Top End Trip Report, 2009

4WDN

4x4 Earth Contributer
Melbourne - Kimberleys to the Cape Report, 2009

Part 1; The Planning
At this time last year, me and a couple of mates were well into some plans for a trip.
I was looking for a long extended trip,Melbourne to Broome to Darwin to Cape York and back home.Another couple of cars were going to do part of the trip. My wife didn't want to go for so long on tuff roads and living out of swags, so she would meet me in Cape york in a couple of months, :p flying up from Melbourne.( her reason is she had a bad accident few years ago and didn't think her body was upto it.)
I had other freinds that were going to fly in and out at different places.
I had a Toyota Hilux, other cars were 1 Nissan Patrol and 1 Mitsubishi Challanger.
The other 2 cars were going as Far as Alice Springs after crossing the Simpson Desert and then heading home, i would keep going from there.
We had all the meetings, things were all going great.
2 weeks before take off, i decided to take the Toyota out for a bit of a test at Tallarook Vic.
Thats when things started to go wrong.:(
Going through some water, alittle over knee high, thinking i would be doing deeper river crossings up north. The car(toyota) got stuck, a few inches of water made it into the cabin, while we got it out. i left for home to clean the carpet, then it got a whole lot worse, the cars gear box give up on me. Toyota would not cover the 9 month old car for repairs, i had to go through insurance, the insurance company was great, said they would replace the Toyota. I took the Money instead and bought a Nissan Patrol, I needed a tuff rig.
It still needed a few mods for the trip, so off to ARB, Bars ,snorkel, tyres and a couple other things. 2 weeks to get ready.
Next 1 of the other guys fell off a motor bike, and it looked like he had broken both wrists.(who's wiping his ass) luckerly doc said 1 broken, the other should be ok in a week, sprained.
To top it off for the week one of the drivers got picked up for drink driving.:eek: And the route we were going to take across the Simpson was blocked due to flooding. un seasonal( more changes to be made):mad:
With alot off stress:( and almost a no go we pushed on with some change of drivers and cars and routes.
We were ready to leave on the 3rd of April 2009 .:)
 
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Grey Ghost

5th Annual Victorian Gathering member
He's been talking to Mark too much, he's gunna leave us hanging for a week or so... :(
 

4WDN

4x4 Earth Contributer
Part 2:
Wallan (Melbourne)To Mount Dare
We left Wallan at around 10.30am after last minute packing, just wanted to get on the road, and get away from the roads i travel every day. Filled the car and said goodby to the misses.
First night we set up camp behind the pub at Booligal, 80 km north of hay in NSW where we camped on the river near the pub. Nice spot free camping and we caught a couple of Carp in the river.
The next day we put in 64 litres for $88 at Wilcania
Then headed to White cliffs, There are alot of mines like at Cooper peedy and you can stay in the underground Accomadation, we stayed above ground in a Motel for $60 where we could have a good shower, and closer to the pub.
The next day 5th we headed towards Cameron Corner, on the way there was alot of wild life, seen a few pigs, a snake and heaps of Emus, The land is very flat and we all had a bit of a closer look at those Emus, after that it was time to keep moving, the roads were in good condition and the traverling was easy going, The Patrol was like an armchair ride,
Note make sure the Air is on to presurize the cabin to keep the dust out.
I had a Blonde German back packer traverling with me to Broome for the first part of the trip, and she was teaching me a bit of German, Yes and i Know what your thinking..... i have a good misses to let me leave her at home, while i was traverling the country with a 21 year old back packer, proberbly wouldn,t recomend it.There was a large group of us. Dont know what i was thinking, but anyway back to the trip.
We went through the dingo fence and we were at Camerons Corner.
Filled up the car, 1 of the dearest places for fuel. 63L cost $126, After the pics we moved on, the road is like some big dipper for the next few km with sand and as you hit the rises in the roads your gutts goes to you mouth, Hit them to hard and you become airborn. ( looking forward to the suspention lift i had booked when i get to Alice Springs)
That Day after stopping at the magic bus, that i dont know how it ever got there. We stayed the night on the Strzelecki track at Strzelecki Crossing heading south after not being able to cross the Simpson from Birdsville.
The spot we stayed seemed realy Quiet, yes it was near the road, but it was getting late.
What were we thinking. 1 hour after setting up the convoy of trucks started, with dust rising over the camp, we thought of moving, but as quick as they started they then stopped and we had quite again.
We moved on to Lyndhurst and up to Marree and got fuel 68L cost $120
this is were the Flies realy started to become a problem.
We got nets to go over uor heads.
From Marree we traveled up the Oonadatta track, this night we stayed at Coward Springs,
Very nice camp spot with showers that you make a fire to heat the water. There is also a little Spring,,,Little. This camp does fill up early.
It was here i met some other people we knew from back home...small world.
Tuesday 7th we got to Oonadatta road house, had something to eat and grab some supplies. Put in 55L for $93 then headed to Dalhousie Springs.
Also got some Fly repelant (desert Dweller) this works great.
The road here was rough, we had traveled 80 in 3 hours at 1 point. We were looking foward to the warm waters of Dalhousie to soothe the bones.
We Stayed There for the night.
Next day we played in the desert for the day, and left enough time to get to Mount Dare were we stayed.
Put 60L in the Car For $111 at Mt Dare.
 

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4WDN

4x4 Earth Contributer
Part 3
Mount Dare to Alice Springs.
Left Mount Dare On 9th, the trip was moving to fast and i was thinking maybe it was a mistake having others along that had a time limit. but moving on we made it to Ularu and was staying for a couple of nights.
Filled up along the way $52 for 31L at Kulgera on the Stuart Hwy
It was $33 a night to stay in the camp ground just out of Ularu
This is where the other guys left and they headed home.
The veiw is Awsum from the top of the rock, and The Olgas is a good look too.
After 2 nights there we made it to Kings Canyon almost 400km from the rock.
Filled along the way at Curtain springs $103 for 58L
Kings Canyon is a bit of an Oasis, thats a change from the desert.
The rim walk there is fantastic.
Moving on from there we went on the Mereenie loop, I had met ou with some others traverling the same way, Mereenie loop is just a road with alot of coragations, others broke an axil on the camper.
Went to the Meteor Site Goss Bluff.
West Mcdonald rangers are really worth seeing.
Camping is good with camp areas with showers and Toilets in alot of areas for $6.50 a night
Loved Red Bank . Go for the swim up the back of the water hole. Narrow canyon or cave like swim that goes along way back.
Stayed at Elery Creek big hole a night.
Got to Alice Springs on 16th
Now we were on our own we could slow down a bit and relax a bit more.
Got the suspension lift at ARB in Alice Springs
Done a little matanance on the car, like oil and filters.
filled the car 90L for $122
Left Alice at 2pm on the 19th.
 

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4WDN

4x4 Earth Contributer
Part 4
Alice Springs to Broome
We left Alice Springs on Sunday the 19th
Turned of to travel up the Tanami Track
Filled at Tilmouth Springs 24L $42
It was then getting late and we looked for a camp spot.
About 135km past Tilmouth Springs is a rock outcrop, it was a great place to pull up for the night.
Middel of know where you really feel the out back,
It was where i started to really feel relaxed.
During the night be carefull though heaps of dingos, they come into camp and was steeling stuff.
not scared at all.
The Tanami track was very good up to the WA border, after that there was alot of wash outs and you need to be carfull.
stopped at Rabbit flat RH and put $46 fuel in 20L, to make sure i made it to Halls Creek.
Met another guy there, he was in a hilux said he would make it without filling up any.
Stayed at Wolf Creek Creater for the night, where i met the hilux guy again, we shared a few drinks,
the next day we left before him.
We got into Halls creek to find out there was no fuel, at any of the stations, and it would not be in for a few days.
Had some lunch and seen the TOYOTA Hilux beeing towed. he had run out of fuel. Pays to be a little more carefull.
He too was now stuck in Halls creek for a couple of days.
Best thing in Halls Creek is to go to a camp area about 40KM out of town Sawpit Gorge, There is a great swimming hole and you can camp right next to it in the gorge , very pretty spot.
After staying there we went back to Halls creek and fueled up. 112L $155
Then it was of to the Bungle Bungles.
It was our first river crossing 2oomm deep, even the hilux would of been right there.
The walk in Ecidna Casim really nice only a short walk.
Stayed in the camp ground, walked again the next day,
i was starting to get fit, never done so much walking. "bloody backpackers"
Stayed the night again.
We left then for Broome.
 

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4WDN

4x4 Earth Contributer
Can put the rest of the trip from broome to Cape york if anyone is interested.
In the next couple days.
 

teza h

Well-Known Member
Yep! keep it coming mate,one day we will go to the north west. Till then I'l have to live it through your trip. Great report.
 

4WDN

4x4 Earth Contributer
Part 5;
We left the Bungle Bungles, and headed back to Halls Creek down the black stuff, we would stay out at Saw Pit Gorge again it was such a good spot to swim and the camping was free.
The next day filled up with fuel $89 65L, as you never know if the next place might not have fuel for a couple a days, (we had been caught out like that before).
We left for Fitzroy Crossing were we stayed the night in the Caravan park, there were high fences and they locked the gates when it got dark to keep the locals out.
Its not far from the pub and the locals were comming and falling out the door to all hours.
Wasnt a recommended place to stay.
we went out to Geiki Gorge, but unless you take the boat ride you arnt going to see much, we missed the boat, and had been in town long enough, so we headed off.
Filled with fuel $82 for 59L.
24 km from Fitzroy crossing we turned towards Tunnel Creek.
Make sure you take a torch, this place is really nice, its a cave walk with a small river flowing through. It gets very dark in places, good place to run off if you are the only 1 with a torch....but be worned you will get called a few names.
The water sometimes came up to knee hieght.
After leaving here back on the dirt road.
The roads are typicil here some corragation in places, and sharp rocks.
First flat tyre, must of been just unlucky, the road didn't seem that bad here.
After changing that and plugging the puncture, we kept going.
Stopping at Windjana Gorge for the night, just having enough time to get a fire going, and something to eat, we then settled in for the night.
The camp has showers, Toilets and was $10 each for the night.
The price is pretty typical of the camps in the Kimberley, they are well looked after and well set up for the travler.
Showered camps around $10 and about $6 for a camp with Toilet only.
Most places had fire pits with hot plates and if you got in early some tables.
Next day, we went for a short walk to the gorge. This is the first place i seen any Crocs.
there were plenty, all fresh water crocs. They tell me you can swim with them....."not likely" The gorge is well worth the visit.
From there it was a short drive to Gibb river road, as i was comming back this way we terned left towards Derby. It was Monday 27, my German freind was leaving to go back to Germany on the 2nd May, the same day a mate from Melbourne was flying in.
Went straight to Broome to get there early enough for the supplies and get out to Cape Laveque for a night, then come back to Broome.
We filled the car at Broome $103 for 72L.
Cape Laveque was 200km further on, the road was sandy and alot of fun, Half would be Tar
The camp ground was right on the ocean, we had a sunset over the water. Something Easterners dont get to see much.
Camp ground was great $36 a night.
Fishing with a hand line on the rocks it didn't take long to catch a feed, Red empra, Spanish flag, Mangrove Jack and finger mark.
The next day we done a beach run.
There was red sand dunes, white beaches and water was perfect....and nobody else on the beach but us.... It was so good here we stayed for 3 nights, We had no food left becouse we were only staying a night, but a few deals with some other campers, we supplied the fish and they supplied the salad.
The nights now were very hot and muggy.
After a great 3 days there,(will be going back one day) we went back to Broome.
We had dinner at the sunset bar. All you can eat sea food for $45. Highly recomended.
Martine had 2 nights in Broome, and it was now 2nd of May and it was good by.
She had been a good travel mate, give me some money for fuel and it was off to the Airport. My mate Micks plane come in 1/2 hour before Martine left, so the 3 of us had a quick drink, and it was now back to the 2 of us.
Mick fitted in real quick, he's a big guy 145kg, top bloke.
We had a drive on the Beach, seen the camels and started to get set for the trip to Darwin along the Gibb River.



.
 

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teza h

Well-Known Member
Great stuff mate, I dreem about the north west.Cape Laveque,I'm moving there, I can live on fish no probs.
 

4WDN

4x4 Earth Contributer
Part 6;
Well the first night we hit the bars in Broome very hard, I was paying for that the next day, i think the big towns can cost alot of money with too much partying....";)wouldnt change a thing"
Filled the car 81L cost $115
Went straight out to Derby and put another $39 12L in the car.
went out to the jety at Derby, the ocean was very brown,
Had a look at the Prison tree just out of town.
We were really keen to get on to The Gib River Road.
The time of year we were there the road had just been open for a week and graders were working on it. There was hardley a bump, not what i was expecting, it was nice and wide also. you could move along the road at a decent pace.
First Gorge was Lenard gorge, it was 8 km drive of gibb river and a 2 km walk.
I was use to the walking, but Mick sure wasn't. his a big guy and i was not going to be able to carry him out.:eek: The walk was hard going over rock, its a nice gorge but.. by the end of this trip you see so many gorges and water falls, it can be missed.
We stayed at Bell Gorge, really nice camp, showers, toilets and even a phone box that works from satalite i think.
The nights here were a bit colder and will be through the Kimberlys, maybe about 15 deg at night, jumper maybe at night and a blanket in the bed. alittle differnt from around Broome were i night the min temp was 31 deg. so you have to be ready for anything.
Before we left that day we had a swim for about an 2 hours, it was good and the water is so clear.
Filled the car at Imintji Store. 45L for $89.
Galvans Gorge was next, short walk nice waterfall we sat under and a great place to swim.
Then it was Manning Gorge, best waterfall yet. Its a bit of a walk but its worth it.
The camp is next to a nice swimming hole here too.
Also 1 thing to remember is to hide your rubbish bag at night. There are always something going to pull it apart. If its not the Dingos, the crows will get it.
Left there at about 12.30 May 5. Had lunch at Bernett Station Store.
Then we turned of Gibb River Rd and headed out to Drysdale Station.
Thats were we filled the car 38L $82....mmm very expensive :(
You can camp here if you like, there is a bar and will be plenty of other campers, but you can pay here for a camp about 5km from the station called miners pool.
It was good we were the only ones there, and it was a big camp area with toilets.
That was the thing infact there was hardley anyone around were ever we went, we had the timing just right, before you cant move.
At this time of year you do take a chance that every road is open, and to our luck they were all opening in front of us, infact we passed the grader going out to Mitchell Falls.
the river crossing there was around 800mm that type of year, if your crossing the King Edward river "watch out for the rock in the middle, its huge, and it stops many cars.
The road after the grader was slow going, and you had to get your fire wood way way before camp.
The Mitchell falls are a must see, they are the biggest you can get out to.
The helicopters work here and you can walk to the falls and have the Helicopter TAXI pick you up at a certain time. about $110 1 way, we got them to pick us up and do a bit of a look around for around $250 each.
You can swim up the top of the falls.
We stayed there the night and the next day we left for Kalumburu.
Now we really did get out in front of the grader, the road had just been opened. If you call it aroad.
Large wash outs, and at times we had to get out of the car and look at were the road went.
When we got to the top everyone asks hows the road becouse it doesnt get used for 6 months.
The town itself is rather dirty. but there is a supermarket and some other shops.
hows this for a budget $33mill a year to keep a town of 250 poeple going.
Tax $ at work. how many other towns have this budget.
we kept going out to the beach... Honeymoon beach. ;). Well i could of had the misses here, not a ugly looking mate.
The local Aborigini( Lez French) rented a shack out to us right on the beach for $12 a night each.
It wasn't much to look at but hey what a spot.
I would not swim here, the crock trap out front puts you off.:eek:
The next day he took us out in the boat they had, and we caught fish to last us a week.
All good eating stuff, Red empra, golden travely, We had a great day.
You could bring a boat up and just stay here for all your holiday.
You cant have beer in the town but you can out at this spot....go figure:confused:
Its may 8th and we are on the road again.
fill up at Drysdale again 105L for $235, i wish i had the long range tank in then.
We made it to Home Valley Station....How good is this place.
The camp ground at the station has the nicest lawn to set your tent up on.
The Bar and resterant is really nice, they have a big camp fire at night were they have a guy play the didgerydoo, great atmostphere, cant remember going to bed.
There is another camp on the river here too.
They put alot of money into this place when they made the movie "Australia" here.
The pool was great and the price was $15 a night... how good is that for what you have here.... but i think i know were they get the money out of you... that bloody bar.
perfect if you have kids here.
we stayed 2 nights.
Leave here and you cross the Pentecost river. its easy, just wide.
go down the little side track about a km and i cought 8 fish in under an hour. all around 45cm, they went back in but it was good fun.
even had a visit from a big lizard.... remember to keep your eyes open.
Mick stood so far back when he casted he was lucky to make the water.
thats why he caught nothing.
Moven on we then stayed at El Questro.
Its a nice place with a good camp ground too, and you have private camp spots on the river,they are great.
There is alot of 4wd tracks and you get to have a bit of fun.
They will have to lower there prices to match it with Home Valley Station.
After here it was off to Kununurra.
 

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