Savanah Way,

Any comments on the road between Burketown and Borroloola would be appreciated.

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Reply By: KevinE - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 19:19

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 19:19
It's an absolute cracker of a road when dry. Pretty much tar from Burketown to Doomagee, then a great, dirt road to Borroloola. There are some bulldust wallows on the very eastern end, but not many.

Sadly, the scenery isn't too varied. It's the usual tropical Savannah most of the way.
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Reply By: Rob M12 - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 19:23

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 19:23
Thanks Kevin
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Reply By: Kenell - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 20:59

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 20:59
Hi Rob,
I travelled from Borroloola across to Burketown about 3-4 weeks ago. It is a tough drive as far as Hells Gate (near Qld border). From there on it is fine - pretty well sealed all the way. If you are towing it is a good idea to slip into 4wd for the river crossings although they are worse going from east to west. One or two are a bit steep in and out and there was a bit of water in them - no more than wheel height but if you have a van behind you, approach and departure might need some consideration. You will get through ok but this is certainly a stretch where you need to drive to conditions. Tyre pressures for corrugations are important and the first 50 ks from Borroloola are particularly corrugated. There are some pretty reasonable stretches but you can't relax. I gather the mining ops around Borroloola are contributing to the condition and graders just can't keep up. Take it easy and you'll be ok - some good camps on the way at one or two of the river crossings too.
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Follow Up By: Rob M12 - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 07:42

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 07:42
Great info, thanks
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Reply By: KevinE - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 12:15

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 12:15
There are about 5-6 water crossings on that road in dry weather, this one is fairly typical:
So if you're towing, yes, 4WD is a good option. But I always use 4WD once on the dirt anyway.

The road itself is pretty much like this most of the way:

Rating the degree of difficulty for dirt roads from 1 to 10, with 1 being easy & 10 being hard, I'd rate this road in the dry as a 1 to 2. Thinking about it, I'd say it's probably the most enjoyable dirt road drive I've ever done.

When did they seal the road from Doomagee to Hell's Gate?
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 15:40

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 15:40
Rating would likely depend when you drive it....we last drove that area about 6 years ago very late in the dry season, the road was heavily corrugated and far from a 1 or 2 back then. Maybe these days it sees a grader more often then back then, I have no idea though.
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Follow Up By: Kenell - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 16:33

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 16:33
When I drove it recently I would rate it at about 6. I was driving very conservatively after 2 vehicles came to grief the day before we headed across. One came into the caravan park inBorroloola on a flat top. There were some significant vans being towed. I was towing a high clearance hybrid camper and had no issues. The river crossings are consistent with the photos and the road is certainly wide. The corrugations were average to severe and unrelenting at the western end. The road from Hells Gate to Doomadgee is an ongoing project but the bitumen that has been laid is obviously quite new.
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Follow Up By: KevinE - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 19:14

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 19:14
A 6 is a very big call!

I've traveled that road very late in the dry season & we're going to have to agree to disagree!

I wouldn't even rate the Birdsville track, or the Gibb River road, or the Oodnadatta track as 6's. Even the road into Chamber's Pillar, or the Old Ghan track aren't 6's.

The road we're discussing here makes those roads look bad lol!

I'd put it on par, or even maybe better than, the Mereenie Loop (another 1-2 road).

I'd probably put the road out through Charlotte Waters from Mt Dare, down through Pedrika to Dalhousie as a 4-5 & it is massively worse than the road we're discussing here IMO.

Maybe your tyre pressures were too high? Or maybe you were traveling too slow over the corrugations?

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Follow Up By: Rob M12 - Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 21:52

Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 21:52
Thanks for all the comments, having done the Tanami, GRR, Mereenie and Oodnadatta sounds like it’s pretty manageable with an off road camper,
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 22:04

Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 22:04
Having just driven along the Oodnadatta a few weeks back, I'd rate that a 2....and it's only that high because of the corrugations about 500 metres either side of William Creek Hotel. The road being asked about is fine with a camper, we towed one along it with no issues, even though the corrugations at that time were pretty decent.
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Reply By: equinox - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 12:32

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 12:32
Hi Rob,

I did a blog covering this section last year.



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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 21:32

Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 21:32
We did it a bit over week ago. Pretty good condition with some corrugations, bulldust sections etc, but no problem if dsriven sensibly. All the water crossings were no more than hub deep.
Once you get to the bitumen past Doomadgee it's sealed through to Leichhart Falls, and then excellent gravel all the way to Normanton.
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