The Gibb River Rd

Submitted: Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 12:41
ThreadID: 53470 Views:2521 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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We have a 17ft pop top caravan, and we are thinking about travelling the GRR about June/July, has anyone done this trip pulling a caravan? and if so how was the road, did you knock the guts out of the van? Just wanting to know what to expect and if it is worth going that way?
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Reply By: Notso - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:11

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:11
We were there three years back and there were a couple of vans doing the trip.

It was fairly rough when we did it with the Camper Trailer and you'd need to take it steady.

With a standard van you might be better to leave it at Kununurra and rough it on the GRR. There is a bus service, or there used to be, that does the trip a few times per week.
AnswerID: 281553

Follow Up By: Oldsquizzy (Kununurra) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 22:51

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 22:51
The gibb express sadly is no more..But on the bright side there is a four wheel drive bus up for sale.. Make a nice mobile home.
FollowupID: 545989

Reply By: mfewster - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:16

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:16
I would definitely advise not to try it. Unless it is a seriously heavily built off road design pop top.- and even then I would be wary. Quite a few vans claim to be off road but are not solid enough for GRR. There is no shortage of smashed trailers and vans along the way that have tried. Conditions on the road can vary and it gets graded regularly, but when and where its rough I think you would have real problems. There has been a lot of rain up there this year which wont have helped.
We did it about 4 years ago in a 4 runner- bleep tered the suspension and even snapped the brackets holding our quality Cibie spots onto the front bumper. And we were driving pretty easily - especially after all our shockers had given up. Great trip though.
AnswerID: 281554

Reply By: Member - Kevin J (QLD) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 14:07

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 14:07
Apart from the general road conditions which very dramatically from month to month depending upon the season - water levels - and when the graders have been through I would have grave concerns about:-
1. The 'floodways' . Generally ok but about one in four is so sharp that even our Australian Off Road camper touched on exit.

2. Water levels in crossings. If there has been a 'good wet' then the crossings could well be too deep for your van right through July/August.

I would suggest you get to Kunnanarra and then start asking those who have just done the trip and make your decision from there.

Kevin J
AnswerID: 281558

Reply By: Andrea11 - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 14:23

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 14:23
Thank you all very much, thanks for confirming my concerns, we will be leaving the van at Kunnunarra and going down the GRR now in the 4WD with a tent on board....Thanks again
AnswerID: 281559

Follow Up By: Member - Linda M (VIC) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 19:12

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 19:12
Good decision. I took an old slide on camper on the back of a standard ute a couple of years a go and it was very very rough going when I went. Corrugations from one end to the other apart from a a few brief graded patches. Ended up travelling at snails pace and doing damage.
FollowupID: 545919

Follow Up By: jeepthing - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 20:30

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 20:30
After the road is graded is it fine but wait a week so that the sharp gibbers are swept out of the road by other users but get on it before the other idiots who travel at highway speeds corrugate it up. There's not much of a window of opportunity though. Also make sure you carry 2 spares for the van and 2 for your vehicle.

Really you are better off leaving your van at either Fitzroy River Crossing caravan park , they don't charge that much, or at Kununurra and doing it by tent. It's not worth the worry and you'll be much more relaxed. If you did have a problem recovery is not cheap!!! There was a fellow last year who left to go to the Mitchell River Nat Park before he should have after some rain, got severally bogged towing a camper trailer and I heard it cost him around $3,000.

You've made the right decision.

FollowupID: 545935

Reply By: Member - Fred L (NSW) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 14:55

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 14:55
G'day Andrea, I find this whole subject quite interesting. I have (had) a pop up camper and been to many places which I was told to avoid. Sure I scaped the bottom & sides and other odd bits of damage but driving to the conditions (and damned carefully) I found that I had mostly no problems. I have found that many of the 4X4 tracks are good for 2wd on most accasions. having said that there are some roads even a CT would have trouble with so I am not saying you can go eveywhere. With respect to the GRR here is an extract from the NRMA.

"The condition of the Gibb River Road has improved in recent years, as has the amount of tourist traffic using it. It presents no great problems for a 4WD, however it's not recommended for a conventional car, or a light construction, roadster caravan. Purpose built off-road vans and camper trailers are OK.

However you can usually get as far as El Questro Station in a family car if you're coming from Wyndham or Kununurra or as far as Windjana Gorge if you're coming from Derby.

Towards the end of the dry season it does become heavily corrugated in parts. It's also quite rocky in places, and given the fact that the road now carries plenty of traffic, including large tour buses, broken windscreens are becoming more common.

The best time to travel is during the dry season, roughly from April to October, although the road can be cut during this time if there has been any hint of rain".

I have just bought an 'off road' caravan and I have no intention of limiting myself to the tar and a few odd bits of dirt. My motto is ask around, check the conditions, drive carefully etc and enjoy the tracks off tourist route. If it falls apart - well I did my dough but sure as hell enjoyed doing it.
AnswerID: 281569

Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 19:04

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 19:04

I have a friend who for a number of years has worked on the Gibb River Road every tourist season.

He has a standard caravan which he has taken each year without a problem.

Meanwhile he has seen 4WD with suspension problems, etc.

Answer - he drives at a slow speed when on the GRR.

If you take it slowly you should not have a problem. If you try and drive at highways speeds your caravan will fall to bits.

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AnswerID: 281608

Reply By: arewelost - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 21:51

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 21:51
Hi Andrea
having travelled the GRR i would strongly recommend not traveling it with poptop caravan if you are comming from Kunanurra/Wyndham the Pentacost River will proberly be to deep for you to cross. We crossed in late September and depths varied from 600-900mm. The main problem we found was the Britz tour 4x4's with people of no experiance tearing the road apart and we came through about 4 wks after the grader so we found out later. I would suggest take the first leg from Kunanurra to the GRR this is a fair indication as to what the rest of the road is like.
well thats my 2 bob"s worth have fun and enjoy steve
AnswerID: 281651

Follow Up By: Member - Big Al. Gold Coast - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 19:02

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 19:02
We came accros a Britz 4x4 that had three flats in 100k and no workable jack. I have no idea how they kept going.

German tourists and they were still having a good time.
FollowupID: 546135

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