Buchanan Highway

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:03
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We are heading north later this year and I noticed that the Buchanan Highway links across and cuts out Katherine.
We are doing a loop including the Duncan Road and Buntine highway and will connect with Katherine after that. So I am looking at a different way to get to the north end of the Duncan Road.
So, does anyone have some knowledge of the Buchanan Highway, and is it suitable for a single vehicle ( Isuzu D-Max with suspension upgrade and Ultimate off-road camper), taking limited spares but puncture kits.

Thanks

Jim
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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:43

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:43
I towed a van from Dunmarra to Timber Creek across that Highway and it was a lot of unsealed road with some corrugates however it was fairly easy going when one drives to the road conditions. You will find that top springs roadhouse is an eye opener. We enjoyed the trip and took a leisurley 3 days to do it looking about as we did so.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:51

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:51
Sounds promising Dodger. Just what I'm looking for. I am assuming the road is gravel ( and corrugated), but just wanted to make sure there weren't long stretches of soft sand, or really rock-hopping places.

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Jim
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Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:14

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:14
2 great places we camped at were,
Jasper Gorge 16 1 41S 130 33 30E Paid site

Dingo Creek Lagoon 15 44 7S 130 33 30E

We were on our own at both camps had a swim and enjoyed the serenity of it all . Plus a break from the dust and oh so refreshing. Think the vehicle enjoyed the spell also.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

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Follow Up By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:33

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:33
You claim lots of unsealed sections for the Buchanan?

When we did it last year, it was all dirt with the exception of where the Buntine meets at Top Springs
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Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 14:29

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 14:29
Was three years ago when we did it and they were supposed to start sealing towards Dunmara soon bur obviously they have not.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:51

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:51
Pretty reasonable road, although we were run off it by a cattle truck in Jasper Gorge some years back.

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Peter
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Reply By: Member - Jim S1 - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:53

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 11:53
Thanks Peter. My research had indicated there might be some cattle trucks. That's OK ....... no hurry .

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Jim
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 12:03

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 12:03
Another pic showing some road and other "hazards". :)

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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:31

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:31
First of all those roads do not interconnect.

We have done both and completely different.

The Duncan road is a great drive, starts at Halls Creek an then around 170km east heads north and zig zags a few times into the NT before coming out east of the WA quarantine some 10 or so kilometres away, but still in the NT.

The Buchanan on the other hand starts around 10km north of Dunmarra and then goes through to Top Springs. We did the whole drive last year with our Prado, also towing an Ultimate. From all out Outback travels, those 188 kilometres from the turn off to Top Sorings were some of the most servers corrugations we have ever come across,.

Top Springs is also the junction of the Buntine Highway, and from there north through to the Victoria Highway, all bitumen. From Top Springs west up to Timber Creek, the Buchanan Highway improves over 1000% and a great easy road to drive.

We put the extreme corrugations from Top Spring out the Stuart Highway down to the main route taken by the stock truck from station country and to markets in Katherine.

If you want to see images of what it was like only mid last year, check out my blog that I did for the Binns Track.

I have also done a blog on the Duncan Road
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:52

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:52
Thanks Stephen. I'll take those pieces of advice on board ....... not a lover of corrugations, but realise that they are a reality.
Have checked out your blog on the Duncan Road previously, and it confirmed my thoughts there.
Being a cattle truck route it "might" get a grader occasionally ??
Also roads out there flooded at the moment, but I'm assuming the water will be gone later on.

Thanks again.
Cheers
Jim
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 15:14

Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 15:14
Live and learn.
I now see that the Buchanan is the upper part of the Binns Track ( from Dunmarra to Timber Creek) ...... nice !!

Good to do a bit of that one as well.

Cheers
Jim
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Follow Up By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 17:32

Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 17:32
We enjoy Timber Creek. Some interesting things to see and do and the lookout is great for sunsets.

Enjoy your trip Jim
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:33

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:33
Jim,

Travelled the Buchanan, through Jasper’s Gorge, a couple of times in the early ‘70’s in an HT Holden ute, without any dramas. Don’t recall there being many corrugations, but double decker road trains were scarce then, so no doubt the corrugations are now “better”.

Duncan H’way is an interesting drive. A good camp, with plenty of room, on the southern bank of the Negri River if it suits you. Not far from Duncan H’way turnoff, along the Victoria H’way, to Keep River NP. Interesting area, with 2 campsites available in the park.

Bob
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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:41

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:41
Following on Jim, we have also just got a new X Terrain, but no suspension upgrade, you with do it with ease, just drop tyre pressures and drive to the conditions.

I would still recommend a good quality compressor and good string puncture repair kit to be on the safe side.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:57

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 13:57
Have an ARB compressor ( with some great new Pirtec hose) , a couple of puncture kits.
Always happy to go slowly on gravel, and very slowly on corrugations. Not a fan of 80 to 90kph and just touch the tops of the bumps !!
A new X Terrain sounds very nice so trust you are enjoying all that comfort. We still think we're in "luxury" with our 2002 model !!

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Jim
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Follow Up By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 20:37

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 20:37
We never went fast, took our time.

As for bumps, it’s a good flat drove, we stopped a number of times and you will do it with ease.
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Reply By: Member - DOZER - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 14:49

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 14:49
Seen a dual axle 20 foot van get dragged through by a 100 series, most of it made it to Top Springs.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 14:55

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 14:55
Ha ha ha !!! Have seen a camper trailer enter a campground with a log attached instead of a wheel.
Hopefully the Ultimate will stay in one piece.
Cheers
Jim
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Reply By: Member - Jim S1 - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 15:00

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 15:00
Bit of flooding up that way at present, but assuming it will be OK in a few months.

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Jim

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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 21:04

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 21:04
Towed our Tvan along Duncans Rd/Buntine Hwy to Kalkarindji from Halls Creek. One of the better dirt roads we've driven in regard to smoothness. Sept 2019. Little in the way of corrugations . Drove through the Gregory NP to the Victoria Highway. Lots of slow narrow & rocky tracks, but nothing the Ultimate wouldn't handle. One short steep section on one jump up was a psychological challenge, but we managed it OK.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 08:12

Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 08:12
We did the reverse back in 2004. We travelled via the Gregory National Park from the Victoria Highway via the Bulita Homestead, then the Humbert Track and another track that I can’t remember the name of at the moment, through to the Buntine Highway, through to Duncan Road and then north back to the Victoria Highway. We were not towing anything, but a well set up good Off Road camper trailer like an Ultimate or a Track Trailer could handle the Humbert and the other track back then. Not sure what this track is like now.

At that time, the Buntine Highway whilst it was gravel, was like driving on a bitumen road. It was flat, no corrugations and we were able to drive at 100 kph without any issues at all.

Obviously that was 18 years ago, and a lot will have changed since then. There is an Indigenous Community that had a store and campground on the Buntine near the end of the Humbert Track, not sure of the name of it now, they may be able to give you an idea of current road conditions.

Macca.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 22:43

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023 at 22:43
If you have some time to spare, do an exploration of Gregory National Park. We spent a week in there volunteering with Parks some years ago. There is some great country to find and explore.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 09:13

Sunday, Mar 05, 2023 at 09:13
Thanks Peter. This is on my " find out more about" list, so will investigate thoroughly. Might not get back up there again, so best to explore properly.
Am definitely going in to the northern part, but some of the southern tracks sound a bit trickier.

Cheers
Jim
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