GRR , Vehicle, Prep

Hi Guys we are going to be doing the GRR in Late May 21 , for the first time in our Prado 2015 and Eagle Camper Trailer, I know it's Chinese Made but it's taken us into Lorrella Springs,Adels Grove, Birdsville Track,Cordillo Downs Track and many more Outback Tracks and has been well looked after Maintenance wise ,it will be fully Serviced with New Bearings before we leave,so I'm just asking what Preparations do you do before heading of on such a Trip,we are coming in from Adelaide turning of the Stuart Highway onto the Buchanan Hwy staying in the Lake Argyle C/P for a full day then moving in to Kununurra for 4 Days before hitting the Gibb ,any information on the Top Places to stay on the Gibb would be great,we have 12 Days to do the Gibb,we don't want to be on the move every day a Rest day or Two would be fine between the Favourite spots.Cheers GD
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Reply By: wooly0005 - Sunday, Nov 15, 2020 at 21:18

Sunday, Nov 15, 2020 at 21:18
Your trailer should be fine as long as you drive to conditions and drop speed and tyre pressures accordingly.

Conditions vary a lot but when we were there a few years ago it was a good gravel road and we kept speed to around 60ks mostly at 28 psi and had no issues.

Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek were a couple of highlights for us but there are lots of them so take as much time as you can and enjoy the scenery.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Sunday, Nov 15, 2020 at 22:14

Sunday, Nov 15, 2020 at 22:14
When we visited back in 2012, indeed some time ago, we noted a Falcon car pulling a caravan at Home Valley Station. We encountered a Commodore half way along the Tanami on the same trip. My 1959 FC Holden, which I still have, toured outback NSW and SA back in the '70's without any trouble. As others have said drive to the conditions and make sure you lower your tyre pressures.
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Reply By: Member - John - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 06:02

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 06:02
Greendog, may I suggest signing up for this newsletter, very informative. Suggest you need more time, but if 12 days is all you have, so be it. Enjoy your journey. Newsletter
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Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 10:39

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 10:39
When I did it in 2016 road is graded regularily but does get a lot of traffic. Now you might find very minimal traffic for 9 months so should be good.
From Kununurra - El Questro used to be great. Went there 20 years ago and it was spectacular. Now too full. The sign at the hot springs says - "If the carpark is full, so are the springs". And yes cars pushed into every corner and the springs where so full of people in and out they were not hot - just greasy. The El Questro camp ground was full with dust everywhere and kids running everywhere. Nice new amenities but just full.
Being so close to Kununurra it is just too popular. Still a great place if you can do the crowds.
Other camp grounds along the way - if it was close to the GRR then it was packed.
The best (and quietest) was the Charnley River Station Stay about 60km off the GRR and easy drive if it is not wet. Also Mt Elizabeth Station - and go out to the remote gorge for a day trip - pretty tough drive.
And of course Windjana Gorge and Tunnel creek are a must even if it is crowded.

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Reply By: nick g1 - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 12:07

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 12:07
Your rig will be fine. Just did it this yr with our 13ft caravan. Tyre pressure at 35psi all the way. Can l suggest not going to Lake Argyle C P , not much to see there. 4 days in kunanurra is not necessary either, l would spend more time on the Gibb. Great free camp just out of kunanurra is Buttons Crossing or cheapest in town is the Showground. Best unknown free camp and gorge is Barnett river gorge (Different from Mt Barnett Roadhouse/ Manning Gorge) . All the stations will cost you a lot, it's just a matter of choosing which ones to go to. We went to Mt Elizabeth (because it was one of the only ones open) $40per night for first 2 night then $25 per night PLUS $15 gorges pass. Brand new great shower block. Longest trip out to bigest gorge is a full on 4wdrive trip if you go all the way. Low range 1st gear for the last 3ks but we rated it the second best gorge we saw. Beautiful two tier waterfall. Aboriginal art sites there made it extra special. Bells gorge No.1 and a do not miss. Make sure when there you swim all the way down stream and sit on the top of the massive waterfall at the end. Silent grove camp has heaps of mossies better at the free camp a bit further on. Tunnel Creek is a must, check out the Aboriginal Art on both sides at the end. You will be gorged out by the time you get to Winjarna gorge. The ranges there are vicious, want you to comply to the letter of the rules. Better to camp at Lenard river free camp.
It will be busy as easterners are now allowed back into W A but its a great trip. Enjoy!
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 12:28

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 12:28
It is your choice where you go. I would suggest your original plan is spot on, even to staying longer at Lake Argyle. The cruises there, and from Kununurra are a must do.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 17:24

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 17:24
Plenty to see around Kununurra, The Hootchery, Argyle Diamond Mine if it is still open, lake argyle cruise. Go out to Whyndam, there are a couple of deep gorges to see on the way, you can even swim in them.

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Reply By: Member - Jim S1 - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 17:45

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 17:45
Haven't been back since 2002. I would run with soft tyres on the gravel .... for comfort and saving punctures. Trip out to Wyndham is interesting, especially taking the back road down to the Pentecost River crossing, with the wonderful Cockburn Range alongside.
Only camped in National Parks but that might not be the best now.
Take your time, it's special country.

Cheers
Jim
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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 18:47

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 18:47
La Nina could make it a big Wet this summer so the falls will be good and lots of fords with water along the GRR. Take 20 mins to look at pix of places along the GRR. This will give you road corrugations, water in fords etc. March Fly Glen Rest Area is place 99133 and a good spot to start. The map in the GRR Trek has most points of interest and will probably be easier to use as you can see all the places at once.

You must do Mornington and can you afford the time to go up the horrible road beyond Drysdale Station to Mitchell Falls. What you don't see in 2021 leave till 2023 after you see the total solar eclipse at Exmouth. Hey, whats an extra 1500 km in Oz LOL ...W
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Reply By: My Aussie Travel Guide - Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 21:48

Monday, Nov 16, 2020 at 21:48
We’re regular Kimberley visitors for nearly 30 years now and still find new things to do each visit. The Buchanan is a good run and fine with your setup, it’s just a bit bumpy in parts. That route isn’t as quick as going the bitumen but definitely our preference. As far as preparation goes, are you referring to vehicle and trailer or things to take? Given your previous travels to the north of Oz, I don’t feel you’re looking at any other special vehicle preparation requirements than what you have been doing already.

Lake Argyle is a winner, the sunset cruise is A1, but we also enjoy the lunch cruise. Zebra Rock is also very good as is their cruise. So you’ve got choices there.Kununurra is a good place to use as a base...for a few ideas, the Hoochery, Sandalwood factory, Kelly’s Knob at sunset, Mirima National Park, day trip to Wyndham, Grotto, Ivanhoe Crossing, even the old road in between Ivanhoe and Parry’s Lagoon is a good run. The lagoon is excellent at sunrise/sunset for bird viewing too.

If you’re looking for some secret local places to visit around Kununurra , Ben from Kimberley 4x4 tours can arrange a 1 day tag along. Well worth it!

On the Gibb, we’re a bit partial to everything! There’s nearly 20 gorges to keep you busy so plenty to do. All the stations are good, just different in their offerings and varying kilometres off the Gibb. So it depends on what you’re looking for. Distances vary anywhere from a couple of kms off the Gibb to 100 kilometres. There are some other places to camp besides visiting the stations but remember it’s all private land. Home Valley is currently looking for a new management company so not sure what’s happening there. You need to stay at El Questro for a few days to make it cost effective. Mt Hart is an emerging gem, while the others are all excellent as well. So I could be biased! Allow time for Tunnel Creek, Windjana and Bell Gorge - it might work out best to get a National Parks pass if you plan to visit a few of them. Not sure if you’re consideringKalumburu or Mitchell Falls - you’ll need a few days to get the most of these without bouncing from one to the other.

Lastly, there’s a few things on that way late May - the Ord Valley Muster, the Gibb bike challenge, and I think the postie bike run. So you may need to book where you can if you’re fixed on your dates.

You never know, we may see you there!
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Reply By: Member - Steve R (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020 at 14:53

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020 at 14:53
We did the Gibb last year and saw lots of people with tyre issues. Suggest you have relatively new All Terrain tyres, lower tyre pressure and drive at a sensible pace and you’ll have a good chance of having no tyre problems. Enjoy your trip.
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Reply By: Alan H11 - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 04:09

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 04:09
Lots of good advice from others who are more experienced than us, however we enjoyed everywhere we stopped. Have a look at https://discoverthedreaming.blogspot.com/2019/07/gibb-river-road-trip-through-kimberley.html and the subsequent post for ideas. We chose to go to Mitchell Falls from Broome by air, giving us the chance to see the "Horizontal Falls" as well, and saving time (and wear and tear) for later in our trip. If I had to pick one place which we enjoyed most it would be Ellenbrae Station.

I know there are different opinions on tyre pressure - ours is not to reduce pressure for corrugations - we maintained 1.8 bar and adjusted speed to suit. AT tyres are mandatory.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 07:11

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 07:11
Alan
1.8bar = 26psi which I thought was the extreme bottom end of tyre pressures for LT tyres that you would want to run on a "road" when potentially travelling at up to 80km/hr, let alone higher
Normal tyre pressure for LT tyres would be 30% higher than this on a bitumen road.

Mark
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Follow Up By: Alan H11 - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 07:26

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 07:26
Thanks for the follow up - a combination of a "Gimli fumble" on my part ( I should have stuck to the units with which I'm familiar) and a failure to be clear on the tyres.

The clarification - we use AT tyres not LT (at this point we had a combination of Toyo and Yokohama).

The error - we ran them at 2.0 bar (we normally run them at 30 psig cold which ends up around 33 psig hot, depending on altitude), which works out at 2.0 bar. Apologies for my mistake.

We usually reduce to 22 psig for sand, and have gone as low as 18 psig in deep soft sand.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 10:13

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 10:13
Ah, yes, Alan, the "Gimli Glider".

For others who may not get your reference ..

A Boeing 767 was refuelled in Toronto, Canada, IIRC, for a flight across the country to a western destination. Due to the physics of combustion, aircraft fuel use is universally calculated and measured by weight, but delivered to the tanks by the refuellers and charged by volume. So... the American built aircraft's fuel needs are documented and gauged by the manufacturer (Boeing) in pounds and gallons. The Canadian aircrew who lived in a bi-lingual world of English and French that used kilos and litres had to calculate the amount required in pounds, convert that to gallons, then ask for that amount to be delivered by the French-speaking ground crew in litres.

Unsurprisingly, the wrong amount of fuel was delivered during refuelling. About halfway into the flight the aircraft ran out of fuel and to cut a long story short, landed in eerie silence on a small airport at a place called Gimli somewhere east of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Gimli airport was a disused Canadian Airforce base given over to motor sports. The arrival of the unpowered B767 caused it to become known in aviation circles as "The Gimli Glider".

AT/LT, PSI, Bar, PSIg - the mix up of units here is unlikely to have the same repercussions as it did the Gimli Glider but, Alan, your reference was certainly apt!

EDIT: My summary of the Gimli incident was from memory and is a little faulty - there was far more to it than a mix up of units. An accurate account can be found at this Wikipedia entry. It makes fascinating reading.

Cheers
FrankP

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Reply By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 09:30

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 09:30
GreenDog
Did GRR may (2019) & it was the Driest I have ever seen it in decades but as usual on the Gibb the main problems are caused by speed, traveller's get complacent & a really good section comes along & they put the pedal down & the next thing there on top of a crap section & there braking hard & crunch, bang, clunk, & bounce thru the crap bit & are often broken down just passed the crap with blown tires, bent or broken rims, bent draw Bars, roof racks on Bonnets, fridge now sitting in or on top of the Kids you get the picture. So the old simple rule drive to the conditions & your & your vehicle & trailer’s capability most of it is just a big wide gravel rd. It can be great & can be crap a week later (it’s the Gibb) The Gibb/Kalumburu Rd it’s pretty simular until north of the Mitchell fall’s turn off then its good, bad, wide, two tire tracks, good, bad & normally the corrugations from Kalumburu north to Pago Mission have to be experienced at least once
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Reply By: GREENDOG - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 13:52

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 13:52
Thank you to Everyone who replied ,I'm sure we will have a great time.cheerd GD
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