Caravan on great central road

Submitted: Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 15:59
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We are considering doing the GCR next may 24. We have a Jayco pop top with a 2 inch lift and have done road like Wilcannia to Burke Darling river run without an issue. Travelling West to East from Laverton to Alice Springs. Is the road particularly on the NT side OK for a van like ours. Our truck is well set up for this type of road. Any info appreciated.

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Reply By: Member - Duncan2H - Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 16:55

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 16:55
I was on that road last week.. its in great condition in general.. a few remaining puddles on the NT section that are easily driven around - otherwise its great. Some corrugated sections but nothing bone shaking. There were plenty of vans on the road, some quite large - they werent struggling at all. Its a walk in the park.
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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 17:36

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 17:36
Hi Joker

If you go on the Great Central Road Facebook page, members are reporting daily on the conditions and in general good at the moment.
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Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 18:32

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 18:32
Like all long-distance drives on unsealed roads you are bound to encounter some varied stretches of corrugations, sand drifts, washouts etc but if you let your tyre pressures down you won't have problems no matter what condition the road is in. People who refuse to do this are the ones that have problems - vehicle handling, broken items, and discomfort can all be avoided by dropping tyre pressures. There is nothing complicated or technical about the GCR - it's a wide, unsealed highway and generally flat so your van will simply follow the vehicle. You just want to maximise traction and avoid bouncing so lower tyre pressures and adjust speed to enable safe breaking on corners, or unexpected change of course in the event of oncoming traffic, unexpected potholes you might want to avoid etc.

I'm reminded of last August when we drove east to west and at the very start of the GCR we had stopped to let down our tyre pressures and a caravan driver who'd just come west to east pulled up beside us - husband and wife looked horrified and stopped to warn us how bad the road was but we had a breeze. Note: they had the same vehicle as us - a 200 series Landcruiser and we were towing too but it was obvious that his tyres had not been let down at all, so we thought "no wonder!". We saw the same thing at Palm Valley. Please just get comfortable with reducing tyre pressures and save yourself the grief.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 18:43

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 18:43
The Great Central Road is indeed a "ROAD".
My personal view is that virtually ANY registered and reliable motor vehicle can travel on virtually ANY road (that is legally open for traffic).
The question is not whether it will be "OK" or not, but what speed will it be "OK" at.
So it becomes a question of - can you identify the appropriate speed for your vehicle(s), how long it will take and if you have the patience for the task, or not.

Deep water and deep soft sand that are not avoidable may be exceptions to the above.
OKA196 motorhome
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 07:46

Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 07:46
Totally agree with all the comments regarding lowering tyre pressures for gravel roads, particularly Australian outback roads. Just remember that lower tyre pressures mean lower speeds. Too many people lower their tyre pressures but still want to travel at “high” speeds.

Another thing to remember is that if you are “heavy”, not to go too low on your tyre pressures. If you go too low, you are more likely to suffer tyre damage.

We travelled the GCR from Laverton to Warburton, then out to Surveyor Generals Corner, then up the end of the Gunbarrel back to the GCR near Giles/Warakurna, then on through to Kata Tjuta back in 2017, towing a 2.6 Tonne Off Road van. Worst part of the road then was East of Warakurna, and the section around Docker River. Of course road conditions change weekly. The Eastern End of the GCR close to Kata Tjuta is now sealed.

Good luck on your trip, it is a great part of this “wide brown land”.


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