savannah way with van

Submitted: Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 09:40
ThreadID: 66785 Views:3056 Replies:12 FollowUps:6
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HI was interested in chances of taking an 18' van east to west on the savannah way, in about amonth time, any info would be great, first big trip with van do not want to get into too much trouble cheers ken
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 09:49

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 09:49
Most sections are sealed except Normanton and around the Gulf to Roper Bar. get info HERE

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Reply By: Axel [ the real one ] - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 10:10

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 10:10
Depends on what type of van ,tow vehicle ect , the dirt can be rough as , unless your following 1/2 a day or so behind the graders.
AnswerID: 353757

Reply By: Member - Geoff the chef (NSW)M - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 10:11

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 10:11
gday Ken,
either ive stolen your number plates or youve stolen my nickname....lol
cheers GeoffImage Could Not Be Found
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Follow Up By: braggy - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 17:14

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 17:14
Hi Geoff,
my whole family is nicknamed braggy, I'm sure that number plate must belong to one of us,so could you please give it back
cheers Ken
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff the chef (NSW)M - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 18:53

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 18:53
Hi again Ken,
like you all the males in my family have had the same nickname braggy. It probably started on the voyage from the old Dart in the 1700's. The number plate to me is an family heirloom...lol, and must be guarded at all cost to preserve the family name. I attempted to find our family tree book, but only succeded in finding an old curry cook book. Will get the bride to have a look when she gets home. Maybe we have some ancestry in common.
Ill keep the plates for a bit longer....lol
cheers Geoff
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 11:38

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 11:38
Borroloola - Cape Crawford (Heartbreak Hotel) - Roper Bar

The road from Borroloola - Cape Crawford (Heartbreak Hotel) is bitumen. Approx 2klm out of Cape Crawford is the turn off to Roper Bar; the section between there and Leila 1st Crossing (about 20klms) is quiet narrow in places and normally pretty rough, including the crossing. Just reduce your tyre pressures and take your time and you will be OK. From Leila Crossing to the Borroloola (alternate route) turn off (25klm approx) was very corrugated September last year. Again take it easy and you will be OK. Once you reach the Ranger station at Nathan River, the road is a lot wider, has a lot more traffic, and usually in much better condition.

The alternate route from Borroloola???? This meets the Cape-Roper bar Rd about 45klm from CC. I have never travelled it, so can't help you there. It would certainly cut the distance travelled by a significant margin; but then you would miss out on some great scenery and heartbreak hotel. When there, ask them how the place got the name of Cape Crawford! If you stay at the van park, don't move the sprinklers, they get real peeved. Last person who did that filled their power box with water.... BOOM! No power for the Hotel and CP for 2 days.... also expensive. Don't know what happened to the tourist (QLD) who did it.

Take your time and visit the Southern & Northern Lost Cities, and Butterfly Springs. camping is limited at these sites but they do provide toilets. Better camping/view is to the right of the road (heading north), a track takes you to the river (Limmen Bight River from memory); has a large flat area to park the van, beaut view, just stay out of the water (crocs).

Enjoy your trip.
Fred B
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 11:42

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 11:42
PS. forgot to add... sign posting to the various camping and Lost cities is not great. Just faded timber plank bolted between 2 short posts, so keep your eyes open.
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Reply By: John and Lynne - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 11:57

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 11:57
We towed a 17ft full height van with a Pathfinder along the Savannah Way in 2006 during April/May. It was a great trip with lots to see.
We only went as far as Normanton then went in to Karumba. Don't miss the Cobbold Gorge out of Georgetown. It is quite unique. We took our van in there but the dirt road in was fairly poor at that time. Check with locals before you go. A lot of people go in as a day trip from Georgetown or Mt Surprise.

We had no problem with the road - all bitumen although narrow in places, took our time and found it a fascinating trip.

You would need to check the road conditions in advance this year after all the floods! Good luck! Lynne
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Follow Up By: cycadcenter - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 13:33

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 13:33
It would be interesting to find out how much water went through Cobbold Gorge in the wet.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mal and Di (SA) - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 16:08

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 16:08
I agree about visiting Cobbold Gorge. We stayed at the park in Forsayth which is one of the friendliest we have been in.
M.
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Reply By: wendys - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 15:08

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 15:08
Braggy,
these days, the tourism people have branded the entire route from Cairns to Broome as the Savannah Way. Do you mean that entire length? Or only the Qld into NT section?
You should have no problems with van Cairns to Normanton/Karumba. We have done from Normanton, west into NT with a proper offroad van. The section Normanton-Burketown can get very corrugated. West of Burketown, depends on when it was last graded.
The gulf country has had a huge wet and there will have been a lot of erosion of creek gullies, etc. Some of the crossings between Qld border and Borroloola can have quite sharp drops, early in the season, until traffic smooths them out. If you are going in a month, you might also have problems due to water depth at some crossings. Some roads may not even be open then. You would need to check much closer to the time.
Also note re fuel - after Doomadgee, none till Borroloola.
If you have an "ordinary" van, suggest that from Normanton, you go south to Cloncurry, then west. If you wish, you could go north again from Barkly homestead to Cape Crawford, or Borroloola, then continue west.
AnswerID: 353810

Reply By: braggy - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 17:09

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 17:09
Thanks guys for all the great replies.
Have taken it all in and will give it ago, all the way to Broome.
Were in a Disco 3, tandem dirt road van (Sunland)\
will keep the kayak on the roof.lol
cheers ken
AnswerID: 353824

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 18:12

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 18:12
Couple of pics for you from 2007 braggy.....

The Calvert River crossing is probably the roughest spot.

You might find that a month from now is too early though. We could not go north from Lorella Springs until 1st May 2007.
It really depends on the wet that they have had and how enthusiastic the road gangs are. The easy way for them is to leave the roads closed.
Good luck.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 353835

Follow Up By: Axel [ the real one ] - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 18:44

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 18:44
Love Lorrella Springs , worst 30 klm in and out though.
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Reply By: Andrea11 - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 19:37

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 19:37
Hi Braggy,

We took our 17ft Jayco single axle from Burketown through to Boroloola last June. The trip took 2 days so we took our time and stayed at a long water hole about 50Ks north of Doomadgee. Before we left home we had our caravan axle underslung. We had no tyre problems at all. The road is very corrigated and we got a good amount of Red Dust into the van but nothing that really bothered me a great deal. All in all a fantastic trip. If you are looking for a good place to free camp outside Boroloola you can't go past Batten Point a fabulous place to stay. Just make sure everything is secure in your van and everything should be ok if you take your time. We would do it again in a heartbeat.

Andrea
AnswerID: 353861

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 23:22

Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 23:22
The "Savannah Way" actually goes all the way west to Broome.

Cheers,
Peter
AnswerID: 353908

Reply By: Rangiephil - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 10:05

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 10:05
I met some people at Lorella Springs who had their microwave fall out of their expensive off road van (Kedron?) on the way in.

So If you have an off road van with high quality fittings it should be OK , although microwaves are not cheap, but taking an on road van would be asking for interior damage.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 353935

Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 10:59

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 10:59
If going that way, it really is worth taking the diversion and including Lawn Hill National Park. The canoe trip up the Gorge is not to be missed. Camp at Adel's Grove just outside the National Park.

You can go down through Kingfisher Camp, a great camp spot on Bowthorne Station if it is still open. Turnoff is West of Doomagee, or go down from Burketown via Gregory Downs.

We also like King Ash Bay, outside Borroloola. It is best though if you have a boat and are into fishing. Fuel, water and power available. I wouldn't recommend the kayak with the crocs in the area though.

All of these roads vary a great deal. At their best, they are like bitumen (or better). At their worst, they will break almost anything. Also, it is very difficult to get good info. We did a lot of this road first in 2006 and were repeatedly told it was near impassable. We found the road to be in generally very good condition, with care needed at a lot of the creek crossings. But we had just done Gibb River Road, Kalumburu, Bungle Bungles, Cape Leveque and lots of other top end roads. If your set up is sound, it is all a matter of perceptions, adjusting tyre pressure and driving to conditions.

Have a good trip.

Norm C
AnswerID: 353941

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