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Road Trip Report: Sydney to Gregory & Greaves Corner and Lightning Ridge

Vostok

Active Member
Jul 1, 2017
2,619
3,033
Sydney
My recent road trip my be of interest to some... while nothing like Sydney to Darwin or a trip to the red centre, parts of this trip were a bit tricky as it got well off major highways and far from DC charging.

On this trip we went up the coast to Tweed Heads, then inland to Toowoomba, down to Mungindi for my first visit to a border "corner" (Gregory And Greaves corner) then down to Lightning Ridge and back to Sydney via Dubbo.

The takeaways for TL;DR folk:
  • Navigation apps find the shortest routes between two places. But in rural/remote areas these Apps don’t know (or care) if roads are unsealed, and don’t know if some of them are damaged or closed. In one case, the Tesla navigation sent me the wrong way along the top of a quite narrow soil levee bank in someone's farm. Check which roads are unsealed and check the latest road closure and status information from local council websites or myroadinfo.com.au.
  • Mobile phone coverage is patchy or non-existent the more remote the road you drive along. You don't want to get low on charge in the middle of nowhere on a road that has no mobile coverage and you might not see another car for a long time.
  • Away from DCFCs, plan routes carefully taking distance, road conditions and AC charging times into account to prevent being stuck somewhere you did not plan to be.
  • Plugshare is your friend. Have a Plan A and Plan B, and verify before travel if specific chargers or sockets are working and/or available, because the most recent check in might be months ago.
The trip up to Toowoomba was completely uneventful with so many DCFCs on the route, no planning required.

Toowoomba to Mungindi via Goondiwindi (422 km)

We charged to 95% at the Toowoomba Supercharger, because from there until Walgett it is AC charging all the way. Although this leg could be done without stopping in my LR, I had to factor in how long it would take to charge on a caravan socket overnight at Mungindi to then get to Lightning Ridge with a good buffer the following day. Without a faster charge on the way, we'd be stuck at Mungindi for about 24 hours. The answer was the sole public charger in Goondiwindi at the Country Roads Motor Inn. Each hour of charging here (11 kW) would save 4 hours of charging at Mungindi (2.7 kW). We plugged in for 2 hours, taking a leisurely walk into town for lunch then return.

01.jpg


I had to modify my route from Goondi to Mungindi since some of the roads in the area were flood damaged and not recommended to drive on, so I took the sealed route from Goondi to Boomi and Garah then across to Mungindi. Then in for the long haul overnight!

02.jpg



Gregory and Greaves Corner

There are 7 border "corners" in Australia and this was the first one I have visited. Gregory and Greaves Corner is the easternmost end of the straight line border between NSW and QLD, where it meets the Barwon River. It is a short side-trip from Mungindi. The One Ton Post is the original survey marker placed there in 1881 at 29° latitude and is the largest survey peg in the country.

I don't know if I am the first EV to visit this location, but a bloke at the pub at Mungindi did laugh when we pulled up the night before saying "we don't see many of those around here".

MacCabe's corner (where VIC, NSW and SA meet) is do-able in an EV and might be my next one. Cameron Corner (NSW/QLD/SA) would be trickier requiring an overnight stay at Tibooburra and probably again at the Cameron Corner Store in QLD.

The other 4 corners are not do-able in an EV (yet?). The 3 remote corners at the top of SA require driving over sand dunes, and Townsend Corner at the end of the straight line VIC/NSW border, at the source of the Murray River, is a hard 30 km bush trek from the nearest road so kinda doesn't count.

03.jpg



Mungindi - Lightning Ridge (242 km)

While this leg was not particularly far, I was advised to not try the various (but more direct) back roads north of the Ridge as they are all unsealed and a number were reportedly flood damaged or not in good condition. The best option was to go down Morialta Rd to the Gwydir Highway, across to Collarenebri then the Castlereagh Highway to Lightning Ridge. Only 16 km of Morialta Road is unsealed and it was pretty well graded. I got some real looks as I passed some some road workers there 🤣. A lot of this route does not have mobile phone coverage - hence my keenness to leave Mungindi with a healthy "tank" of electrons.

As we got closer to Lightning Ridge, Slartibartfast started to panic and brought up this amusing message on the screen - the implication being "you are about to pass the point of no return - are you sure you want to do this?" 😄

04.jpg


We weren't worried though - there are nice charging options at Lightning Ridge.

05.jpg



Lightning Ridge to Dubbo (372 km)

The fabulous Lightning Ridge District Bowling Club has 2 Tesla destination chargers and both of them work, so zero problems filling up the tank again while we were there and when we were ready to do the next leg.

The photo below is what driving along a very flat road looks like on the Tesla Energy App. The blips are when I overtook road trains or huge caravans. The appalling efficiency of 184 Wh/km was due to driving into an extremely strong headwind the whole way. Which is salutary reminder about filling up your EV when you can - you don't know when this sort of stuff might happen. Although again no worries because NRMA have chargers at Walgett and Coonamble.

06.jpg


Although we didn't need to charge at Walgett I wanted to stop to see the Jimmy Little silo painting and check the NRMA charger out there because the previous check-in reported it had been vandalised. And it has been - but it still worked! We only plugged in for about 10 minutes.

07.jpg


Our plan was to stop at Coonamble for lunch. The NRMA site there has 2 stalls and is very well located just behind the main street. A nice lunch at a cafe there and we had a 90% tank again.

Dubbo to Sydney (387 km)

Back into Supercharger territory so not interesting from a road trip perspective. However I did set myself a new efficiency record of minus 6 Wh/km over the descent from Mount Victoria to Lapstone.

08.jpg


Total trip 2846 km at 151 Wh/km.
 
MacCabe's corner
It is a weird 'corner'. We got a houseboat from Old Customs House in SA, travelling east on the Murray first you pass the SA / Vic border on the right and then after a few kilometres you pass the SA / NSW border on the left. All due to a surveying stuff up apparently (or a land grab by those fiendish Victorians).
 

Vostok

Active Member
Jul 1, 2017
2,619
3,033
Sydney
It is a weird 'corner'. We got a houseboat from Old Customs House in SA, travelling east on the Murray first you pass the SA / Vic border on the right and then after a few kilometres you pass the SA / NSW border on the left. All due to a surveying stuff up apparently (or a land grab by those fiendish Victorians).

Indeed it is a weird "corner" where the SA/VIC and SA/NSW borders miss each other by about 3 km (yes due to surveying errors!). The point where SA, VIC and NSW meet is in the middle of the Murray river. I've read reports that say this corner (marked by a post on the southern riverbank) can only be reached by boat but looking at Google Earth it seems dirt tracks get within a km or so of it. Might be on private land though.
 

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