Article Comment: Mitchell Plateau

Hi All,
I am planning a trip up to the Kimberly by my self in April and would love to take a look at the Mitchel falls just wondering what other peoples experience with the roads are and weather the roads are open that early in the season. Any suggestions and advice would be great
Thanks
Lach
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Reply By: Kenell - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 13:54

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 13:54
Lach,

Your timing is possibly a bit optimistic but it depends on the wet season. The first time I did it the GRR didn't open until late May but that was a very wet year. The latest a cyclone has hit mainland Australia I think was Anzac day (25th April) and that was Larry which didn't bother anything west of Darwin. The official end of the season I understand is 30/4. It can be very wet with or without cyclones though. As for the roads - again this is a coin toss depending largely on when the wet ends, how bad it impacted the roads, and when men and machinery can get to them. As a rule of thumb I reckon the GRR is generally ok, the Kalumburu Rd a little more challenging and then the Mitchell Plateau is a distant third. But it depends on whether you are towing and how well you are set up. Again travelling so early in the season there probably won't be much in the way of help if you get hung up but the offset is you won't have to share many campgrounds either. The falls will probably be spectacular and it is a magic spot. Personally I would leave it until later, particularly when travelling alone but perhaps I am a wuss !!

Ken
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:26

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:26
They were reforming the Mitchell Road this past season .
I would try to resist the temptation to tow in on the Mitchell Plateau Road if you can .
Cheers Nick b
VKS 737 ( 0915 )
Wish the missus was as dirty as the tailgate

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Follow Up By: Lachlan T - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:33

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:33
Yep thanks mate I figured that may be the case but the missus was hell bent on flying to Broome for the Easter holidays so I decided that I would make the most of the situation and drive up and have a good look around before she got there, I guess I will just play it by ear when I get up there and see if the roads are open and cross my fingers.

I am very well set up and wont be towing. I did Rudall river last year by my self and found that to be quite easy although remote, I do have a satphone and emergency beacons and plenty of spares if things do go wrong.

Cheers
Lach
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Reply By: Mick O - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:29

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:29
Locky, I agree with Ken in that it may be a bit optimistic in the April. Drysdale Station is the font of knowledge when it comes to road conditions and openings/closures up that way. The crossing at King Edward River may also be a barrier that early in the season.

The road in is hit and miss. If you time it well (or fluke it as I have done) and travel just after the grader, it's a great run in. If not, it can be a corrugated hell best taken slowly.

Not sure on the camp-fire rules in at Mitchell at the present time but if still permitted, you'll need to pick up firewood along the way and within the designated areas that are clearly signposted along the way.

We also stayed at King Edward River camp ground on the way in and found it fantastic place to stay with lots to see and do around the area and great swimming holes to escape the heat.

We had some issues along the way but take it easy and you'll be fine.






Regards Mick


''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Lachlan T - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:42

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 14:42
Thanks mate I think it will be a wait and see when I get there type of trip - fingers are firmly crossed

P.S after watching your video I think I will double up on the wheel studs just to be on the safe side
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Follow Up By: BobR4 - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 19:57

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 19:57
What a stud! Or set thereof.
But all boy scouts are well prepared??
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 21:51

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 21:51
Nailed it Arkayla :-) Dib dib dib etc.

As an aside, I broke two wheel studs on my 83 Datsun 720 Kingcab 4x4 (the first Datsun/Nissan 4x4 ute version of the 720 to hit our shores) while trying to cross the Simpson in 1984. As a mere pup back then, it was a nerve wracking few weeks until I was able to secure replacements in Pord Augutta. I've never left home without a minimum of 5 studs and nuts ever since and it has paid off in spades for both me and fellow travellers I've been able to help along the way.

Cheers



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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: BobR4 - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 22:29

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 22:29
Pressure makes diamonds ??
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Reply By: DaveO*ST-R - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 20:07

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 20:07
Lachlan,

Can I suggest you "subscribe" to Birgit Bradtke's website at Outback Australia Travel Guide. You can download her free travel guide and receive occasional newsletters about all manner of issues including current track/road conditions etc. I found it very helpful when researching our trip to the Kimberleys.

As stated, April would most likely be optimistic to travel. We were up there in June & did the Mitchell Plateau, towing a camper trailer. The road in was fairly ordinary which made it very slow going, but no worse than other parts of the Gibb and/or Kalumburu Road up to Honeymoon Bay. We drove to the conditions with no damage to car or camper. After a few nights at Mitchell Falls, we met the grader about half way & for the last 40 odd k's the road was a veritable highway, so as stated, timing with the grader makes a huge difference.

Enjoy. Mitchell Falls etc is a great place to visit.

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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 14:06

Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 14:06
Excellent suggestion DavO, Birgit has some excellent advice in her publications. We did the Mitchell Plateau road in 2013 towing Tvans. The key to doing no damage is to lower your tyre pressures. For my 200 Series, I can’t remember the exact value, however something in the region of 24 psi front and 26 rear. Depending on the vehicle or conditions you may need to go even lower. Of course with the lower pressures you really have to limit speed to below 80 km/h.
We stayed in the generator section of the camp ground as it appeared to be better of the two areas. Of course that was back in 2013.
We took the helicopter out to the falls and then walked and swam back. Helicopter is expensive but really worth it.
The general statement regarding the road in 2013 was that it was heavily corrugated. Not helped by people not lowering tyre pressures and travelling way too fast.
Robert
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Reply By: My Aussie Travel Guide - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 20:49

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 20:49
The Kalumburu road is generally the last in the Kimberley to be open each year so you’d generally expect it open some time during May after the grader has done the rest of the Gibb. We’ve never had any issues during our 4 visits on the Mitchell Falls Track, you simply need to take things slow. Keep in mind the new permit requirements for your visit that way as well. Hike in early in the morning to the falls to avoid the heat, and the chopper ride back is worth it if you can afford it. Just need to book the chopper when you arrive at the campground. Have a sensational trip!
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Follow Up By: Gerard S - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 22:34

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 22:34
We spent 3 nights at Drysdale Station last season. Didn't go any furthur as we only had an offroad caravan. Saw some interesting casualties limping in, suspensions and broken welds mainly.
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 14:36

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 14:36
Yes Gerard : the mechanic come welder is kept very busy (7 days) at mcgowans/ kalumburu .
As Drysdale station will no longer repairs vehicles after being sued :(( we were told .

King Edward camp ground is a very nice spot to camp swim with plenty of spacious room . Some people leave from there for day trip to Mitchell.
Cheers Nick b
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Reply By: Members - Bow & Nan - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 07:49

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2019 at 07:49
New set of rules and costs for permits coming this year. The tour operators with helicopters in the camp area are out of control.
"Work interferes with living"

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Reply By: Pushy - Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 15:06

Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 15:06
Sorry can 't get a link up but try swek.wa.gov.au and go to their road conditions page.From memory the parks don't open until the end of April and last year the roads were not open until June or July.
Absolute bucket list trip but the roads are bad especially the last 10-15 km to the falls.Would really consider leaving any vans/traliers at Drysdale River Station.
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Reply By: Lachlan T - Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 20:41

Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 20:41
Thanks for all the info folks. I will be keeping an eager eye on the road and weather reports tho based on what most of you have said i may be in for some disappointment. I am still hoppeful however that some of the roads are cleared in time. If roads are closed Plans might also change to a run to alice down the Tanami

Eather way adventure will be found

Cheers
Lach
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 21:46

Sunday, Jan 13, 2019 at 21:46
Give either Broome or Derby visitor centres in the west or Kununurra visitor centre in the east a call early April, they all have the lastest news on every station and track in the Gibb.
PS, its still pretty dam hot in the day and night that time of year.
Cheers
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