savanah way

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 12:45
ThreadID: 54425 Views:3284 Replies:2 FollowUps:10
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Anyone travelled along the Nathan Road NT recently?

Im heading back to Darwin and would like to go via Roper River/Limmen Bight and savanah Way.

I have heard from people that have travelled this trek 2 years ago, but would like to know what the Nathan road is like. I understand that now its impassable due to the wet...but has anyone travelled it in the last 12 months?

What's its condition? What speed can you travel at...any tyre damage?

and how long did it take you to travel from Boorooloola to mataranka via the roper river?

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Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 14:07

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 14:07
Have done the road a number of times and drove that way again in July last year. Road in good shape and the creek crossings weren't too deep. There were some corrugations and a bit of bulldust here and there due to the volume of traffic that use the road after the wet. 80kmh is a good speed. But you sound like you are in a hurry and want to use the road as a shortcut and speed along it. I didn't have any tyre damage but I run 12ply crossplies. The strip bitumen starts about 35km west of Roper Bar all the way to the Stuart Hwy.
AnswerID: 286697

Follow Up By: lynxxy - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 15:40

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 15:40
Im from Darwin and taking the kids back for our annual holiday...i know its no short cut...but so look forward to some of the places along the way.

Im meeting some Darwin Friends in Boorooloosa and they will have a new or maybe 2nd hand 4 wheel drive...I just dont want to scare them on what will be their first trip.

I dont mind corrugations when there are only a few in a couple of places, but they brake the wine glasses packed away in the campertrailer if there are too many.

Well I look forward to it...maybe we will see you up there. I should be travelling along for about 4 days early July...dates yet to be confirmed as I might do a bit of work on the way up in western qld.

Thanks very much for you info...80 kph means the road is pretty good for a dirt one.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 16:43

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 16:43
You can camp at Lorella Springs. It has a nice hot water spring but it is a tad expensive. $15pppn. Beers are $5 for a Greencan.

Southern Lost City in Limmen NP has a nice walk through the conical rocks and Butterfly Springs is also a nice place to take the kids for a swim. There are freshwater crocs there though. There is camping along Lomarium Lagoon at old St Vidgeon Station, along the Roper River but high above the watermark, and also near Queensland Crossing on the Hodgson River (about 100metres before the bridge turn left and then about 5km along a bouncy track to Rocky Bar Crossing). There are also camp sites at the Towns, Cox and Limmen River crossings.

I spent 20 years of my life in Darwin, Batchelor and Adelaide River.

Enjoy the trip.

FollowupID: 551960

Follow Up By: lynxxy - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 12:35

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 12:35
thanks so much for your suggestions Willem. I was considering Butterfly springs as a stopover and the camp at Limmen NP.

20 years spent in the NT...I possibly have met you before.

FollowupID: 554427

Reply By: marq - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 16:56

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 16:56
About 5 months ago - they were grading main savanah way road - a lot of corrugations (not as bad as the cape york road).

I ran Goodyear SA's (265/75/16) at 22-24psi hot - no problems (Pajero 05). Landcruiser and patrols are heavier - so your pressures will be a bit higher unless you slow down a bit.

Hells gate roadhouse had shut - expect $2/L fuel at the community on the qld side (when it is open - I had to wait for a while before someone turned up - mid week at 1:30pm in the afternoon).

Wet season forget about it - there are a few rivers to cross.

Camping is side of the road (ex road works camps - about every 25k-50k)

Nothing at king ash bay - private if I remember correctly.

A lot of bush fires when I went thru.

via Roper - dry season only - allow 3 days but the river crossings can be impassable so - check first...

Main things:
- go slow when passing (bugger all vehicles on the road) until the dust passes a bit
- let the all the tyres down (including trailer/van) to low twenties.
- if a trailer/van have stone protection between vehicle and trailer.
- avoid 15km either side of communities or rivers/creeks close to communities.

AnswerID: 286728

Follow Up By: lynxxy - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 08:38

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 08:38
Thanks for the info Marq.

I dont really want to go to king ash bay but my friends are keen. Someone told them it was fabulous???

Ill be staying onite at places like lorella springs and around the roper.

When you went did you take the shortcut from Boorooloolla or go via cape interested in just how bad that shortcut road really is?

FollowupID: 554389

Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 11:21

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 11:21

We're planning a trip up that way for later in the year and I phoned King Ash Bay...just to check on a few things. They are open for anyone to camp there. We called in a few years ago to have a look, but since we don't go fishing we didn't stay. However, we thought this year we might stay there instead of in Borroloola itself and have a look around. We'll be there around the time of the Show and Rodeo in Borroloola.

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Follow Up By: lynxxy - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 12:25

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 12:25
thanks for you reply.

Whens the rodeo and show on?

Im up there in July...qld school hols.

My friends who are meeting me on the way are hell bent in staying at King Ash, I might see you there.
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 12:47

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 12:47

The Show/Rodeo week end is 15/16/17 August so we'll be later than you. But, if you would like to go back for that week end it's a fun couple of days if you like rodeo, gymkhana, local show and the whole shebang. The people from the stations come in for the whole week end and it's a great experience to be part of.

A few things around there...Caranbarini Conservation Park which is on the bitumen between Borroloola and Cape Crawford. It's right beside the road and is a walk around a "mini Lost City".

Borroloola has an interesting history...there's a lot of information on this website -
but if that doesn't work, just google "walkabout Borroloola" and you should get it. There is a museum there that is worth spending some time looking around too.

We went from there to Roper Bar/Mataranka in about 1999 so can't give up to date info on roads. We had no problems, the road had its share of corrugations etc but nothing too bad. There was good camping along the way. We camped at The Towns River.

We were back again in Borroloola in 2001 and that's when we went to the rodeo etc. But that time we went to Cape Crawford and then across the Buchanan/Buntine roads to Halls Creek & the Gibb River Road.

We're off again this year to go to places that we didn't know about back then, like Lorella Springs, Butterfly Springs, the Southern and Western Lost Cities, Poppy's Pools etc. We're really looking forward to it.

I hope you have a good trip.


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Follow Up By: lynxxy - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 15:31

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 15:31
Viv I would love to check the show out in August but I have to time my holidays to coincide with the QLD school holidays in July.
Mind you, August does suit me better.

I enjoyed Cape Crawford. Its just a bit annoying with all the European Backpackers that work there in the shop and bar. They know absolutely nothing about what is going on in the local save your breath and dont ask them...they will just waste your time.

Poppys pools is lovely, I cancelled my tour...spending more time in litchfielfd instead.

Well Ill have to catch up with you when you return. I hope your trip turns out well...ill be back possibly before you go, so ill get you a road report.

By the way...are you leaving from Brisbane?

If so, which way are you going...Im considering going straight up to Normanton then accross...but dont know if its going to be a lot longer or not.

FollowupID: 554450

Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 15:47

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 15:47
We live in Victoria, so we're heading north through Broken Hill, Tibooburra, Haddon Cnr, Diamantina NP, to Mt Isa, Lawn Hill etc over the border at Wollogorang to Borroloola and then to Roper Bar etc etc....heading to Darwin and surrounds, and then home via a few detours like Gregory NP, couple of stock routes across the Barkly Tablelands, down to the Sandover for a bit, then Urandangie, Birdsville, Walkers Crossing, Strzelecki and the Flinders. We'll be away 6 wks.

We live in the north/northwest of Victoria

Our 13 year olds were, my son, a nephew and a friend. They were quite funny but I think I aged ten years on that trip!! Every time I turned my back they were up to something they shouldn't be. But they were a lot of fun and looking back that was one of our nicest trips.

Thanks for the info on Poppy's sounds lovely and I'm hoping to be able to stay overnight out there.

We always got a laugh out of "Heartbreak Hotel". Our first trip to the NT we went from Mt Isa up the Tablelands Hwy to Cape Crawford and arrived on sundown...with the red light bathing the rock formations. Its stayed in my memory.

I hope your trip goes well for you and will be interested in hearing about it when you get back

Best wishes

FollowupID: 554454

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 18:47

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 18:47
Lynxxy, you mention King Ash Bay. We spent 6 weeks there last year and are heading back up that way in about 3 weeks.
King Ash Bay is a great spot, but if you don't have a boat and are not into fishing, there is not a lot to do.

If you have a boat and enjoy your fishing, there are plenty of fish, crabs and prawns available. Also some big crocs, so be careful.

Good camp ground. Powered sites available (from a big diesel generator, and the powered sites are pretty close to it. Non powered area along the river bank (which is where we go).

There is a house boat available for rent. Probably pretty expensive, but if you don't have a boat and want to get out on the water for a few days, it might be an option.
FollowupID: 554474

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