road trip around australia planning a trip

5 things to do when starting to plan your road trip around Australia with Kids

I remember the days when I would get to the end of the week and call up a girlfriend and it would be “let’s get in the car and go up the coast for the weekend”. Or I’d happily road trip the Great Ocean Road for a week or two, booking last minute accommodation anywhere and everywhere just because we could! Then, finding ourselves arriving in Melbourne City for sight seeing, shopping, partying only to do the long drive home a little worse for wear.

Believe it or not a lot of money and time can go in to planning a proper road trip. I’m talking about a good few month or even years on the road. The more I research it the more I want to do the ‘Big Lap’ or even ‘Half a lap’ around Australia. But for now our goal is just 3 months (but knowing us it is likely to go over that and it will be somewhere between 3-6 months).
Funding the trip, having the right vehicle, having a budget, knowing where you are going, what you want to see and how you are going to continue to school your kids are some of the main thought provoking topics that flood your head once you start down this path.
So here is a few notes and starting points for you, answering that same question I had of “Where do I start when planning a road trip around Australia with kids?”
1. Get yourself a map of Australia. HEMA maps seem to be the pick, but any brand of map is fine. You can get a map from most book shops, service stations, map shops, or your local auto club (RAA, RACV, NRMA, RACT etc.)
2. Map and list places you want to visit. Being in Facebook groups, or watching the Big Lap, or following some travelling family bloggers will help with inspiration. Knowing where you want to go will help guide you into what kind of vehicle and accommodation you might need. Whether you want to stay along the coast, stay on sealed roads or if you want to get off the beaten track to see some of the amazing hidden wonglobe-australia-1174704-1599x1066ders of Australia will all factor in. If you are heading off the beaten track, a 4WD & soft floor camper might be a better option then a motor home (like a Winnebago or Jayco). Another thing to consider is the size and weight. There are restrictions on what you can drive just using your standard state issued Drivers Licence (Car). Some states may vary slightly with inspections on vehicles and rulings but the first thing to know is that a car licence (C) Covers vehicles up to 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM). GVM is the maximum recommended weight a vehicle can be when loaded. There are motor homes and caravans etc under this weight but there are also some that go over the 4.5 tonnes and if you are interested in one over the weight it will mean you will need to get yourself a Light Rigid licence (LR). A light rigid covers a rigid vehicle with a GVM of more than 4.5 tonnes up to 8 tonnes. A holder of a LR licence is also permitted to drive vehicles in class C. (Some motor homes and bus conversions will need a LR licence.)
3. Facebook groups will become your best friend. There is a wealth of knowledge in those groups and you’ll find the members are super kind, patient and friendly. There are a few groups out there but my favourites at the moment are:

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  • Families on the Road- Travelling Australia
  • Travel Australia With Kids
  • Towing Kids – Around Australia
  • EVERYTHING CARAVAN &CAMPING
  • CARAVAN & CAMPING Buy, Swap & Sell
  • Motorhomes Australia
There are also 2 FACEBOOK pages that have been really helpful. They are business not chat groups but have a wealth of info on their page and on their websites:

4. DVD: Along my research I found out about a family of 4 that completed the ‘Big Lap’ around Australia. It took 16 mths and documented their journey. The DVD is a 10 part series on 3 DVD’s (about 8hrs full of entertaining and informative information. I borrowed a copy from our local library, but you can buy it online. www.thebiglap.tv

5. SCHOOLING: Schooling the kids is a huge topic in itself. In essence it’s not national, each state have different governing bodies, requirements and protocols for homeschooling and distant education.

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So there you have it 5 tips to get you started. Stay tuned for part 2 when we talk about Caravans, Motor homes and Camper Trailers and discuss the pros and cons of each and why one choice may work better for your family than the others.

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