Gary Highway and eastern Talawana track conditions

Submitted: Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 13:42
ThreadID: 138275 Views:1681 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
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Hi folks, has anyone recently driven the Gary Highway and Talawana Track from Windy Corner west to Parnngurr (Cotton Creek) turn-off? Looking at coming up Connie Sue to Warburton, Heather Hwy to Gunbarrel Hwy to Everard Junction, then Gary Hwy to Windy Corner and Talawana Track to Newman, with a few days stop over at Rudall River Nat Park, in June. Latest trip notes and pix for Gary Hwy I can find are 2016 and before that 2009. Both say parts of track overgrown and washaways southern end but not a problem provided it's dry. Wondering how overgrown now. Travelling in lifted DMAX 4x4 towing off-road camper trailer, carrying lots of food, fuel and water.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 16:15

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 16:15
Hi Mal and Naomi,
Did all those roads in 2017 in a D-Max with trayback no issues. Very remote so as long as you are experienced, well prepared, and have the time to take it easy and not be rushed you will have a great time. The tracks are well travelled and vary greatly in condition, just be prepared and have the patience to travel to the conditions. People at Parngurr are very friendly and welcoming.
Chris
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Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 22:19

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 22:19
Thank you Chris. We plan to take our time, not in any hurry. Did Anne Beadell last year about same time of year and kept waiting for the horrendous sections people coming the other way had warned us of. But lowering tyre pressures - car and trailer - and taking it quietly, we never found them. We're assuming corrugations Heather and Gunbarrel Hwys and on Talawana west of Parnngurr but hoping lesser used Gary Hwy and east end of Talawana might be a bit smoother. Love our trayback D-Max with ally tradie body adapted for outback touring.
Cheers, Mal and Naomi
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 09:01

Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 09:01
Mal and Naomi,

"But lowering tyre pressures - car and trailer - and taking it quietly" you obviously know what you are doing. If you think the ABH was OK then you will find the all the tracks you are planning fun, fun, fun. Allow plenty of time for Rudall River NP, particularly DQB, I have been there 4 times and hopefully will get there again.
I too love my D-Max and slide on.


Cheers,
Chris
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Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 11:02

Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 11:02
Nice looking rig Chris. Looking forward to DGB, first time for us but hear good things about the NP. Cheers
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 18:51

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 18:51
A group of us did some of these tracks in June ‘18.

North from Cocklebiddy to Rawlinna is steady, station tracks, with lots of limestone outcrops and a number of gates, closer to a dozen rather than 2 or 3. Camped opposite the railway station at Rawlinna, and got to see the Indian-Pacific & a few other attractions. The IP stops there for the evening meal, heading west, and some light entertainment.

From Rawlinna north, there is more of the same, track wise, but eventually gets into sandier soils as you leave the Nullarbor. Some washouts, scratchy bits & also some top scenery through the sandhills, with lots of different flora. Worth stopping at Neales Breakaways for the night, but don’t go where I did or you’ll get bogged!

Neale Junction is a good camp with a couple of long term residents already there. Worth going into Point Lilian too, it’s not far off the track, to the west. Good water at Cooper Hills Bore too. Think road improved a bit further north too, but we turned left at Parallel Road No.2, and scratched our way across to a night camp in a gravel pit beside the GCR.



We camped at Geraldton Bore before heading up the Gary. Not bad travelling, but bit slower going up past Charlie’s Knob. Definitely worth driving up to the top of the Knob, to see where you’ve been, and where you hope you’re going. Few washouts after Charlie’s Knob, but levels out further north. We went into McPhersons Pillar & camped the night, though not one of the best sites we’d had. Was worth it though, to see the Pillar lit by the setting sun. I wouldn’t bother going to Mulan Rockhole nearby, unless you’re heavily in Australian history.





Track further north varied a bit, some scratchy stuff, quick gravel, corrugations & washouts.Windy Corner turned out to be the “a’hole” of our entire 10K trip, but one of the lads found a set of wheel tracks heading east, only a km or so north of the Corner, that lead to numerous cleared areas suitable for a good camp, and a fire!

We were planning to do western end of the Talawana, through to Newman, but the wet area around Well 25 changed our plans and exited through Well 33, Telfer Mine and down to Desert Queen Baths, in Rudall NP.

Bob



Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 22:40

Saturday, May 04, 2019 at 22:40
Thanks Bob, we'll keep your camp and side detour suggestions in mind. Wasn't particularly fussed about whether we turned off Gary Hwy onto Talawana or went on up to Gary Junction and turned left onto Wapet Rd and, like you did, come down to Desert Queen Baths from the north rather than up from the south. We'll call it as we see it on the approach to Lake Disappointment, we're not big fans of mud, much prefer sand. Don't mind the odd scratchy bit but didn't want to have to cut our way through.
Cheers, Mal and Naomi
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 08:59

Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 08:59
Forgot to mention above that Lake Cohen had water in it too. Not a lot of bird life though?



Re the scratchy bits, the noise was very stressful, but end result was not as bad as expected.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 10:28

Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 10:28
Don't want to start a big OT discussion, but re the "scratchy bits", I've had great success with a product called Road Warrior. It looks and smells like white PVA glue, but is runnier. Apply two coats with the supplied small foam roller, keep it dry while it cures and it forms a hard protective layer over your paint.

You can leave it on for months, as we did, and it washes off in sheets with a pressure washer.

Best applied on glossy, freshly waxed finishes. If applied on a dull finish it can be hard to remove.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 11:15

Sunday, May 05, 2019 at 11:15
We were hoping for some water and birds at Lake Cowan. Looks like that whole area might have got a drink early last month so hoping it will look its best by the time we get there. On the scratchy bits, I was amazed last year on the ABH how many heavy wacks our big side mirrors copped without damage. Folded them in most of the time but it usually took a big wack from a solid dead branch hiding behind soft-looking shrubbery to remind me.
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Reply By: cookie1 - Monday, May 06, 2019 at 09:12

Monday, May 06, 2019 at 09:12
I did the ABH last year and heard someone on the HF radio say it was absolutely buggered and they had to turn back. I was running lowered tyre pressures and no one in my group of 4 had any issues.

I did the Talawana a few years ago in its entirety and confirm the section between Windy Corner and near Well 24 does have scratchy stuff, that didn't bother me too much, but the Spinifex was a problem having to stop every 1/2 hour or so to clear it from underneath - take a sturdy drop sheet and make sure you have both Left & Right hand leather gloves. I ended up being sold 2 left hand gloves and got spinifex in my right finger which became infected, fortunately I carry antibiotics.

Did the Talawana from Georgia Bore to Newman last year, the section from Georgia Bore to Rudall River turnoff was quite rough but then after that was a reasonably smooth highway.

We went in to DQB and got a seriously sharp rock in the side of a tyre which destroyed the tyre, I now carry a spare tyre carcass. This led to a series of misfortunate events seeing me in Port Hedland with Toyota replacing wheel nuts, Beaurepaires changing tyres and Tyrepower supplying and fitting new tyres with the now spare carcass.



sounds like a top trip you have planned there

cheers

AnswerID: 625387

Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Monday, May 06, 2019 at 22:09

Monday, May 06, 2019 at 22:09
Thanks Cookie, good advice on the gloves, might have to chase spiders out of my old welding gloves. Somebody else suggested wire coathanger straightened out makes a good hook to pull spinifex out from around transfer case, diffs and springs. Touch wood, we've had a good run with tyres.Fitted BF Goodrich KO2s to car just before doing ABH last year and camper trailer, which was one month old and on its maiden trip, came standard with Coopers. I started off on the dirt at 25psi front and trailer and 27 rears but dropped them first thing each morning when they were cold pretty quick to 18psi front and trailer and 20psi on car rears which was comfortable and did no damage to tyres at the speeds we travelled - kept checking they were running cool. Interesting airing down, stiffer sidewalls of Coopers clearly evident when compared to BF Goodies which bagged up much more at same psi. Might have to pick my path carefully at DQB because baggy sidewalls might be susceptible to sharp rocks.
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Reply By: LAZYLUX16 - Thursday, May 09, 2019 at 00:33

Thursday, May 09, 2019 at 00:33
Mal and Naomi G love to do it myself. Not much info on Rudall N. P. Last frontier me thinks. Googled it found some good photos. What C. T you towing cheers enjoy..
AnswerID: 625440

Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 22:27

Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 22:27
G'day Lazylux, sorry about delay in answering but busy, busy. We tow a Southern Cross camper (basic box and draw bar welded up in China but SC CTs claim to their specs, has heavier gauge steel in draw bar than most). We've got the Sonova model (1250kg tare, 1900kg max GVM). Big attractions were all the bits are screwed together in WA where we are (we hear stories - and they may be just that - of people in WA buying eastern states brand trailers and having to freight them east for major warranty work), light weight, compact size (same overall width and wheel track as car so follows behind very nicely), but major bonus was open outwards door and fold-out caravan steps rather than the absolutely stupid fold down door with integral dangerous, unstable, tiny steps on the inside like most CTs have as standard. Had some warranty issues on maiden voyage on ABH - split water tank like everyone does, sagging springs, 2 dead Chinese shockers, kitchen shaken off runners on corrugations. All fixed under warranty without a problem, in fact it was Southern Cross that pointed out spring sag from a crook batch of coil steel. We replaced rubbish and difficult-to-use off-road ball hitch that came standard with easy-to-use AL-KO off-road pin coupling. Would recommend pin coupling to anyone. Have tow ball on a second hitch.
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Reply By: Candace S. - Friday, May 10, 2019 at 13:13

Friday, May 10, 2019 at 13:13
I'm looking at driving the Gary Junction Road out to Gary Junction. Then south on the Gary Highway to Everard Junction. Then southeast on the Gunbarrel Highway and Heather Highway to the GCR.

On any of those roads, will I run into the issue of vegetation (namely spinifex) build-up under the vehicle? I'm concerned about that because I will not have another vehicle along so a fire would be a very big problem! The other track issues listed in the various posts here should be manageable with care and reduced tyre pressures.
AnswerID: 625473

Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 22:40

Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 22:40
Hi Candice, we're taking two Bunnings wire pot plant hangers - decent thickness wire, choice of lengths, round hook one end, squared hook the other end. See earlier posts, you will need a good groundsheet and sturdy gloves also. Every time you stop check underneath first thing before you leave the car. We had no trouble on ABH last year. Wire hooks, groundsheet and gloves all precautions. We're travelling on our own too so we'll be on the lookout for smoke.
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