John Craddock Ltd Magazine (March 2022)
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Cities and towns are nice. It’s good to have running water, company, and (if the need arrives) a mechanic within 50 miles. But Land Rovers aren’t meant for cities.
Sure, they can drive through them as well (or better) than pretty much every other sports utility vehicle, but if you really want to see what a Land Rover can do – if you really want to see what you can do – you’ve got to get out of town, put some tunes on, and see where the spirit of the road takes you.
But where do you want to go? Because ‘Strayas is pretty big (as big as the moon actually) and there are a lot of great roads out there in the outback.
Sure, you can just drive around, as directionless as a drop bear in a desert, spend a couple of weeks going from small town to small town, and waste petrol and money. Or you can read this article, take some advice from some experienced road warriors, and have some of the best driving experiences you’re likely to ever have.
It’s really no dramas. But while you decide, we’re going to go through five of our favourite green lanes in the outback.
The Many Roads of The Kimberley
We’re going to start with a tough one. The Kimberley is a massive territory, with thousands of miles to explore and just as many roads and road trips to take – most of which are famous in their own right.
Take the Gibbs River Road, for example. At 660 kilometres long, the Gibbs is a massive journey to complete – with most people recommending you taking at least 12 days to complete it properly.
The Gibbs stretches all the way from Queensland to Northern Australia (or vice versa), hugging rivers and passing through beautiful savannahs. On the way you’ll pass through some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the country, if not the entire world. What’s not to love about that?
But let’s say you don’t want to do something that big. Let’s say you’ve only got a few days off work. That’s not a problem: there are more than a few smaller roads you can take.
Take the Bell Gorge to Manning Gorge, for example. Part of the Gibbs River Road, the Bell Gorge to Manning Gorge is a 100 kilometre journey that is sure to get your heart pumping. From Bell Gorge, you’ll head to Galvans Gorge via the Mount Barnett Roadhouse. Finally, it’s a beautiful twenty-one kilometre drive to Manning Gorge.
All things considered, it’s a short drive but definitely worth it.
These are just a few of the larger routes you can take in the Kimberley Region. The Kimberley has some of the toughest off-roading opportunities in all of Straya, and you should only attempt them if you’re an experienced driver.
However, if you’re feeling a little unsure, there are a few things you can do to make sure the journey is a little easier. The first thing, of course, is to make sure that you have at least one spare tyre in your vehicle at all times. John Craddock carries a wide range of tyres, suitable for pretty much every make and model of Land Rover Wheel – everything from the ‘97 Defender 90 to the Range Rover Velar.
Daly Waters to Gulf of Carpentaria
If you look up the Gulf of Carpentaria online, you’ll find words like ‘scenic.’ Scenic is a nice word. It’s calm and gentle. But ‘scenic’ is also boring, and boring is not how we’d describe the Gulf of Carpentaria road trip.
We’d call it a dream.
You’ll start your journey at Daly Waters, a beautiful little town located in the Northern Territory. Daly Waters is the kind of town we wish all journeys could start at. It’s small, but not too small; old, but not rustic; scenic, but not boring.
If you’re spending more than a day in Daly Waters, we thoroughly recommend that you visit the Daly Waters Pub for lunch. The Daly Waters Pub is the oldest in the Northern Territory, so why not spend a little bit of time soaking in the history. If you do partake in something a bit stronger than a plate of chips, just make sure you do so responsibly.
Once you’re finished with Daly Waters, it’s time to really start the journey. Unfortunately, the Daly Waters to Gulf of Carpentaria trip is pretty straightforward – especially compared to the vast number of options that we found in The Kimberley Trips. But what you lose in wandering, you gain in beauty.
Because this journey is beautiful. Exceedingly beautiful.
As you make your way away from Daly Waters, you’ll immediately find yourself slap bang in the middle of the Northern Territory. Bushland and desert stretch in every direction, seemingly going on forever. You’ll settle into a gentle rhythm as the minutes turn into hours.
Maybe you put some tunes on. Maybe you listen to an audiobook. Maybe you just listen to the sound of your engine and the wind. However you pass the time on your journey, you’ll find yourself falling into a relaxing rhythm as the hours fly by.
And it will be hours; with over 380 kilometres to traverse, you’ll be spending at least a solid six hours on the road.
Eventually, that road will change. The desert will start to look a little less like a desert and after a while you’ll start to feel the ocean in the air. During the final part of your journey, you’ll see the ocean in the far distance. It will get larger and larger and the fact that your journey will soon be at an end will soon dawn on you.
By the time you’ve gotten to the coast, you’ll be wishing that you could re-do the entire journey from start to finish all over again. Luckily, you can: all you have to do is to turn around and head back the way you came.
The Daly Waters to Gulf of Carpentaria route isn’t a particularly difficult one. You can do it in one day, and you won’t need any particular specialised equipment in order to make the trip. However, just because a trip is easy to complete doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Likewise, just because you wake up from a dream, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t fall asleep.
Alice Springs to Uluru, Northern Territory
Our final entry in this article is also the most famous. Some people say that generosity of spirit is the heart of Australia, other people say that barbequing is. But for our money, the real heart of Australia is the hot sand and red rocks of the Uluru rocks.
Located about 350 miles away from the town of Alice Springs, the journey to get to Uluru isn’t an easy one. For one thing, you have to drive through the hottest part of the arid Northern Territory, which isn’t easy unless you’ve got a lot of experience driving through the desert or have a big enough fridge to carry water (John Craddock carries a wide range of great fridges in their catalogue).
If that doesn’t sound tough enough for you the distance also means that (unless you’re packing some serious levels of V Energy Drink in that fridge) you’re going to have to sleep at least once during your trip.
Because it’s the outback, and you never know what kind of creepy crawlies are making their way across the ground, we recommend something like the ARB Simpson Rooftop Tent 3. ARB makes a fantastic range of tents – and this model in particular is great if you don’t want to wake up in the morning having become intimately acquainted with at least one tarantula.
Once you’ve reached Uluru, you’ll find some absolutely stunning vistas. According to parkaustralia, the roads in the Uluru National Park are suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles, and we see no reason to disagree — especially if you keep your cruise speed manageable. Which you should. Uluru is home to some wonderful little critters – like thorny devils, hopping mice, and red kangaroos – and it would be a real shame to ruin their day.
For Landrover Parts and Landrover Spares, Contact John Craddock Today
Whichever route through this green and pleasant land you take, you’re sure to have a cracking time. To help you prepare, browse John Craddock’s catalogue today.
Founded in merry old blighty, John Craddock is one of the leading suppliers of Land Rover parts and accessories in the world. We offer parts for every classic Land Rover – everything from the Series 1 to the Land Rover Discovery 2 and the L663 Land Rover Defender 110. Whether you’re looking for replacement front wheels or an upgrade to your braking system, we have it in stock.
If you have any questions about any of our products, please contact us today.