Perth to Katherine

by Maria Cunningham
(Perth WA)

My husband has just been appointed a teaching job in Katherine NT and so we are making the journey from Perth to Katherine very soon. We have a 3 and a 5 yr old on board! We are driving a '99 Ford Falcon station wagon.

It has been suggested to us that we head towards South Australia and then head north via Coober Pedy. Do you think this is the most sensible move? We will only have about ten days to make the journey max. Perhaps a couple of nights pit stop in Alice.

Could you please suggest realistic size chunks of the journey so we can start making some en route bookings. Thank you very much for your time. Maria

Comments for Perth to Katherine

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Perth to Katherine
by: Birgit

Hi Maria,
As you probably know, along that route you are looking at a trip of about 4800 km.

If you drive up north towards Broome (either along Brand and North West Coastal Highway or along Great Northern Highway) and then west through the Kimberley you cut about 1000 km off that journey.

If you haven't done so already, get a map (or several more detailed ones).

You will see that neither route takes you through densely populated areas. Find out where you can get accommodation (some roadhouses may have motel facilities so you don't have to reach the next town).

You don't have all that many options to chunk your journey. You'll have to stop where you can get accommodation. So split the distance in ten bits, and then look for the most suitable overnight stop nearby. Or so...

I can't make more specific suggestions. I have no kids and have no idea how much sitting in the car they can handle when it goes over so many days, if it's better to intersperse long days with break days, or rather have a steady schedule of limited driving per day plus a few hours play.

by: Maria

Thank you very much for your input Birgit. We are heading north and saving Uluru for the school holidays when we have time to enjoy the area, rather than tearing through. We now have to be in Darwin in seven days time. Blimey! No time putting the kids through an extra thousand kms just to say we drove past and saw the majestic rock in our dust. Will save so we can savour!
Thanks again Maria

The rock's not on the road...
by: Birgit

I didn't realise that you also wanted to see Uluru. That's nowhere near the highway! It would have required an additional 485 km to drive there and back from the Erldunda turn-off.

Seven days Perth to Darwin through WA is not much fun, not for the kids anyway, but it's doable. Also, this time of the year you don't need to worry about bookings. Everything is empty.

You said you'll be living in Katherine. Do check out my Kimberley site. The Kimberley has a hundred times more to offer than that rock. (Now don't get me wrong, I love the Alice Springs area. But as you said, just seeing the rock in your dust...)

Being in Darwin/Katherine the East Kimberley is just around the corner.

On to it!
by: Maria

Crikey, you're an efficient lass. Just done the maths 5030km vs. 4007km! No question. Gotta be happy with that. We're aiming for Perth to Carnavon, Port Headland, Broome, rest day, Kununarra and through to Darwin for 'orientation'! Though, thinkin' we should be feeling well orienteered by that time. And, no, I didn't know about the 400 and then some km detour to see the rock. Under researched Kiwi about to learn a whole lot. Thanks again for your time. MCC

Driving Perth to Katherine
by: Mike

I have not done a great deal of outback travel and would appreciate any advice / comments.
We are leaving Perth around December 19th and need to be in Katherine before Christmas. I have been told that the best route is up tp Broome then through the Kimberly [Victoria Highway?] Is that the quickest / easiest route?
We will be travelling in an 80 series Landcruiser [petrol & LPG] that is in pretty good condition. There will be 3 drivers. Working on 1,000K's per day I believe the trip should take about 4-days. Allowing for unforseen delays and the occassional stop I have budgeted 5-days - does that sound right?
Any advice on best places to stop and how best to plan such a trip would be greatly appreciated.

Perth to Katherine
by: Anonymous

Going up to Katherine to visit our son at the end of June. How long should one allow to take with two drivers and just cruising? Is it an enjoyable trip? Any information would be good. Thank YOU.

Katherine to Toodyay
by: Anonymous

I did Katherine to Toodyay in April. On my own with a dog & two cats. I left Katherine late so stayed the first night at a c/van park in Kununurra in a cabin. I stayed at Wildare Bridge roadhouse, then Port Hedland mining camp, Katarina Rd house, then Paynes Find. All had shower & toilet in rooms, except Katarina which I wouldn't recommend. Carry plenty of water. Wildlife are on the roads at night, anything from cattle, horses & roos. I don't recommend driving at night. It's a good idea to take food, it gets expensive. Top up with fuel all the way. It was nearly a 4000k trip. Carry some cash. Katherine is almost into the wet season, check road conditions. Road trains are 55 meters long & there are plenty. Be prepared for hot humid weather.

Got to Katherine
by: Maria

We pulled into Katherine in Jan 2009. We had two kids 2+4, two teaching degrees and a readiness to work. We spent two years in Katherine and five years in the communities of the Arnhemland. We are home in NZ now getting ready for high school for the eldest. We love love loved our time out there and I am so happy to see a conversation I started is still going on. If you need any advice I know the place pretty well. Sing out.

long time no talk :)
by: Birgit

Hey, how cool to hear from you again!
And great to hear you liked it so much :)

Thanks for stopping by, Maria, and for offering to share your experiences with others here.

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