Queanbeyan to Khancoban, towing.

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 07:10
ThreadID: 110707 Views:2594 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Hi folks, we regularly travel to Khancoban but since moving to Queanbeyan I am exploring route options. Going up to Yass, then down the Hume to Gundagai, Batlow, Tumba and then Khancoban is probably the least demanding route but about 100km more than the next two options...

We have travelled Queanbeyan to Cooma, Jindabyne, Thredbo and through to Khancoban a couple of times but towing the boat is challenging and potentially dangerous when dodging boy racer motorbikes coming the other way all day. But if we have to we will travel that way again. We are travelling with another car that can sort of act as a pilot and call through oncoming traffic.

The route I havent tried before is Queanbeyan to Cooma to Selwyn to Cabramurra, Tooma and then down to Khancoban. From memory the run up to Selwyn is quite good but how does the rest of it through Tooma compare to the Thredbo to Khancoban twist-fest.

I guess what I am looking for is the lesser of two evils. And does anyone know if I am travelling through do I need to pay the $16 park fee? Every other time I have gone through the booths have been shut but this will be on a Saturday morning.

Thanks - Pat
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 09:35

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 09:35
Going through Cabramurra there is rearlly a toll booth except in winter when the road through Tooma will be closed.

Going through Thredbo, tell them at the booth that you are travelling through and not stopping. No charge.

The Cabramurra route is not as twisty as the Alpine Way, but still some steep down and up hills.
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Reply By: Erad - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 09:35

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 09:35
For Cooma to Khancoban, you basically have 3 options. The Alpine Way (Not recommended for caravans or boats as you are aware); Cooma - Adaminaby - Cabramurra - Khancoban; or the Elliot Way (Cooma-Adaminaby-nearly to Cabramurra, but then down nearly to Tumbarumba, and then on to Khancoban).

Going thru Cabra you have 2 ways - via Selwyn (a gravel road, but generally a reasonable surface) or to go slightly longer via the sealed road. Once past Cabra, the road winds down to Tumut Pond Dam. It is moderately steep, but narrow in places. Climb up again after the dam and you have a flattish run for about 10 km, then start down again. Again, it is moderately steep but very winding. Cross Tooma Dam, and then you have another downhill run for about 10 km. This is narrow and winding, until you get to the 330 kV power lines. The road then opens up a bit (lots of kangaroos, especially at dusk or dawn), and after 4 km or so, it does another downhill - short, steep and very winding. After that, it is smooth driving to the Corryong/Khancoban road and into town.

Taking the Elliot Way, the road is narrow and steep for the first 12 km or so, and you come out at the headwaters of Talbingo Dam. Then you climb up (moderately steep but winding and narrow) and exit the Tumut valley. From there, it is downhill and reasonably straight and wide for 25 km or so until you hit the Tumbarumba/Khancoban road. Turn left and it is a good relatively straight road into town, but there are long, steep hills. These hills are deceptively steep - you think that there is something wrong with your engine because you are going so slow.

The Cabra-Khancoban road is closed from June to October by snowfalls. It can be closed at any time due to fallen trees. There is no habitation on most of the Cabra-Khancoban road, and none until a few km after leaving the Tumut valley on the Elliot way.

I have towed an 18 ft 4 wheel van (and smaller ones as well) on both roads many times. Both have their narrow, steep sections, but they do not really frighten me. It is the idiot coming the other way who worries me. If you care to pm me, I can email you a set of detailed route notes for both ways which give you points of interest and a few of the danger spots on the roads.
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Follow Up By: Erad - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 09:41

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 09:41
Sorry - I forgot to add that none of these routes are as steep or as winding as the section of the Alpine way from Tom Groggin to Dead Horse Gap, but they are still steep and winding. Use the gears on your tractor and sit back and enjoy the scenery and you should have a safe and enjoyable trip.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 19:25

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 19:25
Actually the steepest part of the Alpine Way is not the hill between Tom Groggin and Dead Horse Gap. It's closer to Khancoban - http://maps.bonzle.com/c/a?a=p&cmd=sp&p=168727&st=&s=alpine%20way

There is no sign saying that trailers are prohibited on the Alpine Way. The not suitable signs are there to dissuade those not confident or competent from attempting that route. If you are confident and competent to drive in hilly conditions feel free to take a slow and relaxed drive along it. My van is only 5.5 m length but the other two who went with me had much larger vans. We all thought it was a great trip.

As for motorcyclists, don't travel on weekends when the weekend warriors are out in force. Also if you travel slow enough to to keep in your lane you are going slow enough for them to dodge you. It's mainly the drivers who are also pushing the limits that wear them as mascots.

As stated above, any NSW national parks that have toll barriers, if the road passes through the park you are free to travel it without paying park fees. On the Alpine Way they give you an authority to pass through and it has a two hour time limit on it.
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Follow Up By: patsproule - Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015 at 06:52

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015 at 06:52
Thanks for this. Hadn't thought of the Elliot Way as well. Didn't realise a section from Cabramurra was dirt either. That doesn't put me off though. I have travelled the Alpine way quite a few times and I have towed the boat once up it. It's 21ft long on a tandem trailer weighing about 1500kg. I a not inexperienced at towing or driving big heavy things (trucks). It's more the dangers of oncoming traffic on the Alpine Way that bothers me. Lots of blind corners and people on the wrong side of the road. We are heading up on Saturday so will have a think.

Thanks - Pat
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015 at 16:06

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015 at 16:06
Pat, I agree with your comment that it is the oncoming traffic that bothers you.
I have driven both the Alpine and Elliots Way quite a few times and in both directions (plus the Cabramurra Road).
If towing a van, my concern would be getting past a large vehicle coming the other way. If my memory serves me, there are at least 2 sections on the Alpine Way that would present problems in this regard. One section is down near the Murray 1 PS and the other about half way up to Dead Horse Gap where there is a long length of guard railing on the southern side.
It is noteworthy that maintenance crews traveling with trucks often use a pilot vehicle to warn of oncoming traffic. I acted as a pilot for a fellow towing a van going up the DHG section and luckily was able to warn him early enough for him to use the widened passing area prior to the guard rail. The trucks coming down were very grateful and had some words to say about vans on using this section. I am sure the trucks would not have backed up so it would have been up to the vanner to reverse back down the hill.
There are many narrow winding roads around that are OK if you don't meet someone coming the other way. If there is a large sign saying "not suitable for caravans" and I met one where there was no passing opportunity (and a sign at the beginning stating this, eg, on the narrow road down to McKillops Bridge) I would be tempted to pull off as far as I could, boil a billy for a cuppa and say "your call" :-)
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Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 14:09

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 14:09
G'day Pat

"potentially dangerous when dodging boy racer motorbikes coming the other way"

I'm sure there are hundreds of normal law abiding motorcyclists who don't speed at all - especially when riding through the hills / mountains that encounter potentially dangerous vehicles towing boats straddling the white line with their boat trailer on the wrong side of the road !

Just sayin'

Happy and safe travelling

AnswerID: 544173

Reply By: Gronk - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 17:25

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 17:25
Been the Alpine Way before towing a small van and can't see what the problem would be...as always travel to the conditions..

What size boat is it ? A 25 ft, 3 ton monster might be pushing it, but a normal type up to 18ft would be no problem at all..
AnswerID: 544183

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 19:28

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 19:28
Yes it's a great drive for competent drivers, isn't it. It's no worse than the worst of the Tasmanian roads. If you don't think you can negotiate it then keep out of Tasmania.

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