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March 28, 2017 Adventure to the Red Centre: Part 2 - Ned's Diary

A group of intrepid four wheel drivers recently set out on a mission - to test the new Yokohama GEOLANDAR G015 AT tyres across some of the toughest terrain in Australia.

Four good friends and all members of the Nissan Patrol Y62 Group met in Longreach and crossed the Simpson Desert to Uluru and the heart of this beautiful, sunburned land.

Having never driven on these YOKOHAMA tyres and with wet weather imminent around Birdsville, the question on everyone's lips was - would the YOKOHAMA GEOLANDAR G015 AT tyre be up for the job?


Here is part two of Ned's Diary:

We headed out from Ayers Rock Resort after a couple of days of sightseeing.  Having reached Ayers Rock in time for the helicopter flights, we could now take our time for the rest of the trip.  We decided to head to King Canyon and have a look around there and the southern reaches of the McDonald Ranges.

Well, if you think Uluru or the Olgas is impressive, I would have to rate Kings Canyon a step above! I know, hard to believe. I hope some of the pics can show you just how wonderful a place Kings Canyon is. It’s definitely worth the detour to spend an extra day to visit. 

The climb was arduous.  But definitely worth it.  There are tours available to show you the way and explain the history of the area, or you can just go out on your own at your own pace.

The roads were dirt and slightly corrugated, certainly nothing as bad as the road from Dalhousie Springs to Mt Dare, but still enough to slow you down in sections.  But with the sights readily available, who is in a hurry? 

Ok, ok, I know it’s supposed to be a tyre review, but I couldn’t help showing off these pics.

After Part 1 this really wasn’t a test for the tyres and they continued to perform well.

I’ll skip over the part where we stayed at Alice for a few days to unwind and do some minor upgrades to the cars (PIE OVENS FOR EVERYONE).  That’s right.  After Jono had us all watching him enjoying pies and other delicacies on the trip across the Simmo, we all had to get one. Best upgrade for sure:)

But it was soon time to tackle the longest leg of our trip.  We fuelled up at Alice then headed for the Tanami.  Our goal was to reach Wolfe Creek and camp a night with Mick Taylor.

We arrived late that night after having to help a great bloke stranded on the Tanami, hundreds of kilometres away from any help. Black Knight Industries little truck was certainly a sight.  With a failed main battery that couldn’t hold sufficient voltage to keep the car running, we assisted in changing it over to his auxiliary battery and got him going again. 

This held us up for a few hours and we arrived at Wolfe Creek at 2330 hours. Never leave a stranded vehicle in need of help alone in the desert or anywhere for that matter. Surviving the night, we had a look around the Meteor Crater (lol I didn’t even know Wolfe Creek was known for this). I’d only ever heard about this place from the epic Aussie movies! 

Pretty impressive.  Originally estimated at 120m deep, a meteorite weighing thousands of tonnes created this 850m wide crater around 300,000 years ago.

We got to Halls Creek later that morning, travelling 1,110kms from Alice with no fuel stops.

The Tanami Hwy was a long, dusty and rough road. I would call the conditions medium.  Certainly rough in sections but nothing dramatic at all. Certainly didn’t live up to the reputation of being terribly corrugated.  We had seen much worse.

Both the GO12 and 15s looked no worse for wear after over 2,000kms of hard driving.

Arriving late yet again at our next destination we set up camp and a few well deserved ale’s. 

With no sign of bitumen for the foreseeable future, we headed on towards our ultimate destination, the Mitchell Plateau.  With stops along the way at places like Drysdale Station to top up on fuel and get some sleep.  We had all head stories of the Gibb River Road, and how many tyres, trailers and vehicles it has claimed.  So when we did finally turn onto it we were surprised at how good it was.  But as soon as we turned off it and headed north to Drysdale Station it soon changed.

We parted ways with Jono and his Y62. 

It was just Rob, his kids, and myself for the duration of our trip.  The roads continued to test our cars and our patience. 

We trudged on to Mitchell Falls. Keen to get to our destination.

While the roads were crap, the scenery was anything but.

We even got to see a couple of locals put on a boxing match for us. 
Mitchell Falls was another site worth the effort of the walk to see it.  Even this dry it was a sight. 

Leaving Mitchell Falls, we heading further north to Walsh Point.  The temperature was really starting to get hot now. +40°C, and the nights where not much better. The road north had a sign stating 4WD only.  And it soon become apparent why.  Its rocks got bigger and bigger. These roads where really putting the tyres and suspension to the test.

Tyre pressures and vigilant driving is a must to try and prevent punctures.

Again these tyres just keep impressing.

Walsh Point was our much anticipated destination.

Well I was hoping to catch my first Barra.  This was our first chance to wet a line.

After sleeping, well trying to sleep in the oppressive heat, listening to all the noises in the water (a spot light pointed in that direction reflected a few too many yellow eyes for my liking, just 20 metres away). We had our fishing fun and decided it was time to start heading back home.
Having a relatively trouble free trips so far, it was my Y62 that succumbed to the corrugations. 

The rear left alignment let go and caused this.  I felt the car “crabbing” all over the road and had to pull over immediately to investigate. 

Carrying some basic tools is a must.  We managed to pull the alignment back a bit.

With the wheel point in right direction again we continued on. Destination Home Valley Station. 

We stopped on the way back to cool off in this lovely creek.  Boy was it lovely. 

Such a vast and beautiful country we have, and many of us just don’t get to see. 

We ended up staying at Home Valley Station for a few days before continuing on home. And we got the guys at the restaurant to cook up our fish for us too. 

Once we left the Gibb River Road it was smooth sailing all the way home back home.  We stopped where we could along the Victoria River to try and catch that ever elusive Barra.

River crossing can be dangerous.  But it being the end of the dry season and the water levels so low, there really wasn’t much water flowing.  The Nav made light work of the crossing.  With partial road under the water covered in slippery moss, the tyres really kept the car stable and never looked like getting stuck.

The sandy river beds can get very soft and boggy.  As I didn’t drop any tyre pressure coming off the road just a short distance, I soon found out how much of a difference that makes.

A quick snatch from Rob and we were back on our way.

With one last stop at Mataranka (cos you really can’t just drive past there without stopping for a dip). And look what I woke up too. 

Well, sadly the tale ends as all trips and holidays must, for those of us that have to get back to work to be able to afford the next adventure.

Until our next adventure, be safe and get out there and make your own.

 Ned, Aussie Patrol Y62 FB.


In Summary

After travelling over 10,000kms and approximately 8,000 of that off the bitumen, all I can say is WOW. Not a single puncture from any of the Yokohama’s for the entire trip.  They performed well in every aspect of the trip.

I started with 13mm of tread on the new tyre.   At the end of the trip I had 12mm on the front, and 10mm on my rears. The rears had worn more due to the alignment going out, and having to drive all the way home (approx. 4,000 kms) before I could get it fixed by Nissan.

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