Road Conditions Warrnambool to Cairns

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 11, 2007 at 17:58
ThreadID: 42205 Views:2637 Replies:7 FollowUps:9
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We are embarking on a 3 month caravan trip to Cairns, starting July, and would like to know what the road conditions (gravel, width, black top, etc) are on the following route starting from Warrnambool:
1. Cobram
2. Dubbo
3. Lightning Ridge
4. Roma
5. Charleville
6. Longreach
7. Winton
8. Cloncurry
9. Richmond
10. Charters Towers
11. Townsville
12. Mission Beach
13. CAIRNS!

This is our first trip in a caravan, (17' x 7' 9"), and would prefer to stick to fairly well made roads (wider the better). I would love to hear from anyone with infromation on what the roads are like. As yet we haven't planned the route back except it will be along the coast.
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (W.A) - Sunday, Feb 11, 2007 at 18:10

Sunday, Feb 11, 2007 at 18:10
Don't see any problems on that route, just do the right thing and slow down and or pull over for the Road Trains and Oversize's , but DO NOT go past Balfe Creek Hotel 42 klm West of Charters Towers without stopping for a coffee ,drink, or meal, Kronosaurus Corner in Richmond is worth a visit too,

Doug
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AnswerID: 221107

Follow Up By: stakar - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 20:33

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 20:33
Thanks Doug,
We've added Balfe Creek and Kronosaurus Corner to our list of things to do.
Stakar
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Follow Up By: stakar - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 20:55

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 20:55
Hi Doug,
As an alternate, we had thoughts of heading north from Cloncurry to Normanton and then through to Cairns on the Gulf Developmental Road but were unsure of the road conditions. Have you travelled this way and if so what is it like and do Road Trains frequent this route?
Thanks Again
Stakar
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Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Feb 11, 2007 at 20:28

Sunday, Feb 11, 2007 at 20:28
Its bitumen all the way by your route

Sealed roads throughout Australia are pretty ordinary.

You may have to go off the black stuff if a large trucks or Road Trains are coming towards you. They have the right of way in the bush!!!

Take it easy and above all...don't panic.

A 17 footer should be chickenfeed to tow, as long as you do not overload it.

Cheers
AnswerID: 221139

Follow Up By: stakar - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 20:59

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 20:59
Thanks for the advice
Willem,
Could I impose on you a little more and ask you a question I am asking the others who have replied. As an alternate, we had thoughts of heading north from Cloncurry to Normanton and then through to Cairns on the Gulf Developmental Road but were unsure of the road conditions. Have you travelled this way and if so what is it like and do Road Trains frequent this route?
Thanks again
Stakar.
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Reply By: Tony - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 08:38

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 08:38
Winton to Cloncurry is black top all the way but most of it is one lane, so be sure to get over for trucks, give them the road, saves getting showered by stones.

Great stop at a pub with free camping about half way.
AnswerID: 221187

Follow Up By: stakar - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:07

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:07
Thanks Tony,
I'll Check the pub out. If Winton to Cloncurry is one lane I would assume the road north to Normanton and back along Gulf Developmental Road to Cairns as an alternate would be inferior to Winton-Cloncurry. Have you ever been this way and if you have, do road trains frequent the route?
Stakar
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FollowupID: 482045

Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:23

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:23
Mate

Winton to Cloncurry is a major highway linking the East Coast with Mt Isa. It is a two lane road with lots of tourist traffic and plenty of B-doubles and Road Trains plying their trade.

I haven't been on the Cloncurry to Normanton Road for some years now. Initially it was a bitumen 'beef' road since the 1970's and single lane but it could have been widened in the mean time. It is bitumen all the way from Normanton to Cairns. Some of this road has newer sections to it.

You will find Road Trains on most outback roads.
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FollowupID: 482050

Reply By: Member - Richo (FNQ) - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 10:10

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 10:10
If you get to Cloncurry maybe think about going to Gregory River and Lawn Hill some great spots in this region. Well worth a few extra hrs drive.
AnswerID: 221197

Follow Up By: stakar - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:14

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:14
Thanks Richo,
We'll add them to the itinerary. Its getting quite large now! If I could ask another question, as an alternate, we had thoughts of heading north from Cloncurry to Normanton and then through to Cairns on the Gulf Developmental Road but were unsure of the road conditions. Have you travelled this way and if so what is it like and do Road Trains frequent this route?
Thanks Again
Stakar
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FollowupID: 482047

Follow Up By: Member - Richo (FNQ) - Tuesday, Feb 13, 2007 at 15:43

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2007 at 15:43
stakar
The roads through that region are fine. Mainly single lane and sealed, you just move to the shoulder with on coming traffic. There is a lot of free camping sites around Gregory River and you just have to visit Lawn Hill. Normanton to Cairns is sealed all the way and about an 8-9 hr easy drive. We have camped all through this region and my wife comes from Karumba, we love the area.
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FollowupID: 482192

Reply By: kiwicol - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 18:05

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 18:05
make sure u travell with a uhf radio and tune to ch 40 the language is a bit ordinary but u need to stay in contact with the road trains for safty issues being a trucky have found this to be beneficial for everyone concerned.col
AnswerID: 221267

Follow Up By: stakar - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:20

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:20
Thanks Col.
Great Advice. Are handheld units sufficient or should I invest in an in-car unit. I couldn't see myself using it full time, just on the road, and from what I have seen some handhelds can range up to 15km. I am assuming being a truckie you've been through your fair share.

If I could ask another question of you, we had thoughts of heading north from Cloncurry to Normanton and then through to Cairns on the Gulf Developmental Road but were unsure of the road conditions. Have you travelled this way and if so what is it like and do Road Trains frequent this route?

Stakar
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FollowupID: 482049

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:47

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:47
handhelds should be ok for road traffic, theyre generally OK for up to 5km on flat ground
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (W.A) - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:57

Monday, Feb 12, 2007 at 21:57
stakar
Willem is getting the answers for you 100% ok , but as I had lived at Mt Isa for 3 years and travelled all over the Gulf country year round I'll add a couple more pointers for you , Cloncurry to Normanton is a good drive , you should enjoy it , during the tourist season there are 1000s of Caravans up there with some brain dead drivers when it comes to giving way to Road Trains and Wide Loads on the narrow stuff, you will have NO problems if you pull right off the sealed and stop , If you notice in your mirror a truck catching up don't wait until he is on the tail then think your doing the right thing for by slowing down and stopping because he will also have to come to a near stop while you get off the road do it soon as you see him , will only take about 15 seconds and he will be gone,you will by-pass Balfe Creek going that way via Normanton but you will make a stop at Burke & Wills roadhouse 181 klm from the turn off at the Barkly/Burke Developmental Rd just on the West side of the Cloncurry Bridges, Between the B & W Roadhouse and Normanton there are a couple of graet camping rest area's on top of Bang Bang Hill , between Normanton and Cairns you have the old mining towns , Just past the intersection of the Gulf and Kennedy Dev' Roads is a sealed Truck park /scaley Pad, go on about another 1500m and there is a little rest area around the bend on the left, If that's too early then tou have Innot Hot springs and near Ravenshoe there is the popular reast area at The Millstream creek ,
If you have any other queries feel free ta ask but I am out on a job tomorrow for about 4 days into the very HOT country up North to Newman ,
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AnswerID: 221311

Reply By: kiwicol - Tuesday, Feb 13, 2007 at 18:11

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2007 at 18:11
Hi Stakar, yes a held held will do the job but fitting one to your vehicle is a better way to go its there all the time and out of the road with a hand held u have to charge batterys and when u go to use it u will have to find it which takes u off driving plus they are hard to hear and cumbersome so for the same amount of dollars install one to the vehicle and also fit an external speaker up high of the floor for better hearing. The roads u will be travelling are all black top and yes road trains do use these roads the worst being where the Lynd highway joins the Karumba road called the forty mile scrub there is a transport inspection pad there from there to Mt Garnet is one lane and there are heaps of mining road trains on this section all up about 60 ks use the 2 way and the truckys will work with u they are a great bunch of drivers. I live at Atherton so these roads are my stomping grounds. If u go to Normanton u have to go on the old rattler train good experience mention my name to barb at the rail station and she will look after you enjoy your trip Col
AnswerID: 221458

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