Towing boat on the Telegraph track.


I am doing a Cape Trip in two weeks and was wondering what peoples opinions are on towing an off road boat trailer up the Tele? It has a Treg Hitch, Hilux springs and greasable shackles, hilux wheels and tires, and the outboard motor will be in my wagon. It is only a 3.7 Explorer hull. I don't have the setup to rooftop it. Will definitely skip Nolans as I think it would cause issues there. Anyone towed one up there before?

Thanks in Advance,


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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:49

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:49
Have a look at the videos on Youtube. Here is a fair account: Tele towing in 2014

Then you could search youtube for "gunshot creek failures" and get another perspective on what not to do.

The only issue, not really an issue just a problem, that we had on the OTT (both ways) was with Nolans and it was only because it was deep. But we weren't towing.

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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:54

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:54

IMHO - Stick the boat on your roof and leave the trailer at home. If that is the trailer you are intending on taking - it won't make it! It will crack and fall apart before you get there and you will have to leave it and your boat behind.

I am not part of the anti trailer brigade - just a realist. That trailer doesn't look to be made of heavy enough stock material.

Also towing something that floats across a creek crossing - MMMMMM!


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Follow Up By: toffytrailertrash - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 10:06

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 10:06
If you are going to take that trailer up with you I suggest you give the Telegraph Track a miss and go up the Development Road at least you will get there with a little luck and drive to the conditions..


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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 10:38

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 10:38
Bollocks , you obviously did not read the description of the trailer , plenty of worse suspensioned trailers both camper and boat do the track every season without drama ..
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Follow Up By: toffytrailertrash - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 11:14

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 11:14
And seen them wrecked on the side of the road too..
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Follow Up By: toffytrailertrash - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 11:16

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 11:16
I should have added that they are not doing the "Old Track" but the Development Road.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 14:31

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 14:31
I,ve had a couple of proper off road trailers from 20 years in Arnhem Land. All made out of heavy galvanised c shaped steel. Heavy and rust proof. That trailer would not be classed as off road by me. Never had a boat that small as there are many crocs longer than the boat. Off road trailer for the corrugations should be heavy duty. At least a 50mm square axel , greasable shackles, bearing buddies, Heavy duty centre bar running entire length of trailer, side bars at least 75x50mm heavy wall and guards would ideally be box section with conveyor belt for cover. Treg hitch is a definite. 3 or 4 75mm heavy duty tie down straps wrapped around the boat in at least 3 places. I too have seen plenty of smashed trailers on the side of NT tracks.

Its your call but if the roads are badly corrugated then life could turn unpleasant if your trailer isn't really up to scratch. Keep tyre pressure to a minimum as well. They act as shock absorbers.

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Reply By: Hoyks - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 12:01

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 12:01
Make sure the wheel arches are well secured. The arch vibrating and parting company with the vehicle was the most common failure I observed. The vibrate and the welds snap or attaching fasteners shear off.

If the springs are bolted on and can be moved, move them as far back as you can, this makes the ride for the rest of the trailer more comfortable.
It could probably do the Tele track OK, the Tele isn't as hard as people make out. I did it with a stock BT50, although I dinged up the front bumper, I would bypass gunshot though (where I did my bumper) as even the chicken track is a bit tight and saw a Landcruiser like yours bogged to the axles with a log buried in the mud jammed against the bull bar. People have done it towing campers though, but take the bypass unless you have something to prove.

The Tele isn't that bad, no worse than a lot of fishing tracks further south, it is the 1000km of corrugations to get there that shake things to bits.

As for a floating trailer, it depends on when you go. I went last year in July and the deepest was probably a hole in Gunshot that was waste deep, the rest lucky to top the tyres. This year has been a dry one too.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 12:38

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 12:38
In regards to max water depth, I skipped Nolans.
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Reply By: CSeaJay - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 16:05

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 16:05
As with many trailer questions, there will be divided answers between the 'take it' and the 'do not take it' brigades.
I will share with you simply my own view in having done the OTT three times both ways.
I towed a TVan. Heavier than what your boat will be.
I saw many broken trailers, but both on the PDR and the OTT. IMHO the PDR is worse on the trailer. The OTT is not that hard on suspension and the like, because (hopefully) you will be walking pace or quite slow at least when encountering such terrain. But the PDR is hours and hours of constant frame rattling corrugations.
I wonder sometimes the broken trailers on the OTT, is that due to damage done earlier on the way up to the OTT, and the OTT being just that last straw.

The problem you may face on the OTT is the long drawbar you seem to have. The TVan and similar lengths are ok, but longer drawbars suffer a bit in the 'shortcut' they try to take on tight corners between trees and bushes and washouts. Even the difference between the TVan and a Kimberley Kamper is quite noticeable in the tight tracks.

So no recommendation from me, but hopefully some info you can use and consider

Good on you for getting info and being prepared, and either way you should have a ball!

AnswerID: 555950

Follow Up By: Jackolux - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 16:48

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 16:48
Have to agree with all CJ has said . I have done the OTL 2 times , the track itself is not that hard , just a couple of the creek xings , Gunshot and Nolans being the 2 that can cause the most grief .

The easiest one at Gunshot last year was not any trouble , if it hasn't changed it would probably be ok with that trailer , Nolans I would give a miss with boat .

First time we did the OTL was 5 years ago , there was a bloke and his mate in a Nissan Patrol towing a small boat the trailer was a piece of crap road boat trailer only just hanging together when he left Victoria , not only did he have the boat but the boat was full of junk , we thought he was nuts
Both guards fell off but that bloody trailer made it and back down the Development Road through the Gulf and home to Vic , bloody amazing
I'm not saying go for it but if you are prepared and use common sence , checkout every crossing and anything that looks dodgy , it's up to you .
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 18:16

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 18:16
"The problem you may face on the OTT is the long drawbar you seem to have."

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Reply By: Member - tommo05 - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 19:35

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 19:35
Not having a boat or trailer myself I don't know enough to be able to comment on your setup, but I met up with a family on the OTT last year who were towing a boat and they weren't having any issues. They did Gunshot without any problem, not sure about Nolans because the last time I saw them was Fruitbat Falls.

So it is do-able, it clearly wasn't their first time though...

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Reply By: jdpatrol - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 20:33

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 20:33
Hi Paddy

Some good comments here. I can’t comment on welds etc, ability of your trailer to put up with corrugations – you’ll have to make that judgement. But on the PDR, we saw a camper trailer upside down, separated from the car, with its axle 20m away, happened just before we arrived, and we saw axle out of a 4b (connected to the wheel – what a sight), happened hour or so before we arrived. We saw a bit more than that too. We did in a rear shocker ourselves about an hour out of Weipa. So the PDR is rough and you’d want to know your trailer can take all of that.

With the OTT, to take some if/buts out of it, measure your trailer ramp-over angle. Our camper’s is 18 degrees, we had no trouble towing it over the full length of the OTT (in 2013). Our camper’s clearance is 570mm which would be more than your boat trailer – to me provided you had some scuff plates I don’t think the clearance would be much of a concern. Having said that, a new Prado got stranded and was written off the day after we went through Nolan’s (it was not towing) – yet Nolan’s is easy if you know your stuff as a 4wd driver. Other thing, do you strap boat to the trailer? – because if not it I reckon it would float off the trailer at Logans and Nolan’s.

All in all, with your trailer, the PDR would concern me more than the OTT. But don’t miss the OTT – it’s just too much fun.

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Reply By: brendan l4 - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 21:30

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 21:30
Palm creek will be your only big issue. You will be winching. There are some tight sections but have seen plenty of trailers do it. You'll be right at nolans You'll winch through it easy.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 11:11

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 11:11
I got to Palm Creek, took one look and said 'Like hell!, (I was solo and only have a hand winch), so then turned right and drove 200m up the creek to the other crossing. It was steep in, slight dog leg in the creek and reasonable steep out, but no worries, didn't even need my locker.
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Reply By: Member - Patrick S8 - Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 21:22

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 21:22
Thank you all for your advice, much appreciated!

I have driven the Tele before, but that was 12 years ago, and I'm sure it has changed heaps since then. Had a change of plan. Might take the boat as far as Moreton or Bramwell Station, if it is ok with the owners (will pay a fee if that's how they roll) I will leave it there while I do the Tele and the northern part of the Cape, then pick it up on the way back down and go camp/fish the Weipa/Pennyfather Mapoon area and possibly lake field. Sound wise?

Thanks again for your comments,

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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 22:18

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 22:18
Hi Paddy.

My mate and I with a few friends are going to Cape York next year, we have decided to put our boats ( 2 x 5 metres) on the barge in Cairns and pick them up at the top, and we will put them back on the barge for the return trip.

The cost is $1600 each return, we believe this is cheap insurance and we get them to and from with no damage.

just a thought.
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