Cape to Darwin via Savannah Way

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 20:24
ThreadID: 134689 Views:1014 Replies:3 FollowUps:6
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Hello everyone,

Doing a bit of early planning for a trip next year.
The first part of the trip is getting from Melb to Cape. Below is our route plan for the 'first half'. While it's almost finalised I would appreciate any input.

Here's the part I'm having issues with - the "second half"
After leaving cape we are planning on staying 2 days at Normanton. Maybe a sunset trip to karumba.

Then we are heading off to Darwin via Savannah Way.
Here is what we have planned so far

First Half
28-April-2018 Central Coast
29-April-2018 Gold Coast
30-April-2018 Gold Coast
1-May-2018 Gold Coast
2-May-2018 Rockhampton
3-May-2018 Townsville
4-May-2018 Cooktown QLD 4895
5-May-2018 Cooktown QLD 4895
6-May-2018 Cape York
7-May-2018 Cape York
8-May-2018 Cape York
9-May-2018 -
10-May-2018 -
11-May-2018 Weipa
12-May-2018 Musgrave Roadhouse
13-May-2018 -
14-May-2018 Normanton QLD 4890
14-May-2018

Second Half
15-May-2018 Burketown
16-May-2018 Boodjamulla National Park/Adel’s Grove
17-May-2018 Boodjamulla National Park/Adel’s Grove
18-May-2018 Borroloola NT 0854
19-May-2018 ** NO SET ROUTE **
20-May-2018 King Ash Bay
21-May-2018 Daly Waters Historic Pub
22-May-2018 Darwin

I've read through quite a few posts on here regarding Borroloola to Normanton. I've also read few articles/blogs about going to Adel’s Grove.

So, now I'm unsure of which way to go.
Do I take Savannah Way all the way to Darwin or go to Adel’s Grove, come up back to Doomadgee and then head to Darwin.

Here are the other things I need some help with, as this is the first big trip we are doing and no idea of travel times apart from what I'm reading on 'guides' and Google Maps

1. What's the best route to take from Normanton to Darwin. We are pretty ok with bush camping, so not fussed about where we sleep
2. Travel times, even a ballpark figure
3. The dates I mentioned above, we came up with google maps, 99% sure we are going to need more time to explore things along the way


We are taking our diesel Prado. plenty of food/water & 2 spears. Not towing anything




Thank you in advance.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 22:17

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 22:17
Take the detour to Adel's Grove for a few days. We loved Lawn Hill.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rangana H - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 23:05

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 23:05
From Lawn Hill to Daly Waters there 2 routes. which one do you reckon is the best route?
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 23:18

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 23:18
Travelling in the opposite direction, due to time constraints and it getting late in the season after delays, we went via the Barkly missing taking the Savannah Way and Cape York. We went from the Stuart Highway east on the Carpentaria Highway to Borroloola then back to go south on the Tablelands Highway (central marked grey on your map). Nothing special to see on the Barkly Rangana; I would go back to the Savannah Way at Doomadgee. I will send you a MM.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rangana H - Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 08:52

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 08:52
Thank you :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Friday, Apr 21, 2017 at 22:22

Friday, Apr 21, 2017 at 22:22
There's something to enjoy with either option, but I recommend the top route.
If you go South from Lawn Hill make sure to call in to the Riversleigh fossil site in your way back to the highway, and then Camooweal billabong is a good free camp spot - but you're mainly covering bitumen highway.
If you take the northern option via Doomadgee and Hells Gate it's a much more interesting drive on a generally good gravel surface. You get to visit Borrolola and King Ash Bay, and from there your choice is go go out via Cape Crawford to Daly Waters, or peferably continue on the dirt and visit Lorella Springs. That's a great place with heaps of 4wd tracks out to the coast - allow several days.
Then continue on through Limmen NP to Roper Bar and rejoin the highway at Mataranka.
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Reply By: wendys - Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:19

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:19
Since you are going all the way up the Cape, reckon you mught need a little bit more time to do it justice. Have you factored in side trips to places like Chilli Beach and Vrilya Point (if Vrilya is still open to camping?)
Going west, suggest you take the sealed road from Burketown to Gregory Downs, take in Adels/Lawn Hill - need a good few days there too, to do it justice - then the unsealed route from there through Lawn Hill Station to Doomadgee, then continue west.
Since you are not towing anything, go north from Borroloola, go stay at Lorella Springs for a few days, then continue on the Savannah Way through Roper Bar to Mataranka.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rangana H - Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:24

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:24
Hi Wendy

Thank you for the suggestions. I've already added few days for Lawn Hill from the previous replies, I'll do the same for Lorella Springs.

We are not set on the timeframes yet. We have about 20 days to play with for the whole trip.

Melb->Cape->Darwin -> Arnhem -> Broom -> Perth -> Melb.
All in 90-100 days but we are not spending time in all the touristy sections (melb->Syd->brisbane). Or on the way from Perth -> Melb (we've done this bit before)

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Reply By: wendys - Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:39

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:39
That is overall, a big trip for just roughly 3 months! But I can understand the thinking - we had 4 months LSL, years ago, and were going to "do" WA in that time, so we would not have to bother crossing the Nullarbor again in future travels. The plans was Melbourne- quickly to WA south west, Perth, up the coast, Karijini, Broome, Kimberley, then across to NT and quickly down the centre to home.
From memory, it was only about 3-4 weeks into the trip when we started talking about "next time we visit WA"! Since then our travels in WA alone have totalled over a year.....
Guess I am say ing in your time frame, you might consider leaving the west for another trip, or three?
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Follow Up By: Member - Rangana H - Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:45

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 17:45
I think we will probably do west in its own right sometime later. But at least on this round we'get a better idea of where to go. Plus we've to time off work and all the other things that we need to juggle to organize 3 months away.
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