Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

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Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Meditator » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:24 pm

Just proving that it can be done, i've done it and that there really is nothing to worry about if you find yourself on the edge of this river. http://www.photoblog.com/ShangriLa/2011/07/23/
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by BNA » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:55 pm

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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby il padrone » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:55 pm

Hey.... what's that ripple behind you ?? :shock:

:lol: :lol: :wink:
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby WestcoastPete » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:23 pm

It's been a while since I've been there, but I've seen BIG crocs in the area, and I reckon that if I was halfway across, knee deep on the rocky bottomed crossing, carrying a bike and probably going back to get my panniers (cos I don't want to submerge my hubs), I'd be crapping myself.

I'd certainly try and get a lift if I could...
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Meditator » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:21 am

Well you do your research before you cross the river. If you see them about, maybe you don't cross. May be the croc you saw is somewhere else by now. Maybe its a different time of year.
Anyhow, as you can see i lived to tell the tale and i know i am not the only one to push their bike across the river. But of course there is always the option to hitch a lift. And i didn't see a croc. And i don't think there's any story of any cyclist being eaten by a croc in that river. I am sure if there had been, i would have heard about it.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby WestcoastPete » Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:10 am

Meditator wrote:Well you do your research before you cross the river. If you see them about, maybe you don't cross. May be the croc you saw is somewhere else by now. Maybe its a different time of year.
Anyhow, as you can see i lived to tell the tale and i know i am not the only one to push their bike across the river. But of course there is always the option to hitch a lift. And i didn't see a croc. And i don't think there's any story of any cyclist being eaten by a croc in that river. I am sure if there had been, i would have heard about it.


I agree; no one's ever been taken crossing there. You can cross there and you'll most likely be fine.

But there ARE crocodiles there. I've seen them there and there has been attacks on that river - sure, it was 12km from the crossing, but it's the same river. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't there - that's in croc safety 101. The croc I saw might be somewhere else? Sure - closer to the crossing.

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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Aushiker » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:41 pm

Thanks for sharing the photos. Do you recall what time of the year this was?

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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby GJ_Coop » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:09 pm

A few points:

It's above the tidal zone. (You sure wouldn't cross a few km downstream where it's really deep and plenty of crocs can be seen.)

Crocs are generally timid creatures.

The water is knee deep, or less, for 100m either side of the crossing, ie, as far as you can see.

100+ cars and buses go through there a day.

Let's not get too dramatic.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Meditator » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:37 pm

Let's not get too dramatic.


Exactly. Like i said in my first post, i did my research before i tried crossing the river. And if anyone like pete is too wimpy, or has freaked out from seeing a croc downstream, then there are alternatives. The main point is that the Pentecost is not a big issue for touring cyclists. YOu can get across safely.

What time of the year? This was July. didn't you notice the date at hte top of the post. That was the day i crossed the river in 2011. Of course this was a wet year. All the rivers were later going down than usual so normally at this time of the year, the water level is even lower.

I'm not trying to be a hero in posting this. The reason for posting it was exactly teh opposite : to prove that there is no drama.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby WestcoastPete » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:52 pm

Wimpy huh? That's a bit rough. I'm not saying that it can't be done. I believe I even said you'd probably be fine doing it and plenty have proven it so. But I lived there and I live in Darwin now and crocs certainly exist in that area and crocs kill people every year. I dunno, maybe being exposed to all this croc safety stuff has brainwashed me...

All I'm saying is that there is a genuine risk of crocs at that crossing. They live downstream and are found upstream. The water level, visibility and traffic all reduce the croc risk, but you can't say that there's no risk.

Wimpy... I respect your posts. Maybe you should respect mine...
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Meditator » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:56 am

Ah Pete, I'm sorry for calling your wimpy. It was a bit tongue in cheek to be honest.

but sure i do know there crocs about in this area. Everyone warns you and you do have to be cautious at every river. And i also know that people get taken by crocs.

But do you know what, nearly all the foreign cyclists i meet don't camp anywhere near any creeks because they've been frightened off too far. They've been led to beleive the threat is greater than it actually is. I always camp by the side of a creek if i can. Or in a creek if its dry.

So the message about crocs does get somewhat overdone. I am sure people are not telling the cyclists not to camp near rivers and creeks but becuase they have zero idea about this country, they interpret what is said in the wrong way. So it could be that if you told people that they shouldn't realy cross the pentecost because of the crocs, they'd probably end up avoiding the GRR as well.

Luckily for me, although i'd heard horror stories about the Pentecost, i'd already read a blog by some cyclists who mentioned crossing the river so i knew it could be done.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby silentbutdeadly » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:37 am

The endless procession of 4x4s on the GRR is more dangerous than the crocs. However, if you as a cyclist imagine that you can second guess either of them simply because other people might've gotten away with it before then the odds are shortening incrementally on the likelihood that one day...you might guess wrong.

The Pentecost Crossing even in a 4x4 is not to be taken lightly (or quickly). As for pushing/carrying a bike across it...why risk it (even if the risk is rather small) if there's a perfectly useful 4x4 going across at the same time? The might be big, noisy and full of people but they do come in handy on occasion.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:09 pm

I'd be sticking watching the river for a period of time or waiting for a 4x4 to come along and try and get a lift across with them, especially with what I saw below today.
A TWO-METRE crocodile has attacked a car north of Mackay.
Environment department officials said the reptile lunged at the vehicle as it was driving down Neills Rd at Habana last night.
"This was likely to be a defensive action by the crocodile as the car approached it,"


Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/cr ... z1qx1Ikuq2
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby RonK » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:58 pm

Yeah, look - it's probably OK. There don't seem to be many attacks recorded there, so perhaps WA crocs are more friendly, or more timid. And after all plenty of other travellers have waded across the Pentecost River crossing without incident - so far...but then, becoming the first crocodile victim at the Pentecost River crossing is one distinction I'd rather not win. Do you reckon these people would have gone in the water if they thought they were likely to be attacked?
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Meditator » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:00 am

On the face of it ron, that sounds like a good argument but when you think about each of those situations, none of them (that are correctluy reported) would i have done anyway. For instance look at the story of beryl in daintree 1985. The actual story was that she got taken in the middle of the night, the creek is well known to harbour crocs, the people had been drinking. and it is not 43cm deep but much more. The creek is black even in the day. No one in their right mind would go swimming there today and i would have thought that in those days, no one else would have either. We always had the awareness, even as kids that it was a dangerous place. In those days, there weren't so many crocs as there are now but that creek, which i know personally has always been sus.

The other kid from the daintree who got taken was so small to even be able to consider the risk properly. He probably didn't think about it at all.

Also i don't think the pentecost crossing can be compared to the Mackay river. I don't know the mackay river but the pentecost crossing is busy with traffic. It makes no sense for a croc to hang around there during the day. I mean its not as if there are so many cyclists and they'd be waiting just for us.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby tmac100 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:04 am

GJ_Coop wrote:A few points:

It's above the tidal zone. (You sure wouldn't cross a few km downstream where it's really deep and plenty of crocs can be seen.)

Crocs are generally timid creatures.

The water is knee deep, or less, for 100m either side of the crossing, ie, as far as you can see.

100+ cars and buses go through there a day.

Let's not get too dramatic.

When I rode the Savannah Way in 2006 I had concerns about the crocs, However, on the smaller river crossings in July-August the water was usually mid-calf in depth and in a couple of places at most in the deepest part up to my knees. I was not concerned because the local station folks and their Aboriginal stockmen said that the crocs were scared by the vehicles going through the fording areas and were happier to be downstream waiting to drag cattle into the rivers when they came for a drink of water.

OTOH, the Norman River east of where I spoke (Leichart River to Burketown, to Booraloola and the Roper River Road) was croc-infested and I kept away from the shore. There were also bridges - which helped all bicyclists.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Meditator » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:12 am

tmac100 wrote:
GJ_Coop wrote:A few points:

It's above the tidal zone. (You sure wouldn't cross a few km downstream where it's really deep and plenty of crocs can be seen.)

Crocs are generally timid creatures.

The water is knee deep, or less, for 100m either side of the crossing, ie, as far as you can see.

100+ cars and buses go through there a day.

Let's not get too dramatic.

When I rode the Savannah Way in 2006 I had concerns about the crocs, However, on the smaller river crossings in July-August the water was usually mid-calf in depth and in a couple of places at most in the deepest part up to my knees. I was not concerned because the local station folks and their Aboriginal stockmen said that the crocs were scared by the vehicles going through the fording areas and were happier to be downstream waiting to drag cattle into the rivers when they came for a drink of water.

OTOH, the Norman River east of where I spoke (Leichart River to Burketown, to Booraloola and the Roper River Road) was croc-infested and I kept away from the shore. There were also bridges - which helped all bicyclists.


tmac indeed. I have also ridden the savannah way through those parts. When camping next to a river, one should camp high up on a bank or a careful distance from the side of the river or creek. However, even so if its daytime, one is fairly save to go down to the side of the water to collect water or even stand in the shallows and rinse off. That said, i would never go swimming in any waterhole, not even when i can see the aboriginal kids swimming upstream - because aboriginal kids tend to go missing often but the adults probably are the best judge even so as to whether a croc is about. I know this too because where i live we have at least one croc. It has been seen often enough by the people who walk the beach daily. But amazingly in the winter time we still swim in the sea and there is no suggestion that one should not do this though there is a warning sign near one of the creeks. We've got a resort at the end of the beach and guests are not told to avoid swimming. Though they are told to avoid swimming during the stinger season. Of course no one has been taken yet, not even a dog. Perhaps this is because there is enough fish to eat.

So i guess in the end , one does what one is comfortable doing, rightly or wrongly. The message though is gather the best advice you can from local people and exercise caution. At the Pentecost i had asked people who worked at the station. One guy told me "unofficially" that he believed the crossing was safe. They can't afford to tell you that "officially" in case the worst happens of course.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby WestcoastPete » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:11 pm

http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2012/0 ... tnews.html

4.08m 1km from the crossing on the Katherine River.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby J Quinton » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:05 pm

Hi all. I'm tossing up whether to ride the GGR or not. What would you say is the minimum tire width? Are there deep soft sand parts?
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Aushiker » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:28 pm

J Quinton wrote:Hi all. I'm tossing up whether to ride the GGR or not. What would you say is the minimum tire width? Are there deep soft sand parts?


I am going with 1.75 tyre width. I am expecting sand ... some I am sure will see me walking.

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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Tim » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:08 pm

Andrew, just curious, what sized rim are these tyres fitted to? Were they standard on the LHT?
Thinking of fitting wider tyres to my VWR, currently 35mm, but the rims are only 17mm so I don't think I can go much wider.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Aushiker » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:58 pm

Tim wrote:Andrew, just curious, what sized rim are these tyres fitted to? Were they standard on the LHT?


Alex Adventurer rim on the rear which was standard on the Surly Long Haul Trucker. The front is now a Mavic A719.

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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Tim » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:32 pm

Thanks.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Meditator » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:46 pm

There is some sand but not huge amounts of it. The GRR is getting better every year. They are always at work on it. The worst of it is the dust. Just put on the widest tyres you can . You will be fine. I ride with schwalbe marathons fully inflated. I did notice lots of cuts from rocks in them but only one puncture at the very beginning which was caused by a thorn i think i had picked up before i turned off the bitumen. The thorns can be found on the sides of the road. You are supposed to pick over your tyres at the end of the day with tweezers to pull out any junk which may lead to a puncture later on but i had been somewhat slack on that job.

if there's a reason for not doing the GRR these days its the sheer volume of traffic out there. However, as a cyclists its always fairly easy to find somewhere else to camp other than with all of the grey nomads. Not that they are bad people but its just quite a lot nicer to have your own quiet little campsite. On the other hand, one does enjoy the treats shared with you.
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby J Quinton » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:45 am

Hmmm.

This has me wondering. The max I could go is 28mm, possibly 32mm at a stretch. What width are your marathons mediator?

Is the GGR a far greater experience than the G N hwy? Is the con of the dust far outweighed by the scenery the route offers?

Surely there must be some treats along and just off Great Northern Hwy?
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Re: Crossing the Pentecost River, Kimberley, WA

Postby Aushiker » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:28 pm

J Quinton wrote:Hmmm.

This has me wondering. The max I could go is 28mm, possibly 32mm at a stretch.


Why only 32 mm? What bike/rims are you riding?

From GJ Cole

about 930km with the side trips to the various gorges. Most of the western 125km is sealed, or great unsealed, road... There are plenty of 4WDers visiting both heading down the GRR and day trippers from Kununurra. Once through the knee deep water the road itself is quite variable. There’s about equal amounts that are gravelly and jarring, or soft and therefore hard work, or great, just like cruising on a clay tennis court. A huge amount of building up the road has been done in the last ten years to avoid the worst of the sandy or soft stretches. No longer a rugged 4WD track most travellers are surprised to find it’s just another unsealed highway. Fat tyres, low pressure, you can ride the lot, even if some of it is on the wrong side of the road.


If you haven't already, I suggest a read of GJ Coop at Crazy Guy on a Bike. GJ has two journals of relevance here, the first is titled Adelaide to Darwin and beyond and the second one is titled Zig zag across Australia.

The second journal at Crazy Guy on a Bike that I found useful was Dennis Smith’s and in particular Section 2 – Sydney to Perth via Darwin. This will give you the Northern Highway perspective.

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