Big Trip Big Prep Perth to Coffs Harbour

nullarbor

Coming up in less than four weeks, we will be setting off on an epic journey from Perth to Sydney, up to Coffs Harbour, and back again. We’re talking about 10,000km’s. In one month. Four adults, two kids, camper trailers, four wheel drives.

I’ve been planning and preparing for a long time, I feel ready, but I know I’m not really, yet.

We are towing the camper, and also travelling with Melissa’s folks who are towing their camper. The idea is to free/bush camp the way over and back, with the occasional paid stop here and there for a quality shower and a chance to wash clothes.

Do you know how hard it is to book a place to stay, for only one night, in Dec/Jan. No one wants to have you for less than 3, or 5, or 7 days. Fair enough, they want folks to commit to a site during the busy season. Because of this, I’ve been stressed out, and busy trying to organise each spot. I can happily say I’ve done it, it’s all done, and if anything doesn’t go to plan, I have “backup” spots to camp and stay.

The itinerary:

Per -> Norseman (night #1 camp)
Norseman -> Mundrabilla Jilah Rockhole Wayside Stop (night #2 camp)
Mundrabilla -> Streaky Bay foreshore tourist park (night #3 camp)
Streak Bay -> Mambray Creek Campground, Mt Remarkable NP (night #4 camp)
Mambray Crk -> Bottle Bend Reserve, Mildura (night #5 camp)
Mildura -> Narrandera Buckinbong Reserve (night #6 camp)
Narrandera -> Sydney Lakeside CP in Narambeen (5x night stay)
Sydney -> Nelson Bay Halifax CP (2x night stay, xmas eve and xmas night (2x night stay)
Nelson Bay -> Gloucester (1x night stay with our mates at Drifta)
Gloucester -> Coffs Harbour CP (5x night stay)
Coffs -> Rocky Glen rest area (night #1 returning home)
Rocky Glen -> Cobar, Newey Res camp (night #2 camp)
Cobar -> Broken Hill (night #3 camp)
Broken Hill -> Nutbush Retreat west of Port Augusta (night #4 camp)
Nutbush -> Streaky Bay TP (night #5 camp)
Streaky Bay -> Mundrabilla Jilah Rockhole (night #6 camp)
Mundrabilla -> Norseman (night #7 camp)
Norseman -> Home

I feel relaxed having sorted out the accommodation and free camps, I’m now focusing on the prep for the trip. For example, the camper trailer has received a few mods and tweaks, it’s copped a lot of attention this year! Actually we only bought it this year.

I’ve knocked up a neat quick-connect kitchen light to light up the kitchen and prep area with an LED strip when I don’t have the annex up. The annex has an LED strip already, but I won’t be erecting the annex for all the over night stops, too much work. I needed something quick and easy, I stole this idea off another camper on myswag.org. It’s made of alu tube and some quick fittings, a ‘base’ is screwed on to the kitchen behind the stove, the whole thing packs down in sections with the stove, it’s just so easy!

Another idea that I stole from a mate… I saw this on his camper while we were up at Shark Bay last month. He attached a rack to his front storage box for carting his BBQ, what a top idea, gets more gear OUT of the storage box therefore leaving more space for packing items. I love it. He used some Rhino Pioneer platform (cut down), I used some Rhino “track”, and the Rhino eye bolts/nuts, turned out great, ready for tethering whatever!

I’ve put all new bearings in the hubs, flushed the brake fluid with new stuff, adjusted the brakes and then vac-sealed my spare bearings (pre greased) and whole spare hub

I gave the tyres a good cleanup with some WD40 (for the lettering), and some tyre cleaner, they came up looking like new, they are ten years old! I also inspected them for any wear/damage/cracking

Then I started to get to work on the FJ, a few little things I wanted to sort out before this big trip. A wise fellow told me that having the Redarc BCDC mounted in the engine bay on the fuse-box wasn’t a great idea and that the heat would de-rate the output of the unit, therefore not providing the AUX battery with an optimal charge.

I got to work on a custom bracket to mount it in the front grill so it cops all the fresh air when driving

Bingo Bango!

Then I decided I wasn’t overly happy about my roof-mounted maxtrax brackets, started thinking about how much my fuel economy is suffering with having them sticking up in the air like I had them. So I knocked up a bracket that mounts to the spare tyre on the back! Best of all, it doesn’t foul the reversing camera either!

Just this weekend I started on some electrical wiring. I’m wiring up a couple of new USB sockets for the rear passengers (kids), so if they want to charge their ipods/pads/stuff they can just jack-in. Next for the FJ is a service, then it’s ready to roll!

I’m feeling confident and now at a point where I really only need to start packing. I’d like the camper all packed up the week before the trip so I’m not running around organising things and stressing out on the night before we leave (which I’m sure I will be anyway!).  In that last week all I want to have to do is pack pillows and the fridges.

This is our biggest trip yet, first time crossing the nullarbor and driving out of W.A. Very exciting, and no doubt very testing with all the kilometers to travel. I hope I’ve spaced out each stop just right, the average distance for each day is around 500-600km’s. If I can knock down 300km in the morning, have lunch and another 300km after lunch, it should see us at each camp spot before sundown! Here’s hoping!

Stay tuned as I will be writing about each day right here, with photos and maybe some video of each spot we stop and any cool things we see along the way!

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