Gibb River RD

Hi everyone,
Just wondering if you have any tips for traveling along the Gibb River Rd. We are taking an 80 series and have a off road box camper trailer and wondering if we will have any problems towing through to mitchell falls? We will be heading through mid August. What does everyone think on mitchell falls is it worth the visit?
Were also looking at down to the bungle bungles and were thinking of taking Duncan RD from Halls creek back up towards Kununarra. Is this road usually in good condition and a good drive? Any Tips or places to recommend to see up North would be great!

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Reply By: wato35 - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 07:52

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 07:52
Hi Stooge

The condition of the roads throughout the Kimberley's can change quickly. If its good this week, it doesn't mean it will be good next week. Most people leave their vans, trailers etc at Drysdale Station and use a tent. The Kimberleys in a magic place, so much to see and do. I would love to go back there soon. Check out this web site.

If you need a guide I can help. Have a great trip.

AnswerID: 422548

Follow Up By: stooge - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 22:35

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 22:35
hmm sounds like leaving the trailer at Drysdale might be a good option and then swaging it at mitchell falls. I will check out the web site see what info i can get from it, every little bit helps :) thanks for the reply.
FollowupID: 693026

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 09:25

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 09:25
Hi Holly.

If you travel at a reasonable speed and drop your tyre pressures a bit you should not have any problems. See our blog here

Bear in mind there is a deepish river crossing on the way to Mitchell Falls so make sure your trailer can handle that. But the falls are very impressive and the helicopter ride is recommended.

The Bungle Bungles is a must see place - allow 2 or 3 days to have a good look around. Take it slowly on the road in. The Duncan Rd is a good drive too and there are some spectacular gorges along the southern section west of Old Halls Creek


J and V
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:11

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:11
Ditto to John and Val.

You mentioned a "box trailer camper". With that in mind I have two suggestions.

Firstly;Camp at the river at the Mitchell Falls turnoff (from the Kalumbaru Road) and drive the rest of the way to the Mitchell Falls without the trailer. That last bit from the river to the falls can be a ripper for corrugations. Low tyre pressure zone for sure. We used 20psi and was fine at around 40K (where possible). But then again it may have been just graded when you get there. Oh yeah you wish!!!

SEcondly and dont want to appear to tell you to such eggs. Do not travel too slowly on the corrugations and don't let the trailer set up any harmonics. We saw three (yep 3 on the way out) trailers on the Bungles road with broken springs. All similar to what I "assume" you have. Each driver had said they were onl;y driving at about 15KPH. That says something. Maybe too slow. Drop the pressures down to about 20 and try the speeds to find the smoothest and safetst for your setup. You sould also be able to "feel" the trailer as well.

Hope this helps.

That is one beautiful neck of the woods.

Can we come too? Joking.Cape York for us. Soon also.

FollowupID: 692950

Follow Up By: stooge - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 23:14

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 23:14
Hi John, Val and Phil,

Thanks heaps for your reply. I can only hope the tracks are nice and graded when we get up there, ha i dont think we will be that lucky. Oh well its all part of the experience :).

I am glad to hear that Duncan Rd is good, have you been along the track which goes between the Tanami RD and Duncan RD its the one that goes past wolfe creek crater looks like a station track. Just wondering if is ok to drive along as i had heard the Tanami RD is shocking to drive on.
Val do you recommend any camp sites at the Bungle Bungles ? if its worth checking it out for a coupe of days we might set up a bit of a base camp.

Phil, Cape York hey, how long are you looking at going for? Were hoping to get there as well but its all depending on how time goes and how long it takes to do the cape york trip. Were hoping to go straight up to the Pilbara then up along Gibb River RD and explore the surrounds. Check out the NT and Kakadu National Park then hopefully Cape York. We dont want to rush to much though :).

Thanks guys,

FollowupID: 693028

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 08:11

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 08:11
Hi Holly,

The track that you mention looks like a station track so would be a no-go unless you could get permission. But the Duncan road from there into Old Halls Creek is scenic with some gorges, great wall of China and OHC itself, so I would go that way anyway. Going into Wolfe Ck the normal way I think I recall seeing signs that in effect said "private property" near the station where you would have to get onto that track. Last year the Tanami coming from the south was in good condition but the track into Wolfe CC is pretty horrendous with severe corrugations. But as you say, its all part of the experience!!

In the Bungles there are two camp grounds - nothing much to pick between them. There are toilets only, no showers, and while there are some shared fireplaces you would need to take wood in. Try to avoid getting too close to the bus camp area as I believe these can get rather noisy at times.

Have a great trip,


J and V
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Follow Up By: Steve and Viv - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 18:14

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 18:14
I will echo the other wise ones above as well. I really don;t see any issue with towing into Mitchell Falls if you travel at the right speed.

I have attached a link to our blog as well which echo's the others but you may like a read

FollowupID: 693324

Reply By: Rangiephil - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 09:49

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 09:49
Mitchell falls is certainly worth the visit.
When I went last August the road was the worst road I have ever been on, and I was reduced to 10-15Kmh for long stretches and the trip from King Edward River took 3 hours. I left my Camper at King Edward river campground and was glad I did.
The failure rate of cars is extremely high, and I met 2 Toyota 100 owners at Drysdale who had destroyed their front shocks and were waiting a week or so for replacements as well as hearing of numerous "war stories" of eg an older Pajero destroying all body to chassis mounts..
The secret is to go slowly even though the rental toyotas may thunder past at 80Kmh.

Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 422561

Reply By: DEANO WA - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 09:54

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 09:54
Hi, just returned from the trip.Derby half of GRR is a highway. we sat on 95km/h towing a trailer, no probs. eastern half gradually gets worse but still not "bad". track to Mitchell is awful, many cars and "hardcore" offroad campers falling apart, but they were starting to grade to track so might be ok when you go.

have fun
AnswerID: 422564

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 13:17

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 13:17
Did you do a search here ? Anne from Drysdale River station has recently posted info on the very subject. Agreed re other comment - taking it very easy, with softened tyres (plus some thoughtful provisioning and preparation) can take you just about anywhere !
AnswerID: 422576

Reply By: wendys - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 14:03

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 14:03
Think I have seen somewhere recently that there has not been much of a Wet in the Kimberley this year, so it might be worth contacting Anne at Drysdale River to find out if the Falls will be flowing enough in August to make the trip in worthwhile. When the Falls are flowing (especially after a big Wet) they are just brilliant. Been in there 3 times now and the track from King Edward River (great camp spot) was bad each time. Broken vehicles are very common, as are instances of running off road and hitting trees, etc. - people who are just going in for the day from the King Edward, have a tendency to hurry - and there are virtually no signs on bends, dips and hazards.
If you are going to be that close, would recommend going north to the Kalumburu area. You can camp in the town, but there are 2 coastal camps that can be great - it can vary from year to year. We used to like Honeymoon, run by the local French family, but were very disappointed our last time there. We found McGowans much better, then, but depends who managing it.
Along the Gibb, recommend going into Mornington - hiring a canoe and paddling the gorges there is brilliant; it is worth putting up with the very variable quality camp area at Mt Barnett in order to walk to Manning Gorge and Falls - great swimming too; do not miss Home Valley - camp out by the Pentecost for mind blowing scenery.
By August, all of the Gibb area will be dry and dusty - you just have to accept that.
AnswerID: 422582

Follow Up By: stooge - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 23:40

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 23:40
Hi Wendy,
I was spewing that we couldn't leave a bit earlier then August as i have seen its going to be quite dry up North. Were travelling with another car and i'm guessing we will be driving quite far apart due to the dust. I can imagine our windows will be up and aircon blasting.
Thanks for the tips on spots to go to, when i have been looking at the maps there are so many places to see and its hard to tell which ones are worth visiting or stopping at. Looks like you could spend a life time exploring up there.
I cant wait! :)
FollowupID: 693030

Reply By: dave-345 - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 16:42

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 16:42
Do not do the michell falls by road. It's is the worst road I have ever travelled. The grader only started to travel the 60km from drysdale down the GRR. I'm a singel bloke with only a swag, and I could not put my vehicle through the the torture. After travelling the 60klm to drysdale, the next day I saw three vehicle being towed down from the falls at $150 an hour back to the station. Then they charge you $120 an hour to fix your problrm.
I turned arounf the headed back, I then did a plan over the falls well worth the money, but that this just me.
AnswerID: 422601

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 10:00

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 10:00
Mate I think you should do some work on your car so that it can handle those conditions. We spent heaps on ours and at the time though "I HOPE ITS WORTH IT". And it was. The Mitchell Falls and the Bungle Bungles roads had almost 6" corrugations and with the Bilstein suspension and low tyre pressures of 20 PSI she breezed over it at around the 40K mark. Noisy? Of course but the steering felt solid and the vibrations were minimal. Over 8 weeks we broke just one thing. A tail light globe. Post trek checkup at the 4WD shop we went to was only labour. Nothing to do.

Please do yourself a favour and get the suspension seen to so that you can feel confident it wont hurt the car and then you will not miss out on some of the wonders of this land.

And when you do, don't be one of those drivers who sit on 15KPH. That is right on the perfect speed to harmonise with the corrugations and break axles and shake the car and inhabitants to pieces. Sorry folks but that's the wrong speed. Upgrade the suspension and go a bit faster.

And dont call the bloke who just passed you with good suspension a (&^%(&^%&^. We spent thousands on our suspension for just this reason and get damned annoyed at the uneducated ignoramuses who say this on the radio to the likewise ignorant counterparts running (crawling) with them in convoy, when we pass them.

In all sincerity

FollowupID: 693043

Follow Up By: Steve and Viv - Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 18:21

Saturday, Jul 03, 2010 at 18:21
Oh Mate. I hope they all hear you. If I have to be slowed down by an inexperienced rental car driver one more time I think I'll scream. You can even see these people vibrating all over the road, how bad is that.
FollowupID: 693326

Reply By: stooge - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 23:47

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 23:47
Thanks everyone for all your feed back, its all very helpful. I cant wait to go, 4 and a 1/2 weeks to go and counting :)
Just another quick question, how available is fresh water along the Gibb River RD? Do most of the Stations and roadhouses let you fill up your water tanks?
Just wondering because if they dont we will have to make sure we use our water very wisely.
AnswerID: 422649

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 07:48

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 07:48
Hi Holly,

When we were there we were using water bottles and we were certainly able to fill these up - but from memory it was bore water, so you might want to be careful with your drinking water anyway, if you dont like the taste of bore water. But you will be having lots of swims!


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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FollowupID: 693037

Reply By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 10:53

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 10:53
Plenty of creeks to fill up. We only use those 25Lt white plastic ones. Not a problem to carry down to the creek.

A hint. If you have standard suspension, you would do well to consider upgrading it a bit. Maybe just shock absorbers to start with. We chose Bilstein. I like their 33 year German precision engineering and background in shock absorbers for serious competition, rallying and the general public. Tyre pressures 20 to 25 on the corrugated Kalumbaru road and especially the Bungles and Mitchell Falls roads.

Have a look at the Karunji Track while you are there.

AnswerID: 422669

Follow Up By: stooge - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 17:05

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 17:05
Awsome, thats good news, we have a water tank on the trailer but i will be sure to tank some extra conatiners to make it easy filling up in creeks. We have been doing a bit of prep work on the 80 at the moment getting it ready for the trip. Have some bilsteins on the way to replace the old shockies. The 80 has a 5" lift at the moment and it is real floaty on the road especially with the trailer on it. Hopefully by lowering it a bit and putting in these Bilsteins it might solve our problem other wise it could get a little hairy.
Hopefully the camper holds up,Bit of bush mechanics might come into action when were out there. :)

FollowupID: 693077

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 17:22

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 17:22
Hi Holly

Same name as our daughter in law.

Bilsteins absolutely NO argument there. You should be please.

If you are lowering the car for legal reasons GOOD. If it an engineering of "feeling safer" thing okay - no argument. Worrying about tipping over then you can adjust your driving patterns to overcome that.

Everything up there that we went on was not hazardous for a lifted car. The tracks are excellent. Corrugations creeks and ditches yes. But excellent. Just better after grading as should be expected.

In fact we did a little detour to say Hi to a local on the Karunjie track and it was handy.

Such a great place.

If you go on the Karunjie Track, see if you can find this place on the swamp shortcut, that's in the background of Baz Lurhmann making "Australia".

Well just an idea. We found it. Just for the fun of it.


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