Which way to go Syd to Gibb River road

Submitted: Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 15:35
ThreadID: 136042 Views:3941 Replies:8 FollowUps:8
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Heading to the Kimberlys this year from Sydney wondering which way people have gone?
Did you go to Alice then up the Tanami or up through outback QLD across the Barkley to Katherine then across?

Our main focus is getting to the Gibb to spend as much time as we can there as we will only have 6wks for the whole trip.

Tossing up which way would be quickest as such.
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 15:43

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 15:43
would take me 6 weeks just to get from Sydney to Kimberly at my take it easy approach.

If you really pushed for time and looks like you are look at hiring 4wd and flying to & from sydney alternative have it flatbed up with plenty of time in advance fly up then drive back home
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Reply By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:07

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:07
Just a word (wink wink nudge nudge...)

Its the Kimberley.

Some are a bit touchy about that

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:24

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:24
Yep, there are some pub bars where if you say "Kimberleys" you may be asked to shout the bar. Or at least put $$ in the RFDS tin.


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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:12

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:12
i think you will have to travel both ways. Meaning a loop. It just depends which end of the Gibb you want to start at.
6 weeks is pushing it to be relaxing though. Still, it would be fun.
I'm heading there in early May starting from Adelaide/Alice/Broome/Darwin/Kakadu/Adelaide....... see you there!!!!!!!!!
I'm taking a few months though.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:37

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:37
We did our home in Victoria to Halls Creek via Alice and the Tanimi in 4 days without pushing it so I'd say a week, week and a half from Sydney
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:42

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 16:42
If I was going from Sydney I'd go up though Bourke Longreach Mt Isa to Kathine and then to Kununurra. About 4200Km which could be done in under a week on mainly Bitumen roads
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Follow Up By: Litlbalt - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 17:04

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 17:04
Thank you a answer that helps.

We dont need to sight see along the way as have done a fair bit already just wanted to know as you cant get a time frame from going via the Tanami anywhere everywhere shows going the 2nd way you mentioned. I was looking at around a week travel there and back so that has given me some help thanks. Even if 3wks travel there and back and 3wks up there will give us a good look around.

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 18:15

Monday, Jan 01, 2018 at 18:15
Ivan's suggestion is the route I used over 40 years ago, travelling from Kununurra area to Blue Mountains, in a Holden ute. Used to do it in 4.5 days, but some of the days were quite long!

That route is all bitumen now, with much of it at 110kmh speed limit, until you hit the NT's 130 limit.

I would also make inquiries about the Buchanan Highway, from Dunmarra through Top Springs to Timber Creek. It used to be in good order, and these days I can't see it being any worse. Might be an alternative for the trip home?


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Follow Up By: mike39 - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 08:51

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 08:51
Would also suggest the Buchanan, a good shortcut eliminating Katherine.
Good smooth surface to Top Springs then just a little stony but decent travel all the same.
Only concern would be water depth at the Victoria River crossing.
Been around 6-12 inches when we have been over, but any higher I would be apprehensive about it.

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Reply By: Member - eighty matey - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 12:25

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 12:25
Another suggestion would be to head to Bourke from Sydney, up to Cunnamulla, Eulo, Windorah, Bedourie to Boulia. Cross the Plenty Hwy and pop down to Alice Springs to top up some stuff. Cross the Tanami Halls Creek and on to Derby.
You can return from Kununurra by any of the routes suggested previously.

Six weeks is enough time to see plenty without rushing too much. Get a piece of paper, or whatever suits you, and work out a timeline. You can use this as a guide to keep on track. It can be handy to work out where you'll be topping up fuel, food, grog and water.

You said you don't intend to do any sightseeing but it's going to happen anyway. The drive across Australia is spectacular and I am constantly amazed by the scenery as we travel along.

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Follow Up By: Litlbalt - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:51

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:51
Yes true will be seeing alot along the way was meaning for example going through Winton etc we have visited the Dinosaur places so dont need to stop or through the centre done Ayres rock etc.
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Reply By: Top End Az - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 13:07

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 13:07
We are usually limited to school holidays when we travel and to 4 weeks a year so I understand covering miles in short time to get places. We drove our Dmax fully loaded, but not towing from Darwin to Mildura/Wangarrata/Lakes Entrance last year and back home through Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin (in 4 weeks).
Have previously driven the Kimberley etc from Darwin in similar periods and a 1 month road trip to Townsville and onto Brisbane seeing what we could and coming back inland through Roma etc. I've also driven to Perth from Darwin.
I would stick to the highways if you have already seen a bit. You could travel to Mildura, come out north of Adelaide and head up the Stuart Highway. I found travelling in Victoria painfully slow at covering any distances.
I personally would head inland NSW upto Roma, Longreach etc and go that way. Once in Qld there is little traffic out west, and reasonable roads so you can make good time. The secret is to getting away early (but not in the dark), and keep breaks short for fuel/coffee and a reasonable lunch break. Having a 2nd driver helps.
Once on the NT roads you can make good time travelling at 130kph if you don't mind paying the extra fuel and happy to travel at that speed. From Katherine its a 5-6 hours drive to Kununurra,
Once in the Kimberley, upto you which way you want to cross the GRR, whether you start in Kununurra or Broome, but you can get to Broome from Knx in a full day of driving, although it is a bit of a haul.
Our view is we would like to see more, but with the time we have we have to put the kays and time in to maximise our time at our final destination, otherwise wouldn't get to see any of it in our circumstances.
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Follow Up By: Litlbalt - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:55

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:55
Thank you, yes we are normally 4wk trippers but to do the Gibb need more time and the 6wks will be our max.
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Reply By: Member - DOZER - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:08

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:08
Put your car on the train 2 weeks prior, then fly to Darwin to pick it up.
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

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Follow Up By: Top End Az - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:39

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 15:39
We've looked into the rail option ourselves before. A lot of restrictions, I think most of us would be struck out. A lot of things you can't carry in your car and nothing can be carried on your roofrack. It's fairly exxy (although probably the same as fuel), then you and your family still have to pay to fly to Darwin. Trailers/vans are considered a separate vehicle.

Check out the Motorail Conditions of Carriage in the PDF on this link.


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Reply By: Michaeljp - Friday, Jan 05, 2018 at 16:05

Friday, Jan 05, 2018 at 16:05
Ive done the Gibb 13 times now from Sydney. I used to go via Cunnamulla Mt isa, but the kangaroos just over the border in Qld are or were in plague proportions so i stopped going that way. I used to do that section at night. Now i go via Broken Hill, Pt Augusta, Katherine then Kununurra. But i try to get to Broken Hill during day light hours once agin because of roos and goats. Leave sydney by midnight gets you to dubbo/nyngan by sunrise. then easy drive to Broken hill. Can usually get to Kununurra in 4-5 days, long days, lots of night driving. i have a Facebook group "Gibb river road and kimberley region"

Enjoy your trip.
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