Attempting the Gibb in early July

Hi - my husband and I plan to hopefully cross the Gibb early July. We have a 2002 pathfinder and I think same year cub camper. Clearance on camper not high. We have travelled extensively - Oodnadatta track, cape York, Kimberley, Karijini - on and off road with both vehicles. Only a few small mishaps, however did lose our water tank on the tanami??.
Some suggestions on the Gibb at this time of year with our vehicle-
Tyres, speed etc. And the likelihood of taking car only up to Mitchell falls and tenting it?
Thanks dory
Ps I'm new to this forum
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Mick O - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 13:28

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 13:28
Dory,

a popular question at this time of year. A few recent threads may be of interest to you HERE.

This one in particular almost matches your vehicle and camper - X-Trail and Camper on Gibb.

Enjoy the trip

Mick

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

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597107

Reply By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 13:31

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 13:31
I think that the only place that you may have an issue is with ground clearance on the Pentecost River crossing. It is a rocky crossing. Normally not an issue but being close to when the road has been opened it may not be "worn in" with the larger rocks pushed out of the way.

Apart from that the Gibb River Road is a veritable highway that I wouldn't hesitate taking the Kingswood on.

If you are staying at either Home Valley or El Questro then give them a call when close tou your kick off to get more updated info.

Phil
AnswerID: 597109

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 13:38

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 13:38
Hi Andoria, unless there is late rains the track will be dry and the water crossings low. Corrugations may be so so as that is the peak of the tourist season the road is regularly graded so you may strike it lucky. Drive to the conditions, it's not a race and do it at your own pace not somebody else's.

WRT to the Mitchell Plateau, you can leave your CT at Drysdale Stn if you're not confident in its ability and tent it from there. The Kalamubaru Rd can be atrocious to not bad again depends on when the grader has been through. The Mitchell Plateau Rd is bad to atrocious, take your time and let the tyre pressures down and enjoy the scenery, (watch out for the tourist buses being driven to a very tight time frame). Mick O has a couple of good blogs regarding art sites etc along this road.

As for your car we did it in a Terracan and that raised a few eye brows at the time but I found the whole road and into the Plateau a real doddle, although my wife will give you a different story. I'm more tolerant where corrugations are concerned.

In July the King Edward River crossing should be reasonably low as will all the other major river crossings.

Me and a few others are looking at doing a trip along the GRR around that time also.

Cheers

Dunc
Dunc
Make sure you give back more than you take

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597112

Reply By: Member - john j1 - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 14:39

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 14:39
Hi Dory
I'll be there a month after you
All research I've done says car and then brief hike to Mitchell possible
Some suggest the right trailer will do it too but....
I'm thinking of leaving my trailer at Drysdale River station but have yet to ask (www.drysdaleriver.com.au)
At the start of my research a friend gave mee the Kimberley Travel and Adventure Guide by Ron and Viv Moor - mine probably a bit out of date but fantastic starting point.
I'm sure ExplorOz sells it

Happy campin
John
AnswerID: 597115

Reply By: CSeaJay - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 15:30

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 15:30
Andoria

Echo what others have said in general.

WRT Mitchell Falls; another option to leaving your camper at Drysdale is to continue to King Edward. There is a very pleasant campsite there. You can set up camp with the luxury of your camper and it's facilities. That is then close enough to the falls to do a day-trip up and down in one day, come back to your own camp that evening. It will be a full day but at a comfortable pace.

CJ
AnswerID: 597118

Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 15:49

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 15:49
We did the GRR a couple of years ago around about that time. Make sure you do the 2 hr drive into AWC Mornington. Well worth the visit IMO. Easy road, just watch the creek crossings.
When we were coming back to the GRR we got to witness Mt House Stn doing a cattle drive. 2 guys in helicopters. W O W.
If you want to do a bit more reading
birgit bradke
Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 597119

Reply By: Mick O - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 18:30

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 18:30
I'd second that proposal to leave the camper at KER and do the day trip in or tenting it overnight which is what we did. The KER campground has camp hosts in residence during the peak season and the river provides some excellent swimming holes and water falls. There are plenty of art sites within walking distance as well.

The corrugations are notorious so unless you are fortunate enough to follow the grader in, it'll be fun.

The hike into the falls is great and you can add excitement to it by catching the helicopter flight out. We've always opted for the slightly longer flight out and down to the lower Mitchell falls. Well worth it. The campground at Mitchell is adequate with plenty of good swimming spots nearby.






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

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597131

Reply By: wendys - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 19:17

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 19:17
I would recommend setting up a camp at King Edward River, or leaving trailer at Drysdale, then tenting for a night or two at Mitchell Plateau. It is a rough drive up there and day trippers are tempted to go a bit too fast - then they meet an unsigned tricky bend, or a wrongly cambered corner (lots of those) and come to grief. You would be surprised how many retrievals have to be done each year from that road!
If you stay a couple of nights up there, you can take your time on the walk in, and exploring/having a swim there. You could also spend a day visiting Surveyors Pool, which is an attractive spot and often overlooked.
AnswerID: 597133

Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 21:06

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 21:06
We did the GRR in August 2013. We came across a Commodore towing a caravan at Home Valley. This gives you some indication as to the condition of the road. The issue is more the general remoteness rather than the road condition.
The Mitchell Plateau road is another matter. I would be very cautious on this road. Many attempt it with high tyre pressure and high speed with the result that something breaks. I would recommend at least two nights there. It is just too demanding to do the trip out and back in a single day. Take the helicopter out to the falls in the morning and then walk back to camp. There are many places to swim on the walk back.
Mornington is well worth a visit.Home Valley is good to stay at but El Questro has more things to do. Because of the time you are travelling you can expect it to be quite busy.
Robert
Landcruiser 200 VX Diesel + Tvan Murranji

Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 597139

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 21:09

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 21:09
Can't see that you have anything to be concerned with, re your rig and your experience with travel. If this season goes much as recent years, the Gibb will be in good condition overall (much easier on your rig than the Tanami road - maybe similar to the Oodnadatta road.). As a general guide, the eastern half of the Gibb can be quite stony in places, while the western half is generally very good, to smooth. In my view, the 3 rules for such gravel roads are (given that you would be generally 'well prepared').... 1. Soften the tyres a bit 2. Take is quite easy !! (in places, very easily !) 3. Watch out for and dodge those particularly nasty stones that lay waiting for we gravel road tourers :-). As for the upper Kalumburu road - lots of tourists choose to leave their trailers near the Gibb end and just tent it up there (others choose to leave everything and fly up there :-). Have a look at the [ Weather and Roads ] info for that area, written by Anne at Drysdale River Station. There is other advice on various sites too, via the links page there. Drysdale is a handy place to stay and leave the trailer too, when on the Kalumburu road.
AnswerID: 597140

Reply By: Member - J&A&KK - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 21:30

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 21:30
Hi Andoria. We travelled the GRR last year in June. You should be fine with the Pathfinder and Cub if you drive to the conditions and adjust your tyre pressures accordingly. Just check road conditions with the locals before you get on the GRR and along the way with people you meet.

Some of the side roads to Wanjina, silent Grove, Mornington, Mitchell Falls were the most corrugated.

During our trip we met a young German couple driving a 1989 Subaru Liberty at Wanjina. Saw them again at Mt Barnett, Mitchell Falls, El Questro and Kununnurra. They had no problems with ground clearance. BTW they had one spare tyre, jack, wheel brace, screwdriver, shifting spanner and a hammer in their tool kit. Suggest you be reasonably prepared with spares and tools. Whilst others are always happy to help its best not to rely on this. GRR will be very busy at that time. We saw + 40 cars per day and we only averaged about 150kms per day.

Have fun. It's a very scenic and interesting part of Australia.
AnswerID: 597142

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 23:06

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 23:06
Hi Andoria
July is peak period, and campgrounds will be crowded. We went in June (you can see My Blogs for 2008) and there was plenty of space in the camps. Graders were working and there were good and bad patches, mostly good. We left our caravan at the lovely King Edward River campground and went to Mitchell Falls as a day trip. We had intended camping out overnight but we had enough light to get back "home" to our favourite campground and cool down with a swim in the river.

A few days after we reached Kununurra we met up with another caravanner we knew. Only a week or so behind us, but in July, he said it was the worst road he had ever been on. All the July traffic made that much difference to the road.

We also had water tanks come loose on the Tanami. We had to take two off at Tilmouth Well and refit them properly when we got to Alice Springs.

We had a heavy load and ran our large tyres at 25 psi cold. Speed varied according to the conditions and traffic. Many go way too fast and they are the danger to other road users. Distances are not far between main features so take it easy. On the Kalumburu Road we took three hours for a hundred kilometres.

It was the best of all our trips.

Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597149

Follow Up By: Stephen F2 - Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 10:14

Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 10:14
Hi Motherhen sorry asking same old questions .Would April be ok to get to Mitchell Falls I hate too many people bit shy.I used to work and live in a small tent with only 4 other blokes in many deserts.So got spoilt plus with ya work mates it was cruisy and dead quiet and peaceful.
0
FollowupID: 866255

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 16:14

Friday, Mar 11, 2016 at 16:14
Hi Stephen

That would depend on the season; the King Edward River level and if the road has been opened. Once they can cross the river, they need to repair any washouts on the road. The river crossing was quite deep in June for us. I don't know if it has ever been open as early as April. You would need to check with the Shire of East Kimberley (Wyndham) at the time.
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 866270

Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2016 at 12:36

Sunday, Apr 03, 2016 at 12:36
Hi MH again. Rains have come good in Kimberley in March and even the entire wet -Oct 1st to today - April 2nd is average or above in most of it.... W
Warrie

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 867255

Reply By: My Aussie Travel Guide - Tuesday, Mar 08, 2016 at 12:08

Tuesday, Mar 08, 2016 at 12:08
Although things can quickly change, the Kimberley is currently having a dry wet season. So if you had planned to see Mitchell Falls with flowing water, you might want to enquire with Drysdale Station before you head up that way. It's a long way to go if you're going to be disappointed!

You'll probably find the road conditions similar to the Cape - I'm not sure what speed you generally sit on, but we rarely go over 80 on any dirt road - it gives us plenty of time to enjoy the journey. Have a wonderful trip!
AnswerID: 597158

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 08, 2016 at 18:59

Tuesday, Mar 08, 2016 at 18:59
Hi Andoria, we took our 2001 Pathy to Mitchell Falls campground in 2010. We towed a Jayco Dove which would be 500 kg heavier than your Cub.But we made it without mishap. Lower tyres to 20psi and stop every 20 mins to give yourselves a rest from the corrugations as Mick O's pic shows. This also allows the shocks to cool down. Others try and rush from Drysdale to the Falls and back in a day. Take your time and you should make it. BTW my Pathy is having an intermittent problem where it will not start. With 200,000 km on it there is some gremlin. Yours is a similar age and possibly similar km. Might be worth getting it checked before you leave....... W
Warrie

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 597167

Follow Up By: Dory - Saturday, Apr 02, 2016 at 01:25

Saturday, Apr 02, 2016 at 01:25
Thanks warrie
Our "pathy" now has all new shockers and a new transmission from a small hiccup post the tanami!! That was a bad year - haha!
Think we should be fine but I'm a worry wart - my husband isn't. He's a very patient driver.
Thanks for the tips.
Andoria
0
FollowupID: 867217

Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 02, 2016 at 10:45

Saturday, Apr 02, 2016 at 10:45
Starting problem fixed by Sparky for $88. It was a faulty fuel pump relay found in fuse box behind battery............ W
Warrie

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 867224

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Apr 02, 2016 at 22:38

Saturday, Apr 02, 2016 at 22:38
Leaving the decision until we got there and talked to others, we choose not to take our caravan all the way, but to leave it at the King Edward River campground which was lovely.

It seemed silly to take it all the way there and back, and the road was fairly corrugated. They no longer allow caravans to go on to Mitchell Falls campground.

In the four days we were at the KE River camp, the only people who took their camper trailers were a group of three who were going on to Port Warrender not to Mitchell Falls. Most did it as a day trip.

We took camping gear, but after walking to the falls, spending all day there and getting the last chopper back, we still had enough daylight to get back "home" to the King Edward River.

Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 867241

Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2016 at 12:24

Sunday, Apr 03, 2016 at 12:24
Hi Motherhen good to see you still clucking and contributing. So,caravans banned from Mitchell falls campground? What size etc? Looks like the reverse decision to what the Parks service did at the Bungles 'cos now they allow single axle campers from which we benefited in 2013. And as for rushing back to King Edward River at the end of the day for a swim. There's a swimming spot at Upper Mertens Falls just 5 mins walk from the Mitchell Falls campsite. Far less stressful than pounding those corrugations twice in the one day. Sounds like your other half had a very late beer o'clock.LOL ....W
Warrie

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 867254

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Apr 03, 2016 at 12:59

Sunday, Apr 03, 2016 at 12:59
Hi Warrie, still clucking and cackling.

It is about the road not the campground; I think a few too many 'incidents' and rescues.

"The park is accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles only. Caravans are not permitted due to road conditions, but off-road camper trailers are allowed. The track to the park is maintained on an irregular basis only and may have wash-outs and corrugations. Drive with extreme care." DPaW Mitchell River National Park

Our campground friends they we went up with on the same day left on the previous chopper to us, and another couple of campers had an 'at home' day so they were all ready and waiting for us when we got back. Easier to come back to our caravan, not for the swim, but for the home comforts. I swum anyway as I did every day in the lovely river pool.

When we went to Purnululu (2008) there were small caravans being turned back while bigger camper trailers were being allow in, and the division between what was caravan and what was camper trailer was speculative with "cross overs", pop tops and wind ups. They streamlined it so it is more equitable. On checking just now they have changed the wording again, removing all mention of caravans and camper trailers - just trailers which covers them all.

"The last 53 km into the park is via a rugged track that is accessible only to four-wheel-drive vehicles and single-axle off-road trailers."
DPaW Purnululu National Park
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 867256

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)