Brisbane to birdsville (city slickers)

Submitted: Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 13:12
ThreadID: 106995 Views:2680 Replies:8 FollowUps:2
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hi there,

im planning a roadtrip from brisbane to birdsville, but wont have a 4x4, just a hire car.

is there anything i should know before doing this? I.e. are there regular fuel stations or will i need a long range tank / extra jerry?

any suggested itineraries? we hope to spend 6 days there and back, camping along the way. dont need to spend long in birdsville, its more the roadtirp we are going for, its just a good desitation to shoot for

cheers guys
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Reply By: Member - BrisVegas - Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 13:47

Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 13:47
As far as fuel goes, I think your longest stretch would be Windorah to Birdsville which is 400km. Most cars should do that easily, but it wouldn't hurt to carry a jerry can just in case.Check that your rental company lets you take the car on dirt roads though!

I'm heading out there for the first time in Sept and plan to do it in 3 days, with stops around Mitchell & Windorah. I'll take a 20 litre jerry of diesel just in case and my Paj normally gets 750km to a tank driving steadily.
AnswerID: 529496

Reply By: Krooznalong - Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 14:15

Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 14:15
Doubt you'll be able to take a hire car out there. Best check before getting to far into the plan. May need to pick somewhere that can be reached via bitumen.
AnswerID: 529497

Reply By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 18:46

Monday, Mar 31, 2014 at 18:46
Hello Thomas,
Aside from the can or can't take the hire car argument, it would be valuable to mention what type of car you are actually thinking of hiring. Is it an AWD or an SS Commodore. The answers will be very different depending on your vehicle of choice.

First an foremost, you'd be better with a car that has higher profile tyres. Remember to air them down a bit. The road from Windorah to Birdsville is quite good and we did it comfortably one year in a Captiva. It was, however dry (albeit very dusty). There a couple of creek beds you need to cross, slow down and you'll be right. If they're flowing though...turn around and go home.

Personally I'd take a second spare tyre.Check that the spare in the car in not a space saver pizza cutter either. They're useless on dirt roads.

There's ample fuel at Windorah....and a beautiful town too.Birdsville has fuel too. (Note: No LPG though). Take a jerry just to be safe though.

See about getting (even a hand held) UHF radio. It's a pretty narrow road from Windorah to Birdsville and a lot of stock crates (aka Roadtrains) travel along there. It's good to be able to communicate with them or listen out so you know to get off the road when they come through.

Water is scarce so take plenty. If the car takes a poo, you'll be able to sit it out and wait for help. Needless to say that mobile coverage is almost non-existent.

Assume and prepare for the worst and you'll be right.

AnswerID: 529515

Follow Up By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 07:29

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 07:29
All very sensible advice! Take a telstra phone and you may be surprised where and when you will get reception. Cheers Toni
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Reply By: Slow one - Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 08:54

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 08:54
For warned is for armed and you may wish to check with the hire company, explaining where you are going after you get a quote for the hire cost. You could ask if they would lend you an extra spare tyre as well. Remember to slow the assistant at the hire company down, as they can rattle everything off so quickly you miss things. They just hire so many cars that everything is at 100 miles an hour.

Normally you pay for any windscreen damage, any underbody damage and any tyre damage. The hire company will also charge for cleaning of the vehicle if it comes back dirty inside. It would pay to check what the insurance covers and your excess.

The vehicle will do it easily and hopefully none of the above occurs.

Might pay to also get a price on an AWD or 4wd, say something like an Xtrail. Not that you will need 4wd +extra ground clearance, except maybe if it rains. The larger tyres will help and the fact it will have a full size spare.

Have a good trip.

As a mate said, if you damage the underside of the vehicle , run it into a tree and then insurance covers it. I disclaim the previous sentence, it was my dark side that said that.
AnswerID: 529560

Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 09:52

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 09:52
Each to their own, but a couple of things you might want to consider.

Total distance will be around 3,200 kilometres so on average 550 kilometres per day, which will be around 7 hours of driving (minimum) per day.

Whilst a conventional vehicle will do the trip in good conditions, you will need to push a conventional vehicle that is not necessarily designed with the harsher road conditions you can expect to encounter in order to meet your timeframe.

Others have flagged potential hire car company conditions. The risk / reward of taking a conventional hire car vehicle to Birdsville will be heavily skewed against you (I suspect).

You’ll have little time for sight-seeing along the way beyond looking out the window as you try to cover the distance in a short-time frame.

If you wanted to go for a road-trip with a couple of beers along the way, I suspect there are better options. Save the Birdsville trip until you can do it in a time frame that makes it more enjoyable and gives time to enjoy the great outback!

Hopefully some food for thought…
AnswerID: 529565

Reply By: thomas g1 - Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 10:26

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 10:26
wow, amazed at the depth of response, and really appreciate the amount of time you've all taken to give me some valuable info.. thanks guys. this place seems like an awesome community.

I reckon we will look into an X trail or something, for the extra money it would make sense and give peace of mind, not to mention a bit more room for supplies.

we will over prepare, jerry cans, lots of water etc.

As to informing the hire car company, its my opinioon that you should treat em like mushrooms - feed them bleep and keep them in the dark. ;)

thanks again guys
AnswerID: 529570

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 17:25

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 17:25

If by chance you can't get to Birdsville, why not come as far as Windorah, then follow the bitumen up past Jundah, and Stonehenge, to Longreach.

Slip up to Winton to check out the dinosaurs and Waltzing Matilda Centre, and then head home either through Emerald. or do the Blackall, Tambo run back to Morven. If going through Emerald, a good drive, and scenic in places, is through Springsure, Biloela, Gayndah etc

Good luck with the hire companies,


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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 20:10

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 at 20:10
This is the map of the gravel road Map A to B is good sealed road, B to C is good gravel.
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AnswerID: 529620

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 11:01

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 11:01
Depends on the time of year that you are planning to go , the biggest problem is rain for the dirt section Windorah to Birdsville , other than that any normal sedan type vehicle does the job [ just not a Jap rice burner that has been lowered] ,,, best time is a week or two BEFORE the races [1st weekend of September] as the dirt sections have generally just been graded for the race influx ,,,we have been doing the races out that way for years and the amount of every day sedans that we see is staggering …..
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