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Old 23-08-18
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Default The Kimberley inc Gibb River Road

We visited the Kimberley for a few weeks this year and managed to spend some time on the Gibb River Road. The adventure is fantastic, and the scenery just superb! We covered the GRR, Mitchell Plateau, El Questro, Mornington and Purnululu areas, all prior to grading for the season, so the roads were a mess. I won't go into the adventure as there is plenty of information out there about this area.

We did however see many interesting approaches to travel in the region, and it brought to our attention some major issues that 4WDrivers have in the Kimberley, and the obvious reasons why. The 4wd and mechanical outlets then backed up our thoughts. One mechanic mentioned that he had 5-6 call outs per day on the GRR during the season. Nearly all were due to high speed and high tyre pressures. The income from these call-outs was substantial enough for him to downsize his business during the Wet and take extended holidays each year!

Every issue that we saw fell into three categories:

Tyre pressures too high! I spoke with my tyre importer before doing the trip and they suggested that, at a full touring load, I could run my particular tyres at 29psi for the whole GRR, as long as I kept my speed under 80kph, and hence the heat build-up down. This I did, with no punctures. We spoke to everyone we saw who had a puncture, and there were many of them! and every one of these vehicles were running pressures upwards of 38psi (Most way over 40psi) with full loads, over gravel and rough roads. One even said to me "why is everyone asking me that question?" Lower pressures equal less punctures and better comfort over this terrain.

Speed too high! We saw 4WD's travelling way over a realistic or safe speed, around blind bends and through river/creek crossings. We received a broken windscreen, had an oncoming vehicle lock-up sideways around a bend and nearly clean us up with their sideways caravan, and had one oncoming idiot decide time was against him so rather than slow down as he passed us he flew past by mounting the grader run off at over 100km per hour! With his camper trailer in tow! A very impressive sight as his Toyota Hilux bashed and crashed through large rocks and dust! It was very clear to us that not everyone understands how to drive on dirt roads - many have probably never experienced these conditions prior to their trip. We even saw a vehicle which had encountered a cow head on and was being pulled out of a drainage ditch ready for flat bedding to Broome!! There were cows everywhere on the road and it was just a matter of slowing down to avoid them.

Mechanical Complacency! The area is still considered remote, although its relatively easy to get help if you need it. However small mechanical issues can really ruin a holiday. In particular I saw electrical and fuel problems in amongst the cheap accessories destroying themselves on the corrugations - spotlight mounts in particular.

Apparently there are quite a few drivers who believe that they are off-road when driving the GRR and they crack a tinnie as soon as they get off the bitumen. The local police say it is a regular problem, and one mentioned that as the driver of one vehicle stepped out a cascade of empty cans fell on the road! The GRR is a gazetted road, normal road rules apply - and there are regular random breath tests carried out.

Members here quite often ask how Pajero's perform in the Kimberley. A stock Pajero will travel easily in this region as long as it is properly mechanically maintained, and I saw plenty of them. Attention to tyres and suspension being paramount, especially with the heavy loads usually carried.

The best advice I can give is reduce both your tyre pressure and your speed so you can enjoy the journey.
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Old 23-08-18
Jack ANT Jack ANT is offline
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Its amazing that what was once common sense is now far from common. That said I have driven around some of these areas for work several years ago and you do need to remind yourself of the basics. I found because I had work cars I started to drop my personal habits. Getting stuck by myself on the sand on the coast side of Cape Levique helped remind me, especially when I felt the heat in the tyres.
Thanks for the reminder and the observations of current behaviour on the road.
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Old 23-08-18
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Onslow

We also travelled on the GRR recently.

Good dot points which I support. I ran rear tyres and van at 32psi cold and kept speed under 70kph

I would add another dot point ie

4. Vehicle and camper suitable for conditions.

We saw many vans and campers with suspension problems being trucked out.

Hill
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Old 23-08-18
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Onslow

We also travelled on the GRR recently.

Good dot points which I support. I ran rear tyres and van at 32psi cold and kept speed under 70kph

I would add another dot point ie

4. Vehicle and camper suitable for conditions.

We saw many vans and campers with suspension problems being trucked out.

Hill
Good point Hill. We didn't see too many of these, but we were up there very early in the season. On our run home along Gt Northern Hwy we saw lows of vans on their way up to the Kimberley though.
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Old 23-08-18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ANT View Post
Its amazing that what was once common sense is now far from common. That said I have driven around some of these areas for work several years ago and you do need to remind yourself of the basics. I found because I had work cars I started to drop my personal habits. Getting stuck by myself on the sand on the coast side of Cape Levique helped remind me, especially when I felt the heat in the tyres.
Thanks for the reminder and the observations of current behaviour on the road.
True, we all need to be reminded sometimes.
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Old 24-08-18
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The Kimberley, and the GRR in particular is truly an awesome part of the world. Spoiled only by the shear volume of people, A lot of them doing the things you say. In fact, the shit you see is more spectacular (stunning, bewildering....insert your own adjective here) than the scenery. I'm getting well over that sort of stuff. I'll go remote without people so I don't have to put up with those monkeys.
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Old 24-08-18
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You're not wrong Sharkcaver. We went early in the season to miss the majority of it, but still got to experience the idiot factor in droves. I can only imagine what it would be like in the middle of the peak time.

There is so much to see and do in the region though, and we managed to get some spots to ourselves for a few days.

Like you, its time to head remote again I think, need a fix of no people for my next holiday! Great Victoria Desert for the next trip.
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Old 24-08-18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onslow View Post
You're not wrong Sharkcaver. We went early in the season to miss the majority of it, but still got to experience the idiot factor in droves. I can only imagine what it would be like in the middle of the peak time.

There is so much to see and do in the region though, and we managed to get some spots to ourselves for a few days.

Like you, its time to head remote again I think, need a fix of no people for my next holiday! Great Victoria Desert for the next trip.
I have just come back yesterday from The GVD......again....3 times in 3 months. Love it! Mate, we should catch up again and do a trip out there I know a great spot for cognac . Vid is being uploaded to youtube as we speak. Link should be up on the forum tonight.
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