After months of planning we departed in July on our 11 week, 15,000km “half lap” of Australia. This trip report is basically a collection of the best photos from the first part of our trip from Melbourne to Darwin via Central Australia and Kakadu.
For anyone who is into caravans, we got a Jayco Starcraft Poptop 17.58-3 Outback for the trip. Most caravans seem to be designed for 2 people (grey nomads) and we could only find 2 caravan models suitable for a family of 4 that had some offroad capability that come in under in 2500kg ATM which is the towing limit of our Prado.
We never planned to go through Adelaide but some last minute exhaust issues meant we spent a few hours enjoying the sights of Adelaide.
The trip has gone well so far. We have been on the road for 3 weeks with 8 more weeks to go. This first stage has been a mix of covering lots of highway kilometres to get north with some really special places along the way.
From a power and fuel consumption perspective a petrol Prado is not surprisingly a pretty crap vehicle to tow a caravan with. There is a reason that nearly everyone tows with a big diesel 4WD. Luckily the Prado comes with 180 litre fuel tanks or we would be stopping to fill up several times a day. (When we got the car in 2005 the D4D diesel engine was not yet released and we had no plans to caravan around Australia).
We had a period of 2 days near Coober Pedy where we had to drive into a moderate head wind. We couldn’t hold 5th gear (it is a 6 speed manual) so we had to drive at 80 km/h in 4th gear and just watch the fuel gauge drop……quite annoying. But our fuel economy seems to be improving a bit – possibly as a result of cleaning the MAF Sensor.
Apart from that and few electrical issues trying to run the fridges the car is going well. While we never plan to drive at night we have had a few occasions to do so – on one night for about 4 hours. The new Nitro 140 lights have come in very handy. Luckily no road kill so far although a dingo and cow gave us a scare in Kakadu.
The kids seem to be enjoying themselves – especially when they are swimming. Not so much when they have to do their schoolwork.
We have one more day in Darwin and then we head west for the Kimberley which I am expecting will be a real highlight of the trip. So stay tuned to the world of Bretto for Part 2 when we get to Broome.