Trip Report: Big Caravan Trip Part 4 – Coral Bay to Melbourne

It’s been several months since my last post and I expect some of my regular readers were worried that we had suffered a Wolf Creek-like fate in the depths of the Australian outback. But the truth is we rushed back home to Melbourne and got caught up in the usual busy-ness of living in a big city. Work and life returned to normal so quickly it was like we had never been away.

Although we didn’t waste much time on our return to Melbourne, we caught up with friends along the way and saw some great places. So here is some of the photos from the last leg, and if you scroll to the end of the post you will find some further information that might be useful if you are planning a similar trip.

Monkey Mia is worth a visit if you are in the area and like dolphins. We spent 2 nights here but 1 would have been enough. We hadn’t been to Monkey Mia since Amyo was a baby.
Sandboarding at the Lancelin dunes. We hired the board from the local servo where we left the caravan so we could have some fun in the car.


Lancelin dunes


You are allowed to drive through the sand dunes at Lancelin and it is a lot of fun. We dropped the tyres to about 15psi and had no problems.

If you live in Victoria and want to drive some dunes check out the Portland Dune Buggy Club.

We made it to Perth and this was one of the strangest things I have seen. This was the Cat Haven Street Appeal where cat lovers queued up for a long time to make a donation so they could go into the orange gazebo and pat a kitten.
Kings Park
West Australians are not very subtle
Having been underwhelmed by Wave Rock previously, I didn’t even bother getting out of the car while the rest of the family went to marvel at it’s rockyness.
Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance
Sunset on the Nullarbor
Crappy photo – but a very impressive stretch of road
There are heaps of nice spots to stay along the Nullarbor
One of the roadhouses along the Nullarbor
The Great Australian Bight
I thought farmers were always busy milking cows and racing tractors. But in Port Lincoln it seems they have time to make a bull riding simulator. This is what happens if you don’t have the NBN.
Near Port Lincoln
Coffin Bay
Another bloody canola field
Before we knew it we were back in Melbourne and it was all over.

Distance – We did about 16,000km with more than 1,500km of that on dirt roads.

Fuel – We spent $5,500 on unleaded. We averaged about 23.5L/100km which is about what we expected. Obviously most diesel 4WD’s should use less fuel than that. The most we paid for fuel was $2.20/litre (Gibb River Road) but mostly we paid $1.40-$1.50/litre in decent size towns.

Duration – We were away for 11 weeks and felt a bit rushed at times. Another week or two would have been good.

Accommodation – We free camped about one third of the time, about one third of the time in cheap campsites like National Parks and budget caravan parks (under $30/night) and the other third in caravan parks at more than $30/night. (The most expensive being $79 at Coral Bay). $50-$60/night was pretty common for a powered site.

Caravan – We purchased a new Jayco Starcraft 17.58-3 Outback. It was a great van and performed well. We sold it shortly after we returned and it were happy with the resale value. We had a few minor issues which were fixed under warranty. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another Jayco. I didn’t like the 3-way fridge but our favourite features included: toilet, hot water system, external table. If I was going to buy another caravan to keep I would be looking for: Compressor fridge and more solar panels, 200+ litres of fresh water, built in inverter, additional USB charging points, wider bed, slide out BBQ, more external storage and maybe a grey water holding tank. But all this stuff would cost a lot more and you won’t get this in a 2,500kg caravan (which was our towing limit with the Prado). So given our weight limit and budget it was the perfect family van.

Thanks for following our journey!

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