Trip to the outback

by David Luu
(Melbourne, Australia)

I am planning my outback trip via three stages:

  • Stage 1. Adelaide/Port Augusta/Coober Pedy/Uluru/Alice Springs/Katherine/Darwin.
  • Stage 2. Darwin/Tennant Creek/Mt Isa/Cairns.

Do you think I can do this with a normal sedan? I don't intend to go off-road or anything like that.

Would May be a good month to start the journey?

Should I have satellite phone? GPS?

The roadhouses on the way also provide mechanical repair, tyre services? Coz I only have one spare tyre for the trip.

Response to: Trip to the outback

Hi David,

So what's stage 3? :-) (I had to ask.)

"Do you think I can do this with a normal sedan?"


"Would May be a good month to start the journey?"

Yes, perfect.

"Should I have satellite phone? GPS?"

I can't see what for. You say you aren't leaving the bitumen. You won't need GPS to follow a straight highway that doesn't have any turn offs, and that's what most of your drive will be like.

Everything you visit will be signposted, it will be peak tourist season and there'll be crowds everywhere.

You won't need anything. Just make sure you don't fall asleep at the wheel on the more monotonous stretches, and that you don't hit any kangaroos at dusk or dawn. That's the biggest risk you'll encounter.

Other than that the only difference to driving on Melbourne roads is that we get slightly less traffic.

"The roadhouses on the way also provide mechanical repair, tyre services?"

Sure. Though if your car and tyres are in good condition you shouldn't need them.

You should make sure everything is in good condition. It's not a problem if something goes wrong, but it is a big cost factor. Everything out here is just so much dearer because of the distances involved. Freight costs are a killer.

Anyway, mostly you just have a very long drive ahead of you. Apart from that there's nothing to worry about.

I hope you have plenty of time. It does sound like it's gonna be a great trip!

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Trip to the outback
by: David Luu

Thank you for responding to my question. I guess I will only need a decent car and a map for the outback. I have a Mitsubishi 380 with 37,000km on the clock. Very good car so far, fingers crossed. I have the BP and Caltex petrol card; however I don't see anything from these two companies between Coober Pedy to Uluru and Alice Spring. I hope there are plenty of private roadhouse along the way.

Stage 3 would be from Cairns back to Melbourne which is a familiar route for us.

Thank you for your response,

David Luu

Plenty of roadhouses
by: Birgit

That's about it. A car, a map, and a big wallet.
The biggest distance between roadhouses in that area is 235 km between Coober Pedy and Marla. Everything else is well under 200 km. Nothing to worry about :-).

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