outback trip

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 23:10
ThreadID: 53918 Views:2410 Replies:8 FollowUps:13
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hi all, thinking about my mid year trip, getting itchy feet. i would like to go to Cameron's corner, innamincka, coongie lakes, and then to birdsville. now the bad news, i want to take my windsor rapid off road van, has anyone taken their van to these places, especially coongie lakes. we will be coming back via the birdsville track, hoping to stay at the coopers creek. i will be traveling from adelaide to lyndhurst via the flinders. any input welcome please.
cheers shane.
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Reply By: White Knight - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 00:37

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 00:37
Hey shane,
probably pass by you up that way. Were going over to ceduna first, up the goog's track, then oodnadatta, simpson (waa line), birdsville, haddons corner, camerons corner then back to adelaide.
Hopefully se ya out there
AnswerID: 283901

Follow Up By: White Knight - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 00:38

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 00:38
woops, leaving May 23th
FollowupID: 548610

Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 13:46

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 13:46
sounds great but i will be in ceduna between april 25 and may 3rd, this is my week for going fishing by myself, then off on my trip to birdsville on the 30th june. are you going to get any fishing in at ceduna?
cheers shane.
FollowupID: 548646

Reply By: Member - John G- Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 07:10

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 07:10
G'day Shane

Can help with a bit of your itinerary. We were in Birdsville last year and there were several people who had towed standard caravans from Marree to Birdsville. No real problems except for dust ingress and displaced gear inside the van because of poor packing. So your Windsor should cope OK with the Birdsville Track. Good luck

John G
AnswerID: 283906

Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 08:55

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 08:55
Hi Shane

We came down the Strzelecki last April (without the van). Very stony in places but we averaged at least 90kph so road was reasonable condition at the time for a van. Have you a stone guard to protect the van – be a good idea.

However, if you were to take the Cordillo route from Innamincka to Birdsville that would be rough on the van (think its probably more Bushtracker territory??) – I would take that route very slowly with a van – not sure if Walkers Crossing better as I haven’t been that way.

We’re caravanners and in fact looking at the Rapid as an upgrade. How is the Rapid with dust. In fact any feedback on it at all would be appreciated – particularly for off-roading.

Cheers JD
AnswerID: 283911

Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 11:23

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 11:23
HI JD, yes have stone a guard, have taken the van on some rough stuff before and it handled it ok. have also tow it through the sandhills at davenport creek out past ceduna. (hence photo)
we are very happy with the rapid, dust ingest is not a problem. have on of those vents in the roof to pressurized when traveling. its just the wife and i now so it is a perfect size.
the Cordillo route, is that rough because of corrugations or just rough in general?
cheers shane.
FollowupID: 548628

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 13:00

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 13:00
Hi again Shane

Cordillo route varies quite a bit. But generally speaking, Qld section is a quarried material surface for much of it and hence stony, corrugated etc (bit like Strzelecki). In SA section road is cut into natural surface and soft so depending on grading, rain, it has lots of loose bulldust sections. In places, creek crossings very rocky, and there are occasional deep wheel ruts .

I have probably overstated the Bushtracker thing a bit - hard to say. When I reported in to VKS on the Cordillo route they asked how was it and I said ok (e.g. speaking of 4wd not van) but just drive accordingly. But they said I was less concerned than others who had reported in during the preceding days.

Be good to hear a few other opinions.

Thanks for your words about the Rapid. I'll look forward to your trip report. Cheers JD
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Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 23:12

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 23:12
thanks mate.
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Reply By: Max - Sydney - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 09:24

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 09:24

I was up that way last June, and even right after the heavy rains the road to Coongie would have been ok for a carefully towed off road van. By that i mean, the track had dried out, and the grader had made a quick run to push bypasses around the big puddles still hanging around.

Almost to the Coongie NP there are oil wells, so they need to get trucks into them, and the NP has pretty good roads. There are two camp areas available - one along the road coming in, where among others there was a van like yours. The others are among the dunes, where you'd be asking for trouble to tow.

You can drive through the dunes once you drop the van.

Worth the trip, and as always ask at the Innaminka Trading Post.

Happy planning
AnswerID: 283913

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 11:16

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 11:16

Most of the trip should be OK for the van, but I would recommend two things.

Ensure you have rear window protection on when towing.
The Birdsville Track is "notorious" for breaking rear windows.
(Other tracks probably as bad)

Leave the van at Innamincka and take a day trip to Coongie, or pack a tent as well.
The road out to Coongie Lakes is a shocker. (Corrugations)

We are going to the "Gathering" in July and planning to travel up the "back route" via Copley, out past Arkaroola, join up with the Strzelecki for a short distance, then head out to Cameron's Corner.
The Cameron's Corner Pub is one of the great outback pubs I haven't yet been to, so that is my excuse for the "side trip".
Will hopefully be able to then drive up the Bore Track to Innamincka for some great socialising with many I have communicated with (or annoyed) on the forum, but not yet met in person.


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AnswerID: 283924

Reply By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 13:52

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 13:52
anyone have any photos of what the roads are like? i don't mind taking it easy, 60--- 70kph is fine along these tracks. when we go to davenport creek its only just hand throttle in a lot of places.
AnswerID: 283941

Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 22:59

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 22:59
Hey Shane

I did the Strzeleki a week and a 1/2 ago, I towed a camper trailer at 75 kph more for the fact that I was looking after the back window, I could have gone faster but just enjoyed the scenery.

Mind you The camper has a 2.2 tonne rated axle on it.

Cheers Steve.
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Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 23:11

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 23:11
thanks Steve, mine is 1600kg with independent eye to eye leaf springs.
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Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 22:03

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 22:03
Hi Shane, I just sent you a couple of photo's via email of our trip down the BVT in July last year. Nothing I saw would worry your setup, just drive to the conditions obviously.

Clayton's Wetlands would make a much better camp than the Cooper CK camp on the Birdsville track IMO.

Cheers, trevor.
AnswerID: 283991

Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 22:52

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 22:52
thanks Trevor.
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Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 23:08

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 at 23:08
just looked at photos, thats a lot of stone damage. did you have a stone guard? we have had one made, its the one that goes under the a frame from the tow bar. i think i will put some of that rubber tread for around pools under the front half of the van. man that a bashing, was yours an off road van?
FollowupID: 548711

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 10:17

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 10:17
Hi Shane,

Yes it is a serious offroad van and yes there was some serious stone damage to the water tank shield but that is what it is there for....to protect the tank and it did this admirably. The whole front of the van has sound proofing material across the front (about an inch thick with solid material inside it) and this really did protect the front of the van. I would suggest looking into something like this for the front of any van doing this sort of trek. It is hard to see but the following link is a recent picture of my van and you can see the bottom half front of the van and how it is protected by this sound proofing material here.

There is a million rocks per square inch out there and they all get sent back toward the van at a serious rate of knots. The back window in the car was protected by cardboard attached with duct tape and this worked fine for me also. I added it to the car when it was shiny clean before our trip and did not remove it until our return and the tape marks just wiped off with meguiars paint cleaner before a wash.

If there is anything else I can help with please ask away. Plenty more pics of the trip if you want anything in particular just ask.

PS plan for a stay at Farina if you haven't been there before, I was amazed but did not have enough time to fully explore the abandoned township (2-3hrs just skimmed the surface for me I loved it).

Cheers, Trevor.
FollowupID: 548776

Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 14:11

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 14:11
very impressive Trevor, i think the stone guard i have will protect the back window( i might be wrong) but still might put some thing on it.
i think the hardest part of the trip is getting the wife excited about it. we normally go south in the cold and rain, but i lived in darwin for years and don't mind the out back. showed her some photos from you guys and the comment was, there is nothing there, why are we going there? she is mad on birds, this is the reason for the lakes and water holes.
going to join 4x4 club this year with the hope of getting out more.
cheers shane.
FollowupID: 548832

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 10:26

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 10:26
The routes mentioned all have generally good, maintained, remote area roadways. Vanners can expect no access problems generally, BUT the surface types are another issue - dust and stones can be trying at times - as others have said, prepare in advance for tyre issues, bouncing stones and dust ingress and it should be a winner. BTW - if you are interested, I have a few pics of surfaces up around that way on my site - middle of last year.
AnswerID: 284052

Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 14:16

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 14:16
thanks for reply Darian, there are some good photos in your collection. surprising how much the surface changes. looks like you have been around. i think most places could be tackled with the van, its all about the speed and the way you drive.
cheers shane.
FollowupID: 548833

Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 10:46

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 10:46
Amen to that (how you drive) - amazing how our 'luck' with tyres improves the slower and more careful we are.
FollowupID: 549052

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