Katherine-Borroloola-Hell's Gate-Lawn Hill

Submitted: Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 21:55
ThreadID: 11208 Views:4155 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Dear Forumites,

We're planning our half-way-round Oz trip ( can't wait!!!) and plan to travel from Katherine to Borroloola to Hell's Gate to Lawn Hill around early June 2004. We have a landcruiser with Jumbuck camper trailer (ie mum, dad and 2 kids aged 5 & 7).
We're keen to hear any comments/suggestions re the suitability of this route at this time of year for our family.
eg. How rough are the tracks? Are they suitable for a camper trailer? Water crossings???? etc...

Also, what is the best route to take from Lawn Hill to Cairns?

Most grateful for your feedback.

Thanks

Steve
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Reply By: miker - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 22:35

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 22:35
Steve,

We covered most of this July/August last year. Roads were "usual" as in fair to good with the odd rough patch to shake up the beer. We towed a tinnie on a custom trailer and had no real issues other than two ruined tyres. Do yourself a favour, if time permits then detour into the beach at Wollogorang Station, a bit West of Hell's Gate. Great spot for a fish and some R&R. We (wife, two kids 8 &11) had plenty of wet creek crossings but nothing of note. Watch out for the "big lizards" though.

Make the usual inquiries before you head off and you'll have a ball. We came across two trailers with dramas - one with broken leaf springs (heading into the beach), the other was a broken axle. He was having a nice stay at Hell's Gate roadhouse. Ezzze Peazzzy.

Mike.
AnswerID: 50145

Follow Up By: Steven - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 09:02

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 09:02
Thanks Mike,

How deep were the water crossings? We do not have a snorkel and I'm not too keen to be doing them in crocodile country anyway.

Thanks,

Steve
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FollowupID: 311973

Follow Up By: miker - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 10:07

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 10:07
Steven,

Depth of the water crossings depends on how late the wet lingers and/or how early in the season you go.

As I say, make a few enquires (this site is a good start) as the departure date gets closer and you can't go too wrong. The Defender has a snorkel but wasn't needed this trip. Deepest crossing we encountered was abour .5 meter.

Miker.
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FollowupID: 311980

Reply By: fatboy - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 22:38

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 22:38
Hi Steve , can only vouch for the tracks around lawn hill , you will find the dirt roads in the area fairly rough for that time of year, will you be coming from hells gate through kingfisher camp to lawn hill as that is a nice drive, would reccomend camping at adels grove which is about 15 mins from lawn hill as there is better facilities ie. hot showers small shop , fuel etc ( although fuel is expensive)and can run generators if you need to . We have towed campers all over this area and have had no drama's .As for the route to Cairns, the more scenic route is to go from lawn hill to gregory ( worth a camp on the river bank here ) then on to three ways ( fuel available at both but again fairly expensive ) then go north to Normanton The turn off to head towards cairns is just before normanton but it is worth the short detour to go and have alook . Then you have all of the small town s across the top Georgetown ,croydon Mt surprise etc ( a lot of historical site seeing ) then into the Tablelands ( Gods country , although a little dry at tthe moment ) then down the range to Cairns . All of the roads from Gregory to Cairns are bitumen but a lot of single lane , make sure you pull off for the road trains as these guys can use all of the room they can get .
Hope this helps
Regards fatboy
AnswerID: 50146

Follow Up By: Member - Bruce (San Diego) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 03:38

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 03:38
Steve,

We did it the oposite way last year and its a great run across there, with plenty of things to see, Burke and Wills final tree, Normanton, the sunsets at Kurumba, The gulflander railway, Georgetown, Cobbold Gorge, Agate Creek, O'Briens Creek Gemfield, Undara Lava Tubes, Tinaroo Falls, there's a great woodworking shop in Tolga if that interests you and umpteam things to do around Cairns.

Have a great trip.
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FollowupID: 311963

Follow Up By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 10:38

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 10:38
Can reccomend the drive through from King Fisher Camp as listed above,very nice drive.Also Adels Grove is a top place and the people we talked to staying at the camp ground at Lawn Hill wished they'd lissened to other people and stayed at Adels Grove.
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FollowupID: 311983

Reply By: lizard - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 16:55

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 16:55
Depends on how late the season - we toed a Cavalier across the Gulf track in July last year - had no problems with crossings (the Calvert was the deepest - front bumper on GU Patrol) ... we had a snorkel on but didn't need it here (but did for OTL) . Karumba will probably be booked out if you are looking for R&R .
Wollogorang is a good rest site - check out their station meals .
Leichardt Falls was a nice overnighter .....
AnswerID: 50195

Reply By: Member - Bob L - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 17:29

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 17:29
Steve,
Sounds great,

We are travelling the reverse from Lawn Hill through to Roper River/Mataranka in August then straight back to Wagga as I think our 4 weeks will nearly be up.

From Lawn Hill if you head for Karumba you can get to Cairns via Chilligo on the Burke Development Road which we found to be a well maintained dirt road and easy going. We took 2 days and enjoyed a great little camp site on the 1st Walsh River crossing. (Over the causway and about a 100 mtrs on the right hand side is a little track going back down to the river).

I hope I can find my GPS Track files to submit to this site.

I'll watch for further posts with interest, Have a very good trip.

Cheers

Bob L

AnswerID: 50198

Reply By: friar - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 17:43

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 17:43
Hi Steven
Had some great fishing last march april at king ash bay returned mid april
via gulf road the creeks were all about 500 to a metre deep with the calvert
being the worst,got hung up on a rock mid way through the calvert but managed
to back up &continue on only damage to car was about 6inches water in cab,
i was the first car to come through heading south a couple had gorne through
heading north,woollingerang,were most helpful with information as i rang
them at booroola to see if the road had been used,giving me the information
that a couple of 4x4 had called in heading north &must have got through
as they had not returned,hope this is of some help
Friar
AnswerID: 50200

Reply By: friar - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 17:43

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 17:43
Hi Steven
Had some great fishing last march april at king ash bay returned mid april
via gulf road the creeks were all about 500 to a metre deep with the calvert
being the worst,got hung up on a rock mid way through the calvert but managed
to back up &continue on only damage to car was about 6inches water in cab,
i was the first car to come through heading south a couple had gorne through
heading north,woollingerang,were most helpful with information as i rang
them at booroola to see if the road had been used,giving me the information
that a couple of 4x4 had called in heading north &must have got through
as they had not returned,hope this is of some help
Friar
AnswerID: 50201

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