Burketown to Roper Bar via Borroloola

Submitted: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 17:55
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Hi we are heading off in June to explore Oz and I was wondering if it is possible (wise?) to tow a 16 ft caravan through the Gulf area to Roper Bar ?
It is supposed to be an off road van but I would call it a dirt road van with extra clearance.
Has anyone done this and what are the roads and creek crossings like?
Sparkie C
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Reply By: Steve & Trudy - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 20:36

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 20:36
We have just completed a trip from Borroloola to bourketown in April and found the road to be pretty good. We towed off road campers with no trouble. The river crossings were a bit boney, but you just need to take it easy. They were only about 2 foot deep
AnswerID: 111842

Reply By: Mike Harding - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 20:54

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 20:54
A couple of years ago (in mid July) I, kind of, kept pace with a (late middle age, let's say :) couple who were towing an off road caravan along the Gulf Road. They didn't have any real problems but as another poster said just take it easy over the river crossings.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 111846

Reply By: mightyQ - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 21:24

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 21:24
G'day Sparkie C, I'll start by saying you picked the right time to go, we did(my wife and I and our dog) the same trip last year. We towed a Jayco camper, had no trouble. The road conditions, though a little rough at times, presented no problem, other bigger vans were around and did'nt seem worse for wear.
Had a great trip and found great camping areas all along the Savannah Way .
Make sure you go to Gregory River Downs Station and Leichhardt Falls( not far off the track).
As for river crossings, I'm not sure of the weather now but when we were there all the rivers we crossed were, at a maximum only 3/4 wheel height .
We spent around 9weeks away .....no rain to speak of , we made sure we had plenty of water ....and by the way there is plenty up there.
Only problem was : we holed the water tank in the camper, the standard stone gaurd was like tissue paper, fixed that in Clocurry with a thicker, wider one.
Enjoy yourself it all happens so quickly.
ps there were crocks around and not many fish!!
AnswerID: 111848

Reply By: boshie - Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 11:46

Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 11:46
Hi We are also heading off in the same direction but we leave on the 1st Of July.
We are towing a 14 foot boat on an off road trailer that has done the cape a couple of times. We have heard as long as you take it steady the road is pretty good . Just remember you cannot get fuel at woolagorang station as it has closed down.
How long are you going for ? We might meet up some where along the way as we are going for 10 weeks
AnswerID: 111919

Reply By: Wizard1 - Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 14:48

Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 14:48
we travelled from Darwin with the best laid plans to drive from Roper bar to Booraloola with our 16 ft van. Although not an off roader, it had some suspension mods and height increases, etc. We had successfully travelled from Cadney Homestead via the Painted Desert to Oodnadatta, etc and though we were ready for the Savannah Way.

After all the research including mates that had actually travelled from Roper Bar to Booraloola we thought it would have been comparable to the Oodnadatta Track...what and under statement.

We lasted 10 km of the Roper Bar - Booraloola Rd. The corrugations were bad jsut in the car with a max speed of 30-40 kph. It shook thebleepout of everthing. It made just sitting in the car absolute hell and knowing we had 400 odd k's to go we thought better of it. The van was fine except the TV was shacken to pieces which we replaced in Mt Isa.

A 100 Series zoomed passed us, which we caught up a few K's later with his first puncture. We met up with them again in Booraloola and they had ended up doing 4 tyres!

We ended up cutting our losses and returned to the Stuart Hwy and travelled to Booraloola via the Carpenteria Hwy.

Believe it or not we were told the road was in good condition and had just been graded! We turned back after asking the advice of a passing vehicle coming from the direction we were travelling towards "it gets worse than this mate...."

One of the reasons we turned bar was the potential for suspension damage and the distance from help if that happened.

Not saying don't do it, but some a few tips from someone that tried it in a caravan, not a camper trailer, be prepared for a very painful slow trip.

Prado TD
Gold Coast
AnswerID: 111936

Reply By: Sparkie C - Friday, May 20, 2005 at 18:04

Friday, May 20, 2005 at 18:04
Thanks for all the info and advise. It looks like we will take our time and see how we go.
To Boshie, we hope will head off about the last week of June for about 20 weeks across the top of Aus. and the see where we finish up. We dont have any definite plans as yet re times etc.
So we may see you on the track some where.
Thanks again Sparkie C
AnswerID: 112106

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