Birdsville Races by caravan.

Submitted: Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 12:33
ThreadID: 134808 Views:5820 Replies:10 FollowUps:4
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I would like to go out to the Birdsville Races in Sept. 2017. I understand plenty of caravans go out through Western Queensland. But is it reasonable to take one up the Birdsville Track from Marree or up through Tibooburra and maybe Cameron Corner? We live on the NSW North Coast. The van is an 18ft A'van fitted with an Adventure Pack: Which means a bigger 150-mm chassis, 15-inch off road dual wheels & Wrangler tires; higher ground clearance and modified suspension. The vehicle is a late model Navara 4WD.

Is such a trip reasonable or am I asking a bit too much of a caravan?
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 13:03

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 13:03

You can do almost anything with the right amount of care...

Enjoy, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 13:05

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 13:05
There can be heavy gravel that will trash unprotected pips and wires underneath.
AnswerID: 610877

Reply By: Michael H9 - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 13:08

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 13:08
It's a pretty decent wide dirt road with some patches of loose rocks that can be sharp. If it rains then that's a different story.
AnswerID: 610878

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 15:38

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 15:38
Met a silver haired couple at Innamincka in Nov.'15, with a small Jeep and a pop top bogie axle van. They were heading up the Cameron Corner road. Never heard how they got on. They said the road through Cameron's Corner was excellent.

Might be as good to travel up through Arrabury?

Edit: Made a mistake above Ron. That couple travelled up the Cordillo Downs road, while I travelled up the Arrabury road, the same day.

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Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 15:57

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 15:57

You will have no problems , just take it easy .

AnswerID: 610882

Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 16:53

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 16:53
Agree with the sentiment expressed her regarding "taking it easy". One of the most important and often overlooked aspects is tyre pressures. Too high and you are more likely the get damage, too low and too much speed and the same result. If you do manage tyre pressures don't forget a good compressor and at every stop check tyre temperatures.
The other issue is that with a rough dirt road things can vibrate loose in the caravan. However, the essential message is keep your speed down and all should be good.
Make sure you check out camping options in Birdsville well in advance. It does get extremely busy up that way. We did the Big Red Bash last year and with 6500 people in Birdsville even fuel supplies become an issue.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 17:56

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 17:56
Hi Ron

Providing that you are well prepared, you should have no problems at all. The Birdsville Track is a great drive and plan on doing it over 2 days, the first stop at Mungeranie which is a great stop, and then an easy drive the next day to Birdsville. If coming up that way, a must stop over is at the great campgrounds at Farina, and allow a 2 night stop there.

The only issue is flying stones that will hit your van and could bounce back and break the rear window on your vehicle. To prevent this, I can thoroughly recommend the Stone Stomper by Christian in Glenelg South Australia.

He can tailor make them to suit any vehicle/car combo and it will be a very good investment and will stop your van from getting stone blasted. The only other thing that I would pay major attention to is the location of water hoses and wiring that is exposed under your van.

Last year when we arrived at Marree, a chap in a stock standard road van was under him van trying to fix a major breakage under his van where the main hose comes from the outlet of his water tank, it was smashed off with rocks from travelling and he had lost all his water.

A simple stone guard will fix that and apart from that he had no problems at all.

Enjoy your trip, take your time and stop at the many features along this iconic drive and you will have an enjoyable trip.....providing it is dry. If it is wet, then steer clear of the area.


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Follow Up By: Ron GT - Monday, May 08, 2017 at 13:18

Monday, May 08, 2017 at 13:18
All very good advice. Thank you - most helpful Regards Ron
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Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, May 08, 2017 at 10:21

Monday, May 08, 2017 at 10:21
I've done most of the roads in that area with a Forester and light camper trailer (even when open to 4WD only), and later a with a 4WD and heavier trailer. Can recommend the Corner country for its historical and nature interest.

A Tib local gave good advice on my first venture out there: 'You can get anywhere in this country if you're prepared to stop'.

That's about rain closures but also about staying within the limits of the rig you have. Rain can shut the roads for a few days so you need to be flexible with your itinerary.

So Tib to Cameron Corner gets chopped up a bit; after that the run to the Strez is pretty good.Innamincka north to the Development Rd via Adventure Way and Arrabury can have some pretty good corrugations, heavy gravel and gibber in places. So just air down and keep your speed under 80 and you should be right.

According to Neale McShane*, former Birdsville cop, the standard vehicle accident out there is the roll-over. Drivers get in a slide and don't know how to recover. In a panic they hit the brakes.

Standard failures with trailers are wheel bearings and electrics. So repack your bearings before you go. I find mine need this about every 10,000 kms.Check your wheel nuts every day. Electrics suffer from vibration and dust. Go over everything to make sure the connections are clean and tight. Cable-tie together the Anderson connectors at the tow bar in the charge circuit. Take spare fuses and connectors and a continuity tester or multi-meter.

If there's an Avan forum I'd be asking there about common weaknesses in rough-road performance.

Having planned for failure most likely it'll all go without a hitch.

*(writing in the book Outback Cop).
AnswerID: 610910

Follow Up By: Ron GT - Monday, May 08, 2017 at 14:14

Monday, May 08, 2017 at 14:14
Thanks Sigmund, That is all pretty good advice. I am a little over 70 and only just getting into caravaning. We sailed most of our lives. In 2003 my wife and I sailed right around Australia and Tasmania for the Mathew Flinders bi-centenary. I will do plenty of preparation. I have redone much of the electrics already. (I have done lots of DC on boats.) We have explored much of Oz but not the area planned. Coming back (or going out) we will take the shortest route through Western Qld. Would you advice us to go Tibooburra - Warrie Gate - Dig Tree - Innaminka - Arrabury Road - Birdsville or go out Cameron Corner Innaminka - Cordillo etc? We have never seen the Flinders Ranges. So we could give Tibooburra a miss and do the Flinders and then up the Birdsville Track? Or am I better off leaving the Flinders to another time? Thanks again for the tips. Regards Ron
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, May 08, 2017 at 15:05

Monday, May 08, 2017 at 15:05
You're very welcome Ron.

The Cordillo Downs Rd can be a bit rough I'm told by locals. You can go north direct from Inna up the Cordillo Rd past Arrabury station and NE on the Planet Arrabury Rd then up Arrabury Rd. (Hope this is clear - maps vary a bit on the names).

Near Inna there's some nice camping on the Cooper at Cullyamurra waterhole.

Yes, the northern Flinders is great - spectacular scenery, interesting geology, good 4WD routes and some good walks. You can easily spend a week there.
FollowupID: 880908

Reply By: Member - BUSH CAMPER - Monday, May 08, 2017 at 18:54

Monday, May 08, 2017 at 18:54
We did Birdsville in 2015 with a 17' Big Red off road. A stone hit the only unprotected plastic elbow, so lost all our water.
Try and get to the races at least 4 days early, so less traffic and leave a few days later. You will then miss most of the people travelling to fast to get to and from the races.
I let my tyres down to 28 psi but would go a little lower next time. That is tug and van. We have a stone stomper which protected the van.
We got a few deep stone hits from stones going over the top of the cruiser. This was from people roaring past us in both direction, travelling too fast. You will see plenty of idiots on your travels.
Our van is very well proctected underneath.
Drive to a speed that you are comfortable with.
AnswerID: 610932

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, May 09, 2017 at 12:21

Tuesday, May 09, 2017 at 12:21
Good advice leaving early to both get there, and depart.

Those idiots that don't slow down for people are unbelievable, we had on one trip up the BV Tk once, 5 or 6 vehicles, and we had 3 damaged screens from people coming down the track at what must have been 80 + km/hr, we'd back off to 50 or so, move over left, they'd just blast through.

2 screens were star cracked, one was really badly cracked right across like a spider web, poor bugger had to go across the desert looking through that :/

Keep an eye in the rearview too, they will overtake fast and that is just as bad . . . try and pull over way left.

Not sure what channel these people would be on 10 or 40, but we certainly would let them know on both channels what we thought of their driving etiquette.
FollowupID: 880939

Reply By: Lindsaydi - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 22:22

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 22:22
Bin there done that and doing it again tyres and speed down around 60 70 or less not an issue.
AnswerID: 611021

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