GRR - Travelling in April

Anyone travelled the Gibb RIver Road in Early April? We have to go to Broome for a wedding (April 2010) and afterwards am planing to drive up to Kununurra and then back along the GRR.

I know that this might not be the best time of year to do this trip due to the chance of high water levels etc, but this is the price I pay being married to a primary school teacher which unfortunately restrict the times of year we can travel.

I have a Nissan Patrol GU with a snorkel fitted and the other vehicles in the party (Prado, Pathfinder & Pajero) will also have snorkels fitted.

Our plan at this stage is to spend about 10 days just on the GRR then stick the wife on a plane (in Broome) and have a quiet drive alone in the car back to Perth ;-)

The weather can change from year to year, but I thought I would once again ask the knowledgeable bunch what their experiences have been during April.

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Reply By: get outmore - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 07:07

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 07:07
fairly good chance it will not be open and if it is most gorges will be closed including mitchell falls
AnswerID: 366753

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 07:42

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 07:42
G'day Si,

It is a bit of a lucky dip with the weather when we went in 2005 (not April) cyclone Ingrid dumped a huge amount of rain on the area mid March and that year you would not have been travelling in April.

See this map,

Image Could Not Be Found

Kind regards
AnswerID: 366758

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 08:43

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 08:43
Si, it is not so much a matter of how well equipped your vehicle is, but whether they have opened the road or not. These days, Main Roads keep them shut until you can get through in a shopping trolley unless you have a special permit.
If the road is open, it is the best time to be there. Although there will still be some spots closed the others will be great.
No way of predicting. Just be there with an alternate plan for the Pilbara.

OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 366764

Reply By: Member - Footloose - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 08:56

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 08:56
The weather will be a lot less variable than your other half's temperament :))

AnswerID: 366770

Reply By: Member - AJB (VIC) - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 10:40

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 10:40
In years, long gone by, we have travelled from kununurra to derby in April. The road was just opened and there were very few travellers on the road. The pentacost was easily passable and the Durack was a challenge and most travellers were not equiped or game to cross this one. Once through it it was great. The kalumburu road was closed as was Bell gorge but the others were open and had great clear running fresh water. The manning was hammering. galvans was cascading. Camped on the Gibb. Fantastic. Probably all changed now!!!
Each year is different so what'll be like in 2010 would be like predicting the lotto numbers for this Saturday. We have actually been on the GRR a few times in April over a number of years while we lived in the kimberley. Watched Haileys comet from Manning Gorge one easter! The best time is as soon as the road is opened before the hordes decend and the water becomes a little stagnant, plus the days are warmer so swimming more pleasureable. At night it has cooled down enough, compared to the relentless opressive heat of Dec Jan Feb for camping. We tented and swaged. A bit younger then so discomfort was an old persons language
AnswerID: 366789

Follow Up By: Leroy - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 21:49

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 21:49
This is what we just experineced and it was fantastic. Few tourists, lots of water for water falls but the exeption was the Durack was lucky to be 500mm :) and the Kulumbaru rd was open as was mitchell falls!

FollowupID: 634540

Reply By: tim_c - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:26

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:26
Hi, I was up there in April 2007. Most roads had only just opened and there was still plenty of water around in the gorges and waterfalls. We came up the Tanami finding it hard to believe it was a desert and finished the track after dark (didn't stay at Wolfe Creek 'coz it looked like more rain was coming - no, I haven't seen the movie!). The Tanami was closed first thing the next day.

We did a "clock-wise loop" around the Kimberely but were willing to reverse it if conditions dictated. When we started the GRR at the west end, the Bungles were still closed but they were opened by the time we had reached the east end. A Ford F350 had drowned in the King Ed. River (to Mitchell Plateau) just the week before we got there but we managed to cross with no dramas (just a radiator blind - no snorkel) so conditions can change quite quickly.

If you'll be up there anyway, you can afford to chance it, and if everything is closed and doesn't look like opening again soon, have a Plan B for the trip home eg. you might be able to use a couple of days up to Cape Leveque & back while you wait for GRR to dry out.
AnswerID: 366793

Follow Up By: tim_c - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:27

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:27
Actually, after writing all that, I think it might have actually been May when we were there. Although they did say that the wet season had continued unusually late that year...
FollowupID: 634470

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 14:36

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 14:36
In 2007 and 2008 there was some rain in May or June. This resulted in road closures. If rain occurs, you can be 'locked in' for a few days, which may be a risk if you have a tight time frame.


Red desert dreaming

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AnswerID: 366803

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 17:21

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 17:21
Quite right MH....
On 20th June 2007 we were camped on the northern side of the lower Ord, but managed to get out after 60mm of rain overnight.
Some friends that we had left at Cape Domett 2 days earlier were stuck there for 10 days.

OKA196 Motorhome
FollowupID: 634497

Reply By: Member - Si (WA) - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 21:37

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 21:37
Thanks for your comments. We will have a backup plan (definitely) as you just never know. It is good to see that it is possible to get through if the roads are open and the water levels are passable.

It is interesting to know that the Bungle Bungles can be closed as well (now I think about it there are river crossings) and that might have to be another item we take off the backup plan.

The worst thing is now having to plan two holidays. One for if the GRR is open and other if it is closed. What a bugger,l we may just have to head up there again as it would be a waste of plan otherwise.

Well, from everyone's comments (Thank you) l guess it is up to mother nature to decide what the holiday will entail.

AnswerID: 366874

Follow Up By: Leroy - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 21:47

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 21:47
i just returned from a 6 week vic to kimberley trip. We were very lucky and most things opened a couple of days before we got there. The exception was Purnulu which was open at the begining of april. We met a number of disappointed people that could not travel along the GGR and were there on school holidays. It will be a hit and miss event for you but hopefully you will be lucky like we were and find everything opens as you go.

FollowupID: 634538

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