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Kununurra to Kalumburu trip planning

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  • Kununurra to Kalumburu trip planning

    It is a guided trip with the company Just Over the Hills. Apparently it is a reasonably hard 4wd track, about 700k round trip, ten days away from civilisation. A colleague invited me a year ago, and I have been preparing pretty obsessively. Couple of questions if I may.

    What spare parts should I take with me (if any)? The car is Prado Kakadu 2016, petrol. Are there weak spots in this model, anything I should prepare for?
    Also, probably a silly question: I need to take three jerry cans with petrol and going to put them on the roof rack. Does it matter if I put it in front or back of the rack? I have removed the 3rd row seats, so to me it makes sense to place the extra load at the rear section of the rack.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. It is the first time I am undertaking the trip like this. My anxiety is probably excessive, but I rather ask a few stupid questions now rather than feeling really stupid if something goes wrong on the trip.

  • #2
    Are you going on the Carson River Track tour with Just Over The Hills?
    I've been on that trek twice: 2021 and 2018.
    You will need good preparation, as the 1st 100Kms++ is rugged!
    And its a lot more than 700Km round trip.

    Let me know and I'll provide more input.


    • #3
      Yes, it is the Carson River Track. Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.


      • #4
        You've left yr planning to the 11th hour!

        That track is arguably the best and most demanding long low range 4WD track in the country, lots to take in.
        If you don't have much 4WD experience you may get the occasional anxiety attack (u wont be the first), but your guide will help u thru the tough sections.
        If you need someone to spot u thru a gnarly section don't hesitate to get on the radio.
        Don't spin your wheels on rocky sections. Last year we called for spare tyres to be delivered from Kununurra to a river bank a few 100Kms in the middle of nowhere, at some expense, for one vehicle.
        Check JOTH web site for their recommended vehicle specs and provisions.

        Have your vehicle thoroughly checked and serviced beforehand.
        2" lift minimum, very good tyres (triple ply), winch, shovel, recovery points, recovery gear, maxtrax, snorkel, compressor, UHF radio, 3++ weeks food, water filter (there's plenty of water on the track).

        If you are driving south to north the first 100Km++ will take 3-4 days in lo range. Rocky river crossings, gnarly up/down hill runs, good engine bash plates will be handy.

        Fuel consumption is at least double normal over the bottom 150Kms.
        Petrol, you'll need lots of petrol so carry at least 2 Jerry cans. But, ask the guide for his recommendations.
        If going S to N top up at El Questro. Its about 500Km+ from ELQ, Home Valley Station to the end of the track, then another 200Km to Drysdale River Station for fuel.
        If Kalumburu is open its only about 20Km from the end of the track.
        My 150 diesel did the 700Km+ from ELQ to Drysdale Station in 120-130L of diesel. Don't know about petrol tho'.

        You'll need good clearance and very good tyres. My 2018 150 has 2" lift and 265/70R17 Toyo RTs, two spares and an inner tube. Thats the minimum.
        They get plenty of flats so you'll need to be able to fix flat tyres, plugs are OK but patches are better. Bead-breaker & Tyre Levers and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

        Comprehensive toolkit, filters (air, fuel and that hidden fuel filter between the tanks), spare shocker, some oils, fan belt, hose repair tape.
        I don't carry ATF but do carry top-up engine oil, brake fluid and diff oils.
        MAF sensor cleaner, WD40. A roll of gladwrap will also be useful if you stake a CV boot. Duct tape, tie wire, multi-meter, electrical wire, cable ties, glues.

        I carry power tools (Impact drill wrench, angle grinder, hot melt glue gun, soldering iron, plastic welding rods etc), arc welding kit, spare alternator and starter motor. But most drivers don't.

        Then there is the camping gear......

        It is the trip of a lifetime, bring a camera, drone and fishing rods. Let the adventure of a lifetime begin.
        For more inspiration go to Youtube and [email protected], check out the Oombulgurri/Carson River Track videos.
        Senior Member
        Last edited by RPP; 06-06-2022, 10:41 PM.


        • #5
          I appreciate the replies very much. I am going to take four jerry cans of petrol with me. Maybe an overkill, but I get a panic attack imagining getting stuck without fuel in the - literally - middle of nowhere.

          One more question, probably silly, but I have to ask. I have a Pioneer platform, and I will fix the roof top tent to it. The question: where should I put the tent and the jerry cans - tent towards the front and cans towards the back or another way around? I removed the 3rd row seats from the rear of the car, so that part is at least 45 kg lighter, and it sort of makes sense to me to put the jerry cans over there. Or does it mater at all? Sorry if the question is stupid.

          Other than that I think I am ready to the best of my abilities. Once again, I appreciate all the replies.


          • #6
            Regarding the fuel, compare notes with the organisers, they should know what is needed from experience.
            Also you will likely be the only petrol vehicle in the group I'm guessing (no-one to share fuel with).

            Your roof rack will weigh around 25-30Kg, the RTT will likely weight 60+Kg and your Jerries 80+Kg when full. This will be over the Prado's roof loading limit.
            Aim to keep the load between the wheel base and spread it evenly. Empty the Jerries into the main tank as soon as possible.

            Also, I run with steel Jerry cans out there. The days get into the mid 30C and the containers want to expand.
            The plastic ones will rub, and occasionally spring leaks etc, so keep an eye on them if that's what you have.

            You'll have a great trip.


            • #7
              If the 2nd row seats aren't being used, take them out as well. Another 70kg saved. Ratchet strap your jerries and water onto the flat bit of floor where the seat was. Add brackets to seat belt mounting points to do so. Empty one of your jerry's every 100 km or so and don't fill them until the last possible place before you go remote. Don't put them on the roof.. Place carpet or similar between each jerry. Never had a problem with plastic jerry's but have had sealing problems with metal ones. Whi h ever you use just carefully monitor them.


              • #8
                Originally posted by RPP View Post
                Regarding the fuel, compare notes with the organisers, they should know what is needed from experience.
                Also you will likely be the only petrol vehicle in the group I'm guessing (no-one to share fuel with).
                One other guy is taking his Nissan Patrol to the trip. 5.7L petrol. He is also towing a camper, so he will be acting as my fuel gauge.


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