Darwin to Kununurra Chase Nov 2007

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Darwin to Kununurra Chase Nov 2007

Postby MikeF » Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:13 pm

Actually trying to organise a trip up that way late november next year (2007).

I was thinking of flying to darwin and hiring some sort of vehicle based upon the number of us and then go chasing. Basically an organised storm chase so to speak.

I think that this time next year would be good somewhere for storms up there either it is in Kununurra (a good days drive from darwin) or even around Katherine or places in between.

The only problem with driving from perth is the distance to get there and back. It would just take too long. At least this way we could all be up there in a day Smile Hiring a car between a few people would not be a problem for costs.

What do people think? It would be the best way to share out the costs Smile
Last edited by MikeF on Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Tim S » Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:45 pm

(Moved from other thread)
I actually had the same thought Chop, great minds think alike hey! Though I was thinking of driving from Perth, though as you said that would take a few days extra. Also the advantage of Flying to Darwin is that we'll be able to take in their storms as well, just as long as they have a better buildup than this year!

So yeah count me in for sure!
Kia Kaha, stay strong, live long and above all have fun. :)

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Postby SimonB » Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:32 pm

I'll just have to time my trips to a little mine near there and catch the bus in to Kununurra :P

Up there on Wednesday, will let you know what it's like. From what I'm told, it's a bit hit or miss at the moment.

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Postby MJ » Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:59 pm

Righto Sounds good Mike... keep us informed :).

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Postby Beef_Taco » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:30 pm

Let me know how much it'd all cost, if it's reasonable, i'm in like flynne.

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Postby MikeF » Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:25 am

Beef_Taco wrote:Let me know how much it'd all cost, if it's reasonable, i'm in like flynne.


Air flight $630 per person return to perth

9 seater van hire for $80 per day divided between us plus extra km (anything over 100km per day or so)

Hotel rooms about $60 a night as it is the off season at about 30 per person a night

fuel depends upon the km that we do.

all up for 2 weeks look at a max of $120 per day ($1680) plus airfare of 630 = $2310

This is approximate and I am not a tourist guide :)

Just an idea for a trip. It would be fun.

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Postby squid » Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:20 pm

maby i could join ya up in darwin for a few days hmm keep us posted

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Postby Greg Spencer » Mon Dec 04, 2006 1:19 pm

Count me in for this, depending how I go for getting time off. Also there is the possibility that I will be moving to Brisbane sometime in the new year. Even if I can get the time I'll still fly up to Darwin and meet you guys up there for a week or 2 chasing the top end.

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Postby Ms Jax » Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:01 pm

Oh, crap, I'm turning into the thread-bumper-n00b-from-hell!

this sounds like a goer for us - we were planning a top end trip for this year: a chasing trip sounds even better.

We would definately be keen, so let's get this discussion up and running again.

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Postby Tim S » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:02 pm

Cool. There might be a few of us going then. The more the merrier i say. :) how many people are definite? Maybe we should start planning? Just thinking would it be better to drive up from perth, Then fly back? Will make it a one way trip and will mean we can take in the pilabra too?
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Postby MikeF » Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:20 am

I am intending on basing myself in Darwin (fly in fly out). The Pilbara is not as reliable for storms at any time of the year let alone November when you may have to wait for 5 days or more for storms. Around Darwin you have a storm every day or 2 at the worst.

Basing out of Darwin means that we can hire a car (or 2 there depending on numbers), spend the full amount of time chasing the prime area (it would take 1-2 weeks to drive to Darwin) and we would not need to worry about a persons vehicle when we leave. Also the km are charged if you are over a certain per day and that would affect any serious driving in a hire car from Perth. I want to get down to the Kunnunnurra area though if at all possible.

If some want to drive up and others fly then meeting up there would be really cool. Basically it can be either way I guess. But I am for basing my self out of Darwin for those reasons above

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Postby radar » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:11 am

I was lucky enough to live in Darwin for a year and the one thing I noted at the time was that the area south of Darwin was crappy for chasing stroms. Problem number one, although not the biggest, is basically there is a single road through to Katherine. There is the road to Kakadu and to Litchfield, but that's about it. So road options are limited.

By far and away the biggest problem though is the vegetation - the scrub tends to be thick and tall which essentially means you're either taking a photo off the road or not at all - not exactly ideal when you are standing on the single road connecting Darwin to the rest of Australia. Consequently my chases were confined to the general Darwin area which is very frustrating when you see huge storms to the SE or SW but know you have no chance of getting to them.

IMO the east and south Kimberley is a much better option. When I based myself around Kununura I had an east option via the the Vic Highway, you could drive NW up to Wyndham, and SW down to Halls Creek and even Fitzroy Crossing wasn't out of question. Best of all the vegetation around Kununurra is essentially grass lands which means you can safely stop almost anywhere, get off the road, and set up to take photos.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth. Pilbara potentially is even better (more roads and even less scrub) but it is much less reliable. Pilbara would be a better bet a bit later in the season, say late December to end of Feb, and even then there's no guarantees. If you're unlucky you could spend two weeks staring at blue skies!

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Postby MikeF » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:42 am

That is good information Radar.

I was thinking that between kunnunnurru and katherine would be good. There are not many roads through there but you have a good east west option.

But you are right. I have taken the best photos around kunnunurru and the land is pretty good for photography. I quess that landing in Darwin and driving to kunnunnurru is an option and probably cheaper than flying straight there and hireing a car???

Any ideas?

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Postby Tim S » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:41 am

Yeah cheers for that info Radar, its good to get a first hand report of what to expect. Its a pity because the area south of Darwin can get some awesome storms, I remember many a November and December day looking at the radar and soundings thinking, 'man how good would it to be chase that' Maybe we should invest in a couple of microlights, though begs not explaining to whoever we hire them off why they are crashed in some swamp 200kms south of Darwin afterwards! :)

I personally think flying to Broome and driving to darwin might be a better option (or vice versa). The pennisula to the east of Broome can get some awesome storms, though I think its usually later in the build up, like late december. Or as you suggested Chop, just fly straight to kunnanurru and hire a car from there, though yeah I imagine that is an expensive option.

I like the idea of driving from Perth mainly because I havent seen much of the NW, though as you said Chop it will take a long time to drive up and cost a bucket in fuel. Though I might see if I can convince the better half to come along and we can make a holiday out of it. I dont like my chances of convincing her to come along for the chase though. :)
Kia Kaha, stay strong, live long and above all have fun. :)

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Postby MikeF » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:25 pm

Looking at the return cost of skywest flights to kununurra and they are not different to Darwin. Car hire is not much different so I propose to change the destination to kununurra??

Better place anyway :) It definately will be better for storms as well.

Hire an 8 seater Toyota Tarago 2 weeks at about $1800 from kununurra and dropped there as well. (this includes unlimited km's and comprehensive insurance (300 excess) Quite good actually.

That equates to (if 6 people included) about $20 per day. That would leave lots of room for equipment

Anyway thats just some costings

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Postby Tim S » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:36 pm

Good work Chop, that is a good price for car hire. :)

What time of year do you think would be best? I mean Late November is usaully the best time isnt it? though if the buildup is late, would we run the risk of missing most the action?

I still think we shouldn't exlude Darwin though, it may be crap for chasing, but by the sounds of it you dont need to chase that far. :)
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Postby radar » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:43 pm

Tim,

While the peninsula east of Broome does get good storms it can also be unreliable (bit like Pilbara), there is only one road through it, and the scrub is thick and tall. If a car can be hired in Kununurra then flying in there directly would be far better than flying into Broome IMO.

I should have mentioned that the last time I chased in Darwin the year was 1997 - a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then! A lot might have changed, however, when I look at the Tropical forum on Weatherzone the guys up there are always posting pictures from the coast around Darwin. The few that I've seen from south of Darwin are always taken from the Stuart Highway which connects Darwin to Katherine. Going by that thing possibly have not changed that much.

IMO the two main areas to target would be around Kununurra and around Katherine. I'm not sure what the topography and vegatation is like around Katherine, but early in the season it seems to pick up storms more regularly than Darwin does, probably because of the extra heating and no reliance on steering winds to bring the stroms to the coast (which is what you need in Darwin a lot).

Kununurra would therefore present it's self as an ideal place to start from, and possibly base, a chasing trip up there.

Cheers

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Postby MikeF » Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:28 pm

Yep O agree with you Radar.

That is the place to go. I originally said darwin just due to the cheaper airfares not even looking at skywest and now I have seen skywest then it would be the ideal place to fly to and base from

so costs now....

return flight $660
Car Hire Per Person (assumung there are 6 of us) $300

fuel (assuming 300km a day) will be less than this averaged... $200

accomodation twin share (about $35 pp per night in a cabin) sleeping 3 people $500

food about $30 per day. And other costs I am not sure... $420

TOTAL all up... $2080

I am sure it will be a bit more than this but not too much.

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Postby radar » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:18 pm

So when are you thinking Chop? Late November/early December? How long for?

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Postby MikeF » Thu Feb 01, 2007 5:32 pm

I was thinking mid-late November for 2 weeks. My partner is having that time off too look after our daughter, so I would need to be back before December.

But that is my time availability If others can get more time off then Maybe they should stay there longer. I think from my experience that this time is pretty good for storm development but without too many mozzies and moisture. Should have some fantastic lightning displays!!

A good place to visit at times will be Halls Creek. There are some great night storms around here and some good places to view them. The land is very flat in places there.

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