should I take my van on the Gibb river rd?

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 21:11
ThreadID: 80100 Views:4196 Replies:8 FollowUps:1
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Hi all we have been on the road since the begining of feb and are leaving port hedland heading for Broom and we are both in two minds about taking our van on the gibb ,I will give you a run down on the van its a14.6 Windsor Rapid it has indipendent suspention and is pact to the max ,Im pulling it with a 100 ser 4.2 T/D cruiser ,I am in no hurry to get accross so I wont be speeding and I just want to know if Im kidding my self as I have been told mixed storys like a 22 foot on road van that had no worries and a Jayco eagle also ,it will depend on condition at the time of crossing but I just want some advice please.

Cheers all john.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 22:07

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 22:07
Hi John

Yes, it does depend on the conditions at the time. We took our Bushtracker through in June 2008, including the slow drive to Kalumburu. Almost all the caravans we saw on the GRR were Bushtrackers. Much of the road had been fairly recently graded, but not all. People going through in early July when the 'rush' started reported it as the worst road they had been on. You may get a dream run, but probably not as we are into July, peak period and school holidays, but considering the cost of recovery or getting parts if something goes wrong, the safest way is to leave the caravan at Broome, Derby or Kununurra and do a full loop (GRR and highway) with a tent. Don't miss Purnululu (off the highway not the GRR), where only small single axle caravans may enter, so that is a tenting proposition anyway. "Packed to the max" is also a risk for breakdown on long distances of corrugations. My Blogs from 2008 outline our trip. It is an experience not to be missed, and the 'cream' of WA.


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Reply By: Tessysdad - Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 23:04

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 23:04
Hi John,
Good clearance and a common sense approach to driving are the main ingredients you will need. A goodly amount of time is a very helpful ingredient. We have a 21 foot dirt road caravan with good clearance and we have taken it along the GRR twice without severe problems or damage. Of course checking out the road conditions is of paramount importance, but "bad" conditions don't always mean "impossible". We have seen a variety of vans being towed along the road without incident, and not always high end off roaders - ours isn't. Since you are likely to start at the west end near Derby, you could give going as far as Bell Gorge a try to sus things out - this is probably the best part of the road and not so far as to make it tedious to turn back. You can check with the visitors' centre at Broome to see which National Parks are open before making a decision as its not much point if you can't see the sights anyway. Hope this is of some help.

Happy travels,
Mike and Jan.
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Reply By: Baz&Pud (Tassie) - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 08:25

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 08:25
Hi John
We are currently in Charters Towers, but have a friend who is currently in Kununurra (spelling) on his way to do the Gibb.
Was talking to him two days ago and he said that his information is that the graders are on the road as we speak and its as smooth as a baby's bottom.
Enjoy the trip, its wonderful.
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 08:29

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 08:29
Agreed with some of the nods above - with decent tyres to help handle some of the stonier sections, you should be fine 'if you take it easy' - low speeds can make a huge difference - anyway, you'll be wanting to see the countryside and that is best done at lower speeds :-o). I've got a couple of pics on my site (roads page) showing the commonly found road surface along there - might be of use..... clearance is not a problem - just the stones (mainly the eastern end) and corrugatRoad picsions at times.
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Follow Up By: Member - Johny boy (NSW) - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 08:48

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 08:48
Thank you all for your replies,we are just a bit unsure about the way we approach it all and we are still a long way from Sydney if things go wrong so I thought I would ask without risk of sounding like a cowboy caravanner LOL!!
we will check rd conditions aswell as ask as many people as we can on our way there,well I better hitch up and make our way to 80 mile :)

thanks again all of you guys its nice to have mates in the know .

Regards John.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 12:31

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 12:31
Hi John

We made a lot of decisions when we got there, eg whether to go to Kalumburu (we did - it was slow going on a rock based rather than corrugated road but wonderful camped right on the beach at McGowans), whether to take the van to the Mitchell Falls camp ground (we didn't, but we did take it as far as the King Edward River Camp Ground, crossing the river which was the deepest crossing we took, doing the falls trip as an easy day trip on a rather corrugated road), whether to go to the high profile El Questro (we did and loved the scenery).

To get in as much as possible without doing the full loop (as we were continuing on to Alive Springs), we went from Derby to Fitzroy Crossing to go to Geikie Gorge which is very different to the GRR gorges. We then back tracked a short distance to take the road to Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge where the road was corrugated but not excessive - but we had cordial escape through the lids of unopened bottles which found its way over everything in the first 10 kms! Once onto the GRR we went to most of the Park gorges, but not long distance ones such as Mornington. It took us three and a half weeks from Derby to Wyndham.

We went to Purnululu from Kununurra rather than from Halls Creek as in our original plan due to the hiccough with the solar panels. The only stretch we didn't see was between the Tanami turn off west of Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing.

We ran tyres on 25 psi cold all round.

It is a wonderful part of the country.


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Reply By: Ross H (QLD) - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:28

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:28
Hi John

We hae been on the road since June 2 and have done the Bungles, Cape Levque,Gibb river Road and up to Mitchell Plateau with no real problems.
Just drive to conditions and have a great time.
We have been towing a jayco flamingo outback.

Regards Rossco
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Reply By: 80seriescruiser - Saturday, Jul 17, 2010 at 01:10

Saturday, Jul 17, 2010 at 01:10
I was on the Gibb late June and you can go 80 on it if you so desire. The Gibb itself you could just about do in a car, except for a couple of river crossings, with the biggest being at the Kununurra end near Home Valley Station. But yeah you could tow on the Gibb. Its every other road that runs off the Gibb that are heavily corrugated and you wouldnt want to be towing anything on unless you wanted shaken apart and the cost of recovering your van is fantastic.
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Reply By: carlsp - Saturday, Jul 17, 2010 at 15:48

Saturday, Jul 17, 2010 at 15:48
Hi John,

Many people write drive to the conditions but a week or so ago we were on the Gibb. The thing you have to look out for is the Thrifty Rental Pajero's, doing a million miles an hour. They shoot past, cover you in dust and pelt you with rocks. Driving slow makes you open to this type of thing.

Try this idea as I find it works well. Get you wife to drive part of the road at the beginning. Get her to sit on about 50 kilometers an hour, while you sit in the caravan. Just look at how everything handles. Vibrations, noises etc. Very soon you will get a gut feeling as to how the caravan is handling things.

If you go ahead take the correct spares, wheel bearings, nuts, spare tyres, springs, shocks, lots of duct tape.
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