New Zealand can be very different to each other! Australia is a huge continent. Even between the southern and northern coast of Australia, you will get a different climate. In fact, the best time to travel the Outback and the Northern parts of Australia is in their ‘winter’ season (between June and September). For the southern regions of Australia as well as for New Zealand the ‘summer’ season (Oct – April) is the best time to travel.

So the next question you probably have, is “when shall I travel to Australia and New Zealand as a combination holiday – what is the best month?” The answer is simple – either Sept to November or March/April until June. If you are really smart, you could spend the month of April in New Zealand first, then move on to Australia – this would work nicely. Otherwise, you could travel first to Australia in September, then to New Zealand in October. Read more on New Zealand weather conditions and clothing needed.

Australia Travel Checklist - australia climate map

Distances between key locations

Just because Australia is such a vast space and New Zealand is a tiny island nation, do not under estimate those distances, when it comes to driving! Reason? Travelling in Australia is different to New Zealand. For Australia you will use domestic flight between key locations and stay longer at one spot. For New Zealand, you will do more self-drive or use public transport such as coach, train or ferry services. Those transport options will take longer.

New Zealand’s road system is extremely good, however we do not have major arterial highways such as the case in other countries. You will have more country style roads, especially for the South Island. Therefore, on average, you don’t want to travel more than 300 kms per day. Travelling this kind of distance in New Zealand, will take you about 4-5 hours driving time. On windy days especially, this will be enough for you. And because the scenery is so gorgeous, you will have so many stops on the way. Read some more New Zealand self-driving travel blogs.

Milford Track Day Walk from Te Anau
Hiking on the Milford Track in the Fiordland National Park with Trip & Tramps.

Time you need to calculate on

If you intend to combine Australia and New Zealand in one trip, as an absolute minimum, you will need 14 days for each country. View a 2-weeks sample itinerary. Naturally the longer you have, the better your overall holiday experience will be. Afterall, you will be coming a long way for this holiday, and you need to make it worth your while.

Depending on your interests and the time of the year, you might want to have more time in New Zealand than in Australia. If you are especially into hiking, visiting New Zealand in March NZ would be a great time. After that, just take a short flight to Australia in April, to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or see the ‘Galapagos of Australia’ – Kangaroo Island. Here is another itinerary sample for three weeks Australia and New Zealand. Please note, these sample itineraries can be amended to suit your interests, travel season and the time you have available.

12 day New Zealand kids vacation with Yellow Eyed Penguins
Yellow Eyed Penguin Tour with Elm Wildlife in Dunedin

How to best combine both countries

As mentioned before, Australia and New Zealand are close neighbours. There are quite a few international flights in between Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns with Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown. In that case, you might want to arrive in Sydney, move to the Great Barrier Reef, then on to Melbourne for a flight to Christchurch. Finish your Australia and New Zealand combo in Auckland. Fly back home from there.

melbourne flinders street

Key highlights Australia & New Zealand offer

As a destination, New Zealand offers an amazing array of landscapes and activities. Travellers are amazed at how fast our landscape changes within minutes – to rolling green pastures, over high country passes, then to beaches and rugged fjords.

Australia is famous for its Outback and endless coastlines. The waters here are crystal clear. Everyone has heard about the Great Barrier Reef or the Daintree Forest. The beauty of combining Australia with New Zealand, is the convenience of domestic flights. So with 2-3 nights stays in key locations, you will cover so much. There is certainly no need to travel thousands of kilometres through endless deserts. Believe me, this will take you months!

top 10 new zealand honeymoon things to do
Canopy Zipline Tour in Rotorua/ NZ

Summary on how to travel to Australia and New Zealand

When planning to travel both Australia and New Zealand, your key considerations are:

  1. getting your seasons right and being prepared for the climate
  2. make sure you give yourselves enough time – this is a special trip!
  3. travel both countries differently and focus on key locations.

If you stick to those 3 x key recommendations, you will have an amazing experience and holiday. Check out some those check lists as well.

Happy travelling to Australia and New Zealand!

Western Australia Highlights near Albany

There’s so much to love on the scenic drive to the Port City of Albany. This area is a part of Australia that has such a beautiful contrast of red soil and lush green bush land. For the next few days we’ll be experiencing Western Australia highlights near Albany.

After travelling through Augusta, Premberton and Denmark, we arrived at Albany. As the oldest settled city in Western Australia and has an incredibly rich history. But at this time of year, Albany is also famous for a spectacular event! In this whole area you can see the most giant migrating whales. However do keep in mind, that you only see Humpback and Southern Right Whales in late May to early October. So if you really want to see these wonderful creatures, try try to schedule your trip for that time.

We booked into the The Beach House at Bayside, a family-owned hotel with terrific hospitality and a great breakfast! What a difference a family-owned business can make.  We learned so much in the breakfast room. The host flitted around from table to table, passing on her local knowledge.  In fact, she gave us many handy hints on what to do.  In fact, a lot of what she advised, we didn’t know about.

At the time of our visit, the owners were building higher-end apartments just down the road. They should be well and truly completed by now. If B & B accommodation is not really your thing, these apartment would be a great option. Of course, they will be differently priced.

Western Australia Highlights near Albany – Whalers Station

The Whaler’s station is one of Western Australia highlights near Albany. In 1978, the last whale was taken at Albany in 1978. What remains, is an historical account of those times. What the Whaler Station does really well, is to give you an overview of the station’s history.  I would definitely recommend all visitors to choose the the guided tour.

Believe me, on this tour, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck. We were surprised by how much clever technology was used. There’s a great 3-D presentation (glasses supplied). Three large oil tanks have been converted into small theatres. I have the say, the the actual film footage of this bleak period made quite an impact on us. We would pretty blown away by the display of whale skeletons. These are housed in a separate warehouse – up close, they’re an absolute showstoppers!

Western Australia Highlights near Albany – The Gap

Our next stop was at The Gap, located in the Torndirrip National Park, 10kms from Albany. The Gap is a a 24-metre drop to the sea and the Natural Bridge. It really is such a fantastic display of the Southern’s Ocean’s awesome drama. But a word of warning – do wrap up warmly, as it can be very cold.

There is a very safe platform. Here, you are allowed access access 40 metres directly above the foaming torrent below. How’s this for a sheer drop!

The Gap viewing shoe

I guarantee that you’ll find the powerful surge of water to be pretty awesome!

The Gap Albany

The scenery and rock formation is quite powerful and so dramatic. In fact, most people find the scenery quite beautiful.

National Anzac Centre

The National Anzac Centre is a state-of-the-art interpretative museum overlooking the King George Sound. For atmosphere alone, it is a must-do tour. Each visitor is provided with their own audio technology.  This means that you can just stroll around at your own pace.  It’s incredibly moving to hear the actual letters and diaries of these soldiers being read out. You’re very much aware that the mood is somber.  We were impressed with how all of these soldiers are given respect – no matter what side they fought on.

As you enter, there’s a continuous reel of real footage showing soldiers marching through a street. The sound of their boots is like a slow beating heart and it is quite haunting. We very quickly noticed that the lighting in this building is very subdued.  And although photos are encouraged, you cannot use the flash on your camera.  I guess this would interfere with the overall atmosphere.  I think the dimmer lighting allows the visitor the freedom to show their emotions. It is incredibly moving to read the personal diaries of soldiers who served during this time.

It was with sober heart that we left the National Anzac Centre. We times it perfect to head back into Albany.  The late afternoon sun was warm on our backs – the ideal opportunity for a refreshing beach walk.  What has been quite surprising, is how mild the winter is around these parts.

I have to say, it was a great way to end a sightseeing day.  You really can’t place enough value on getting the inside local knowledge.  We managed to see so much in one day!

View other travel blogs on the Western Australia region:

Happy travelling in Western Australia!

Melbourne accommodation central city

On my recent trip to Melbourne I spent time to research more Melbourne accommodation central city options. Looking at websites with loads of pictures, videos and maps is one way to do it. But believe me, actually visiting these places to experience them firsthand, is much better. You get a clearer understanding of location, layout, room sizes, and general items such as cleanliness.  Of course the friendliness of management and staff plays a very important part of my evaluation. I have divided my findings into 3 main categories Mainstream, Boutique and High end.

Mainstream Melbourne Central City hotels:

Hotel Ibis Melbourne – Therry Street

This is a 3-star property just a stone’s throw from the Queen Victoria Market. The rooms are fine, as long as you intend to spend more time exploring the city, than staying in-house. The hotel offers a good breakfast which is included in stay packages for the budget-minded traveller.

Novotel Melbourne – Collins Street

This 4-star hotel is located right in the hub of downtown Melbourne. Step outside the door and you can go straight to the famous Block Arcarde (which hosts the wonderful ‘Hopetoun Tea Room’). The hotel has all the facilities you could ask for – gym, indoor swimming pool, restaurant.

Melbourne accommodation central city - Novotel Melbourne - Collins Street

Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne – Flinders Street

Flinders Street is one of Melbourne main roads. So, with any accommodation along this main traffic artery, you’ll get a fair amount of road noise. This 4-star hotel is set in an heritage building, so the minute you set foot inside, you’ll get a real sense of history. I would call it a ‘classic’, old-world style hotel.

Adina Apartment Queen Street

There are three Adina Apartment hotel in Melbourne – all a bit different to each other. So I checked them all out. The 4-star Queens Street Adina left the best impression. It is central, well equipped and has a modern layout. It’s 2- and 3-bedroom apartments are perfect for family travellers to Melbourne.

Boutique hotels in central Melbourne:

Apart from the main stream hotels, the Melbourne central business district is lucky to have some lovely boutique styled accommodation options. Here are a few:

QT Hotel Melbourne in Queen Street

When I walked into the QT Hotel, I had one of those ‘wow’ moments. It reminded me of the QT Museum hotel back here in Wellington. It’s funky, vibrant and full of quirky corners. More like a huge community area with seatings, cafes and large restaurant with a glass walled wine cellar next to it. The guest rooms are spacious and modern in this 4-star property. I think I will be staying here the next time I’m in Melbourne!

Melbourne accommodation central city - QT Hotel Melbourne in Queen Street

QT Hotel Melbourne in Queen Street

Fraser Place Melbourne in Exploration Lane

I certainly had to explore a little bit, before I found this little gem! Fraser Place sits right in the middle of the city, between La Trobe and Lonsdale Street. In fact, it is not even marked at the official Melbourne Tourism map. My instincts told me to sniff it out and go there and what a great discovery! Fraser Place is a 4-star boutique hotel with two main towers. Everything is on a slightly smaller scale, but the roof top is spacious and a great place to hang out after a day’s explore. As with all Fraser properties I have looked at, this one is maintained to a high standard.

Fraser Place Melbourne in Exploration Lane

Fraser Place Melbourne in Exploration Lane

Adelphi Hotel Flinders Lane

If you want to be right in the middle of Melbourne’s hustle and bustle, then this is the place to be. Right in Flinders amidst cafes, restaurants and other foodie places. But be warned, there will be ‘people’ noise’ at night. The rooms are spacious, as they were converted from a former office building. The reception area is very small. The staff are very pro-active and attentive.

Adelphi Hotel Flinders Lane

Adelphi Hotel Flinders Lane

Hotel Lindrum on Flinders Street

Hotel Lindrum is another ‘classic’ in Melbourne. This building is rich on history. It actually began as a tea merchant store and really sings ‘old world charm’ from the minute you enter. Some of the rooms face Flinders Street and are noisy. But if this is an issue for you, don’t worry, take one of the other rooms facing away from Flinders. All rooms are spacious and well maintained.

Hotel Lindrum on Flinders Street

Hotel Lindrum on Flinders Street

High-end Melbourne Hotels:

Langham Hotel Melbourne

The ‘Southbank’ side of Melbourne is basically on the other side of the CBD area across the Yarra River. This area is far more modern and developed with a number or hotels, restaurants and bars. Actually it is a real ‘lifestyle’ area. The 5-star Langham Hotel has a ‘grand feeling’. Massive marble stairs, antique glass  chandeliers, indoor swimming pool, roof deck – it’s all here in a matter of a 10 minutes walk across the Yarra River to the CBD.

Langham Hotel Melbourne

Langham Hotel Melbourne

Westin Hotel Melbourne Collins Street

The 5-star Westin Hotel is located in the very heart of Melbourne. Get up in the morning and step into the city life of Melbourne. The interior design is classic-modern – stylish and actually very calming. After your day out, you get a feeling of returning to your ‘nest’ – ready to recharge.

Westin Hotel Melbourne Collins Street

Westin Hotel Melbourne Collins Street

Sofitel Melbourne Collins Street

I visited the Sofitel Melbourne about 3-4 years ago. I am pleased to say that not much as changed. It is still one of the leading Melbourne hotels of the central city area. You will get a wide range of room options. These include very spacious suites with stunning views overlooking Melbourne. The Sofitel has 46 levels. If you are not scared of heights, you may find the number of levels as added bonus. Keep it in mind when you are selecting your hotel stay in central Melbourne for the next time.

Melbourne Accommodation Central City - Sofitel Melbourne Collins Street

Sofitel Melbourne Collins Street

Here are some more travel hints while travelling Australia:

Happy Travelling to Melbourne!

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