planning a trip to lawnhill and back

Submitted: Monday, Jun 05, 2006 at 20:25
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i would appriciate if some season travellers could give my wife and i some guidence we have 4 weeks from the 17th sep. 06 to go to lawnhill. to get to lawnhill we will be going from brisbane to longreach to concurrie and up into lawnhill.

given the amount of time would someone suggest an alternative route home. i am considering going to corumba and then down to charters towers emerald, gladston and back down the coast.

if you think this trip will be too rushed please feel free to suggest an alturnitive itinery. but lawnhill is a must.

we have a nissan patrol 4.2 L turbo diesel, with a 19 ft off road traveller caravan.

any advice will be appriciated.

thanking you

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Reply By: Lynn2 - Monday, Jun 05, 2006 at 21:35

Monday, Jun 05, 2006 at 21:35
We were at Lawn Hill same time 2004. Magnificent place - not too many tourists at this time, but very, very hot. Lots of night swims and lazing about.

You might consider coming back through Carnarvon Gorge from Emerald instead of heading out to the coast if you havent already done this trip.

We came into Lawn Hill from the opposite direction to you and towed a Coromal off road van from Burketown, out through Kingfisher Camp and took the back road through Bowthorn Station (where we stopped for scones and tea) without any trouble at all. One shallow water crossing. We were the only campers at Kingfisher camp at this time of the year.

You're making me jealous, would love to go back this year. Have fun

AnswerID: 176934

Follow Up By: Steve - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 21:17

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 21:17
Lynn, what's the access from Lawn Hill to Kingfisher like? Is it best to go back out to Gregory and over the top road or can you wiggle thru the back roads to Kingfisher?Bowthorn? I'm towing a Coromal Excel van. Not an off-roader but has independent springs and can be driven s-l-o-w-l-y.
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Follow Up By: Lynn2 - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 06:52

Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 06:52
Hi Steve,
Answering for my wife who's running late for work....
The road(s) we took, I would describe as rough dirt/gravel roads The people at Kingfisher camp said lots of people tow caravans out through Bowthorn Station. We had no trouble at all but my van has a bit more clearance, AT tyres and heavy duty chassis. Same suspension as the standard Coromal, though.
We did have one gentle water crossing at Lawn Hill (Cattle) Station. The creek bed was smooth, approach and departure easy but the water even as late as we were, was nearly to the bottom of the van door of my Seka Pioneer XC.
I suppose it depends on your state of mind. If you took it very slowly I think you would be fine. Would I tow an Excel on this sort of road?... probably not but on the other hand I can't recall any particular spots where you would even look like getting stuck because of the road.
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Follow Up By: Steve - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 08:29

Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 08:29
hmmmm....looks like all the way round for me. If the water was up to the door on a Seka......and I'm going in about 3 weeks' time. I think the water will be a bit higher/deeper. Thanks anyway.
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Follow Up By: Member - Ross P (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 16:41

Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 16:41
Hi Steve,

I've logged on at work under my membership now. Lynn2 was in as a visitor.
Check out my photo gallery. There is a photo of us crossing the creek at Lawn Hiil. It is pretty gentle.
I can send you some e-mail pics if you let me have your e-mail address.

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Follow Up By: Steve - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 17:14

Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 17:14
Thanks for that Ross. My main concern was the height/clearance under the van. Looking at your pic though, it doesn't look any higher than mine (apart from the departure angle cut-away at the rear). I may be wrong there. Mine just has 14" rims and standard truck tyres. It also has their "open road pack" which has re-inforced chassis.The other thing that put me off though, was the fact that we'll be there in 3/4 weeks. Will that be enough time for the creek depth to drop after the rain? (bearing in mind you went in September?) Must admit though, the creek doesn't look too daunting. Was this photo Widdallion/Musselbrook/Elizabeth Creek?

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Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 07:46

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 07:46
From Brisbane, have done LH, via Mt Isa, (turn north west of MI), and stock up in MI, cheapest fuel and groceries for a while. Do Riversleigh deposits on the way.
3 days at LH, then Normanton, Kurumba (2 days or so), then east through Croydon etc to the Undalla Lava tubes, then south down the Kennedy development Rd through Richmond, Muttaburra (Dinosaur country, kids were dinsouar mad at the time), Longreach, then east to Alpha, can do some fossicking on the way through, and home via the coast road or even the Brisbane valley highway, or a little further west again.

To make it a complete dinosaur tour, do Larks Quarry just outside Winton on the way north :-).

Few dirt roads but no seriously bad roads, maybe a few medium corrugations in places.

Took just over 3 weeks. Just a suggestion. Plenty of interesting ways home from the north.
AnswerID: 176959

Reply By: BBB - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 15:47

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 15:47
I thank you for your feed back so far is three days enough in Lawn Hill ?
AnswerID: 177043

Follow Up By: BBB - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 15:57

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 15:57
Q2 Did you two a van on the development roads
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Reply By: Member - Patrick (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 16:29

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 16:29
How I would love to do that trip again. It is such a beautiful country that we have, and never enough time to really enjoy it.

We did a similar trip a coup[e of years ago to what you have planned but missed out on Lawn Hill only because we were new to the travelling game and did not know it was there. It is differently on the radar for next time.

A month should be just about right for a rushed trip north. It will give you a few nights in different places so that you don't feel like you are travelling huge distances every day.

Our trip consisted of Brisbane to Roma, Roma to Charleville, then onto Tambo for the teddies and into Blackall for a tour of the wool scour. Through to Winton and Lark Quarry, Longreach for a paddle wheeler trip on the river then onto Cloncurry. All where one night stops with the exception of the Curries where two nights were in order. We drove straight through to Kurumba from there and stayed three days. Unfortunately for my fishing, the wind blew a gale while we where there and I couldn't get out at any time.

The trip home was just as enjoyable with a trip across the Kennedy highway from Normanton to Georgetown stopping at Cobalt Gorge (great stopover and beautiful small boat cruise to check out the salties there). Then a short hop to the Undarra Tubes for a night and tour (bookings essential) then through to Townsville to see the mother-in-law. One night there and into Charters Towers, then Clermont, Emerald, Carnarvon Gorge (a must see if you haven’t been there) through to Dalby then back home to Brisbane.

A wonderful three weeks towing a camper trailer and having the time of our lives!!

There is a great web site that gives you all the info on towns and places to see travelling the Matilda Highway, have a look, you won’t be disappointed.

Site Link

Happy and safe trip.

Cheers, Patrick
AnswerID: 177054

Follow Up By: Member - Patrick (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 16:43

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 16:43
OOps, it should be Cobbold Gorge.

Cheers, Patrick
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Follow Up By: BBB - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 17:05

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 17:05
Very good web site on matilda hwy


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Follow Up By: Member - Patrick (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 19:08

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 19:08

There is also a free book available from Tourist Info Centres in most towns on route which is brilliant. Great maps, attractions and advice. I have brought back a number of copies for friends to use and they love it.

Keep your eye out for it and get one.

Cheers, Patrick
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Follow Up By: Member - Patrick (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 19:19

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 19:19

I just had a quick look at the Matilda web site and they do have copies that can be obtained for the price of the postage and handling. Have a peek...

Site Link

Cheers, Patrick
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Reply By: Member - Ian M (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 20:08

Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 20:08
Got back on Saturday from Brisbane to:
Possum Park (near Miles), Charters Towers, Undarra Lava Tubes, Cobbalt Gorge, Leichhardt Lagoon (near Normanton) Lawn Hill (and Riversleigh), Cloncurry, Muttaburra, Hughenden (Proserpine Gorge) Mitchell, Brisbane. Just under 6000ks in three weeks in a Touareg V10 towing a TVan.
No water in crossing deeper than 100mm. The Lawn Hill road from Gregory Downs is excellent for about 45 ks (maintained by Century Mine - watch the ore road trains as they throw up big rocks even when you are stopped) the remaining 40 odd ks to Adels Grove is ordinary but OK. Lawn Hill National Park only like 14' and below vans but Adels Grove is nicer anyway - it is only 10ks away. Three days is about right for Lawn Hill depending if you need to queue for a canoe (there are only 12 of them) and it is essential to go for a paddle. Some good walks too!
It is a great trip and when we went the rumour was out the roads were bad (as a result of Larry and Monica) so there weren't too many people around which was great.

AnswerID: 177282

Follow Up By: Member - Ian M (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 20:11

Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 20:11
BTW fuel at Lawn Hill was 179.9 and at Burke and Wills 155. Depending on your consumption etc try to get in and out of Lawn Hill without needing to fill up there.

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Follow Up By: BBB - Thursday, Jun 08, 2006 at 18:45

Thursday, Jun 08, 2006 at 18:45
Thanks Ian

Could you tell me how long it took you to travel from Mount Isa to the turn off to Gregory Downs rd And I am Assuming It is the turn be for Camooweal ?

Then the time it took to travel the 85ks on the dirt to Lawn Hill ?

Is the road wide enough to pull over to get out of the way of the Road Trains and do you Have time to find a spot to stop ?

Do you see other travelers on that section of road ?

Hope you dont mind the ?s but I have not been west of Dalby and want to prepare for our trip as much as possible.



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Follow Up By: Member - Ian M (QLD) - Friday, Jun 09, 2006 at 10:05

Friday, Jun 09, 2006 at 10:05
We didn't go through Isa but came south from Normanton to Burke and Wills, then continued on tar to Gregory Downs - that takes as long as you want it to! Coming back we went back to Gregory Downs then Burke and Wills then south to Cloncurry. The dirt to Lawn Hill (Adels Grove actually) probably took less then 1.5 hours - the first part is good and the speed restriction is simply how much gravel do you want to pepper your rig with. Second part (after the mine turn off) has some slower bits if you want to preserve your tyres - I am sure some guys go 100kph on it all the way!
BTW my two year old Hema map didn't show the mine turn off where it is, but had it much closer to Lawn Hill. I assume it is a new road to the mine.
Yes it is plenty wide enough to pull over - I usually look for a spot as soon as I see a road train coming and then radio them. They certainly don't back off. We got one chip on the screen when we were stationery - had the Touareg serviced this week and they must have washed it in the sun as now we have a crack! Should have gone to Novus before the service!!
Probably saw two cars each time we used teh Gregory Downs Lawn Hill road and no doubt there will be far more now that "the season" has gathered pace.
It certainly is not a challenge to get there, but we all know that good preparation never goes astray - have fun.

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Follow Up By: BBB - Friday, Jun 09, 2006 at 15:05

Friday, Jun 09, 2006 at 15:05
Thanks Ian
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Reply By: fc_holden - Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 21:31

Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006 at 21:31
Hope you don't mind but just replying so we can watch this thread as family and I thinking of doing the same trip from ACT in late july / August.

This is a great site for info
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AnswerID: 177302

Reply By: meandet - Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 14:51

Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 14:51
I couldn't recommend anyone towing a caravan from Lawn Hill to Kingfisher camp or anywhere else on the Gulf Track, its already littered with busted caravans and we also saw a boat, trailer, motor etc burned out. The track from Lawn Hill to Kingfisher is a long way, over 150km, about 20 or more gates and some hilly rocky track with tight corners. We may go that way this year and will be towing a Tvan but will still take it very carefully.

AnswerID: 177953

Follow Up By: Lynn2 - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 19:46

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 19:46
Have to say that we didn't see any of the above - not one. And we travelled from Port Douglas to Chillagoe, through Einasleigh, Cobbold Gorge, Burktown etc. before we turned off towards Kingfisher Camp - Lawn Hill - Gregory Downs. Did see plenty of happy campers/caravanners though. Oh, wait a minute, did see a couple of burnt out utes - but you see them on all the roads out this way - not necessarily a result of the road conditions, more probably they ran out of petrol and were abandonned!

As with all dirt road caravanning, of course, taking it carefully is a must.
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