I had my suspicions about the Gibb because I have heard completely contradictory opinions as to how my Falcon would hold up in the Kimberley. Sadly, the Kimberley was the area of Australia that I was most excited to visit when I first arrived here, but as I mentioned in my first post a $600 Falcon was too good a deal to pass up. So while I had initially planned on looping the country my current itinerary has me leaving the Fleurieu Peninsula (I'm writing this post from Port Elliot) and heading north through the Flinders, Coober Pedy, Uluru & Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, and eventually a Larapinta through-hike of the MacDonnell Ranges. That should keep me busy for the next 5-6 weeks, but once I get back on the road out of Alice I will have to decide whether to head north or east when I hit Tennant Creek.
Up to this point I had planned on heading east to Townsville because I have some leads on work when I get there, but the main reason I was thinking of passing up on Darwin/Kakadu/Gibb/Broome/etc was due to the limitations of my transport. That's a lot of money in petrol if I can only scratch the surface of the best spots that the NT and WA have to offer. Another limitation of my Falcon is the registration. I'm sure you're aware that registration in Australia is outrageously expensive and thus I was hoping to sell my car right before mine expires (October 15th). Since that date lines up well with my plans for arriving in Tasmania by the beginning of November I figured being closer to Brisbane or Sydney would provide me with a better market of potential buyers (backpackers) than Darwin or Broome. That said, work should be the major factor in my decision-making process. I was hoping to get $1,200 (I've put $1,500 into it to get it roadworthy) for the Falcon if I sell it with no rego, so maybe I'm making a mistake in letting the Falcon dictate my travel plans from July onwards. I have been told that work is easy to find in the NT, Kimberley and Broome so your insight on the Gibb definitely changes things...
As for Tassie, thanks for the Walls of Jerusalem insight! Just googling the pictures makes me giddy with anticipation to get my DSLR out there. One question though: Does picking up the OT via the Walls of Jerusalem/Never Never mean that I will be cutting out a portion of the OT? I know that it shouldn't be important but I hate the idea of missing any part of a trail like the OT even if it means that I have to endure crowds to do so. When I pass through Adelaide I will see if I can pick up a map to visualize the route, but I can't seem to answer this question with Google.
Thanks for that list! I've got my Tramping NZ book next to me and will start looking through each one to see what others I need to add to my itinerary before departing the country. After a quick glance in my book it seems like Arthur's Pass is a must for someone of my preferences. What intrigues me the most about the area is the number of day hikes at my fingertips. I had always been more of a traditional backpacker until a bunch of mice moved into my car during an overnight in Yellowstone; a fortuitous event that pushed me to embrace the benefits of day hiking (namely increased range and decreased liability of my valuables being stolen at the trailhead).
As for the sandflies, any advice on how to mitigate that problem? It seems like DEET is the best way to go but I absolutely loathe putting that on my skin.