With many Outback towns struggling more than ever, an increasing focus has been put on the importance of grey nomad tourism as a way of keeping shops open and businesses flourishing.
For example, the Hann Highway Action Group says a recent announcement of federal funding to help seal the road will be a lifeline for struggling north-west Queensland councils.
The action group’s Russell Lethbridge said it was likely to provide a much-needed stimulus to local economies.
“The whole of western Queensland is in a bad state,” he said.
With travelling dirt roads still an essential an exciting art of many grey nomads’ Outback adventures, reports on the state of the road have become critically important. Discussions about when the graders last came through or how bad the corrugations are, are key discussion points around the campfire.
Research conducted by Keith B Mather at the University of Melbourne in 1962 found that corrugations formed rapidly with hard tyre pressure and are more easily formed on dry roads.
Bumping down corrugated roads can be an uncomfortable experience for travellers, and can prove hazardous. The various vehicle parts that litter the sides of heavily corrugated Outback roads shows the damage that can be done.
Experienced traveller Colin Kerr told the ABC that it was important that people weren’t driving to a timetable or itinerary and were just driving to the local conditions. He said staying in control of a vehicle is vital for drivers as they approach corrugations on remote roads. ”
“Generally I’ve found that somewhere around 65 – 70 kilometres per hour is a happy medium,” he aid. “It allows you to go across the top of the corrugations, but at the same time you’re still retaining your control of the vehicle,” he said.