Tunnel Ck & Windjana Gorge

Is it feasible to tow a conventional caravan safety from the Great Northern Hwy to Tunnel Creek NP and Windjana Gorge en route to Derby?

Glenn
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 08:39

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 08:39
Yes

Speed and tyre pressure are the key.

They are both wonderful spots not to be missed. Ensure you have a good torch for the tunnel.

Alan
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:26

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:26
Make sure you can put your torch in a pocket as it's a 2 handed scramble to get in the entrance. Plus wear shoes with a decent sole as the bottom can be hard on feet.
Enjoy.
AlanH.
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Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 13:10

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 13:10
hi alan TH
many years ago when we walked through tunnel creek it was up to the top of my shoulders i.m 5.9ft so putting your torch in your pocket wasn't an option and we only needed to trip on something and our head torches would have gone out too i know its not that deep most of the but can be if flowing there weren't any rangers around in those days
cheers
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 13:41

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 13:41
Hi Mazcan. I've never seen it that deep but I bet it does on occassion and I doubt I for one would go through in those circumstances. I mentioned having a torch that you could put away as we saw a tour bus once full of oldies (my age 70 plus) and it wasn't until they got to the entrance they were told they needed one. Stupid tour leader probably just doing it as a holiday job.
Most of the oldies had sticks or walkers so how they were expected to get in I don't know.
Maybe in the future some gov. dept will decide to clear the entrance and build paths to make sure "it's accessible for all to enjoy".......
Cheers.
AlanH.
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Follow Up By: Member - Munji - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 15:15

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 15:15
And a good pair of shoes, preferably reef boots
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 18:36

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 18:36
Yes that's as I said. Something with a good sole as the bottom is rough and those with thin soles soon find that out.....as I did on my first excursion through there. :-(((
AlanH.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 19:12

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 19:12
Alan,

Your post is quite relevant and an interesting comment regarding the tour leader.

However, I hope you had your tongue in cheek, suggesting the entrance be cleared and a path put in.
If folk cannot climb through the rocks at the entrance, then they have no choice but to sit it out.
One of our party elected to stay at the car park area, sitting under a tree, as she is a little unsteady on her legs.

No Government department should bastardize natural attractions to make it more accessible to everyone. You may even suggest that the entrance be made wheelchair accessible, although the chair wouldn't get very far, once inside:-)

We were there last May and the water level at the deepest part was about knee deep. A fantastic experience all the same. We (3 of us) were on our own and it was like a surreal adventure winding our way firstly to the mid point where the roof has collapsed and then the second section to the far end.
On returning past the open roof area, we met up with a tour group of 8 or so, escorted by one of the local Indigenous folk.
We got to experience something extra, the tour group couldn't possibly grasp. The feeling of solitude and absolute anticipation of what was coming next.

One of the absolute highlights of our trip to the Kimberley.


Bill


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Reply By: WBS - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 08:49

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 08:49
I personally would not tow my caravan there but I did see a Jayco emerge from the road at the Gibb River road end when we were heading in. I think it can be a bit rough with sharpish stones on the road, but if you are game it is certainly not a difficult road to negotiate with care.

Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge are well worth a visit. Don't forget to stop at the Lillimullurra Police Outstation ruins and brush up on your local history.
WBS
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 09:02

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 09:02
I haven’t been there since 2009, but I suspect it will still be much the same. The answer is no I don’t think it would be suitable. Driving in from Derby is very do-able, just go slow if any sections are corrugated, but the stretch fom Derby to Windjana is generally kept in good condition. From Windjana to Tunnel Creek is also pretty good, although I would advise leaving the van at Windjana & taking a day trip to Tunnel Creek. South of Tunnel Creek the road quickly deteriorates.

If your tow vehicle is a 4wd Windjana would also make a good basecamp for day visits to a few other gorges along the GRR.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 01:31

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 01:31
Hi Cuppa, my apologies that I had missed you post when I wrote similar.

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Reply By: Top End Az - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 09:38

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 09:38
You can tow with ease from Derby to Windjana. This section of the GRR is better than most of Qlds highways the three times we've done it. As others have said make Windjana your base and do Tunnel Creek as a day trip. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to do Windjana for awesome colour, better photos and less crowds.
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Follow Up By: Top End Az - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 09:41

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 09:41
Just reread your post. If you are coming directly from the Great Northern Hwy to Tunnel Creek on the Leopoldo Downs Rd then I don't recommend a standard caravan for this. Better off going via Derby.
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Reply By: MARIC - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:11

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:11
Yes it is feasible. Drive to the conditions, and don't act like a F1 driver. Ensure your tyre pressures are not too high or too low and get your sidewalls damaged.

Not long ago our friends drove a ONROAD caravan all along the Gibb River Rd with us, at the time I thought they were nuts, but they took it easy and had no problems at all apart some dust inside the van.

Have fun and enjoy.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:36

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:36
The GRR may be acceptable, but have grave doubts about suitability of dragging a conventional caravan into Windjana / Tunnel Creek - particularly the track out to Fizroy Xing side - 10 years ago the track was in very poor condition & it would surprise me if any upgrading has been done - but more recent visitors may correct me.

I would visit it without the van - an area not to be missed and the benefits may be outweighed by the slow going & worrying about your van & contents.

Derby Tourist Bureau should be able to give you an indication.

Regards - Phil
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Reply By: garri - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 11:22

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 11:22
saw a 20 ft caravan being pulled through Ruddal river np by 2 grey nomads
i think he said he was going to sell it .
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 15:24

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 15:24
The sharp dips on the Fitzroy Crossing side of Tunnel creek may/will cause a conventional on road van to hang up on its tail, depending on design.

We met a couple in Karajini who had done it in a "semi off road" van but their fridge had self destructed .
Talking to vanners in out of the way places, my impression is that its the appliances/furniture that fail on the rough roads.
I last did the GRR in August last year and it was fine from Derby to the Winjana turnoff.
The previous time I did it about 5 years ago, the Turnoff to Winjana was very corrugated , and Winjana to Tunnel creek was much worse, IMHO caused by the many tour buses that go there. So I guess it depends on when it was last graded how corrugated it will be, but I would leave my van ( if I had one) at Winjana.
Regards Philip A
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 16:29

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 16:29
We drove a few kilometres slowly, but didn't let tyres down as we weren't going far that night and we were late after a delay at Fitzroy Crossing fuel outlet and it was getting dark. Our spotlights fell to bits, and we found a mystery sticky fluid all over the caravan floor and on everything that had fallen off the seats onto the floor, which turned out to be cordial which had escaped from an unopened bottle out of a cupboard and onto the floor. It took days to get rid of the stickiness.

I recommend coming along the Gibb River Road from Derby which is not bad and taking it slowly into Windjana Gorge campground. Do a day trip not towing to Tunnel Creek.



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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 18:46

Friday, Mar 13, 2015 at 18:46
We've done both roads, the GRR from Derby to Kununurra and from the GRR down to Fitzroy with our van which is semi off road but with good ground clearance and suffered no damage. Tyre pressure and careful speed is the way to avoid damage.
Certainly I think as others do is to camp at Windjana and then travel to tunnel creek but wouldn't hesitate to travel further on either road personally.
Must add though that plenty of heroes left us in their dust on the GRR including one bloke who when we stopped to ask if they needed help response was "I've got plenty of tyres"......
Enjoy the trip with a good torch and shoes.
Cheers.
AlanH.
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Reply By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 15:13

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 15:13
Hi Glenn,

We did that road in reverse (from Derby, camped at Windjana Gorge for a couple of nights then towed through to Tunnel Creek where we parked the van and 4WD in the car park and did the walk through the Tunnel, then continued south) two years ago in July. Towed a 20 ft Outback Jayco starcraft which has better ground clearance than a conventional van, with a late model pajero and found parts of the road very rough. At that time there was one creek crossing which would have been deep enough to enter the step area of a conventional van I think.

The road was signposted 4WD High clearance, from memory.

We did reduce the speed and the tyres all around and camped overnight at the Boab quarry, near the Fitzroy end. When we pulled up we found that the (short) screws in one drawer runner in the kitchen had worked loose, but otherwise there was no other damage visible.

A Boroma pop top van also camped at the quarry who had traveled along the same road had a fridge door come off and awning damage, can't remember what else...so I would hesitate to recommend that you tow your van there.

We did enquire at the Visitor Information centre in Derby and were advised to do a day bus trip. Maybe you could phone ahead to Fitzroy crossing or Derby and check road conditions closer to the date of travel.

Here is a link to the blog I wrote of our travels.
http://www.exploroz.com/Members/145028.750/7/2013/Windjana_Gorge__Tunnel_Creek_and_Fitzroy_Crossing___Week_16.aspx

regards,
Heather
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Reply By: Sacred Cow - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 08:38

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 08:38
Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to give excellent advice.
When we get to Derby we will check if we can get the van into Windjana but no further! Thanks again.

Sincerely,
Glenn
AnswerID: 549985

Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 09:46

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 09:46
There is a possibility that when asking in Derby you may be unnecessarily persuaded of the need to take a tour. Ask a few folk.
We left our Nissan Civilian bus in Derby where we hired a 4wd to go to Windjana. This put us on a ‘schedule’, which I regretted. We would have had no problem at all driving our bus (towing an on-road trailer containing off road motorcycles) in, & it is such a great place to spend some relaxing time, as well as a good basecamp for exploring further afield. Our time (2 nights) was more rushed than was ideal, & the comfort of a proper bed rather than our little tent would have been worthwhile. Windjana is definitely on our ‘return to’ list - next time for at least a week just to chill out & soak up the ambience in a relaxed manner.

Bell Gorge is also a magical spot about 2 hours drive from Windjana, & well worth visiting. 2wd will take you to the campground, but (IIRC) the drive to the gorge is about 10 kms from the camp ground was pretty rocky, needing high clearance.

There are also several gorges between Bell & Windjana, waiting for us to explore next time. Time didn’t allow us to check them out last time.

If you take your van in to Windjana you stand a far better chance of experiencing some of thes wonderful places without busloads of day-trippers which makes a huge difference.

You may be interesed in this entry from our blog which also links to a heap of Kimberly photos.

http://www.cuppa500.com/_Big_Trip/Entries/2009/8/14_Entry_37_-_Gorges%2C_Boabs_%26_Crocs.html
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 09:58

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 09:58
Not sure why the link above doesn’t work, but it appears that ExplorOz doesn’t like url’s over a certain length. Sorry.

Try this.

http://tinyurl.com/kv5vhxe
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