Crossing the Plenty/Donohue Highways in mid April 2020

Submitted: Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 14:46
ThreadID: 139238 Views:856 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
I am planning on doing the above trip next March/April, (Ford Ranger and Outback caravan) and I have some people who wanted to do this trip with me as a tag -a-long in 2wd motor-homes. What I need to know now, is the track okay for these vehicles? I accept that it depends on seasonal weather, and if it is ever going to rain, sure as hell, I will attract it. But putting a possible rain affected track aside, can it be negotiated in 2wd vehicles? That is the principal question. Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 14:58

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 14:58
Sure can. I have been across there twice and all though I was in a 4WD I never needed or used 4WD. Have seen plenty of 2WD on the road.

I think we tend to use 4WD as tow vehiclesfor weights etc but the actual drive on the road does not need it. I think having solid tyres is more important than 4WD.
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Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 15:49

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 15:49
Crossed it 20 odd years ago in a 2wd sedan and last year when we towed our camper trailer across there with our 4wd, the only thing that would cause them any issues in dry conditions is the sections of corrugations and the odd bulldust hole. The corrugations were sporadic as to being there or not, and went from mild to abit average, though some people we asked about the roads condition prior to crossing seemed to think it was horrendous....personally I thought it much better then I expected to be, but that really depends on your experience of outback roads I guess, some people expect smooth graded gravel highways everywhere. We passed a couple of Toyota Liteace type vans along the route that were kicking along ok, though going much slower then us in our 4wd with trailer in tow.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 19:31

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 19:31
Drove the Plenty a few years ago and swore I'd never do it again .......... terrible corrugations.
No need for 4WD at all, maybe just patience and good tyres.

Cheers
Jim
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 21:45

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 21:45
Don’t plan on doing the Canning, Jim, if you think the Plenty’s corrugations are bad. “They” are gradually increasing the bitumen from both ends, which is most welcome.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Gramps - Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 22:17

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 22:17
Did the Plenty in June after the CSR. Definitely a cakewalk corrugation wise and far improved from the previous trip in '05.

Saw several 2wd vehicles (none towing though). The Plenty should'nt be a problem with decent tyres/pressures and patience.

Regards
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 09:35

Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 09:35
Ah yes, my good wife tells me that our Plenty Hwy experience was more than "a few years ago" !! More like 15 years apparently !!!
It was definitely a shocker at that time.

Cheers
Jim
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Reply By: Mikee5 - Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 21:23

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 21:23
The only 2WD motor home I have seen on the Plenty was doing about 15-20 kph with its left side wheels partially off the side to try and minimise the impact of the corrugations.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 21:16

Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 21:16
We did the Plenty and Donohue Highways in 2016 and again in 2017. Queensland side is quite reasonable and there is a considerable amount of bitumen. The NT side was very rough in 2017. We judged that it probably not been graded since 2016. As mentioned in previoue comments it was very corrugated and a number of bulldust stretches. That being said they had bitumened an extra 20km or so since we travelled in 2016. The sealing of the road I would imagine has continued since then. Nevertheless there is still a few hundred of kilometres of dirt. We met a couple in a hired 4WD campervan. They were disgusted by the amount of dust that had entered the living area of the campervan.
The highlight of the trip is Gem Tree Station caravan park. Here they serve an excellent camp cooked meal on a couple of nights of the week. Good value and a great way to meet other travellers. Of course they also provide fossicking tours.
Robert
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019 at 18:10

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019 at 18:10
The two major problems are tires and corrugations ....large sections have knife edged rock as part of the road surface [especially before / during and after roadworks due to the 'local' quarrying of the road base and then the inevitable corrugations , you can however lessen the impact of corrugations with tire pressure AND driving on the WRONG side of the road ......yes I know ,some 'experts' will now berate me , but facts are facts , it lessens 'climb' for the tires over the corrugations and you 'skim' from one crest to the next .....
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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019 at 21:41

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019 at 21:41
Interesting comment about driving on the wrong side of the road. I do agree! It is just amazing how frequently I do this as well. It certainly gives a better ride over the corrugations. Of course tyre pressures are also critical and sensible speeds are essential.
Robert
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Reply By: Zippo - Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019 at 01:11

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019 at 01:11
Did it W->E in late July without drama. The knife-edged rocky surfaces were more a concern that corros. One patch was sandy and saw cyclists having to push in an area just west of Tobermorey.

Speaking of Tobermorey, after the flooding from Trevor they were getting back on their feet BUT the owners didn't want to shell out $200pa for their website hosting so it was down and looking likely to stay that way.

The evening meal deal (booking recommended) at Gemtree is very worthwhile if you happen along on the right nights.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019 at 15:52

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019 at 15:52
May 2008, towing a boat.



Cheers,
Peter
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