4wd or not?

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 16:31
ThreadID: 104127 Views:2561 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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Hi all,

Can you tell me if i need a 4wd to visit the Bungle Bungles? We would visiting around June next year. Are there any other land marks that need a 4wd in this area e.g Wolfe creek crater etc.

Thanks in advance, Gary
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Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 17:07

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 17:07
Hullo Gary
The short answer is "no".
There is a sealed road from the west from Broome and from the north, Kununurra.
There is a camping just inside the gate on Mabel Downs and a very good bus day tour into the Bungle Bungles - leave early, get back late with morning tea and lunch provided and then a 3 course meal. If the road in is poor, this is a good option, as the driver we had was very knowledgeable, covering topics such as the geological history, cultural history, the cattle industry and then guidance re the tracks to walk.
AnswerID: 517418

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 17:25

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 17:25
However if you want to drive all the way in to the Bungle Bungles and camp at the Bungles for a couple of days then it is a yes. Nothing like sitting back at the tent and watching the sun set over the Bungles and a tinny or glass of wine.

The Purnalulu park site states: "The last 53 km into the park is via a rugged track that is accessible only to four-wheel-drive vehicles and single-axle off-road trailers".

See more at: site link

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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 18:46

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 18:46
Gary - Here's three photos of the large FAQ board at the entrance to the Bungles, that will help you out.

2WD's are almost always refused entry to the park. The same goes for tandem axle trailers and caravans. It's a rough 53 kms.
This FAQ info/photo is from June 2012, although you can probably make out the rangers notice is dated May 2012.

Break open your piggy-bank and go for the chopper ride in the little Robinsons. It's worth every cent of the horrendous cost (about $300 PP for a 1/2 hr ride).

Left click on the pics, or click "view raw image", to open them to full size. The original photo is too big to post, I had to cut it into 3 sections.

Cheers, Ron.

Bungles FAQ - Section 1

Bungles FAQ - Section 1

Bungles FAQ - Section 1
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 18:53

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 18:53
Woops, the pic links were supposed to read Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3! My editing fail!

Be aware that the Bungles can get cold mornings in July. We encountered around 6°C on Sunday 8th July last year. It was darned cold for the Kimberlys!
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 18:56

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 18:56
Cold!!! We stayed in one of those ensuited safari tents with a king sized bed one night for a "spoil us night". Not a blanket in the place and no one to be found when we woke up freezing at 3AM. Cold it can sure be.


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Reply By: blown4by - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 21:49

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 21:49
I was there a few days ago and the short answer is yes. Not so much for the 4WD ability though but the high clearance is essential if you don't want to risk under body vehicle damage. The 53 K's took me 1 hour 15 minutes despite estimates from others of up to 5 hours. As others have stated if you rock up at the Ranger Station in a 2WD you will in all likelihood be turned around. If you were to proceed you would void your comprehensive vehicle insurance and incur hefty recovery costs if you get stuck. By next June there will have been another 'wet' so it is impossible to predict what condition the road will be in 10 months hence. The road has been put in by a dozer with very little 'cut and fill' so it is very windy and there are lots of dips and 'jump-ups'. That is the main reason for the time taken to complete the journey although it is heavily corrugated and very rocky in places. You also have to remember there are many creek crossings where the water depth can be 700mm which would stop most 2WD vehicles and some 4WD's as well if a snorkle is not fitted.
AnswerID: 517437

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 11:39

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 11:39
Hi , I would imagine that to reopen the Bungles for 2014 the road will be regraded. We were there in June and compared to our 2005 trip the road is much wider and safer. Still has all the fantastic scenery as you dip and weave along the road. I won't call it a track though in some spots it can still be narrow.
We lost a stabiliser leg from the camper due to some corrugations. If you find it let me know. LOL Here's a pic of a creek crossing - only 100mm deep. But further in towards the Rangers HQ there is another creek which you cross 3 times and it was maybe 300mm deep.
Wolfe Ck meteor crater could be done in a high clearance 2WD like an old Falcon or Tarago van which plenty of backpackers drive............. W

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Reply By: Member - Rosco from way back - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 12:17

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 12:17
There are signs outside the park stating that it's 4WD only ...........

Having said that a 2WD with good ground clearance would get in with no undue problems.
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Reply By: jodie0075 - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 13:07

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 13:07
Thank you all so much for your great advice. We may need to do a day tour into the Bungles. I have no doubt our trakshak camper would make the trip but by the sounds of it our vehicle may struggle. It is a new Colorado with high clearance but only a 2wd. It is part of my salary package and my employer wont spring the little extra cash for a 4wd. Oh well.
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Follow Up By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 13:38

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 13:38
If your Colorado 2WD has the same clearance as a Colorado 4WD, then what the others are saying are that it will be okay.

It's a clearance issue, not a traction issue.

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Follow Up By: jodie0075 - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 14:49

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 14:49
Yes it has the same clearance as a 4wd,but as earlier mentioned 2wds are almost always refused entry.
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Follow Up By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 16:48

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 16:48
I think you've already decided to give it a go, which I have no argument with.

But the whole 2WD / 4WD division is no where near as clear as it used to be. It's a can of worms really.

There is a good argument that your 2WD Colorado will be equally as capable of making it on a track such as this as any 4WD on the market.

The tyres are the same as the 4WD version.
The springs are the same as the 4WD version.
The chassis is the same as the 4WD version.
The clearance is the same as the 4WD version.
The drivetrain, apart from missing a low range gearbox and front diff, is the same as a 4WD version. i.e. same strength.
It's fording depth is the same as the 4WD.

It is likely to be lighter than the 4WD version due the lack of a transfer case and a front diff. This is a good thing.

It does lack the stability on gravel at speed, the confidence on slippery concrete river crossings, and the smoother ride that a 4WD gives over corrugations. With the benefit of a part time 4WD such as my old 60 series Landcruiser, I know the ride is smoother if I engage 4WD and it pulls over the corrugations instead of being pushed into them all the time. Will this make a difference to your vehicle breaking down or not? Not likely. Just drive a bit slower. Lower your tyre pressures, and take it easy.

It also lacks the off road ability that a low range gear box gives you, and the clambering ability of drive to the front axle. So low speed driving over slippery, sandy, muddy, shaley ground and steep climbs are out for you. But you can drive the vast majority of designated roads in Australia without these attributes.

I 'suspect' what the writers of the sign had in mind was to not allow regular sedans, such as Camry's, and so defined them as 2WD. But things have changed and to include your Colorado in with a Camry is a bit of a stretch really.


FollowupID: 797135

Reply By: the ginger nomad - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 16:16

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 16:16
It as long as you have a high clearance vehicle you will be fine.We were there in June this year in a Mitsubishi challenger and dd nt need 4x4 only the high clearance
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Follow Up By: jodie0075 - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 16:25

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 16:25
Ok, that settles it then. Im giving it a crack in the 2wd. Whats the worst that can happen, we get stuck or break something. Work pays for recovery and breaks anyway no matter where i am in this beautiful country.Maybe ill get a 4wd from work after all lol.
FollowupID: 797132

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 20:40

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 20:40
Hullo Gary
Maybe a good idea to ask at the camp ground just inside the gate what conditions are like when you get there. Then you can make an informed choice.
We were there 3rd week of June this year - the WA Govt were spending a heap of money before the end of the financial year doing the road up and it was in reasonable condition.
However, a bit later Outbackjack reported in his blog of July 26 and I quote "Now headed for the Bungle Bungles, Stayed at the Safari Park just inside the gate, starting to take shape, good facilities, hot showers and toilets very clean. plenty of camping also safari style tents on stilts with amenities and big veranda's, helicopter flights also available at the grounds ..... Drove in to the see the sights $5.00 entry approx. 50km in, much to see spent most of the day in there, great place to see. .......at the main gate was the coffee truck at the gate, with great coffee and some snacks. I needed two coffee's and I brought one for the ranger as well, we both needed it after driving in and out of the Bungles. Why you ask? 100km of road 50K speed limit and all DH's thought it was a race track, taking bends you couldn't see round and run you off the road. Camper trailers were the worst, no idea how to drive the road's; one came round the corner and his Kimberly camper was on two (one?) wheels and, nearly rolled it. After talking to the ranger he say much the same thing and caught up with a few and gave them a warning. He also said next season 2014 if any see this type of driving to take there number and they will be asked to leave and could be given a fine as well. The ranger said they would like to see all vans out of the park or pay a bigger fee with restrictions, as they do with certain types of caravans, and lets face it they do bugger up the tracks, by not letting there tyre pressures down and driving accordingly to the conditions"
The bus driver had similar comments about the incompetence and selfish attitude of many 4WDrivers - bogged in creek crossings, some vehicles with broken chassis, too fast for the conditions, rude, etc
FollowupID: 797152

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 21:19

Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 21:19
Bus driver complaining about too fast and selfish and rude attitudes? Really?
FollowupID: 797158

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