Gibb River Road

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 15:24
ThreadID: 43199 Views:2386 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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We are heading to WA via NT and not wanting to drive the whole length of the Gibb River Road, but would like to see some of the spectacular scenery. Would appreciate suggestions of places to base ourselves for day trips.
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 15:56

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 15:56

There are not really any day trips.

How are you travelling to WA from the NT. Are you driving the Tanami Track, Victoria Highway?

Are you towing a Caravan, Camper trailer, tenting or staying at Motels?

Are you driving in a 4WD?

How much time have you allocated?

What time of the year are you doing the trip?

My suggistionis do the whole lengh of the Gigg River Road and go to Mitchell Plateau, Tunnel Creek and Windjana as well. Take you boots with you and be prepared to do a bit of walking. Consider taking a helicopter flight.

I don't know where you are from but if you are going to drive to WA via NT you are travelling a long distance. To drive that far and not see everything you can would be a pity.

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Follow Up By: messmate - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 16:02

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 16:02
Thanks Tjilpi
We are coming from the Sunshine Coast (Qld), towing an 18 ft off road van. We will probably be up there at the end of April depending on flood levels up there. It has been suggested that we base ourselves at Kununurra, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby and do trips from these places. We have been warned about taking a van on the GRR. We have a couple of weeks to do the area around the GRR. I agree with you - if I am to drive that far, I want to see as much as I can.
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Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 16:50

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 16:50
Well it depends what sort of 'off road' van you have. If it is a real off roader (Bushtracker or similar), there is no big problem on the GRR. If it is one of the ones marketed as 'off road', but really meaning OK on a fairly well maintained dirt road, probably not.

The only real options are from the Eastern End, go into El Questro. The road can be corrugated and the RIver crossing just before El Questro might be 400mm or so deep (depending on time of year). But overall, this is a pretty well maintained section of the road. El Questro is well worth a visit. Take it easy and the van should be OK, but of course, I don't know what it is.

From the other end, you can probably do the circuit Derby, Windjana, Tunnel Ck and out on the main road just West of Fitzroy Crossing (or vice versa). Once again this sectioin of road can be corrugated, but is generally better than some othe parts of the GRR. Windjana camp ground is pretty good.

You might like to take a tent and basic camping gear so you can spend a couple of days exploring a bit further afield. Bungle Bungles for example justifies at least one night and ideally 2 or 3 and you can't take the caravan in there.

You will miss some of the great spots along the GRR and Mitchell Plateau, but the bits I have mentioned are great spots anyway.

The Horizontal Falls flight from Derby is worth considering. Expensive, but great if you coordinate the trip well when the 'falls' are flowing.

Possibly the bits you can access will convince you to go back one day with the right set up to do it all. Fantastic area, worthy of a few weeks at least.
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Nullagine) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 20:56

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 20:56
at that time it wil be freshly graded and easily doable in a toyota camry let alone an offroad van
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Follow Up By: messmate - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 15:30

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 15:30
Thanks Norm
Our van is a Sunland and has been on some pretty rough roads - The Plenty, from Nocundra Hotel down to Tibbooburra and then down to White Cliffs, Oodnadatta Track - to name some - and survived, so we are not frightened of corrugations, its just that we were advised that the GRR was a long road with little to see. You have changed our mind about that. We are intending to do the Horizontal Waterfall, and have done the Bungle Bungles on a previous trip.
You have given us something to think about
Thanks again.
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 16:55

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 16:55

The wet season ends in April and they start grading the road immediately after the wet.

Friends travels to Mount Barnett and work there every year. They have a Landcruiser and tow an on-road Caravan. He has never had any problems. He has come accross heaps of 4WDs with broken shockers, etc. Secret - drive slowly. As long as you take it easy you will have no problems with an off-road caravan. That being said check the road conditions in case they have had a late wet.

To see the Mitchell Plateau drive to Drysdale Station and you can leave your caravan there. They are very hospitable and will look after you.

You can get fuel at Drysdale or Mount Barnett.

All the gorges on the Gibb River Road are worth seeing.

Derby is an interesting place. Visit the jetty at both low tide and high tide. They have tides over 10 metres. Derby is a good place for barra fishing and mud crabs. I have stayed there and had a really enjoyable time. Constable Richardson grave is there. It ties in with Tunnel Creek. There is also a prison tree there and at Wyndham.

If you have time have a look at the Dampier Peninsula. Visit Willie Creek Pearl Farm, The church at Beagle Bay - it is decorated with pearl shells. Cape Leveque has a caravan park.

Broome is a beautiful place but a tourist town.

I hope this gives you some food for thought.

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Follow Up By: messmate - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 15:34

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 15:34
Thank you Tjilpi
Look forward to seeing the sight that you have suggested. May have to extend our stay up that way and make the most of it.
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Reply By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 23:05

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007 at 23:05
Mate, you crazy!!! Drive all that distance and not do the whole GRR? Madness - I've driven the full length of it three times (once in a Holden) and the road is fine - like all well used gravel roads, it gets a bit corrugated, so just slooowww down.

Earlier post about all the gorges and other spots being well worth visiting is spot on. On third trip, I finally took my time and enjoyed it and saw just about everything - spent about a week on it and could easily have spent another week, there's that much to see.

Remember the road isn't all that long - only 600-odd km and the Kimberley Explorer 4WD bus does the whole length of it every day. There are much tougher 4WD treks without anything like the scenic attractions.

Just do it.

Paul B, Kalgoorlie
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Follow Up By: messmate - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 15:36

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 15:36
You have convinced me
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Reply By: RedGibber - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 16:45

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 16:45
Good luck on your trek, messmate!

We too have a Sunland (18'6" Longreach II) and will be going counterclockwise from Perth up thru the Centre and back down thru inland WA commencing June.

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Follow Up By: messmate - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 17:31

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 17:31
Hi Andy
Ours is just the plain old Longreach - shower van with single beds - love it, so comfortable and reliable. Roy builds a good caravan.
Hope you enjoy your trek as well - will keep an eye out for you.
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 19:58

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007 at 19:58
messmate, the only thing that may hold you back is if the rivers are still high. The 2 main ones are the Durack and Pentacost. The Pentacost is about 100m wide. Listen to the ABC and road conditions and river depths are posted at regular intervals throughout the day.
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