Ceduna to the Mitchell Plateau and beyond - a few questions

Hi all

Starting to plan this year's desert wanderings, and I'm looking for any feedback on a couple of aspects of the trip.

By way of background..........we'll be on the road for about three months, meeting late Autumn at Ceduna to travel Googs Track south to north, and then via either Maralinga or Glendambo to Coober Pedy. Then through the Painted Desert to Oodnadatta and on to Dalhousie Springs and Mt Dare, continuing via Finke and Chambers Pillar into Alice Springs.

After catching our breath a bit, we'll head up the Tanami to Halls Creek, travel the bitumen for a bit to Kununurra and then go along the Gibb before turning off to Drysdale Station and up to King Edward River and Mitchell Plateau.

On the way home we're looking at the Buchanan Hwy from Timber Creek to Dunmarra as an alternative to the bitumen. And finally onto the Gulf via Borroloola and Burketown, before starting to head back south again.

We have done some bits of this previously, and have had no problems up the Cape and Gulf or on the Gibb etc, but a few questions about next year's trip:
- Has anyone towed up Googs track with similar vehicle set-up to ours, and if so what degree of difficulty? (I've noted on the forum the Landcruiser/Patrol brigade have no problems)
- What is the track like between Mt Dare and Chambers Pillar?
- We're thinking of tenting the last section into Mitchell Falls, so is it better to leave the van at Drysdale or at King Edward River?
- Is Kalumburu also worth a visit?
- Also any recent condition opinions on tracks like the Tanami, Buchanan, Savannah, Plenty?

We have plenty of time to plan all this, but if anyone has some relevant experience or thoughts on what we are proposing, I'd appreciate hearing them.

All the best
Wildmax and the Egg
(08 Hilux towing TVan Canning MkIII)
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Black Wolf 210 tent

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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 14:47

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 14:47
The track from Hamilton Stn to Mount Dare is slow and rough as of late Sept. this year. We came down via Old Andado so don't know what is like up to Chambers. The Gulf track from Borroloola was getting a bit rough for the first 30k the rest not bad. Came up from Kingfisher Camp.

Gibb road was good in July to the T/O to Drysdale from there was getting a bit rough as you go north.

This can all change by the time you go so its best to check closer to the dates.
AnswerID: 523723

Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 15:23

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 15:23
Max,

you'll be doing a bit of travelling this year.

I have done googs with a trailer towed by a 3L T/D Navara. Details and difficulties recorded for posterity here:

Googs Track Day 1

Googs Track Day 2

Googs Track and Ghost Towns

Mt Dare to Chambers Pillar is corrugated and rough - slow going but doable

Mitchell Plateau; - Either or for leaving the Van. Drysdale means a few less corrugations but King Edward is a beaut spot to park for a few days and explore. The sunburst Wanjana are located in a cave nearby. Actually I'd reccomend KER as there is a heap to do and see in the immediate vicinity.

King Edward River and the sunburst wanjana


Kalumburu 50/50. Now that Fr. Anscar has gone, the place has lost a lot of character. Better to try and get into the Drysdale River via old Carson Station (Permits obtainable from kalumburu)

Carson River to the Drysdale

Hope that helps,


Cheers Mick








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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Wildmax - Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 16:31

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 16:31
Thanks for the feedback - looks pretty straightforward with the exception of some challenges on the northern part of Googs Track. We'll be travelling with a couple of mates so hopefully we can snatch each other over the top of dunes if the sand proves too much of a challenge - we all made it across the Simpson without any problems, but that was without the TVan on the back.
I'd better consult our fellow travellers to decide whether they want to take the campers up Googs or leave them at Pt Augusta and then double back a couple of hundred km from Glendambo to pick them up.
Cheers
Wildmax
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Thursday, Jan 02, 2014 at 18:19

Thursday, Jan 02, 2014 at 18:19
Max, I think tyre pressures will play a big part in it. You should be OK providing your friends aren't gun shy for running low pressures in the worst sections.

Have a great trip

Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 16:50

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 16:50
Re Googs..... we towed a soft floor HD offroad camper 'down' Googs about 10 years back. As I recall, the only problematic dunes were 3 near the top of Googs.... the rest are quite straight forward with the usual soft sand tactics.We were glad to be going south on those top 3 dunes because people had been digging up the south faces while going north.....northbound progress for us would have been quite difficult.
As for the Kimberley.... Anne from Drysdale has written quite a lot of roads advice on the Drysdale River Station site.... you might get some good oil there.
AnswerID: 523727

Reply By: Member - Neil R1 - Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 20:12

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 20:12
Sounds like an awesome trip Wildmax.

I did Googs (south to north) last July, me not towing anything in a Paj, the other 3 vehicles (another Paj, a Patrol and a Prado) between them had 2 x T-Vans and a camper trailer.

It had rained a bit for our trip, but the vehicles towing had no problems at all.

Pretty rutted near the crest of a lot of the dunes, but nothing that couldn't be achieved first time around with the right mix of momentum and tyre pressure.

Just watch out for any travellers heading north to south, not on channel and no sandflags!

Cheers

Robbo
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 20:38

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 at 20:38
Wildmax,

I travelled down the Buchanan 40 years ago, in a Holden ute, and didn't have any dramas. Took the section through Jasper's Gorge at a steady rate, but the scenery made it worthwhile. From Top Springs to Dunmarra, it was pedal to the metal, but I was 6' tall and bulletproof back then.

Did the Plenty a bit over 2 years ago, and except for the corrugations west of Jervios Stn, and near the Harts Range store, it was pretty good. Plenty of Kodak moments near Harts Range too.

About the only thing that might make travelling next year a bit ordinary, would be another "dry" wet, and there isn't enough moisture to firm up any bull dust, and give the graders a good road base to work with.

Hope you have a good trip,

Bob


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