Swiss Offroad Center

Expedition Western Australia 2010

From 8 November 2010 to 9 January 2011 has been executed an exciting expedition through the Outback of Western Australia from Melbourne to Exmouth.

Participants are Beat, Suzanne and Werner with two vehicles: IBS HJZ105 Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser HZJ78.
The fixed points of the expedition are: Melbourne-Adelaide-Port Augusta, Flinders Range-Maree-Cober Pedy-Alice Springs (fill in inventories: drinking water, fuel and food for 3 weeks) - Ayers Rock-Mount Olga (by Aboriginal reserve) -Warburton (Gunbarrel HWY) - Carnegie Station ( for Diesel) –Glenayle - Well 9 - (Canning Stock Route) - (Lake Disappointment) - Well 22  (Talawana Track) - Billinooka-Walguni-Newman-Karijini NP - Tom Price - Nanutarra Road House - Exmouth.

Distance: 5100 km

Way back: Carnarvon - Kalbarri NP - Geraldton - Perth - Kalgorlie - Melbourne


Travelogue: Where the flies fly 24 hours, Gibson and Great Sandy Desert


The journey started on 8 November in Melbourne. The plan was to meet Werner in Warburton on the Great Central Road, which connects Alice Springs to Perth. Since we are on the way from Alice Springs for a long time on Outbacktracks, we had chosen for the journey to the center the easy route via the Stuart Hwy (which turned out to be the optimal choice, since all the tracks east of the Stuart Highway were blocked by flooding, due to heavy rain). The route led over Adelaide, Port Augusta, Coober Pedy to Alice. It was planned to drive south trough the 4WD track Fink Gorge NP.  But near Alice Springs was a huge low pressure system with massive storm clouds. For security reasons we do not use this route. In heavy rain, the Fink River transform into a giant river (2 days later, when a new crossing of the river, the Finke River led really a lot of water). Also in Alice Springs was very humid weather. Where the temperature is usually warm at 50 degrees C, we had storms and torrential rain. Only with luck our car was not at the campsite caught together by a falling tree. With over 10 Baufort cracked the tree that gave us shadow before, to the camping cell near to us. Out of fear we spent part of the night in the toilet hut, and nothing was certain.

In Alice Springs, our reserves for the next 3,000 km in the outback were completed. Eat for 14 days, 100lt water, 260lt diesel. The LandCruiser was heavily loaded. We had also consulted the weather forecast for the next few days, heavy rain to the west was announced, which would have made our trips dificult. The detailed weather data, I expected to get at the Giles Weather Station in the middle of the desert.


view into Grampian mountains
The last pub in the Northern Treitory (N.T.)
Early morning at the Simpsons Gap
View into the Gibson Desert from Kata Tjuta
Sunset at Ayers Rock
Rockholes at Ayers Rock
Kulgera RH, every 200km a roadhouse
11pool Rudal River NP, where the flies fly 24h
Rock window out of Ayers Rock
Kata Tjuta (Olgas), very old rock formation


To get to the Great Central Road we used the only route to Ayers Rock Resort (Uluru) and the Olagas (Kata Tjuta). The Ayers Rock Resort, we enjoyed the last time for many days in a good restaurant for dinner. For the sandy road to Warburton over Docker River (border from Northern Theritory to Western Australia) is necessary a drive-through permit because of the Aboriginal comunities. At Warakurna RH we took the side trip to the mentioned Giles Weather Station, where we got our actual weather forecast model for our route. The rain will not accompany us too much, but it should be 40 degrees C hot. Later, it turned out that the 40 degrees was set at extremely low. At this point, is the grader which prepared the Gunbarrel HWY by a man Len Bidell. He has worked the track 6 times (the CAT machine has come 40'000km in the Outback). The next 2000km we drive on many tracks, which Len Bidell has created about 60 years ago.

On 18 November, we meet in Warburton Roadhouse to Werner, who has already set up at the campsite. (the price of diesel is already at $ 2 a liter) after the last refueling we left the Great Central Road in the direction of Abandoned Gunbarrel Hwy. The track Abandoned Gunbarrel, meanwhile, is washed by water and the strong corrugation are often hard on the border of the still tolerable. At the Everard Junction we now leave the Gunbarrel Hwy and move north on the Gary Hwy. In between, even higher travel speeds are possible, but the joy did not last too long in each case. Spinifex grass now dominates our journey. We note now that the ears of grass clogged our cooler in a short time and then increase the cooling water temperature. So we were forced to insert occasional stops to clean the coolers of these grasses. The outside temperature is rising daily, and achieved more than 40 degrees C.
The desert changes from rocky desert to spinifex desert, it has only rarely trees. Occasionally we pass through large fields with termite mounds.

Near the Windy Corner we are planning to set up our camp, and the Windy Corner is confirming to its name. A strong storm swept over the area and our camping fire gets almost out of control. A few rain drops hit the ground but the rest evaporates in the heat before arrival of the rain drop to the ground.

At the junctions books for travel information are dumped, after appropriate study, we note that the last group has passed that point with 2 vehicles in front of just over 4 weeks. We must therefore not expect much traffic. From Windy Corner we drive west on the Talawana track. The Spinifex grass is less and the desert is always sandy, we are moving into the Great Sandy Desert. Other cars have we have not met for days. On the way to remain open and older vehicle wrecks. Then we find a burned-Pajero, which is not so long in the desert. Fire is a tricky matter. The parking of the vehicle on Spinifex cause a fire hazard because the hot exhaust system can ignite the extremely dry grass. What was the cause of the fire at the Pajero is not clear.


Leaving the civilisation at Kata Tjuta
Time HD Video action
Cached fuel pumps at Warakurna Roadhouse
Fuel Pump at Warakurna
Sandtracks on Gary Hwy
Radiator cleaning from Spinifex gras
Windy Corner with storm
Burned out Pajero along Talawana Track
Endless Gibson Desert
Talawana Track crossing Canning Stock Route
Stormy weather at Windy Corner
Sand dunes along the Great Sandy Desert
Isolated trees in the dunes, well 23 /CSR
Termite hills along Talawana Track


Slowly we approach the Canning Stock Route, which formerly were driven herds of cattle from Halls Creek (Kimberley) to Wiluna over 2000km. The landscape now changes to deep red sand dunes and the track is noticeably with fine sand. Although we had reduced the tire pressure even from Warburton, we reduce the tire pressure again. Meanwhile, we have over 50 degrees C and Werner has to shut off the air conditioner, as his cruiser is getting too hot. The sandy soil is already extremely hot and walking barefoot is no longer possible. In Well 24, we meet on the Canning Stock Route CSR. But again, no vehicle tracks are visible, strong winds have blown a lot of sand in the track. At Georgia Bore, we see large trees an ideal place for our camping. Here is a well and we enjoy the water. In the great heat, this is a welcome cooling. In recent days we had a water consumption of over 5 liters per person. Not far from Georgia Bore this has occurred recently, a tragic accident involving a father and son. They have badly prepared started in the Pungurr Aboriginal Community and were heading towards CSR.Because of technical problems to her car shortly before the Georgia Bore in case of a breakdown happend. They had no water and no map and wanted to go back to Pungurr by foot, which she did not survive.

Pungurr also Parnngurr (Cotton Creek) we have used to supplement our supply diesel in a diesel price of $ 4 per liter caused large sums of money quickly. We wanted to go to the Rudall River NP to the west and so we had to buy some diesel. We did not know what awaited us west of Rudall River NP, so we have included some security.


Werner at 55 °C with no airconditioning
Track leads through shrubs, don’t mind the million scratches
Hanging Rock, Rudall River NP
Wider roads allows faster travelling again
A cool bath at Karijini NP
Stretching the legs at lake side Ningaloo NP
Creek Crossing at Yardie Creek
Recovery at Lake Mc Leod
Mud builds up vacuum what makes recovery hard
25m winch recovery up to supporting soil
6 hours winch recovery, what a work
First cruiser recovered, second one is still in trouble
Winching the second car up on bulbar
Both cruisers back on solid soil
Windsurf camp at Coronation bay

Part 2,Geraldton 27.12.2010

 In the Rudall River National Park we followed most of the Rudall River, the occasional river crossings were very sandy, only shortly after Parnngurr still in the creek we had to traverse water. After the rainy season here is a high water level. We had planned to drive in direction of Telfer mine and George Carawine, as the weather was getting hotter but we have committed ourselves to go directly to the west exit of the National Park. On the latest Hema GPS map, the track was referenced (there is also the north west exit, which is marked as being possibly present!) But it seems since HEMA vehicle has passed, nobody has travelled there. The track was often to be found only with difficulty, through river beds (very slow pace) out over very long distances through dense shrubbery. There seems to be occasionally abbreviations, but getting through is very difficult. On 11pool we had the hottest night at full moon, because the flies are flying through all night. The hope to at least one fly-free dinner was therefore not fulfilled. For cooling, we are each more than once stood in the night just below the solar shower, as it would otherwise have been unbearable hot. At least it was at these temperatures, no more mosquitoes. Until the "Christie Crossing" the area was really affected, the "Hanging Rock" is still a striking rock formation. From "Christie Crossing" there was another trip to the cattle, and Newman was on wide station tracks. In Newman and Tom Price, we took the opportunity to swim in public swimming pool. In Karijini NP we took a detour to the Dales Gorge with a early morning promenade down to Circular Pool and Falls. "Most of the campsite was burnt down because of a recently held bushfires.About Exmouth led us the way to the Ningaloo Marine Park, where we spent several days to relax, snorkel in the reef and windsurfing. About Coral Bay (very good area for snorkeling and diving on the Reef) and the Warroora station we searched along the access road to McLeod Lake Quobba Gnaraloo station. Occasional tracks led along the salt lake to the south. After we went over a long distance, Werni's Land Cruiser broke suddenly through the upper crust and sat up to the axles in the salt mud. Forewarned, I made a wide circle around this place with the intention to pull out his vehicle from the front. Despite ride slower then my LandCruiser broke in about 70m from the LandCruiser of Werni. The whole rescue exercise lasted a good 6 hours under a tropical sun. Werni's winch broke down after half an hour and we had only the TJM winch on IBS LandCruiser. The mud was very stubborn, sometimes we had to work with 2 pulleys, 2 wind extensions, drag chain, 3 shackles and a tree belt simultaneously. Because of the long distance between the two vehicles, we had to constantly resist the steel cable, shackles put on the belts and to always move in the optimum development needs. Since we had no sand ladders, Werni sacrificed the camping table and a part of interior design of the LandCruiser as a bearing surface. After the first vehicle for a distance of 25m was back on solid ground, the recovery of IBS Cruisers was another challenge. The mud formed a vacuum under the vehicle. With two pulleys, it was impossible to move the cruiser, only the other vehicle was moving backwards, a corresponding anchor could not be established. What now? Werni had the wild idea that we lift the IBS LandCruiser with a pulley on the bullbar of the other vehicle to overcome the vacuum break. Said and done, the ground in front of the cruiser IBS was stable enough to carry the weight of one and a half cars. Millimeter way, the IBS Cruiser raises until we were able to provide the lower driving aids (camping table and wooden mounting plates). Werni's cruiser went by the weight in the spring attacks. All who claim strong bull bars are not needed, are wrong in this case. The Bullbar held even when we started with the total raised convoy to go back. After another half hour was also the IBS LandCruiser back on solid ground, both vehicles had filled the whole lower floor area with mud.

The success of these winch action depended on a few very thin threads. After the winch  of Werni is broken down, there was only one task, to keep alive the 10'000lbs TJM winch, we knew until then how robust the TJM winch are.

Here are some key points that determine success or failure:

  • Cooling of head to preserve resources and consider carefully.
  • slowly work check all the steps twice
  • During winching from batteries connect link 2hours on IBS-DBS (after 2 h re-extend, do not forget to reinitiate!), motor always keep going, at IBS always make sure that the battery indicator at train always remains at 12V, not go under.
  • use 2 or 3 pulleys.
  • Location on your rope drum always keep in mind. We had to pull 5h 45 degrees diagonally, so the cable position filled on a drum side and can be inadvertently drum jam and no other vehicle can not be solved !!!!!
  •  Wind cable at first about 8 turns to possibly fit snuggly over each other.

Have  enough winching material, we need the same 2 Wind extensions, a tree protector, a drag chain, shackles 3 (4 would have been better), 2 pulleys. 

This form of recovery with extremely high tensil forces (with 2 deflection rollers is increased to a force of 30'000lbs) breaking parts of the remaining forces is possible. The TJM winch has survived these hours of peak load, the winch cable, however, is destroyed and has to be replaced. This form of sludge is a difficult matter. From the surface it can not be concluded the strength of the salt crust of the soil.

PS: Shortly after we had left the area of Gnaraloo and Carnarvon took a Cyclone at Exmouth and the place. The usually dry Gascoyne River bed was flooded over 8m, the track at the station was not passable in Gnaraloo for 2 ½ weeks. All travelers to the area could not evacuate were assembled in Carnarvon on the highest point around everything was under water, mango, bananas and other fruit crops were destroyed. The normally dry Lake McLeod will not be passable for weeks.

On this expedition we had the following items under review:New IBS-DBR (Dual Battery Relay), Test of heat resistance in the extreme range

  • New IBS-DBR (Dual Battery Relay), Test of heat resistance in the extreme range

  • New uSun6 solar controller with charging indicator to Solarkit SK4

  • New software version from the IBS-DBS (in continuous vibration test)

  • 8.2 "Transflective touch screen monitor in conjunction with IBS Touratech moving map on Dell Laptop fed from IBS Ultra Sine Inverter 300W, total running time approx 250 hours

  • New TJM Shocks Gold Edition (keep for days in extreme heat and corrugation, no internal signs of wear are observed after 13'000km.)

  • Mickey Tompson Baja MTZ (These tires put away a lot, not a single puncture, we have run over hundreds of dead trees)

    All the parts have survived the long trip well. Only the auxiliary battery has to be added to the heat and vibration and must be replaced before the next trip. Likewise, the winch cable, as mentioned above, to be replaced.
    Until the next adventure

    PS: youtube now available: serious4wd ibs



    Beat Wyss




Along Ningaloo NP many long beaches
Pinnacles where old trees turned into rock