Kiwirrkurra to Balgo Track

Submitted: Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 14:17
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I am interested in finding out more about the Kiwirrkurra to Balgo track. If there is anyone out there who has traveled it in recent years I would love to hear of your experiences.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:07

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:07
Travelled this track in July this year. Great track, it is not maintained so rough in spots and when we travelled it there were some quite muddy sections. I would not imagine it would by muddy to often after all you are in the middle of the Great Sandy Desert. In terms of difficulty think CSR and Ann Beadell Hwy. There are some well travelled people who would say this is one of the the most remote tracks in Australia.
This track is not for the faint hearted only the very well prepared and experienced travellers with a minimum of three vehicles and the more the safer, it is sooooo isolated.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:46

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:46
Lake Mackay is a camp spot not to be missed. When we were there the wind changed and the waterline which was over 500 metres away was 300 metres closer within 5 hours.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:50

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:50
Another must see is the LB's ration truck at Kiwirrkurra.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim R (ACT) - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:54

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:54
Thanks Chris. Yes we are experienced and equipped for such areas but are simply doing research at this stage. Do you happen to have any track plots you can share?
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 17:07

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 17:07
I used a Spot tracker on this trip which can be found at http://www.exploroz.com/EOTrackMe/Default.aspx#tab=1&fid=L0vMc7kczjnRqRKfDb3QRc18Llu8AvVo5H
and
https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=68675184a46329776
you should be able to extract the plots from either of these.
If you have a problem let me know as I also recorded using OziExplorer but that will take a bit of effort on my part to extract.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 17:52

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 17:52


A couple of photo's click for a description.
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Reply By: Mick O - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:33

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:33
I concur with Chris. This is a remote and rough track. The corrugations at the northern end are equal to anything on the Canning. Quite sandy in places and very weather affected. The southern 80 km are OK out to the dwarf well tank but after that, it's very much a mixed bag.

This is a closed track and even the locals don't travel on it lightly. You will need permission and will need to show your experience, preparations equipment level and numbers travelling. You will also need to provide an undertaking that indemnifies the traditional owners if any misfortune befalls you while on the track.

Cheers Mick

(P.S. We were on it i August this year)
''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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Follow Up By: Member - Jim R (ACT) - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:52

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 16:52
Thanks for the advice. Yes we are aware that it is REMOTE and are quite experienced in such areas. We have no definite plans at this stage but are simply doing research. Do you happen to have track plots that you can share.

Again thanks for the prompt responses.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 17:31

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 17:31
Hi Jim,

I will send you a plot and contact details off-forum.

Further to what Mick says you probably will have to show you have a bona-fide reason for traveling it, especially if you wish to visit some of the places that are away from the track. I would not recommend traveling the track without permission - it may cause future access issues if you are caught, similar to what happened a few years ago on the CSR.



Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 22:21

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 22:21
Jim, if you go to my profile page and then to "my map", you'll find the plot there. It's called 10-Jun-09. You should be able to zoom in on it, click on it to highlight and as an EO member, download it. I'm sorry but it also covers the Gary Junction from Papunya, I didn't bother to trim it at the time of loading.

Other than this year, I was on the track in 2009 and have written it up in the blog section on EO.

Link to day one - North to Lake McKay


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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Follow Up By: Member - Jim R (ACT) - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:06

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:06
Thanks Mick - you certainly seem to have had an interesting trip. I am still looking for the 10 Jun 09 track but so facr it has eluded me among your many others.
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 22:01

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 22:01
Jim

I refer to it as the Lake Mackay Track. It's 5 years since we travelled from Balgo south as part of a continent crossing trip from the Arafura Sea north of Kununurra to the Bight. We didn't go to Kiwirrkurra - we hit the Desert Road at Mt Webb and turned east toward Kintore.

The track conditions were not that difficult, but we found navigation a bit of a challenge as there are many cleared lines etc to confuse. We had the express consent of the TO in Balgo to travel here.

It is very isolated, and there is NO passing traffic.

The other guy who has spent time out there and written about it is Willem Kempen - ex member.

Bob
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 23:38

Sunday, Dec 08, 2013 at 23:38
If you look at the photo's the sign is clearly marked Balgo Road. Lake Mackay is just one of the features along this road.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 07:37

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 07:37
Bob, that straight through section to Mt Webb has suffered a hell of a lot in the time since then. I was on that section in 09 (on the Kempen expedition) and it was in reasonable nick. Since then, the track has suffered from run-off with large sections now being eroded and very difficult to navigate. One side of the laterite range is now a Gully making things somewhat awkward. In other areas, the track is gone or overgrown and you will need to navigate through the bush. At the northern end, the entry has been graded over and it is very easy to miss. You really would need the coordinates to assist in locating the turn off.

The main Balgo Road is in fantastic nick out to Lake McKay having been graded to support the exploration efforts in the area. Past Lake McKay it deteriorates markedly.

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 08:52

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 08:52
Mick, it sounds like we will be using the Kiwirrkurra section next time.

Chris, on leaving Balgo a sign proclaiming "Balgo Rd" would be unhelpful. Lake Mackay is the major feature along the road, so whether you start from Balgo, Kiwirrkurra or Mt Webb you know where you are going to end up (with any luck!).

Naming roads after a point at one end can be ambiguous. Eg there are four roads leading to the Sandy Blight Junction but only the road leading South is called the Sandy Blight Junction Road. While not wishing to be critical of LB, what should the road north to Nyrripi be called?

Which is why I call it the Lake Mackay Track (before the miners graded and signposted it)

Bob
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 09:46

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 09:46
Bob, there is nothing wrong with your logic and I understand what you are saying and probably agree with you as would most others who have been there. However I would suggest that the vast majority of the persons who wish to go there and read this forum would be better served by calling it the Balgo road because that is what the sign says and is what the community of Kiwirrakurra call it. Much less confusing to intending visitors for the first time. If Lake Mackay is your destination then there is only one road north and anyone in the community will tell you that it is on the Balgo road which if you have come from the east you will have seen on your way in.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:17

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:17
I reckon the sign says Point Moody Balgo Road.
The writing on the tyre is not straight but turned clockwise about 15 degrees and Point Moody and Balgo Road are opposite to one another.

Doesn't matter really I guess we all know what road it is.

Cheers
Alan

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In whatever comes our way.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:41

Monday, Dec 09, 2013 at 10:41
Alan is right of course it doesn't really matter, but for those of you who have not been there you had better go there and find out for yourself. You will not be disappointed and probably highly amused.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 16:39

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 16:39
I notice that Don Fuchs, the respected photo-journalist, has a story on this in Pat Callinan's current 4 x 4 Adventures magazine. I think its issue 9.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim R (ACT) - Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 16:55

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 16:55
Thanks Rick - I will track it down.

I have also discovered that there are commercial tours available at: http://www.diamantina-tour.com.au/expeditions/bindabu/bindabu_index.html


Thanks to everyone for your help.
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Reply By: tuck - Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 at 18:01

Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 at 18:01
Tour sounds very interesting. With regards to trip taking considerable time -
can I ask what members have done regarding fruit and veg going from eastern states and SA going into WA.
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