I think that some degree of spontaneous is great when heading off for a long road trip. However if you want to work to a budget and avoid current local condition problems like floods, bad roads, fire hazards and mosquitoes, it will help to do your research before you leave.
2011 in particular is a year to take additional precaution. Central Australia might be beautiful and unusually green at the moment but don't go there if you hope to experience a red center. The ground is waist high in plant growth following the flood waters earlier this year.
Be aware of nature's cycles. Good rains means good growth brings an increase in mice and insects, resulting in increased bird life and snakes. Some of these conditions you may love. Some can present a danger. Research and be aware.
Be well aware of how the current local conditions will affect you. I seriously considered touting Central Australia again this year, reasoning that following the unusually good rain trough that affected Central Australia after Cyclone Yasi, the wildflowers would be at a peak this year. No doubt they will be if you were or are there at the right time to experience this. What I am however reading in my research is that inland conditions are being viewed by some as a fire hazard.
I have viewed the MacDonnell Ranges, Central Australia, after a fire has swept through them and would not want to be camped there enjoying the view if a bushfire took hold. Nor even in a safe area inhaling the smoke if grass fires took hold. The red center will again return to the red center and this will come about by the current greenery drying out, most likely during their usually dry winter; then once dry, the results of man's activities whether accidental or deliberate, will create grass fires in Central Australia this year. I would not advice traveling there in winter 2011, if you have asthma or weakened lungs, without making first hand and or web search, inquiries before you leave.
Wherever you go, enjoy your trip. A wonderful thing about visiting Central Australia is that it is a beautiful landscape regardless of the seasons and conditions. I am not saying, don't go. I am saying, be aware and this year you would need to be a little more snake and grass fire aware than normal and be open to enjoy a green center or the smoky haze f grass fires and prepare and follow directions of the locals, according to these or other conditions.
My own decision on reading there will be a grass fire risk, was that this was not the year I would go again.
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