Gibb River Road with Jayco camper

Submitted: Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 23:47
ThreadID: 11277 Views:3675 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Has anyone travelled the Gibb River Road with a Jayco camper trailer or similar?

I plan on doing it in July and are wondering what to expect as far as corrigations etc. We are going via the Tanami as well. Old Turk.
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Reply By: Coops (Pilbara) - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 00:36

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 00:36
it shouldn't be an issue but will all be related to
tyres & pressures
road conditions of the day.

Have travelled GRR with a trailer and no real issues. Obvious things can happen but that's the same evrywhere
AnswerID: 50475

Reply By: Member - Cocka - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 00:44

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 00:44
I don't pull a CT but know the roads and can give you an indication that will help, I trust.
A tip for any CT going into these areas is that they be strong in the suspension and hitch area. The greater the weight you have the stronger they need to be. The main breakages I have seen by the roadside have been axles or springs. It's a lot cheaper to take spares and the gear to work on them than to get bits flown in later, it might seem like excess but it's great insurance. If all the tyres on the 4by and trailer are the same size, great, but take 2 spares. If they are different sizes it makes it harder, at least a spare for each. If needed, new casings can be bought at either end of the GRR or maybe Drysdale Station (send them an email/phone to check before you leave).
The GRR and Tanami are not all that bad. Fairly wide, straight, level and they are always grading some section of them.
Where not graded corregations can build up and be severe, here you have two choices (you have the trailer) travel at a speed 80-90 kph where you float on the corregations, or slow right down and hit every one. It varies and you just have to make your own judgement. I, without a trailer, increased speed as they got bigger. From time to time you will come across cattle so take care, otherwise there is virtually no wildlife.
Safety Tips:
1. When you hit the dirt lower ALL your tyre pressures by 10 psi, this softens the thumping on the suspensions and gives a better footprint on the road.
2. Don't drive in the smooth gutters along the immediate edges of the road, there are hidden sharp rocks and stakes waiting to rip the sides out of the tyres. This is to where the graders move rocks off the road.
3. Avoid all sharp looking rocks on the road.
4. If driving above 70kph use 4WD High for greater stability.
Tyres all round should be of at least A/T quality.

Enjoy the trip, it's a great part of Oz.
AnswerID: 50476

Follow Up By: Julie from Gibb River Road Bus Services - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 12:44

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 12:44
Hi Old Turk
Just reading how hard it has been to get tyres and parts up the Gibb River Road and just thought I would let you know we are starting a new bus service along the Gibb River Road from May to September carrying passengers and freight.

3 days a week from Derby to Kununurra and 3 days a week from Kununurra to Derby, so your goods are only ever a day away, wherever you are camped along the road.

Check out our website at or contact us on Ph: (08) 9169 1880

Enjoy your trek in the Kimbeley's
FollowupID: 312319

Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 13:02

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 13:02
Well done Julie and good luck with the new business.
Any thoughts on a Kalumburu or Drysdale detour ??
FollowupID: 312321

Follow Up By: Julie from Gibb River Road Bus Services - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 13:22

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 13:22
Thanks Carpe
If all goes well this year we are looking into running another bus on the Kalumburu Road at a later date and having it meet up with the Derby/Kununurra bus.
FollowupID: 312325

Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 08:45

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 08:45
Hello mate,

So you posted the question. I am sure you will get some quality replies like the ones above.


AnswerID: 50499

Reply By: Member - Raymond - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 10:26

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 10:26
Hi Old Turk
Travelled the Gibb River Road last year. I find that keeping the vehicle at 80 kph or below and reducing the tyre pressure makes the travelling easier and much less likely to damage the tyres and suspension. The biggest danger on the GRR are the OS travellers you see the 100 sign and assume that is the speed you have to travel at. The Tanami should be no problem, the only part that was rough was in WA were the road is quite narrow and the sides were rutted badly.
I am afraid that if the corrugations are bad I just slow down, you are on Holiday's anyway what is the rush? Also if you speed up so that you cannot feel themthen you are travelling only on the top of them, imagine what happens if you have to break suddenly and you are part airborne. I am sure Anne from Drysdale can tell you how many roll on the road per week from speed.
The Jayco and other camper should handle the road, just get the wheel bearings and the suspension check before leaving, 2 spares
AnswerID: 50512

Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 11:32

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 11:32
Good point about the bearings Ray. I can't think of everything. Doesn't hurt to carry a spare one of these also and know how to remove the old ones and put the newies in. Tools also.

Re the speed issue, I have no experience with trailers over corrugations so I do not pesume to be an advisor on that topic and hope that the wise Old Turk does not take my comments to be mandatory.
However I do stand by what I say in relation to driving a 4x4 on the particular roads in question. Of course if you are on a winding type road, the circumstances are completly different and speed should be adjusted to suit safe driving, and all the more reason to be driving in 4WD-H. If you feel that you are floating on the tops of the bumps then your tyre pressures are probably higher than necessary or your speed is excessive. You should be able to feel the road through the seat of your pants and a light grip on the steering wheel.

Traffic is also a self administering factor and one never presumes there is nothing around the next corner to impede your progress. I back right off when another vehicle approaches and stop when the big trucks & trains come along.

And about the scary comment of how many roll on these roads, it's driver incompetence and not the vehicle that's the problem. Just ask all of them what tyre pressurs they have & you will find most have never adjusted their pressures down since leaving the bitumen 500k's ago, they bounce and slide all over the road.
Just to demonstrate a point, two vehicles stopped beside us on the GRR at the Kalumburu turnoff, they commented on what a bitch of a road it was from Pentecoste River to here (about 250k's). One had spun his vehicle (no damage) the other had ripped apart two tyres and couldn't risk going up to Kalumburu, they reaconed they were not speeding, when I asked what tyre pressures they had both were on 47psi all round. I said reduce by 15psi and stay out of the gutters. I saw them in a camp 2 weeks later and they said thanks and noted what a huge difference it had made.

FollowupID: 312312

Reply By: eric - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 00:45

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 00:45
Never seen coffee or milo compressed into a solid block like they did when I towed my golf camper (similar to jayco but better -lol) on the GRR. The corrugations are killers - but only if you fail to pack the common sense. The posts above are all excellent tips but make sure your water lines are protected and I would cover the sides of the water tank with sheet metal as well. Do yourself a favor and ensure that the cupboard doors and fridge doors are GRR proof. The tempature dropped 30 points when the landanchor opened the camper door at El Questro at 11 pm that hot May night and all of our clothes, food, crockery and fridge contents (no beer - doh) met us at once. Yeah so Jayco make a better door catch. My son just loved his newly pink dyed shirts, pindan (the red dust) or beetroot I'm not sure.
Happy trails and that is by far the best part of Oz.
AnswerID: 50802

Reply By: Blackie - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 11:44

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 11:44
This question has been asked before so try the seach facility and you should get even more useful info. Tim Bowden (ex ABC) has written " Penelope Bungles to Broome" (Allen and Unwin Pub. ) about his trip to the area in his Jayco.
AnswerID: 51043

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