Old Ghan Railway - South out of Alice

Planning on heading south out of Alice to Kulgera via the Old Ghan Railway in a couple of weeks. Anyone recently been on this track and have any comments or notes?
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Reply By: mikehzz - Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 20:32

Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 20:32
Be careful of the metal railway spikes lying in the red dust. It's quite a nice drive. Go out to Chambers Pillar, well worth a look.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 18:58

Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 18:58
I wouldn't let railway spikes deter you at all, and being careful of them is pretty impossible?
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 20:55

Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 20:55
When I can see one lying there I drive around it. If you drive slower then you have more chance of seeing them. Also, if you keep your speed down and flick one up it will do less damage. That's how I'm careful.
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Follow Up By: ChadA - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:57

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:57
It sounds like the old saying is true - nothing can prepare you for stupidity ;-) Im by no means detered by the spikes and I think it is like most off roading, if it was completly risk free most of us wouldnt enjoy it as much. That said, I think taking it slow and driving for the conditions should make it an enjoyable trip and worst case, spare tyres, puncture repair kits and UHF can always come in handy..... looking forward to the trip.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 20:58

Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 20:58
You may also want to visit Lambert Center the "yes it is" and then the "no it isn't" geographical center of mainland Australia. Just West of Finke.Free camping and toilets there.

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Reply By: Mick O - Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 21:24

Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 21:24
From our trip a few years back. Road is well maintained but can be a bit rough due to the amount of traffic it gets.

Down the Ghan Heritage Trail

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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AnswerID: 513681

Reply By: Martin Gladwin - Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 08:51

Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 08:51
The road towards Finke south of Roddinga Ruins is pretty badly corrugated.
If you have a vehicle that is capable of handling these corrugations then you should enjoy the drive. I was just there for the Finke Desert Race and didn't manage to get to Chambers Pillar but I wanted to. Finke to Kulgera road isn't bad according to mates who went that way.
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 16:52

Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 16:52
It will be about at its worst right now! The Finke Desert Race has just been run.

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Reply By: Great Divide Tours - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:26

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:26
The Ghan Heritage Trail is a great 4wd trail, from Alice to Rodinga Ruins the road is quite wide and will be corrugated after the recent Finke Desert race, although there has been a little rain in the centre recently too, so it may also have wheel ruts, just drive carefully. Make sure you visit Ewaninga Rock Carvings on the way (well signposted - allow at least 30 mins). The side trip to Chambers Pillar is well worth doing, the road to Maryvale is well graded as this is quite an active community. From Maryvale to the Pillar the road deteriorates a bit (or a lot depending on recent weather), the jump up hill approx 30k west of the Hugh River provides great veiws towards the Pillar to the south. After this the road narrows and becomes sandy with some small dunes, keep left. Viewing the Pillar at sunset is best, there is a small national park camp ground at the Pillar. From here you need to retrace back to Rodinga ruins to continue south. The road now changes dramatically, from a road to a track. There are two tracks in fact in many places, the one beside the original railway alignment which is usually used in the Finke Desert Race, it is about one vehicle wide and very lumpy with a roler coaster like alignment. The other track is atop the railway alignment, and in previous years I have found this the easier going, yes there are many corrugations and many railway spikes, but I have never had an issue with them (manage your tyre pressures correctly). There have been a few washouts on the alignment over the years, these may still exist so always drive slowly. The track is a wondeful drive passing many old fettlers ruins, beautiful desert oaks, red sand dunes and probably a few wildflowers after the rain. Making a bush camp along here should allow you to see or hear a few feral camels too. The Finke rive is sandy but should present no problems in high range 4wd with appropriate tyre pressure. I recommend your first night at the Pillar, a night camped along the track and then into either Lambert Centre or continue onto Mt Dare for some real comfort. See my book Vic Widman's Classic Outback tracks availbale through the Exploroz store for a detailed description of this wonderful outback track.
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Reply By: ChadA - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:52

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:52
All - Thanks for your great advice and suggestions. We are travelling with our 4 kids and it sounds like there will be some fun to be had on this route. Really appreciate the support of the ExploreOZ members - cheers
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