Trip to the Gulf

Submitted: Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 16:58
ThreadID: 134914 Views:3063 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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I have just joined ExplorOz and looking for any information on a trip we have planned. We leave on June 24th, 2017, (in 5 weeks’ time).
There are two Landcruisers with off road camper trailers doing the following trip.
I will list the legs that we have planned and would appreciate any information on road conditions, travel times for each leg, places of interest and camp grounds along the way that you could recommend.
We have Googled a lot of the info but would like to hear from experienced travellers who have been on these roads recently. Google maps gives you drive times but sometimes I think they are slightly exaggerated. Just my opinion. We are more than happy to go the road less travelled. We have been travelling for most of our lives including 4WDing but it has been 20 years since I was last up in the Gulf area so I am sure a lot has changed.

1. Gold Coast to Carnarvon Gorge. This is pretty straight forward
2. Carnarvon Gorge to Barcaldine.
3. Barcaldine to Hughenden via Aramac and Torrens Creek.
4. Porcupine Gorge to Undara via the Kennedy Development Road.
5. Undara to Karumba.
6. Karumba to Lawn Hill via Leichardt Falls to Nardoo and Gregory along Burketown Rd
7. Lawn Hill to Cloncurry
8. Cloncurry to Longreach or Windorah
9. Longreach or Windorah to Charleville
10. Charleville to Gold Coast.
Thanks in advance for your help and info.
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Reply By: Jonty - Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:38

Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:38
When you get to Hughenden, why not go to Richmond (115 ks) and go and see the Marine Fossil Museum (www.kronosaurs korner) the best Fossil museum in Australia.Very good caravan park as well.
Cheers Jonty
AnswerID: 611279

Follow Up By: Member - Maddas - Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:47

Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:47
Thanks Jonty. Will see if we can squeeze it in.
FollowupID: 881299

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:50

Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:50
Instead of camping at Undara, go to Bedrock Village at Mt Surprise and do lava tube tours from there. There are also other tours to do from there. Also while in the area go to Cobbald Gorge.
AnswerID: 611281

Follow Up By: Member - Maddas - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:01

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:01
Thanks Rod.
Have contacted Bedrock and looks like we will be going there.
FollowupID: 881627

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:52

Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 19:52
Maddas, it looks doable, doesn't look enjoyable though, more a case of ticking off places.
Looks like you will spend all the time driving and setting up/ packing up. When will you get time to actually look at places like Lawn Hill, Barcaldine, Carnarvon Gorge, Undara, or enjoy a meal cooked around a camp fire?
Nothing wrong with putting in some long legs through country you have already spent some time at previously, but I can't see anywhere on this itinerary where you will actually get to enjoy the Gulf? Lawn Hill is 3 days alone.
Looks like an itinerary I would haver put together in my early 20s, so yep I'm guilty as well.
Though it may whet your appetite to go back again and do more leisurely in future trips.
AnswerID: 611282

Follow Up By: Member - Maddas - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:09

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:09
Thanks Mark.
We have a few places where we will stay a couple of nights. Lawn Hill being one of them.
Wish we could take our time but with kids in high school and work commitments we are limited time wise. When we retire we will be going back so we can do it at a leisurely pace.
FollowupID: 881629

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Monday, May 22, 2017 at 17:45

Monday, May 22, 2017 at 17:45
Sounds like a 2 month trip which would be nice and leisurely. Go into Places and there will be pix galore of all the towns on your list. Then search the map for spots within 50 km or so that may be of interest. Use wikicamps and/or Camps 8 to find all the free camps......... W

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Follow Up By: Member - Maddas - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:10

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:10
Thanks Warrie.
FollowupID: 881630

Reply By: Member - Robyn R4 - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 21:41

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 21:41
Day 3. Barcy to Hughendon.
Be warned.
It's blacksoil from Muttaburra to Hughendon.
You say you've had many years of off-road but have you ever hit wet blacksoil?
When It's a clay that has to be seen to be believed.
If there's any question that rain has fallen, ask a local.
All your tar roads out there are your 100km/hr sort.
I ditto the dinosaur museum in Richmond. It's amazing.
The campground in Windorah was about $10 a night and someone came around to collect the money. It was no-fuss and good but I hope the dog that howled all night in the house across the road is no longer there!! The pub had pretty good meals-I'd even call them amazing when you consider how far away their nearest supermarket is!!
The baker in Barcy (next to IGA-?- on the main street) had you-beaut pies
We do Bailey Bar caravan park in Charleville but have heard (but not yet tried) one a distance out of town with campfires etc. It's called Red Lizard. See the Cosmos Centre and/or bilbies if possible.
Don't miss the postman's grave (et al) on the road to Porcupine Gorge. Yet another time you stop and marvel at the pioneer's hardships.
Charleville to home's about 8 hours if I recall...depending on what traffic you hit coming down the M1!!) You'll zip past a lot of interesting stuff in these 8 hours but it's all close to home and will be there for another trip (if you haven't already done it!)
I've just invested in Wikicamps' app and, even though I'm not a fan of apps, I think it's wonderful.
Robyn :)
AnswerID: 611391

Follow Up By: Member - Maddas - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:22

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 21:22
Thanks for the info Robyn.
Haven't experienced driving in wet blacksoil yet. Think we are going to go up to Torrens Creek from Barcaldine so won't go through Muttaburra. Do you know what that road is like?
Also the road from Porcupine Gorge to Undara - do you know what it is like?
Will definitely be checking out Richmond now. Thanks for the tips on camping places and best place to get a good feed. Good to hear from those you have been to these places and can recommend them. Much appreciated.
FollowupID: 881631

Follow Up By: Member - Robyn R4 - Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 21:03

Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 21:03
Hi Maddas.
Ok, I have the map in front of me now (not just the memory!!)
Barcy to Torrens...assume black soil. We did the one to the left and passed Moorrinya National Park. Have heard it's just beautiful to stay there but we travel with a dog so I just go on what I've heard!
We were in Alpha the previous night and had a brief shower but you never know how far rain extends...
We saw that the road edges were wet as we did the Barcy to Muttaburra road because it's one lane and had to pull over for oncoming trucks.
When we got to Muttaburra we read the advisory signs. For the 4 roads going north, 3 said 4WD only. Even though we have dual range and the knowledge, we chose the "better" option.
(Hubby used to visit properties around Walgett NSW "pre Port Arthur" and has lots of wet blacksoil experience. I've heard many stories over the years re how they simply had to stay put until the road dried up enough to get's a very very sticky clay.)
But OMG.
By the time we realised that it was wet blacksoil we were driving on, it was too late to turn around. The edges of the road aren't as compacted as the centre and we would've certainly come to grief doing a u-turn with the litttle camper, so we opted to go "as far as we can then stop by the roadside until it dries out".
It was horrendous and the 5kg dog was bounced around so much that she stressed for the next 2 days! In a nutshell, we were very lucky to get through some of the sections.
It took quite a while at the truck wash just out of Hughenden to hose off the huge lumps of clay from underneath and from all sides.
So don't read the advisory signs if you're in blacksoil territory and take them as gospel. Ask at the pub. Or the police station.
Unfortunately I can't tell you about the Porcupine Gorge/Undarra stretch - we turned around and headed west from there. I'm assuming gravel from what I saw when researching our Cape York/Gulf trip that we were supposed to do last year.

Oh...and if you're into very nice, old fashioned burgers, try FJ Holden's in Hughenden. We time our run whenever we're somewhere in the vicinity of Hughenden..."We'll be in Hughenden at 10am...yeh, that's ok for an early burger for lunch."

Robyn :)

FollowupID: 881671

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