Jindabyne to Corryong

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 08, 2021 at 23:15
ThreadID: 141940 Views:760 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
Has anyone towed an 18ft 6in caravan from Jindabyne to Corryong and or is it possible.
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Reply By: GarryR - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 07:37

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 07:37
Hi Gary 15, yes it is possible with some care. I have not towed a caravan on this road but a large tandem trailer on many occassions. The road from Jindabyne to Thredbo resort is easy but, once you past Threadbo the road starts to get very windy. Once you get to Gheei, the road opens up for a good run. There are a couple of switch backs in this road, and as you will need both sides of the road make sure there is nothing coming in the opposite direction. use channel 40 for the trucks, it pays just to sent out a call near switchbacks just in case of over vechiles. This road is loved by the boy racers on their motorbikes, and are frequently on the wrong side of the road. Also be wary of logging trucks as they also frequent this route. There are emergency run offs at some of the bad sections should there be any trouble. This road is real hard on brakes so use a low gear. There are a few pullovers where you can stop and let built up traffic pass you.
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Reply By: 3ways - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 09:13

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 09:13
Gary we haved towed a 21ft van on this road with no problem during warm months. Same advise about tight switchback and other road users.
I doubt you would be allowed during winter snow months as you need snow chains. If you are planning during winter call National Parks before and ask if you can tow your van
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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 10:08

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 10:08
Towing with a 4WD chains are not mandatory. The Alpine Way will be snow ploughed and is a fabulous run with snowy scenery. IIRC the warning sign still says road ahead unsuitable for vans. Black ice could be present.See pics in this link. No.7 has the sign.
https://www.exploroz.com/places/52315/nsw+dead-horse-gap?s=dead%20horse%20gap
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 10:10

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 10:10
That part of the Alpine Way has gates at the top and bottom. I don't know if it's closed seasonally for the whole winter or only when conditions require - check at NPWS in Jindabyne, they'll know.

As GarryR said, use your gears and engine braking to preserve your brakes for when you really need them. I often tow our Kimberley Karavan behind our BT50 and find on the steepest parts frequent use of second and first gear is needed with just a touch on the brakes as needed to keep RPM under control. Sorry if I am preaching to the converted, but many recreational drivers are simply unaware of this.

I once met a family at Leatherbarrel Creek campground who had come down from Thredbo in a Pajero towing a large family camper. They stopped on the flat outside the campground entrance with six smoking wheels, mum and dad ashen faced because they had almost lost control before stopping. Neither knew anything about using gears downhill and had driven that top third of the descent just on the brakes, which had faded to nothing.

Outside snow season it is not a dangerous road, you just have to know what you're doing if you're towing.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 11:05

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 11:05
Frank
Exactly what we were talking about previously. Driving instructors who don't know and do not instruct. If someone goes and tows and crashes, it can't be the training at fault because it is far removed from the initial learning. Happens somewhere else. If people who achieved a driving licence had to learn to do crash stops to register braking distance, and then same with car fully loaded 5 people and luggage and then see stopping distance increase, they may begin to realize the limitations of brake systems and stopping a mass. Never done of course. Signed, O. Blivious.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 12:06

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 12:06
Since the Jan 2020 fires the Elliot Way from Tumba to Cabra then Kiandra is closed. The Snowy Mtns Hwy is too far north although always ploughed to keep it open. Same with Alpine Way - it will be ploughed but as above pix show it can be snowy.
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Follow Up By: gary l5 - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 19:28

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 19:28
Hi Frank, appreciate your advise. We are looking to do this trip September this year. We pick up our new caravan this weekend, so I have never towed a caravan. We do have a small camper trailer which we have done a lot of trips.
What do you mean by use your gears? I have a 2010 Holden Colorado. Should I use low 4x4?
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 21:53

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 21:53
Gary,

I presume you 2010 Colorado is part time 4WD and therefore has no centre differential. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Assuming I am correct DO NOT use low range or high range 4WD in this situation. Without a centre diff you will get transmission wind-up due to all the corners and may well break something in the transmission or drive train.

Stay in 2WD. When you see a steep bit coming up, change down to a gear to one that will maintain your speed with minimum braking. Try 3rd. If the vehicle accelerates, slow it down with the brakes and change to 2nd. If necessary do it again into 1st. On really steep parts, even in 1st gear the weight of the vehicle and van will push the RPM up. Use occasional braking to keep the revs under control, say 500rpm below the red line. It will be noisy, but that's what you have to do. You'll soon learn to assess the gradient and choose the right gear without much effort.

If it's an auto, do the same - pull it into lower gears manually.

There is a rule of thumb that says you should use the same gear going down the hill as you would going up and that's a reasonable approach, but having read your replies below I think you may not yet have the experience to assess that and this road is probably not the best to learn on - certainly not at this time of year.

I think your advice to yourself further down this thread is probably wise. Find some less serious terrain to get the hang of the technique. If you can do it with a more experienced teacher in the left seat so much the better.

It's simple. Once you get the hang of it you'll wonder why you weren't taught it earlier.

Also, September nights will be cold in the alpine areas, with the risk of black ice in moist shaded areas, particularly in the morning. Be wary of the risk.

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Reply By: Erad - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 10:30

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 10:30
The road is called the Alpine Way. It is sealed all the way. There are some very steep climbs/descents on this road, and the pavement is not particularly wide either, so you have to travel slowly and know how wide your caravan is and where it sits on the road. Trucks use this road so it is trafficable.

To say it is safe to tow your van on this road requires a lot more information. The van will probably weigh around 1600 kg + and if you are towing it with say a Falcon, yes it would do the job but it would be working very hard. If you are using a medium 4WD, it will still work hard, but will be more suited to the task. Your own experience is even more critical. The downhill section from Leather Barrel Creek to Tom Groggin is about 20 km and it is steep. relying on your brakes alone will result in brake fade f or sure. Use your gears - 1st gear. The next section is a mild climb, but you then have a steep section down to the Geehi Airstrip. Again, use your gears. You then have a moderate climb for about 15 km, before yet another descent (about 10 km, and steep). From there on, it is an easy drive, although there is one 25 km/h hairpin which may catch you out as you cross a ridge a few km past the Murray River.

It should take you about 3 hours driving time to do this trip. The Kosciuszko National Park charges admission fees (currently about $38 I believe), but is you say that you are going through to Victoria, they will give you a pass which does not allow you to stop on Thredbo or en route. At this time of the year (or even in summer at times), you can expect ice or snow on the road. If you have a 2WD it is compulsory to have snow chains which fit the vehicle. You can hire them in Jindabyne and drop them off in Khancoban. 4WDs are exempt from this requirement, although a 4WD going downhill on an icy road with its wheels locked up is as bad or worse than a 2WD in the same conditions. As for towing a caravan on icy roads, I would rather not...

Although officially you are not allowed to deviate from the route, a drive down river at Geehi (beside the airstrip) is worthwhile - the area is beautiful. Turn left just after crossing the bridge over the Swampy Plains River.

As far as I know, it is not recommended for caravans, but I do know that people tow their vans on it. The scenery on this route is superb, but the road is not really suited to towing caravans on it. I would tow my van on it, but I have lived in the area for 55 + years, and know the area very well.

The other option available is to go via Tumut, but you are exposed to icy conditions and one very steep descent near Talbingo. At this time, the Elliot Way is closed so this route is not available to use.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 11:17

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 11:17
Erad
By far the best reply to an alpine towing situation I have read. as you mentioned, it isn't the rig so much but awareness and experience which matters.
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Follow Up By: gary l5 - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 19:43

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 19:43
Hi Erad, really appreciate your advise. We were thinking of doing this trip September this year, with our very first caravan that we are picking up this weekend.
I have a 2010 Holden TD Colorado. The caravan is 2300kg tare.
From what you are saying I think I will wait until I get some experience.
Thanks Gary
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jun 10, 2021 at 12:43

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021 at 12:43
Garry, when you are thinking of van weights forget the tare weight, that is not what you are towing. The towed weight could be 400 kg or more than the tare weight for a van where you have a van that only allows 400 kg loading. Vans that get used for more than 2 to 4 weeks annual leave end up being heavily loaded. Many of us are towing 1/2 a tonne more than the tare weight when we fill our water tanks, If you have a van with only a 400 kg load allowance you will have difficulty keeping under that if you do long trips.

When talking about van weights you should be talking of the ATM (aggregate towing mass.) That is the maximum weight you can tow and you should think in that term as that is what will be pushing you down the hills.



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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jun 10, 2021 at 14:36

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021 at 14:36
To add to the excellent description of the Alpine Way, many posters tell you that the descent from Dead Horse Gap is the steepest and narrowest part of the road. It is not.

"You then have a moderate climb for about 15 km, before yet another descent (about 10 km, and steep). "

That is actually the steepest and narrowest part of the road. Got to this map You will see where the steepest pinch is. It is marked there just below Khancoban. (If it is not there, go near the top of the page and click on the link "Click here to highlight the steepest part of the Alpine Way." You can also click on the link below that to zoom to the spot.) The narrowest sections of the road are south of that point.


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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Jun 12, 2021 at 08:33

Saturday, Jun 12, 2021 at 08:33
Without meaning to be pedantic, the acronym “ATM” stands for Aggregate Trailer Mass, not aggregate “towing” mass. It is the maximum weight the trailer can weigh when sitting on its wheels not connected to a towing vehicle. I know that that is what Peter D means and understands, but some people who are new to caravanning still do not understand the various acronyms and what they actually mean. Not looking for an argument, just a clarification of the acronym.

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Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 22:15

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021 at 22:15
Gary
Is your 2010 Colorado a manual or auto? Manual will be hard on the clutch. If Auto and towing up significant hills or just towing through some hilly country, if the Radiator viscous fan isn't performing correctly the engine coolant will possibly overheat requiring slower travel in lower gear to keep the cooling airflows and water flows under control. Often the prior fitting of a transmission cooler is a distinct advantage.
If attempting mountainous territory, it is slow hard pulls with low radiator airflow and near maximum heat being generated in the torque converter to heat the engine coolant as well as the engine heat.
Not knowing your tech ability, it may be worthwhile to invest in a Scan Gauge of some type to be able to erase any engine codes and limp modes which could happen. Being in limp mode in mountains isn't what I would enjoy.
With either Manual or Auto, unfortunately, you can't use LOW range especially in tight turns or hard ground and the fitting of Free Wheel front hubs WILL ALLOW low to be used in hilly country as it then isn't locked to the front axle. FW Hubs are also great for any manoeuvering in LOW where backing and turning is often needed.
Don't be alarmed but towing big things in hilly stuff changes the rules and needs.
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Follow Up By: Erad - Thursday, Jun 10, 2021 at 11:59

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021 at 11:59
The main difference with The Alpine Way (and a few other roads around here) is that the steep hills are longer than normal hilly country. If your cooling system is marginal, you can get away in most cases because mostly the steeper hills are relatively short and by the time the engine starts to heat up or evens tarts to overheat, the hill is over, and it all cools down again. In the Snowy Mtns, the hills are a lot longer (Yeh - I know, quoting Banjo Patterson, The hill are twice as steep and twice as rough). One saving grace is that normally the temperatures in this area are cooler, but you cannot rely on this all the time.

Gary: These roads are used by trucks (not normally semi trailers, but B doubles do use the Snowy Mtns Highway), so as long as you drive sensibly -you should have no troubles.
* use the engine to control the speeds downhill - save your brakes for an emergency
* keep well to the left on the corners,
* drive at a sensible speed,
* monitor your mirrors and when safe, move over to allow traffic behind you to pass and
* your tow vehicle is adequately sized, powered and the van is loaded correctly

you should have no troubles at all. This area has to be, apart from the Victorian high country and Tasmania, the best to tour in. Come September, there will still be snow on the peaks, the grass down low will be green and high, the roads should be cleared of fallen trees etc. It is a superb time to visit. To quote Nike - Just Do It... Take your time, absorb the spectacular scenery and you will want to come back for sure.
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Reply By: Erad - Friday, Jun 11, 2021 at 20:42

Friday, Jun 11, 2021 at 20:42
I just checked the Kosciuszko National Park and the NSW Live Traffic websites. It seems as if the road from Cabramurra to Khancoban, which is normally closed from the June Long Weekend to October Long Weekend MAY be kept open. The website is ambiguous about road closures. Whatever, the website does say that the Elliot Way (Cabramurra to Tumbarumba) is scheduled to open in July 2021. Both of these roads have steep sections which are subject to a lot of snow and ice, but they are generally easier than the Alpine Way (via Thredbo). The Cabra to Khancoban road is normally closed for the winter, but the bushfires have changed everything. Check with the RTA Live Traffic website before you drive. The Cooma VIsitor's centre 0264551742, or Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre 1800 623776
or the Kosciuszko National Park visitors Centres
Jindabyne - 0264505600
Khancoban - 0269477025
or Tumut - 0269477025
can give the latest road information.

In general, if you travel these roads later in the day ie afternoon, the snow clearing crews will have had time to clear the roads. Also, the sun may have melted a lot of the icy patches. If you travel early in the morning, you are likely to run into frost (ice) patches.

Be warned that the area around Cabramurra will be busy for the next few years due to the Snowy 2.0 construction activities. There will be a lot of oversize loads being hauled between Cooma and the Cabramurra area, but these convoys will have pilots to scout ahead and clear the road if required.

Many years ago, I wrote a series of route notes for a friend who was travelling to Melbourne via the mountains, pointing out the highlights of the trip. If you have time to read these notes (about 18 pages), some points of interest are given, although some of them may be out of date by now. I can email them to you if you are interested.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Jun 11, 2021 at 22:42

Friday, Jun 11, 2021 at 22:42
Erad,

When my Mum was in decline in Melbourne I frequently travelled from Sydney to see her, always via a different route in the Snowies and VHC. I love this part of the world and continue to visit it often. I would greatly enjoy reading your notes if you're prepared to send them.

frankpseventynine (in numerals) at hotmail dot com

Many thanks in advance

FrankP

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