Snorkel required for the OTT in July if avoiding Nolans & Palm Ck?

Submitted: Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 15:30
ThreadID: 117792 Views:3315 Replies:12 FollowUps:14
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Thank you in advance for any comments.
We have a 2014 Pajero (not lifted but rear locker), towing a heavy CT (KK) with good AT tyres. I'm trying to ascertain whether a snorkel is required if you plan to drive parts of the OTT, avoiding crossings like Nolan's & Palm Ck. I plan to use the PDR to access parts of the OTT, backtracking as necessary to the PDR and using interconnecting side tracks marked on Hema maps between the two.
We are also looking at going to Chili Beach & Portland Roads (not Frenchmans track)
If I can avoid the several hundred dollars that would be great.
Never needed a snorkel for our inland travels in the past decade.
I know you don't need a snorkel if just driving the PDR.
Researching Bureau of Met. data has shown that the 2014-15 wet season has been poor (typically only 60-80% of average on the northern Cape this year.
Mark
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 16:14

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 16:14
Hi Mark,

Is your Paj a diesel?
If so, a snorkel is the single most wise investment to add, even if not crossing big puddles.
Just the cleaner air you will get will pay for the snorkel in no time at all and should you need to cross a deeper creek or river, the ability to do so without ingesting water through the air intake under the front wing, will be a very wise move.

If you have a petrol engine, the above comments may not be as critical to the longevity of your vehicle investment.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 17:43

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 17:43
Hi Mark,
Snorkel is the best option. You're going a long way to have to miss out on some thing or wreck your car because of that hole you never found whilst walking.

We heard of this happening Dead car. As happened to friends of ours at Litchfield National Park.

Take care, safe travels. Ma.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 00:01

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 00:01
It's the first thing that we added. The air pickup is in the wheel well under the mudguard. Heaps of dust there even on good dirt roads like the Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks.

Agree with others above. Fit one.

I feel that you got bad advice in fitting the rear lockers instead of a snorkle. We have been all over Aus and no lockers. And that includes heavy muddy tracks on the high country hills, soft sand in the deserts, deep water crossings and of course all the OTT. All without lockers and only turned around when there was tree across the road.!!!!
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Follow Up By: dingbat - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 02:45

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 02:45
No comment from me about the need for a snorkel to do the Cape, I don't have one but am not intending to make this trip. I'm trying to respond to a couple of other comments in this thread without being a smart_a. All Australian Pajeros have been diesel for a while and the 2014 NW is within this category. The air intake is under the left hand front forward lip of the bonnet and the rear diff lock would most likely be the standard Mitsi fitment which I've yet to use in anger on my NW though I did, two or three times, use the one fitted as standard to the 2010 Challenger I owned prior to the Pajero. The air intake position, while possibly higher than a wheel arch design, would cause me concern if I was faced with water deeper than the factory wading height of 70cm, particularly if there was wave action or an uneven underwater surface.
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Reply By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 17:56

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 17:56
I did the Cape with a standard 06 Hilux 4x4. you can do the same.N
AnswerID: 553543

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 20:00

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 20:00
Thanks Barnray, that's what I was hoping to hear from people who have done it.
Mark
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Reply By: CSeaJay - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 18:00

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 18:00
Mark,
In answer to your direct question, no a snorkel is not needed for water crossings, if you plan to bypass Nilans (and the one just south of Nolans)
AnswerID: 553544

Reply By: Hoyks - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 18:26

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 18:26
Another for not needed, but nice to have.
Keep in mind though that the $500 saved on a snorkel will seem cheap compared to recovery costs up there.

I did it last year in a almost stock BT50 (new tyres and a snorkel) and the deepest the water came was to the top of the tyres. I drove the OTT, from Bramwell to just short of Nolans Brook with no issues at all... apart from being stupid and driving through Gunshot against my better judgment.

Just before Fruit Bat Falls there was a muddy water creek, but that was probably the deepest I came across. Walk it first, or watch someone else have a go. Driven with care or a bra over the grill and you should be OK.

Chilli beach, it is an easy road in and you can do it in 2WD. When you drive into Chilli from the Portland Roads track, you come to a T intersection (right to Chilli beach). Turn Right and drive about 1.8km north and there is a fisherman that sells fresh fillets. Dusted in flour, fried and eaten on the beach. yum.
AnswerID: 553546

Reply By: Member - tommo05 - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 18:51

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 18:51
Well I'm going to be the naysayer and say I wouldn't recommend it. You would be fine to do the southern section, including Palm Creek, there's not too much water in any of the southern crossings.

The northern section not so much. I can't recall the name of the crossing between Fruit Bat and Elliot/Twin Falls but that one is deep. Canal Creek can get pretty deep too. I guess the only other one to really worry about other than Nolans is Logans Creek.

Obviously water levels change year to year, but if you check youtube for some videos from last year you will see the ones I have highlighted above were quite deep.

Of course if you're happy to backtrack and use the side roads then there is nothing stopping you taking them on a case-by-case basis and just turning around if you see one you don't like. If you have the time to approach it that way then you will still have fun and see heaps without forking out on the snorkel.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 07:34

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 07:34
Thanks Tommo, I hadn't heard about crossings regularly proving troublesome other than Nolan's & at Palm Ck, so I appreciate the comment from someone who has BTDT (been there done that).
Present plan is to head straight to the tip, then after talking to people at the top who drove the OTT determine how we approach the much slower trip south.
Take the point about conditions being variable year to year, so far most of the tip have experienced 400-500mm less rain in 2015 than 2014 to end April, it may make crossings lower this year.
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Follow Up By: RedCherokee - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 11:59

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 11:59
Mark, most people do the OTT from South to North. If you do it the opposite way you will find yourself running into traffic a lot, which you may find annoying. Even potentially problematic if you strike someone at speed ona blind narrow corner. Some of the crossings also tend to be easier done South to North, as the bulk of the traffic will have done digging etc to suit that direction of travel.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 13:04

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 13:04
Thanks Red Cherokee, I hadn't considered that. Member D Max Dave did it north to south last year but didn't mention it in his blog.

So far looks like 50/50 responses.
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Reply By: Bigfish - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 19:19

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 19:19
Just fitted a TJM AIRTEK snorkel to my 2014 Pajero. $850 by TJM in Cairns.. It also means that you have to have a slightly smaller wiper washer bottle. The airtek is really the best one to get. If not for the creeks then just to get clean air. Cape road can be like Bourke Street at rush hour.
AnswerID: 553549

Follow Up By: Jackolux - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 20:40

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 20:40
Scrubby Creek is the xing between Fruit Bat Falls andEliot Falls ,
I guess it depends on when you go but last year it was to the top of my Bull Bar ,
I have done the OTL two times , have had a snorkel both times .
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Follow Up By: Member - tommo05 - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:21

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:21
Yesss that's it, Scrubby Creek. The most underrated crossing on the track. I wouldn't have been going in there last year without a snorkel.

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Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:53

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:53
In 2006 a mate had water over the bonnet of his vehicle in one hole as we drove into Chilli Beach. We weren't far from the campground and what looked like a long stretch of shallow water, actually had a large hole hiding in the middle of it. I veered right around the edge of the water and it was only about 300mm deep where i went through, so missed the big hole my mate found. The Cape changes from year to year or from start of tourist season to end of it, so to say something was easy in whatever time period someone visited it may not be the case for you.
Can you do the Cape without a snorkel...possibly yes you can is the short answer, but you'd need to walk any water you find up there or watch someone else drive through it first just incase
AnswerID: 553563

Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:55

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:55
oh for an edit feature...
i should have added above, would i do it without a snorkel myself...no i personally wouldn't.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 07:40

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 07:40
Thanks Rumpig, I am definitley planning to pack my watershoes for walking crossings. I think water and machinery just don't mix, it may take 12 months for water ingress to "get you" in components like alternators etc., but it will eventually make you pay. Yes I am just trying to avoid close to one grand in costs if it is highly unlikely I'll ever need it, or can manage around the possibility.
Mark
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 22:01

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 22:01
IMO you would want to feel confident that you can do the trip that you want to do and not have it compromised because you wanted to save the coin and did not fit a snorkel

You are going to spend a lot of $$$ in fuel etc to get there so make sure you don't go home feeling you missed out on something

That does not answer your question but that is the question I asked myself and I fitted a snorkel for the trip
AnswerID: 553564

Reply By: sweetnam - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 08:00

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 08:00
We did Cape last year - Snorkel is required regardless of Gunshot and Nolans.... We had water over the bonet in and out of Elliot Falls in one of the small crossings. To tackle it without a snorkel is poor planning - sorry to be blunt. We sore cars being written off in Bamaga daily for water in the kick panels because they stalled and drowned. Why take the chance and ruin a holiday.
AnswerID: 553571

Reply By: Willy W - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 13:47

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 13:47
I did the OTT as a single vehicle in my standard 2012 Ranger Wildtrak July last year with a snorkel. If you can afford the snorkel then fit it. It is not just for water but dust too. If not keen on deep water you can bypass Nolans ,Gunshot,Palm creek and the killer Logan creek just before Nolans. You can still see those infamous crossings by going via bypass tracks which adds a bit of distance overall but if I do it the OTT again I will skip Nolans as I have the T-shirt now. Dont kill your car and trip just to say I have done the Nolans swim. If the water is low then you should do it. Just remember a snorkel doesnt protect the ECU and electronics in the car if you get stuck in deep water .
Have fun and enjoy watching others ruin their trips at Gunshot and Logan....and keep the mechanics in business ...
AnswerID: 553583

Reply By: Louwai - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 15:44

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 15:44
Have seen a few comments advising to Walk the waterholes..

Haven't seen any warnings to be careful of Crocs...
Just because you may be a long way inland, or it may be a small isolated waterhole, don't take it for granted that there won't be a croc in there....
Freshies won't be a problem, but you never know where or when a Saltie will turn up.

Over the years driving around the Cape, I've also been confronted with the odd Scrub Bull..(wild cattle excaped from properties & living in the scrub). They can be nasty, very agressive & will not think twice about charging a vehicle..

Be aware & be careful....

Cheers, Bryan

AnswerID: 553584

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 17:44

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 17:44
Thanks Bryan, used to work on Qld cattle stations a long time ago when I was young and fool hardy, so yes seen a few Micky's, but never could quite get the hang of that Tail tossing. Thanks for the croc reminder.
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Follow Up By: jdpatrol - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 02:47

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 02:47
Fair comment Bryan, at the start of 2014 season a saltie was removed from Nolan's - all my family swam there in July 2013. Plus, we were at a talk by a croc hunter after doing the OTT and Frenchman's in 2013, who said he'd removed 8 salties from Cockatoo Crk, the only place along the OTT where there were croc warning signs along that track. At the time we thought the signs were crap cos it so far from coast, above a waterfall etc - scared the heck out of us. Otherwise though i am a total advocate for walking crossings first - for instance Nolan's is easy, but only if you walk it first - we did it easy and on the same day we saw people drown a car. When camping at Nolan's we had another car there (new landrover) who destroyed his motor at Logan's and got towed to Nolan's.
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Reply By: jdpatrol - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 02:56

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 02:56
Mark, not much said re road to portland roads. We came out that way having reached PR via Frenchman Track. Encountered the longest water crossing (Wenlock or Pascoe - can't remember which) at Cape York on that road. It was also fairly deep but less than Logan's etc.

Don't short change yourself mate, get a snorkel. It's such a great trip to do that you want to do it all, and do it without stress (especially if got SWMBO and kids with you). And on that section of the OTT between the PDR and Nolans, there is a bit of stress all day in any case - and we were in a group of 3 good 4wds with experienced people. Cheers
AnswerID: 553618

Follow Up By: jdpatrol - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 03:23

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 03:23
PS have you talked to other KK owners who have done the OTT. We did the full length with a camper much lighter than yours and with much shorter drawbar (and live axle 4b with a front locker). Think you'd be fine but there is a tight reverse curve section before gunshot (going north), a steep muddy rise from Cockatoo, and coming out of Cyprus is very tight etc. i made a bad route choice at Sam Crk and camper was a bit of a pain there for us. Some advice from other KK owners could be of interest.
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