Tobermorey Roadhouse -- Plenty Highway NT -- hope all is well?

Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 00:42
ThreadID: 139356 Views:1771 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
Having difficulty getting through to Tobermorey Roadhouse and hoping all is well there??

We are doing some forward planning of possible trip routes way forward in September 2020 -- from Brisbane to Perth via FNQ.

We would prefer Boulia to Alice Springs along the Plenty Highway with stopovers at Tobermorey and Gemtree, rather than Mount Isa to Tennant Creek to Alice Springs.

For the East-bound return journey, we hope to put the Landcruiser on the Indian-Pacific to Adelaide, so we want to avoid the trailer/camper option and "cabin" it all the way on the West-bound trip. This looks feasible on the Roadhouses on the Great Central Road in WA.

Just need to find out what "cabins" are feasible along the Plenty Highway in NT?

Any and all advice would be most welcome.

We will check road and weather conditions much closer to the time of travel.


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Reply By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 07:01

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 07:01
I looked into putting our landcruiser on the train a few years ago and they wouldn't let me as it was too high. Could be different now. It was a ute. Cheers Toni
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Reply By: Zippo - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 11:58

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 11:58
We did the reverse of your plan (Alice/Gemtree/Tobermorey/Boulia) and stayed there overnight 21-22 July. They were very much still getting their operations back up after the devastating floods from Cyclone Trevor in late March. They had lost all their booking records (paper and computer) as the office area had also been flooded.

Camping-wise they had a fair bit of shaded space for vans/tents and there was a new facilities block being commissioned. Of their (vintage) cabins, only one was back on line at that time. Fuel was available (diesel/ULP).

The management had taken the curious decision to NOT re-establish their website due to the hosting cost of ~$200p.a. (as reported by a staffer). Go figure. If they don't answer the phone then all I can suggest is keep trying - they were obviously keen to use the tourist income to help get the station back up (there was a HUGE PV panel array that had been largely destroyed in the flood, that was probably 100K worth ...).

On Gemtree, try and arrange to be there for one of their nights with the dinner offer, highly recommend it.

On the GCR, we regularly use Warakurna and Tjukayirla as overnights, and avoid Docker River and Warburton.

Re the Indian-Pacific, we have seen first-hand as 4x4 owners were required to remove EVERYTHING from their roof-racks before loading would be undertaken (Perth terminal), so do check their T&C's/limits at GSR's website.
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Follow Up By: Member - IndroCruiser - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 22:34

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 22:34
Thank you Zippo -- this information is very helpful.
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Reply By: zanderslot - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 16:38

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 16:38
We crossed the Plenty from Boulia to Alice Springs in august.
A lot of road works at the Georgina river crossing due to the flooding.
The worst bit of road was the last 120ks into Harts Range.
Bulldust corros progressively worse the closer we got to the bitumen.

Spent a night at Tobermorey.
The new amenities block was completed. All the doors are rhs covered with gal sheet.
We could hear the banging above the noise of the diesel generator.
The camp ground was covered in a film of fine silt. Like camping in a bulldust hole.
All up, rather disappointing.

I did read somewhere that the accommodation management had changed hands late september/october.
Keep trying.

Rod.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 21:07

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 21:07
.
IndroCruiser,

It may pay to read the Conditions of Carriage for the Indian Pacific. (Download at bottom of page)
I understand that they are strict about them.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - IndroCruiser Brisbane - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 23:59

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 23:59
Thank you all, especially for the reminders to check GSR Motorail conditions/dimensions.

I had forgotten that the height limit Perth>Adelaide is 179cm on Indian-Pacific – this is less than the 194cm limit Darwin>Adelaide on the Ghan which is the number I had in my head. Otherwise the dimensions are manageable. Our LC100 comes in at stock standard height of 192cm (or 4cm to 5cm less with Active Height Control set to “LO”) as we have stock standard size tyres, no fixed suspension lift and can avoid roof rack with only two persons on board. However, there is no way that I can get the LC100 height under the 179cm bar for Perth>Adelaide, so that is the end of that idea.

So back to the drawing board – and also back to Mrs IndroCruiser to check willingness to drive Perth to Adelaide!

We will continue to pursue cabin possibilities at Tobermorey on Plenty Highway and elsewhere and also plan to use Warakurna and Tjukayirla as overnighters, West-bound on Great Central Road.

Thank you again.
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 10:23

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 10:23
Hi Indro

Is there a specific reason for not wanting to drive from Perth to Adelaide?

There is plenty to see even if you travel the fastest direct route. Plus so much more if you detour through the SW of WA and the Eyre Peninsular.

Cheers John
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 10:47

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 10:47
.
Indro,
Where did you get those height dimensions from?
Here is a cut-and-paste from the Monorail page I referenced above. The document is not dated so maybe a phone call to ensure correct current info is advisable.
It says "1.94m Adelaide-Perth-Adelaide".

"8. General Motorail Information
8.1 Vehicle Sizes
The size of the vehicle dictates whether or not it can be transported by GSR. Please note the following height restrictions
Adelaide to Perth/Perth to Adelaide 1.94m (including roof racks etc)
Adelaide to Darwin/Darwin to Adelaide 2.00m (including roof racks etc)"
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 10:56

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 10:56
A ot depends on what sort of trip this is. Is it a "we need to be there for a wedding, class reunion, " or is it about touring this vast country to see what's there? Or something else? And is there a set time limit or not?

Driving the Perth-Adelaide sector can be boring. I have done it at least eight times (which I say is at least seven times too many) and that is the reason we have used the GCR four times and the I-P twice - to avoid doing it again. It is sometimes nick-named the Nullarboring but don't tell Mrs IC that - if she hasn't done it then the first time isn't too bad, it's mainly the repeats that earn it that name.

Time permitting, as John said from Perth you could go through the south-west before hitting Norseman. If time is tighter or driving has become more of a chore by then, the short way to Norseman is via the "Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail" aka the Hyden-Norseman road. Beats the heck out of GEH to Coolgardie etc. and saves a bit of distance, as well as bringing Wave Rock into the itinerary.

Overall the Outback Way cabins vary. Warakurna have very modern/spacious brick motel-style accommodation.Gemtree and Tjukayirla are fairly cramped but sufficient donger-ish units, Tobermorey was vintage and somewhat lacking. If you are planning on using Curtin Springs ($$) rather than Yulara ($$$) then choose carefully, they range from uber-cramped shared-facilities dongers to a bit more spacious self-contained rooms. We've used both, would always pay the extra.

Also be aware of the need for permits for the GCR transit.
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Reply By: Mikee5 - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 08:24

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 08:24
You arent towing and driving a Landcruiser, that leg is 800kms, some bitumen some good fast gravel, average 80 kph at worst. Ten hours or less driving. No need to allocate 3 days unless you are sightseeing.
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Follow Up By: Member - IndroCruiser Brisbane - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 16:14

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 16:14
Thanks Mikee5. Also received today confirmation from Tobermorey Station & Roadhouse via Facebook Messenger that cabins with ensuites are available, best to contact/book by phone on 07 4748 3280. Apparently, the hard yards of flood recovery work and renovations are ongoing. See more at link: Tobermorey Station & Roadhouse. Anyway, it looks like there are plenty of options for travellers on the Plenty Highway.
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Reply By: Member - IndroCruiser Brisbane - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 18:05

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 18:05
To zanderslot and Mikee5 aand J&A&KK and Zippo:
Thanks for more good information on Tobermorey, Plenty Highway and further West. Agree completely on the wide variety of route choices and sights to see in and around WA. Part of our agenda this time is another round of grandparental duties in Perth covering the Sep-Oct 2020 School Holidays. Usually we fly from Brisbane for this purpose but this time I have convinced Mrs Indrocruiser to travel on the ground – although that required multiple agreements about some "wildflower tours" and “not too long in the car”! There are always many other “old traps” I try to include in any WA visit -- I was born in Derby in the Kimberley, my father trained at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines (as it then was) and my grandfather worked as a prospector and goldminer around Kalgoorlie and in the Murchison, probably called the Goldfields and the Mid West nowadays. Various other relatives are spread around the Wheat Belt and around Esperance. Our difficulty usually is containing our itinerary and deciding what NOT to do on any one visit.

To Allan B:
At the link you provided previously Indian Pacific Motorail, the button ”Download the Motorail Conditions of Carriage” leads exactly to the height limits you have quoted.

The other button at the same link “Download the 2019/20 Guide” leads to diagrams with different and contradictory information.

I contacted the Indian-Pacific people to clarify the inconsistency in these vehicle specifications. The advice was that the previous limits Adelaide>Perth or vv had been revised downwards, and that the new height limit for this route is now 179cms, but that not all documents had yet been brought up to date. I was unable to find out what had led to this very disappointing restriction.

We have adapted to the idea of driving East-bound from Perth instead of lazing away on the train. I last did this drive, there and back, from Melbourne as a great adventure as student in 1972. The affordable vehicle of choice then was a VW Beetle which handled the then mostly unsealed roads and bulldust holes pretty well – but not very quickly! I have assured Mrs Indrocruiser that it will not be necessary to sleep in the open by the road this time ….
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Follow Up By: Member - rocco2010 - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 20:06

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 at 20:06
Some say the Nullarbor is boring. I guess boring is a personal judgment.

I have driven it four times, including an over and back solo, and done the train as well. I find the train a bit frustrating. I have seen things I would like to stop and look at.

I have half a plan for an other solo trip next year though a return on the Great Central Road appeals.

I have a former colleague who, with his parents and sister, travelled from Perth to Brisbane and back around 1959 in a 48-215 (aka FX) Holden towing a Cargill Caravanette, a WA-made trailer that was a forerunner of modern camper trailers.

As a kid at the time his memory of the journey is not the great which is a pity. It would have been some adventure.

Hope it's a good trip for you. Half the fun is the planning.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: Member - IndroCruiser Brisbane - Sunday, Dec 08, 2019 at 15:48

Sunday, Dec 08, 2019 at 15:48
Now I see that Indian-Pacific Motorail services Adelaide>Perth and vv will cease on 1st April 2020.
See link -- Cessation Adelaide-Perth Motor Rail - 01APR20 -- so after that it is either self-drive it, or truck it ....
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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Nov 30, 2019 at 00:15

Saturday, Nov 30, 2019 at 00:15
Indrocruiser - If you don't want to do the boring Nullarbor drive (and the bulk of it, IS boring), professional car carriers and hauliers will transport your car for a very reasonable cost, and you then just jump on the big bird, and pick up your car in the transport depot.

Many years ago when we wanted to do Perth-Cairns and return with the 80 series, in a month - and keep the driving to a modest amount - we loaded the 'Cruiser on a car carrier in Perth, and sent it to Adelaide (cheap rates, because more freight goes West than East).

We caught the big bird, landed in Adelaide, picked up the 'Cruiser, drove through S.A., Northern Vic, inland NSW, and up to Brisbane, then on to Cairns.

On the return, we loaded the 'Cruiser onto a car carrier, and got a great discount "backload" deal, to take it back to Adelaide.
We caught the big bird back to Adelaide from Cairns, picked up the 'Cruiser from the transport depot in Adelaide, and drove across the Nullarbor back to Perth. The reason for that was the high cost of the car carrier from Adelaide to Perth.

So we ended up doing around 9000kms in the month, with a bit of zig-zagging and touring around in Cairns, and that was less than 2/3rds the distance we would have done, if we'd driven all the way there and back. If we'd driven all the way, we would've probably racked up about 14,000-15,000kms.

Overall, the cost including airfares and car carriers was no more than the cost of driving. We weren't towing anything, we stayed in motels and caravan park cabins (my missus hates camping).

Good sites to get transport quotes are Load shift, Freightseek, Truckit, and Uship.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - IndroCruiser Brisbane - Saturday, Nov 30, 2019 at 12:16

Saturday, Nov 30, 2019 at 12:16
Thank you Ron -- very good leads -- will follow up.

John P.
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Reply By: #Nico - Monday, Dec 02, 2019 at 03:04

Monday, Dec 02, 2019 at 03:04
Went West to East in August on m/bike camping so cant really comment on cabins just locations. However wanted to support 100% with what was said earlier in regards to Tjukayirla, Warakurna, Curtin Springs, Gemtree and Tobermorey being excellent targets. Not at all impressed with Docker River or Warburton.

As for people saying the Nullabor is boring is disappointing to say the least. So much history not far off the road and if you want to wander a little further off the bitumen 'fast track' then there are weeks of sites to see.
Also with the time of the year you have indicated then a stop at the Head Of the Bight whale watching is very highly recommended. The Yalata people have a brilliant set up there, I only planned to stop for an hour, 5 hours later I had to force myself o leave.

So sad most people look at the Nulla as simply to get from East to West.
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