6245 kilometres is the distance my planning spreadsheet tells me is the minimum distance we can expect to drive on our latest Australian adventure, an adventure which has been put off for two years running but now seems to be about to happen.
Today we are flying to Perth from where we will drive to Darwin roughly following the blue route on this map. This will take us:
- east from Midland (very near Perth) to Kalgoorlie;
- north to Tom Price;
- around the Karijini National Park;
- north through the Pilbara following the Railway Track towards the coast;
- east along to coast to Derby; then
- along the Gibb River Road through the Kimberly to Kunnanura; and
- east into the Northern Territories to Katherine and finally north to Darwin.
The route involves a considerable amount of travel through the Outback and a lot of driving on 4WD tracks which are shown in red on this map.
The Gibb River Road portion of this route is 700+ km long with only a two refuelling points and few other facilities.
We have hired the same sort of 4WD Camper Van that we drove seven years ago and it is much less luxurious than the type of van we usually drive.
Taking into account the relentless advancement of anno domini, this is most likely to be the last time we will undertake a long 4WD trip through the real outback. Camping miles from anywhere in a small van with limited resources can be somewhat challenging! Well done Mrs Harvey for agreeing to give it another go.
Australia is so large when compared to Europe that it is easy to clock up extra kms whenever you travel around this amazing continent.
The last time we did a long trek here, we drove about 20% more than the planned distance and so we are assuming that this year’s total will get to at least 7000 kms by the time we drop the van off.
Interestingly (at least it is interesting to me), the distance we might drive is approximately the same as that which we covered in 1971 when we were students and travelled from London to Bandar Abbas in Iran during the long summer vacation. We were actually heading for Pakistan but ran out of time and had to turn round there and start the journey back via Iraq, Syria and Cyprus.
And so, this morning we are setting out on the tedious trek to Heathrow in order to catch the late morning A380 flight to Singapore
and from there (after a quick airport shower) another flight onward to Perth where we will arrive about 28 hours after we leave home.