Kimberley in a stock kombi

Discussion in 'Camping Australia' started by steve_4802, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. steve_4802

    steve_4802 Active Member

    Messages:
    269
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Looking at doing a winter trip from Brisbane to Broome, then around WA to Adelaide and back. 3 months.

    I'd like to duck in for a look at the Kimberley but while planning, I'm uncertain if a stock kombi can handle this. I understand the corrugations can be pretty tough, and any crossings would be a bit sketchy with regular tyres? I've got some common sense but I'm not a 4wd er.

    Will be a stock 1975, 1800. Standard height and road tyres. Will the corrugations shake the car to bits, and will the tyres hold up OK? Usually, you'd lower the tyre pressure too (right?) but I'm unsure if this is safe with regular tyres, I would've thought not.

    I'm happy going very slow to ensure all the screws holding the interior together don't shake off too bad. It's a pretty nice bus so I don't want to kill it.

    I could consider changing tyres in Darwin and changing back to road tyres in Broome. I prefer the better on road tyres typically for sudden kangaroos stops etc., and better for the car. I'd rather not change tyres, but if this is necessary and give me assurance it'd be sweet then I'd do it and wear the cost. Existing tyres are getting pretty tired anyway so I'd only really be losing one set of tyres in Broome.

    Thanks. For those who've been, is it worth the trip?

    Did an Uluru trip 18 months ago and had an absolute blast - 8000k's in 4 weeks with a 2yr old in the back. I'll need to put up some pics as it was an unreal trip; hence the desire to do another big drive.

    This time around will be with a 4yr old and 6 month old.
     
  2. Tangles

    Tangles Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    On the road somewhere
  3. wombatventures

    wombatventures Active Member

    Messages:
    412
    Location:
    Peterborough SA
    After having been a lot of tough places in both ordinary cars, (read, HJ Holden, HT Holden, HZ One Tonner, Nissan Urvan etc) and in Landcruisers and Hiluxes I would be the first to say it is possible. Slow, steady, careful. If it looks like you can't get through then you probably can't, but get out of the car, take a good look. if it takes moving a couple of rocks, do it. If you're not sure, turn back.
    The best off road tyres will only get you into more trouble, if Your running 14s, get light trucks, 185LT14s are a good choice, if sand is soft drop to 20 pound but check that there are no big sharp rocks sticking up in the sand to hole a tyre or a sump. Over rocky ground 34-38 psi is good, may seem firm but prevents internal tyre fracture, carry a set of push in tyre repair plugs, just in case.

    As to the Gibb River Road itself, it has a reputation, get some local knowledge before you go, see what you think when you get there.
     
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  4. Poptop

    Poptop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    655
    Location:
    Clifton Hill, Victoria
    Hi Steve

    I'm leaving on GF public holiday 29/9 with stops in between, heading roughly Melb, Adelaide, Nulla, Albany, Perth, Monkey Mia, Port Smith, Barn Hill, Broome, Cape Levique, some off red stuff here, Derby Fitzroy, Kunanurra, Katherine, Alice, Uluru, Coober, Adelaide home.

    Cousins birthday in Broome mid October, hopefully purchase her neighbours PMG panel!

    Plan was to do it in the Poptop. Bought a Prado instead! Taking 3 1/2 year old. Get one of those Leyland Brothers fans for the dash!

    IMO the Kombi can handle the sealed roads and the heat. Not sure on the unsealed stuff it's a big unknown annually.


    Wirriya ngangaran liyan nyamba buru Yawuru:)
     
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  5. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,200
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    Kombi Dad has done it, but his 2wd T3 was wisely slightly modified for the successful trip. ;)

    I'm sure he'll have some words of wisdom and advice for you, when he sees this thread.......:)
     
    Syncro27 likes this.
  6. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,526
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    I have a friend who did the Gibb River Road in his T3 syncro a few years back and all he had problems with were his shocks and the odd drive belt.

    His shocks were upgraded to the Old Man Emu shocks just before he left and they failed bad.

    I think ARB flew a set over to Broome for him but it still cost him a fair bit.
     
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  7. betsy

    betsy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,032
    Location:
    Mentone
    i took my kombi ...light truck tyres
    we did the 2 ends of the Gibb river road.
    Derby to Winjarna Gorge ....then we backtracked back to Derby to take the Victoria hwy thru Fitzroy Crossing...a side trip to Wolfe Creek ...that was a bad road..back onto the Tarmac of Victoria Hwy...then the Eastern end of Gibb River Rd to El Questro. ..which was fine...although river cross was a bit nervous.

    the road Winjarna gorge from the Gibb River Road and the access road to Wolf Creek from the Tanami track ...were the worse roads we encountered ..it rattled so much ...it felt like my fillings fell out...but it was fantastic
     
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  8. Andy.

    Andy. Active Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Dod a similar trip many years ago now. Roads were fine when I was there, but I only went part way north from
    Derby before heading back to Fiztroy crossing. I even tow'd a stranded Falcon part way back to derby!
    As others have said, drive sensible, check conditions at the time as it can change quickly. Mine is a stock '77, but I had 15" tires on for the trip. We did a lot of 4WD only tracks through WA and NT, relying on local knowledge and driving sensibly. Kombi's are very capable!
    https://forums.aussieveedubbers.com/viewtopic.php?tid=21916&page=2
     
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  9. betsy

    betsy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,032
    Location:
    Mentone
    i think getting local up to date knowledge is the key...we constantly asked other campers...who were travelling west what the road conditions were like.
    things can change very quickly...a few inches of rain can change the conditions dramatically ....how long has it been since road has been graded ...so on

    mine is also a stock 77 with Light Truck tyres.
     
  10. Poptop

    Poptop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    655
    Location:
    Clifton Hill, Victoria
    Wise words from Betsy. Both ends of Gibb River Rd possible IMO.
     
  11. steve_4802

    steve_4802 Active Member

    Messages:
    269
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Fantastic replies guys. I'll keep it as a maybe for now and see what the conditions are like when we get there.
     
    betsy likes this.
  12. tomhic

    tomhic Active Member

    Messages:
    338
    Location:
    Glenelg Nth, SA
  13. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,526
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    I have the GRR on my Facebook and it sounds quite flooded at the moment - with a cyclone imminent - could mean significant damage to the road/ track.
     
  14. betsy

    betsy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,032
    Location:
    Mentone
    this time of year it would be....wet season ..but winter time is the dry season.
     
  15. Kombi Dad

    Kombi Dad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Location:
    Bungendore, NSW
    Certainly have done the lap in a T3. The thread http://forums.kombiclub.com/threads/t3-modifications-for-lap-of-oz.52792/#post-567896 has some of my comments.

    My trip was covered in the two posts http://forums.kombiclub.com/threads/kimberley-trip.1061/#post-10315 and http://forums.kombiclub.com/threads/kimberley-trip-pt-2.1438/

    We didn't do the Gibb owing to the two vans I was travelling with. They didn't like the idea. Having said that, I did see a van come in to Winjana Gorge with damage from the Gibb. Maybe it was lucky we didn't and went the other way.

    Ian
     

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