Wstn Gibb R. & Windjana Gorge/Tunnel Crk current road conditions

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 16:25
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Hi,

In Derby until Monday, and thinking of towing our Jayco Outback starcraft van to Windjana Gorge to camp a few nights, then south to re join the Great Northern Highway west of Fitzroy crossing.

I am seeking current road information please, both for the western end of the GRR to the turn off and for the road named Fairfield Leopold Downs Road, past Tunnel Creek NP, from people who have recently travelled this, preferably towing caravans. Specifically the surface type and the terrain. i.e. is it steep, narrow, rocky, and whether badly corrugated??

regards,
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

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Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 16:40

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 16:40
Hi Heather, we are following your blogs with interest, & note the wind & heat are
making their presence felt.
I cant offer any current info but did do from Broome to Fitzroy Crossing towing the
old C/t several years ago, via Tunnel Creek & Windjana Gorge.
We didn't find the campground at Windjana very inspiring...little sites marked with
those damn treated log fences, but may be different now. The gorge itself is a different matter as you will see, & varies in its splendour with the amount of water.
Tunnel Creek is not as inspirational, but definitely worth a look.
The road is pretty flat, narrow & mainly sandy as I recall. Condition then was good, but could be anything now. If you get reasonable current reports I suggest taking the van through there would not pose any real issues. The road exits on the Broome side, not
far from Fitzroy. Happy travels....oldbaz.
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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 21:26

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 21:26
Thanks Barry,

Yes we have had some unseasonally hot weather according to the locals, further south it was wet or windy or both!
Today has seen an improvement and was much more pleasant.

Thanks for your information.
I also spoke at some length to a traveller in the van park here who has just come off the GGR towing an off road van and he said it's in pretty good shape to the turn, which is what we thought would be the case. He said he saw lots of Outback Jaycos on the GGR in all places but we were never intending doing the whole length of it.

We should be ok on the road to Windjana (and beyond) so long as we do our normal thing, drive to the conditions (basically slow down) and reduce tyre pressure which seems to work best for us. And if we get that far and get some advice which makes us wary of going further, we can always turn around and go via Derby back to the Gr8 Northern Highway.

We have done quite a lot of dirt road on this trip and so far it's been without incident. Also the most memorable and wonderful places of the trip for us both have been along these roads, so we do want to this bit if possible.

Have a day flight/ boat trip to the Horizontal falls coming up on Sunday, and on the 31st July, a 4WD bus and scenic flight day tour of the Bungle Bungles leaving from the Bungle Bungle caravan Park so looking forward to both of those little indulgences very much.
Sometimes there's no other way to see and do what we want!

regards,
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

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Follow Up By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 08:25

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 08:25
Hi Heather, you will love the Bungles...If I may suggest another must do, & assuming you are going to Kununnurra. Take the boat trip from K to the Argyle Dam. We went by boat both ways but there is the option of bus to the dam & boat return. IMHO boat both
ways is the go. You could drive out to the dam sans van if you wish, not far. Another indulgence ?. Sure, but you wont regret it..fast flowing water through a tropical paradise..great for pics.
We envy your Horizontal Falls gig, we never got to do that.
cheers......Oldbaz.
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Follow Up By: WBS - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 08:52

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 08:52
Oldbaz,
We did what you proposed not to do. We went with Triple J tours and travelled in a bus to Lake Argyle, had a look around the village there including the Durack homestead thats been rebuilt there, then did a loop on the lake (Northern part only) for a couple of hours, then headed down river back to Kununurra. A great trip especially going down the Ord River and travelling up some of the creeks coming into it. Its a full day. Just another way to see that same things.

Heather,
We did the Horizontal Waterfalls from Broome. A bone jarring bus drive from Broome to Cape Leveque via Beagle Bay, take a back brace if you have a crook back and a mouth guard. That was the most bone jarring bus ride I've ever been on. We took off from Lombadina for the Horizontal Waterfall on Talbot Bay due to strong prevailing winds making a take off from Cape Leveque too risky.

Its a wonderful flight and the Falls are really something you'll remember. The highlight of our trip.
WBS
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Follow Up By: WBS - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 09:01

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 09:01
I forgot to mention that in places, the Leopold Downs road from Gibb River Road (From Derby end) to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek has plenty of cricket ball sized stones that can be quite jagged . I strongly recommend you deflate all your tyres before attempting that part of the road and take it easy. I've not travelled on from Tunnel Creek to Fitzroy Crossing.

I can't comment on road conditions because they change so much from week to week. Take care and you should be ok.
Safe travels
WBS
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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 15:44

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 15:44
WBS thanks for that, yes we will be deflating the tyres and take it slowly. If the road is too bad south of Tunnel Creek, then I guess we can always re trace our steps. There's no need to hurry anywhere.

As we are departing from Derby, I'm glad we won't be taking the bus part of the Horizontal Falls trip, that rough ride does not sound too pleasant!

And Baz,
thanks for your information about the Lake Argyle boat trip..sounds like we will be spending more of the Kids inheritance there!

regards,
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

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Reply By: i'machocoholic - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 16:45

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 16:45
We came through just a couple of days ago, bitumen Derby end almost all the way to Fairfield road so no issues there. From turnoff to Windjana road is corrugated in spots, just take it slow. Road from there to Fitzroy end is also corrugated in spots but otherwise ok. Some floodways as well but again take it easy.

Saw quite a few vans so you should be fine.
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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 21:30

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 21:30
Love your screen name!

Thanks for your information. Sounds 'do-able' then for us we think.

cheers
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

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Reply By: troopy 47 - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 20:23

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 20:23
Just got off the GRR and Fairfield road today done tunnel gorge road is heavely corrugated in places take it slowly you should be OK, we towed our 20' Trakmaster no problem leaving for the tanami in the morning.
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Reply By: Member - There Yet - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 21:36

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 21:36
Hi Heather,

last year we travelled from Derby up to Lennard River in our Outback Expanda and camped on the river bank near the turn off to the gorge and Tunnel Creek. The river had an abundance of birdlife, kangaroos and fresh water crocs. We stayed there for a couple of days travelling to the gorge and tunnel.

Although it's been a year since our visit the road is not steep and plenty of room to pass if needed. Corrugations would be the major problem if any. Drive to the conditions and you'll be fine.

Cheers and have a great time.
Kerry
AnswerID: 514980

Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 22:13

Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 22:13
Hullo Heather
Used those roads a few weeks ago. About 2/3 of Derby to Windjana TO sealed. Unsealed section is OK, with some corrugations. First section of road to Windjana badly corrugated (closed for few days after rain after we used it), same down to Tunnel Ck. South of there to GNH much better as most of the corrugations caused by people doing either a day trip out from Derby or a side trip off their GRR journey.
Given your preferences as implied in your blog, you may like to consider including a visit to Charnley River Stn before venturing down the Windjana Red.
BTW, we are towing an 18' van
Cheers
Andrew and Jen
PS. Having read your blog, we are about to head south from Karijini to Mt Augustus and Kennedy.
AnswerID: 515094

Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 22:22

Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 22:22
Hi Andrew and Jen,

Thanks so much for the road info.
I will have a look at Charnley River stn.

Hope you enjoy Mt Augustus and the Kennedy Range as much as we did.

regards,
Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

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