Duncan Road solo?

Submitted: Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 02:44
ThreadID: 130542 Views:1849 Replies:10 FollowUps:6
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Hello.

Will be travelling from Halls Creek to Kununurra and back in the next few weeks and was really keen to drive the Duncan Road on the return trip. Only problem is that I will be going by myself.

I can change a tyre, know how to take it easy on the rough roads to minimise risk of punctures etc, will have a satellite phone, sufficient water and say 2 days food just in case. Only have 1 day to do the trip so wont be camping.

I have done thousands of kilometres travel across the country but never the Kimberley and nothing this remote (450km between services) by myself.

Will have a standard rental 4WD as my vehicle.

Am i nuts? Or am i worrying over nothing? Will my 4WD have enough fuel for a 10+ hour day on the road (i like to stop for landscape photos and see the sights)?

If this trip is a goer do you have any good advice about driving the Duncan?

Many thanks
Warren
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Reply By: Member - John - Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 05:44

Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 05:44
Warren, you should have no problems at all on that road, enjoy the drive.
John and Jan

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Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 09:26

Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 09:26
Worrying about nothing, its a graded road - maybe a bit corrugated in places. A great run

John.
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Reply By: Member - sparra - Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 10:59

Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 10:59
I came through that way on my way back from Darwin last month,a good gravel road all the way, there was a fair bit of roadworks going on in some spots, (i camped one night with the road crew at Forrest creek,top blokes) .Also plenty of cattle about the road.

cheers,
Sparra
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Reply By: Mick O - Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 11:04

Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 11:04
Well maintained road Warren and a fantastic drive. Just let your tyre pressures down a bit (say 10-15%) and blow them back up at the other end.

Cheers

Mick

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 12:26

Friday, Oct 09, 2015 at 12:26
Great trip and some really good camp spots along the way if you take your time.......Caroline Springs and Negri River are easy options just off the road, but the best of all is Marella Gorge, about 1-2km off the road if you can locate the access track (and then carefully crawl down the embankment to camp at water's edge).
Enjoy, it's a much more pleasant journey than the bitumen, and you get to see the other (eastern) side of the Bungles in the distance.
Cheers
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Reply By: WarrenTC - Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 14:53

Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 14:53
Thanks for the replies.
In terms of letting down tyres should i do this at the servo in Halls Creek amd then reinflate when i get to Kununurra or should i buy a tyre deflator?

Is 20-25psi about right?
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 21:15

Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 21:15
Buy a tyre deflator before you go.

It is going to come in handy for checking pastures along the way.

Cheers

Anthony
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 21:17

Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 21:17
Of course that should say pressures...

Maybe get a compressor while your at it...

Cheers

Anthony
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 18:05

Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 18:05
Rather than a deflator, I'd recommend a decent quality portable compressor and good gauge, which of course can be used for both inflation and deflation. I have an ARB model, which from memory was $200 +, (and later had it installed under the bonnet). As we do a lot of gravel road and off-road travel I wouldn't be without it.
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Reply By: Coenen N & G (WA) - Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 15:53

Sunday, Oct 11, 2015 at 15:53
Just a normal dirt road really. We did it in May a couple of years ago and it rained as we got to Marella gorge. The road is treacherously slippery when wet and would be closed, but you wont know that if you are already on it. Slow, was the name of that game. Otherwise it was a great drive and don't miss the Zebra rock place that is 5km from the northern end. The river camps were a bit sad when we were there so we didnt camp but overnighted at Marella above the gorge. Do it and Enjoy the journey.
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Reply By: Tony H15 - Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 09:33

Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 09:33
Doesn't sound like much has changed on the Duncan Road. We drove the Duncan back in 1999 or thereabouts, camped off the road near a shearing shed. A storm whipped up in the early hours of the morning, lightning strikes and torrential rain, we were camped near some trees so packed up hurriedly and got on the road when still dark. Had no idea when we started down the Duncan what the road was like or how often frequented it was! Plenty of traffic from station hands and what have you, dam slippery in the wet though.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 18:47

Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 18:47
I was going to do the similar on our way back to the east from Broome but we went further north than we anticipated and time did not permit the long "southerly" detour.

I would suggest that after you pick the rental up check the rental agreement. Are you allowed to take the rental car on that road?

Our son was hit by a "standard 4WD rental" when we were on the OTL. Ooops he should not be on the otl. On a side note; Not only having to pay the rental company he was also ordered to pay all the sons costs. The twit didn't even try to move over and avoid the accident. Just froze up. It's a wonder he even had it in 4WD. All tyres at 40 psi etc etc. It really makes you wonder. At least it was some consolation for losing a long holiday.

Phil
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Follow Up By: WarrenTC - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 22:57

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 22:57
Hi Phil
Thanks for the advice. Definitely double-checked with Avis that I have the right car for that road.

I also asked about the tyre pressures - they were quite adamant that I am not allowed to touch them even if going on the Duncan. So I guess I will have to take my chances. They reckon these 4wds take the Gibb River Rd all the time without any lowering of the tyres...
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Follow Up By: WarrenTC - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 22:59

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 22:59
Also sorry to hear about your son being hit. That's never good.
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Reply By: WarrenTC - Friday, Oct 16, 2015 at 23:21

Friday, Oct 16, 2015 at 23:21
Trip completed with no dramas. Road was very good from Palm Springs to the first border crossing, then came the rougher stuff with patches of bulldust and wheel ruts, then the last 50 or so km in the NT was also quite good. Just under 12hrs from Halls Creek to Kununurra with plenty of stops.

Will have to do it again after a good wet and see the difference.
AnswerID: 591664

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Saturday, Oct 17, 2015 at 10:21

Saturday, Oct 17, 2015 at 10:21
Thanks for taking the time to report back Warren!

A lot of people come and ask questions and get advice and you never know how things turn out.

It also gives others who may be thinking about the same journey, purchase modification or what ever some up to date information and feed back.

Cheers

Anthony
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