outbackjoe

a camping trip of ridiculous proportions

Bullita Stock Route, Gregory National Park, Northern Territory

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I twisted Sharni’s arm and convinced her that we should tackle the Bullita Stock Route after our night at the Bullita camp ground near the homestead in Gregory National Park. It’s a long, slow drive so you need to be ok with that and prepared to tolerate some amount of nagging and complaints. The track follows a section of the Bullita Stock Route through Gregory National Park on its way to Wyndham, Western Australia. It’s around 92km all up, including a 23km return detour to Drovers Rest camp ground which is where we camped. Without the detour it’s 69km. Sections of the track are pretty steep, rocky and rough, definitely requiring a decent 4WD with low range. Other parts are firm sand which was easy to traverse at full tyre pressure. The track takes you through some steep creek crossings, dry river bed crossings, rugged rocky bluffs and hills and of course via a few huge majestic boab trees. The trip took 6.5 hours in total – 4.5 hours from Bullita camp ground to Drovers Rest camp ground, and around 2 hours from Drovers Rest to the intersection with the main access road to Gregory National Park. The information guide suggests 8 hours to complete, so we came in under time.

I’d suggest checking out the steeper descents on foot to gauge the best line before taking the vehicle down. Unlike me, who took a poor line and dropped the front left wheel off a rather large boulder, bashing the side step nicely and giving the hilux a tough 4WD look and improved ground clearance. Don’t worry, those side steps are disposable, they’re meant to be smashed up. Probably where we made up the 1.5 hours time saving from the recommended 8 hours. The track isn’t too hard core though. Didn’t need the diff locker. Choose good lines and avoid the big boulders and it’s not too bad.

The banging around on the rough rocks also caused the bracket for a spot light mounted on my roof rack to fail. Nice opportunity to do a dodgy fix with some wire.

The Bullita stock route is a pretty long drive so most people camp the night half way through. We camped at the Drovers Rest camp ground, on the banks of  the East Baines River. It has no facilities except for a wood bbq and is very dusty. The fine bulldust will penetrate anything and will make you pretty dirty. Also quite a few flies in the area, but no where near as bad as what we encountered on Googs Track. Still a pleasant remote camping area good for a night’s stop over. We cooked using the billy that night, and I made a billy tripod and hook to hold it above the fire. Other than that we relaxed by the fire, admired the boabs, enjoyed the quiet remotness and retired early ready for the drive out the following morning.

There are a couple of other camping areas off the track before the Drovers Rest camp ground, similarly located and with no facilities except for wood bbqs. These sites are just off the main track, so you can camp at one of these to avoid the large detour to Drovers Rest.

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Author: outbackjoe

a camping trip of ridiculous proportions

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