Weipa -Lockhart River

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 938 Views:2600 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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We're planning our first adventure to the Cape area( Weipa -Lockhart River) in Mid June. We have a Ford Explorer but not a lot of off-road experience. Some friends have suggested the driving is not as bad as we've heard, others say we should do a 4x4 driving course. We'd appreciate any advice for those of you who are out there doing it.
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Reply By: Mick - Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 at 00:00
Do a course! Even though you may not need to use all the skills you learn, at least you will know what your vehicle can and can't do and you should enjoy your trip far better if you have the confidence and competence a course can give. Do you really know the right way to do a river crossing without trashing you vehicle or the environment? Have you ever done a river crossing before? Even though the crossings of the Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers in to Lockhart River may not be difficult on the main track much of the time, do you really want your first crossing to be so far from civilization.

When we were up the Cape a few years ago we were amazed at the number of ill-prepared people tempting fate. Sure there is enough traffic up there that someone will probably come along if help is needed and people usually love to assist less experienced people who have acquired a basic level of knowledge, such as doing a course. But experienced people are far less enthusiastic helping others who haven't been bothered to acquire a basic level of knowledge and equipment and neglected basic self-help things like carrying enough fuel ("is there a petrol station between here and the Jardine Ferry") or adjusting tyre pressures.

I would recommend whoever normally sits in the front passenger seat also do the course. They should be far more comfortable knowing what the driver is doing and you never know when the main driver might need a replacement. Many obstacles need teamwork with a passenger to safely traverse.

Do a course and you should have a much more relaxing and safer adventure.
AnswerID: 2736

Follow Up By: Maureen - Thursday, Apr 11, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Apr 11, 2002 at 00:00
Thnaks, Mick, mal and Cashy for the advice. We've found a 4x4 group in our area and also got the name of a local guy who runs a course. Although we plan our trip for June we'll make use of the time left to get as much theoretical and practical experience as possible. Cheers all.
FollowupID: 1057

Reply By: Mal Try - Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 at 00:00
Maureen, very wise words from Mike. However, you won't learn everything you need to know from a course. They can't teach you what speed to travel on a particular corrugated road. Different road materials which can be distinguished by their colour have corrugations at different intervals and therefore require slightly different speeds for comfort and kindness to vehicles. No two river or creek crossings are the same and you can only learn from experience. Since you dont have this, learn from other's experience. Watch what other people do. It becomes very obvious who is doing it well and who is not. Drive at the speed that others are driving at on corrugations but only if you feel it is safe. The Old Telegraph Road has some challenges but there is little point in going to the Cape if you don't do the OTR. Just pull of the road at each crossing and watch others crossing. Ask why they did something in a particular way. If unsure, walk the crossings first remembering there are two wheel tracks and use your passenger as a guide walking in front of you. It is important to use the same gear for the complete crossing. 2nd low is generally OK but if you have a steep slippery exit I generally stick to 1st low. It is also important to maintain momentum - try not to stop during a crossing. This is where the guide is very handy. Have a great time and don't forget your "rip-off" money for the ferry. Mal.
AnswerID: 2742

Reply By: Cashy - Thursday, Apr 11, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Apr 11, 2002 at 00:00
Maureen, I have to agree with Mal. Do a course. What you will learn from this will not only help you with the driving but should also help with the recovery equipment you should carry. As Mal said the more experienced people will help but usally only if you at least have the minimum level of recovery gear. No one likes to use there gear on others who don't have any. My advise would be join one of the larger clubs who run there own course as it will be cheaper then a professional course. I was in the Cape last year and some sections are easy but the OTL has some challenges that take experience to safely tackle them. I would also advise to travel with at least one other vehicle for safty. Enjoy the trip. Cashy
AnswerID: 2758

Reply By: Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Thursday, Apr 11, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Apr 11, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Maureen, pop in and say hello on your way thru Cairns, I am happy to provide any local information and advice Naturally we can also provide training if required and offer special rates for touring couples Cheers Rob
AnswerID: 2764

Follow Up By: Maureen - Friday, Apr 12, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Apr 12, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks Rob, we'll definitely drop in and say gidday might take advantage of the training opportunity too if my confidence level has not risen considerably before then. Cheers Maureen.
FollowupID: 1067

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