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Which way to drive around Australia on your Big Lap?


Once you've made the decision to drive around Australia, it's time to get down to some of the more practical aspects of the journey.

Probably the first big one you'll want to consider is which way to turn when you drive out the driveway - will you travel clockwise or anti clockwise around Australia.

You may not actually be planning to travel around the whole country but even so the decision still applies.

Many argue that anticlockwise is best because you will mostly have the wind behind you and if you're towing a caravan, wind resistance is going to be a big factor in fuel economy.

We travelled clockwise on our Big Lap and we didn't have any more headwinds than tail winds, so from my experience I'm yet to be convinced of this theory.

Other factors which are more important are when you leave and where you start from.

If you want to maximise the warm weather (not too hot, cold, humid or wet) then you'll probably want to spend the middle 6 months of the year (April to September) travelling across the north of Australia between Broome and Cairns or vice versa.

This is the time of year in the north they call the 'Dry Season' when temperatures are milder, generally in the high twenties to mid thirties (centigrade), the humidity is much lower and rain falls very occasionally so the roads are generally all open.

It's the best time to be there if you're looking for the milder climate and almost guaranteed access on any roads. It also coincides with winter in the southern half of the country which you are possibly trying to escape from!

On our Big Lap we saw no rain at all from about halfway up the west coast in April until we were almost at the tip of Cape York 7 or 8 months later.

The dry season is also a good time to be in and around the Red Centre (Alice Springs, Uluru etc.) with the daytime temperatures in the high teens to high 20's and the nights often reaching zero degrees or slightly lower.

If the extreme night time cold is not to your liking then Spring (Sept-Nov) and Autumn (March-May) are the best times to be in the centre where you'll be nicely between the extreme heat of summer and the freezing nights of winter.

Australia's Climate Zones

Tropical ZoneDry Season
Warm to hot days
Cool to warm nights
Low to moderate humidity
Very low rainfall
Roads and tracks usually open
Wet Season
Very hot days & nights
Very high humidity
High rainfall
Road and track closures
Sub Tropical ZoneWarm days
Cool to warm nights
Moderate humidity
Lower chance of rain
Very warm to hot days
Warm to very warm nights
Higher humidity
Higher chance of rain
Arid ZoneWarm days
Cold to freezing nights
Low humidity
Lower chance of rain
Extremely hot days
Cool to warm nights
Low humidity
Higher chance of rain
Temperate ZoneCold to warm days
Cold nights
Low humidity
Higher chance of rain
Warm to extremely hot days
Warm to hot nights
Low to moderate humidity
Less chance of rain
Alpine ZoneCold to freezing days
Freezing nights
Moderate to high humidity
Rain and snow
Cool to hot days
Cool to warm nights
Moderate humidity
Higher chance of rain

The other 6 months of the year between October and March is the 'Wet Season' in the north which is also called the 'Green Season'.

The weather is much hotter and more humid and thunder storms are generally a daily occurrence. Rivers flood and roads are closed so getting around can be a challenge as well.

All of the sealed highways will likely remain open but detouring off to any of the attractions will become a less predictable. This is a good time to be in the southern half of the country enjoying summer.

But . . . having said that, if you're up for it, try and get up north in the Wet at some stage because it really is an amazing thing to experience.

The heat is unbelievable and the air thick with humidity but the rainstorms are truly spectacular and the waterfalls and rivers and wetlands are all in flood and thick with birds, insects and other wildlife.

Many tour businesses and hotels remain open and will appreciate showing you the true spectacle of the northern wet season. You'll probably find they offer some great deals as well.

Another thing to consider when deciding which way to go is to start your trip with the easier more 'civilised' travelling and work your way up to the more adventurous sections as you get more experience.

So when deciding which way to go, consider the weather and the time of year, saving the hard stuff until later in the trip and, if you think it makes a difference, the prevailing wind directions.

The most important thing is to be aware of the weather you're likely to experience at different times in different places and factor it into your plan so you have the best chance of maximising the experience.

Further Reading:

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Steve Baile
Steve Baile
I’m the founder of Expedition Australia, a writer, filmmaker & adventure travel junkie. Passionate about my family, health and fitness, hiking, 4WD touring, adventure motorbikes, camping and exploring as much of the planet as I can.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Good advice. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I always think of travelling in a clockwise direction. I think at the end of the day, it would depend on how long I was going for, where I wanted to spend my time, and the time of year.


  2. G'Day Steve,
    The wife and I are seriously looking at a trip around Australia; we are in our Mid 40s and are going to sell the house & the business and head off, with no time frame in mind,
    Just wondering if you could advise on what average cost of fuel would be to travel our beautiful country? Just a total estimate would be fine.  We’ll be in a motor home averaging 12/14 ltrs
    per 100km.

    We are also considering doing a working trip, picking up a few days here and there, in different towns. Do you think this would be possible?

    My wife had a few concerns about being on the road so far away from civilization, ie Crimes on travellers, Have you had any problems or know of any places that we could avoid.

    Sorry to be a pain with all the questions, Just our first time doing anything like this.

    It would be awesome to catch up with other travellers on or journey.

    We are so excited and are looking at starting as soon as we sell

    • G'day Shane,
      Great to hear you're planning your trip.
      If you just travel around the coast you'll probably cover around 30,000km which at 14 ltr/100 km would be 4,200 litres.
      Expect to pay on average about 30 cents per litre more than city prices which are currently about $1.50 ltr, so work on $1.80 ltr.
      4,200 x $1.80 = $7,560
      I'd probably budget about $10,000 just to be safe.
      Casual work can be easy to find if you ask around. Caravan parks in remote areas are often looking for people to help out for odd jobs, caretaking, etc. and they will also be able to point you in the right direction for local seasonal work like fruit picking.
      If you have a trade you'll find it easier.
      Crime is not as much an issue as you might think and shouldn't deter you from going. If you're concerned about it, just stay in caravan parks with other people around rather than bush camping or roadside stops and don't leave things lying around where they are easily taken. IN 16 months travelling around the country we lost nothing to thieves even though it would have been very easy to take stuff from our camp, nor did we hear of anyone else.
      You'll have no problems meeting other people along the way. We met literally hundreds. In fact you'll often keep meeting the same people over and over when you check into the same caravan parks.
      Enjoy your trip.

      • Thanks Steve,
        That’s awesome info, we are so excited and would love to send you some photos of our trip, I’m sure you are inundated everyday with other pics,
        We'll keep you update you on how our adventure pans out.

        Keep up the great work bud. Love the web site

        Shane & Leisa.

  3. I think you have given a lot of good advice. We have done it both ways, and would recommend doing it a second time the opposite way after a few years. The aspect from the different direction makes it a whole new trip, especially across the top. We were only new at it when we first went in 1996, but soon learned the ropes. Just to feel more secure, only bush camp where there are other travellers who look a respectable type of person. Enjoy.

  4. Hi Steve,

    We are planning the trip next year with others. Originally we were going clockwise from Central Coast of NSW but have decided to go anti-clockwise due to weather across the top (we plan to leave late April) as you have stated but also to catch the wild flowers in WA on the way down the coast in Spring.
    I enjoyed reading the other comments.

    Happy travelling, Geoff

  5. Hi Steve,
    My partner and I are planning a trip exploring the east coast from cooktown to Melbourne over 3 months, we are reasonable well equipt with a hilux and a top end campertrailer even tho we plan to stay in mostly caravan parks, we live on the gold coast and were thinking about heading north in August and heading back down and traveling south by mid September, if we manage to sell our house prior we might take a lot longer, do you have any suggestions or expert opinions for us, and places you recommend or things we wouldn't have thought of taking? It's always good to hear from someone with experience!

    • Hi Rhys,

      Sounds like a great trip you have lined up there. August/September is a good time of year to be travelling - not too hot or too cold. If I were to offer some suggestions, why not go all the way to the tip of Cape York? You've got a 4WD and camper trailer so you'll get there easily enough. As long as you're heading back down from the cape by around October before the rains start you'll be fine and heading south into spring and summer. As far as what to take, all I'd say is take less than you think you need because you don't want to spend your time a managing 'stuff'. You're on the east coast so plenty of opportunity to buy anything you really need but think 'less is more'. If I had a favorite place to go on the east coast it would be Airlie Beach. Beautiful little town and a great base camp to get out and explore the Whitsundays on one boat or another. Also make sure you get out to Stockton Beach in Newcastle. Drop into Out of Town 4WD and say g'day to Fred and the boys. Have a great trip.

  6. HI Steve,

    we are planning to leave with our young family in February to travel with 4WD and caravan around Australia for the year. WE are complete novices but hope to learn along the way. Wondering if you can give us some advice about an itinerary and where to go first according to weather patterns.


  7. hi guys my partner and i are beginning our journey end of october start of november , we are looking at going north we know its going to be hot and wet season but some beautiful things to see that time of the year .

    has anyone travelled north that time of the year before and can give us any information on find work , fuel etc.


    • Travelling across the north of Australia during the wet (November to March) is spectacular and not crowded and very hot and humid but you will need to be concious of road closures. Many unsealed roads are closed for months during the wet eg. Cape York, Gibb River Road etc. You may need to be calling ahead to local business's or checking the road and traffic websites of the state you're in to see what roads are open/closed.
      Any fuel service on a road that is open should still be running. Finding work may be more of a challenge especially in tourism oriented business's that are running on lower tourist numbers. I'd call ahead to the local Centrelink or other job services and just have a chat to them about what is going.

  8. Hi Steve. My husband and I are travelling in south east Asia and New Zealand for a month each before arriving in Oz for another 4 weeks. We'll be there end of December and plan to spend New Year in Sydney. We'd like to see the Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef and Melbourne (ideally including the Australian Open). I'm a bit worried about the amount of rain in the north at that time of year. Would it be ok to spend a few days at the Whitsundays? thanks for your advice.

    • Hi Claire, rain in January in the Whitsundays will be hard to avoid. I was working on one if the resort islands many years ago over Xmas and New Years and we actually had a cyclone come through so spent Xmas mopping up. However this is not the normal situation and the Whitsundays are not fully in the tropics so you'll be likely to get plenty of sun and it won't be cold. If I were you I would go anyway and if you get a bit of rain here and there just take it as part of the experience an sit in the bar enjoying another cocktail.

  9. Hubbie and I are setting off caravanning end April to NT and WA for 6 months. Live in Sydney and wondering where to head first. Recently returned from Flinders/Broken Hill region. Do we head that way again? What would you suggest please.

  10. Hi. We are leaving Vic early April for half lap for 3 months of Aussie focussing on Kimberies in May. Do we go anti clockwise and possibly face uncomfy hot weather or clockwise and battle strong westerlies. We have 20ft6 van and near new diesel 4x4. Would appreciate your comments.Regards David T

    • Hi David, good question. I'm assuming you're going through the centre and via the west coast? In April - June you won't see much hot weather anywhere along that path. The weather will be pretty much perfect in the Kimberley in May so you can rely on that. I think the bigger question is do you want to be in the south west on your way back during winter where you'll likely get a fair but of rain and cold, or coming down the centre where it will be cold at night but mild days (mostly).

      I think I'd go clockwise and be in the south west in April before winter sets in and be in the centre in June.

      For the sake of possibly a few days of head winds across the nullarbor on your way over I reckon missing as much winter as possible would be the better option.

  11. Dear Steve,

    Our family of 5 (kids aged 10,9 and 5) are planning a trip around Australia leaving early Feb next year from Brisbane. At this stage we are looking at purchasing a 18ft Jayco expander as we need a toilet due to a medical condition of my daughters. I have a million questions but the main ones at this stage are what direction/route do you advise and also we are needing to upgrade our 4WD due to investing in an expander. I know 4WD preferences are highly personal but is there a 4WD that you would recommend? We are hoping to do off go off the beaten track at some points and need to feel secure in our vehicles ability. Thanks

    • Hi Kim,
      Love hearing people making plans for the Big Lap 🙂
      If I were leaving Brisbane in Feb, I'd head north and go anti-clockwise so you can spend the middle 6 months of the year going across the top in the dry season then be coming around the bottom in summer os you'll get the best weather everywhere.
      Make sure you detour into the centre on your way across the top and also head up to the Flinders Ranges/Oodnadatta track from Port Augusta when you're coming across the bottom - although in the peak of summer it will be pretty hot.
      As for the 4WD, you'll need a full size one to fit the 5 of you and tow the Jayco - I'm a Toyota tragic so I'd suggest you get an 80 or 100 Series Landcruiser or even a 200 if you have the budget. The Nissan Patrol will do the job and probably save you a few thousand dollars on the purchase price. Personally if I were to buy a Patrol (not likely!) I'd only get a 6 cyl diesel, not the turbo 4 cyl - it's just too much load for a 4 cyl and I've heard a few stories of them self destructing - one guy while on top of the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne - yikes!
      Good luck

  12. I'm planning do a big lap over 12 months. I will be buying when I arrive in the country as I'm overseas. I'm unsure as to which to buy tho. I'm going to have a budget of around $25000 to purchase my wheels.For that kind of money do you have any thoughts on a campervan or would you go the 4wd/ trailer combo. Would I miss too much if I didn't have 4wd or would a decent campervan be capable of accessing most areas. I'm thinking 95% of all journeys would be on sealed roads, would this be a fair estimation do you think?

    • Hi Dave, $25k will get you a reasonable second hand 4wd and camper trailer setup and also a decent camper, maybe an ex rental Troopcarrier from Britz for example. So it's really a personal preference as to which you choose. The 4wd/camper option will give you more space. You can travel right around Australia on sealed roads but there are a lot of great destinations at the end of dirt roads so I'd personally go the 4wd option.

  13. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for all of the advice, this is a great site. My situation is a little more bare bones and minimalist than many of the others above, and because of that I am wondering if the trip is even possible.

    I have just got back from visiting the east coast of Canada where I was able to do lots of hiking/camping and managed to meet someone who shares similar interests and has been very well traveled. We are both mid to late 20's and are currently doing our PhD's (so we are POOR). Once we finish early 2015 we were planning to fly her down to Aus and camp our way around Australia as a celebration. Starting in Hobart, heading up the midlands to the ferry and setting out clockwise once we get to Melbourne. Time of year isn't set in stone yet, but It would possibly begin in early Autumn.

    For the most part we would be tenting it, with as many cheap stops as we can afford. Currently I only have a 2WD vehicle so would be restricted to mostly sealed roads. Although I am hoping to change that situation before the trip. Would you say that Darwin to Alice springs etc is possible without 4WD?

    Additionally, as we are both limited by funds there is no way the trip could last a year. I know that we will miss lots, and want to avoid rushing a trip as much as possible. But, what would you say is the shortest amount of time we could do this trip, while still enjoying it; roughly of course.

    Do you think the trip is possible?

    Hope to hear from you mate,


    • Hi Rob, I'd say the minimum time you'd need would be 6 months, any less then consider do no a half lap though the centre via either the east or west coast depending on what your looking for - the west is more outback and the east more towns and cities. In general you want to be in the northern half of the country in the middle six months of the year and southern the rest of the years to get the best weather. You don't need a 4wd between Alice and Darwin as it's sealed roads all the way and most of the main attractions are on sealed roads as well. A 4wd isn't essential to see Australia but it sure helps. If you could pick up a decent 2nd hand 4wd in your budget you'd certainly see more but either way, go anyway.

  14. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for all of the advice, this is a great site. My situation is a little more bare bones and minimalist than many of the others above, and because of that I am wondering if the trip is even possible.

    I have just got back from visiting the east coast of Canada where I was able to do lots of hiking/camping and managed to meet someone who shares similar interests and has been very well traveled. We are both mid to late 20's and are currently doing our PhD's (so we are POOR). Once we finish early 2015 we were planning to fly her down to Aus and camp our way around Australia as a celebration. Starting in Hobart, heading up the midlands to the ferry and setting out clockwise once we get to Melbourne. Time of year isn't set in stone yet, but It would possibly begin in early Autumn.

    For the most part we would be tenting it, with as many cheap stops as we can afford. Currently I only have a 2WD vehicle so would be restricted to mostly sealed roads. Although I am hoping to change that situation before the trip. Would you say that Darwin to Alice springs etc is possible without 4WD?

    Additionally, as we are both limited by funds there is no way the trip could last a year. I know that we will miss lots, and want to avoid rushing a trip as much as possible. But, what would you say is the shortest amount of time we could do this trip, while still enjoying it; roughly of course.

    Do you think the trip is possible?

    Hope to hear from you mate,



  15. Hi, great site and informative articles 🙂
    We're in the beginning stages of planning our Trip and will be travelling with our 3 children. I was thinking to do the West first because that way we'd get the long 'boring' drives out of the way while the kids are still excited about life on the road, saving the East coast for when the novelty is wearing off and we can then have shorter drives and more 'attractions' to visit. Good to have some other aspects to consider though.

  16. Hiya Steve.. we (family of 5... kids aged 7,9,10) are planning the adventure of a lifetime...we live in melb and wondering which direction to depart from for a 12 mth trip... if we dep at Christmas or in June?? I have my thoughts based on info here, but would love the experts advice.
    thanks so much

    • Hi Debra, if I were leaving in June I'd head up the east coast fairly quickly and plan to be cross the top and over to Broome by about October, then down the west coast. If you you leave at Xmas, consider going the other way so you're along the bottom in summer then across the top in winter. These options will give you the best of the weather.

  17. G-day Steve me and my fiancé have wanted to go travelling Australia for quiet some time now and as I've been working up north for the last two years on a 4/1 roster I've finally had enough and we have decided to stop talking about it and do it September 2014. I have an 80 series land cruiser that's in top shape with all the fruit and as me and my partner both love camping , fishing and everything in between we've decided to do it mostly throught bush. The reason for my email is simply I don't remotely no where to start in terms of planning this trip or which way to head off first ( from Perth). I was just curious as to how you would go about this trip if you were in our position. We not putting a time limit on this trip and will likely try and find a bit of work here and there to maximise this once in a life time experience and explore discover this beaut country we call home. regards Adam

    • Hi Adam, sounds like a good plan and the 80 Series is is the way to go. (80's rule!!) If leaving Perth in September I'd head east and go anti-clockwise around and time it so your heading across the top in the middle six months of the year. Since you're not in a hurry you'll have time to head into the centre on your way across the top so you'll be there mid year. Get yourself a map of Australia, stick it on the wall and start marking places you want to go. Download my budget spreadsheet to get a idea of how much money you'll need. Make a list of all the things you think you'll need to get and start looking so you don't have a heap of things to get at the last minute. Make sure you follow my Facebook page and join my mailing list (in the right sidebar) so I can let you know when my Big Lappers Guide Book is available (soon!).

  18. Hi Steve
    Love reading all your advice on this page. I have a question also, we are planning to leave to do the big lap in July next year. We are from tassie so we are seeing as much of that as we can before we leave. So starting from Melbourne in July which way do we go.
    Thanking you Wendy

    • Hi Wendy, leaving from Melbourne in July and assuming you have a year to be back to Melb or Tassie you would ideally get up north as fast as possible to get into the sunshine then be thinking about gettin back down South toward Xmas. But, then in the new year you'll want to be heading north again. Not an easy one!! Maybe you could do a figure 8 lap . . Go up the Stuart Highway to Darwin then across into WA and down the coast so you're in Pert at Xmas, across the Nullarbor to Port Augusta, through the Flinders ranges and up the Birdsville track into Qld, on up to Cape York then back down the east coast to Melb by mid year. A few more Km's than a standard lap but you'd see a lot of the country.

  19. Hi Steve, I like to have advice from you, me n my husband planning to go around Australia aprox for 8-12 months, but we don't know where is the best way to start, we live in near Byron bay NSW.we planning to go in January 2014 we to know as much as we can in every state, by the way I was wondering where is the place may be we can pick up a couple days of work here and there if we can get one,but it is not necessary,thank you for your advice and cheers

  20. Hi Steve ,

    Just a quick question we are setting off on our trip in late jan 2015 we have a 4 wd and fully equipped camper trailer we will also have 4 children with us , we are hoping to spend 4 months on the road doing the south end of Australia leaving from Bundaberg QLD , is this a good time of yr to be heading south , we hoping to get as far around to Perth

    Thanks in advance

  21. Hi.

    We have just ordered our 20ft van and are going to be traveling for 6 months ( when she gets her long service leave). We are a couple 35yrs old and are in Adelaide. We are undecided whether to go east or west. I thought up the centre in around july and west. She thought up the centre and east. Or could we do the whole lap?

    • Hi Kevin, decisions . . . decisions . . I'd be inclined to just do the half lap rather than try and do the whole thing in 6 months. Starting up the centre is a good idea but as for east coast or west coast after that, you'll have to figure that out yourselves - flip a coin?

  22. Steve,

    Re your point about which way to go around. We are 3/4 of the way around on a anti clockwise trip and have had about equal amounts of head vs tail winds. It all depends on the weather on the day.

    To that end we found the best thing to do is go on the the Bureau of Meteorology web site and using ther MetEye section look at the forecast winds for the next few days and plan when you drive accordingly.


    • That was pretty much our experience too - being in the right place at the right time of year was much more important than head winds versus tailwinds which could go either way.

  23. Hi, we are planning to leave beginning of sept 15 from geraldton WA & head to red centre, up to NT, across & up to cape York & then down east coast. We only have 4 months.
    We've lived north west for a while & don't want to waste our time in this area if possible, so I'd really like to take central coast road thought to alice, then up to Katherine, & east from there. We have a caravan, so not sure what the roads are like & if we'll make it through. We want to have arrived in the cape by October, so we can start heading south by end of oct... & away from heat & rain.
    The only other option I see is to punch it through the N/W on highways, til we get to Darwin, then slow down - only drama is we are traveling with a 3 & 4 year old... That will be a tough start for them stuck in a car for 4-5 days traveling non stop.....
    Not sure how far south we'll get before having to head home - maybe Brisbane if we are lucky? Do you think that's possible? We're not sure how much detouring from coast to inland points of interest we should be doing... as that will impact how far we go!
    Any advice you have would be appreciated...

    • Hi Shilo, If you're planning to take your caravan across the centre of WA and up to Cape York it would have to be a serious off roader. I haven't driven across central I've been up the Cape a few times and your have about 2000km's round trip of variable unsealed road. It's a big trip for 4 months but certainly feasible. I've met quite a few people who've done the whole lap in 3 months. It'll just be a lot of driving.

    • We have some friends who just arrived at Geraldton after doing the Great Central road from Uluru to Laverton. They said it was seriously rough, fuel consumption doubled, lots corrugations etc. So any van and vehicle doing this route would need to be seriously strong off road. They did strike graders at the WA end. But NT end very rough. Good luck, worth the effort, but allow plenty of time. I think they took 8 days??

  24. Hi Steve,

    great articles and lots of things to contemplate.
    We were thinking of a Big Lap for a long time, got the Prado semi-prepared and tested on smaller trips through Broken Hill, Flinders Ranges and Tasmania a few times.
    I found you site by asking Google the question Clock or Anti-clock around Australia.

    Good friends of ours who are coming from The Netherlands made the decision for us; they fly to Perth and travel with us to Broome before they are heading back by plane to Perth.
    So we meet up in Perth coming from Melbourne and therefore Clock-wise it will be.
    That means July for the south and south-west heading north, during August heading east to Katherine, Kakado and Darwin, and into September heading south, the Alice, Uluru, etc. and heading home via Cober Pedy onto the Oodnadatta Track.
    Many national parks to visit along the whole trip.

    We imagine the south will be coolish but the north just right.

    Looking very much forward to our trip and the many things to prepare before we leave end of June.

    Thanks again for your interesting stories, Maurits and Mylene.

  25. Hi Steve,

    My husband, 13yr old son and I are planning to travel to Uluru from the Sunshine Coast this year. We will be towing a caravan and intend on leaving at Easter and taking 10 weeks . Our intention is to head south-west to first and was wondering which route would you recommend taking?


    • Hi Natasha,
      If you're looking to stick to the black top then you'll need to come down and through Port Augusta then back up the Stuart Highway.
      So you'd be looking at Bourke - Cobar - Broken Hill - Port Augusta - Coober Pedy.
      If you have an offroad capable van then you could go across to Birdsville and down the Birdsville Track to Marree then along the Oodnadata Track and join up with the Stuart Highway either at Coober Pedy or Marla.
      This would be the more adventurous route and the one I would recommend but you'll need an offroad caravan to do it.

  26. Hi Steve,
    You are doing an amazing job answering so many questions for "want-to-be travellers.! What would your advise be for the following: I have a 99 Prado , twin battery pack, great lights, toe bar, in mint condition (low mileage) and being well maintained. I want to do the Big Lap without having to tow a caravan or havy trailer. What, in addition to a James Baroud hard shell tent , Engel Freezer, should I consider to install or add to make such a trip possible? I don't want to rely on motels etc, and be as self sufficient as possible. Thanks for your response/advise and please let me know if your book is now available. Many thanks, Carsen

    • Hi Carsen, thanks for the feedback - I agree that if you can do it without towing then go for it. The Prado will do the job, no problems. The trick when you have limited space is to build in as much as you can - a place for everything and everything in it's place. You don't want to be having to unload everything all the time to get to something buried. A water tank built in or mounted along the cage between back seat and rear area would be good. Roll out drawers. Awning along the side of the roof rack. 12v points. Built in LED lights. The more you can build stuff in the better.

  27. Hi Steve, great site! Found it, while googling "clockwise or anti-clockwise around oz"!
    I'm going to travel on my own in a fully equipped Pajero, starting in January 16 from Newcastle/Sydney doing the big lap (at leAst, I want to try to) it'll be a lot of driving, because I'm heading back to Germany in the middle of May.

    Id like to see the Kimberley's, Kakadu, Cape York, Alice, Perth and tassie...any suggestions which way round to travel? Cold/Heat are fine for me, I'm more thinking about closed roads in the rain period in the northern part...

    Thanks, Fred

    • G'day Fred, that's a lot to squeeze into 4 months but it'll be an adventure for sure. I'm assuming you're leaving from Newcastle or Sydney to go back to Germany. Roads like the Gibb River road in the Kimberley will be closed until after the wet season so you probably want to go clockwise - head down to Tassie first when it will be summer and nice and warm, then shoot across the bottom to Perth and up the East coast aiming to arrive at Broome around the time the Gibb River Road opens. It didn't open until May when we were there so you might find you run out of time. Check with the Broome or Kununurra Tourist Info centres for updated info. Then you'll have to move quickly across the top to get up to Cape York. I think you might find you're going to run out of time but good luck.

  28. Hi. Just stumbled across your web site. Last year, my wife and I left Beenleigh Qld. and travelled south west to Kingston SA. From there we followed the coastline all the way to Monkey Mia than returned via Kalgoorlie and home through Broken Hill to Beenleigh. 17,000 kilometres in a 2005 Hilux 4X4 turbo diesel towing a 2002 Jayco Heritage. Excellent trip. Saw so much. Done as much free camping and bush camping as possible as our biggest expense was fuel. Along the way we bought a 7 inch Garmin. We also paid approx. 6 or 7 dollars for an app called Wiki Camps which was our cheapest and greatest tour guide. This is similar to Camps 7 book but it will also give prices. These 3 items are a must have for a trip as they will really save you a lot of money. I hope this is helpful hints to all travellers. Regards Jim.

    • Hi Jim, Sounds like a bit of fun... can i ask how long you were gone for.....and if you just ambled along...


  29. Hi Steve, We have done the big lap twice now, once in 1998 and then 2013. Both times anticlockwise. As far as wind is concerned we had tail and head winds at various times. Returning over the Nullarbor in October we had some very strong head winds. Don't rush the trip and wait a day or so if possible when strong head winds are forecast. My reason for anticlockwise is mainly for the weather, coolest in the North if leaving Melbourne end of June, needing at least 4 months for the trip, this last time we headed up the centre to Darwin, then West. Best time for the wildflowers is to start from the North WA around August to get to the South for October to get the best of all the wildflowers along the route. In 98 we took 5 months. August on both occasions treated us with lousy weather in Perth and we waited a couple of weeks before it cleared enough to continue. We were fortunate to be able to camp at my cousins place for the weather to clear. We intend to head West again next year to be in Perth for a school reunion end of October and will probably head clockwise this time, but return the same way. It would probably be uncomfortable in the North from November onwards. I prefer solar power to the noisy generators, generally enough for most needs which will allow lots of free camping. We tow a caravan. Make sure to have led lighting, will save heaps on power.
    To answer the question of which direction, depends on the time of year, but if getting away from the southern winter, then anticlockwise gets the best of the weather, and don't try less than 4 months, longer if heading up the East coast first.
    From Pt Headland there are two routes to consider, inland and coast, we have done both, and both worthwhile, but different.
    Safe travelling everyone, take your time.

  30. Hi.

    Lot's of good advice there Steve, then some.

    Don't put them off the Patrol 3 ltr though. It's as good (better in my eyes than Tojo) as anything else,
    and one of the only 3 if you towing 3 ton and over. (My "02 series 4 leaves any Standard (none locked) 80 series for dead.) towing and bush. We use Shoalwater bay when army not in there.
    Mine towed my 6.5mtr off road Roadstar round Australia every yr (3 to 4 months at a time) for 14 yrs. with tinny on roof
    total Repair costs. $460 for a key ring sensor.
    They a LOT more economical than Toyota's. with same size vans (I travel with a couple)
    Better suspension and more comfortable long range seats (try 1100km a day Yeppoon to Darwin most yrs.)
    With van and tinny

    Unless going real bush, Falcons. Valiants, even Holden did most of Australia with and without vans,
    Decades b4 you lot. Drive whatever, sensibly and to conditions you'll be fine. and buy a non mounted winch for emergency's.
    I had a mounted winch on Bullbar and a tirfor (hand winch) to mount on hitch at rear to pull us back from where we shouldn"t (oops) have gone.

    If people go to "Caravaners Forum" "Grey Nomads, and the Camper trailer forums, they'll get a lot of extra info from people like me who are and have been doing it for yrs. SInce '63 in my case.
    Along with yours they'll get a good spread of info to start. and travel with.

    A good cheap (look around) 4by to tow van are early Disco's .$6 to 8 grand. and keep 5 grand in wallet for possible repairs. series 2-3.

    Serious OFF road caravans are no longer than 14ft MAX. The rest are just for show. You can't get bigger vans through scrub, heavy undulations, tight tracks and no tracks.

    SEMI offroad will do 99% of what people want and 17ft 6in perfect size..
    And if you want a van just for one trip (or more)
    a good EVERNEW will take you anywhere BUT real offroad.
    and there's a lot on market 16'17ft for around $10 to 12k.
    I've just bought a cracker 16ft6in. , '97
    less than 5000kms kept in cover WITH Aircond and solar. $10.100
    $500 buys a gas water heater and shower external unit.
    Coupla extra panels and a days work. Ready to go anywhere.
    Mine's just for club runs and fishing the dams now There's Nowhere
    else we want to see in Aust, Overseas trips nowadays.
    Keep up the good work.

  31. Hi.

    Addendum to below.

    You'll always spend more than you reckon/assess/plan for.

    Just do your thing. don't try to jam it all in on the first trip.
    Leave some to give incentive for next trips.

    And ALWAYS take two records of photo's.
    4 country's into our last trip I lost Camera in Mexico City.
    Ins' covered new one. BUT not the photo's on chip. Luckily I transfer all to chip in Tablet EVERY night.

    Took us 12 yrs to get our fill of what we wanted to see in this country.
    Only did West Coast once. That was enough for us.
    Fishing OK. But I live on Barrier Reef anyway.
    So spoilt rotten before I start.

  32. Hi Steve, my partner and I are currently having some issues on deciding which way to travel round. We have about 3 hopefully 4 months if we can extend our visa. We have to be in Perth at Christmas to see family, this is our problem in deciding which direction to go? We are living in Sydney and will be leaving November time, we have more time after Christmas to do more of the road trip so I was thinking going South to Perth then up North to Darwin and cutting across to Cairns? Can you give us any advice on places to stay, visit etc in the NT and on the East Coast? We know we have limited time so may have to cut across places taking the highway instead of the coastal routes


  33. Hi steve,

    We are going to attempt the Big Lap with 13,12 and 6 yr old starting August 2016. Hubbie has long service and we have funds to do the lap but he can only get 4 months off work as he is a permanent contractor and doesn't want to lose this job. Can you please provide basically where we should aim to be each week if we head anti-clockwise from Newcastle NSW. We have a Triton Ute fitted out and Jayco Expanda (no bathroom or anything just kitchen and beds. Thanks Kate (we have already done Tassie).

  34. last year my wife and I traveled round Australia anti-clockwise only because we started from the Queensland coast. We travelled to Cairns and then across to Northern Territory. We left in June 2015 and on our travels we spoke to a number of travellers who travelled clockwise and were told we had missed out on a lot of head winds. We had no trouble with head winds over that five month period so I don't know about other times of the year. But either way well worth the trip it is a wonderful country. Proud to travel Australia.

  35. Hi steve,we are going to be in perth from the 1st of november 2016 and we have hired a 4wd camper until the end of april.My question is left or right,clockwise or anti clockwise? We have been to australia before and drove from broome to perth and had a great time.This time we are hoping to do the big lap.

  36. Hi Steve
    We are in the early planning stages of our big lap and looking forward to watching your DVD series when it arrives. We are thinking of upgrading our beloved Jayco Swan to something with a quicker set up for a longer trip. However we love national parks, the bush etc. we will also be homeschooling - prob distance Ed - 3 kids. Not sure how to decide what van we will need. Planning on free camping whenever possible. I am worried a bigger van will prevent us from getting into many of the places we want to see, but we need to be comfy with our three kids and fitting in school things etc. Any advice or other info you recommend we read would be gratefully accepted. Cheers Angela

    • Hello Angela, I could of asked the exact same question. Have you had a reply? Would love to know what you decided?

  37. HI Steve,
    If you could leave in any month from Brisbane what month would you pick and which direction would you go? We are expecting 12-18 months on the road.

    • Hi Naomi, I would probably leave early in the year and head north so that I was in Cairns and ready to tackle Cape York once the wet season finishes and the rods are open. This will give you a good 6 to 8 months to drive across the top of Australia in the dry season before heading back down the West coast towards the end of the year. Hope this helps, Cheers, Steve

  38. Hi, me and my girlfriend are landing in Melbourne early July this year, which way around would you recommend heading to get the warmer/drier weather?
    We will probably be driving a 2WD campervan as we have around $10,000 for a camper to keep in budget. How much was an upgraded fuel tank capacity and are they easy to source and get fitted?
    We are travelling for for a year and looking to do a complete lap finishing where we started.

  39. hi there. great site!
    we could use some help please! we are currently between sydney and melbourne and have until end of november to do our big lap. there seems to be so many contradictions regarding direction. we are travelling in a toyota hill ute with our tent so wind is not really a factor in our driving route. we are after the nicest driest weather all round 🙂

    can you advise please?

    many thanks!

    andy & fiona the non-stop-flip-flops x

    • Hi Guys, I'd be heading north and going anti clockwise if I were you. Plan to be heading between Cairns and Broome from May to August then down the west coast and across the bottom from August to November. Detour down into the centre once you hit the Stuart Highway if you get the urge, then back up to Katherine to resume your lap. A quick trip but this will give you the best chances of good weather.

  40. Greetings, interesting site, especially since I soon to drive my $500 1997 Nissan Pulsar hatchback on a bit of a road trip across or around Australia, whichever comes first. It's easy to get sucked into thinking that this may not be the most suitable vehicle for such a trip, especially since it feels it goes as much sideways as it does forward and when going over a bump starts bouncing up and down, which is interesting....I think the suspension is stuffed, among other things. Still, it's one of those vehicles I have the utmost faith in, one of those cars you just know you could get in and drive around the country and not even bother checking the oil. It's actually a car I bought ages ago so when I started coming over for a few months at a time to visit my daughter and her family I didn't have to concern myself with rental cars. It's been amazing in that sense, I flew in just over a week ago and the wee Nissan had been sitting there for five months, not even been started once yet kicked straight into life.

    The thing is, and this is the thing, is that I'm an old-school signwriter and professional artist and as I travel I intend to paint this car up, hand painted artwork all over every square milimetre of it's tired old paintwork, hopefully inspired by my travels and the environment. So I've purchased a tent and will get a few more bits and pieces over the next weeks, was even thinking of getting a spare tyre and jack for it, will probably leave at the end of May.

    There are no time constraints so I'll just go and see what happens. I get the feeling I will drive from Narangba, north of Brisbane, to Broken Hill, out to Alice Springs and the big red rock, up to Darwin, down the road to Broome and, well hell, as I read somewhere, I could literally change my mind as I drive out the driveway and end up driving straight to Cairns anyway, who would know right, clearly not much of a planner !!

    This was all going to be happening at one stage late last year but something really really turned me off so disappeared back to NZ for the summer. It wasn't so much the extreme heat of summer out there but the stinking flies. I'm hoping like crazy the flies will be minimal else I'll likely bugger off to the Greek Islands for a few months !! Anyway, thanks for the site, outstanding work, I look forward to exploring it a bit more for all sorts of useful information. Best wishes to you.

  41. I read somewhere of someone who had actually done the trip both ways and there was about $10 difference! I don't know how you could truly, scientifically, compare both ways and I don't know if you'd really be bothered. Either you can afford to do it or you can't. If you have enough time-stop when the head winds blow, drive further when you have a tail wind-or just stop worrying. Or stay at home til the price of petro/diesel goes down. We've been up down, clockwise, anti-clockwise, figure of eight, over-back, up, down. No idea what it all cost but it's been fun!

  42. It is very important to go anticlockwise because your trip will be about 20 m shorter. (You will be about 3 m closer to the centre of Australia. Difference in Circumference = 2 x pi x difference in radius = 2 x 3 x 3 = 18.) If you burn 10 L per 100 km, then you will save (Fuel (ml) = 10 x 20/100 000 x 1000 = 2 ml). That will save you about 0.25 cents. If you don't think that that's important, then you are just a wastrel and a spendthrift.

  43. G'day Steve, We bought a Ssang Yong Korando in Perth and drove to Wave Rock to run it in. Then we started off around the country following the coastline all the way to Cairns, brilliant drive and if you haven't travelled the entire coastline it's well worth it although I was surprised that like WA one has to drive off the main highway to reach the ocean in Queensland. We drove back to Brisbane (to have the car serviced) and then went via Mt Isa around the top. It's a beautiful drive and certainly a "must see" for most Aussie's. We had obligations in Perth and drove back through the Kimberly's so that we might forfill them. Before returning home to Tasmania we drove to Mt Augusta and up through the middle. When we went through the Alice, it was -7C that night. The trip was wonderful and it doesn't matter which way you go Australia is a diverse, spectacular and wonderful country. Most of the people were brillint and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

  44. Hi Steve,

    Good job helping out so many people with all of their queries!
    I live in Karratha in WA and am moving to the Sunshine Coast in QLD. I'll be driving my Mitsubishi Canter work truck through the top that will be carrying a fair bit of gear.
    I will be leaving in 4 weeks (early NOV) and was wondering if you could tell me if there will likely be any road closures on the main roads this time of year? I don't have a lot of time to spare so don't plan on doing any sight seeing so will be sticking to the main route.
    Any help and advice with this would be appreciated.
    Tim Penrose

  45. Hello. Can you please tell me how long it took for you to get from Melbourne to Broome on your clockwise trip?
    Thank you,

      • Hi Steve,
        Hoping to travel from Melbs anti clockwise along the big lap.
        At 1st thinking leaving April but that’s not going to work re the north for winter.
        Do you suggest leaving Melbs in Jan spend 3/4 months to get to broom and then into NT for April.
        Intended 12 month lap.


  46. Hello,
    Myself and a friend are going to try and drive around Australia in 14 days as a charity drive in November this year. Our plan is to follow highway 1 all the way around. Was just wondering where is the best place to get maps for this so we can plan our daily driving distances?

    • Hi Garry, sounds like a full on couple of weeks you have to look forward to. Given you're sticking to Highway One, you could use the Hema Road & 4WD Atlas and probably grab the Hema Australia Large map to see the full route all together - good luck with your trip. Cheers, Steve

  47. G'day Steve,
    Currently planning a trip with the family (2 adults 3 kids) around the western half of the country for next year. The plan is to leave Hobart and travel to Melbourne, and then heading west. We want to do all of the West Australian coast, and back through the centre. Would you recommend travelling up the centre from Adelaide, then west to the Kimberleys and back down the west coast, or the other way around? I was planning on spending up to 4 months doing this, but don't want to be rushed. Is this enough time? Finally, we have friends going who are experienced tourers and have driven this route before. I am keen on the idea of travelling with them, for the obvious logistic and experience advantages, but also apprehensive about the idea of spending all that time with another family (will we end up getting on each other's nerves etc...?). What are your thoughts on this?

    Cheers, tim

  48. Hi
    My husband and I are from the UK and we want to tour around Australia / Tasmania and possibly on to New Zealand afterwards. We plan to be in Australia mid to late January through to the end of March. We may do some driving but likely to take internal flights to get around where there is not too much in-between. Has anyone got any advice as to the best route considering the weather? Maybe go cooler into warmer...follow the sunshine? I would be grateful for any guidance.

    • You have picked the hottest time of the year. Tasmania I think Ok but be ready for the heat wherever you head. The wet season is to the north ( Darwin) could be spectacular but very humid. Good luck.

  49. Hi Guys,

    Im planning to do a road trip with my husband, around Australia, starting in August and finishing in November.
    Do you think we need to do the anticlockwise or clockwise?
    We are going with one motorbike.
    There is some special road that we must have spare petrol?
    There is some especial tip?

    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Clariana, Did you do the trip? I'm planning to do the same thing from Tasmania and anticlockwise around the country on a motorcycle 2up. We've done big trips before, but so not a problem there. I just want to hear about your adventure and what the weather was like for the trip. Thanks in advance

  50. Awww Geeez, i so miss the Leyland Brothers! That TV show was a must for the explore Australia trips before the web & sites like this!

  51. From a purely practical point of view, travel anticlockwise. You travel about 30 m less.
    From any other point of view, it depends on time of travel, interests and many other factors and it's so individual.

  52. Hi Steve,

    Which way and what month would you leave Victoria to spend a year going around Australia?

    Great resource thanks,

  53. This is an excellent resource - THANK YOU!!! I've been looking for this information and this seems to be the best site with exactly what I'm looking for. I just downloaded the cost spreadsheet and am looking forward to filling it out (I love spreadsheets) We are planning our big lap soon and I'm so excited to get started.

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