On the road – Part 1
Updated: Jan 23
“Let’s get a caravan and travel around Australia for 3 months with the kids”
Caravanning with kids
It only took a few months searching Gumtree before we found little old ‘Sunny’ the caravan. Tye was away at work when I called him and told him I was going to look at a van. I dragged my dad along (as he has some trailer knowledge) and within an hour or so we were towing our newly purchased caravan back home. Two months later and here we are cruising (quite slowly) up the West Coast stopping at some beautiful little areas on our venture across to QLD. The week before we left we had her checked over by an auto electrician. A few thousand dollars later and she was road worthy with new tail lights and our car was fitted with electronic brakes and a few other necessities. Days before disembarking on our trip we were getting a bullbar fitted, spotlights, a CB radio and a new awning for the car. We certainly looked the part – except for really having any clue what we were doing. The good thing is, EVERYBODY you meet wants to talk to you so there’s little worries about getting stuck out here on your own.
We came up North last year so had some idea of the area but travelled a little further this time. Here is where we have been so far..
Perth to Kalbarri 568kms
9 hour drive with 8 stops (teething baby!)
Stayed: Anchorage caravan park / beautiful spot by the river $46 night
Sights: Rainbow Jungle bird park, Natures Window Walk, Timber playground in town, Chinamans Beach, Red Bluff Beach.
Natures Window, Kalbarri WA
Kalbarri to Carnarvon 444kms
5 hour drive with 5 stops.
Stayed: Wintersun caravan park / super friendly $46 a night. We jumped on the $13 spuds night – you may remember from my stories we walked into a little band night with the oldies! Meal and show, value for money!
Sights: Stopped at an organic farm the day we left Carnarvon – the cheapest organics we’ve seen. We grabbed some tubs of frozen mango (700g for $8) and some delicious frozen choc coated banana, strawberry and mango ice creams. Stopped for photos with wildflowers on the side of the road on the drive out of carnarvon to Exmouth.
Banana Farms, Carnarvon WA
Carnarvon to Exmouth 364kms
4 hour drive with 2 stops.
Stayed: RAC Exmouth Resort – Pretty nice accommodation and site.
We had booked to swim with humpback whales but it was cancelled last minute due to big swell. Unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to get us out on the water while we were there which was a huge shame.
Sights: The Social Society – Delicious coffee and gluten free/ organic food. Froth – Microbrewery, yummy dinner and craft beer.
Tye took us on a *shortcut* to Sandy Bay, 3 hours later on 4WD track. Sandy Bay would have to be my favourite beach in Exmouth (that we have visited!) Can easily get to it via Yardie Creek Road (don’t take Tye’s shortcut ha!)
Shothole Canyon is a beautiful drive, only suitable for 4WD but definitely recommend, incredible views.
Shothole Canyon, Exmouth WA
If you watched my little video on YouTube you would have seen the beached whale. I didn’t share it on Instagram as it was pretty disheartening. We drove down an unnamed road and I ran up the dunes to see what the beach looked like when I spotted the whale becoming beached. I ran back to the car and Tye called the national park rangers. By the time we got down to the whale another beach goer was also at the scene and has also called rangers. A few European tourists came down too and the 7 of us tried pushing the whale back to sea. Unfortunately the beautiful baby humpback was very determined to swim to the sand, which is when we saw the large tiger sharks swarming. Over an hour later, the rangers arrived and shared the saddening news that they would euthanize the animal as the chances of it swimming safely back past the reef is incredibly slim and apparently this sort of beaching occurs once or twice a year in the area. They said the mother was most likely attacked by orcas and the baby may also be injured or unwell. It was incredibly sad to leave behind the beautiful animal on the shore but we came back to the dunes later that night to reflect on the days events with the kids.
1 week fuel consumption 3343kms Cost $695
Exmouth to Tom Price 569kms
8.5 hour drive with 4 stops.
The Nanutarra- Wittenoom drive is absolutely beautiful, the landscape is unreal and is definitely my favourite stretch of road thus far.
Stayed: Tom Price Tourist Park $42 a night. Very basic accommodation and park.
Sights: There is a full size mining dump truck at the entrance of the town – if your boy (or girl) is truck crazy like ours, this was a bit of fun.
With only a day to explore Karijini we left fairly early in the morning. The drive to the national park is simply stunning and the landscape is so unique. It took us roughly 1.5 hours to get to Fortescue Falls which was our first stop at the park. There are lots of steps on your way down, we carried Olive and Archer in baby carriers and Iggy walked. The falls are divine and if you follow the little track through the bush (easy to do) you will find Fern Pool which is utterly magestic!
Fern Pool, Karijini WA
We then had a little packed lunch at a picnic table nearby, standard cheese and tomato sandwiches/crackers and tea.
We then went for a little drive as the kids fell asleep in the car, checked out the eco retreat then drove to Weano George. The kids woke up so we took them for a little walk down to the Gorge. It’s a steep decline down on semi-stable rocks and there are two small pools down the bottom but a little tricky to get to (with toddlers.) If you are on your own you can hike the Gorge around and get to more pools but it wasn’t possible for us.
Weano Gorge, Karijini WA
We went back up the hill and jumped in the car and headed to our last stop Kalamina Gorge which was roughly a 30 minute drive. This was a sight for sore eyes, again a little tricky to get down so we carried Olive and Archer in the baby carriers but it was easy enough to carry them onto the rock face so we could sit by the gorge pool. Such a beautiful spot, have to be cautious with the little ones with some slippery rocks but it was the perfect place to finish our day. If we came when the weather was warmer we’d definitely pack a lunch and stay by the pool here swimming – recommend for kids!
Kalamina Gorge, Karijini WA
Today we drove from Tom Price to Port Hedland which took 5 hours with 3 stops. Staying at Discovery Park $59 for the night. Will keep our stay brief here as we are heading to Eighty Mile Beach tomorrow on our way to Broome!