Cape York, the OTL and recovery gear

I'll be going to the Cape in June, Prado 150 towing an Aussie Swag camper. No other vehicles in the party, just bro-in-law and me. I would like to do the OTL on the way north, and maybe also on the way back south. Would appreciate any advice on how necessary it is to have a winch if I want to do the OTL. I have the usual snatch strap, tow strap, maxi tracks etc but no winch. I was last there in 1995 with a Nissan Patrol in a party of four vehicles and did not need to use recovery gear on the OTL then, but things have probably changed. Thanks in advance.
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Reply By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 19:19

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 19:19
Hi Ray

The OTL PROPER starts about half way along the road to the cape

if you have the map it will give you all the creek crossing

June may be a little bit early and the creeks will be a bit high after the wet season

There are many post on this site to search for for advise and from last season

Gun shot is not as terrible as made out it has a much easy track to go for

but the rainy weather may continue and the roads may be flooded

Contact the road houses along the way
Drive to the condition and you should be ok

The ferry at the Jardine river takes Cash i don't know the cost of this year

But rember it is both ways and your camps fees are included

There are lot of tar bits along the road and watch out for the dips they are deep

Terry

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AnswerID: 485650

Reply By: Member - eighty matey - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:22

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:22
Hi Ray,

if you haven't got a winch don't worry. Take your time and have the basic recovery gear - snatch straps, rated shackles, chains. You shouldn't need it but if you do you'll have it.

There will be others somewhere near you on the track. You might be able to tag along or scan your CB to figure out where they are in case you ned them.

Have fun. It's a great track.

Hoo roo,
Steve
AnswerID: 485657

Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 21:28

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 21:28
Ray the condition of the OTT is possibly a touch more eroded & cut up in places than when you last did it but still not too difficult for towing a trailer (if not overloaded). The issue you have is towing solo being more likely to get stuck & then being able to self recover. Personally not knowing what the creek conditions will be like early in the season I'd fit a winch for piece of mind but then I do a few of the side trips as well where there are less people around.
Have a great trip.
Cheers Craig.......
AnswerID: 485664

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 06:38

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 06:38
Ray S
We drove the OTL Sth to Nth and fount it relatively easy, but that was in August, when all the crossings' water levels are down somewhat.
Neither our travelling mates, (Vivien C and Ray) or us have winches, but we did carry rated shackles, and a couple od snatch traps each

I would like to travell from Nth to Sth, as there would be much more interesting dragging our trailers up some of those southern approaches.

There are a couple of tricky spots, but nothing unpassible, just gotta get out and walk across all creeks, checking for holes, and the easiest route across.

Nolan's Brook is a different story.
Heaps of momentum is needed, (But not too fast) and if not confident, just wait for others to turn up and have a go first.
If you been there before, you know its a very harmless looking crossing that loves to drown vehicles.

I think it will change from year to year.

Enjoy, and remember, Nolan's is the tricky one

Cheers
Bucky

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AnswerID: 485671

Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 10:23

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 10:23
Quote I'll be going to the Cape in June, Prado 150 towing an Aussie Swag camper. No other vehicles in the party, just bro-in-law and me. I would like to do the OTL on the way north, and maybe also on the way back south. Would appreciate any advice on how necessary it is to have a winch if I want to do the OTL Quote

Having towed a Campomatic up the Northern part of the OTL last August woith my 92 Rannge rover with rear diff lock and front Quaife , I would like to add a bit.

When we started near Bramwell Junction , the first creek, Palm creek was impossible without a winch as the chalky stuff was wet. I declined there as my 66 year old wife would have found it difficult to climb out a window as the banks are so steep and close to the car.
I went North as far as the creek before Nolans and chickened as it was about 1 metre deep for 50 metres or so. On that day 4 count em 4 new 200 cruisers were drowned on a tag along on Nolans. I retraced my steps to Cannibal( or Mistake -the one with the access track just to the South), and could not have climbed the south bank without a winch, however there were others waiting to cross and one of them had a winch. I have a portable winch but it was quicker to use theirs.
Short answer you can go without a winch but you may have to use someone elses.
Regards Philip A

AnswerID: 485687

Follow Up By: BrownyGU - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 18:31

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 18:31
Phil,

Im with you, I did the cape last year in November, and was really looking forward to having a go at the OTT, but like you we did the first couple of K's from the Bramwell Junction to the Palm creek crossing, we were towing a Goldstream Storm and there was know way known we could of completed that crossing with out severe damage to the trailer, I had a Patrol with lockers and a winch, I'm certain I could of got through but at what cost? I really cant believe people that say "you shouldn't have to many problems" I'm just thank full it is only a couple of K's in from Bramwell, I also should add, that the owner of the roadhouse at Bramwell said I'd be silly to try it while towing, but I had to go and have a look for my self, several other travellers had also told me I should be fine, I couldn't believe someone could give such dangerous information, once I had actually seen palm creek!

Cheers....Browny
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FollowupID: 761135

Reply By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 10:35

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 10:35
To be self-reliant or not is what you are asking.
A hand turfer can be bought or hired for a fraction of the cost. Horrible to use... but if you need it you have it. I have a winch and use it on the rare occasion when I really need it. Most recovery equipment is used when not really required for example a club run where you rate your chances to get through knowing you have an exit strategy. On a solo trip your recovery equipment may be needed to save your car.

Craig
AnswerID: 485688

Reply By: brian j3 - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 20:13

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 20:13
hi ray s to be completly honest i would not even attempt the telegraph track without a winch, to leave with the hope of someone else with a winch is crazy my wife & i went a couple of years ago solo with pto winch all recovery gear & some i spent so much time pulling so many trucks out of the mud because thats what we all would do for any one of our mates in a crises everyone must take stock of one self and be prepared its forever changing for the sake of your self & passengers dont rely on someone being there 8 pm to pull you out of the mud
AnswerID: 485732

Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 23:11

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 23:11
North to South on the OTL would be much safer with a winch-especially Gunshot.South to North should not be a problem but in June you may still encounter deep crossings so I would advise July or August as A better time to go.
AnswerID: 485755

Reply By: Member - Ray S (QLD) - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 06:28

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 06:28
Thanks to everyone who commented. I've decided to get a winch fitted so I don't have to depend on others if I get into a difficult situation and also for peace of mind. It will also give me a better safety margin for other trips I plan on doing over the next few years.
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Reply By: Member - Judy and Laurie - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 08:07

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 08:07
Hi , we did the tele track last year and found palm creek to be up there with the worst. We have a winch and would not go without it, especially solo. We did use the winch and also had to help a few others . It is up there as one of our best trips so far , have a great and safe trip. Judy and Laurie.
AnswerID: 485856

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S (QLD) - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 19:54

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 19:54
Hi Judy and Laurie, Were you towing an off-road camper trailer when you did the OTL last year? If you were, did you have any issues because you were towing a trailer? I have an Aussie Swag which handles things pretty well, so far at least (over the last 6 years).
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Reply By: Member - Judy and Laurie - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 21:27

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 21:27
Hi Ray , we also have an Aussie Swag Ultra and have had it for 3 years . It handled the tele track with ease we had no trouble at all . Some of the crossings we had to think about, but with careful planning the Aussie swag just followed us through. the only crossing we opted out of was Nolans Brook as the water was very deep and we valued our camper too much to risk it . We had a wonderful trip and are planning another trip this year. cheers Judy and Laurie
AnswerID: 485920

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S (QLD) - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 22:13

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 22:13
Hi Judy and Laurie, Thanks for your info. Hope you don't mind if I ask one more question..... When you say you opted out of crossing Nolans Brook, did you go up to its southern bank and then retrace your path to the diversion track, just south of Mistake Creek, that takes you out to the main Northern Bypass Road?

If so, how did you go getting over the old log bridge over Cypress Creek?

I'm really looking forward to doing the OTL again after having done it in '95. Hope the water levels in the creeks on the OTL have dropped by the time we get there in mid June as, like you, I don't want to risk my Aussie Swag and Prado too much. There is a photo of my trailer (behind my old Patrol) on the Aussie Swag web site under suspension ( http://www.aussieswag.com.au/page/suspension__chassis.html ).

Thanks,

Ray
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Reply By: Member - Judy and Laurie - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 09:07

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 09:07
Hi Ray, We travelled up beginning of July and had wonderful weather. The levels had dropped but as I said Nolans was still up. We went out of the tele track after canal I think, then we went back in from the top to Nolans to watch the carnage , it was interesting to say the least . Our Profile photo is on the bridge at crystal creek on the road to Vrilya point and had a great camp on the beach. We were travelling with friends and we discussed each crossing as we also did not want to damage our vehicles . We also went and watched gunshot which was amusing and rescued a KK van at bertie creek in which the road collapsed under the van between the 4by and van leaving a 2m deep hole . Very interesting recovery. We had several more people we helped out and saw a lot of the cape in the time we had . Our Aussie Swag is the 09 Ultra and we have updated the front draw bars to hold 2 gas bottles 2 jerry cans and a porta loo in a cover. We have also found a spot for our max trax laying across behind the stone guard it seems to work well . So recovery gear is important and I would say yes to the winch you may not use it this time but when you do, it could very well save more than you think. once again have a safe trip Judy and Laurie
AnswerID: 485950

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S (QLD) - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 09:59

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 09:59
Thanks folks. Sounds like you had a great trip and considered each situation carefully ... wise move. I'm going to have a go at the OTL but will also be cautious. Cheers, Ray
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