Info wanted please

Submitted: Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 13:49
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Good morning , Just after some info on the best way to get from Towong to Cooma towing a 22ft semi off-road van .?? Your ideas would be appreciated ..Cheers
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 14:31

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 14:31
How averse are you to winding roads and hills - mountains, actually?

There are three ways that I have driven, all of them towing a 2200kg Kimberley Karavan with either a 2007 Diesel Prado or a 2014 Diesel BT50. I had no issues at all.

1 Via Tooma and towards Tumbarumba. Turn off at the Elliot way and go to Kiandra, then the Snowy Mts Hwy to Cooma. The Elliot Way is winding and steep, but all sealed and all two-way, no probs. Ie no really narrow bits, just be careful on hairpins.

2 Head towards Khancoban. About 10km short of Khancoban, turn left to Cabramurra and Kiandra, then as above. The road to Cabramurra is winding but IMO not as bad as the Elliot Way.

3 From Khancoban keep going on the Alpine Way to Thredbo an Jindabyne then Cooma. BUT the Alpine Way is signposted at Tom Groggin (about half way to Thredbo) "Not suitable for caravans". Note that it's "not suitable", as distinct from "Caravan prohibited". As I said, I have towed my Kimberley Karavan (a hybrid, admittedly, so a bit smaller) on that road multiple times with no problem whatsoever.

If the none of the above are suitable, you'll have to do the kms toTumbarumba and Tumut, then the Snowy Mts Hwy.

What are you towing with and how heavy is the van? An asthmatic old diesel :-) towing a load will struggle on 1, 2 and 3.


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Follow Up By: Chopperdog (WA) - Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 18:02

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 18:02
Thanks Frank ,Im towing with a 2015 3L Diesel DMax , towing 3T. I think i might go up thru Tumut .Just wondering if you know what the Snowy Mountain hwy is like ,More specifically Talbingo hill .
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 19:51

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 19:51
I can't recall Talbingohill, but the Snowy Mts Hwy from Tumut is the easiest, if longest, option. I can't offer much more advice, on that route, other than it's a lovely drive.

If big hills are a problem, the only alternative I can think of is a huge diversion.
Tumut, Snowy Mt Hwy to the Hume Hwy then Yass, Canberra and the Monaro Hwy to Cooma. That route is pretty flat and you'll see a lot of the land :-)
Safe travels.

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Follow Up By: Erad - Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 21:38

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 21:38
All 3 of the above involve steep climbs and winding, narrow roads. Having said that, I tow my caravan over 1 and 2 with no dramas - it all depends on what the on-coming driver is doing. Stay on your own side of the road and you will have no problems.

Option 1 is probably the easiest route for the tug. There are some long, slow climbs before the Elliot Way turnoff, and subsequently as well, and some of these bits are narrow and winding. There is a steady downhill section down to O'Hares (the head of Talbingo Reservoir) and the winding alignment of the road will automatically limit your speed. Even so, use low gear on all steep sections and do not rely on your brakes alone. You will then start to climb up a long (about 10 km) hill - not too steep and eventually come to the Upper Tumut Switching Station. Cabramurra is off to the right it you want to go there, otherwise straight on through Kiandra to Cooma. No really steep hills from here on...

Option 2 (Khancoban to Cabramurra) is marginally shorter than Option 1 (Elliot Way), but involves some steep, very narrow, winding sections. This road is closed during the winter months and then the only real option is the Elliot Way. The road initially follows the 330 kV transmission lines, and is generally straight, except for some short steep winding sections where you climb up a ridge. Then more straight sections of road until you leave the transmission lines. All the way along the transmission lines, be careful for kangaroos, especially in early or late hours of the day. Veer Right, and about 200 m later, you come to a boom gate (this is closed in winter). From here on, you have a steep climb for about 5 km and after that the worst is over. There are other short pinches, but they are easy. Eventually, you will pass a turnoff the Right which leads to Happy Jacks. This road is gated and closed, but shortly after this , you will start a long descent into Tumut Pond Dam. This is hard on brakes, so engage low gear and just let the rig crawl down. Many years ago, a tourist bus missed a gear at the top and the driver nearly made it to the bottom, but eventually crashed over the side, stopping just short of the water. Several oldies from Adelaide were killed and quite a few others injured. Again, take your time and you will have no problems.

Tumut Pond Dam is interesting. There is a toilet just before the dam if you need it. The dam is a 85 m high, concrete arch structure. It is only about 4 m thick at the top and probably 15 m thick at the bottom. It is built as an arch, the water pressure trying to flatten the arch by pushing the structure harder into the abutments at each side. A few years back, an advertising agency made a commercial for some chocolate bar by doing a forward abseil over the edge to the bottom. I never saw that ad. It is a very L o n g way down to the bottom of the dam.

Cross Tumut Pond Dam and a gentle climb takes you to Cabramurra. You can get coffee in the general store there or if you want a meal, there is a cafe/worker's mess which serves some hearty meals, especially these days with Snowy 2.0 construction under way. From Cabramurra, you have one major climb (not difficult at all except if it is icy and it is effectively all downhill from there to Cooma.

Option 3 (The Alpine Way) is not recommended for caravans, although they are not specifically outlawed. This road has several really long, hard slogs on the way, and is not my choice. Spectacular scenery (if it is not cloudy), and indeed a spectacular road, but not with a caravan.

Fuel is available at Corryong, Adaminaby and Cooma, nowhere else on these routes.

Going via Tumut and up the Snowy Mountains Highway involves a lengthy detour, and the climb up Talbingo Mountain is very steep and slow. Your rig will do the job, but I think that the easiest route it Option 1 or 2. Any route over the mountains involves climbs, descents and winding roads, but keep to your own side of the road, take it easy and any of these roads can be handled safely. Your tug will handle the load OK (as long as the cooling system is in good condition).

I have prepared a set of route notes describing points of interest en route (18 pages long) and if you are interested, pm me and I'll email you a copy.
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Follow Up By: Chopperdog (WA) - Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 22:41

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 22:41
Thanks Erad ,I would def like to see the route notes you have .. Cant find how to PM you ??
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Follow Up By: Member - John - Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 at 09:01

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 at 09:01
Erad, same can't PM you.
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 at 10:00

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 at 10:00
PMs are available only between Members.

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Follow Up By: Erad - Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 at 18:47

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 at 18:47
try for contact.
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Reply By: GarryR - Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 14:39

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 14:39
you picked a shit run either way. Firstly you could go via Khancoban, Cabaramurra, Adaminaby then onto Cooma. - not my first choice with a van as very windy and hard on the brakes, narrow corners, steep inclines and decents, but great views. The other would be Khancoban, Thredbo, Jindabyne, Berridale then onto Cooma. Once again the climb up to Threadbo is slow with a couple of switchbacks, but if a logging truck can do it you can. Beaware of motorbikes all week round as they love this as a race track using both sides of the road. Not as hard on the brakes as it is all up hill to Threadbo then good open road to Cooma from there. Being a member of a bike group, we have travel both ways many times (our annual ride with up to 56 bikes). I have both ridden these routes, and towed a large breakdown trailer for the group over the last 5 years. Have personally done both routes 16 times.
location - Warragul -Victoria
life is too short, so out and about enjoy

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