Great Central Road

Submitted: Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 08:24
ThreadID: 129071 Views:3237 Replies:5 FollowUps:0
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Hi All,
First post, my wife and I just travelled the Great Central Road from the West. We are inexperienced gravel road users and need to get a handle on what is what. If there are any experienced dirt road users that have recently travelled on the great Central Road I would appreciate your rating of this road in relation to roughness etc. I would like to use this trip as a reference point for future trips. On this trip I ran the tyres on the van at 28 psi and travelled between 20 and 80 kph.
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Reply By: NIK `N` OFF - Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 09:06

Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 09:06
The difficulty in giving dirt roads a grading (excuse the pun) is they can change quickly, what you experience this week could be worse / better the week later etc .. It's not as if they are 4WD low range and rated as experienced or novice.

Better to evaluate the different roads/ tracks conditions yourself, at a minimum always reduce tyre pressures and speed no matter what track it is. You will know your doing it right when nothing gets damaged :-)

AnswerID: 586696

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 02:06

Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 02:06
Regarding the Great Central..... what Mick says is spot on - they change. One property hauls cattle with big road trains for a couple of weeks can really cut a road up badly, ie loose stones and ruts etc. It can still be driven safely in the BT just manage your speed and tyres pressures to suit the conditions.

Generally the Great Central is usually good (sometimes excellent) on the WA side, graded fairly regularly but pretty poor ( near zero maintenance) on the NT side.

Sounds like you ran your tyres and speed pretty well ..... if you find it a bit rough you could go a bit lower. When we did the Gunbarrel Highway in 2010 - a great track and a good test for any van or vehicle - we ran the tyres at 22 psi all round van and vehicle and experienced no tyre or other problems at all. Only potential issue was the Mulga timber that had grown across/into the track in places, However as it was green and soft just pushing through slowly saved the windows from and serious scratches. A couple of minor ones were polished out with Brasso

Continue your exploration of dirt gravel tracks and roads - they lead to some of the best country, usually less travelled by others

Happy travels

John and Jean
AnswerID: 586697

Reply By: Hutto & Mrs Hutto - Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 18:16

Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 18:16
Totally agree with both comments above. I have spent a lot of my life on dirt roads and there is no real way of rating them. However if you where able to reach speeds of 80 kph while towing a van I would estimate that sections of it must have been quite reasonable. The simplest way of looking at it is drive to conditions and almost all dirt roads, as long as they are dry, are as easily travelled as bitumen and in some cases are even better then some of the outback bitumen roads. Most people get into trouble with impatience and travelling too fast for the unexpected as conditions can change very quickly. Sounds like you did everything correct and if in doubt before you tackle the next one ask a local as they are usually the best source of knowledge especially the local service stations.
AnswerID: 586698

Reply By: Mobi Condo - Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 20:16

Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 20:16
Great post and a superb question from "newbies to a situation" asking pertinent questions to gauge their developing skills and experiences. All of the above and the responses are so spot on with variables even to a daily difference.
Congratulations to Tassie explorers for what appears to be innate wisdom in this matter as there really is NO text book response. I think there is a 'catch cry' of "Drive to suit the conditions and the vehicle you are using" which was instilled us both when we started back road driving with precious cargos on board - namely School Children - on bus runs of 40 - 50 MILES in all kinds of weather and seasons and road conditions. It has put us in very good stead for the last 44 years.
AnswerID: 586699

Reply By: Tassie Bushies - Friday, Nov 22, 2013 at 01:25

Friday, Nov 22, 2013 at 01:25
Hi Tassie Explorers,

Welcome to the BOG.

Yes one & all, great info, but I think we need to add, a bit more detail.

You would have noticed that the GCR around Docker River (was not the best) unless as has been stated, it may have just been graded- for the first time in living memory!
That area caused me to STOP & start again at about 3K per hour. just bump along till you are through it.
I had to do this on a bit of Cape york trip, (9.5 hr drive = 177Km for the day, but on the way down that bit had been graded & could do 60/70Kph

Some dust holes will cause me to stop (if you can't avoid them or they look deep) I have come across them 4ft deep, (track from William Crk to Lake Aire) so be careful.
I hit one 2.5ft deep coming out of Cape york (GOING TO FAST TO STOP- that was a bit of a bounce) going up it was only half way across the road & was fine. It caused me to come half way off my polly block on one side (even with spring retainers on) which chopped through into the sacrificial plate, before I was smart enough to check them. (we learn)
Enjoy your travels.
Regards Peter.

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AnswerID: 586700

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