Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Questions, answers, tips and more about camping with children and babies.

Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby Goannabanda » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:21 pm

Hi everyone,
It's been a while since I've logged in here - since we bought our Goldstream Storm back in 2007 (wow - that long ago!!!). We've enjoyed some great short trips in our van, mainly park-based to date - including Victor Harbour, Princess Mary Rose Caves, Maldon, Healseville, Echuca, Phillip Island.

With the arrival of our second bub due in early May, dingaling & I are planning our first 'big one'. 8 to 12 weeks leaving from Melbourne in late June - when the bub is 8-10 weeks old. Our big boy will have just turned 9 - and is a camping pro by now. :)

The plan is to head from Melbourne over 2 or 3 days to Dubbo / Warrumbungles NP, then 'start' the holiday proper. With such a little one on board, we're not making any fixed plans other than to take our time along the following general route:
Dubbo to Barcaldine via the Mitchell Hwy
Barcaldine to Mt Isa via Landsborough Hwy
Mt Isa to Charters Towers via Flinders Hwy
Charters Towers to Innisfail via Gregory Dev. Road / Kennedy Hwy
Innisfail to Cairns via Princes Hwy
Cairns - shorter trips to Cape Tribulation, Cooktown, Pt Douglas, Mossman etc
Return to Melbourne via Princes Hwy - via the coast all the way, otherwise inland from Brisbane or Sydney, depending upon time (and money, LOL!).

We'll be travelling in our Hilux 4WD diesel, and Goldstream Storm camper - which should have no probs on the above route. We are wondering whether to add on the trip to Cape York - just contemplating whether this would be a good idea in the first place with such a little one on board, and which of the 4WD tracks we could sensibly tackle with this set up (or if we'd be better to leave it for another trip, or ditch the van and join a tag-along-tour or similar to the Cape).

Any thoughts, tips, suggestions? Thanks in advance. :)
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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby Dettie » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:20 pm

Wow, what a great trip! For what my opinion is worth, I think babies are amazingly flexible at that age. The whole notion that you are going to go with the flow, I suspect will be key to a great time and adventure! Babies sleep so much, and I guess so long as you allow yourself plenty of opportunities to rest during the day, I think you'll be more fine... what a great time to do it! ie while on maternity/paternity leave.

I have a 7 year gap between my two babies (18 & 11) and I found the second time around a LOT easier in every way.

Your little baby will become a little camping king/queen in no time!

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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby GypsyLady » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:01 pm

Goannabanda wrote:
We are wondering whether to add on the trip to Cape York - just contemplating whether this would be a good idea in the first place with such a little one on board, and which of the 4WD tracks we could sensibly tackle with this set up (or if we'd be better to leave it for another trip, or ditch the van and join a tag-along-tour or similar to the Cape).



My experience would suggest that it would be better to leave CY to a later time when bub is a bit older....yes definitely camping and continue with the trip you are planning but CY on top of what you are already doing is a big ask.

CY is pretty remote and if you should need any assistance with bub or have a break down....it is a long way off or a long time coming....save it for another trip.

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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby xmasbaby67 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:02 pm

WOW I think you are VERY brave doing such a big trip with such a little one.

We couldn't have done it with our first as he was a screaming,vomitting mess until he was nearly 6 months old and even then HATED being in the car for longer than 30 mins at a time and still hates long trips in the car & he is 17 now(and his ipod is our saviour) Our girls were good as they just ate and slept most of the time.

Good luck & look forward to hearing how you go.
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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby Dettie » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:28 pm

And another post thought from me is that you could sort of plan to not plan, so if your baby is a difficult traveler, you could do as Gypsy suggested, and make the trip to fewer destinations but for longer stays and just go with the flow in that way.

It seems to me that for some reason second and subsequent children seem to be more settled a lot earlier on... if it were me I'd probably wing it and if all else fails, you can go back home earlier. I haven't been to CY so don't know what it's like up there but it's obviously a long haul.

I traveled overseas with my 18yo when he was 6-8 weeks old and although I had to be a lot more organised with packing steriliser unit and the paraphernalia that goes with babies, I didn't have any regrets... it was just a holiday at a much slower pace and ultimately not a lot different from what I would have been doing at home anyway.

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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:04 am

To do CY justice it is not just another destination to 'tack on' to an existing trip...it is very remote and requires quite some preparation and planning. The vehicle preparation that is required is paramount.

I can't stress enough the problems that can arise with children, especially a baby if something goes a little pear shaped in this remote area.

The original trip that you have planned Goannabanna is a big one on its own and looks fantastic....take your time and enjoy that one and plan for CY at a later time.
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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby ck10_9 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:53 pm

The last 4 posts in our blog detail just how tough the Cape can be - have a look

The peninsula Developmenatal road isn't too crash hot either with all the corrugations - bub might not like those can be very loud in the car.
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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby TBF » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:12 pm

Suggest you leave the van at Weipa...good (read reasonable)road up till there.
Then make a dash for the top with a tent, cooker and minimal gear for 3 to 4 days camping.
Return to collect van on way back from the top.
The telegraph track is very rough..
You can skirt the worst bits on the 2 major bypasses.

for what its worth

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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby Goannabanda » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:02 pm

Thanks so much for all your replies. :+

Hubby & I have been reading quite avidly all the previous posts on the Cape trips, and finding our about tag-along-tours etc. The posts and blogs where people have outlined budgets for food, fuel and extras are useful too, so thanks everyone for sharing all that great info.

We've come to the same conclusion as those of you here who suggested to treat the Cape as a destination in itself - and leave it for another time.

...and as suggested, we will definitely head home sooner if things don't turn out as well as we are hoping! In fact, we won't even decide whether we are definitely going or not until the bubs is about 8weeks old and over the worst of the "newborn screaming and settling in stage" (fingers crossed).

I have wonderful memories of 9 weeks in FNQ when I was our son's age. Over 30 years later my brother and I still talk about that trip, and still fall back on the general knowledge and appreciation of Australia's wonderful natural and archaeological history. Now I am looking forward to being able to offer similar opportunities to our kids. :)
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Re: Outback, FNQ & Cape York... ...with a campervan & a baby?

Postby GypsyLady » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:18 pm

Goannabanda wrote:.

We've come to the same conclusion as those of you here who suggested to treat the Cape as a destination in itself - and leave it for another time.


I think that is a decision you will not regret Goanna AND with the littlies a bit older they will have a greater appreciation of the experience.
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