Kalumburu Road present conditions.

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 02:54
ThreadID: 87022 Views:3460 Replies:9 FollowUps:6
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Hi everyone,

Well as most of you will probably know due to almost double and in places over double the average rainfall, all the roads in the North Kimberley copped some real damage this wet season. The Mitchell Plateau rainfall average is 1.5 m and the plateau went over 3 m.
In places the Kalumburu road had vanished to the depth of a mans head.
The Gibb River Road is now open, as is the Kalumburu Road as far as the Drysdale River only. The Gibb River crossing ( on the Kalumburu road) suffered damage, part of it washed away and care should be taken when crossing. The damage was filled already but the river is still running well and slowly moving the fill. Hard to fix while a good flow is happening.
We are in full operation but the road North of Drysdale is still closed.
There are still some wet sections of the Kalumburu Road road between Drysdale and the Mitchell plateau turn off which wouldn't yet take much traffic. There are also places where the road is impassable ( big long wash outs) and vehicles would have to take to the bush. The grader is now working on the road North of Drysdale and heading for the Mitchell plateau turn off. Soon there will be two graders working on the Mitchell Plateau track ( called Port Warrender road in the reports).
Everyone is estimating that the plateau track should take 2 or more weeks of work to get to a point the shire will open it. The approaches to the King Edward crossing are just about totally gone on both sides, although the crossing held up ok. To fix all the damage will take longer than just an opening grade, as much of it is beyond what a grader can fix and will require earth works but the shire will open it as soon as they inspect it and find it safe for traffic.
So the present situation is that the road to the Mitchell Falls will probably be open late June or early July.
We all want it open as much as all visitors do !

The road from the Mitchell plateau turn off heading North through to Kalumburu is a different story, the black soil areas North of Theda Station are VERY wet. When inspected recently by air there were still 2 km long stretches of the road covered by water.
So for that area it isn't only a matter of putting machines on to fix the damage, it is a matter of waiting for it to dry up enough to even get a machine on it.
As no one has yet been able to get on ground up there to inspect it for damage, no one is sure what will need to be done once it's dry enough to do anything.

The first reports about the Kalumburu Road not being open all dry season were NOT well done and made no reference at all to the difference in time frame between the road opening to the Mitchell Plateau and and the road opening to Kalumburu. In fact it is totally different time frame due to the soil type up towards Kalumburu.

Hope this all makes sense and we look forward to seeing lots of visitors again this year.
cheers, Anne

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Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 07:09

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 07:09
Thanks for the update Anne. What a year!
AnswerID: 457579

Reply By: Member - Cozzie Toodyay (WA) - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 07:36

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 07:36
Thanks for the report Anne, was at Drysdale for a few days last week hoping to head up to the plateau as reasons stated was a no go, we are currently sitting in Kununurra and was contemplating heading back that way and waiting for the MP road to open, will move on to the Territory now, thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Drysdale Station, staff friendliness, camp site, facilities, food, and info were spot on- thanks, will be back next season for another go, please say howdy to Wayne from the Toodyay mob found him to be a top bloke.

AnswerID: 457581

Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 13:01

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 13:01
Hi Cozzie,
Thanks for the nice words, I will tell Wayne. He and Pam have been with me 10 years but regretfully they have decided this will be their last season, I will miss them SO much, they are part of the family ! Both top people and by now know so much about the North Kimberley, so can always help everyone with answers.
cheers, Anne
FollowupID: 730781

Reply By: Great Divide Tours - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 11:31

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 11:31
Thanks Anne most helpful, my group is due to stay with you on 11 July and will be heading up to the Mitchell Plateau on 12 July so fingers crossed the road will be open by then
Vic Widman
AnswerID: 457609

Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 12:57

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 12:57
Hi Vic,
I'll be very if it's not open by close to end of June, so hopefully well before you arrive.
cheers, Anne
FollowupID: 730780

Reply By: Michaeljp - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 15:33

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 15:33
Thanks for the update Anne.
Anne, do you have any photos of Mitchell Falls in full flood? Either this years flood or other years.
Cheers Michael
AnswerID: 457618

Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 01:21

Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 01:21
Hi Michael,
Sorry no I don't as I can't get there then either !
cheers, Anne
FollowupID: 730852

Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 16:23

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 16:23

Thank you so much for such a clear and detailed report. Even those of us who are not heading that way this year like to know what's going on in that part of the country that we know and love so much.

Maybe next year.

AnswerID: 457622

Reply By: Kris and Kev - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 17:29

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 17:29
Yes, great report, thanks very much. We will be one of your visitors! We are currently in Kununurra for a few days before we travel to Broome etc. Any suggestions of the best direction of travel? We were intending on travelling via the Great Northern Highway and returning via the Gibb River Road however all travel books and web sites do the Gibb first and return via the Great Northern. (We have 6 or 7 weeks to spend.) Thanks, Kevin and Kris
AnswerID: 457626

Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 01:29

Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 01:29
Hi Kris & Kev,
Can't see for the life of me why the books always do one way or the other, can't see how it makes any difference.
Only thing at present is the longer you leave it to do the North Kimberley the more chance you will have of getting to more places as it dries up etc, so I'd be inclined to do the Great Northern first from that point of view.
Having said that I'm not sure if all access to all places is open along GN highway, not my backyard so you need to check other avenues of advice.
At least you have lots of time so should end up being able to see all.
cheers, Anne
FollowupID: 730853

Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 23:31

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 at 23:31
thanks anne, joanna rang thru the last update but we have to make sure this info goes directly into the road condition pages on exploroz cuase people are sitting on those pages desperately waiting for updates. I'll alert Kate who is currently doing the updates but pleaes feel welcome to give us a call (or of course we can give you direct access to update the report yourself you know ;-) !!!

David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!

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AnswerID: 457663

Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 01:55

Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 01:55
Hi Michelle,
Bit nutty here trying to open for trading etc etc so all up I'm a bit pressed getting much time to do this forum anymore. Much as I enjoy it I only seem to find time late some odd nights, day vanish tied to the phone.
Please feel free for ExplorOz to phone me direct as better any available info goes on site for all to see rather than each & every person to phone us. That is where half my time has gone recently answering questions re the road conditions, it isn't so much that I mind ( unless at 9.35 pm like other night - darn rude ! He got short shift ) but it's very time consuming and at end of day it's not my call but it is up to SWEK to make decisions and give out reports. Really people should always call them not us. Some of the departments can get pretty upset if we give out info that varies to theirs and some folks can get very upset if our info turns out to be not perfect and has an impact on their plans.
We try, but it's only best guess after all. I'm always hesitant to put info on site till I'm pretty sure it will be close to correct.
Won't be surprised if it is open to MP just before end of this month but that is yet to be seen depending on time taken to fix each section.
regards, Anne
FollowupID: 730854

Reply By: Kris and Kev - Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 09:24

Friday, Jun 17, 2011 at 09:24
Thanks very much Anne for your reply, clears that one up for us. Yep, we have got lots of time so hope to see most of this wonderful place. Off to the Bungle Bungles on Sunday from Kununurra. Hope to catch up with you next month. Thanks again..Kris and Kev
AnswerID: 457684

Reply By: Zebra400 - Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 10:11

Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 10:11

Will there be signs up at the Kalumburu Rd & Gibb River Rd when Mitchell Falls are open. Once we get on the GRR we wont have internet coverage so wont know if iit is open.

AnswerID: 457785

Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 02:49

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 02:49
Hi Laurie,

Signs at each end start of the road but they are often not right up to date.
Wouldn't worry about it if I was you as the bush telegraph is pretty active and each person you bump into at camps etc will have just been at least to Drysdale or heard the latest when they just departed towns. Then you have all the stations, roadhouses etc that you call into from either direction that will know latest and if don't can find out, plus there are public phones at some of the stops.
Can't see it being an issue finding out latest without the net, as lots of other options.
cheers, Anne
FollowupID: 731131

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