Snowy Mountains Highway with a 3.5T Van

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 08:42
ThreadID: 100663 Views:2464 Replies:2 FollowUps:0
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Hi all

Wife and I have just completed our first 2 weeks of our around Oz trek. Started out from Melbourne to Mildura and a tour of the Murray. Beautiful countryside.

We, or I then made the mistake of travelling from Wagga Wagga to Merimbula via the Snowy Mountains Highway. If anyone was considering doing this trip in this direction pulling a 3.5T van, maybe rethink your plans.

The stretch from Tumut to Cooma and the up hill part immediately after the junction of SMH and Link Rd is particularly tricky, very steep, windy and climbs for approx. 10K's.

The portable traffic light half way up for roadworks didn't help either.

Hope to see some of the members on the road during our trek.

Happy travels to all.

Brian & Judy
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 11:20

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 11:20
Brian, it looks like you are still coming to grips with driving around the eastern coast of Oz. You had better get used to roads like that. None of those of us with extensive travelling experience on the eastern seaboard consider that that road particularly challenging.

There are many roads leading from the coast over the Great Divide. As you move around the coast from Melbourne to Cairns there are only three or so without significant gradients. These are the Hume Hwy into Sydney, the Golden Hwy west from Newcastle and the Capricorn Hwy to the west from Rockhampton. The rest of the crossings you will be down in the lower gears when crossing them.

If you are going to be able to experience a lot of the nice parts of Oz you had better learn to drive in mountainous country. Just because you are forced down into 1st or 2nd gear does not necessarily mean your tug is struggling, it just means that you are putting it to work. The only time I feel a vehicle is struggling is when you are in 1st gear and it does not feel like you are going to make the top. If you get that feeling on any main road gradient then I suggest your rig is overloaded.

I am saying this as there are a lot of us who think nothing of tackling these roads (and even more challenging ones) on a regular basis. There is nothing to stop you from joining us. If you tackle them with a positive attitude in future now you know what to expect you may even be able to enjoy the experience after you have conquered a few more.

There are a few techniques that can assist in tackling these hills. One is to use your gear selector to keep your motor revs up. If your motor is running at higher speeds on an ascent it is running freely and not slugging. If you round a corner and you come upon a sharp pinch it is ready with the turbo spinning to be loaded up and whip up the incline. With an auto keep the engine speed above 2,500 rpm on any sustained ascent, at higher speeds the turbine does less work and will not heat the transmission fluid as much. On descents, use as low a gear as you can on the steeper pinches, going down Brown Mountain I would have been in 1st gear on the steeper bits.

When you are used to these hills you will be able to enjoy Tasmania.
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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 18:58

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 18:58
Well said Peter. Having gone up Talbingo mountain and down Brown Mountain Brian you have done the worst. Head west ( in April )when it cools down and discover the long boring flat plains. You'll be glad when you see and drive the Flinders..... W

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