Boulia to Gemtree, is an on-road van capable??

Hi folks, we are heading off mid June and part of our trip will be along the Plenty Hwy from Boulia to Gemtree. We are a group of 5 vehicles with varying modes of accommodation, (off-road c/van, tents and one member has an on-road c/van).
My question is to those of you who have travelled the Plenty Hwy...would the on-road c/van be able to handle the Plenty Hwy and not be shaken to bits or would they be better off going from Winton via Mt Isa & Three Ways to meet us in Alice Springs, or use a tent for the trip?
Sorry for being a bit vague about the details of the c/van as the owner is a new member of our travelling party!
We will also be going to Kings Canyon, the Oodnadatta track, and out to Mungo Nat Park from Mildura!

All opinions will be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance, John
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:42

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:42
The Plenty can change from day to day. As an example we did it last July and towing our off road camper we were able to sit on 100 k’s most of the way. But, the week before they had some rain and the highway was closed. Someone towing a camper disregarded it being closed and rolled their car and camper! When the highway was opened they had the graders on it and like I said, by the time we drove it, it was brilliant. (Great free camp along the way!) But I have read where others when they have travelled it have found it a bit rough. So it is very difficult to say how the highway will be.
The other direction you mentioned is much safer as it is sealed all the way. And don’t forget there is a fantastic free camp at Camooweal beside the lagoons. If the first lagoon is busy, just keep driving also the dirt track and there is a second.

AnswerID: 504718

Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:45

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:45
I would not take my on onroad van on the Plenty Highway, though if you want to go very slowly it is off course possible. Traveling with others it would be a nightmare as they would be able to and wish to travel much faster
AnswerID: 504720

Follow Up By: Member - John D, Wandong (Vic) - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:02

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:02
Thank you Olsen's, my thoughts were exactly the same as yours, especially as there is a timeframe re the trip finish date!
FollowupID: 781577

Follow Up By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:04

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:04
Pleasure- you can call me David :-)
FollowupID: 781578

Reply By: Mick O - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:17

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:17
John, a lot depends on the time of year (not weather realetd) and the grader gods. At mustering time which I think was May-ish from memory), you can expect there to be some large patches of bulldust, particularly around the Tobermoray area (near the border). It's a mixed bag but generally a well maintianed road.

I am fairly detailed on the road conditions along various sections of the route in the following blogs. The chap with the onroad will have to watch his tyre pressures and slow down accordingly.

Plenty and Donohue

TheGeorgina to Boulia & Beyond

North to Tobermoray - June 2005
Tobermoray to Alice - 2005

Cheers Mick

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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AnswerID: 504723

Follow Up By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:39

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:39
Hey Mick O, I drive the road about 3 or four or more times per year and the road has changed significantly since 2005. The Tobermory area is now the best section and often the area near Harts Range is the worst. Nearer Jervois has been significantly improved over the years, but any wet weather or if used by lots of road trains (eg drought) then things will change heaps :-)
FollowupID: 781579

Reply By: graham B9 - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 05:55

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 05:55
Hi John,
As you know there are caravans and there are caravans. Hard to say without naming the caravan. ( I should say that I have done a lap towing a caravan and now work for a off road caravan manufacturer).

I would say NO. Boulia to Gemtree is a very long day. I think about 653 Km and I did with with no caravan and in a 200 with all the ARB suspension. Still it was a long. We came accross one caravan with the wheels ripped off. His wife was there waiting for the town truck that had to come from Alice. That would be expensive.

Almost every road van is just that. Built for the sealed roads. If something goes wrong it is not the place to have it happen.
AnswerID: 504781

Reply By: mikehzz - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 08:14

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 08:14
The corrugations can get pretty bad if the graders haven't been through. There's nothing quite like 100's of kms of corrugations really. :-) I did it once before it was graded and wouldn't like to have been towing anything. If graded then it is an easy drive.
AnswerID: 504788

Reply By: Member - John D, Wandong (Vic) - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 10:35

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 10:35
Thanks everyone for your opinions, they are all very much appreciated!

Regards, John
AnswerID: 504802

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