Road condition - Donohue in June 2015

Submitted: Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 07:20
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Can you advise what condition the Donohue from Boulia to Tobermorey may be like in June 2015. Retired couple, have done the Oodnadatta and Birdsville tracks and Old Telegraph on the Cape. Traveling in Ford Ranger with lift kit, Old Emu heavy duty springs and airbags, and Cooper all-terrain types. Thanks.
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Reply By: Been-Everywhereman - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 07:53

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 07:53
I have driven that road from one end to the other maybe 8 or 10 times and every time it has been the same..........
The Alice end starts of really wide and nice then gets a little feral with corros and bull dust holes....... The change at the Donahue sees it sort of shrink down in size and still remain quite a nice dirt road................ The biggest thread is a rock through your tread if you don't drive to the conditions............
It is a major road train route so watch out for the big rigs..
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Follow Up By: Been-Everywhereman - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 07:55

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 07:55
starts off,,,,, not starts of.... and threat not thead....Jeesh
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Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 08:30

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 08:30
Very helpful- not. And whats (sorry, what is) with this 'Jeesh'?
Often I reply from my phone and with the combination of a keyboard blocking the text and fat fingers I apologise in advance for making such typos.
CJ
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Follow Up By: Been-Everywhereman - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 09:06

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 09:06
Hey CJ. I was just rectifying my mistakes from my hastily written post. Your response confused me. I am easily confused. Cheers.
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Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 09:23

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 09:23
Sorry mate I thought it was someone else having a go at your post and its errors. Did not realise it was you, . Seems I am more easily confused.
All good, sorry, CJ
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Follow Up By: Chris and Georgie B - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 11:18

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 11:18
Thanks for your insight, Beeneverywhere. I love your expression 'nice dirt road'. Lovely. Regards. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Chris and Georgie B - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 11:32

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 11:32
Beeneverywhereman, do you reckon we should try to find other drivers to go in convoy on our first time on the Donohue? I have heard of a few problems with convoys, but would it be safer? We are happy to re-do roads on our own, like the OT, but we're happy to do with others first. We have a strong and reliable rig, but don't have a winch. Regards. Georgie
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Reply By: CSeaJay - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 08:36

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 08:36
Chris and Georgie
As beeneverywhere said,. You will be fine with the setup that you described, I would just emphasise tire pressures and set your speed accordingly. When we see a road train coming, we broadcast our intentions and then we pull well off the rtoad (as in stopping). Also worth asking the truck if he has another following.
CJ
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Reply By: Chris and Georgie B - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 11:17

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 11:17
Many thanks for your advice. Coopers have a tyre pressure chart and we will try and get one. Great idea to ask truckie if anyone else coming. We have a CB in the car. I note on the map the Urandangi Road also goes to Tobermorey. Is that a viable option if the Donohue in poor condition. Thanks again, all advice greatly appreciated. Georgie
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 17:38

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 17:38
I wouldn't worry about the Donohue, Chris 'n Georgie, if you've done those other tracks. It's like Been E'man said: "a nice dirt road". There's also about 100 kms of bitumen, in sections, from the Isa road to the border too. The dirt sections will be pretty dusty, so watch out for bull dust holes.

It's not necessary to talk to road trains, unless you want too. Just need to indicate, and pull off the road. However they may let you know of any bad spots behind them too. On the dirt sections you'll also see they coming, large dust clouds :-), for maybe 5 kms away.

You also wouldn't need to join a convoy to do the road, unless you meet a like-minded group, say like some ExplorOz people. :-))

Safe travels,
Bob

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Reply By: Chris and Georgie B - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 20:57

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 20:57
Thanks for your advice, Bob. I didn't mention we started to float off down the last creek crossing on the OTT! We managed Gunshot very well, so we're amazed when we found a huge hole in the last creek crossing. The car's carpets have never been so clean. Thanks again. Georgie
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Reply By: mchapo - Tuesday, May 05, 2015 at 00:07

Tuesday, May 05, 2015 at 00:07
CHRIS, I drove the Donohue two weeks ago and it is in very good shape, also there are a lot of roadworks at the moment so by June more improvements will be in place.
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Reply By: Chris and Georgie B - Tuesday, May 05, 2015 at 13:53

Tuesday, May 05, 2015 at 13:53
Thanks for that, Mchappo, very good news! Everyone on this forum is so helpful. We are really looking forward to our trip. Another thing, where is the best place to stop for the night on the road? Regards. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Tuesday, May 05, 2015 at 19:23

Tuesday, May 05, 2015 at 19:23
In June last year we stayed at Tobermorey, Jervois and Gemtree. Good grass at Tobermorey and sand at Jervois. Grassy gravel at Gemtree.

The Donohue was our first long dirt trek with an off road van. It was an easy drive. You will enjoy it.

Cheers,

Kevin
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Sir Kev - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 08:08

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 08:08
Kevin,

Lucky you had initiated the van by going into Mt Moffatt prior then :)

How is the fridge door handling life now, especially after we saw you at Trilby??


Cheers Kev

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Follow Up By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 10:56

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 10:56
Hi Kev. No further problems at all. It is still as tight as when you put the door back on during our journey to My Moffatt. Obviously it had not been tightened at manufacture of the fridge or when the when (if) the door was rehung on the opposite side when Coromal fitted it to the van.

Lucky we had all that support when the door fell off. We did, and do, appreciate it.

Great trip to Mt Moffatt though. I wouldn't mind going back some time.

Cheers, Kevin.
Kevin
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Reply By: Chris and Georgie B - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 05:14

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 05:14
Thanks, Kevin. They were where we thought about staying. We use a tent, so will pack our thicker groundsheet for Gemtree. Nice thought we might be camped on top of gemstones. Regards, Georgie
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Reply By: Chris and Georgie B - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 07:08

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 07:08
Our next question is where is the best place to stay at Boulia - we have a tent, or in paid accommodation?
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 08:30

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 08:30
Chris & Georgie

There is a great spot about 8-kilometres out of town on a water-hole situated on the Donohue Highway just after turning off the Diamantina Development Road. A very pleasant spot frequented by other travellers.

And if you are travelling further along the Plenty Highway after Tobermorey we have found a good camping spot to be the Arthur River, about 50 klm east of Jevois. Not necessarily water in it, but again, a pleasant spot.

I wouldn’t anticipate you will have any problems travelling this rate in “normal” weather conditions, apart from some bulldust patches along the way.

Enjoy…

Baz – The Landy
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 08:33

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 08:33
Edit: “travelling this route (not rate)”…
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 10:50

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 10:50
Georgie,

The site Baz mentioned is Bengeacca Creek, about 500 metres of creek frontage, quite a bit of shade and plenty of room to pick a site. Not too sure if there'd be much water in it this year?

Another camp is at the Georgina River crossing, where there should be water, but it too could be very popular. Probably other camps available around this spot too, that I've forgotten about.

We camped at Bengeacca Ck, left there about 9.30, and got to Gem Tree close to 5pm. This included lunch near Cockroach Bore, a ice-cream at Jervious and numerous Kodak moments.......at NT border, near Tarlton Downs and also close to the impressive Harts Range.

Gem Tree was good, camped amongst the mulga trees, and very quiet, even though it was crowded. If you stop there shower early, as there may not be hot water after dark. :-( Great bird life the next morning, all very friendly, and a couple of species we'd never seen before.

There is an alternative camp, on the right, maybe 4-5 kms past the Sandover turnoff too.

Bob


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Follow Up By: Chris and Georgie B - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 12:15

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 12:15
Hi again, Bob. You just knocked my socks off, as We thought it would take 4 days to do that part of the Plenty. Wow. Sounds like did it comfortably in the day. Wow. We want to get to Alice by the Friday to volunteer at the Beanie festival (!!!) so were wanting to start by the Monday. Thanks for your invaluable info. Regards. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 15:24

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 15:24
Just to clarify a few points, Georgie. We weren't towing that day, and were on a "mission" to see one of our daughters at Yulara. When not doing the Kodak thing, or lunching, we were hooking in and sitting on or about the speed limit, where road conditions allowed this. Probably only saw one or two vehicles for the day, so weren't continually slowing down as we would have been if it was busy.

Still it is achievable without wrecking one's vehicle. The next day we went from Gem Tree to Yulara.











Enjoy the trip and safe travels,
Bob

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Follow Up By: Chris and Georgie B - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 16:53

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 16:53
What fabulous pics, Bob. Thank you for sending them, they gave us a real look at the road. Fabulous. Is the Ben... Creek camp you mention outside Boulia or Tonermorey? Is the Donohue as good as on the pics all the way? If so, how long did it take you to do that bit. We were allocatimg a full day to do the 200odd kms. Regards. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 18:18

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 18:18
No worries, Georgie.

Bengeacca Ck is outside of Boulia, as described by Baz above. Meant to mention earlier that there is a 'van park in Boulia too, as well as the Desert Sands Motel and nice motel units at the pub.

Travel time to the border was about 2.5 hrs. There was roughly 80 kms of bitumen, in sections, in 2011, but I understand there could be 100 kms or more now. The only part that might have been a bit narrow was crossing the Georgina River channels.

Yeah, it wouldn't be hard to take all day to do that section, if one was to stop regularly and smell the roses. :-). Then early into Tobermorey, and kick back on the lawns, sipping a cooling drink while the leg of lamb sizzles away in the camp oven.

Just in case you haven't got them, the Hema Great Desert Tracks (either paper or electronic)maps are handy for travelling across this way too.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Chris and Georgie B - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 19:50

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 19:50
Thanks again, Bob, this info is invaluable for our planning - and a great confidence boost! By the way - your horse looks lovely. Is he/she a stock horse or 1/4? Regards. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 20:29

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 20:29
That's good, Georgie, it's no load to have plenty of info, eh.

The old fellar was a stock horse, though he may have had a bit of quarter horse in him. Was a favourite too, but I'm a bit embarrassed.......can't remember his name. Photo taken at Auvergne Station in 1972-73.
If you click on any photos on this site, most of them will enlarge, and there's often more info attached as well.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Chris and Georgie B - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 22:14

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 22:14
Hi Bob. Sounds like you have been traveling the country for quite a while. We would love to be brave enough to sell up, throw in jobs, and hit the road. We are amazed at some of the traveling stories we hear on our trips. Last year we met a couple who used to work the mail run to Birdsville with Tom Cruise. He had wonderful stories of his life since he retired. Regards. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Chris and Georgie B - Thursday, May 07, 2015 at 11:28

Thursday, May 07, 2015 at 11:28
My apology - Tom Kruse, the mailman, not the actor fellow. Sigh. Regards. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, May 07, 2015 at 12:55

Thursday, May 07, 2015 at 12:55
Ha ha, don't think old Tom would mind, Georgie.

Most of my travelling has been work related, that is I've had to travel to different stations. We moved to town 6 years ago and have both been working since, with not enough "good" trips in that time. There's lots of folk on this site who I'm very envious of, with all their travel blogs and photos.

Do the travel thing alright, Georgie, but I'd be wary of "selling up", as you need a base to return too, unless you have very understanding friends and relies. :-). We all need to win Lotto, then we could go when and where we liked.........as long as we had the correct permits.

Bob

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Reply By: Chris and Georgie B - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 10:13

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 at 10:13
Thanks, Baz. This is great info. Don't you hate it when you stay the night in a caravan park then find a great nearby camping spot the next morning. Thanks for your help. We are getting excited about that part of the trip. We pick up our kids in Alice, then head off to the Gunbarrel - a whole other adventure!! Regards. Georgie
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