Our Lotus Trooper is now 8 months old and has now travelled over 20,000 kilometers. From coastal freeways to outback tracks it has been and still is an exceptional van. We can’t praise it highly enough. After almost 12 months of researching different vans before we purchased our Trooper we were pleased that we met Lester from Gold Coast Caravan Sales at the Brisbane Caravan and Camping Show. Lester’s knowledge was invaluable when we were making our final decision.
We picked our 20’ Trooper up in the middle of March and since then we have done 2 long trips and several short trips. For our get to know the van we headed down to Pottsville South Caravan Park.
The 1st long trip, 5500 klms, was from Brisbane through Dalby, Condamine, Surat, St George, Dirrinbandi, Hebel, Lightning Ridge, Brewarrina, Bourke. From Bourke we were hoping to do the full Darling River Run through Louth, Tilpa, Wilcannia,Menindee,Pooncarrie to Wentworth where the Darling meets the Murray but due to the flooding the Darling River Run was only open through Louth and to Tilpa. We had to cut back from Tilpa to the Barrier Highway on the Tilpa Noona Road about half way between Cobar and Wilcannia. We then travelled though Wilcannia to Broken Hill, Wentworth, Mildura, Balranald, Hay, Golgowi, West Wyalong, Parkes, Dubbo, Dunnedo, Merriwa, Raymond Terrace, Taree, Port Macquarie, Nambucca Heads, Coffs Harbour, Kingscliffe and then returning to Brisbane.
Although the road is sealed from Brisbane to Dirrinbandi the roads were rough and up and down from the 2011 flood damage especially around Condamine and Dirrinbandi. From Hebel down to Bourke the roads were in pretty good condition. The Darling River Run from just south of Bourke through to Tilpa and then to Barrier Highway (about 600kms) is unsealed ranging from wide corrugated red dirt roads to a couple of wheel tracks. The rest of the trip was sealed roads in reasonable condition across large plains and mountain ranges. Our Trooper handled whatever conditions prevailed with little fuss.
We then did a trip out to Cressbrook Dam about 60 klms north of Toowoomba and to Glendon about 50kms west of Warwick. Cressbrook Dam is beautiful spot with fishing and boating with good facilities.
Glendon, a well run caravan and camping property, is on the old Thanes Creek gold fields. There are plenty of places to prospect, 4WD and Trail Bike tracks and a stocked dam to do a bit of fishing.
We have just returned from our second long trip, 10,500 klms, from Brisbane out through Dalby, Chinchilla, Roma, Mitchell, Charleville, Quilpie, Welford National Park, Windorah, Cordillo Downs, Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia, Tobermory, Alice Springs, Earldunda, Uluru, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Three Ways, Barkley Homestead, Camooweal, Mt Isa, Cloncurry, Hughenden, Charters Towers, Bowen, Sarina, and then down the coast and a few days at Coolum before heading home to Brisbane and what a great trip it was.
This really is a great country with so many wonderful places to see. The Warrego Highway out through to Charleville and is sealed but fairly rough in places. The roads are still recovering from the January floods. The Diamantina Developmental Road to Quilpie and Windorah is sealed but single strip in places. The Jundah Road from the Quilpie – Windorah Road Welford National Park and back along the Windorah – Yaraka Road is unsealed and in better condition then most of the sealed road from Toowoomba to Charleville.
We headed out the Birdsville Road from Windorah sealed but narrow then onto the Innamincka Road to the CordilloDowns – Birdsville Road. This road has everything except bitumen. It ranges from wide gravel through corrugation to gibbers of all sizes. The Cordillo Downs – Birdsville Road would not see road crews too often until you get to the Queensland border. We stayed at the Birdsville Caravan Park for 5 days. We left the van at Birdsville while we did an overnight camp at Poeppels Corner in the Simpson Desert.
We then headed north to Boulia through Bedourie. This road is 50% sealed and the unsealed is pretty well maintained. From Boulia we headed west along the Donohue/Plenty Highway (Donohue until the NT Border and Plenty from there to the Stuart Highway) the sealed sections on the Queensland side are good. The unsealed sections on both sides of the border have sections of bad corrugation, sharp rocks and deep bulldust. You really need a high clearance vehicle and van to do this crossing.
We then headed to Alice Springs before heading to Uluru and then back to Kings Canyon. These roads are wide well maintained sealed highways. On leaving Kings Canyon we headed south towards the Lassiter Highway until we reached the Ernest Giles Road. This road is a dry weather road with deep sand drifts, corrugation and rocky sections and a few corners where the camber is in the wrong direction.
We then headed home via the Stuart Highway to the Three Ways, across the Barkly Highway through to Mt Isa then across to the coast and then down the Bruce Highway to home.
All the unsealed roads we travelled on even as rough as they were in places were no problems to the Trooper. The only thing is DRIVE to the conditions and I would highly recommend a stone protector of some sort.