Article Comment: Savannah Way

Hi all, I'm wondering when the latest possible time to start the savannah way from Normanton towards Daly Waters area would be. I've got a hilux that will go just about anywhere, mostly wondering depending on when the rain starts if its even possible to get across the rivers. Cheers.
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Reply By: Member - Core420 - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 13:00

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 13:00
If you mean after the wet season, then I'd say forget it. Particularly the dirt section and river crossings east of Borroloola. I did it last year in May, a few weeks after the last cyclone went through. The river crossings were ok, but the road from about 100km east of Borroloola was one deeply rutted mud pit.

I would start the trip going west until Burketown, then depending on the road condition (check in Burketown) either go to Borroloola or deviate to Gregory. Less river crossings on the latter.
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Follow Up By: fergus l - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 13:50

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 13:50
Thanks for getting back to me.
Id be looking to leave Cairns within the next2/4weeks. I'll keep my eye on the weather and if I need to find an alternate route I'll do that.
Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 18:08

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 18:08
Hi Ferg - great name - it's what we called our son :)
As you realise the rain can start at any time & is forecast to be early this year. However the section you want to do has a fair amount of sealed road - all sealed west of Borroloola to Daly Waters & a fair bit of sealed road on the Qld side of the border. Do a few things - take a sat phone/epirb, take plenty of water & food so you can sit things out if need be, rivers rise quickly, but they fall quickly too, check the weather forecast whenever you can, know your alternative routes southward to the Barkly Hwy 'just in case' & always carry sufficient fuel to get yourself back to where you last got fuel in case you can't get through. A UHF radio would be good to talk to folk coming the other way to let each other know what conditions to expect. Talk to locals before leaving town. We came through just on 12 months ago from Katherine, but it was pretty dry, & we commented how it would be so interesting to go through when there had been some rain. However there was a stretch we estimated to be around 70kms on the Cairns side of Borroloola with broken trees everywhere from the last cyclone which went through there. You wouldn't want to get caught up in something like that. Be sensible, take it steady & listen out & you'll have an adventure.

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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 18:12

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 18:12
Hopefully someone here may be able to advise what the roads themselves will be like if wet. Could get pretty slippery I'd imagine. I may be overthinking it, but I might want to carry some tyre chains as insurance just in case of getting caught out before roads are closed.
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Follow Up By: fergus l - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 20:37

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 20:37
Hi, thanks for your reply.
I think I'll just need to watch the weather over the next while and make possible alternate plans. I'm pretty well sorted equipment wise all except a sat phone.
I'm visiting some cattle properties in between Normanton and julia Creek before I head off for Darwin so I'll be sure to ask around and use any connections they might have.
I'll monitor the weather and call ahead to a certain few places.
Thanks again
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 22:55

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 22:55
Suggest you ring Hell’s Gate Roadhouse (074745 8258) Fergus, prior to leaving the stations you are visiting. They would have a fair idea how the road is to Borroloola.

Prior to the early 90’s, if one were visiting a station on your itinerary, it would be easy to call up other stations across the western Gulf on an HF transceiver, and obtain current road conditions. These days it’s all phones & road reports. Suppose that’s progress?

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 08:16

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 08:16
You’re right Bob, it’s really only the Hells Gate to Borroloola section which could be potentially problematic with big rains & river crossings (unless there were widespread flooding cutting off bitumen roads too). A bit over 300kms from Hell’s gate to Borroloola.
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Follow Up By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 09:49

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 09:49
Last year I was there straight after the big floods (dead cattle everywhere) at Normanton we were told it was passable all the way to Borroloola by locals (caravan park & service station etc. ) the cause way at Leichhardt falls was probably at 500mm deep in the shallow section & a lot deeper at the Normanton end & from Hells gate North they never seem to put the sign up "Rd Closed" even when its closed (at the Borroloola NT heading south big sign. closed) also check if there got fuel, (Dry or Wet times) Borroloola did not, several groups where stuck waiting for fuel & the crossings north of hells were all still very deep & cut out, even in a lifted Isuzu 4x4 cab over truck, one put water over the windscreen that meant it was over the height of the engine we were sitting on top off if we stopped & we just made it through that would have been over the roof of a lifted Hilux so all depends on the weather do we get an early wet or a late wet a light or heavy one. As we are in El Nino weather some say, this traditionally means a dryer wet for WA & the top end
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 16:41

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 16:41
Vince it is La Nina now, so this wet is expected to be ... WET

BOM outlook
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Follow Up By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 18:50

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 18:50
Zippo
Thanks mate I got it wrong,(bad weather tv) that’s good news as last year was the driest I have seen in decades in NT & the Kimberly’s & was a total contrast to what we went thru in Qld
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