Cape York in September

Submitted: Monday, Jul 22, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1543 Views:2110 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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We are heading up Cape York in Sept and then on a 14 week trip across the gulf, NT and Alice. We have done some extended travelling but would like to know what recovery gear is essential and what is not. There seems to be more opinions and personal preferences than actual facts for this trip. We are 2 adults and 2 children in a diesel patrol. We will be spending approx. 3 weeks on the Cape. Thanks.
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Reply By: Dianna - Tuesday, Jul 23, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Wendy,
Seems we'll be up there around the around the same time, although not travelling on as far as you. We are sorting out the gear at the moment too so I'm also interested in the answers you get. Just thought I'd say g'day anyway.
(Will get husband to relay the advice he's been given re: recovery gear a.s.a.p I've been relegated to organising supplies and camping gear)
AnswerID: 5066

Reply By: Beddo - Tuesday, Jul 23, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2002 at 00:00
I would like to hear the answers to your question aswell, as Dianna & I are heading there in 2 weeks. I believe it is terribly dry this year and that there are a mulitude of vehicles up that way - from speaking to a few people if you have experience in 4WDing the OTL should not be a problem - we are still tossing up whether to take a hand winch (Many say just wait at crossing until a group comes thru if you are unsure about the crossing - they surely will abide by the Outback code of ensuring you are Ok - though I hate to depend on others - I have the dilemma of trying to save weight and also wanting to be self sufficient. I will be carrying 2 spares and a snatch n strap for sure. I would like to know water depths up that way on the OTL aswell - look foward to responses. Might see you up that way as we come back, Cheers Beddo.
AnswerID: 5073

Reply By: Gordon - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00
Your decison on what to take will depend on (i) how much spare time you have, (ii) the difficulty of the terrain, (iii) whether you are travelling alone or with another vehicle, (iv) how much money you can afford to spend, and (v) how much space you have to carry the gear.

It is very bad form to rely on others (outside the group you are travelling with). You can probably get away with it in the short term. However, if enough people take this attitude then the generosity of others will be sorely tested. I have met a number of regular outback travellers have helped so many underprepared travellers that they now think twice before even stopping. I agree that one of the nice things about the outback is that the aussie spirit prevails. To keep it that way:

"Carry enough gearto demonstrate to others that you were not expecting any help. Then when you need help you will be likely to get it."

My wife and I enjoy travelling with others but are set up to travel alone.

Tyres are number one priority. You must carry enough tyre cases for the trip you are doing. In bad conditions or if you have a trailer then you need an extra case. (I carry 1 on the rim and 2 off). In addition you need tubes and patches and all the gear for changing / inflating. Also learn how to conserve your tyres in different types of terrain. Use tyres that are easily obtained during your trip if needed.

A snatchem strap is a must always.

If travelling alone you must carry a winch of some sort and enough cable / extension straps / tree protectors to reach well beyond the impassable ground you might be bogged in. This gear should include load rated shackles, a decent size shovel, an axe and possibly snatch blocks (depending on your winch's rating relative to your vehicle mass). If in a group then one set of this gear is enough. I also carry 3 m of load rated chain.

Communications and spare food / water are also important if you can't recover yourself and are well off the beaten track.

Also take common spare parts for your vehicle (think about the essential rubber and electrical items) , a tool kit and repair manual.

Most of our recovery gear and spares is secretted in nooks and crannies (behind the lining around the wheel arches. Its amazing how little space it takes up. If money is the problem then try the second hand market and use manual rather than electric winch / compressor. Good luck.
AnswerID: 5093

Follow Up By: Beddo - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Gordon,
Sorry to imply or encourage people to rely on the generosity of others, I meant to show that if push came to shove, someone would come along within a few hours. When travelling alone we prepare the vehicle with sufficient recovery gear, but when unsure of a crossing or section common sense says wait at least for some form of backup. It's not as if you would be stranded for a week before seeing someone else at the cape, as can happen in places like Tibooburra far west NSW( where I lived for 3years and not to stop for someone, if they needed help or not, was a sin) Not knowing the area I too appreciate the advice on what is necessary to take. And with some upto date knowledge on present conditions we can pack the car accordingly, avoiding unecessary equipment for this time of year. For example the things to take for Far west NSW and corner country are drastically different from summer conditions versus winter conditions.
FollowupID: 2174

Reply By: Wendy - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks everyone for your replies. We weren't going to rely on others and of course be as self-sufficient as possible. We thought that there may be particular items that are essential and others that can be used for more than one purpose which in turn allows more space for other essential things. Please keep on replying as we want to glean as much information as possible. Thanks again.
AnswerID: 5113

Reply By: Hilly - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2002 at 00:00
My family of 5 did the Cape last September using the telegraph road up and back to avoid the cursed corrugations that plague the bypass roads. We encountered 2 hire vehicles with young german tourists, (travelling separate of each other) who didn't even have a shovel for digging an ablution hole off the track! They were counting on the generousity of others and used it as did I when we couldn't climb up out of Palm creek on the return trip. We were winched up by a good Samaritan. I had to spend a few hours digging out of an embarassing bog just north of Gunshot as well. (Don't know why I left the tow bar on when we left the van at Mossman. DOH!!) There was only one deep water crossing of any real concern and that was at Cyprus Creek where the water was over the bonnet during the crossing. I didn't like the look of the log bridge at this site. The crossing before it, Cannibal Creek, was quite rocky but no real drama as long as you walk it first. If you have a bit of 4WD experience under your belt then I don't think that the main Cape route will give you any trouble at all. Unfortunately time didn't allow us 3 weeks up there and we met plenty of travellers who had destroyed tyres because they had the time to visit the more remote areas of Captain Billy's landing and the Iron Range area so if they are on your intended route then be warned, we met one convoy of 4 vehicles that were down to one decent spare casing between them by the time they got back out to Laura. You will have a ball I know that much and allow a couple of days just to enjoy Twin falls and Fruit Bat falls.
AnswerID: 5116

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