Kimberley and the Gibb River Road

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 13:11
ThreadID: 141351 Views:1079 Replies:3 FollowUps:9
Ok this is for the people that have towed full sized vans up the G.R.R. what I am looking for are Ideas for three to four days stop overs along the GRR so that we can leave the van and do day trips from a base all suggestions and Ideas will be greatly appreciated. Also the must see sight's. and ones we can miss .
We are planning the trip around the first of June and be gone for about three months and going on to catch up with friends in Darwin in Late July. departing from Perth. the last time I did the GRR i was in a 440l mk 2 Cortina, this time we are going in a ford Ranger towing a 23ft caravan, built for dirt road travel, weighing in at 2.8tonne, fully loaded, and 275 on the ball.
We have not been back to the Kimberly's in over forty years and the memory is not as good as it used to be, so your in put into this epic journey down memory lane will be greatly appreciated.
Broodie H3
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 14:21

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 14:21
How much time do you have after Broome and before Wyndham?
Can you spend a week away from the van at a time?
How adventurous are you?
The Kimberley is the MOST spectacular part of Australia and the hardest to see.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:57

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:57
Hi Peter, and Margaret,
thank you for the rapid response, we are going to have as much time as it takes to do the Gibb, and leaving the van for day trips to other sights up to 100klm away from camp should not prove to be to big a problem, after we have seen what's in the area we will then move on, to the next area at a casual pace, as I cant see any point in pulling the van all over the country side if I don't have too.
We lived In Wyndham for several years and have travelled the area extensively, and most of the places that are now national parks were operational cattle stations, and the area was more open to being explored. As for being adventurous, we are reasonably fit and do like our walks and kayaks and bike riding, so we can do most things a 72 year old can do. so please feel free to give us your choices of locations ,and any other words of warning and encouragement. May I be so bold and ask have you towed a full sized caravan up the Gibb river road, and if so what pit falls did you encounter
Broodie H3
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 16:46

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 16:46
Never towed anything bigger than a 4.2m "Mack" boat with 70hp outboard along the GRR (and out to Kalumburu). But there is absolutely nothing that would inhibit a 23ft caravan beyond the corrugations, the dust and other vehicles doing 100kph.
All the jump-ups are now bitumen and all the rivers are concrete except the Pentacost and the Durack, neither of which should give any drama.
It is not like it was 40 years ago, sadly..... or even 25 years ago when we first went.

From our perspective, many of the really great places are more than a day trip away from where you would take a caravan. I am thinking about Walcott, Mornington, Cape Domett, Carson Station which need a week each (depending on what access is currently available to those places).

You could likely get the van out to Kalumburu, but it might be slow depending on the road on the day.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Ian M47 - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 17:24

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 17:24
We had no problem taking our caravan into Mornington in 2019. Plenty of other vans there. The road in was much better than most of the GRR. Only problem is ensuring you have enough fuel.

Most of the stations that welcome tourists have reasonable camping grounds suitable for leaving the van.

We left our van at Drysdale River when we went up to the Mitchell Plateau and glad we did as the road was horrendous even compared with the GRR. We spent two nights at the "glamping" resort there to save carrying camping gear. (Did the same at Bungle Bungle)

Cheers

Ian
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 17:44

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 17:44
Hi Ian,
are there any other places where you left the van and went off to do day trips and back of an evening, if I may ask
Broodie H3
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Follow Up By: Ian M47 - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 19:44

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 19:44
No Broodie, The only places we left the van were Drysdale river and the Caravan Park at the turnoff into Purnululu NP. They do not allow caravans into Purnululu and there is really too much too see there in one day and the track in, although not too bad, is not one you would really want to do two days running.

Some people do the Mitchell Plateau in one day leaving their vans at King Edward River. This would be viable but we're glad we didn't as the trip in from there was slow due to bushfires on the day and the really poor condition of the Kulumbaru Road between Drysdale River and King Edward river. There are probably other places that we missed. We were there in 2019 which was quite a dry year so things were not at their best. This year should be good!

Ian
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Follow Up By: Ian M47 - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 19:47

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 19:47
Sorry

I forgot about El Questro. Spent a few days at the caravan park there exploring the area. The road into there was worse than the GRR as well but was worth it.
Ian
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Friday, Apr 09, 2021 at 16:10

Friday, Apr 09, 2021 at 16:10
Hi Ian,
Sorry for being a busy body, but would you mind sharing how big your van is and did you have any problems navigating El Questro. road .
Broodie H3
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Follow Up By: Ian M47 - Friday, Apr 09, 2021 at 16:58

Friday, Apr 09, 2021 at 16:58
I had a 20' Bushtracker towed by Landrover Discovery 4. We were there early in the season and I don't think the road in to El Questro had been graded at all. They were working on it as we departed. There were no problems navigating it. The water crossings were shallow and had a solid rocky base - not too rough. It wasn't far from the main road, less than 20km as I recall, but it was a slow trip in! The tracks that we went on around the property were generally in better condition. It sounds as though you have no fixed time limits so you shouldn't have any real problems as you can take your time and drive to the conditions. The GRR is wide and generally well made. The only real problems as Peter said are corrugations, dust, and other drivers (The latter being the worst of the problems)
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Friday, Apr 09, 2021 at 23:12

Friday, Apr 09, 2021 at 23:12
thanks Ian that was the type of information that I was looking for thank you very much for sharing with us, now we can plan accordingly, thank you.
Broodie H3
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Saturday, Apr 10, 2021 at 19:28

Saturday, Apr 10, 2021 at 19:28
Up derby 2014 noticed a number of caravans left out back of caravan park small fee involved for insurances


Many were tarmac vans not suited personally I do the loop around on why quickly then do the dead haul leg at sedate pace see the tarmac sights geek gorge bungles etc.

Gibb River is however currently closed due to flood damage ETA to re opening unknown refer to main roads wa travel map for further details

Also still require a G2G pass to enter WA also listed on travel map how they differiate between rod and air beyond me
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Reply By: Member - Jim and Trudy - Sunday, Apr 11, 2021 at 15:52

Sunday, Apr 11, 2021 at 15:52
In case you haven't discovered Birgit's guides and newsletters yet (they are very good):
https://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/Kimberley_Top_End_and_Red_Centre_News-backissues.html

And be sure to buy her eBook here:
https://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/destination-kimberley.html#book

Note to moderator - this is a genuine advice to fellow travellers, not related to Birgit other than being a happy customer.
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