driving plenty in a 2 wd


We are planning a road trip from Perth to Birdsville at the end of August.

We’ll be travelling the outback highway in a kluger 2 wd.

Time wise we should be ok to be there in time for the Birdsville races.

My concern is the stretch Alice springs to Birdsville and especially the plenty h’way.

I believe we are travelling at the right time of the year.

What is your opinion about the car we are travelling in(2 wd only).

We are responsible with regards to speed etc.

But are there sections on this road where the chances are of getting bogged?

Thank you
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 15:49

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 15:49
Absolutely no drama in a 2WD.............unless its wet in which case give it a miss.....

OKA196 Motorhome.
AnswerID: 551462

Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 16:24

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 16:24
Last year the road was in very good condition, but starting to develop a few bull dust patches. This was early June.

A 2 WD car could have driven it, you cross the boarder into QLD and long sections of this road its possible to sit at the speed limit

If rain about nothing should be on the road.
AnswerID: 551463

Reply By: Rangiephil - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 17:21

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 17:21
I always remember when I left Boulia on the Plenty highway, one of the first things I saw coming the other way was a flat top tow truck with a Pathfinder on it and oil dripping everywhere. I followed the oil trail for several Kilometres.

I don't know for sure but it looked like engine oil to me from a cracked sump.

So IMHO you will have to be very vigilant for large rocks on the road, when you have not a lot of ground clearance.

Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 551470

Follow Up By: Rangiephil - Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015 at 12:56

Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015 at 12:56
On reflection I think the pathfinder had gone into a creek crossing too fast and hit the sump. You have to watch dips carefully particularly if you have a front wheel drive as the sump is usually low and forward, and of course side on presenting a large surface to hit.
Regards Philip A
FollowupID: 836985

Reply By: Iza B - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 19:03

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 19:03
Most of those roads can be travelled in a 2WD vehicle when dry. 2WD vehicles often come to grief because they mostly have inadequate underbody protection. Think of the force/ damage potential held in a rock that jumps up then has an alloy housing hitting it at 80 KPH. Pretty common for the average Commodore out that way to end its days with a big hole in the sump.

AnswerID: 551491

Reply By: gelatr - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 21:39

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 21:39
When I lived in Tambo a mate of mine who was the local plumber used to regularly take his Ford XD wagon and trailer on the Plenty. The biggest issue is clearance rather than traction. When I was in Tambo I used to take my Gemini between Tambo and Alpha. That was an adventure. Especially when the bull dust got thick. Take it easy and you should be fine.

Cheers Geoff
AnswerID: 551506

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015 at 19:20

Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015 at 19:20

As long as you take your time across the Plenty you shouldn't have any dramas. I'd work on taking 2 days, or slightly less, to get to Boulia, from the Alice. There's bitumen to just past Gemtree, then quite a bit of bitumen from the Qld border to Boulia.......maybe close to 100 kms, in sections.

The photo above is about the worst gravel that I can remember on our trip.

Just watch any sandy looking sections, as they might be bull dust, and as suggested earlier, it can contain sizeable rocks that could damage your vehicle. Corrugations are bad near Harts Range, and west of Jervious. There are a number of creek crossings, and they may be a bit rough, as some were washed out badly earlier in the year.

You shouldn't have too many worries from Boulia to Birdsville. Except for a few gravel sections, between Bedourie & Birdsville, it's now all bitumen. Diamantina Shire always spends a lot of time prior to the races, grading and maintaining all the gravel sections, so you'll probably find they are as good as the bitumen.


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AnswerID: 551555

Reply By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015 at 20:40

Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015 at 20:40
Last time I drove it, there were about 700kms of bad corrugations. That was about 6 years ago and made for a memorable in a bad way, trip. I assumed plenty referred to the bumps. :-)
AnswerID: 551562

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