Gulf Track - Trailer Compatable?

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00
ThreadID: 2636 Views:3650 Replies:8 FollowUps:3
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Hi all! Starting some preperations for a May trip to the Gulf. I'm Brisbane based. Intended route is up to Normanton then following the Gulf Track around to Booraloola and Roper Bar, hopefully with a coastal detour at Wollangarra (?) Station. I will be purchasing a small tinnie specifically for this trip. I had really only considered a roof topper scenario to carry the boat, but as I will have to purchase a trailer to enable local use, I am wondering whether the roads would enable it to be towed instead. Basically a comprimise between something else to break and the ease and convienience of a tow job when only a party of two. The trailer would be standard at this point. Feedback appreciated.

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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00
The Great Top Road suffers considerably during the wet and is therefore subject to a wide range of conditions throughout the year. I would generally say that it's fine for an offroad trailer but I'd be a bit hesitant to suggest you'd be fine with just a standard boat trailer, however they are usually quite light and may not pose too much of a problem. Maybe someone else can shed some personal experience with a lightweight boat trailer along the Gulf track?

There are many dips in the road, many without warning. Light weight trailers may not hold up to much of that, but it would depend on how careful a driver you are, and how experienced a tower you are.
AnswerID: 9841

Follow Up By: John - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00
We passed over this road late July this year and found many rough sections - although in some parts the graders were doing a great job.
What disturbed us was that there had been 3 recent trailer incidents/wrecks by the side of the road between Borroloola and Hells Gate.
We checked with the Police at Boroloola before heading east and he specifically warned us about speed and these recent trailor incidents.
Take your time and plan 4-5 days at least on this section - there are some great camp spots near the road. If you haven't got the time take the Bitumen.
FollowupID: 5144

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Miker,

We towed a tinny from Darwin to Perth a few years ago, mainly on the bitumen but with plenty of side trips on gravel and dirt tracks. Before leaving we upgraded the axle and springs and fitted 14" rims fitted with light luck tyres. Also had to fit wider mud guards. Everything we fitted was recommended by a trailer spares company in Darwin. We thought doing this would save us from potential problems but alas, this wasn't the case.

We lost both mudguards before we got to Katherine. Here we had them refitted and reinforced by an engineering firm, but they both came off again before we got to Perth and ended up in the tinny. Basically, what we think is that the suspension was too stiff, particulary as the tinny and minimal gear in it was quite light. The whole thing basically just shook up the whole way. Tinny also suffered a bit of damage where it rubbed against the trailer, despite padding etc. The hook on the winch cable also broke from the constant movement of the tinny. Luckily we always used a rope as a secondary safety measure or the tinny might have slipped back off the trailer.

The question is would we have had any trouble if we'd left the trailer standard? Who knows. What we do know though is that without the 14" rims, we would have had no end of trouble with the standard 12" rims which were just not suitable in those conditions.

Having done part of the Gulf track, I have a fair idea of the conditions you will encounter...much worse than those we had. If it was me, I would definately leave the trailer at home. Having said that, don't go asking for trouble elsewhere. Make sure you have a well built solid roof rack on which to carry your tinny or you could have problems in this regard too.

Hope this helps.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 9844

Follow Up By: Miker - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00
Thanks Guys.

It's really a case of needing someone to confirm your own thoughts. I'm not a fan of towing if it can be avoided. Rack will have to be new (ARB) and the vehicle is a TD5 Defender. Tinnie would probably be the only roof item, so at around 65kg should be quite managable.

FollowupID: 5129

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

We've use an ARB universal roof rack. Good solid unit which shouldn't give you any problems.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 9847

Reply By: Andy - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

We towed a Bushtracker over most (did not include Roper Bar) of the track you envisage a few of months ago. Although we took our time, and loved the trip, it was somewhat of a sighter for a more serious fishing trip next dry. We did not take our tinny as we were not sure what we would encounter. The route you plan includes some pretty bad corrigated sections, particularly Hells gate to Woologorang & some of the way to Borroloola. The fishing lot that gather at King Ash Bay mostly come up through Barkly Homestead to Borroloola - this is all good road.

Our advice is not to try & tow a boat trailer. At times you will be pretty worried about your roof rack & with good reason let alone a boat trailer. The solution to the boat handling is a collapsable trailer of some sort - we have a Little Bulldog & use a Rhino Boatloader to make the on & off at each camp site easier. The latter is more based on age & arthritis than necessity for the young & fit.

There were a few camper trailers with boats on some of that top road - most seemed to manage OK but we talked to several who needed weld repairs.

We plan to go to King Ash Bay next dry & will use the Barkly Homestead route.

AnswerID: 9848

Reply By: brian - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00
Hello miker,just a thought ,please check your owners handbook,its possible that the discos warrenty wont cover a load of 65k off 95 model was only covered to 30 kilo off road have a great trip and let us know re the warrenty.
AnswerID: 9854

Reply By: Member - Howard- Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002 at 01:00
did a trip similar to what you are planning in sept 2000.Kurumba, escot station, booloroola, wallagorang, lemon bight, roper then to mataranka, katherine darwin and kakadu.

We took 10 ft tinnie on roof rack of 60 series (and never put it into 4wd.)
still wouldnt recommend towing a boat trailer, corrogations and washouts would skake it about to much.

Make sure you have a decent motor for your tinnie, the distances on the rivers up there are big ie 28-30 km from fishing camps to coast.
I would recommend 9.9 hp. if 2 up in the tinnie.
First thing I did when I got back was buy a 15hp motor and 12 foot tinny.
the barra make the trip worthwile
AnswerID: 9857

Reply By: miker - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
Thanks again.

Howard, just sorting through the odds and sods of the boat purchase now. I concur on your purchase - a 12 footer and a 15hp seems the optimum from my inquiries so far. At least for what I've got planned.

Howard, what did you have the most success on when fishing, bait or lure?

AnswerID: 9877

Follow Up By: Member - Howard- Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
best was trolling lures.although we did have lots of problems with weed in Kakadu
other option was to use livebait (poddy mullet) and cast near fallen trees or other cover.
FollowupID: 5204

Reply By: OziExplorer - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
When I did that trip, I had a trailer that was the chassis from a Nissan Ute and well type body. Put a solid heavy duty axle underneath with all the original springs, new shock absorbers etc; good re-inforced 'A' frame. Had a 12' tinnie and a 15hp Yamaha. I made 'V' brackets lined with rubber, contact cemented on, and used those nylon webbing tie downs to hold it down. Travelled with that trailer for 3 years and never had a problem. Those long wide springs they have on the chassis of cab/chassis are the go. All those short thin trailer type springs are next to useless. Those were they days of my Series IIA LR station wagon 2¼ diesel.
AnswerID: 9881

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