Vehicle to tackle the Gibb River Rd

Submitted: Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 09:27
ThreadID: 56272 Views:2844 Replies:7 FollowUps:1
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Hi all,

I am starting the planning for a possible road trip to the top end from Melbourne and need some advice re vehicle.

I want to tackle the Gibb River Rd and other sights of the Kimberleys and would likely be towing a trailer.

Just wandering if you need a full on 4wd e.g Prado or could get away with an SUV?

Your wisdom would be appreciated!!

Ed
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Reply By: HGMonaro - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 10:45

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 10:45
last year we saw 2 girls in a VT Commodore at Mt Barnett roadhouse, no idea where they came from or where they were going though!

There are a number of variables (recent rains, how bad are the corrugations, depth of Pentacost River, etc) that would govern what car you 'can get away with' and they will change year-to-year, and you won't know until you get there.

Buying a vehicle for a one off trip is a big step. Are you likely to benefit from having a full sized 4WD for the rest of the period of ownership? I don't believe you need a 4WD for traction (unless it rained) but 'generally' they are made tougher all round and can handle the corrugations better.

We ended up upgrading our Subi Outback because the camper we bought was at the top end of the Subi's legal capabilities. I prefer a bit more leeway in safety and performance so got a Prado, but the only place I would have had 2nd thoughts about going was the 1st creek crossing into the Bungle Bungles. Other Subi's (foresters and older wagons) had managed it so it was possible.

Nige.
AnswerID: 296594

Reply By: Navigator 1 (NSW) - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 11:11

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 11:11
Hi Steve,
It all depends on road conditions at the time.
A 4WD is invaluable in the wet and when the rivers are high.
A high clearance vehicle is a must. The road to Mitchell Plateau is l-o-n-g and guaranteed to be rough but do take the trailer. You will need a GOOD off road trailer or you will be leaving it in pieces on the side of the road. Camp in the Mitchell Plateau camp ground and you can take several days to explore. It is a one hour in and a one hour out walk to the falls from the camp ground.
The actual Gibb River Road can be a dream run if you are lucky enough to be travelling after the grader has been through.
You'll never, never know, until you go!
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AnswerID: 296596

Reply By: Ed D - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 11:53

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 11:53
Thanks,

My other half wants an outback or forrester and they are probably more in our budget.
If I had the $ I would be in a Prado tomorow but the subaru's would be better around town for the rest of the year!

Plenty of food for thougt.
AnswerID: 296603

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 12:08

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 12:08
The new Forester has increased ground clearance - about 220mm I think. The base model manual even has low range. It's a shame the autos don't have low range as an option.

Would be a nice vehicle without the bulk of a Prado (or bigger) if you didn't need the size.
0
FollowupID: 562662

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 12:25

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 12:25
followed a landrever freelander to itchel falls including the King edward about 700mm deep so Id say any other softroader should be fine
AnswerID: 296611

Reply By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 14:12

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 14:12
Hi Ed,
In most cases, you don't need 4wd, just a rugged vehicle. Even ground clearance is not really an issue if Mitchell Plateau and mainstream places are your destination. Corrugations are the biggest issue, esp on the Kalumburu and Mitchell Plateau roads, and they can destroy a trailer. I had a roof rack fracture on my first trip, and had to offload lots to save the day. GRR part is usually a dream these days, apart from deep creeks early in the season or if the road is wet, and then the road is usually closed anyway.
A mate took his old early-90's Subaru wagon there a couple of years back, no problems, just fitted larger wheels. But once on a trip to the plateau, I took some shockies in from Drysdale River for a guy who had stuffed his front shocks on an L300 Mitsi on the plateau section. They didn't last the distance.
AnswerID: 296627

Reply By: Member - Roger B (VIC) - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 21:40

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 21:40
Ed. D. Whatever vehicle you decide on, drive according to the vehicle and the road conditions, and you'll be fine. Just take Care, and enjoy the beautiful Kimberley.Don't miss the magnificent Freshwater Crocs. of Windjana Gorge. Cheers.
Roger B.
AnswerID: 296713

Reply By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 23:34

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 23:34
The GRR was done by a bunch of A8s at the drier (later) end of the season last year.

But at the start of the season I think they would have been risking a lot.
AnswerID: 296734

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