Windorah to Birdsville

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 07:44
ThreadID: 135078 Views:5141 Replies:5 FollowUps:9
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Hi, guys. I'm planning to drive to Birdsville from Windorah in about a montn, along the direct route. The Google maps gives an estimate distance of 379 km and the travelling time around 11.5 hours. It makes it as about 32km/h (??).

I've never been there. Does it really takes that long? I am not a "racing pilot", but is it realistically safe to drive at 70 - 80 km/h on that road?

Thank you beforehand. All replies are much appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:54

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:54
I have towed a Kimberley Karavan across there with no trouble and it took me about 5 hours easy but steady driving.
There is about 100 kms of sealed road from Windorah.
Duncan
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Follow Up By: Member - RUK42 (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 13:44

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 13:44
I would support that. Did it last month towing a small caravan, stopping at Betoota and Deon's Lookout and going very slowly through the rougher bits - total about 6 hours.
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Laz - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:24

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:24
Thank you very much, guys. Appreciate that.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 14:17

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 14:17
Hi Laz

I wish people would never use Google maps to work on travel time.

Like above, work on those travel times of 6 very easy hours. There is fantastic camping about 10 kms out of town in the banks of the Cooper Creek, so make sure you do not overlook that.


Have a great trip.



Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Laz - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:27

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:27
Thank you, Stephen for your reply. I've been considering to buy the "proper" gadget - something like Hema Navigator or similar. Do you have any suggestions?

Regards,

Laz.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 14:19

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 14:19
Hi Laz

I use a Hema HN7 which I think is great. You have the ability to add maps which is very hands and they are now a real steal at around $449 including visor and free shipping..

You can do everthing on them as if you are using a laptop computer.




Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Laz - Wednesday, Jun 21, 2017 at 14:06

Wednesday, Jun 21, 2017 at 14:06
Thank you very much, Stephen. I'll definitely have a close look at that.

Regards,
Laz.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:40

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:40
Google maps is fine for bitumen drive planning, of which it is from Windorah to the Birdsville Dev Rd turnoff . . .
On grqavel etc it sems to default to 25km'hr.
This section of gravel road is usually pretty good, but as mentioned, a 1/2 hr stop at Deons, and a good hour looking around Betoota, you can do it in a short day easily.
A Haddon Corner visit / camp overnight is a good launching pad for the days drive to Birdsville.
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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 23:45

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 23:45
If you have a liking for the comfort of caravan parks then the Council operated park at Windorah is not too bad. Powered sites are available as well as the usual shower/toilet block. They will come and collect the money during the afternoon. It can get busy at times so that a "not to late" arrival is recommended.Windorah is a quaint little town with a museum/tourist office that is worth a visit. At times of the big Red Bash and Birdsville Races you will often find that you need to lineup to get fuel. As mentioned here the road from Birdsville to Windorah is quite good. Just drive to conditions.
Robert
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Follow Up By: Laz - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:52

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:52
Thank you very much, guys, for your suggestions.

Regards,
Laz.
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Reply By: splits - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 21:58

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 21:58
I think in cases like this you have to put yourself in Google's position. They are giving a driving time for a dirt road, not a sealed one, and conditions on dirt can vary considerably depending on weather, traffic and the frequency of maintenance. They have to cover themselves by allowing for the worst possible situation.

As an example, about six years ago I drove over the road from Brewarrina in NSW to Hebel on the Qld border. It was normally a good smooth straight unsealed road but this time it had just been opened after rain five days earlier. There were deep washouts by the dozens running from the centre of the road straight to the edge, I had to go through them in first gear at walking speed. My average speed must have been well below 40. I misjudged one and went in at around 15 kph and it nearly threw me out of the car.

The same thing can happen on the road out to Birdsville or anywhere else but it is not only the aftereffects of rain that you have to worry about. You can run into bull dust holes, deep dips in causeways, sandy patches, deep ruts, corrugations or loose surfaces on bends. You can't set time limits or decide on a cruising speed on those roads. You have to drive to the conditions and expect the unexpected.

There have been so many accidents, particularly rollovers, on those seemingly good unsealed roads that about four years ago, Vic Widman, an experienced 4wd tour leader, driving instructor, magazine writer and radio broadcaster wrote an article for "On The Road" magazine about the need for driver training for good unsealed roads. You simply can't treat them like a sealed road. They are not the same even though they may look like unsealed freeways in some cases.

You may find Vic or the magazine can send you a copy of the article if you contact themVIC

Another issue with those roads, or even sealed ones, particularly if the car has been modified, is the way it handles in corners or sudden emergency situations. Many 4wds these days have different springs,shocks, air bags, oversize tyres and the owners favorite tyre pressures, In addition the weight distribution is often far from ideal and the centre of gravity has been moved.

Have a look through the charts in this link.UNDERSTEER/OVERSTEER All of the popular modifications/alterations to 4wds will have a direct effect on the way it handles but very few owners would have a clue what it is going to do in fast corners,particularly on dirt, or what is going to happen in emergencies. Very few would even know that the understeer/oversteer handling characteristics have changed or could change after suspension modifications.

Manufacturers for the last fifty years or so have set their cars up to understeer because the vast majority of drivers can't handle oversteer. If you find your car slides it tail out at 70 to 80 kph or higher on a dirt road, you will most likely need the skills of a good rally driver to bring it back in line again. If you can't control it then you could easily join the long list of rollovers.

Take your time and don't worry about time limits or average speeds. The old rule of being able to stop in the distance you can see definitely applies out there.
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Follow Up By: mike39 - Thursday, Jun 15, 2017 at 08:38

Thursday, Jun 15, 2017 at 08:38
Great post splits, I fully endorse your comments.
My feeling is that too many people want to take their "high speed" city life style with them when they travel into remote areas.
Slow down and smell the Gidgee (an experience in itself) plus a few good camp spots along the way too.
There are often 6 deck cattle trucks operating along that road, often a convoy of 3-4. Pull over and stop off the road on the upwind side, the dust cloud would choke a brown dog.
Mike
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Follow Up By: Laz - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:55

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 10:55
Thank you, guys. Great suggestions.

Regards,
Laz.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 16:37

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 16:37
I drove Birdsville - Windorah on Tuesday morning this week.
It was about as good as a non bitumen road could be.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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