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Thread: Lap of the Map

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    Patrol Freak Mc4by's Avatar
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    Lap of the Map

    In exactly 12 months my wife and I will be heading off to do a trip around Australia.
    I know this is probably a bit early to post but I have no idea what I am in for and wanted to get any input that other members can provide.
    There is obviously a camper trailer to purchase and so many options there. My thoughts are a rear fold for convenience. I have a 2002 GU3, will I have to upgrade to haul a tralier?
    What essentials are required and so on.
    It won't be a lot of remote travel, but lots of back roads and camping stays.
    We plan on 4 - 6 months for the circuit.
    If I start planning now I can get the savings sorted to ensure I leave with every chance of returning
    As I lay there looking up, taking in the spectacular view that was the night sky and the multitude of stars I asked myself, where did my tent go?

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    Breadmaker Shaker Plasnart's Avatar
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    Great stuff mate! My lap of the map was planned for 6 months like yourself, but ended up being over 3 years haha. Was mid 90's, I was young and free and on a motorbike so any advice from me would be outdated and irrelevant to your needs. But those are still the best 3 years I ever experienced so hope your lap gives you the same memories!
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    Patrol Freak Mc4by's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plasnart View Post
    Great stuff mate! My lap of the map was planned for 6 months like yourself, but ended up being over 3 years haha. Was mid 90's, I was young and free and on a motorbike so any advice from me would be outdated and irrelevant to your needs. But those are still the best 3 years I ever experienced so hope your lap gives you the same memories!
    Funny you should say that #Plasnart, my wife questioned why I was in such a hurry to finish it
    I did a circuit on a motorcycle in the 80's so 'snap' on that one as well. Much less bitumen this time though.
    As I lay there looking up, taking in the spectacular view that was the night sky and the multitude of stars I asked myself, where did my tent go?

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    Patrol God mudnut's Avatar
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    @Cuppa is the man to talk to. After having to set up a side-style camper a couple of times, my main advice would be to invest in an offroad hard floor camper that can be set up in a matter of minutes. Enjoy planning for your trip.

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    Patrol Freak Mc4by's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudnut View Post
    @Cuppa is the man to talk to. After having to set up a side-style camper a couple of times, my main advice would be to invest in an offroad hard floor camper that can be set up in a matter of minutes. Enjoy planning for your trip.
    The forward or rear fold is definitely how we are thinking.
    As I lay there looking up, taking in the spectacular view that was the night sky and the multitude of stars I asked myself, where did my tent go?

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    I am he, fear me the evil twin's Avatar
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    What time of year are you going?
    Are you going to Tas as well?

    If it is the traditional 'April to Sep' or thereabouts then I would go clockwise as the Kimberley/NT/FNQ are best in the months of Mar, April, May.
    Those areas change so much that they can be totally different each tropical season (they don't have 4 seasons up there) but the late run off or early dry is great.
    Early wet is the best but you risk not getting in or even worse out of so much Top End.

    If it is earlier and you are going to Tas I would go anti-clockwise, Tas is best in Autumn IMHO

    Once you decide which way to go then it would take maybe 100 forum pages to list the "do not miss" or "make sure you see"

    I would sprint to Broome or SA, you live in WA so can pick up anything within say 1500 to 2000 K's some other time and get the max time for teh interstate stuff

    I also think that it is a good idea to have an Icon Event or two to attend, say... Sydney New Year Fireworks, Tamworth Music Festival, Supercars, Moomba, a GF or State of Origin or whatever floats your boat. Only downside is it can potentially dictate the pace of your trip or when you go but that is what I usually do and it has worked for me on every major trip I've done. It can be a real downer to arrive/leave just before or after something unless you are timing the trip to deliberately miss it... kinda like going fishing and finding out you should have been there yesterday :-)

    Camper - def a hard floor as a minimum, if the budget stretched to it a semi- hardshell like an Ultimate or full hardshell like a Tvan is even better. Access and setup becomes paramount when you are doing it on an almost daily basis, the easy the better by a loooong margin.
    At some point you will get adverse weather so the tougher the rig the better and if like me cold is bad warm is good stay away from cold high places in Winter if in a camper.
    Budget for a day or two or maybe even more in a Chalet/Cabin/Motel every few weeks, the breaks from the Camper are gold.
    Last edited by the evil twin; 1st February 2019 at 01:25 PM.
    Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

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    Get The Big Lap dvd if you ave not seen it. Done by amateurs but very inspirational none the less.

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    Legendary GQtdauto's Avatar
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    ET has pretty much nailed it , we did the big lap towing a 2.5 tonne plus van in a 2002 GU hand grenade with bugger all issues with the 4by .
    We have ditched the van and brought an off road camper it folds both forward and back is reasonably easy to set up but after a few months it becomes a chore and gets a bit old .
    We did the lap by going anti clockwise west coast and clock wise east coast .
    After a few more years of going off road to the harder to get to bits of oz we will morph into nomads and go back to a caravan .

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    Travelling Podologist Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the evil twin View Post
    What time of year are you going?

    Camper - def a hard floor as a minimum, if the budget stretched to it a semi- hardshell like an Ultimate or full hardshell like a Tvan is even better. Access and setup becomes paramount when you are doing it on an almost daily basis, the easy the better by a loooong margin.
    I'll second that, & add that whilst something like a Tvan is ridiculously expensive for what it is, you would be able to re-sell it after your trip for much the same as you paid for it. I have seen a couple of decent looking older ones for sale in the low $20k recently. We love the reassurance that their solid construction gives us & that they'll follow us hassle free pretty much anywhere we can take the Patrol.

    To expand a little on what ET has said - every little extra task, every extra minute it takes - when setting up or packing away - becomes a real chore when doing it every day over long periods. Very different to a weekend away or the annual 3 week holiday. Minimise the number of poles, ropes & pegs as much as possible. We love the Tvan because it is so quick & easy to set up/pack away. Whenever possible (quite often) we don't even use the tent section. Just open the hatch, 30 secs to put the elasticated bug mesh around the opening & we're done. Many use a variety of awnings with them. We carry the quick one with us to put up over the kitchen when needed, but have probably only used it half a dozen times since we left home last June. The main awning with 8 poles, ropes & pegs & heavy canvas stays at home, as does the zip on 'en-suite'.

    A lap of the map in 6 months? Can be done but it'll be a marathon effort, very tiring & you'll miss heaps. If you can take longer - do so. I 100% guarantee you wont regret it. I'd say you need a minimum of 12 months, but longer is better. 6 months may sound like a long time but it'll whiz by in the blink of an eye. Imagine rocking up at that special place you have dreamed of seeing one day & all you can think is "What's the point, it's just another thing to look at" ...... that is an almost inevitable experience you will have sooner or later if you are rushed .... & you will be if you stick to 6 months. The idea is to relax, enjoy & savour the experiences along the way & for that you need time. If 6 months is the max you can manage then I strongly suggest that you consider a 'half lap' instead.

    Our first lap (actually a 45,000km figure 8) took us 18 months & was wonderful, we 'picked the eyes out of it' but we still missed a lot. Before leaving it seemed like such a long time ahead of us, but it passed so quickly. It took 3 months before we felt we had started to 'find our rhthym'. If like most folk, used to daily work/life schedules, getting out on the road is about far more than just sightseeing. As a couple it's about leaving the 'norms' behind for a while & discovering/adventuring together. The hardest part of making that happen is 'slowing down', not being driven by what is around the next corner, but instead learning to really enjoy the present. No exaggeration about that being hard, it takes practice - for us it was that first 3 months before we began to 'find our pace'. 24/7 together, different roles to those we were used to - a few ups & downs in the process as we worked it out.

    Don't over plan & don't set a schedule for yourselves. Have a list of 'must see/do's' & make the rest up as you go. The best bits will be the unplanned/unexpected if you allow yourselves the ability/time to 'go off course/stay longer'. Booking ahead is for folk who like stress.

    There is much I could continue to add - travelling around Oz is my passion. But ...... if I were to give just a single piece of advice based upon our experience it would be 'Make a primary goal of the trip to find wonderful places to camp, recognise when you've found them & stay a day or two longer'. Not every camp is great, & we had many times , especially in the early days when we were camped up in some crappy rest area/gravel pit, wishing we had spent longer in the place we left that morning, but had let that 'need to push on' (I think it's a male thing) take precedence.

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    Patrol Freak Mc4by's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the evil twin View Post
    What time of year are you going?
    Are you going to Tas as well?

    If it is the traditional 'April to Sep' or thereabouts then I would go clockwise as the Kimberley/NT/FNQ are best in the months of Mar, April, May.
    Those areas change so much that they can be totally different each tropical season (they don't have 4 seasons up there) but the late run off or early dry is great.
    Early wet is the best but you risk not getting in or even worse out of so much Top End.

    If it is earlier and you are going to Tas I would go anti-clockwise, Tas is best in Autumn IMHO

    Once you decide which way to go then it would take maybe 100 forum pages to list the "do not miss" or "make sure you see"

    I would sprint to Broome or SA, you live in WA so can pick up anything within say 1500 to 2000 K's some other time and get the max time for teh interstate stuff

    I also think that it is a good idea to have an Icon Event or two to attend, say... Sydney New Year Fireworks, Tamworth Music Festival, Supercars, Moomba, a GF or State of Origin or whatever floats your boat. Only downside is it can potentially dictate the pace of your trip or when you go but that is what I usually do and it has worked for me on every major trip I've done. It can be a real downer to arrive/leave just before or after something unless you are timing the trip to deliberately miss it... kinda like going fishing and finding out you should have been there yesterday :-)

    Camper - def a hard floor as a minimum, if the budget stretched to it a semi- hardshell like an Ultimate or full hardshell like a Tvan is even better. Access and setup becomes paramount when you are doing it on an almost daily basis, the easy the better by a loooong margin.
    At some point you will get adverse weather so the tougher the rig the better and if like me cold is bad warm is good stay away from cold high places in Winter if in a camper.
    Budget for a day or two or maybe even more in a Chalet/Cabin/Motel every few weeks, the breaks from the Camper are gold.
    Great advice ET. We now have a daughter's wedding in July 2020 in Victoria that we will obviously arrive for. We will make a point of identifying the landmark events and trying to put markers on them. We will budget for a shower every couple of weeks if it's too cold to swim.
    As for the timing it looks like our trip just blew out to 12 months
    Last edited by Mc4by; 1st February 2019 at 04:37 PM.
    As I lay there looking up, taking in the spectacular view that was the night sky and the multitude of stars I asked myself, where did my tent go?

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