Review: Plenty Highway

My Place Rating: My Rating 2/5

Got to laugh at the suggestion you need three days to complete the trek from Boulia to Alice Springs. in 1998, we left Boulia 7am towing a 4wd camper trailer, stopped @ Tobermorey, Jervois & Gem Tree yet reached Alice by 5.30pm. Our intention was to stop @ GemTree but we got there around 3pm so we just kept on going.
The trek notes embellish the truth in some ways because there's very little to see in these parts. If travelling west as we did, you're better off starting very early & getting to Alice in one day so you can see the sights of MacDonnell Ranges a day earlier.
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Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 16:36

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 16:36
The Bunyip

I did it with another couple in 2 easy days with both of us towing off road trailers.

You must have been driving fast to do it in that time. As it is about 700 kms. We were having lunch on the second day when a young fellow on a big BMW bike stopped for lunch with us. He was aiming to do it in a bit over 6 hours and had been over it before.

No wonder you did not see anything. There was quite a lot to see actually- old buildings, local identities, other relics, etc.

Just another traveler throwing stones at oncoming traffic at high speed, rushing and missing the real outback just to be able to say "I did it"!

AnswerID: 504818

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 17:01

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 17:01
We plan to go via the Plenty in May this year,towing a dirt road van, & will have three
stops between Boulia & Alice, including the east mac area. Your 15 year old trip in
one day is not our idea of outback touring. We can always find things of interest to
see, & will use the EO Trek Notes as a guide. Perhaps we are looking for the other
"half of the fun"....cheers.....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 504819

Reply By: Mark T6 - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 17:26

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 17:26
We are doing the Plenty after our CSR trip in July (so early August), Alice to Boulia, plan on 2 days. A group of 4 with 4 couples and all old farts who prefer time to "smell the roses". Later start, morning tea, lunch stop and camp spot by 4.00pm, with drinkies at 5.00pm and camp fire and dinner at 7.00pm which sounds SO much better than racing over 700 KM of dirt road in a day!!

But each to their own...however can I just anyone planning on doing this in a day when we are going across to "slow down when approaching others"...thanks, greatly appreciated.
AnswerID: 504820

Reply By: Barry 2 - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 17:54

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 17:54
The Bunyip
I hope this is a wind up !!!!!!!
Otherwise -
I have to agree with the other replies.
Especially about the Speed on dirt roads with considering
others with your flying stones. My windscreen has numerous cracks and
chips from these types of drivers. ( Lucky not in drivers view )
I can't help wonder about your screen tag " Half the fun is getting there !!! "
Does that mean the Fun is Driving at great speed ???
Hope your family were not in the car.
Please have consideration for others on OUTBACK roads.

Barry - Southern Cross Dreaming
AnswerID: 504824

Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 18:59

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 18:59
I drive this road three or four, sometimes more times per year, and I think for the average traveller 2 days is a minimum requirement to complete the journey safely and to deal with the fatigue issues appropriately. If you want to meet some people and make a journey of it then 3 days with a stop at Tobermorrey, Jervois and Gem Tree or Harts range is ideal- after all while "half the fun" for some people "may be getting there," all the fun for me even after 35 years is enjoying the journey and meeting new people along the way, such as the new managers at Tobermorrey, the owners at Jervois, the people of Bonya, plucking and cooking an emu in Arthur River, the other campers at Gemtree.etc etc.
AnswerID: 504829

Follow Up By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 19:00

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 19:00
It was a half decent troll though :-)
FollowupID: 781728

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 19:21

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 19:21
Hi Bunyip, I'm not surprised by these responses because many EO people see the opportunity to take a drive as an opportunity to explore and that's why this site has this name "ExplorOz".
Like you, David and I drove the Plenty Highway in 1998 - as part of our 2 year non-stop trip around and within Australia. The deserts were our favourite part of the trip and the Plenty Hwy was actually a highlight. We encountered rain and boggy roads and had a ball being stranded by the side of the road for a few days in the spinifex scrub. We discovered fascinating nocturnal marsupials that live inside the spinifex and picked up a hitchhiker (a desert hopping mouse) that hid in our cupboards until we reached Uluru. The colours of the landscape were amazing, and the desert storms are breathtaking. We hiked to the top of a hill and found remnants of an old micre mine. The area is actually rich in history and there are some great things there if you know where to go looking for them. But as with all drives - sometimes you're not there to explore. Sometimes you're simply going somewhere else, but for many folks on EO, the journey is the destination.
Michelle Martin
Marketing & Customer Support
I.T. Beyond Pty Ltd / ExplorOz

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 504830

Follow Up By: fisherPete - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:00

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:00
Well said Michelle, LIKE.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 781731

Reply By: Member - Morry H (WA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:29

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:29
hi bunyip you should have stopped home and watched it on a cd regards morry
AnswerID: 504835

Reply By: Witi Repartee - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:47

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:47
The laugh is on you Bunyip..all that driving to see nothing.
AnswerID: 504836

Reply By: Off-track - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 23:23

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 23:23
geezus! Take a cold shower you lot. Someone writes an opinion that isnt right or wrong but merely their experience and suddenly the silver haired conformists come out.

There would be two main reasons that people travel that road, either to see the sights or to save substantial time and distance to get the the Alice. Pretty sure the Road Train operators arent stopping to check out the scenery. Everyones priorities are different and just because someone can do it in a day doesnt mean they are tearing past people and throwing stones at them.

There's certainly been plenty of throwing stones in this thread though.
AnswerID: 504839

Follow Up By: Aussi Traveller - Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 00:00

Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 00:00
I absolutely agree Off Track, I also agree with Bunyip.
We left Hamilton at 8.30 am and arrived at Jervois at 4 pm, we left the next morning at 8 am we were going to have lunch at Gemtree but they CNGAF so we thought they CGAGF we left and were in Alice by 3 pm.

So if you started at either Boulia or Alice you could easy do it in a day.

FollowupID: 781738

Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 08:18

Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 08:18
There seems to be no point in the topic, other than to stir up the reaction that it got.
FollowupID: 781741

Follow Up By: The Bunyip - Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 09:00

Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 09:00
By golly there's a lot of touchy people out there!!

I stand by my comments but to expand we sat on around 80kph which was comfortable given the road conditions at the time. It's laughable some have suggested I was speeding, I'm too damn old for that.

Nonetheless, the idea was to move through area that held little appeal to my wife & I to get to a central location (Alice Springs) from where we can explore more interesting sites that appealed to us.

Many of you appear to have more time on your hands on more ways than one. At the time I was on my long service leave & we had three months to drive around Australia. With so many places to see we had to make informed decisions on which places we'd pass. The Plenty Highway was one.
FollowupID: 781744

Follow Up By: - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 16:09

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 16:09
I am with the bunyip. I did it in a day in August heading from Alice to Boulia and my travelling companion had mechanical issues along the way.Boulia is a great town and I would like to thank the people at the caravan park who gave us a hand. The locals were of the view that it was a one day trip.

Like me if you work and have limited time frames, on some days you need to get the kilometres under your belt. I enjoyed the drive but I could not justify three days.

If I had extra time and I was heading West I would have a look around Boulia for a few days. Maybe drive down to Bedourie and Birdsville or up to Mt Isa. It is then a one day trip to Alice Springs and there are plenty of must see things in the NT.
FollowupID: 781824

Reply By: olcoolone - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 21:15

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 21:15
What people seen to forget is not every one wants to stop and smell the roses, we have done plenty (sorry) of trips where our ambition is to push as hard as we can express style to get to a given point to start a longer trip.... when we do desert trips the start usually includes a few days of up to 15 hours per day driving.

It doesn't mean they are stupid or being dangerous.... they are on a mission.

Some people take 2 weeks to do the Plenty.... does this mean they are slow.... No!

The biggest issue I have with web based site giving distance vs travel time is it might say it 3 days of driving..... you arrange to get to a spot at a certain time due to this advise only to find out it's only a days drive.... and again we have done some tracks that they say should take 2 days only to find it has taken us 5 days.
AnswerID: 504964

Reply By: Hughie - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 20:21

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 20:21
I'd have to agree with the responses. We camped at Boulia and continued west along the Plenty about 15 yrs ago with a small camper trailer. We had one camp off the road in the bush and another at Gem Trees where we managed to find some zircons. Really enjoyed the trip. Although I enjoy the driving, there's nothing better than camping along the way and experiencing the bush. Also climbing the odd hill and getting some spectacular photos of the track disapperaing into the distance.
AnswerID: 506210

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