Kimberley Trip Trivia

The Doc decided to put some trivia together about the longest trip so far. Enjoy.

Time, distances and economy

  • the Kimberley/Pilbara Trip lasted 108 days;
  • total distance travelled was 27,000 kilometres exactly (what a coincidence!). The Patrol has now driven over 70,000 kilometres on The Excellent Adventure;
  • most kilometres travelled in one day, 1,032 kilometres;
  • average kilometres travelled each day was 250kms. In reality the figure was less, as 9,000kms was driven to and from the Kimberley which were concentrated days of driving;
  • best fuel economy was 12.4 litres per 100 kilometres. In 2WD, not towing, driving on the bitumen;
  • worst economy 15.1 litres per 100 kilometres. In 4WD, towing the trailer in sand at Cape Peron National Park;
  • average for the trip 14.4 litres per 100 kilometres, which makes sense as the trailer was attached for much of the trip. So the Pod Trailer adds about 2 litres per 100 kilometres, a modest increase compared to towing heavy trailers or caravans;
  • most expensive diesel was $2.50 a litre at Mt Barnett Station Roadhouse, Gibb River Road; and
  • total fuel bill, decided not to add it up!


Several flights were taken on the trip including:

  • helicopter trip over Purnalulu National Park (Bungle Bungle Range);
  • light plane flight out of Drysdale Station over Prince Regent River and the Mitchell Falls;
  • seaplane flight to the Horizontal Falls;
  • helicopter flight over the Horizontal Falls; and
  • 2 day helicopter trip over King Sound (Derby), Buccaneer Archipelago and the Artisan Range.


Over 60% of the trip was offroad. On badly corrugated roads, you can hit over 10 corrugations every metre (the four wheels do). A very, very conservative figure would be the car, trailer and driver went over 20 billion corrugations!!!! No wonder things break and get damaged.


The breakages included:

  • hub cover on Patrol, it fell off and was lost on Charnley River Station;
  • broken wire on coolant alarm (it has broken twice before). Field repair that is still working;
  • striped thread on a shock absorber. The front shock was replaced (The Doc was carrying spares);
  • after a car service an ignition fuse started to blow, 6 times so far (still working on the cause);
  • front control arm bushes need replacement;
  • a broken windscreen 3 days before the trip finished. Thanks to the driver who did not slow down properly on the Plenty Highway. The Doc got more stone hits on the windscreen that morning than the rest of the trip combined;
  • rivets on an awning came out, thanks to the corrugations on the Plenty Highway on the return trip.


Best meal, no contest, Restaurant at Mornington Wilderness Camp.

Kangaroo Karnage

CARNAGE, CARNAGE, CARNAGE. In an earlier post The Doc commented “The first 5 kilometres out of Barcaldine was like a kangaroo slaughter house.” Barcaldine (pronounced Bar-cool-den) is on the way to Longreach, the birthplace of QANTAS in Outback Queensland.

The Doc made the return trip yesterday. Kangaroo and wallaby carcasses were littered everywhere: grey ones, red ones, young ones, old ones, small ones, big ones, all dead. To give some idea of the scale of the carnage, the road is 110km long, there is a carcass every 5 meters, giving a total of over 22,000 carcasses. If someone said The Doc was wrong, the real figure is 50,000 carcasses The Doc would not argue the point.

One grey nomad commented over the UHF radio: “I have never seen so many dead roos”. Even the truck drivers were discussing the body count.

The area is gripped by a severe drought drawing the roos to the roadside and their deaths. The least number of carcasses is now on that first 5 kilometres out of Barcaldine!

GRR Return 2015  - 0086

Off-road trailer guide

Having been on the road for nearly 2 years The Doc decided to write a guide for off-road trailers. It is mostly common sense and it will apply to most trailers, not simply those used off-road. Having the trailer serviced is a separate issue and should be done before any major off-road trip.

It is written for trailer newbies, like the The Doc was at the start. So some readers may find it simplistic, but you will be amazed at how many people make no checks and pay the price.

If you buy a new trailer The Doc also suggests some other checks including that all nuts and bolts are tightened correctly including the wheel nuts, nuts on the jockey wheel and the towing hitch.

Guide for off-road trailers checks when on the road can be read here.


Great Central Road – Australia’s longest shortcut

The Doc is now in Alice Springs for 2 days preparing to go to AWC’s Newhaven Sanctuary on the Tanami Track north of Alice.

This trip started with a visit to AWC’s Bowra Sanctuary and will finish with AWC’s Newhaven Sanctuary. The 2 big AWC sanctuaries for birders. The Doc would love to get some good shots of Princess Parrots at Newhaven, time will tell.

Then The Doc will make his way home after 4 months on the road. The most likely route will be the Plenty Highway (starts just north of Alice Springs) to Boulia in Queensland then back to the bitumen through Longreach and Outback Queensland to Ballina for a week, then Sydney.

Using the Great Central Road saved 1,500kms and 2 long days driving and he hopes the Plenty Highway will give a similar saving. This trip has roughly another 4,000kms to go, bringing the grand total a bit under 30,000kms over the 4 months. It has been a long trip on rough roads and the body is beginning to say enough.

A few photos from Laverton in the West until Uluru in the East along the Great Central Road.

ODO Update #3

With the return trip under way from Western Australia quite a few kilometres have been travelled in the last 5 days. New milestones include:

  • AWC’s Newhaven Sanctuary, Northern Territory, 77,000kms;
  • Erldunda, which is the turn off from the Stuart Highway out to the Olgas and Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory, 76,0000kms. (Erldunda is 200km south of Alice Springs and you still have a further 245km to drive to Uluru. It is a myth that Uluru is close to Alice Springs, think 425km away!)
  • Middle of Nowhere (technical term), Great Central Road, WA, 75,000kms
  • Kalbarri National Park, West Coast of WA, 74,000kms

A few snaps from this time.

ODO Update #2

Quite a few kilometres since the last ODO Update, and what a collection of places visited:

  • Francois Peron National Park, Shark Bay World Heritage Area, WA, 73,000 kms
  • Gascoyne Junction, near Kennedy Range National Park, WA, 72,000 kms
  • Millstream-Chichester National Park, The Pilbara, WA, 71,000 kms
  • Karajini National Park, The Pilbara, WA, 70,000 kms

Currently located at Kalbarri on the WA coast north of Geraldton. The Patrol will get a minor service next week. The Doc will then make his way to Laverton and travel across the Great Central Road arriving at The Olgas, the most famous part being Uluru, aka Ayers Rock.