Day 220 | some unnamed creek 90 km from Mt Barnett: I stop when I get to a decent water source

46 km | Heading west total: 9,855 km


You betcha.

I don’t think I’ve done a rave about how much I am enjoying the ride along this Gibb River Road.

The landscape is not really spectacular but at my slow speed it’s interesting enough. I loved the riding through the 4WD tracks in the Gregory National Park, the sidetrips in Kakadu etc. But a general tiredness has crept in with the heat and humidity and hundreds of kilometres of more soft road may well have been a regrettable ordeal.

It’s not. A bit like the Tanami the Gibb has got legendary status amongst the 4WD community but in reality so much work has been done on the road in recent years that it’s quite a different ride than even 10 years ago. The surface is about a third quite soft, (bad for bikes), a third pretty good (well . . . good to excellent) and the rest variable.

In comparison with the Tanami the Gibb is less variable: it’s neither as good as the best nor as bad as the worst. It’s seldom that the corrugations or soft bits stretch completely across the road, if it does it’s only for tens of metres. It can get bumpy going from one side of the road to the other searching for that 4 inches of hard surface that makes life easier. The cars fare very much worse: corrugations seem to shake the cars to bits particularly if they strike the right harmonic. But for me there isn’t that much traffic and only the occasional road train. The camping sites have decent waterholes and I usually have them to myself. Overall it’s still savannah country: medium sized trees with dried grass between waiting for the Wet Season or to be set alight.

I’m still surprised to see there’s no giraffes out here.