How far can I go

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 11:38
ThreadID: 129867 Views:2197 Replies:6 FollowUps:14
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Good morning travellers,
this is for the people that like to get off the beaten track a little bit, I am planning a trip to far north Queensland and I am coming from W.A. We shall be towing a 23' dirt road capable caravan when it is built, now our question is how far can you reasonably expect to tow a van in that type of country, could we tow it to say Weipa and leave it there and then go onto the pointy end of Australia, like do a five or six day excursion to the tip and then come back pick up the van and then make our way down the east coast. time wont be a factor then as we are looking at doing this in a couple of years time.
your comments will be greatly appreciated thank you
Broodie H3
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Reply By: B1B2 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 11:55

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 11:55
Broodie,
Merluna Station is worth a look for leaving your van. A few people I know have left vans there, pets are not allowed, that is why I haven't done it. Probably a lot cheaper than Weipa.
http://www.merlunastation.com.au/accommodation.html

Cheers,

Bill
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Follow Up By: B1B2 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 12:18

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 12:18
Broodie,
I was assuming you would like to drive the OTL which you would not take a van on. Except The Gall Boys of Course. All the top camping spots at Dulhunty, Twin Falls and Gun Shot. You can bypass Gunshot if you like, but there is a chicken track which I used, it was steep but not as narrow as the other tracks. Heaps of water crossings, so you will need a snorkel depending on the time of year you go.

Cheers,

Bill
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 13:56

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 13:56
Hi Bill,
you mentioned the otl what is it and where does it start and finish, I am not familiar with it and I thought that twin Falls was just a little bit out of Darwin at least south east of Darwin, My vehicle is already fitted with a snorkel but wading through water is not high on my priority list now a days, Oh how we slow down and smell more roses as we gain more wisdom.
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Follow Up By: B1B2 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 14:13

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 14:13
Broodie,
The OTL - Overland Telegraph Line, the original reason for the track was communications. It starts at Moreton Telegraph Station on the Wenlock River and heads pretty well directly north in a straight line to the Jardine River ferry. You will see a few remnants of the old telegraph line poles and insulators.
There are a lot of creek crossings, we did it during August/September and the water wasn't any problem. It is a great track. Like I said Gunshot is the well known and most difficult one, and you can take the bypass track north of the Dulhuntly River then get back on the OTL north of Gunshot.

Cheers,

Bill
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 14:39

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 14:39
Hi Bill,
I have just been reading about the otl on another web site and it sounds more like an adventure track to me, not the type that you would take a 23' dirt road type van up. the van is not going to be a full off roader, but more suited to tracks like the Birdsville and Oodnadatta type roads in saying that there is no reason we can't go in from another direction with the van stay at Merlunga and do day trips from that area still a lot of forward planning to do yet, thank you for the input and the use of your knowledge
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 12:06

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 12:06
If it is a sturdy van there is no reason why you can't take it all the way to the tip. I haven't done it myself but I know people who have. Google is your friend, but in the meantime check out this threadCaravans to Cape York
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 13:46

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 13:46
Hi Rod,
thank you very much for the links it was most enlightening.I'll go onto the caravaners forum and see what else is around once again thank you very much
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 14:33

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 14:33
Broodie
We went to the tip and back in June-July towing a Camper trailer on the PDR.
Absolutely no reason you can't tow a dirt road capable caravan to the tip based on our experience of the road conditions last month. We did have a suspension problem on our CT, but that was due to what I believe to be a bad shock absorber, not the road per se.
We found it no worse than many western NSW & Qld dirt roads and probably better than many roads you will travel getting to the base of Cape York from WA.

You won't be able to get it into the Falls (or easily), but that's just a matter of unhitching for the day.
We'll second Merluna Station as a good place to stay !
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Reply By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 15:33

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 15:33
Don't even think about towing a road going 23 foot van to the Cape. All those suggesting you do it certainly haven't done it. Plenty of full off road vehicles and vans that have been destroyed on the track. Weipa is about it.
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Follow Up By: duck - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 17:26

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 17:26
Bigfish & Broodie
have towed large boats 6.5 to 8mtrs to the top several times & have towed 1 old Carapark caravan 25ft, trucks & fuel tankers (B doubles) do it all the time But you wont do OTT unless you want a night mare, you will have to make sure all is built solid as the cooorigggatiioons are the problem but it is getting better all the time, Toots (RIP) She use to drive that old merc truck up the ott all the time, that's how we got supplies
I remember in the early sixty's my folks towed a 23ft ply half cabin up to the top & we launched & went all the way to New Guinea & that was the old tele track their was no other way, in the seventys a guy named Richard Teggart towed a inboard maverick ski boat to Portland roads & we went skiing, we stayed at Ross Popes (RIP) place, He's place was the local everything back then (use to take about 7hrs from Coen to PL back then if you made it)

Would I tow my nice caravan to the top for a few weeks holiday not a hope in hell as I have seen many that are H/duty on the outside but are not on the inside
Good luck
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 17:56

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 17:56
Hi Duck,
thanks for dropping in on this conversation I don't intend to destroy my mobile retirement home that is why we are asking the questions now so that I have some sort of an idea of what we'll be heading into, and that is why our new van is being specifically built for us and our requirements, our first trip when we pick it up will be to come home on the great central road and if it handles that track it should handle anything else we chuck at it, but I am starting to get the picture that we may be able to reach Weipa leave the van and go camping for a few days.
thank you
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Follow Up By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Thursday, Aug 06, 2015 at 09:23

Thursday, Aug 06, 2015 at 09:23
We took our 19' (Internal measurement) Bushtracker to the tip last year and camped at Somerset beach east of the northern most point. No problems at all.

Most of the few damaged vans I saw were mostly due to the owners inexperience and the belief that off road or semi - off-road could go anywhere. Obviously cheaply constructed vans should avoid these sort of tracks.

John
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Follow Up By: duck - Thursday, Aug 06, 2015 at 15:57

Thursday, Aug 06, 2015 at 15:57
I agree 100%
If i was going for a short time i would not tow if i was going for a extended time I would only if i new it was a tough constructed van, hey i've seen some crap vans make it & tough ones not

but yes it doe's mainly comes down to the driver & others its just luck or no luck at all

Bushtracker's from the ones i have seen are a good solid van & thats why they are a bit heavy for some I would have the extra weight every time if it meant it would hold together
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Reply By: Russan - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 16:32

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 16:32
We were at the tip of the cape in June and there we plenty of caravans up there. Roads can get corrugated but ok if you take your time.
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Reply By: Warren B - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 18:29

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 18:29
hi Broodie h3 .. don't even consider taking a van on the tele track. we were up there 3 weeks ago, and if you take the van on the tele track it will end in tears. HOWEVER... the wife and I are going back next year and taking our 19' dirt road van to the top, using the development road. we stayed at loyalty beach ( great spot ) there were all sorts of vans there Kedron, bushtracker lot of jayco's ( yes jayco's )and 2 road going vans Roma and cannot remember the other. We heard all these horror stories about the cape and the tracks how tough they were etc, we towed our off road camper and with out seeming big headed we have tougher tracks in the vic high country. it did answer one question for me I will NOT take my van along the bloomfield track it was in places rougher than the OTT. The trick... Its not a race kick back and enjoy the journey.
Hope this helps .. I guess others will disagree with me , each to there own.
Cheers Warren
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 18:45

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 18:45
Hi Warren B,
thank you for you contribution, As I have said earlier that the van is being built for our travels and we don't intend to destroy it, but it sound like you travel like we travel 2 to 300 klms per day and have a rest for a couple of days, I have just been watching the Gall boys going up that track towing one of there vans , and I don't think I'll be going that way with the van maybe with the tent from the van, just to try the track out and see some new country but definitely not towing the van. I believe that there are other roads that will get us to Weipa, so if we park the van up for a week we should be able to go exploring with the tent,
thank you for your input.
Broodie H3
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 18:45

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 18:45
Warren...yours is an off road van and as Broodie has stated..his is bitumen/light road. Obviously its his retirement van and as such he wants it around for many years of good travel. I have seen the Bloomfield track when it was as flat as a billiard table.
I agree with the Cape track...However its like a lot of places...hit a road when its corrugated and cut up after the wet then they are nightmares. Corrugations on dirt roads will kill road going caravans. Wont even mention the dust that will get inside.

Its because of the cut up corrugated roads that we have purpose built off road caravans . Sure you might get one person who is willing to sacrifice his van in an effort to get to a far off destination. The smart person knows the limits and respects the vehicle for what it is meant to do. Your off road van is excellent for dirt roads. If I was Broodie I,d be including some swags and tents in my luggage. I reckon he will anyway..

Good luck on your travels.

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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 19:20

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 19:20
Hi warren and bigfish,
you both have a pretty good slant on how we travel and now we do err on the side of caution nowadays, we always carry swags and a tent with basic cooking gear, in the van we have at the moment, yes we do like to go to remote areas but we are also mindful of the limitations of the van and the vehicle we tow it with. the new van is going to be a while new ball game for us, and where we can go thanks for the insight of your experiences
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Follow Up By: Warren B - Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 20:46

Wednesday, Aug 05, 2015 at 20:46
Hi big fish, read again our CAMPER is off road, we also have a crusader 19' van with heavy duty roller rocker suspension shockers and 4'' lift. we have taken it on the strez track, oodna track, through wari gate, corner country etc. dragged it through creeks, bogs dry river beds. We do a lot of bush camping. Again I say we WILL take our VAN to the top next year and use it as a base for 10 days or so as there is a lot to see there and this year was just a recce and we only scratched the surface. As I said I don't race I kick back drive to conditions and enjoy, because I cannot afford another van. I will admit that I have had 4wds for 39 years and have a bit more experience than some.
Cheers warren
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Thursday, Aug 06, 2015 at 09:42

Thursday, Aug 06, 2015 at 09:42
Aware of that Warren.
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