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Iceland 2017

zeratul

zeratul

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So after months of preparation, in a couple of weeks we're leaving for Iceland for a great 4x4 adventure with our California and 3 boys. It will be our 4th visit to iceland, 2nd time in summer, and it's been a dream of me ever since I've visited it for the first time to travel in a capable 4x4 vehicle through the so beautiful highlands.
So we've invested in VB Air suspension (which gives us +9cm extra clearance), a raised air intake, underbody protection and off road tyres - all with great help from other members on this forum that have gone there before - thank you.

We've seen a lot already but still there is too much to see to fit into this trip. So we're focussing on the new things for us: the highland and the westfjords. Some things are so beautiful we'll be visiting them for a second or third time though.

This time we're flying and shipping our California with Samskip from Rotterdam to Reykjavik.
I've drafted the map of our planned travel. It's based upon Iceland Trackbook and Road Atlas and I've done some research.

The Iceland trackbook has green, blue, red and black routes; green are doable for any California, the blue is doable for a modified California, and red is only for real 4x4's as they sometimes contain river crossings up to 80cm. We'll only do green and blue, and some little pieces of a red route that according to the track book should be okay (where problems lie in parts of the road we can avoid). Still we'll decide on the spot. We're travelling with children and I will not take risks - I know the dangers.
iceland_plan.png
We'll start from Reykjavik and start towards Hveragerdi and the walk to the hot river. Then from Hvolsvolur we'll enter the Porsmork valley from the north (blue route 38). It's always been my dream to see the mighty Mount Maelifell - it looks like a magical place.

After blue route 38 (F261) however, we'll have to take a piece of red (route 35) which requires 24cm clearance (we have that) and 80cm water crossings (nope, won't ever think of anything above 50cm) but the crossing lies at the end and we can exit southwards to route 37 Oldufjell (F232) which is blue again.
This is one of the most critical parts. If I don't feel confident I will of course turn around.

From there we'll enter the F208 towards Landmannalaugar, then travel Sprengisandur towards Myvatn (we might do Laugafell and take F821 which looks nice or the shorter Sprengisandur N.
Then Myvatn, Dimmuborgir, Krafla (seen all of it but our children have not), then Asbyrgi, Dettifoss, Askja and on towards another long-time dream : the ice caves near Kverkfjoll.
If F88 is impassable we'll detour from one of the other routes as Kverkfjoll is a must-see.
We'll take some dotted line tracks to the Kharanjukar dam and proceed to the ring road again.
From Jokulsarlon and Skaftafell (hiking day) we'll try the small circle near Laki (route 56), but the return is also a red route, so we'll see what it says (the small circle might be doable, but there might be a 60cm crossing ).
From there the plan is to try to find trackbook route 29, not easy apparently, through a "rock garden" and proceed via F338 to Kjolur route. We'll visit Kerlingarfjoll and Hveravellir.
After that we'll say goodbye to the highlands and spend a week or whatever we have left in the westfjords before returning via Snaefellsness.

We have 23 days and we'll follow the same travel method we've been using ever since we had our california: drive every day a bit, 3-4 hours a day, never sleep twice in the same spot. So we travel light - no awnings, no toppers. Just a popup tent.. in case of high winds and not daring to sleep with the roof up. We'll have a small to medium walk (1-4h) every day and the rest of the time is them playing in nature, cooking etc.

I estimate we'll do about 2200km.
We do the highlands first, so that in case we get stuck or a car problem arrives, we still have time to recover before we need to fly home.

Our california is leaving in 2 weeks, we are flying on august 2nd and pick it up on August 3rd.
 
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Chinny

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Hi that sounds like an amazing adventure I'd love to be able to do that good luck
 
zeratul

zeratul

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Our cali was delivered to Rotterdam yesterday and is leaving for iceland today. Took me little time to get there, had to wait a bit for paperwork, then came back home by train (ran the 8km to the Rotterdam central station as I'm a runner but there are other options).
I took all the papers with me, as recommended by the travel agency. Samskip has digital copies of everything, that should be enough.
Flying in two weeks.
Could have delivered the car a week later, but the number of days for clearing customs recently increased by one and it would have either cost us a 2nd cali-less night in iceland or having it leave a week earlier. We chose the latter.
 
briwy

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Zeratul, does this work out cheaper than the ferry from Denmark. We are going to do a similar trip next year or year after. Hope everything goes well for you.
 
zeratul

zeratul

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For us it's the same price but I'd recommend you to do the calculation.
www.ijslandspecialist.nl is how we've booked, you can calculate the price there https://www.ijslandspecialist.nl/vervoer-naar-en-op-ijsland/vrachtboot-ijsland/ or a google translated version https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://www.ijslandspecialist.nl/vervoer-naar-en-op-ijsland/vrachtboot-ijsland/

It depends on your specific situation. Are you going in high season (we are), how many persons (we're five) and how did you book the flight. I always book through www.skyscanner.net or use one of the Icelandair promotions rates, they're very good.
For us shipping and return was 2200 euro and return flights 1500 euro. Smyril Line for a high car including meals and a 5 person inside cabin was about 3700 euro. But then you lose 2x2days at sea and the time to drive to Denmark. Been there, done that.. I'd rather spend the extra days in Iceland.
For us it's a no-brainer, but I live less than 2h driving from Rotterdam. Worth checking what other harbours they have to connect to Rotterdam, e.g. Norfolk ? (https://www.samskip.com/routes/lines/nr/474) and callilng them for a quote.

Oh and when calculating dimensions of the car, I've used the height of VB Air suspension in lowest position, of course. If they complain I'll tell them to push the button.
 
briwy

briwy

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Ok thanks Zeratul. That's helpful info.
We probably wouldn't go in high season and not limited on time. Also we could have a day or two in the Faroes but we'll definitely look at the option.
 
bvddobb

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@briwy: for our Iceland trip last year we did this calculation also, and although we did not go in high season we came to the same result: the various options (ferry, ship/fly, fly/rent locally) came roughly in the same price range. So it depends indeed on your personal circumstances/wishes what you do.

We decided to take the ferry, because it gave us the opportunity to also visit the Faroe Islands. Others we met on the boat took the ferry on the way there to also be able to visit the Faroe Islands, but did the ship/fly combi back, in order to have some extra days on Iceland. That is also a possibility.

There were many Cali's on the ferry:


and on the campsite in Thorshavn (Faroe Islands):
 
zeratul

zeratul

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Ok thanks Zeratul. That's helpful info.
We probably wouldn't go in high season and not limited on time. Also we could have a day or two in the Faroes but we'll definitely look at the option.
Outside of high season Smyril line has promotions e.g. high car for the price of regular car and sometimes cheap meals. Also I liked arriving in Seydisfjordur.. feels the way iceland is supposed to feel.
There's also less things that can go wrong (e.g. volcano bursting , flights cancelled, car damage in transport, ..)
and you can visit Lego land denmark on the way there/back. As well as Faroes of course.

( Maybe next time, this won't be our last iceland trip. Only those that have been there understand why one wants to go back so many times.)

I also still have this dream of doing the panamerican highway some day, Samskip can ship via Iceland to US. Wanted to test the quality of their services.
 
bvddobb

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I also still have this dream of doing the panamerican highway some day, Samskip can ship via Iceland to US. Wanted to test the quality of their services.
Have a look at Seabridge then, @zeratul. With them you can ship from Antwerp to Halifax if you want to start up North, or from Antwerp to Beunos Aires if you want to start down South... :thumb

It's something we have on our mind as well. We could go together!

(We're going nicely off topic, here... ;) )
 
DM

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It's something we have on our mind as well. We could go together!
Haha - count me in - Convoy :thumb.

More seriously I'd love to take the Cali to Iceland but have been put off by lack of a sea route from the UK. Surely it'd be cheaper to just hire one there. Not quite the same I know
 
DM

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I'm hating myself for being pedantic here but is this thread on the correct board? I believe that Iceland is technically part of Europe. :sorry
 
bvddobb

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I believe that Iceland is technically part of Europe. :sorry
As is the UK, but I think on Brit-centric forums 'Europe' means 'the continent', or more often 'not the UK'. o_O

The interesting thing is that Iceland is half on the European shell, half on the American shell, hence all the interesting volcanic activity there in the middle.
 
zeratul

zeratul

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How great would it be to have a small sailing boat (and the necessary skills) capable of transporting a cali.
I'd make a multi year trip Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Alaska and then south..
It's good to keep dreaming, sometimes you can actually realise some. This Iceland trip is the one I've been dreaming of ever since my first long visit ten years ago.
 
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Erbster

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How great would it be to have a small sailing boat (and the necessary skills) capable of transporting a cali.
I'd make a multi year trip Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Alaska and then south..
It's good to keep dreaming, sometimes you can actually realise some. This Iceland trip is the one I've been dreaming of ever since my first long visit ten years ago.
I think it would need to be quite a big sailing boat to carry a Cali! What about a landing craft instead?


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briwy

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Outside of high season Smyril line has promotions e.g. high car for the price of regular car and sometimes cheap meals. Also I liked arriving in Seydisfjordur.. feels the way iceland is supposed to feel.
There's also less things that can go wrong (e.g. volcano bursting , flights cancelled, car damage in transport, ..)
and you can visit Lego land denmark on the way there/back. As well as Faroes of course.

( Maybe next time, this won't be our last iceland trip. Only those that have been there understand why one wants to go back so many times.)

I also still have this dream of doing the panamerican highway some day, Samskip can ship via Iceland to US. Wanted to test the quality of their services.
Someone on the forum has done the Panamerican highway.
They actually gave a talk on it a few years ago at a Cali meet, very interesting. They containered the van to Vancouver which meant they did the top bit twice. Interestingly one point was that one of the central American countries will not allow a right hand drive vehicle in, they were lhd so no problem but they did say some German guys in a rhd van had to stop the trip there. Experience of a lifetime. Spanish a necessity.
 
bvddobb

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It seems they have 'tamed' the Landmannalaugar crossing, now:



According to the newspaper article, quite to the chagrin of the wardens, there...

So, just wait another year or two and you can reach all the traditional Highland shelters (Landmannalaugar, Hveravellir, Nyidalur) with a regular Cali! That is, if you then still want to:

See this article: Never More Traffic On Ring Road

And they are planning a 120-room hotel at Hveravellir. It now still looks like this (well, last year it did):

 
zeratul

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Day 1 Aug 2nd took the plane, then the flybus to stay in a bed and breakfast close to the harbour to pick up the cali in the morning
Day 2 Aug 3rd picked up cali (that went well) so happy to have her back after 2weeks. We visited Reykjavik while we were there and then on to Hveragerdi where we did a 3.5km hike to the hot river Reykjadalur. Our three boys lived the walk and the swim in the hot river. Though not the first hot river we saw (Costa Rica, but it was not free there ) it was a great reward for a nice hike and the weather was perfect. We swam for an hour then returned. Overnight stay in Stokkseyri (we take campsites from Icamd camping card wherever we can because it's virtually free)

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zeratul

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Day 3 Aug 4th. Today we did HVOLSSVOLLUR route Emsturleid them Mount Maelifell which we climed with the 3 boys and then back via Oldufjell. This was such a beautiful day. Highly recommended route. Crossings up to 50cm, one on top of a waterfall. Great green fluorescent and black nature. The mountain was all I had dreamt of the view from the top simple incredible. A dream came true. So happy with the raised vb air suspension because there are good parts in the black desert where you can drive 80km/h but still need clearance, also we have used off road mode a lot of time. Only super jeeps and us today.. Felt great. Now at the Kirkjubajaerklaustur campsite. Tomorrow we'll do Laki craters.
Pictures on my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jeroenost/ . More will follow when we are back on WiFi. Bought a drone just before the trip to film crossings and it's working fine... Great footage.

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zeratul

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Day 4 Aug 5th change of plan due to the great weather we decided to take gherkin scenic F208 to enjoy Landmannalaugar in all its beauty. What a great drive. Crossings where very easy and the road was okay. Spent some time at the hot pool
Day 5 Aug 6th walked 8km in landmannalaugars amazing scenery in the morning then left towards Sprengisandur. It started to rain in no man's land along Sprengisandur.. Didn't like it.. Such a bad road full if holes and vibrations (waves from erosion) maxed this a very long drive and the amount of stones horrible. Also nothing to see exempt the emptiness and other cats passing mostly super jeeps. Arrived at nyadalur and passed straight on to Laugarvayn for the hot pool. Called in pouring rain cooked below the awning and after inside. Put that kiss to bed then enjoyed the beautiful hot spring with a beer.. Still in pouring rain.

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